Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

For information on partnering with, please contact us.

Boss Gets to Dictate Dress Code


Q. I'm incensed because I and the other interns at this large company just received a memo telling us there is a dress code that we are expected to follow. We only have a few weeks left on this job before we all return to school, and most of us dress in a businesslike manner. Granted, a few do wear jeans and need haircuts and sometimes a shave. But where does this management get off thinking they can tell employees how to dress? That's really insulting. Seriously, if we could afford wonderful clothes we'd be out playing tennis instead of sitting here doing this boring work just because it pays well. Do we respond as a group or individually?

Ans You put your heads down and keep performing as well as you can, wearing exactly what that dress code tells you to wear because they are paying you to do that. As long as their name is on the side of the building they get to tell you what to wear and how to behave. They can't discriminate against you because of your race, age or gender, and certainly cannot harass you. But they do get to send that memo, and you can abide by it, or leave now instead of in a few weeks. By the way, you were very lucky to get an internship at a large company when so many more college students probably also applied for it and were turned away. Most would happily adhere to dress codes. Be sure and write a complimentary thank you note when you leave, praising them for any good things they did. It's important for your future to leave every door open behind you.

Give Parents a Little Slack

Feel Free to Attend Free Seminars