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Your Looks Don't Define Your Professionalism or Aptitude

Written By: Lauren Howard

Years ago, I worked in a retail store that did not at all police the appearance of their employees.

As long as the store shirt was worn, you could do pretty much anything you wanted. Hair, face, shoes, pants . . . your choice.

It was my job to connect customers with the salespeople that would help them find what they needed.

A family with several children walked in. All of the women and girls were wearing long skirts, and the men were very clean-cut.

I didn’t think anything of it and grabbed the next salesperson in the rotation. She was an incredibly sweet young woman with brightly colored hair and two piercings in her face. They were honestly pretty low-key, and I didn’t even notice them anymore.

I left them to do their thing, only to find the woman behind me a few seconds later.

“Excuse me. We are very conservative, Christian people. We cannot work with someone who is pierced and wild-looking.”

That is not a paraphrase. I will remember that conversation for the rest of my life.

I hesitated because . . . what? Just, what?

This version of me would have asked her how Jesus felt about judging people, but I was young and not that quick on my feet yet.

I went and found her another salesperson. He was a pretty average, if not a little sloppy, white male. Round, balding, somewhat jovial looking.

She was fine with him. He passed the conservative test.

Well, alright.

They purchased their stuff and left.

About a week later, that average, sloppy, unremarkable white guy was arrested for domestic violence, grand theft from a store, and holding his girlfriend hostage.

Yes, really.

A few days after that, the sweet girl with the bright hair and low-key facial piercings walked the stage and got her Master's Degree.

Your looks do not define your professionalism or aptitude. They tell me nothing except how you prefer to express yourself, which is fully up to you.

Show up whoever you are on the outside as long as the inside is kind, curious, and up to the task.

The rest is whatever.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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