If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am the number one fan of Hawaiian shirts and clothing with motifs that depict the cool laid back lifestyle of Hawaii. When you wear one, even on a brutally cold February day in the northern United States, it still feels appropriate to cut out of work a bit early and indulge in a Mai Tai or four. Let me prove my point by telling you about a company I once worked for. For something like 10 years I worked for a company that made pilot training software, while some of the day to day tasks were somewhat challenging, my mind still wandered.
I lost track of the numbers of days and months that I spent dreaming of being on a beach with my toes in the sand.
Fortunately for me the company dress code was fairly loose, though the downside was they didn’t allow management to wear shorts or flip flops on the property, lesser employees could wear whatever, especially if it was hot outside. But if you were in management they expected you to dress business casual when in office, to business formal during business trips.
In the early years of employment with them, my daily wardrobe primarily consisted of sneakers, jeans and a toned down Hawaiian shirt, something similar to this reverse print Hawaiian shirt.
But the longer I was at that company, the more daring my wardrobe became. The Hawaiian shirts in my work wardrobe became brighter and bolder with each passing month, my closet at home was a kaleidoscope of color! I remember one day in particular, I wore blue jeans with a shirt that had vivid yellow and red parrots and a sprinkling of green all on a white background, you could probably see me from space that day. I think some of the progression had to do with rebellion, I detested weekly meetings, and attendees were regularly subjected to some of the longest and most unproductive meetings in recorded history.
The meetings I was forced to attend were full of kiss ass people wearing ties and business suits, eagerly awaiting some drivel to spill from the CEOs mouth, and then there was me, usually wearing a shirt with big loud flowers and such. Meetings demonstrated that time really does stand still, like an old photograph. I mean who has not wanted to add color back into an old, black and white photograph at least on time in their life?
In the final 2 or 3 years of employment there my passion for Hawaii and island lifestyles in general started spilling over into the 2 departments I managed. Be it a tropical screen saver, hula doll etc. by the time my employment was terminated most of my full time 8 employees had something tropical in their cubical, a few even converted over to wearing a tropical themed shirt at least once a week. Honestly, they were enjoying their jobs more than the company liked, it actually irked senior management to no end.
Sadly there was a dark side to my position, which was having to let go of contracted help or worse, terminate a permanent employee. My approach was pretty laid back, I would usually tell them we have to have a unpopular discussion and asked them if they would like to have it over lunch at Islands or down and dirty in the meeting room. Only a few opted for the meeting room, which provided no mechanisms to retain ones dignity.
While I have never seen any of those people I had to let go, I am optimistic that they would be genuinely friendly towards me. I also know that they will forever remember being terminated (often for being slackers) by a guy wearing a brightly colored Aloha shirt.