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CrazedJava 09-23-2013 02:15 PM

Backpacks vs. Briefcase
I know there is a poll option but I want to actually hear reasoning and I'm less interested in the statistics this time.

So very recently I heard a pretty good rant about adults who still carry backpack and the assertion we need to grow up and buy a damn briefcase already. As a long time technologist I could happily thumb my nose at them and continue carrying all my crap in a backpack. It's one of the perks of the job, people just assume you have little quirks and eccentricities and the thought of a 30+ year old still using a backpack is not really an issue. Sidenote, the last two companies I worked for would just issue whatever laptop bag their vendor provided, so a lot of people were carrying backpacks because that is what their computer came with.

Recently though, my company issued backpack began to fall apart. It was actually for a previous employer so there will be no replacement. I'm pushing 40 hard (as in, I will turn 40 before 2013 is over) and while I still work in technology I am as high in management as you can get without actually being an executive. Which means I don't get the pass I used to for idiosyncrasies.

So I decided to join the adult world and did actually purchase a briefcase. Not the traditional old-time leather ones like my Dad used to have but something that is a reasonable laptop bag that will also probably last forever and will travel well.

Still, I'm wondering. Is this just hipster whining? Is it really a big deal that adult professionals will carry their stuff in a backpack these days?

trip286 09-23-2013 02:38 PM

My take on it, as a working bag...

If your job requires a jacket/blazer/sportcoat type of thing, and a tie, get a briefcase.

If you can wear a button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up, the top two buttons undone, and khaki pants/ casual slacks, with casual/ dress casual shoes, a back pack is acceptable as long as it's not just over the top eccentric.

If you can go to work in jeans, cowboy boots, and a tee shirt, no one, and I mean absolutely NO ONE should give a damn.

MisterMcCool 09-23-2013 02:56 PM

I pay for results not fashion.

c3shooter 09-23-2013 03:48 PM

Another chapter in the continuing saga of "Who has time to worry about THAT!" :D

Seriously- I use a backpack when I am traveling instead of a suitcase. (Well, once in a while I DO have to wear a suit, and DO use a suitcase then)

My computer bag has a shoulder strap, but also has wheels and a pull up handle. doubles as my briefcase. Besides computer, holds the stuff I need when conducting training.

Now, if I am in court with my lawyer, the LAWYER better have a briefcase!

rockratt 09-23-2013 03:53 PM

By the time you reach 50 you'll have the answer. At that point function out ways fashion and you really don't give a rats A$$ what anyone thinks!!!:D

stratrider 09-23-2013 03:54 PM

Asus computer bag that came with a 17" gaming laptop. It swallows my little Macbook Air and leaves plenty of room for travel sized toiletries and mariner's documents. I quit smoking so carrying cartons of death is not an issue anymore. A briefcase is just awkward. A backpack frees up your hands. People actually still use briefcases?:eek:

JonM 09-23-2013 03:56 PM

I have about as much concern for what others think of how I dress what I carry or what accessories I have as I do whether kim jong ill farted this morning when he woke up...

Do what you like in such things and if someone takes exception its their problem not yours.

texaswoodworker 09-23-2013 05:02 PM

I'm with Trip on this.

Suit and tie? Go with the briefcase.

Casual work environment? Who gives a damn what you carry your stuff in?

nitestalker 09-23-2013 05:14 PM

Humm? All the horrible things a man in management has to deal with? I expect making high level decisions like this go back to grade school and the book bags. ;):D

CrazedJava 09-23-2013 06:23 PM


Originally Posted by nitestalker (Post 1380916)
Humm? All the horrible things a man in management has to deal with? I expect making high level decisions like this go back to grade school and the book bags. ;):D

If it were the most difficult decision I had to deal with I'd be so lucky.

At this point it is about career management. There really is something to the saying "Dress for the job you want". That doesn't mean suits everyday though. Dressing too nice all the time can put you out of touch with your team. Dressing too casual or always meeting the bare minimum of your dress code (assuming there is one) can make you appear unprofessional.

I do miss the days when I thought nothing of wearing a T-shirt and jeans to the office. However, I never know if I am going to walk in and have to deal with non-technology management, and we've got some old school thinkers who probably still think everyone should be wearing a tie.

I know a customer I dealt with last year was suits only in their office. Man, I hated site visits to that place.

Although the feedback here is interesting. I don't regret buying the laptop bag as opposed to a backpack, but the rather flippant attitude towards briefcase/bag as being "adult" is actually encouraging.

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