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I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code

radcen

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Several thoughts...

1) She wanted experience. She got the best possible experience she could have ever hoped for. It's an internship. Learn from it and move on.

2) They pushed the petition too far. Asked for too much. Shouldn't have done a petition in the first place, but it's clear they got all giddy with their perceived power through unity and took it too far.

3) Any rational person knows you don't start demanding right after you start a new job. You wait until you figure out the culture.

4) Personally, I would have just started wearing non-leather shoes. It's not uncommon to get away with minor things as long as you don't bring attention to it.

5) JMO, but sandals of any kind, no matter how nice or expensive, are NOT professional for an office environment.

6) This is the product of an unwarranted and overly-entitled younger generation brought to us by helicopter parents and misguided colleges.
I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code

I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code — Ask a Manager
 

KevinKohler

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

There are reasons for everything. Instead of assuming you know better, and try to change things, ask why next time.
 

Northern Light

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Not much point in judging this person for doing what she felt is right. She probably put effort into her writeup. Good for her, and too bad it didn't work out. A proposal is just that, a proposal, not a demand.

The sweeping generalizations about the younger generation are out of line.
 

chuckiechan

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Normally new hires are informed of the dress code, location of rest rooms, what time to report to work, lunch, and break times, etc.

Play time is over. You are hired to do a job dressed as you are required to dress.
 

notquiteright

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Several thoughts...1) She wanted experience. She got the best possible experience she could have ever hoped for. It's an internship. Learn from it and move on. 2) They pushed the petition too far. Asked for too much. Shouldn't have done a petition in the first place, but it's clear they got all giddy with their perceived power through unity and took it too far. 3) Any rational person knows you don't start demanding right after you start a new job. You wait until you figure out the culture. 4) Personally, I would have just started wearing non-leather shoes. It's not uncommon to get away with minor things as long as you don't bring attention to it. 5) JMO, but sandals of any kind, no matter how nice or expensive, are NOT professional for an office environment. 6) This is the product of an unwarranted and overly-entitled younger generation brought to us by helicopter parents and misguided colleges.


Orrrrr... the intern learned a valuable life lesson when it comes to bosses- they can wave their ahhh 'power' around like a despotic feudal lord. best learn it in an internship that a 'real' job. They did push 'too far' but the summary dismissal was too far as well. There apparently was no adult in the room and the employer didn't think it was a teachable moment. The interns thought they understood the culture when they saw some breaking the dress code with apparent approval from the boss.

#6 your slam against parents, would have a grain of truth IF the story ran- interns petition, boss says nope and the interns all quit...

thanks for playing... :peace
 

Carjosse

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

I believe the company really overreacted, it is understandable that non-public facing employees would want to wear more business casual attire. If that is how the company acts towards proposals for the dress code it seems like a pretty toxic work culture. A sign of a poorly managed company.
 

Glen Contrarian

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Several thoughts...

1) She wanted experience. She got the best possible experience she could have ever hoped for. It's an internship. Learn from it and move on.

2) They pushed the petition too far. Asked for too much. Shouldn't have done a petition in the first place, but it's clear they got all giddy with their perceived power through unity and took it too far.

3) Any rational person knows you don't start demanding right after you start a new job. You wait until you figure out the culture.

4) Personally, I would have just started wearing non-leather shoes. It's not uncommon to get away with minor things as long as you don't bring attention to it.

5) JMO, but sandals of any kind, no matter how nice or expensive, are NOT professional for an office environment.

6) This is the product of an unwarranted and overly-entitled younger generation brought to us by helicopter parents and misguided colleges.

All except for #6, I strongly agree. Sometimes getting fired is indeed the best lesson one can get...if one is willing to learn, that is.
 

Captain Adverse

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

I believe the company really overreacted, it is understandable that non-public facing employees would want to wear more business casual attire. If that is how the company acts towards proposals for the dress code it seems like a pretty toxic work culture. A sign of a poorly managed company.

I think this part of the advice response is telling:

The fact that they did fire all of you for it makes me wonder if there were other issues too and this pushed them over the edge. Were you getting good feedback before this, or had you noticed your manager trying to rein you in on other things? If there were other issues, I can more easily understand them just throwing up their hands and being finished with the whole thing.
I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code — Ask a Manager

Judging by the general attitude of the ex-intern, and the willingness of the group (sans the one smart one who refused) to make this an issue, I'd say it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Instead of taking action on the assumption they knew better; a good first step would have been to ask someone why the one employee could modify the dress code. If the dress code is being enforced against everyone else...then it's more likely than not the one exception was the exception for (as we learned) a valid reason.

