I’ve been in IT since 2010. I first took on the role as an IT support administrator in schools. This involved me slicing my week up where I would spend time at a variety of sites. I did everything from customer service, desktop support, server administration and network support. Since day one, four days a week I have worn a shirt and slacks. On Friday, I wear a casual shirt and jeans.
But what are the origins of the tie? Why would someone want to wear one.
The boy-king Louis XIV began wearing a lace cravat about 1646, when he was seven, and set the fashion for French nobility. This new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe; both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks.
Before this it was believed that Croatian mercenaries wore these as a sign of allegiance to the French crown. There are traces of Roman Soldiers wearing neck ties to denote rank, legion or function. But as many may point out that ties are now purely used in the realm of sales only.
As my career grew and I moved positions into a government agency that dealt with a myriad of executives and IT staff it was deemed appropriate I wear a tie. Since then that piece of neck material has adorned my throat for many years. I was designing, a CLI warrior and delivering new network architectures. I had a team of Level 1 support teams who would rack and stack. I was comfortable in my attire. Plus the Minister of War, Finance and Social imagery, the wife, deems the style pretty impressive.
So they look good but what is your problem?
There is a problem though with IT and ties. There is a damned awful assumption. The assumption is that a Tie == sales man who knows nothing. A sales grunt pushing a sales-technology-speak to make a sale. This is something that irks me. When I walk into a room for a technical discussion I am instantly dismissed as a sales drone. I find great amusement in this. Whilst my role is technical pre-sales I hold my head high knowing I can put the technical in technical pre-sales.
As conversations open, my sales guy will lead and we both will talk. If I am presenting I work my way through my presentation or demonstration gauging the depth of those in the room. More often than not the conversations go very deep, get extremely technical and I can speak at a depth that is more than suitable for most discussions.
Judging a book by its cover
It is amusing that in 2015 that the lessons our parents teach us still don’t stick. I get looked down on by many the first time I walk into a room and when someone walks out, they walk out with a different opinion. Whilst I don’t conform with the shirt, jeans and sports jacket look that Silicon Valley has imposed on IT, I do hold to what I like to wear, what I am comfortable wearing and I will keep doing it.
If you live in Asia, Pacific and Japan then I will see you soon in my shirt and tie! Maybe I can change the notion of Tie =/= sales drone, one meeting at a time.