Monday, February 21, 2011

Sorry, I Couldn't be Bothered to Shave Today

What else am I supposed to think when I walk into a business and run into a staff member, or worse, a manager, who is sprouting a two day growth on his face?

I can’t wait for the trend of men not shaving and not wearing neck ties in business settings to end.

I’m tired of walking into various businesses and seeing people who look like they might just as well have just rolled out of bed moments before their shift started standing behind the counter waiting to serve customers.

And I love my Son, but he is currently one of “them.”  Granted, he works in a major electronics store, which arguably is trying to appear cool and trendy, and appeal to the younger, cooler, trendier people who have an insatiable appetite for the latest technology, and are willing to spend the necessary cash to get the latest toys.  Understandably, they want to purchase from people who look like they do.  I get that, but nonetheless, I have seen my Son when he is just finishing up a shift, wearing his wrinkled clothes, his pants down around his ankles, his multiple tattoos exposed, his hair a mess and two days growth on his face, and I’ve asked him; “Your manager is okay that you look like this?”  “Oh yeah, it’s all good” he tells me, and I shake my head in disbelief.

There’s a new BMO bank that just opened in my neighbourhood, and they too are trying to make their mark.  They are open longer hours, into the evening, and they are also open on Saturdays and Sundays.  Nice, and convenient, no argument from me, from they are the embodiment of what I am whining about at this precise moment.  Everyone that I have seen that works in this bank is younger, attractive, and dressed in the latest fashions – it’s like the “W” of banks.  Okay, good so far.  However, I have also noticed that the men who work in this bank regularly do not shave, opting instead for the rugged look, and it is here that I have a problem.  I don’t think it looks professional when the bank manager looks like he couldn’t have been bothered to shave this morning, using the extra time for another cup of coffee before he left for work instead – not cool.

In hotels, I will confess that I haven’t seen much of the unshaven look in my travels, although I have seen it.  What has been more prevalent is the trend of “dressing down” with managers not necessarily wearing suits where we might have traditionally seen them in the past, or, not wearing neck ties with their suits, in an attempt to up their cool factor, and I’m sure there are people who do like it, I’m just not one of them.  If I’m paying in excess of $200.00 - $500.00 a night at a leading hotel, I want to see professionalism, everywhere I look, including in the attire of the staff and managers at the hotel.

When I was overseeing a Renaissance hotel for an owner a couple of years ago now, I started to notice that the general manager, and subsequently his department heads, was frequently not wearing a tie when I popped into the hotel, and he was also wearing a lot more trendy colours, and when I asked him what was going on, he told me that Renaissance was in the process of updating their brand image, and in so doing, adopting a more business casual approach to dress for the management – in short, they were trying to be more “W” in their new image.

No disrespect meant to this particular GM, because he did look good, but I still felt that he did not look as professional as he would if he chose to dress exactly the same, but add a coordinating neck tie to finish things off.  This is business and at the heart of business is professionalism, and while I would agree that there are plenty of people who look professional but certainly are not, I still also believe in first impressions, and to make the most of that first impression, let’s make the effort to dress up a little.

It reminds me a little bit of how annoyed I get every time I see Larry King dressing like he’s 20 years old.  Come on Larry, the time has long since passed when you can pull off wearing a pair of baggy jeans, a tie dyed t-shirt and a pair of skater shoes.  It just screams of “trying too hard to look cool.”  If you’re not careful, you’re going to trip on the laces of your cool shoes, fall and break a hip.

As for the rest of us, let’s agree to make the effort to dress professionally and represent our industry as the example of what to wear to make the right impression and to demonstrate our commitment to the highest level of professionalism.

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1 comment:

  1. Great post Dale, I was recently at a hospital with my partner who was taken to emergency early one morning and the Doctor walked in unshaven (but obviously this was a 'look' he was sporting) and his wrinkled scrubs. I understand they must change them many times a day but those wrinkled, just pulled out of the dryer clothes combined with an unshaven face certainly lowered the respect I would have had for him in that moment.