What do you wear to work? I have to admit, when I go into hospitals and see these nurses bee-bopping around in their tennis shoes, I am jealous. High heels are harder and harder the older I get. There are days that I need to do errands after work, and I will abandon them just because my feet hurt and I can’t take it anymore. That said, I believe if you are in a profession that requires a certain dress code, you should adhere to that lest you be taken less seriously or do not give due respect to the type of work you do. But you see this “dressing down” more and more.
Last week, I worked with a very nice attorney from out of town. She got to the deposition late, came in with hair still wet from a shower, had on a slouchy shirt and pants, and FLIP-FLOPS! I could not believe it. The male attorneys, for the most part, were still in a suit (all but one). This was a big case, and her client was very important. What in the world? We ended up in the restroom together, and she was very friendly. She says, “Was it one of your people who worked with us on Wednesday?” I say, “No, I’m not sure who that was – we just got hired for Thursday and Friday.” She pauses a minute and then says, “Well, she wasn’t nice.” I’m like, “Who? The court reporter?” She says, “Yeah – and I could hardly believe it. I mean, all court reporters are nice. We attorneys are paying their bill, after all!” Well, then I just had to know. I said, “Well, what happened?” She says she had forgotten to bring a pen, and she asked the reporter if she could borrow one. The reporter supposedly huffed, huffed again, snarled up her face and said, “Well, I guess.” She then makes a big ruckus looking in her briefcase and throws her a pen. The attorney was floored – and frankly, so was I! I was thrilled to be able to just instinctively know that that would never be one of my reporters – and that was a blessing.
The week prior, we had a huge focus group that involved an expert from New York City. This expert had been extremely difficult to deal with prior to her arrival, so we took great pains in cleaning the office from head to toe, going over logistics, having a staff responsibility practice (kind of like a fire drill, as it turned out!). The expert had mistakenly copied me on her e-mail to the client with her final fees, and they were almost as much as my husband makes in a year FOR THE ONE DAY! I was pretty burnt up over that, as our fees for gathering up 44 jurors, feeding 58 people two meals, providing the facility and all the recordings ended up having us lose money on the deal. But it was something we’d not done before, so we wanted to see how it went. And boy, it went.
The expert shows up the night before, seems nice enough, apologized for all her previous demands and e-mails, and I accepted her apology and was hoping for the best. I was shocked at how she dressed, though, I must admit. Very frumpy – flat shoes – casual clothes, no make-up, hair back in a ponytail. She did wear an air of bossiness, though, like a cloak. The next day did not go well. To make an incredibly long story short, we were incompetent, our jurors were possibly criminals or deaf or annoying and needed sent home without pay, our facility was unacceptable, our video feeds were atrocious – you name it, we got blasted with it. And yes, in front of everyone. She even accused one of the jurors of having a DUI in front of other people! One of the jurors asked for a one-minute break to call her employer (when they were only allowed a break to stand up and stretch after over two hours), and she was told she couldn’t – that she should just leave and go on home, without pay, after having been there for over five hours already. It was awful. It was so bad that by the end of the day, all you could do was laugh, as it was just so unending and predictable.
And I’m telling you all this why? Maybe to vent…. I’m still not over it. And oh, it even lasted after it was over when we sent her a bill for the FedEx charges she incurred – got back a long e-mail with more complaints about how unprofessional we were, blah, blah, blah, and she didn’t think she owed the bill. My billing department was included on the e-mail, who happens to be my pastor’s wife, and she sends me an e-mail as soon as she sees the list of complaints and says, “Before you send a response, PRAY!” Too late! I had already responded and didn’t pray…. I did, however, bite my tongue in two with all the things I wanted to say: “It would be worth paying YOU not to ever have to deal with you again” or “Oh, I’m sure in those thousands and thousands of dollars you got, you have no room for a $60.00 FedEx bill.” I didn’t say those things, but I did respond with “Fine, don’t pay it if it makes you feel better.” No response. I deleted the bill and hope I never ever hear of this woman again.
And to stop venting and get to the point: The girls in my office and I keep bringing up how unprofessionally she was dressed. Looked just like someone off the street, not even really business casual. And here she is running this big focus group for a multi-million dollar case. After one of them mentioned it again the other day, I said, “Listen, here’s the truth of the matter: If this woman had worn those clothes and come in here and been nice, we would have said she was so down to earth and kind, coming from NYC, how great it was to work with her. Because she was a witch instead, we are still harping on what she was wearing!”
And what does God tell us? Colossians 3:12 – “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
1 Timothy 2:9 - “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”1 Peter 3:1-6 - “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
If we dress like God says, I doubt very seriously anyone will be telling nightmare stories about us …..just saying.
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.