Facial Hair: Style Statement of the Unemployed

Man_ShortsMale workers who are laid off are letting their hair down–in a rhetorical sense, anyway. Christina Binkley of WSJ.com’s Life and Style  section, claims this to be true.  In her recent post, Growth Area: Beards on Laid-Off Executives, Binkley says that men are donning beards as a sort of act of rebellion, a way of breaking ties with their former corporate selves.

Sure, the fashion move may be liberating, I guess, but does it serve them well when trying to return to the workforce?  There’s a good bit of opinion on this.  John Phillips, at The Word on Employment Law is not a supporter of the facial-hair movement, it we want to call it that.  Neither is Kelly Lynn Anders, associate dean at the Washburn University School and author of The Organized Lawyer.  Anders, who is quoted in the WSJ post, advises students to present themselves in their best light, which, to her, means clean-shaven.  

My thoughts?  Well, I suppose I think that the idea just isn’t that important.  Some men look better with a beard and, for them, a beard doesn’t seem as much like a fashion statement as it does common sense.  For those who are trying the style on for size while waiting for the next employment opportunity, I say, sure, why not?  I like to wear flip-flops at the beach but Lord knows I’d be caught dead before I wore them to the office or to a client meeting, nevertheless to a job interview.  Everyone has the inclination to go casual when the time is right–the question is whether one man’s definition of “casual” is another man’s “sloppy.”

For those of you who have toyed with the idea of bearding up for the winter, I say “Cheers.”  If it looks good, all the better.  If it looks bad, I’d be willing to bet that you hear about it–people really aren’t very shy when it comes to their thoughts on another’s changed appearance.  And for those of you who may be unemployed and, for that reason, are “brazen” enough to give facial hair another look, so be it.  Whether you shave for a job interview depends, I’d say, on how badly you want the job.  If you want it badly enough, I would think you wouldn’t take the risk that your new “fashion statement” could mean the difference between getting hired and getting a rejection letter.

For the skeptics, just think, a beard on any day is better than the man-short anytime.