Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Office Superhero

It’s a widely held assumption that superheroes wear uniforms to disguise their identities1. However, Chris Gonzales writes over at Unretrofied about uniforms being important to our working mindset.

Everyone wants to be a superhero. It’s only natural. That’s why comic books have such staying power: they give us a glimpse into people we could never be with qualities we don’t have. We’re not perfect. We’re not the strongest person in the universe. We probably don’t have such a strong moral compass, either. There’s always one qualm people have about superheroes, however:

Why do they wear such silly costumes?

Most workers put on a uniform before heading to their job. Most of those uniforms are not spandex tights. Why would Bruce Wayne, a billionaire heir traumatized from the loss of his parents, wear a silly Bat costume to fight crime? The answer’s pretty simple, actually: he doesn’t feel like Bruce Wayne when he puts it on.

I’ve often through the same thing, mostly in the context of school uniforms. I never went to a school that required uniforms, though I feel like it would have been beneficial if I did for several reasons:

  • I wouldn’t have worried about what I was going to wear (this particularly comes up in high school, when I was mostly focused on wearing the right skateboarding atire and band t-shirts to show my allegiences).
  • Maybe, just maybe, I would have been in the mindset to get work done. Not to talk to my friends, not to daydream, but to do schoolwork.

Having said all that, I had only thought about applying this mentality to work, but never done anything about it. I work at a software company, and the dress code is casual. I usually don’t have a problem focusing on work when I’m in the office wearing jeans and a polo, but it might be nice to have a physical reminder of what I’m there to do. Maybe then I could be the office superhero.2

  1. Except for, maybe, Clark Kent. Unlike in movies like She’s All That, where nerds become cool when they remove them, the glasses don’t make that much of a difference.  ↩

  2. Note, I said superhero, not firefighter.  ↩

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