As some of you may or may not know, there is a freelancers' union that is free to join. Many freelance writers join for group benefits like discounts that you would normally find in an office setting. They also have a pretty good health insurance plan and even a 401(k). They also have formed a political lobby and often keep members in the loop on issues that affect them, such as unemployment insurance.
I think the power that they have over freelancers has gotten to their head though. Check out this memo they sent me this morning.
For Immediate Release
Re: Freelancer Dress Code
Dear freelance union member,
As you are no doubt aware, freelancers comprise 30% of the workforce in the United States. We are a strong group comprised of graphic designers, writers, and video editors, to name a few. We are often overlooked, hardworking individuals who deserve respect.
It troubles me deeply, however, that we often demand rights while sitting at home deep into the afternoon still wearing fuzzy bunny slippers and monkey pajamas at best, little more than boxers at worst. This is not the way to put forth a commanding image. Henceforth, any members of the Freelancers Union must adhere to the following dress code.
- All men must wear a shirt. I'm sorry, but I have to be strict on this. It doesn't matter if you have decided to go with pants or slacks as no one can see you from the waist down on Skype anyway, but have the professional courtesy to wear something on your torso. Undershirts are not shirts.
- All women must likewise at least be dressed in day clothes. Pajamas are no longer acceptable day-to-day wear, nor is a bathrobe, towel, or any iteration of sauna attire or athletic gear. The Sporty Spice look is also not acceptable.
- Facial piercings and neck tattoos must be kept to a minimum--three of each, tops.
- Personal hygiene is very important. I know that you probably have a deadline, but grab a shower before slamming out an article for a client. I can tell. They can tell.
- Even if you have decided to work all day from bed, that is no excuse to be unprofessional. Men should expect to wear a full three-piece suit while women should wear a business pantsuit. During the winter months, this will help you cut down on heating costs. Dry cleaning costs, not so much.
When every day is Casual Friday, freelancers must take care to understand that casual is not defined by plaid boxers and a stained Lord of the Onion Rings t-shirt. With these subtle changes, I feel we can really be taken seriously as professionals.
If you'll excuse me, my pantsuit needs pressing.
Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director
Disclaimer: I did not actually get this email, nor would Ms. Horowitz ever send this--but I did write it with pants on.