In any case, I don't think this was the only issue the employers were having with this group on interns.
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

After rereading the original article, she committed another sin: she blew off HR's grievance procedures and decided on her own to petition. Since when do employees band together to petition for a change in rules? She created a hostile work environment as her first "class project" ! LOL.

You go to your supervisor, plead your case and go back to work and see if anything changes.
 

nota bene

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

I believe the company really overreacted, it is understandable that non-public facing employees would want to wear more business casual attire. If that is how the company acts towards proposals for the dress code it seems like a pretty toxic work culture. A sign of a poorly managed company.

There are two types of proposals, solicited and unsolicited. And "unsolicited" means "informally solicited" rather than formally such as by RFP. Here, the proposal writers weren't full-time employees; they were summer interns on a break between semesters. They were cheeky little monkeys who didn't understand their place in the org, and while I think dismissing them was a bit much, this may be the most valuable lesson those kids may ever learn.
 

radcen

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

All except for #6, I strongly agree. Sometimes getting fired is indeed the best lesson one can get...if one is willing to learn, that is.
Yeah, my point #1 was my strongest point. She wanted to learn, and wow did she get a lesson... if she's willing.
 

nota bene

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Yeah, my point #1 was my strongest point. She wanted to learn, and wow did she get a lesson... if she's willing.

I learned a similarly valuable lesson when I was in my 20's. Unforgettable, in fact.
 

celticwar17

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Not much point in judging this person for doing what she felt is right. She probably put effort into her writeup. Good for her, and too bad it didn't work out. A proposal is just that, a proposal, not a demand.

The sweeping generalizations about the younger generation are out of line.

They aren't.... It's well earned... This generation is horrible, I am one, I would know. Baby Boomers are horrible... Generation X was good. Hopefully our kids will complete the cycle back to sanity. It's weird, it seems like the bad generations make for the best parents.
 

CriticalThought

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

This reminds me of an old Japanese story. A young man on his way to a job interview encounters a pregnant woman in labor and with no other help in sight he stops to provide assistance. As a result he is late to his interview and because he was unable to let the employer know he would be late he does not get the job. When his friends later ask him why he simply did not explain what had happened, his response was, "I would never want to work for a company that could accept such an excuse."

I think there is something to be said not just of the standard employers have of employees but also the standard a good employee would have for an employer. When you think in terms of what kind of standards you would like a company to keep instead of how it could suit your own comfort, you get an entirety different perspective. A company that does not mind if you are an hour late to work seems great until you have plans but have to wait an extra hour for a late coworker to take over the next shift. The company that allows you to dress in sweats and slippers seems cool until you realize it is going under due to losing customers to companies with professionally dressed staff. The best employees want to work at the companies with the best standards.
 

Gaugingcatenate

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

I believe the company really overreacted, it is understandable that non-public facing employees would want to wear more business casual attire. If that is how the company acts towards proposals for the dress code it seems like a pretty toxic work culture. A sign of a poorly managed company.
Very poor generalization and the slap at management a leap at bare minimum.

Oftentimes professional attire is used to create a more professional atmosphere. Forbes Welcome
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

This reminds me of an old Japanese story. A young man on his way to a job interview encounters a pregnant woman in labor and with no other help in sight he stops to provide assistance. As a result he is late to his interview and because he was unable to let the employer know he would be late he does not get the job. When his friends later ask him why he simply did not explain what had happened, his response was, "I would never want to work for a company that could accept such an excuse."

The same culture that calls their employers during a natural disaster before they even call their own families. What an awful story. I've lived in Japan and I would never in a million years model the rest of the world on their work ethic. It's completely insane and devoid of human compassion and human reality.

I think there is something to be said not just of the standard employers have of employees but also the standard a good employee would have for an employer. When you think in terms of what kind of standards you would like a company to keep instead of how it could suit your own comfort, you get an entirety different perspective. A company that does not mind if you are an hour late to work seems great until you have plans but have to wait an extra hour for a late coworker to take over the next shift. The company that allows you to dress in sweats and slippers seems cool until you realize it is going under due to losing customers to companies with professionally dressed staff. The best employees want to work at the companies with the best standards.

That's true, but some companies also have a culture of cruelty, like in the corporate world, especially toward women, and ESPECIALLY toward women who are upstarts.

I value your story but this company totally overreacted, and the conclusions that commentators are making about arrogance, overstepping, and generational trends are just so over the top.

On the one hand the younger generation are called privileged slackers who never have ambition, drive, or stand up for anything. Then someone stands up for something, in a manner that isn't really all that outrageous if you think about it, and people are saying she should know her place. Which is it???
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

They aren't.... It's well earned... This generation is horrible, I am one, I would know. Baby Boomers are horrible... Generation X was good. Hopefully our kids will complete the cycle back to sanity. It's weird, it seems like the bad generations make for the best parents.

