What exactly is culture and why am I wearing a suit today?

fancy_guys

Alas, Preston just had to one-up me with the bow tie.

 

Like I am on every Friday, I’m dressed up today. Today I’m wearing a vintage two-button pinstripe suit with a paisley tie. It’s Fancy Friday, which emerged years ago when I started working at the Cheezburger network. It’s a bit of the culture that I’ve carried with me since then.

Why? There are a few reasons.

1. It’s an oblique “screw you” to the entire idea of corporate dress codes and “Casual Friday”.  I once worked for a small startup that was bought up by a larger more established company. One of our new corporate overlords came in and saw that I was wearing an aloha shirt and said “You would LOVE our office in California! We do CASUAL FRIDAYS!” I left soon after that.

Every day is casual day when you look this good.

Every day is casual day when you look this good.

 

2. Collecting formal wear (specifically ties and cuff links) makes it easy for your loved ones to get you gifts. They don’t have to worry about if I have one already (because I do) or if it will fit (because it will). Today I’m wearing 3D printed cuff links modeled after the classic anglepoise lamps that were a gift from Mrs. Cron.

3. I like how mirrors look when I’m dressed up.

4. (and this is the most important). I have come to the understanding that culture is the set of choices you get to make without having to explain yourself. When I first show up at a technology job wearing a suit and tie, I have to explain myself. Always. It just isn’t part of the culture.  After a few weeks go by, Fancy Friday becomes part of the culture. Sometimes people join me in dressing up, as my old friend Preston did today, but mostly I stop having to explain myself because the culture absorbs this persistent choice.

The public choices you make over and over will influence the culture of your organization. This concept also applies to choices more important than what you wear. If you make a deliberate choice to take the time to help someone instead of narrowly focusing on your own tasks, that informs culture too.

 

 

 

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