Sunday, September 19, 2010

Should People Iron Their Shirts?

Yesterday, I got into an argument or a heated debate on the phone with a male friend who is a salesman for ads on buses. We were talking about his work life and somehow touch on his clothes. As he has to meet clients all the time, of course the dress code would be a suit. So I asked, "You need a lot of time to iron your shirt then?" and he said no, and that's how the argument started.

His argument is that there is no necessity to iron a shirt. He usually washes his shirts, hangs them up under the sun and let it dry. He also mentioned that the shirt has creases very soon anyways after he leaves home. He insists that it looks reasonably nice. He said he has met so many people who won't iron their shirt when they go to work and that no clients have ever complain about his clothes. He stressed on the fact that he thinks all that matters between a salesman and a client is communication. If he has managed presentation and catching up with clients well enough, the client would place their orders no matter what. However, he ironed his shirts when he goes to interviews and he thinks that is a totally different occasion compared to a client meeting.

My argument is that it is a matter of respect. It is a respect to yourself, your profession and your client. Since this is the dress code expected by the industry and the profession, when you are a member of it, you have to respect it. If you decide that you are going to wear a suit, you have to iron it. If you wear a suit the way you wear your casual wear, then why do you wear your suit? Go back to jeans and t-shirt. Ironing your shirt is kind of a way to tell people that you take good care of yourself. If you are not even willing to take care of yourself, how can people trust you that you will take care of their business? Customers of course won't tell you that they have problems with your shirts, they may not even notice the exact reason why they find you not as trust-worthy as they would love to. It is matter of implication and non-verbal implication that you send to the world.

I understand it is my friend's choice on whether he should iron his shirt or not. However, I would wish that he can change his habit, because I think it would have good impact on not just his job, but also his view on his job and his life at the end. Most of the times, little things change a person's attitude to life and have a long term impact.

What would be your verdict on this?

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