I'm currently doing my final-year internship in a relatively big company which has a dress code. My engineering school tutor is required to come once to my workplace, and this is probably going to happen during the next month. He is very untidy and lacks communication skills. I feel that if he shows up in his normal manner, it's going to reflect badly on me and hurt my chances of being hired after my internship.

You might ask, "Why did you choose him as his tutor?". Generally, our school assigns tutors without consulting with the students.

What might be a reasonable solution to this potential disaster?

  • 12
    I will not reflect badly on you. Why would you think it would?
    – Ed Heal
    Apr 13, 2016 at 15:37
  • Because he's probably going to walk through the open space with me and we're going to meet with my director. I don't know, I just have this feeling that it won't leave the best impression on my colleagues and hierarchy... Apr 13, 2016 at 15:43
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    As long as you remain professional and try to minimize any awkwardness that your tutor may have when speaking to your seniors, you will be just fine. Look at this as a good experience for you... you will sometimes have individuals on your team who are socially awkward and being able to mediate in a way that makes them and outsiders comfortable is a great skill to build in business.
    – user48276
    Apr 13, 2016 at 15:45
  • 4
    You could just tell him to dress up a little. That being said since you said "Cheers", you must not be from the US. I am in Silicon Valley and this kind of thing is common place. At UC Berkeley, my semi-famous Professor and Computer Science Undergraduate Director used to show up in his sandals and would take them off and would lecture barefoot. Apr 13, 2016 at 15:55
  • 1
    Laid back, yes. But sometimes, being laid back can be a power move. Showing too much anxiety in an unusual situation like that can definitely be very career limiting and may prevent you from becoming more than a worker bee. So even in a foreign country (I am originally from France), I would make sure not to be overly apologetic, or overly anxious, at having a guy dressed like a bum having been my technical tutor. Take his visit in stride. Don't show off your insecurity or your anxiety. So don't try to hide him. And don't try to cut his visit short either. Apr 13, 2016 at 16:22

3 Answers 3


Talk to your tutor.

Simply tell him, "The office has a dress code of (Suit & tie / Oxfords and slacks / Button-up Shirt and Khakis). It's mandatory." Then just let it go at that. If he's determined to defy it, continuing to "nudge" him will only aggravate things.

  • 5
    "The office has a dress code of (Suit & tie / Oxfords and slacks / Button-up Shirt and Khakis). It's mandatory." I wouldn't say that. What's mandatory for an employee is rarely mandatory for a guest. Tell him what's mandatory for you as an intern and then suggest to him what he should wear (one notch below what you're supposed to be wearing yourself should be good). And like you said, I wouldn't press the issue if he disregards what you said. After all, he's your guest, and if he's not meeting you at the White House, or at 55 Downing Street, he probably won't be stopped at the door. Apr 13, 2016 at 21:12
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    The last person to edit my post wrote the phrase... I guess I'll try to make a subtle hint about the dress code in my next email to my tutor. Thanks :) Apr 14, 2016 at 14:51
  • @MarchToSuccess - Thanks for bringing that up. I reworded it to remove the euphemism. I'll edit this answer to drop the comment about it. Apr 14, 2016 at 16:15

It won't (shouldn't) impact on you. You should treat both the tutor and everyone else with respect irrespective of mannerisms or appearance. But at the end of the day if I was the director I wouldn't care about the tutors appearance, and it would in no way make a difference to the intern.

One thing I will mention is that just because the tutor is untidy in his own environment, does not mean he's happy to go somewhere else like that. I'm heavily tattooed and I tend to stroll around in shorts and a t-shirt. But if I was going somewhere with one of my trainees to meet someone important to the trainee I would make an effort with my appearance and look totally different. Your tutor is more than likely the same.


If I'd be your boss, I'd evaluate you only by what you are, what your skills are, how much you know about the job and how quickly you learn what you don't know.

I'd never evaluate you based on your tutor, your family background, your gender, your race, your clothes (as long as they are not completely out of the place).

You may go ahead and tell your tutor about the few things that are your office's custom, like the dress-code (if there is one). It is your responsibility to inform him about potential things that he may not know of. However, he is an adult himself and it is not your responsibility to ensure that he follows what you told him.

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