I wore a tie on my first day or two at the job I started in June because I thought I should. Then, I noticed that nobody else was wearing a tie. Nobody. (OK, a few men do on “Tie Tuesdays,” but even then it’s maybe 50%.)
I still wear a tie every day except Friday, every week. Here’s why:
- The tie reminds me that I’m at work. I say that when joking with coworkers, but it’s true. I’m not hanging out. I’m not a student. I’m getting work done.
- The tie reminds me that I’m doing quality work. I’m a professional, I produce excellence, and I’m not playing at this, even though it usually seems that I am.
- The tie is a place for some personal expression. Take away the tie, and I’m another shirt and khakis. Where’s the fun? Where’s the splash?
- The tie is different. At my last job, at a seminary in South Africa, most people wore ties. There, I never did. Now, since no one wears one, I do. I’m a contrarian, I guess.
- And a couple months after first writing this, I realized another reason: I get to wear a tie. My dad worked hard in a factory and on a farm and only got to wear a tie to church, which he often chose to do, or a special occasion like a wedding. To have a job where I can wear a tie is a privilege.
Perhaps there’s a method to my madness.