Natural Hair in Corporate America

babydoll202k7babydoll202k7 Posts: 88Registered Users
I have a question for y'all...how accepting do you think corporate america is of natural hair?

When I bc'd this summer, I was working in the NC office of a regional phone company and I didn't receive any negative feedback, but I'm headed to Texas next summer to work for a very large, national company and some people have warned me that natural hair will not be well received by those I come in contact with, more specifically the company's clients. They think I should flat iron my hair for most of the time I work there, especially when I go to client sites.

I feel like my hair shouldn't be an issue. I was wearing it short and curly when I went for the office visit and still received an offer, so once I start working it shouldn't be a problem. And although I will probably straighten my hair a couple times during the summer, I'm not going to continually do it to please someone else, especially in the Texas heat where I'm prob gonna end up sweating it out anyway...
3C - No Relaxer since 8/06 - BC 7/07

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Fotki Updated 12/08

Comments

  • FleurztyFleurzty Posts: 795Registered Users
    Many of us have experienced this in the past. Personally, I was warned about the image I would portray wearing my hair natural, but since Nov. 04, I have landed two wonderful jobs and an internship all with my natural hair. I did not press my hair for my interviews or my first day of work. It was obvious to me that these companies will either accept my looks and offer me a position for intellect and potential or they would just have to find someone else who meet their criteria for professionalism. In my opinion, if your hair is well cared for and professional, it should be fine.
  • jsocurleighjsocurleigh Posts: 265Registered Users
    I've gone back and forth on this sooooooooo many times with so many people it's funny. The quick answer is it depends!

    I work in healthcare, in August of this year I interviewd at about 12 offices in a seven day period. I was deep in hair transition mode and it was 90 degrees or more that entire week so a BAA was all I could manage... it was HUGE!

    The first couple interviews of the week I just rocked it in ultra buisiness atire. One woman told me I was the best candidate but the look on her face and constant eye wandering to the top of my head said otherwise. She was a typical Southern older caucasian woman.

    Right after that I went and bought a bob cut straight wig. I felt so fake but I thought I wouldnt have to worry about the hair stares. I had one interview with the fro then a second with the wig at the same place. I got a MUCH better reception with the fro! They offered the position to me the next day.

    The very last interview of the week at a different office I wore the fro. I was worn out by then and the fro was at extreme wildness. The office manager called me a few hours later and offered me the job. 2 weeks later I went to orientation with super straight blown out hair.

    I was unrecognizable to the manager lol. She was like WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU HAIR!? Everyone here constantly says they love my hair curly; it's great to work at a place where diversity is valued and I can be as wild-headed as I want.

    I think it's all about how you present yourself Babydoll, if what you have to say on par and your look is professional, (yes natural do's can be very work appropriate) very very few people will have a problem with your hair. Besides it's too damn humid in TX to be pressing your hair constantly!!!!!!

    Good Luck!
    *AVEDA Cosmetology Graduate*
    *DEVA Trained Stylist*

    4a*reformed PJ* mixologist*twistologist*extremely hair obsessed
    Twitter/@JayeEllis
  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I feel like my hair shouldn't be an issue. I was wearing it short and curly when I went for the office visit and still received an offer, so once I start working it shouldn't be a problem.
    Sounds like it wasn't an issue, and you have the professional look covered. So don't let others' personal insecurities about
    their self-image get to you. I've been in corporate life since 1987, either with texlaxed curly fro, longer texlax, or as I am today, all natural. I was a bit apprehensive about going all natural in 2005, but I've gotten nothing but complements. Colleagues who liked my hair texlaxed, love my texture today.
    My blog - http://suburbanbushbabe.wordpress.com/
    My FOTKI - http://whatsnew.fotki.com/suburbanbushbabe/
    comic-p.jpg

    Playing with my hair is a hobby. Fluffy, fine natural 4a. Goal= Healthy, beautiful hair that retains its length.
    Hear that crash? It's me falling off the CG wagon.
  • mariag002mariag002 Posts: 3,557Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I feel like my hair shouldn't be an issue. I was wearing it short and curly when I went for the office visit and still received an offer, so once I start working it shouldn't be a problem.
    Sounds like it wasn't an issue, and you have the professional look covered. So don't let others' personal insecurities about
    their self-image get to you. I've been in corporate life since 1987, either with texlaxed curly fro, longer texlax, or as I am today, all natural. I was a bit apprehensive about going all natural in 2005, but I've gotten nothing but complements. Colleagues who liked my hair texlaxed, love my texture today.

    I second that... don't let other's personal insecurities about their self-image bother you!!! I work for a large accounting firm and there are MANY natural haired beauties working there. There are women there with locs, afros, curly hair, etc... but they are extremely professional and you can see the confidence in their eyes. I recently met a woman that works at prudential as a diversity leader. She has locs and handles herself with nothing but confidence and is professional. I asked her about her hair and she said its never been an issue. She also said that maybe 10-15 yrs ago it would've been an issue, but now people are more accepting.
    - Maria

    Big Chop: 9/23/07
    Relaxer free for almost 5 years!

  • maracasbeachmaracasbeach Posts: 310Registered Users
    Hi, this is my first post on this board. I wear my hair in twists and I am a lawyer in NY, going to court very often. Judges have no problem with my hair because my look is professional. I think if your clothing is appropriate for your office, your hair is groomed, whether natural or not, then who cares what some narrow minded people may think.
  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    I have a question for y'all...how accepting do you think corporate america is of natural hair?

    When I bc'd this summer, I was working in the NC office of a regional phone company and I didn't receive any negative feedback, but I'm headed to Texas next summer to work for a very large, national company and some people have warned me that natural hair will not be well received by those I come in contact with, more specifically the company's clients. They think I should flat iron my hair for most of the time I work there, especially when I go to client sites.

