Jamming in your Jammies in Alabama

by Debbie Wilson

How many times have you heard someone remark, “I wish I could go to work in my pajamas”?  At the Florence, ALABAMA tourism office we went outside the office and inside the bedroom in our Casual Day at the Office concept. My assistant, Alison Stanfield, wrote a post on Facebook about how envious she was that her 10- year-old son was having pajama day at school the week before Christmas.  She mused that she wished we could have PJ day at our office. Much to her surprise, I declared the Tuesday before Christmas as PJ day.  Kids shouldn’t have all of the fun!

The staff really got into the spirit and ran with it. Alison came in “Grinch” pajamas”, Lindsey had on her adorable PJ’s along with a robe and fuzzy house slippers.   Beth wore warm, fuzzy jammies while Pat chose her comfortable old Christmas PJ’s. I was decked out in Alabama Roll Tide PJ’s.   

We decided to make it a social networking experiment. We posted our plans only on Facebook. We invited visitors and our “friends” on Facebook to show up in their pajamas and have the chance to win an overnight stay in our four star Marriott hotel.  We also promised a mug of Christmas goodies to everyone who came in their pajamas to see us.  We issued a challenge to elected officials and had one brave taker – the lone female Lauderdale County, AL commissioner, Rhea Fulmer (see picture). The Chairwoman of our Chamber of Commerce, Pam Doyle, looked like a whacked-out Maxine, complete with a kerchief in her hair! (see pictures) We had milk and cookies and other midnight snack type of treats. We posted pictures on our Facebook Fan site all day and had scores of comments from our “Fans”. One of our Florence City Council members commented, “I went by to see the tourism staff in their pajamas, but they were all napping”. The U.S. postman who routinely delivers our mail had not been apprised of our Pajama Day declaration.  He came in and looked quizzically at the 10 or so people in our lobby – all of us wearing  pajamas – and remarked , “have a good night.” 

If you are thinking of having your own PJ Day at work, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1)     Unexpected visitors will drop in. Very corporate hotel executive types in business suits. I felt somewhat at a disadvantage when wearing Bama pajamas while sitting across from two guys decked out in suits and ties.  At one point in the impromptu meeting, I confidently said, “We have the necessary skills within our staff to effectively market your new hotel.” As they were nodding yes, Grinch PJ clad Alison walked in to deliver reports, followed by Sports Marketing Director Lindsey in her robe and house slippers.  After that I found it extremely difficult to be serious. The good news is that they the execs also found it hard to be serious. They commented about how much they liked the thinking behind the concept. It fit with our mission - to attract overnight visitors into our Alabama hotels.

2)     You’ll  get sleepy in your PJ’s.  After lunch, you’ll probably want some milk and cookies and a nap, just like at bedtime at home. You’ll most likely be caught taking a short snooze in the middle of the day. 

3)     When you get home after the party, you don’t have to change clothes.  And the day of the party, you’ll save time in the morning when you get up. For our time-deprived society, wearing your PJ’s to work is the perfect solution.

4)     Make it clear that it isn’t a “clothing optional” PJ party.  There were those who threatened to come in wearing exactly what they wear for sleeping – nothing.  While it is legal in most states to sleep sans cloths, it is frowned upon at a state office.

5)     Stock the fridge for a mid-day raid.  It isn’t quite as joyful as a midnight raid but you get hungrier at work  when wearing PJ’s.

6)     Wearing PJ’s in front of your co-workers definitely breaks down barriers. It is hard to maintain distance from your colleagues when you are wearing your Jammies.

7)     Check out the bed head situation throughout the day. While it is fine at home, in the office it isn’t as attractive.

8)     Unless you relish ogling, staring, pointing and laughing, limit your errands throughout the day. Shopping in your jammies isn’t the norm so you will stand out in a crowd.  Activities you will especially want to avoid include - Drivers License renewals and getting Passport Photos.

9)     When you return to work the next day you will miss your PJ’s.  You will miss being comfy at work and expressing your “at home” personality.  PJ’s bring out the kid in all of us.

Cookies and milk anyone?

Debbie Wilson is the Director of Tourism in Florence, Alabama and a recently published author of, “Brushing Away the Tears”. The book is about her brother, an aspiring artist, who died on AIDS in 1992. Debbie’s mother, Hazel Wilson, a resident of a nursing home for two years, contributed to the book through her letters to her son and journal entries. For more information,www.myspace.com/authordebbiewilson and Facebook Fan Site, “Brushing Away”.

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