A Non-Voicemail Rant

I really hate voicemail.  My outgoing message at work even says so and asks people not to leave me VM.  It really is a useless mode of communication.  Inevitably after 5 minutes of trying to get the message and rewind and write down a phone number to a name that I can barely understand, I get it wrong.  If I am at work, I respond via email.  So send me an email instead.

There is only one VM I really appreciate.  And that is the rant from my good friend Loren (FPOTT- Former President Of The Temple).  Loren will call at random times of the day and lecture my phone for well over 2 minutes about whatever it is that is bothering him that particular minute.  If VM runs out of space, you can be sure that he will call back to finish, cursing Verizon for having the audacity to cut him off.  I wish I had saved some of the classics.  Most come while he is in the car and so there tends to be an automotive theme as he screams at me through the wireless microphone: The calamity of “Solah Glayah” (aka solar glare) on 128, the idiots who clearly don’t know how to drive to Fenway while crossing the BU bridge, the governor and his desire for higher taxes, street construction in Bradford, and the list goes on.

I haven’t left a rant for Loren in a while.  There is an art to it, sometimes I even have to write notes and practice.  In his honor, I think we deserve a new medium, and so I will share with everyone here on my blog- minus the colorful language that usually pervades the message and makes these so meaningful.  Note that a rant begins calmly and as you think about the issue more, you become more…lively.

First some back ground.  I work at one of the largest financial services companies in the world and our de-facto head is female.  She has done an amazing job of defining product and focusing on customers in ways that previous male leaders did not.  It is an exciting time.  I work with some exceptional female colleagues and VPs, one whose team I really want to join (hint hint).  I also work with incompetent men and women.  Some make more than me, and some less.  Some are promoted when I think they deserve it and some are promoted to my disbelief.  But inevitably, in 2012 and with everyone I talk to, your success is based on being in the right place at the right time and/or taking a risk on something by working your ass off to be an expert in some speciality.  This applies to women and men equally.  You can’t make evaluations of the current micro-workplace by looking at retroactive statistical macroeconomic measures.  There is a story to every individual employment action and none of them are the same.

So while the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act sounds like such a great idea, all it really did was to change a Supreme Court ruling on how to interpret a statute of limitations clause.  It didn’t change behavior and it won’t directly change statistics.  Today, opportunities are fair, and while the numbers may not have caught up to that reality, corporate America treats everyone the same.  Women that leave the workplace for children are not rewarded for their devotion to the firm, the same as men who take a leave of absense to deal with “family matters” (I know both).  Women who know their s–t are respected and promoted ahead of those women and men who don’t.

But here is where the workplace is fundamentally UNfair.  We need legislation NOW to correct the debacle that has become known as; Business Casual Clothing in the Workplace.  And so begins the rant, press 1 to listen to your message, beeeep…

Yo buddy, sorry I missed you but here’s something I have been thinking about.  Clothing.  Men and women that wear suits to work are about the same.  Pants or skirt, uncomfortable shoes, uncomfortable shirt, maybe a tie/scarf and a jacket.  That is fair.  Young kids don’t understand norms, and so I understand that there are too short skirts (girls) and black dress “sneakers” (boys) from the interns that show up every summer.

But business casual has gotten flat out ridiculous.  Men for the most part wear dress shoes that are uncomfortable just like their suit counterparts.  Please explain to me how women get to wear fricken flip flops that because they have a quarter inch strip of leather are somehow dressy?  How exactly does that work?  And why is it that even their dressier shoes have no tops and no backs?  No socks?  So I have to look at and smell stinky feet as they slip off those shoes in meetings just cause they can pop off so easily?  The equivalent used to be nylons, which have somehow become taboo for business casual, and while I may agree that they look silly, THAT IS NOT THE #$%@ POINT!  If that was the identifier that signified equality in hosiery, why do they get to arbitrarily declare it no longer “in style”?  How is that fair?  Can you see me wearing leather sandals to work?  Loafers or boat shoes with no socks?  Yeah right!

Lets talk pants.  The most comfortable I can swing is a pair of beige soft cotton kackis.  But women can wear capri’s?  With flip flops no doubt.  You think I could show up without a belt?  But women get to wear stretchy flowery prints with elastic waistbands?  Bend over to pick up a pencil and I see underwear?  How exactly is that equality?

We’re moving right up now!  Maybe, just MAYBE on a hot summer day I would feel safe wearing a polo shirt with a collar.  How do chicks justify a tee shirt just cause it’s made of satin or some fabric that looks fancy?  I am usually in a button down, which oh by the way is SOOOO uncomfortable, it totally sucks, and it is always tucked in.  They tuck in shirts maybe 50:50.  Tank tops?  How come that is ok?  I can see a tattoo?  I would get marched to HR!!

I don’t want to hear a single peep about hair and makeup, that is ENTIRELY MANUFACTURED BY THEM as an excuse to go shopping for chemical-crap-de-la-DuPont that does absolutely nothing!  You spend 30 minutes on that per day, times 5 days a week means I am inherently more productive for net 2 hours per week, right?!?!?

I am seriously sick of this.  I feel so repressed and flat out discriminated against.  It is not fair and I should be able to sue someone.  There should be some sort of EEOC or DOL rule that regulates exactly what “business casual” is and what is acceptable dress for both women and men.

Coming up on my exit, hugs and kisses to the family.  Give me a call later.   Beeeep!

So now you know how all good legislation begins.  Please support the FACE Act of 2012(Formal Attire and Clothing Equality) , I will be writing a draft next week.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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