Salt Shakers Pop Tarts Flip Flops

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Summer hours.  For some retail establishments it means staying open later.  For others it may mean opening for tourist season.  For the medical profession it general means fewer office hours.  Seasonal jobs.  Outdoor bars, concerts and al fresco dining. Tourists.  Stupid tourists drowning, crashing boats, jet skis and cars, causing traffic jams and gridlock which seriously inconveniences the locals.  ERs staff up.

The 9 to 5 business world in the days of suits and stilettos acknowledged summer hours in various ways.  One was having everyone work one extra hour Monday through Thursday with half day Fridays giving employees an extra long weekend regardless of holidays. This was in addition to staggered work hours, the caveat being that everyone had to work the same start/end hours on Friday.

We all worked feverishly on Fridays looking finishing up all work and hoping no crises arose so that we could get out at noon.

At one company, when we logged on to the computer system on Fridays,  the welcome screen reminded us the company was on summer hours and please log off by noon.  As if we could forget.  At another company, half day Fridays led to major gridlock in the parking lot as there were 5 buildings emptying out at the same time onto a one lane road.

Then there were the companies that opted for ‘Casual Fridays’ for the summer months in lieu of longer weekends.  At one company we had a few 19-year-old secretaries whose ’casual’ wardrobe apparently consisted only of beachwear.  Executive Management was not pleased and canceled Casual Fridays after two weeks.  The 19-year-olds couldn’t understand why.  The rest of us were ticked.

Rule of Thumb: Flip-flops are not business casual.  Sandals yes.  Flip-flops no.

At another company Casual Fridays were year-round — in lieu of larger pay raises (fewer dry cleaning bills).

But not for the entire company.

And not necessarily every Friday.

Casual business attire was expressly defined: no tee shirts, sweatshirts, halters, tank tops, shorts, sneakers, flip-flops.

Divisions and districts within the company designated specific Fridays for casual attire. For some, this meant one Friday/month.  For others it was every Friday.  Everyone marked their calendars appropriately.  Transfers into groups that only had 1 casual Friday a month were few, transfers to weekly casual days were fiercely sought.

But there was a caveat: If you had a business meeting on a Casual Friday outside your district/division or with outside people, it meant proper business attire as usual.

We worked diligently to avoid scheduling a Friday meeting.  We dreaded someone else scheduling a Friday meeting.  We hoped for conference calls to be set up between attendees who were across the country so that we could dial in from our desks (no videoconferencing so we could make faces at other attendees: “What in the world are you thinking???”).  No one wanted to give up their casual day unless absolutely positively unavoidable.

When all else failed, we brought a change of clothes for after meeting times.

These days, there are very few companies that adhere to strict suits and stilettos and most people can dress casually every day year round, regardless of the type of business they’re in.  Over the years dress code boundaries were pushed to include tee shirts, sweatshirts and sneakers — without repercussions.  A small revolt in response to dwindling raises and heavier workloads.  Halters, tank tops and spaghetti straps are easily hidden with a blazer.

Flip-flops, however, are still not acceptable.

And tourists take Fridays off.