Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It Was Good Enough For Alice

Many people in professions in this country are proud to wear the uniforms of their field, such as police, military, medicine, etc. In my field, investment banking, I too wear a uniform, mostly suit and tie, and I'm expected to conform to my employer's requirements to do so as a condition of employment.  - Reggie Darling

Neat, clean, sensible.
I'm always impressed when people outside our industry speak about... our industry. I'm not taking about the various journalists who swoop in from time to time, trying their best to get the scoop, the dirt, or the whatever, on what's it like to witness the personal lives of the rich and famous. 

No, I'm referring here to those who, through actual experience, concern, or both, have something interesting and intelligent to say about domestic workers. Enter Reggie Darling, who I ran across this morning by simply entering keywords domestic-staff-uniforms, while researching for a colleague the topic and it's relevance to today's domestic staff management.

Reggie has pretty much nailed the issue and does it with equal parts entertainment and respect. And although I don't fully agree with his assertion, "In today's society, where all manner of structures have broken down..."  I do believe what has changed in recent years is a dramatic shift from tolerance of team structure in the workplace - to that of frequent disregard. Uniforms do help, in Citizen Editor's humble opinion, to not only identify the domestic worker as such, yet on multi-staffed estates, to also swing the pendulum a bit away from individual contributor mode and into team collectivist culture, facilitating a refreshing change from the it's-all-about-me posturing which some domestic workers feel at liberty to assume.  

Image is important, as well, and therein often lies the problem, itself: Where I see a neat, sensible and wholly practical workplace and team accessory, some others may look at service uniforms and see the manifestation of drudgery, loss of self, and perceptions of workplace abuse from being told what to do. My opinion is that people in the latter category may not really belong in service, after all, or even, perhaps, in any job.

Would Alice have worn spandex?
I think not.
As a bonus to the article, although he makes no mention of the matter, author Reggie is clearly not afraid to utter the very word "maid," which is an honorable job, of which the title itself has somehow, mysteriously, become dishonorable in recent years; the phenomenon to be addressed more fully in another post, another time. 

For now, suffice to say there are many ways to project competency and I'm squarely in the camp of both dressing and behaving appropriately to meet said goal; and not by simply giving oneself a new, inventive or upgraded job title to alleviate concerns of worth.

Please visit the original referenced article at: