As a natural black woman, for as long as I can remember I’ve had to be two people. I mean, in a corporate world where we aren’t always seen as equal, sometimes assimilation is inevitable.
I love my natural hair, don’t get me wrong, but for interviews, I always interview with my natural hair braided back and hidden under a straight lace front wig*. During the interview, I want employers to focus on me and my skills, not me and my hair.
So, for one particular interview, I did just that. I went in and met all of the managers with my straight hair, and a week later got the call that I was hired. On the first day of work, the following week, I went in with my hair in a fresh twist-out. The look on my boss’ face was priceless.
I could tell that he was a bit confused because I stood out. There were other black people in the office, but I was the only one with natural hair. I’m pretty sure he was probably thinking, “what in the world” but he didn’t say anything.
As I started to get acclimated to the office and as the week went on I still rocked my natural styles. By the end of the week, I guess my boss had had enough. He sent out an office email that was just a ‘friendly reminder’ of the office dress code and policy.
Part of the policy, that was bolded and italicized, stated that we need to make sure our hair styles are appropriate for an office environment. He even included example photos of appropriate vs inappropriate. There was an image of what appeared to be a biracial female with voluminous natural hair and under it said “inappropriate.
I couldn’t believe this! I was so angry that I got up and stormed to my boss’ office and halfway there my new work friend stopped me and pulled me into the break room.
She said she read the email and she knew where I was headed, and advised me to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts, especially if I needed that job.
So, that’s what I did. I ended up not saying anything to my boss, and came in the next day with a neat bun. Currently, I am applying for new jobs, but in the meantime, I hate going to work, and still not sure if what my boss said via email should be reported to HR.
ladee neenah says
A mature conversation with your boss and perhaps HR is in order. He needs to explain in clear detail what it is that he finds inappropriate about natural hair. The situation needs to be discussed calmly and rationally without feelings and emotions being involved. I would also have pictures of white women with voluminous hair and ask if he finds those styles appropriate. I would suggest that you not hide your natural hair during interviews anymore either. That way if hair is an issue I be addressed at an earlier stage in the process.
Sabine Pierre-Jimenez says
Yes.. It’s should be reported. . I work in H.R… as long as your hair is not a Hazard… Example.. You work on cars. Plus you have a email.. smh… PLEASE GO to H.R…..