In the UK, if you're in Sales, you wear a suit. Simple. While the Editorial guys on the magazine get away with jeans and unironed short sleeved shirts - or sometimes even T-shirts. We share the same open plan office space, so why the disparity? Over in the US, meanwhile, they don't wear suits at all, they wear buttoned down shirts (no tie) tucked into beige Chinos pulled up slightly too high with a cell [sic] phone holster attached at the side (maybe they equate the ubiquitous cell phone side arm with a gun of their forbears??
I was thinking about this while I flew back in Virgin Upper Class. There I was sitting in Upper Class surrounded by the oddest assortment of individuals you could imagine. They certainly didn't look upper class. To look properly upper class you should probably be wearing brown suede loafers, pink cords and a Prince of Wales check shirt.
You see, style for the businessman is a mine field. That's when I dreamt up the concept of a course targeted at the HR professional who needs to enforce a dress code at the office. But in order to target the busy professional HR executive that hasn't got time to think up and design pointless company policy documents, I thought I would deliver my course via the medium of the telephone call!
I've come up with some marketing blurb for the emailer. Here's what I've got so far:
"Drafting & Enforcing Dress Code Policies: What's Working: What's Not"
Tired of being the "fashion police" for your company? Protect your company image and be prepared for even the toughest dress code situations.
What needs to be in your dress code policy? How can you enforce it without having to worry about a lawsuit? Join us for a 60-minute audio conference where you will discover:
- How to address body odour, inappropriate clothing, and piercings
- Keys to draft an effective appearance policy
- Legally safe steps for disciplining repeat offenders and rule breakers
- The impact of "lifestyle laws" on your workplace appearance policies
There you go readers? What do you think? It's pretty straight forward to set up too. I must confess, it wasn't just traveling in Virgin Upper Class that inspired my idea, it was the copy of gentleman's interest magazine Club that I bought at LAX. I don't know if you're familiar with these types of magazine? They feature pictures of sexy young girls, erotic stories, interesting articles about speedboats and fast cars and dozens of adverts for something called phone sex. You can dial up a number and listen to people doing it, the number you call is a premium line and charges $2.99 for the first minute and 99c per minute thereafter.
Most of the adverts in gents' magazines promise to get right into the action and have you shoot your load (or muck as it's often described) in minutes flat! Well, that's where the adult entertainment industry is missing a trick. Ideally, you need to get your listeners sitting on the blower for as long as possible. Now, most of the chaps who call these lines have probably not really got the ready cash for listening to hours of simulated sex on the phone and if they did have that sort of money, they could get themselves down to Soho and visit one of the many models who are new in town and like their job. Businessmen on the other really do have that kind of money, but you'd be hard pressed explaining spending hours on some premium sex chat line, whereas investing money in invalubale HR training on the company card would be perfectly legit!
In the UK you can buy a premium line from BT and sell a service. They take a cut of the dialing fee. Any telephone number starting 09xx is charged at premium rates, in a similar fashion to a 900 number in North America.
Here's the really genius part.....I'll get Nigella Lawson to be the person reading out the advice on dress code policy using that special sexy voice she's got and I'll advertise the service in the Daily Telegraph.
I think I might have hit on something big here readers. Premium Line HR Consulting Services.
I might drop Dickie Branson a line to see if he wants in. I'll probably mention that it was his airline that inspired me*.
Yours in enterprise
*I probably won't contact Paul Raymond Publications with my idea. I tried dropping them a line when I dreamt up the Oyster and they threatened to sue me!!