Wednesday, October 17

New Job HAIR Jitters

Throughout college(Undergrad), my hair was natural and I wore it in braids or curly sew-in weaves, but mainly braids. My senior year, I decided to ditch the braids and relax my hair to prepare for interviews in Corporate America. I felt as if braids were not "professional" and my hair needed to be straightened in order to get a job. 
Well a month after I relaxed my hair and went on my first interview, I landed a job with a pretty large company. I have now been with that company for 5.5 years and that journey is now coming to an end. Within those 5.5 years, I wore my hair straight, curly, in braids, twists, cornrows, just about anything and received tons of compliments from men and women. 
So why is it now that I'm about to start a new job, I am constantly thinking about how co-workers will perceive my  hair?

Let's face it, I am basically 40% natural and wear my hair primarily in twists. Although my twists are always neat and presentable I was starting to feel like they weren't "acceptable" to wear at this new company.
I had sudden bouts of insecurity. My plan was to wear my hair in a bun, like I did for my interviews, for the first couple of weeks to gauge the work environment then wear my twists. 
But you know what? I threw those plans out the window. I am going to wear my hair just how I want  and not how I think THEY want me to. Why not just be myself from day one? 
My styles of choice should not be an issue. They hired me based on my credentials and personality.  I stand by my previous thoughts in my,"Black Hair in Corporate America", post. As long as my hair is neat, presentable and smells good, it's professional. That means I'm going to wear my twists, braid-outs, twist/braid-n-curls, single braids, whatever it may be. And I'm going to wear it proud! 
Honestly, hair should be the last thing I think about when starting a new job!! 

19 comments:

  1. Have you ever seen "The Unwritten Rules"? This episode is about black hair in the predominantly white workplace. I was rolling. I love this web series
    http://youtu.be/8GxpC-zDywQ

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    1. LOL- I'm watching it now! Love it and subscribed!
      I get questions like that ALL the time. haha

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  2. I am one of the countless college grads (almost two years sigh) looking for a job, and I wonder about how I'm going to wear my hair for interviews, and if I were to get a job. I also have a very "urban" name, so I'm very self conscious about how I present myself. Its a very tricky thing, especially when your trying to get your foot in the door.

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    1. For interviews, I just wear my hair in a bun. I think you should wear your hair however you feel most confident..regardless the style. But at the same time, you want the interviewer to focus on you and not your hair, so it shouldn't be too distracting.
      If you are afraid that your "urban" name(although it's probably beautiful) may deter you from getting a job, maybe use your middle name? So on your Resume it would say S. Amy Burns, for example?

      Stick with it! I know you will land a job in no time!!

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    2. @simplegurl, I king of disagree with Ms. D. I think that you should def look at the company and their dress code and wear your hair accordingly. There are def times when a weave or a wig is better than our own natural hair. You can say it's not fair and I'm going to wear my hair anyway I want, but sometimes things like that can get you the job. I don't think it's fair, but sometimes we do have to go the extra mile just because of the color of our skin.

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    3. @Amija- I do agree that one should keep in mind the company they are applying to and their dress-code when going on interviews. If I may respectfully ask, in what industry or company is a wig or weave more acceptable than a bun on your natural hair? Or wearing your natural hair in general? This question is referring to Corporate America, of course.
      Thanks for the comment! I love seeing different perspectives on this matter.
      ETA: If simplegurl feels more comfortable in a weave or wig, by all means she should wear it, regardless. I'm not disputing that statement.

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    4. I've been to events and pannel discussion to listen to recruiters and HR people speak, and even they admit that its tricky. I've heard some say that braids like microbraids are okay, but they aren't so sure about the cornrow types. Some said play it safe to get the position, and when you get the job, observe the culture and go from there.

      To me a bun is ole reliable, it just works. I prefer to just go conservative, it makes the process less stressful.

