Friday, January 16, 2015

Before I start ranting, I need you to understand that whatever I write here is my opinion.

I, together with around 4.5 million other Filipinos work in a call center. We provide much needed customer service, technical support, and back office processing to off-shore clients. This means work may start as early as 7:00 pm to as late as 4:00 am. Our biggest clients' businesses are based in the United States, Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. So obviously, we are not customer-facing. We attend to our clients' customers through phone calls, chat, or email. When call center agents answer a call or respond to an email, the customer does not think about what the agent is wearing. What the customer wants is for their issue to be resolved. That being said, is a dress code really necessary to provide customer service?

Is anything wrong with jeans, a tee and sneakers?
Before I get a thousand raised eyebrows, let me explain what a corporate dress code is. This means men and women are supposed to come to work in a "smart business attire." For women, it means dresses, collared blouses, knee length skirts, slacks/dress pants, pumps/heeled shoes (open toe shoes are not allowed). For the men, it is dress shirts, slacks and leather shoes. Fine. Nothing wrong with this - if you have a day job and deal with customers face to face! Night shifters dolled up like this walking to a bus stop and waiting for a ride is like an open invitation for muggers. Of course, we can always take a cab, however, that could wreck havoc on our budget.

I understand that we have to exude professionalism, because some people tend to look down at call center workers. The phrase, "Kaya ganyan yan, kasi sa call center lang nagtatrabaho," is such a insult to us, especially if it came from people who have no knowledge of the life we have.

My opinion is that you cannot judge a person by their clothes. Efficiency is not acquired from applying lipstick. 
Integrity is not an ingredient found in mascara and eye shadow.
Professionalism does not come with wearing high heels.

I would want to share an interesting article I have read a few days ago. The title of the article is "The Science of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Everyday," written by John Haltiwanger for Elite Daily. I was overjoyed that there was one person who shared my sentiment. The author mentioned such well known people such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and Barack Obama. I loved how the author discussed the pros and cons of simplicity and what got me right on was this:

Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspects of our day. In the process, one might find that they are significantly less stressed, more productive and more fulfilled.

Oh so true!

I do not find anything wrong with jeans, as long as they are not ripped or worn "pants on the ground" style. I don't get it when sneakers or rubber shoes are not allowed at work. I really find it hard to part with my Chuck Taylors or my comfy all weather Saucony running shoes. If I had my way, the only things I would consider "inappropriate" for work are the following:

1. Leggings (yoga pants)
2. Tank tops
3. Halter tops
4. Blouses/Shirts with low necklines
5. Micro-minis/skorts
6. Statement shirts with offensive/racist designs
7. Shorts or whatever kind
8. Ripped jeans
9. Flip-flops/rubber sandals/slippers
10. Thin, flimsy or see-through shirts

In the event that clients would be doing a site visit, only then should we be required to dress in smart business attire. Don't you think this would be a better solution?

Oh well, since I am nothing but a corporate slave, I have no other option but to follow the rules no matter how much I hate it. However, I would never, as in never wear high heeled shoes. I love my feet, why should I make them suffer? Besides, I am diabetic and I am very careful not to cause any injury to my lower extremities or else... goodbye legs!

Before I end, I would want to share a video of one of my favorite local rock bands. The one speaking is the lead singer, Jay Contreras. He has been misjudged as being a bad person because of his looks. In the video, he speaks about it to his audience. 

"Hindi po lahat ng taong mahabang buhok kulot at maraming tattoo ay masamang tao...
Marami diyan, ang ganda ng damit, ang gara ng buhok, ang yaman ng dating, pero ang sama ng ugali.
Pero merong iba, mukhang adik, mukhang sanggano, puro tattoo pero grabe magmahal.
Wag nyo pong husgahan ang mga tao sa paligid nyo.."

Translation: "Not all persons with tattoos and long unruly hair are evil. There are some who have nice clothes, smooth, shiny hair, looking so rich and classy, but are evil deep inside. Its true. While those people who look like hobos, with lots of tattoos are the ones that know how to truly love. Please do not judge the people around you." 

You are welcome to share your opinion. Do clothes really make a person?


  1. Every men and women must know how to dress according to events, occasions, offices, etc. Teamwork includes the dress code, morals, attitude, etc.

    1. True. As long as the clothes are clean and decent looking, why not? Employees do not have to spend a huge amount of money for flashy clothes. There are other more important things - children's education, food, bills.

  2. Indeed you cannot judge a person by their clothes. However, clothes are also important depending on kind of job you have. Just like me , when I am in board meeting and speaking engagements I would wear my coat and tie...but oftentimes when I am just in my art workshop and trip, i simply wear short pants and T shirts.

    1. It really depends on the nature of work. Construction workers do not have to wear a coat and tie. Non customer facing employees (call center workers) do not have to wear business attires everyday, unless of course there is a client visiting the site.

  3. I think that if the person's role includes meeting up with clients and vendors, then a good presentation by clothes/attire and make-up will be helpful to leave a good impression. Those inappropriate clothing are a no-no in the corporate world.

    1. Totally agree. It is the way you present yourself. Maganda nga suot mo, imported ang bag mo, pero kung bobo ka naman.... kaya ka bang isalba ng damit mo? hahaha.

  4. I love Kamikazee and I agree, people should not be judged on looks alone. However, I think it's human nature to judge. That's why when you go out and make a sale in business, you would rather dress your best to impress clients.

    1. I guess the best solution in the scenario discussed above is to get the concensus of the employees if they would agree to wearing a company shirt.

  5. Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes, people who dressed up good are the ones who have the worst attitude (based on my personal experience).

  6. I guess if its the office attire, we follow but make sure that you're comfortable with what you wear.

    1. Right. Why stress over small stuff? I am more productive when I am comfortable in what I wear.

  7. I think everyone should learn the proper dress code. But I agree with you, it really depends on the situation you are in. As long as, you know what you are doing then its fine.

  8. The nature of your job should dictate what you wear. If you work in the hospital, then most probably you're in scrubs with comfy dansko shoes. Customer facing roles should dress appropriately too.

    Since I work remotely and in video conference calls, sometimes I'm wearing a formal blazer but will be in my pjs since no one sees the entire me anyway.

    To answer your question, the clothes ALONE should not make or define a person. But a smart person knows how to dress appropriately in different situations.

  9. Yes of course! You are what you wear. And first impression last, so be comfy in what you wear and be professional in every aspect.

  10. What a person eats reflects to his personality, so as his company or the group which he belongs and so as with the clothes he wears. Clothes do matter and tell the world the kind of personality a person nurture.

  11. Finally! Someone who shares my opinion. As a work from home person, I find it more beneficial to only wear “professional” attires when meeting a client over video call. I think this should apply to different companies too, minus the mentioned forbidden clothing.

  12. Hmm perhaps this can be raised in HR to see if they can adjust the rules a bit to give leeway?

  13. I agree with your thought about the tattoos. People who have it are creative, artistic and expressive. I don't think they're a bad guy at all. People should stop thinking that way


Feel free to share your thoughts. However, kindly refrain from adding links in your comments because they will be marked as spam and filtered out. Thank you!