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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

AMU Employs the worst of Corporate America's Double Speak

Hospitals, which regurgitate the worst business practices of 20 years ago, would blush at the duplicity of the email policy announcing the dress code revisions at AMU.  In an attempt to assist the people that have been slapped by the politely worded trash, I will deconstruct the policy posted at Naples News below.  (the verbatim text from Naples News appears in the COURIER font below). 

In hopes of bringing clarity and unity among all employees with respect to the dress code policy, 
     This is a bad start.  The author is hoping for things, "clarity and unity."  Noble goals, indeed.  Such a pursuit should put me at ease, and the wind up here should immediately make me, the reader receptive.  Clarity?  great!  Unity?  Unity is good.  Dress Code policy?  I'm dressed.  You mean I have to look like everyone else?  Is that what you are making clear?

I have been asked by the University Council to communicate the following information
Attached is the revised AMU Dress Code Policy. 

     OK.  This is bad.  The author is using passive voice and an appeal to authority.  Passive voice means that the author is helpless and distancing himself form the policy.  It's a scream "don't shoot the messenger!"  All that unity and clarity crap is out the window, if the author doesn't believe enough in it to say it himself, then it's bad.

University Council? I've never heard Mr. Monaghan referred to by that name.  That's news!  There may be hope of clarification yet!

As you will note, it is a clarification of the existing policy to provide clearer direction of what is and is not acceptable professional business attire.
    OK, so there will be nothing changing below.  I can relax, it's not as bad as that passive voice would make it seem.  It's just clarifying.  The author instructed me "to note" something -- Nothing will be changed!  Pheww!  Or, the author is telling me how I supposed to describe this thing.  I am not allowed to talk about this as anything other than a "clarification" of an existing policy.  I get it.  That's what I'm supposed to think.

Male employees are required to wear business attire that effectively promotes the professional image of Ave Maria University; meaning, jackets and ties are required with a preference of suits for faculty: suits are required for staff. Of course, this is in conjunction with the stipulation noted in the policy regarding employees working in certain areas of the organization that warrants dressing differently.

    What?  No golf shirt and khaki pants anymore?  That's a change!  I thought you said this would be just a clarification????

In addition, beginning August 30, 2010 the AMU Dress Code Policy will be revised to state that female employees will no longer be permitted to wear slacks or pant suits during work hours. They will however be permitted to wear slacks when traveling.
     REVISED????   You lied to me!  You said this was just going to be a "clarification" for "unity"!  This isn't the old policy at all!!  I wasn't confused by the old policy, I didn't need a clarification.

Although this is a major change...
     Damn straight it is.  Nobody in their right mind would get into this deal. You changed my whole life in one "clarification" that changes what I wear 5 of 7 days a week.

for some of you ...
     Phew.  OK, it's only for a little group of people, not all of us.  WAIT.  Is this admitting that the staff is very small?  I don't see exceptions to the no trousers thing.  That means all of us.  Liar!  That's not some -- it's all of you!  Liar!

and certainly comes with a cost for adding skirts, suits, and dresses to your existing wardrobe, 
     $$$  cost?????  You know this is going to cost me money, so you're going to reimburse me right?  After all, if you are requiring a uniform, and you know I bargained for a salary based on my anticipated costs, then you realize that I should be given adequate cash to cover the cost, right?  After all, that's just plain a matter of fairness, and fairness is part of Catholic teaching, right?

it is the intent of Senior Management to work with local retailers in the hopes of providing suitable business clothes such as skirts or skirt-suits at discounted prices. 
     hopes?  No money?  Discounts?  I already get discounts.  Suitable?  Oh wait!  Unity...  You are making us all dress the same!  No cash, no clarification, just crap!  Empty promises in place of putting your money behind this great new thing.  And I don't want to buy clothes in Ave Town.  I want to buy them where I typically shop in Ft. Myers and online.  So give me cash.

This information will be shared as it becomes available. 
     but no promises, just intentions of hope.  Obama says that, too.

Please keep in mind that we are implementing this change to improve our overall appearance as an institution of professionals. 
     So you are doing this for your benefit?  And you aren't paying me for it?  Are you intending to imply that the school is not professional at this time?

Knowing that this change will require time and planning, Management believed it important to provide several months advanced notice.
     That's supposed to make me feel better that you just caused me to have to pay a bunch of money for a unity uniform.  Mao Tse Tung at least provided uniforms free of charge when he implemented "clarifications" like this.

It is the expectation that all employees will adhere to the policy as written and management will enforce the policy accordingly.
     No mere "hope" there.  That's a pretty sour and dour prediction of certainty.  No cash for the imposition on my family budget, no promise of anything other than enforcement!  es, Stalin would be proud.  Better yet, this sounds like "hope and change"!!!

The following is Ave Mari[e]'s response to the new dress code, posted at Naples Daily News:
Last week, the university issued a memorandum regarding a new dress policy for our faculty and staff, scheduled to take effect on August 30 - the beginning of the next school year. 
     I thought that was a mere clarification for unity?  You mean that wasn't a joke?  And I noticed you haven't given me any promises of cash or significant reimbursements for clothes from my preferred clothiers.  Guess you're still working on those intentions of hope for discounts.

We realize it is contrary to the very casual dress policies that are being adopted by many other universities and corporate America. 
     Nice juxtaposition!  We here at AMU aren't like the wordly corporate satan!  Those people give wardrobe allowances and pay for uniforms.  We don't want to be like them!  They are satan!  Satan is casual and doesn't reimburse you for work imposed costs.

However, we are striving to portray our excellent faculty and staff in a highly professional public manner. [...]
     ...because we haven't been able to find any other objective criteria to set ourselves apart from the other academic institutions.  And you "striving" to make an image is costing me money, but you aren't reimbursing me for the image you want to make.  Does Robert Falls make public images for free?

We believe this new policy will help visually set us apart in a positive way from other institutions of higher learning.
     again, because we have nothing else going for us, so we'll make you be the oxen of distinguishing our school.

How we present ourselves professionally and the role that attire has on ones performance are things that were taken into account when crafting this policy. 
     Yeah right.  If the clothes make me more professional and increase output, then give me a proportional raise, and reimburse me for the cost.  So now, not only are you causing me costs, but you are saying it will save you money?  Where's the justice in that?

We have invited all employees to express themselves to our Human Resources Department, welcoming comments and suggestions so that we can better understand some of the concerns expressed to date.
     But HR didn't write the policy, the Council did.  If it is such a good idea, why pass the buck of complaints on to HR unless you are intimidating me with that move.  HR fires people, so telling me to comment and suggest to them is telling me to shut up.  I get it -- go buy clothes to fit Monaghan's whims, on a salary that will not be increased, so that I will produce more output, create an image you desire, all on my dime.  Nice.