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The Boston Globe

Business

Etiquette at Work

As a temp, it’s best to mind the office dress code

Q. I started at a temp job a few weeks ago. I feel confused about how I should approach this job in terms of my professional appearance. I assumed I should dress up a little (it is business casual), so I generally wear black pants and a button-up shirt. Many of my co-workers wear flip-flops and do not dress professionally. Even my boss wears a zip-up sweatshirt over her dress clothes. My question is this: As the temp (hoping to get a job with the company when the temp position is over), should I dress well and follow the dress code or blend in with my co-workers and dress down? My worry is that I will seem arrogant or unapproachable (especially since my education level is above most of my co-workers) by dressing nicely. At the same time I do not want to damage any opportunity to further my position at this company. - A.S.A.S.

A. While normally I’m not a fan of assumptions, you made the right one here. It’s always a good idea to dress one notch above the office standard when applying for and taking on a new job. Your dress style sounds like a good match for a casual office, even for one where standards may have slipped over time.

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