Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dress Code

My company performs a variety of environmental services including lead paint and asbestos testing. Lead and asbestos are highly regulated fields, and thus inspections are always in demand. My office employs inspectors that are out in the field 24/7 for these purposes. Conversely, mold is a completely unregulated field and inspections are much less common. I AM the mold department. The term “inspector” may evoke images of a big scary dude sporting trousers that reveal an ample plumber’s crack. Let’s hope I don’t look like that! On the other hand, I’m often asked if I have to wear a HAZMAT suit (thank God, no). As you may imagine, most of our field employees are middle-aged male members of the working class, not completely unlike the former description. I am a bit different—I come from a white-collar background, am a year out of college, and am female.

"Can you get that?"

Fortunately I do not prance around NYC like this

With a crowd of employees such as this, my office has developed an inspector’s dress code. On my first day of work my boss sat me down and laid out the rules:
-No t-shirts with swear words
-No do-rags
-No t-shirts with fake blood pouring out of fake bullet holes

That’s it. Apparently these particular rules exist because inspectors have worn all said items while on the job. I take that to mean anything else is a green light.

No do-rags? Damn! Now I will never be able to look as cool as Justin.

I wear my normal, regular clothes on the job—dresses/skirts that barely pass the Catholic schoolgirl test? Obvi. Open toed sandals? Why not. Shockingly bright eye shadow? No question! Even as a mold inspector, NYC will not allow you to sacrifice style for function. Not that I’d ever want to regardless, I’d probably be mean-mugged to death by Chelsea’s swarms of models, dancers, and stylish yuppies if I dared appear in public wearing work boots and field gear. No thank you!

Arriving at a job site announcing I’m the mold inspector often provokes a double take and prompts statements like, “You are definitely not what I was expecting”, “…But you’re a girl?”,  or “Who knew the mold inspector would be so pretty!”. I’ve also had my fair share of “You go girl!” and “Girl power!” remarks from aging second-wave feminists. One time a man in Corona, Queens blurted out, “DAMN! You’re sexy!” and then proceeded to stare at my chest the entire inspection. Needless to say I quickly zipped my jacket back up on that particular occasion…

Photo credits: Nickelodeon, Rocko's Modern Life,

No comments:

Post a Comment