There's good and bad in every generation. The generalizations are for people who are too lazy to think critically and beyond their immediate life and social experience.
 

Carjosse

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Very poor generalization and the slap at management a leap at bare minimum.

Oftentimes professional attire is used to create a more professional atmosphere. Forbes Welcome

That is why I said business casual not casual. Of course it varies by industry but most often business casual is enough to promote professionalism without sacrificing the comfort of employees. If employees are uncomfortable they will be less productive and fosters a more utilitarian work culture that in most cases is bad for employee morale and company performance.
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

The same culture that calls their employers during a natural disaster before they even call their own families. What an awful story. I've lived in Japan and I would never in a million years model the rest of the world on their work ethic. It's completely insane and devoid of human compassion and human reality.



That's true, but some companies also have a culture of cruelty, like in the corporate world, especially toward women, and ESPECIALLY toward women who are upstarts.

I value your story but this company totally overreacted, and the conclusions that commentators are making about arrogance, overstepping, and generational trends are just so over the top.

On the one hand the younger generation are called privileged slackers who never have ambition, drive, or stand up for anything. Then someone stands up for something, in a manner that isn't really all that outrageous if you think about it, and people are saying she should know her place. Which is it???

Companies are cultures and in many ways they can be second families. I spend at least 40 waking hours with the people at my job and on a good week probably that many waking hours with my family. There are significant generational differences on what the relationship at work and home should look like. My uncle is a Baby Boomer who works for a Japanese company and it has gone to remarkable lengths to support him when my aunt was ill. I don't look at the relationship he has with his company the same way I look at the relationship I have had with American companies. Not saying either is better or worse. There is plenty of terrible things about my uncle's employer. But they are different.
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

The former intern who wrote to Ask a Manager said she had written a "proposal" that she thought was very professional. The "proposal" included a signed petition. It's not the place of summer help to present a list of "recommendations." As Alison Green replied:

What you could have done was to say, “Would you talk to us about the dress code and explain why it’s important? We’re sure we’ll run into this again in future jobs, but coming from the more casual environment of school, it’s not intuitive to us why so many businesses have formal dress codes. We’d appreciate getting a better understanding.”

But instead, you assumed you knew better (despite being in a position where the whole point is that you don’t have experience and are there to learn) and then went about it in a pretty aggressive way. A petition is … well, it’s not something you typically see at work. It signals that you think that if you get enough signatures, your company will feel pressured to act, and that’s just not how this stuff works. A company is not going to change its dress code because its interns sign a petition.
I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code — Ask a Manager

Interns Start a Petition Calling for Dress Code Changes. Instead, They Get Swift Intro to Real World
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Part of the purpose of companies hiring interns, is to help identify who would be good candidates
to hire upon graduation. Will they be a good fit for the organization? Can they follow instructions?
Do they show up on time, and dressed per requirements?
Clearly the petitioners did not meet the grade!
I kind of hope them loosing their positions is reflected in their class grade, if they took the intern position as a co op class.
 

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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Several thoughts...

1) She wanted experience. She got the best possible experience she could have ever hoped for. It's an internship. Learn from it and move on.

2) They pushed the petition too far. Asked for too much. Shouldn't have done a petition in the first place, but it's clear they got all giddy with their perceived power through unity and took it too far.

3) Any rational person knows you don't start demanding right after you start a new job. You wait until you figure out the culture.

4) Personally, I would have just started wearing non-leather shoes. It's not uncommon to get away with minor things as long as you don't bring attention to it.

5) JMO, but sandals of any kind, no matter how nice or expensive, are NOT professional for an office environment.

6) This is the product of an unwarranted and overly-entitled younger generation brought to us by helicopter parents and misguided colleges.

The manager's response (in the OP) to the intern's query was appropriate. I could see myself giving the same response. It is quite common that the new hire is going to question the rules of the workplace or have their own ideas about how things should be done contrary to company policy and procedures. A good managers learns to look for this and nip minor 'rebellions' in the bud as necessary before they become an issue or problem. Sometimes it can be done diplomatically without serious confrontation. Sometimes not.

If the petition was the only issue, I think firing all the interns for their petition was extreme. Realizing that interns are interns for the purpose of gaining experience, it should have been handled with an explanation that management sets the policy and the dress code will remain. I suspect there were other incidents of disobedience or introductions of toxic elements leading up to it and perhaps the petition was the last straw?

But an intern is no different than any other employee. If you want a specific professional appearance in your place of business, you have ever right to require your employees to accommodate it. It is an important concept for an intern to learn.
 
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Re: I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress c

Hah....


An intern tried to change the dress-code? Talk about naive.



You're an intern. Unless you were born with a silver spoon, you start at the bottom.
 
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