To my knowledge, casual Friday is a frequent occurrence in most offices, if not every Friday, at least once in a while. At my office, it is an unheard of event. No literally, there are people who have never heard of casual Friday. We hosted a large conference/retreat/convention a short time ago, it was held on a Friday. No dress code was given and a lot of the attendees came wearing nice jeans paired with button down shirts, blazers, cute sweaters, and appropriate shoes. They looked nice, clean, and neat. At one point during the day one of my supervisors pulled me aside and said, “I don’t understand why all these people are wearing jeans.” I looked around, trying to think quickly. How would I break it to her? Moreover, how do I save hundreds of unsuspecting attendees from potential memos regarding their dress? Worse yet, a new policy. I felt a heavy weight settle on my shoulders.”Well,” I started carefully, “in my culture, Friday is sometimes a day when people dress a little more casually.” Did I really just say that? What the heck? In my culture? I mentally slapped my forehead. She is just as American as I! I think I meant generation, but it came out culture.

“Oh,” she said, “so it’s a cultural thing.”

“Um, yes.” I replied. This could work, I’d play the diverse culture card.

“So they are not being disrespectful.”

“Um, no. They weren’t given a dress code. And, as you know, their line of work generally allows them to dress a little more casually anyway. Their supervisors may already have a standing allowance for jeans on Friday, and since this is a Friday, they didn’t even think to dress differently. Also, in light of past events, this particular venue doesn’t have enough seating at lunch, there is the possibility that they might have to sit on the ground at some point. Not the best idea for a suit.”

“Oh. And every Friday is a casual day?”

“In some offices, yes.” She seemed satisfied with my explanation of American culture. Then I crossed my fingers my fingers behind my back and prayed that she would please, please, please suggest at some staff meeting that we have casual Friday someday. It still hasn’t happened. I guess it’s a cultural thing.

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