young-professional

Will my fro ever be "business appropriate"?

One thing I struggle with as a young professional is what to do with my hair.  Usually I end up putting it into some sort of roll tuck and pin scenario if i’m going to be on set with the client or go to a meeting – but today I decided I didn’t want to pin it up because the shoot was so early in the morning and I was running late.  

So I just wore my hair in a bantu knot out. (which looked super fly btw)

See below:

Keep in mind, no matter what I wear to work if the client has only talked to me on the phone/emailed with me there’s usually the handshake accompanied with a “wtf I had no idea you were going to be black, and my mind is blown because you speak-ah the english so good” face. Even when its a company that’s pretty racially diverse, not going to name anybody (see my work blog).

I guess because of my last name on emails everyone is assuming i’m latino/chicano/hispanic/mexican/spanish and mentally prepare themselves for that ahead of time? This still happened when my last name was Clemons though, either way they see me and their face reads:

“…you’re about 30 shades darker than I expected”

You get used to it. You shouldn’t – because its insulting, but you do.

Usually by the end of the shoot, when they realize that: 

1. I know what the hell i’m doing (shots/angles/presentation).

2. I know how to conduct an interview (all the shooters, that are older and white usually are looking at me for the final say)

3. I can discuss at length whatever enterprise technology you’re making this video for because I did my homework, and I know how to get you to say it in a way that consumers will (a) understand and (b) want to buy.

They change their attitude. 

It’s this weird trade off though, of sacrificing a bit of who you are for social convention and also realizing the importance of a first impression.  

Even now, as I’ve embraced my hair– my “blackness” and feel the urge to express said blackness in my appearance, I still have my parents voices in my head:

You have to dress better

You have to speak better 

You have to look better

…and somehow (even though you never will) blend in…

Because no matter how educated you are, the wealth of knowledge you have, your outward appearance of sophistication, some people will still look at you and just see a negro. 

So, I return to my question. Was the fro a bad idea? 

9 Ways To Network Without Leaving Your Couch

Here are nine ways you can network, without ever leaving the comfort of those beloved cushions:

1. Participate In A LinkedIn Discussion Or Twitter Chat

2. Write A Guest Blog Or LinkedIn Post

3. Tackle Unanswered Emails

4. Reach Out To Someone You Admire

5. Check In With Your References

6. Polish Up Your Professional Brand

Three more ways to network without leaving your couch.

notable.ca
Anne T. Donahue: Today’s Notable Young Professional
Today’s Notable Young Professional is Anne T. Donahue, who’s the Music Editor of Rookie Mag and a freelance writer for NME, Huffington Post, FASHION, HelloGiggles, National Post, and Toronto Star. We caught up with her to find out how she navigates the hectic freelance life, and what advice she would share with other young professionals. […]

HELLO HI I am on the Internet on this website (notable.ca) talking about work and not burning out and all that stuff. AND NOW YOU CAN READ IT. HORRAY.