|Don't be like Mike...|
I'm going to let you in on a secret about the working world. Some people may have their world shaken and may even want to fight me on this once I drop this bomb on you but sometimes the truth hurts. And it's better to hear this new from me than from someone on the job like..your boss.
Casual Fridays Don't Exist
If someone tells you that they have casual Fridays, don't trust them. This is just a way to weed out the new people that have a common sense deficiency. I remember when I was working at Pepsi we had a new joiner right out of undergrad. It was a Thursday and people were talking about casual Friday and he asked me what was considered casual. Jokingly, I told him I was wearing basketball shorts. Apparently he didn't get the joke because the next day he absolutely showed up in mesh shorts. Priceless. Not getting a picture that day was one of my bigger failures to date.
Always Play It Safe In The OfficeIf you ever have any doubt, err on the side of too formal. Wear khakis instead of jeans. Wear loafers instead of gym shoes. Even if your casual Friday is more specifically named jeans day, you still need to take some precautionary steps. First, please don't ever in your life wear jeans like Michael Jordan. People just won't respect you after that. Jeans need to be rip-free and fit your body, unlike these jeans Jordan wore. If you decide to wear a polo instead of a standard button-down, make sure your iron it in the morning before you leave so you don't look like you slept in it the night before.
When You're With Colleagues You're Always OnAs you progress in your career, image and its less tangible relative "executive presence" become increasingly important professional development areas, and every interaction with those you work for is a data point people will subconsciously (at least) use when assessing your readiness to go on to the next level.
In other words, a rule of thumb for work functions is don't dress like a clown and stay away from the tequila shots as if your life depended on it because your career does.
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Feel free to share any points you have in the comments below. Thanks to Never Less Than Success reader Michele for asking this question!