Foot in Mouth

17 Feb

My company recently changed the dress code to make it more casual.  Yay!  We can wear jeans every day instead of twice a week.  Hoodies are in play once a week.  Everyone was happy.  Except, they said sneakers can only be worn on Friday (I have been wearing them every day) which seems like a step backwards.  I have been devastated about it and at a loss what to do:  Take my chances, hope I continue to be invisible, and wear sneakers until I get in trouble to the level of losing my job?  Buy bunches of new colored shoes that fit in dress code so I can still wear cute matching outfits?  Try to get a doctor’s note?  I wasn’t sleeping, I have been upset.  So even though I’ve been reluctant to speak out on anything or make any type of waves–this is important to me so I had to try something.  I couldn’t sleep at 3AM and I wrote the points I wanted to turn into a letter into my phone.  And apparently, the result was a triple stuffed oreo of an opinion paper and pretty good.  So I kept it, and despite many nerves and doubts I sent it out to the people I thought 1) May have written the dress code and/or 2) Might listen and do something about it.  My supervisor’s boss, her boss, and the VP of the company who said something to the effect of, ‘if we can be flexible and accommodate why not do it?’  And I thought that attitude was perfect for this situation.

Hello,

My purpose is to respectfully persuade you that daily sneakers should in fact be allowed in the dress code.

We are not client facing so sneakers won’t be an issue.  Our professionalism, productivity, and quality will be the same if we can wear sneakers.  If anything my shoes have been the conversation point that brings joy to both me and the people I work with.

Sneakers offer support and comfort.  Which is important to me. I have genetic bunions which press shoes and become sore.  My sharp ankle bones are sure to tear blisters. Also, participating in competitive dance for 11 years of my childhood has impacted my feet making them crack and pop and leaving my arches tender.  Cheerleading with its explosive jumps (and the resulting high impact landings) and the twisting stunts over 5 feet above the ground (sometimes hitting it at high speeds on the dismount) left lifelong ankle problems.  Four years of pole vaulting and struggling to complete my turn resulting in landing my full body weight from heights above 7 feet have left my ankles stiff and sore in adulthood. Eight years of track and running a daily mile has contributed to plantar fasciitis.  Sneakers provide that extra support and comfort to feet and ankles that have known better days. In addition, I try to stand while I work, because sitting is a killer, and it’s much more sustainable to do that in supportive footwear like sneakers.

I seldom speak at work because of anxiety and introversion, but I do express myself through my outfits which I plan a month ahead.  Shoes are perhaps the most important part of the outfit- matching and tying the look together. I honor holidays, events, and themes using my attire and that’s what makes me who I am.  95% of my shoes are sneakers for the aforementioned comfort. I just purchased a slew of slacks to meet dress-code so I’m reluctant to buy all new shoes when I already have 36 pairs of perfectly good fashion-sneakers.

I implore you to please take this earnest letter into consideration and change the dress code to allow for daily sneakers.  They mean a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

And I guess I should have anticipated my supervisor’s boss to call me into her office for a chat about it.  Which was awkward because I had worn sneakers that day (against dress code).  She skipped right to me putting in an ADA request and indicated I should come to her (or my supervisor) with issues a.k.a.  don’t go above her head again.  I knew she was putting me off, and I don’t like that and it wasn’t the result I was going for.  But I didn’t have the diplomacy to push back without making an enemy of her (anymore than I already had).  So I was basically given the (my words) ‘rules are rules shut up and make our lives easy’ corporate line.  And I didn’t like it.

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