I was discussing an upcoming job interview when a friend kindly suggested that I prepare for it by dying my hair.
I am nowhere near the age to qualify for Denny’s senior menu, but I do have some silver strands on my brunette head. I’ve brought the subject up to various job seekers. One and all bristled at the idea that we should be compelled to change our appearance to overcome some subtle bigotry.
Career advisors invoke an image reminiscent of an invasion, where hordes of youthful, vibrant workers are streaming from their universities to compete against us older folks for a dwindling number of jobs. They imply we would be on more even footing if we looked younger.
Putting that imagery aside for the moment, a friend of mine looked for a human resources role for six months with no results. Then she dyed her hair from silver to blonde, and she had an offer three weeks later. She doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. Yes, I did say human resources, and I do see the irony.
The pressure isn’t just because I’m a woman, either. A colleague said he was advised to airbrush his image in Photoshop to look a bit less “worn,” shall we say.