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Bringing Bad Luck To The Launch?

July 25, 2016

Don’t wear white after Labor Day, or to a wedding. 

Don’t wear socks and sandles.

Don’t wear a belt and suspenders at the same time.

Don’t wear plaid if you’re a dead man.

Don’t wear red or blue if you live in LA (or Chicago, or parts of New York.)

Don’t wear red to a funeral.

The clothing we wear says a lot about us before we ever get a chance to open our mouths. I once wore jeans and a t-shirt on my first business trip for Microsoft. I was young and it was what we wore to work every day in Redmond. 

Last week I was in Shreveport, Louisiana for the launch of a new line of business. The launch was scheduled for Thursday. In order to launch a new line of business, many different departments have to come together. We need the networking team to connect up circuits. We need the telecom team to configure phone lines. We need the recording team to be ready to record every call. We need the desktop team to configure the computers. There are countless others. The process takes several weeks, even for a launch at an existing call center like this was. 

We didn’t launch on Thursday. We discovered on Wednesday that one piece of the user configuration wasn’t complete. We scrambled, but ultimately had to postpone the launch by one day. I hate missing deadlines. It wasn’t an IT issue that tripped us up, but that’s small consolation. However, it is what it is. We juggled schedules and prepared for a Friday launch. 

Our client has a tradition for Friday’s. They dress in red to honor American troops serving around the world. I had planned to be at the center on Friday, so I brought my red shirt. (Star Trek fans relax. We haven’t lost anyone yet.) It’s a fun tradition and something that we can good naturely tease coworkers about if they forget to wear red. 

It actually affected me more than I expected it would when I walked in Friday morning and noticed one of my coworkers who had also made the trip from Salt Lake to Shreveport. She had not only chosen to not wear red, she’d opted for black. 

Black! On the day of a launch. 

Johnny Cash made a career out of wearing black. So did Steve jobs. His black turtleneck sweaters were a stable at every Apple product launch. But, we aren’t Apple. We don’t sing Folsom Prison Blues at the start of our day. And we already had a “wear red” tradition.

Are you not superstitious at all? 
Nope, not a bit.

The launch on Friday was successful and actually pretty uneventful. But, I will leave the beautiful northern Louisana countryside thinking more about my coworkers fashion choice than the new business we are generating. 

There’s no rule against wearing black to a new business launch, of course. But, like white after Labor Day, it’s probably something you want to avoid. Oh, and wear red on Fridays, if your company has that tradition.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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