Some people tell me I am stuck in the 1970s, or “old school,” or “retro.” I thank these people for recognizing this characteristic. I may be retro, but I am up to date on the latest fashions even though I choose not to partake in many of them. One of these fashions is multiple piercings, for both men and women. Don’t get me wrong: I love piercings, I really do, as long as they are not part of my employees’ workplace attire. At work, I believe it is appropriate for women’s piercings to be limited to one per earlobe. For men, the appropriate number of piercings to be worn at work is zero. Magnus has employed several people with pierced body parts that exceed the limits in our policy manual and these employees are always required to remove their nose rings, eyebrow piercing, ear cartilage piercing, ear gauges, and other creatively placed piercings before coming to work. Our clients are not fashionistas; they are high powered attorneys and, as such, they cannot be expected to tolerate our employees’ self expressions in the form of pierced body parts. Fashions change with the changing times, but one thing that remains constant is the requirement in a professional office to conduct oneself with decorum in the presence of one’s bosses and clients. When an employee has attempted to challenge Magnus’ piercing policy, referring to their desire for self expression in the form of piercings, I remind them they are free to express themselves however they want to, just not while I am paying them to work for me.
Piercings. Again, not something I gave much consideration to other than when purchasing some earrings for Melissa with some regularity. However, this was one detail that we did cover in our original policy manual; the issue was on our radar in 1993 at the beginning of Magnus. What was, perhaps, not on the radar was the number of piercings (like 2, 3, 4… earrings), men with one or both ears pierced, or piercings other than ears. We addressed it in that first policy manual, but did not really see much of it for sometime thereafter. Thus, it was somewhat easier to handle than the belly or thong issue, because it was there from day 1 for all employees to read. Yet, what was surprising is that often prospective employees gave no thought to how they would be perceived during interviews and therefore showed up for the interview with too much bling. Our clients are almost always dressed in suits or in other conservative attire when we see them; we do not want to create any distractions or risk offending them. In our world and work piercings are not hazards, and should not impact productivity. But, it is an issue of impression management and blending in. While being “outstanding” is generally a good thing, this is true when being outstanding is for positive reasons. Being adorned in too many piercings, especially beyond the ears, is not an outstanding feature in the corporate world, still today. Perhaps in some industries this is not a problem; the key is to fit into the environment in which one chooses to work. It is sort of like camouflage.
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