    I feel like my hair shouldn't be an issue. I was wearing it short and curly when I went for the office visit and still received an offer, so once I start working it shouldn't be a problem. And although I will probably straighten my hair a couple times during the summer, I'm not going to continually do it to please someone else, especially in the Texas heat where I'm prob gonna end up sweating it out anyway...

    i work in a professional corporate headquarters, and my chemical-free hair has never been an issue. i interviewed for this job wearing 2-week-old 2-strands that were beginning to look dreadlockish. my thinking was that they might as well see me the way i intended to be looking everyday. ha!

    anyway, i wear my hair pinned up with a giant claw clip most of these days. but i have worn signature twists and puffs for long stretches of time since i've been here.

    i think that as long as your hair is clean and flattering and conservative, you shouldn't have a problem. conservative, meaning, if you are in an uber-conservative company, a dramatic big-arse-afro may not be the best style for work, whereas a more compact wash and go fro would be more appropriate.

    also, though frizz and fuzzy halos are natural properties of our hair, they can render a look of being unkempt, so even though you are sporting your natural hair, you should consider using a soft brush to smooth down your edges more for work than you would at other times.

    hth
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • motherearthamothereartha Posts: 355Registered Users
    i worked as a cpa for many years. now i'm switching gears..but i wore a wig for one interview, straight micro braids that looked like a relaxed look once i started, then two-strand twists, and then i just busted out the fro. then for other jobs i would always start off on the conservative end and then eventually pull out my true hair (big, big, big hair) and dare someone to give me a reason to sue. i think as long as your dressed the part and your hair is neat, you should be fine. use your judgement and the situation for what's appropriate. personally, i wouldn't style my hair in a huge fro to meet a client.

    what amazes me & that really should be addressed are all the low cut blouses, short short skirts, and tight clothes that people wear in the office. i know a lot of companies are allowing business casual but that doesn't mean reveal your goodies :icescream:
    thick, kinky, nappy, hair w/ dashes of curls
    pw: bearhair
  • jada1111jada1111 Posts: 829Registered Users
    I believe as long as you keep your hair neat and look professional, there won't be any problems.

    I interviewed with my natural hair on numerous occasions and was called back for second interviews. No one cares, except ignorant black people. They are the only ones saying that you can't get a job with natural hair, but are ALWAYS corrected when a job is landed.

    Be yourself. If they're not going to hire you because of your hair, then you do NOT need that job. You'll just be miserable in the long run, because you won't be able experiment with the fabulous styles available.
    Jada1111

    HAIR TYPE: 4a all over/3c around nape/edges; Last relaxer -4/4/02; Big chop - 4/16/03

    http://public.fotki.com/jada1111/
    PW: flower
  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    what amazes me & that really should be addressed are all the low cut blouses, short short skirts, and tight clothes that people wear in the office.

    Preach. I have seen bellies hanging out, jeans so tight you could bounce a dime off someone's fat azz, etc. clothes just seem...incomplete or something. And no including big women should wear skin tight stuff -- shouldn't wear mumu's either. I'm a big woman and I wear shape fitting stuff and well cut jeans and pants, but nothing shows my muffin top. I'll wear tops with a bit of decollatage, but jeez, not 2 inches of it. There's a short fat woman in my office and all she wears is stretch leggings and sweats like the d-mn Pillsbury Doughboy. I feel like Stacey London whenever I see her. Rant and guano over, back to topic.
    My blog - http://suburbanbushbabe.wordpress.com/
    My FOTKI - http://whatsnew.fotki.com/suburbanbushbabe/
    comic-p.jpg

    Playing with my hair is a hobby. Fluffy, fine natural 4a. Goal= Healthy, beautiful hair that retains its length.
    Hear that crash? It's me falling off the CG wagon.
  • Frizzcurls427Frizzcurls427 Posts: 152Registered Users
    I purposely wore my hair in a natural curly puff for my last interview and got the job...This was my test to the company to see if they were interested in hiring me for my intellect and the way I presented myself .. I refused to feel pressured to alter my natural hair texture to please someone else if they were to have a problem with me wearing my hair natural...I said to myself I can wear my hair natural and still look professional and put together so I decided to smooth it back into a puff and I wore slacks, a matching blazer and a nice blouse underneath...I felt confident and professional and that is exactly the way I wanted to feel...They offered me the job the next day...I say do you. Just be mindful of how you present your natural hair and yourself as the other ladies noted...Just wear it neatly and not too wild because I believe that part of the misconception about natural hair is that it is unkempt and too wild and sometimes that is the look people are going for but as far as the workplace I think natural hair should be more put together and professional...Despite what some say this is possible... This proves all of the naysayers wrong. I am so glad that more people are finally going against the grain and not conforming to society's standards of beauty. Sorry so long...
    Lovin' my curly corkscrews!
    http://public.fotki.com/Musiclova
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    http://urahautemama.blogspot
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  • lovinmylocslovinmylocs Posts: 137Registered Users
    The ladies here have given you some great advice. I think at the end of the day it's your work ethic that matters most as long as your neat and present a great image. I was scared that I would get a negative reaction going natural at work. People have surprised me by being very accepting and even paying compliments. I think you will get the same reaction. I think someone said it above the only people who have a problem with natural hair (in this age) are those other minorities (sadly).

    We've been taught so long that we need to look a certain way and act a certain way to fit in. I think it's hard to go against the grain no matter what side you're on.
    http://public.fotki.com/lovinmylocs/
    pass: nappy
    Scared of the big chop...nah - I chopped it off on 12.21.07
    I think I've found my HG and routine but I'm still looking for my hair twin.
    Hey twin are you out there...
    HG: Elucence MBS, VO5 Vitaburst - Grapefruit Mandarin Splash, Tigi Control Serum
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