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    5. I agree with them. Definitely play it safe during the interview process. You know a suit(pants or skirt), minimal make-up, nails filed and painted with a subtle color and a bun/french roll(whether you have loose hair, braids or locs) should be fine.
      I prefer the conservative route for interviews as well.
      Thanks for commenting!

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    6. Hey Ms. D, I live in Northern California. A lot of companies that require business attire do like a "sleek" or "professional" look. In my company, I am one of 3 blacks in the entire company. I often represent the company so I honestly feel that being relaxed is easier for folks to understand. It makes me seem like "them" so they can relate. I should be able to wear my hair anyway I want, but I know that as 1 of 3 blacks in a company that has 450 employees, I can't. Interestingly enough, when I'm out and about, and I meet other blacks, especially those high up, none of them are natural. Any naturals I have ever met have either been from back east or work in engineering or tech. But also remember that here, blacks are few and far between so we don't have the numbers like back east or down south.

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    7. Hi Amija! Oh okay, that explains a lot. I feel you on being one of the only blacks. I was the only one(in my building of 500)until last year and I'm sure I will be the only one in this new company.
      I live in New England and in my experience, I also haven't seen many naturals either. But when reading about successful black women all over the country, their hair styles vary from locs-to relaxers and twa's.
      Once again, thanks for your input!

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  3. Great advice and kudos for staying true to who you are. You hav proven yourself as a professional and 5+ years post graduation puts you in a different headspace which you are also exuding in the workplace.. I love your high level of confidence! There is no faking happening here..just you being yourself and not allowing anyone to define you thru misperception...just your level of excellence setting the tone.

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    1. Thanks, Senecea! It took me a few years to gain this confidence, so I can totally relate to how recent college grads or other women in general feel about their hair when interviewing or starting a new job.
      Thanks for this comment, you are always so encouraging!!

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  4. You are an educated and confident woman, and obviously they hired you for your professionalism and experience rather than how you look. No worries, they will take you as you are, no matter how you want to wear your hair (so long as it's conservative for the workplace, lol) It's understandable though to be a new place and feel a little nervous, you don't really know anyone yet, just ease into it. You'll do great just keep your head up! Besides, you already got the job, so now you can basically go nuts haha, not literally, but you know what I mean, you can let loose now. :) Congrats!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I was still a little nervous and this helped me.
      Lol..true true, I did already get the job, so I shouldn't be too worried! Thanks for the pep talk :-D

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  5. I totally agree with you - be you from jump! I am slowly, but surely convincing my family that "we" (i.e. black people) are the ONLY people who care so much about our hair. To everyone else, it's just hair, and that's honestly how I think it should be. As you mentioned, the company hired you because you can do the job, not because your bun was cute, lol! Good luck with your new job - I'm sure as you focus on making yourself known for your good work, the rest will be a non-issue!

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    1. Thank you, FEG.
      I was thinking the same thing which is kind of sad. Once others(including other black people) can embrace the fact that our hair is just different and so versatile, it will be much easier.
      LOL about the bun. You are so right and I truly appreciate your input.
      Thank you!!!

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  6. Such a shame that this is even a concern of ours but it is. I have no advice because I've always worn my hair straight to an interview whether I was in Texas, Massachusetts or Alabama. I've always felt like it was conservative. I'm relaxed, this was before my hhj, before I knew how to rock textured looks. I'm glad that your hair is no longer an issue. I don't plan to interview or job seek for awhile, but I know that your styles are neat and put together no matter the texture. Any advice that I have is keep it simple and neat. I wonder if "others" with curly hair whether tight or wavy put as much emphasis into straightening? I've always been the only black at my jobs or one of like four so I understand this topic all too well.

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    1. Isn't it a shame? Hopefully in the next 5-10 years it will no longer be an issue.
      Thanks for commenting on your views about this and great advice.

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  7. I just wanted to thank everyone for the words of encouragement!
    I ended up wearing my hair in twists and no-one even batted an eye. I saw one lady looking at my hair rather inquisitively, but for the most part it went very well!!

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