Wearing Pants is Not a Promotion

I have a friend who works at one of the beautiful, ocean-side resorts here in Penang. She recently received a promotion at her work. Now she’s a supervisor with slightly higher pay and an upgrade in uniform – from shorts to pants. I’m thrilled for her accomplishments, and she’s very deserving of the promotion. But from shorts to pants? How is that any better?

Maybe to understand my point of view, I have to describe my work situation. I work at a school which has a campus of small, individual buildings spread out over a large area. It’s always been a relaxed place. It is American, after all. We’re not know for our dapper appearance. We like things casual. So when I was hired and I heard I could wear shorts to teach, I was in heaven. Tasteful shorts – no swimming trunks or rubber sandals – and I do need a collared shirt. All do-able, so I’ve stocked my wardrobe with a variety of dress shorts and leather sandals to meet our work requirements but also maximize comfort.

I’ve now lived here for ten years, and the amount times I’ve worn pants in Penang is most likely less than twenty. Amazing, right? Each year I wear a suit to graduation and our formal, yearly banquet. That’s about it. Other than that, my shorts are in rotation, and I’m enjoying the warm tropical breezes on my legs. I can’t imagine going to work in a place where pants are required. In my last teaching post, I not only had to wear pants everyday, I also had to wear a tie. Just think of it! A stuffy neck!

So you see, wearing pants to me can never be a promotion. It’s a clear downgrade, regardless whether one gets an increase in salary or not.

Here’s my motto I just created: Sandals and shorts forever!

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