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Career Coach: Dress Code; Getting out of IT

This edition: Dress code enforcement and Goodbye programmer, hello middle school math teacher.

Dear Career Coach:
My employer, a medical-device manufacturer, just instituted a business-casual dress code that banishes jeans at work--even for IT! What gives?
Blue Jean Baby

Dear Baby:

Your employer's new dress code reflects a trend away from the ultra-informal work environment of the dot-com era. More than 70 percent of executives responding to a study recently conducted by research firm Wirthlin Worldwide said they believe professionally clad workers are more productive than those who dress less formally. In fact, when asked what they'd most like to change about worker attire, the No. 1 response was: "No jeans."

Unless you were clever enough to negotiate a "jeans clause" in your employment contract, dressing casually at work is a privilege, not a right. You can't go wrong following the maxim, "Dress for the job you want." Watch those managers you respect and model your attire after theirs.

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