As I have mentioned in my previous posts, Viacom to my surprise has a company culture that is very relaxed and laid-back. The first indicator of this culture to me was the clothing choice of the people in the office. Many of the employees often come to work in business casual attire, but there are also a good number of those who wear T-shirts and sneakers.
As an intern who comes from a prominent business school like Babson, it was difficult for me to assimilate myself to the laid-back nature of Viacom. It was almost as if I couldn’t bring myself to wear anything less than a comfortable balance between business formal and casual. Now it’s not that I find this to be a problem, but I do feel that it’s not something that’s talked about often enough.
When you’re an undergraduate student, people always advise you to dress professional in a work setting. However, what happens when you’re in a place where that isn’t a priority and you suddenly have to unlearn what you’ve been taught? I personally continued to wear what I was comfortable with regardless of what the other employees wore. Dressing a little more professionally helped with my productivity and self-confidence. I didn’t feel as though I had earned the privilege to wear more casual clothing and I felt as though my clothing choice conveyed that I was serious about my job.
Regardless of company culture, I think it’s still a good rule of thumb to dress professionally to interviews and even on your first day. From there, if the attire seems to be more laid-back, you can either choose to adjust accordingly or wear whatever you’re comfortable with.
I do not however, recommend being anything less than formal if that’s what the culture is!