Wednesday 8 September 2004


As we left for lunch yesterday, we passed by a well-coiffed woman in a purple sleeveless dress. She had a cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth while she scrubbed our company's sign clean in front of our building. She wasn't wearing any sort of uniform and her car had no logo on it; it was as if a pub landlady drove by our building and decided that our exterior needed a bit of a tidy. I suppose we shouldn't expect cleaners to be wearing polyester smocks and no makeup, but it was rather surprising.

I haven't had to wear a uniform for a job in a very long time. The last two retail jobs I had several years ago didn't require one (I don't even think we had name tags or badges), so I think it's been at least ten years since I've worn company-supplied garments of any sort. I have never worked at a company with a dress code and the only thing that identifies me as an employee of Citrix is my security badge. I never minded wearing a uniform; I know that most people find them demeaning, but it didn't bother me. Of course I did have to endure some rather awful polyester uniforms in my youth (the worst was a fast food chicken place that forced us to wear brown and gold frilly aprons with matching headscarves), but on the most part, dressing up in work clothes was kind of satisfying. You never had to think about what to wear each morning and you didn't have to worry about looking unfashionable or frumpy because everyone looked the same as you.

On the other hand, I used to shudder in horror at the thought of wearing a school uniform. In Canada (the US too, I would imagine), only private schools and Catholic schools had uniforms. Not being Catholic, the alternative was private school and that's where Mom and Dad threatened to send me every time I got into trouble. "We'll send you to Hillfield Strathallan if you don't smarten up!" Uniforms? No boys in the classroom? Noooooooooooooo!! Here, all schoolkids wear uniforms - regardless of religion or whether or not your parents can afford a poncey private (or public as they're called here) school. I wonder if they feel the same way about school uniforms as I did, or if because it's the norm, do they even think about it?

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