I was able to get a summer internship at a company that does work in the industry I want to work in after I graduate. Even though the division I was hired to work in doesn’t deal with clients or customers, there still was a very strict dress code. I felt the dress code was overly strict but I wasn’t going to say anything, until I noticed one of the workers always wore flat shoes that were made from a fabric other than leather, or running shoes, even though both of these things were contrary to the dress code….
I soon found out that many of the other interns felt the same way, and the ones who asked their managers about it were told the same thing as me. We decided to write a proposal stating why we should be allowed someone leeway under the dress code. We accompanied the proposal with a petition, signed by all of the interns (except for one who declined to sign it) and gave it to our managers to consider. Our proposal requested that we also be allowed to wear running shoes and non leather flats, as well as sandals (not flip-flops though) and other non-dress shoes that would fit under a more business casual dress code. It was mostly about the footwear, but we also incorporated a request that we not have to wear suits and/or blazers in favor of a more casual, but still professional dress code.
Well, that's what students did at Oberlin, right?
Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.
The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult. "A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting," Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin's student government, said, referring to the protests surrounding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer in 2014. "But we needed to organize on campus as well — it wasn't sustainable to keep driving 40 minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically."
And, although Oberlin president Marvin Krislov did turn down the petition, he did express his hope for continued "dialogue" with the students who signed it. According to the New Yorker:
Krislov tells me that he doesn’t believe nonnegotiable demands are useful. He favors friendly conversation: “I reached out to students I knew in leadership positions and said, ‘I mean what I say! We’re ready to engage. I want to have dialogue.’
But it turns out that life doesn't imitate higher education:
The next day, all of us who signed the petition were called into a meeting where we thought our proposal would be discussed. Instead, we were informed that due to our “unprofessional” behavior, we were being let go from our internships. We were told to hand in our ID badges and to gather our things and leave the property ASAP.
What, no "dialogue"?
We were shocked. The proposal was written professionally like examples I have learned about in school, and our arguments were thought out and well-reasoned. We weren’t even given a chance to discuss it.
And here's my favorite part of the "shocked" ex-intern's appraisal of the situation:
The worst part is that just before the meeting ended, one of the managers told us that the worker who was allowed to disobey the dress code was a former soldier who lost her leg and was therefore given permission to wear whatever kind of shoes she could walk in. You can’t even tell, and if we had known about this we would have factored it into our argument.
"You can't even tell"!
I'd love to have been a fly on this ex-intern's blank wall of a mind as she "factored" that disabled veteran into the petitition.(I'm assuming she's a she because guys don't refer to their shoes as "flats")
And no, this isn't from The Onion. It's an actual request for advice from job-blogger "Ask a Manager" Alison Green.
I feel my dismissal was unfair and would like to ask them to reconsider but I’m not sure the best way to go about it.
Green wisely told this snowflake to forget it:
A petition is … well, it’s not something you typically see at work. It signals that you think that if you get enough signatures, your company will feel pressured to act, and that’s just not how this stuff works. A company is not going to change its dress code because its interns sign a petition….
But it would be smart to write a letter to your manager explaining that you’ve learned from the situation and that you appreciate the opportunity they gave you and are sorry that you squandered it. They’re not likely to invite you back, but a note like that will probably soften them up a little and will mean that they don’t think so witheringly of you in the future.
Too bad colleges don't imitate real life.