Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Life as an office Goth

Tomorrow will be my last day working as Arts Administrator for the county council. I hesitate to refer to myself as a corporate Goth, because despite the fact I have successfully held down a six-month job contract, I never really bothered conforming to any sort of dress code and always insisted on being far more 'Goth' than 'corporate', whatever the situation. Piercings? Check. New Rocks? Check. Frilly skirts? Oh, yes. Gaining a set of purple hair extensions halfway through my contract? Definitely.

Crap cameraphone 'Goth at the office' photo - with cheesy pose, of course.
Of course, this meant that I was the only council employee who had to wear my security pass on a lanyard around my neck AT ALL TIMES to avoid being snarled at by security goons, or even snapped at by passing busybodies who didn't believe that the chick in bondage pants (yes, I wear the infamous mallgoth beloved bondage pants, whilst I'm still young and angsty enough to get away with them. Yes, I wear them to work) could possibly be working for the county council.

Being a Goth in the Office has certainly had its ups and downs, not least when I got the wrong starting date and turned up three weeks (yes, weeks) early. Thankfully no one seemed to mind; I think this was taken as youthful exuberance (or something).

On my first day (the right one, this time) I thought I'd play it casual and wore plain black suit trousers with my dagger-patterned blazer, smoky eye make-up and fingerless gloves. Ironically enough, one of my co-workers immediately saw through my clever disguise and whooped with glee - she and several others in the Arts Office were Goths back in the 80s. For them, I was a walking nostalgia trip.

One of these three ladies had definitely grown out of Goth - for her it literally was just 'a phase'. One of them said that she had really wanted to be part of the scene but never felt she fit in because of her naturally bright red hair (I said that she must have been ahead of her time, as a large proportion of Goths these days dye their hair to get it screaming ginger), although she was happy to chat about the time she went to see Nosferatu, and still mysteriously knows the location of all the local(ish) alternative pubs and clubs. The third still collects Nightmare Before Christmas memorabilia, owns at least five pairs of purple boots and keeps her hair long and dark, but says that she's 'too old' to be a Goth. (Note: you're never too old.) Also, she would not sell me her Cure concert T-shirt.

So as you can probably guess, I fit right in, and within a week I was pinning up Victoria Frances pics and stringing black and silver sparkly bats around my desk.

There were only a couple of notable occasions when my clothing received negative attention - once when I popped down to a nearby alt fashion shop on my lunchbreak and bumped into a bunch of students from the local college, who followed me across the street shouting verbal abuse mostly along the theme of, "Emo!" and "Dirty Goth!"; and once when my clothing choices apparently rendered me invisible to a couple of stuck-up types in my department who casually leaned on the door to the arts office as I was trying to get through it, and continued their conversation, seemingly not able to hear my, "Excuse me, please," no matter how loudly I repeated it. My line manager saw us through the window, however, and got up from her desk - the two women slunk away as soon as they saw her approaching, barging past me as they went.

I'm not sure that I'm cut out for a computer-based role like administration (ironic for a blogger, I know), but I did enjoy my time there and I've certainly learnt some interesting things, mostly about Microsoft Excel and the care and conservation of contemporary art. It's a shame to be leaving just before Christmas, but hopefully I will be able to find some temp work to tide me over during the festive season.

I'll be seeing my co-workers in a couple of weeks' time at the office Christmas meal, which I'm still able to attend. I'll be pleased to show off my tattoo (appointment coming up!), as one of my favourite colleagues helped me finalise the design!

In the meantime, expect a ridiculous amount of posts as I adjust to having even more free time. And wish me luck finding something new to keep me in vicious heels and purple lipstick!

Listening to: Papillon - Editors (I love this song so much at the moment!)


OpiateVampire said...

Hurrah for another office goth! Your desk job sounds more interesting than mine, at least. I work at a dialysis centers doing billing and such (thilling!). I'm also lucky in that I get away with wearing whatever I please.
I think that a pleasant disposition and good work ethic matter much more than clothing to your employer :)

MissGracie said...

How cool! I hope that being a teacher (who are sometimes pretty quirky) means I can get away with some darkly whimsical attire, although I would never try to wear anything similar to bondage pants. You give me hope!

Tanisha Sanson said...

Wow, it must be fun to show who you really are in the office! It's cool to mix and match gothic and "somehow" office attires. Are you missing your job, btw?

ultimategothguide said...

Tanisha - no, I'm really happy in my new job, thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

In my time in the Big Scary World of Work, I've been a primary school administrator and currently work in Pensions. The former imposed a dress code on me and didn't take especially kindly to my purple hair or indeed the idea of anyone looking 'different', which seems a pretty sad example to set at school, but the current job is great; I happily rock in with my lip piercing, purple hair and Doc Martens. Ok, so I have to dress 'smartly' Monday-Thursday (pinstripe suits are pretty cool), but Friday (I'm In Love) is dress-down day, so I can happily come in as I please (New Rocks, spike through the lip, stripy socks, petticoat, etc.). I do draw the line at my corset, sadly, as I don't think my line manager would approve of a PVC underbust, but still...I'm by no means the only goth in the office, we're all hidden away behind the screens or on the end of phone lines, with the public blissfully unaware that that nice young lady they're talking to is 'one of them freaks'! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's wrong of you to call those people 'students'. Students are the ones at uni and it would be virtually unheard of for them to act like that.
What you will have experienced is the behaviour of PUPILS at the local chav college.

Had to add that. Have a good day!

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