Benjamin works in a consulting company where there was no dress-code unless the client would have a dress-code. Since most consultants were testers and coders (and you know how we dress) the clients understood not to demand a formal dress code.
Then Benjamin's company changed his boss. The new boss required and insisted on everyone wearing a suit and tie for any work for any client.
Benjamin heard of the news while on an assignment that he had started 3 months ago. He had a good relationship with the client, the work was progressing at a fast clip and the client was happy to have Benjamin there despite him not wearing a suit and tie.
Benjamin had a conundrum. He could continue to wear his pull-over sweater and t-shirt at the client as he had done for 3 months and risk being denounced to the new boss or go for the suit and tie which he hated because it made him sweat. After much consideration he decided that he would wear the suit but not the tie.
The boss called a meeting with Benjamin and in between all of the spitting and shouting said "you either do as I say or you're back to low level work here at the home office and you will not be in any client project". The boss felt that Benjamin was personally disrespecting him for not wearing a tie at work.
Benjamin, a veteran of IT projects knew that the best way to handle this situation was to let the boss fall flat on his face and decided to retire from the project and inform the client that, he was no longer allowed to be in the project due to the case of the missing tie.
He left the client's project and the boss put another consultant in his place. The new consultant made a mess of the project to the point that the consultancy company had to put a second consultant on the project for no extra charge to the client in order to have the project finished without a much larger delay and possible penalties.
This same company still has not fired Benjamin's boss, in fact they have probably awarded him a bonus for having the decisiveness of instituting a dress code, and Benjamin is still working on back-office projects at HQ instead of doing work at clients.
This is a true story. It is also one of the (many) reasons why I'm glad that I live in a country where people are valued by the work they do and the results they achieve instead of by spurious shows of dictator-like tendencies and the price of their suit and tie.
Benjamin's boss is a person that does not understand software or software people but he has a position where he can boss them around and that's what he does!
If you find yourself in a position like that don't walk away... RUN! Bosses like that should be given only one reward: the pleasure of working alone!Update
: corrected 2 typos.
Labels: agile, appearance, command and control, competence, plan-driven, process control, skill, skills