Bare Flesh: TMI At Work

Is it TMI time at your office?

Are you seeing more of your coworkers than you like?

If so, thanks to the IRS worker in Covington for reminding us that it’s that time of year when the Rocky Horror Show is playing in an office near you.

In most parts of the United States July is the hottest month. This year July was hot and August even hotter. This appears to have caused an earlier and prolonged breakdown in the dress code in many federal offices (and at some news operations too!). Many people have cracked. They are wearing as little as possible to beat the heat. Some are seeing more and enjoying it less.

The IRS worker, who writes under the pen name “Kentucky Woman,” said:

“I believe you write a column each summer about the state of undress in many federal offices. I haven’t seen it this year. Did I miss it or have you given up, or been brow-beaten by disheveled feds?”

None of the above, madam! But thanks for the nudge.

Although the weather is no joke — this is the hottest summer in many places since the 1930s — some of us are providing comic relief by the way we dress. Or undress.

A couple of years back I talked with an IRS worker in suburban Maryland. He was talking about the impact of the Ides of July and August which causes some of his colleagues to strip down to bare essentials. “…it shouldn’t shock me, but it does shock me. Every summer it seems to get worse. By mid-July it is the Rocky Horror Show sans humor or purpose. Oh, the humanity!”

To be fair, people in the media — maybe especially in radio — have no business on Project Runway. There is a reason they (we) are in radio. To be sure, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and other anchors dress beautifully. Larry King had those suspenders. But most of us are better off in offices where the lights are low. That said, we’d love to hear from you on the subject. Let’s take a break from sequestration, pay freezes, RIFs and political name-calling.

What impact, if any, has this very long, hot summer had on what people are wearing (or not wearing) where you live and work? What has the combination of the heat, the recession and two years without a pay raise done to your agency’s dress code?

Let it all hang out. Everybody else seems to be.


By Jack Moore and Amanda Iacone

Yes the Olympics are over for the year, but what’s a sporting event without lots of (silly) post-competition stats? The Wall Street Journal reviewed 129 gold medal ceremonies and found that the Chinese athletes cried least often but sang their national anthem the most often.

More WSJ medal ceremony analysis: Who Cries the Most at the Olympics?


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From sick leave to workers subject to mandatory retirement, the Office of Personnel and Management has provided a detailed question and answer factsheet explaining how the new phased retirement option will work.

OPM: Agencies can use flexible work schedule for science, engineering activities
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ICE chief of staff takes leave pending IG review
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