I remember the first time someone ever called me “Sir”.


Here’s what I worked on today
1. …
2. …
3. …

Thanks and God bless you,


It was the first daily report I ever got from someone in the Philippines.

I remember my stomach turning over.

I was 27. I had never been called anything but John. I was shocked.

I immediately started an email back that said

“Please don’t call me Sir.  Call me…”

But I didn’t send it. I thought about it for a bit, and realized that if this is what they want to call me, that’s fine.  I’m glad I didn’t send it.  I’ve been called “Sir” every day of my life since. In the Philippines it’s a sign of respect or courtesy, not a sign of subservience.

When I took my family to the Philippines in 2010 I learned a new term.

They called my wife “Sir Ma’am”.

I don’t know why. I don’t know the story behind it. I don’t know why they don’t just use “Ma’am”, but I know I’ve had a number of female employers email me and tell me they call her Sir or Sir Ma’am and they generally don’t like it.

It’s part of their culture. Over time some of your OFS may change and call you by your first name.  Some of mine do.  But Joven, my first ever hire (in 2005), still calls me Sir.


Here’s the earliest one I can find, from April 2006