Column: White-hat wardrobe hackingAt work I often teach an introductory computer class for freshmen. During the computer security unit, one of the topics I cover is hackers.
By: Mary Lebens, The Farmington Independent
At work I often teach an introductory computer class for freshmen. During the computer security unit, one of the topics I cover is hackers. Surprisingly, there are two kinds of hackers out there, “black hat” hackers and “white hat” hackers. Black hat hackers are the bad guys we always hear about on the news, unleashing viruses and bringing down computer systems.
White hat hackers rarely make it into the news. White hat hackers are legitimately working for a company. They are hired to break into computer systems and find the flaws in the systems that leave the company vulnerable to attack by malicious black hat hackers. My students are fascinated with the white hat hackers, and I have to admit, I am as well. I love the idea of finding hacks that improve systems, not only computer systems, but systems and processes in everyday life.
Since the recession hit, I am continually looking for hacks to save money. I’m a cheapskate by nature, but what used to be a personality quirk is now a useful trait for surviving a prolonged economic downturn. Yesterday I discovered an incredible hack for saving money, perhaps my best so far.
Buying work clothes is the bane of my existence. I’m required to wear business professional clothes, but they need to allow me to bend easily to move computer equipment, and resist sweat stains due to the weak air conditioning in my classroom. In addition, it helps if my work clothes hide white board marker stains. I get pretty wild gesturing during lecture. Sometimes I forget there is an open blue marker in my hand, and I end up swiping it across my pant leg. This combination of durable, stain-resistant, comfortable and professional usually translates to very expensive clothing.
So imagine my delight when I discovered a hack for getting professional, durable outfits for work at a bargain price. Goodwill operates a special high-end boutique called Second Debut. I’ve heard ads for it before, but since it is located in Saint Louis Park, I never made the long drive. I finally stopped there yesterday after a work lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant. I was completely unprepared for the bargains awaiting me at Second Debut. This store takes saving money to a new level. Every single item is a well-made, high-end brand like Jones New York, Talbot’s, or Liz Claiborne, but at prices that are about 90 percent off retail. In short, this store is the single best hack for work clothes I could ever imagine. They even carry fancy Kenneth Cole shoes and Coach purses to complete the business look. I bought entire outfits, including a black wool Jones New York dress for an upcoming wedding. The dress was a whopping $15. Ladies, if you have a special event coming up, Second Debut carries a stunning selection of cocktail dresses, homecoming dresses and bridal gowns. Many are brand new, with the tags still on them.
There is a small selection of men’s clothes as well, and an art gallery to peruse, which means I’ll probably be returning to Second Debut to buy gifts as well as work clothes. This is such a great hack because not only do I get to dress like a pro for my fall semester classes, but the money I spent funds programs that help people get training for work. In this economy, that’s about the best good I think I can do while I'm shopping.
I challenge you to become a white hat hacker. I'm sure plenty of my loyal readers out there already have their own hacks for challenging the system, for saving money, doing good, or accomplishing both at the same time. For all of the white hat hackers out there, I salute you.