Thursday, 23 July 2009


About 5 years ago, I worked at a medical office, where to say the office manager was unique would be a severe understatement. I started out working in the file room, since I had no previous experience in the medical field, & apparently only people really desperate for jobs apply for such a position.

When I first started, I was told that the dress-code merely stated we were not permitted to wear jeans or shorts. I went to the nearest charity shop & grabbed myself a few pairs of khakis & teamed them up with t-shirt from my closet & called it good.

All went merrily for the first 6 or 7 months, when suddenly the office manager decided we should wear uniforms. We were told we would now be required to wear khaki or white trousers, paired with a lovely, plain navy t-shirt, which she decreed she would not order anything smaller than a large. A few of us tried to reason with her to no avail, she wouldn't budge. So we decided to make the best of it..... They were HUGE! We knew we looked ridiculous, but there was nothing we could say or do to get her to admit that something should be done.

About a year later, after many patients commented on how unprofessional we looked, she finally decided it was time for new uniforms. I think what finally tipped her off, was the letter a patient sent in to one of the doctors stating that we all looked like greenhouse workers.

The new uniform was an improvement, a pale blue polo shirt, in an array of sizes including S-XXL. This new top was to be worn only with white trousers, which required the implementation of "The Underwear Rule".

The Underwear Rule stated:
-one MUST wear underwear.
-said underwear is to be full-bottomed (no thongs)
-all underwear must be plain white (no polka-dots, stripes, and no 'nude' coloured panties)

This, of course, sent me once again to the charity stores, for I was unaccustomed to wearing white trousers & they are not the easiest thing to find when you're on a budget & it's the middle of winter.

Not long after, I discovered I was pregnant. Lucky for me, there was always a steady stream of employees leaving for greener pastures. So I just asked them if they wouldn't mind handing over their old uniform shirts & slowly progressed from a size S to XL over the course of the next 9 months. And since most of the white trousers I had found in the charity shops were meant for a generation older than I, they had elastic waistbands which worked a charm.

There was a brief moment of insanity in which our office manager contemplated the implementation of a "shirts must be tucked in" rule (she was nothing, if not a control-freak), but we quickly showed her the folly of such a rule.

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