Yesterday I experienced a situation straight out of the movie Pretty Woman (not in the way you’re thinking). Similar to the scene in which Vivian is snubbed in a Rodeo Drive store because her appearance did not fit one of a Beverly Hills Shopper, I was told I had to leave a networking event…all because I was not wearing a business suit.
As the Empowerment Director of PaySimple (empowerment = an innovative and uplifting spin on human resources), I was invited to attend a networking event at a local university’s business school. I immediately saw this as a great opportunity to meet potential candidates to fill the approximately 10 positions that we are currently hiring for, and also an opportunity to tell the Denver business community about how PaySimple is, in my opinion, the best company to work for in Denver.
One of the very convenient perks of working at PaySimple is our attire is as casual as our atmosphere. For the most part we wear jeans and performance outerwear that we acquire at the Patagonia store across the street on sale days. (Other perks include Yoga Tuesdays; Kickball Wednesdays; catered lunch on Fridays; reimbursements for gym memberships; RTD Ecopasses; and our loft office downtown with a basketball hoop, foosball table, and hockey net). So I didn’t think twice when I left work for the day to attend the networking event in my jeans. However, the event greeter took one look at what I was wearing, and told me immediately that I could not go in because I wasn’t wearing a suit. I must say that I was initially shocked, since I am thankfully so far removed from the idea of having to actually wear a suit. Because of this, I am sure the look that I gave her was priceless.
As I walked out the door, I felt slightly awkward and embarrassed, but the more I thought about it, I started to chuckle. What is the actual point of wearing a suit to work anyway? To me, suits are just an uncomfortable way of conforming to corporate America. And why would I wear a suit to a recruiting event, especially since I feel it is a misrepresentation of PaySimple’s culture? PaySimple strives to make our customers comfortable by simplifying the process of accepting payments and getting set up with a merchant account. Similarly, we strive to make our team members comfortable, and a great way to do this is allowing them to wear clothes that they are comfortable in.
I can speak for PaySimple when I say that we genuinely appreciate this luxury, as do candidates that come to our office to interview, and that brought a smile to my face. So just as the salesperson missed out on the commission for dissing Vivian, the university business students and alumni missed out on an opportunity to learn about an amazing, growing Denver company. And all because I wasn’t wearing a business suit.