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The Profit Frog
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TehCamel, post: 101951 wrote:
It has recently been pointed out to me, that as someone in my early 30s, my hair should not be as.. well.. receding.. as it is.

Said person thinks that this will, if not immediately now, but in the future, make me look like appropriate, and less professional. I’m not a particularly vain person. If I go bald, oh well, I’ll play the hand.
However, it’s been suggested that we buy rogaine.

So my question really is.. do you think it makes much of a difference if your IT guy in his early thirties has receding hair lines ?

What a topic… and one that seems to reflect the self-centred vanity that prevails in our society.
If I wanted to play devil’s advocate I would add to this list by saying:
What about cracked heels, undisguised “love handles and muffin tops”, nasal hair, crooked or missing teeth, acne, comb-overs… and the list could go on and on.
The answer is – for me, anyway:
If I miss the point of recognising the inherent intelligence and skill offered by a person who might otherwise bear some of the above characteristics, because I am too worried by their “lack of” appearance, then it says more about me as a person than it does about the aforementioned expert.

I work with a guy whose hair looks like he just got out of bed, his face never washed and his teeth never brushed. Admittedly, when I first noted these traits, I thought to myself, “he doesn’t care how our customers might view him” (or he puts on a good front that shows no care).

But during a training session I was paired with him and I was glad to have the chance to get to know him. What I learned is that he is a very intelligent young man, and I could sense that there were some dark moments from his past that lead to his chosen presentation. I hear a lot of people criticise him in our workplace, and I feel glad that I am not one of them. I always bat in favour of him and say, “he is such a smart cookie, that one… very intelligent boy”.

I suppose the flip side is when the “poor presentation” is exacerbated by poor hygiene – foul breath, unwashed clothes, body odour. It is up to us to demonstrate sensitivity and be available to assist the person with kind advice and polite feedback. NEVER criticise; instead ask with genuine concern and explain the inquiry with compassionate awareness.

As for just plain ol’ vanity, I’ve never once heard how a job description includes pre-requisite for hair (or baldness) treatment, or refers to anything more than a professional dress code.

I am always impressed by someone who breaks free of stereotypes in the workplace and it inspires me in my own role.
When women come in to the garden centre (where I work in my day job) to buy garden supplies, they ask me to find someone to help them with the heavy stuff and cannot believe that I am the one who comes to help them, then often comment on how strong I am.

I take pride in doing my work very well and in testing my own abilities.
None of my customers expect me, a slender framed ponytailed female, to lug 25kg bags onto trolleys and then cart the trolleys, often weighing half a tonne, to their cars and then pack their cars for them.
It is kind of nice to be able to flex my biceps when they question my suitability for the task ;-)

My message is – use the misconception of your appearance to your advantage… let customers or clients believe what they want then WOW them with what you can do.