Friday, November 30, 2007

The workplace is a'changin'...

Would you let the woman to the left watch your children or hire her to work in your company? Or, would her piercings be a barrier to her entering the professional world, a reason not to hire her?

I just finished an article in the St. Pete Times about a young woman who was "fired" for a small, almost unnoticeable nose piercing.

She was told by her supervisor that it wasn't in her best interest to get a facial piercing. When she was told to take it out, she told her supervisor she would take it out and give her tw0-weeks notice a few days later. That night she had a change of heart and was upset when the tax collector's office she worked for wouldn't take her back.

Should this story be in the paper? Of course. Piercings are becoming common enough among young people to warrant a rethinking of corporate dress codes. As more professionals enter the workplace with piercings and tattoos, more workers are going to clash with their companies' policies. It's almost inevitable.

However, I don't think this particular case is a good topic for a news story. The fact that the woman in question was specifically told it wasn't in her best interest to get the piercing turns this away from the realm of public interest to a personal problem she had with her company. They were within their rights to fire her.

However, this story would make a great opinion column. Here's how I'd do it:

1. I would start out with Lauren's story and how one piercing introduced consequences into her life she'd never imagined.

2. I would continue with statistics on the rise of piercings in the U.S. and the impact it's having on the workforce.

3. I would try to showcase one or two professional businesses with more open dress codes that allow piercings and other body mods.

4. I would finish with ways the corporate world has changed over the past decade and try to finish up with advice from an image consultant or something similar as well as include a sidebar with tips on surviving in the business world.

I've never been accused of being the most mainstream person out there; however, I like to feel my resume speaks for itself. Most of my professors have fielded the "Wendy, don't worry about your hair color or what you look like, just write," talk with me. I think the topic of alternative styles is going to be pretty popular in the next few years.

And, just as an added bit of information, the woman in the picture up top is my friend Virginia. She gets paid to watch three little girls as a professional nanny.


teh Kenny said...

When I look at the *tbt picture I ask myself "how many lawsuits can dance on the head of a nose stud that friggin' small?" I could've mistaken that for a bad whitehead pimple.

Anonymous said...

well, most business especially ones who work with the public and children have the cover up your tattoos/piecing rule some are more lenient than others--Busch gardens and their parks have tons of those kind of rules for normal work and publix does too but i think publix just has the long sleves rule...It is a good those piecing make her look like she has fangs,,other than that she is veyr pretty.

WKnapik said...

The article itself just merited an eye roll from me.The nose stud was barely noticeable.It's sad how self-expression is often crushed under the pressure to conform to outdated standards.
What's really dismaying are the comments of the article.Even though I find it unfortunate, I understand that some people might not "get" someone with piercings/tattoos.Different strokes for different know?But the hostility in some of the comments and the recurring sentiment that young people are self-absorbed to the point of being deviant is horrible.At this point I would like to cast an accusing eye at the parasitic baby boomers who are softening up this country and are so afraid of growing old that they can't even be called senior citizens anymore("Active adults" my ass)and the self-proclaimed "greatest generation."Greatest generation?Nothing self-absorbed about that.

Joeprah said...

I love how you wrote this post. You don't try to make a case for this girl in particular as the company may have been within their rights, but rather for the situation which determined her dismissal. I think that is a great article to write and will be in a newspaper or magazine somewhere. DO IT!