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The Creepy Mini-Me

June 25, 2014

Hey Dave, why has Edward started wearing a suit?

You really don’t know?

No. It’s kind of weird, don’t you think?

You really are clueless sometimes.

I was president of RESMARK and it was the summer of 2008. I was traveling a lot meeting with clients and potential clients. Dave (HeartMindCode.com) was running the development efforts. I was somewhat disengaged from the day to day operations of the company.

When I was in town I tried to stay out of the way of the programmers and keep the investors from adding new features. One time I came back from a trip and noticed our youngest programmer was suddenly dressing better. . .sort of.

Have you ever seen someone in a suit who isn’t used to wearing one? They always look slightly uncomfortable. I typically dress in slacks and a pressed shirt. It fits whether you are president of a startup or project manager for a large telecommunication company.

Dave, came to me one time and asked me about changing his style of dress. I gave him some pointers about slacks and polo shirts, or pressed shirts.

But, Dave the most important part is you have to feel comfortable in the clothes.

Okay.

They have to be like a second skin. Not in terms of tight fitting, although they should fit well, but you should be completely relaxed in them. The only way I know to that if you aren’t used to it is to wear them all day. Wear them from the time you get up until you get ready for bed. Eventually, you’ll get to the point they feel natural and you will stop looking awkward in them.

A few weeks ago I talked about Your Company Has A Uniform Even If It Doesn’t Have A Dress Code. And by that I mean that you dress the part. Programmers typically dress in jeans or shorts, and a t-shirt that they got for free at a computer convention. Baseball caps are optional depending on how much hair they have left.

Edward was not comfortable in his suit. And honestly, I don’t think I would have been either. It was a gold four button suit. And it was slightly too big for him.

At first I really couldn’t understand what he was doing. I even asked if He Had A Dentist Appointment.

Dave finally clued me in.

He’s you.

Huh?

He sees the way you dress and he’s trying to copy it.

But, I don’t dress like that.

Thank goodness!

I might have been flattered, I suppose. But, really I was a little creeped out. He was a programmer. He should dress like a programmer. But, in retrospect, he was doing his best to try to put into practice some of the management lessons I shared with the team.

We all have Edwards in our organizations. In my current company we recently launched a call center for a really big client. The president of the company sent a congratulatory email, and she sent it to a wide range of people. It meant a lot to me. I printed it and it’s hanging on my cubicle wall.

One of the people on the email responded and said, “Thank you for the email. If I can help with other aspects of this project, please just let me know.

Yeah, he was sort of brown nosing. But, I completely understood what his motivation was. At a previous company we hired an intern named Mike. He got the job because the senior VP of our company was speaking to Mike’s computer science class at BYU. After the speech Mike went up to him and said, “I’d like to go to work for you. Do you guys need an intern?

The senior VP didn’t need an intern. But, I did, and eventually the offer came to me. Not only did I get his resume, but I got an email from the senior VP saying, “Do we have a spot for this guy?” With that kind of a recommendation? You can bet we looked at him. He was one of the best interns we ever had.

Once I figured out what Edward was doing, it eventually became a little less creepy. After all, he was only trying to do what I’d taught him.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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