Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

I confess to having been perplexed at the time.

I'd blearily stare into my laptop as excoriations about spaghetti were being hurled like bread rolls at a college football dinner.

How could she?

What was that?

It was Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly getting the cold shoulder for showing a little skin either side of her ears.

She was, gasp, wearing a spaghetti-strap dress while talking to self-important spaghetti-brained types at the Republican National Convention.

This was just not the done thing, apparently. Whereas getting Scott Baio to make a speech was.

How dare someone who worked for a bastion of conservatism, went the argument, look like she was heading for a party rather than, as many anchors do, look like she was heading for a funeral?

Kelly kept her silence. Until now, that is.

She has a book to sell and a new contract to negotiate with, well, who knows? Fox News? CNN? The new Gucci News Network?

So she finally bared her own feelings about the spaghetti straps to The New York Times. And, frankly, she's pasta caring.

"It was a lovely dress," she explained. "A convention is a kind of free-form extravaganza, and there are certain settings where you can take risks. So I just thought: 'Yes, I can do this. I can be smart and challenging while I wear spaghetti straps, and everyone is just going to have to get their heads around that.'"

Not everyone was able. There were as many aghast as agog. Some heads actually exploded.

And, from her own words, you might deduce that Kelly rather expected it.

But there's a little lesson in all this: Slavishly following convention is truly tiresome.

Too many people think they will progress solely because they'll do the right (translation: accepted and expected) thing.

Too often, they end up being another clone in a machine that can dispose of them with one click of the CFO's laptop.

Kelly knows that she has and is a brand. She decided to make that brand slightly different from those around her at Fox News.

She decided that she was going to wear that dress and if people didn't like it, then let them be defined by their shallowness.

Of course, she likely knew that wearing that dress would cause that shallow debate. But did it really affect her ability to do her job?

She told the Times: "I felt very strongly, I was not going to be defined by what someone else deemed appropriate."

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say she decided that the time was right not to be defined by what someone else deemed appropriate.

Still, how many people are prepared to do that in business? And how many follow the rules for a little too long and suddenly realize that it wasn't worth it? They get passed over, cast aside, or even laid off.

After all, who's going to miss them? They were quite anonymous and therefore replaceable. That is, sometimes, the whole point of convention. Serve the system, until the system doesn't need you.

Yes, Kelly's attire was an action not devoid of marketing. But it was she who backed up that marketing with real-life behavior. It was she, for example, who had asked Donald Trump the difficult -- and very relevant -- question during the first debate about the way he treated women.

At some point, being yourself might disturb and even offend those who believe personality should be sacrificed on the altar of systemic convention.

But doing your job and being yourself don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Published on: Dec 17, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.