Facial Hair in the Workplace

I was raised with the understanding that if you want to be seen as professional and presentable, you shave your face.  Times, they are uh changing.  Rules once consisted as such:

  1. If you are employed, you show up clean shaven everyday
  2. If you are interviewing, you show up clean shaven
  3. If you attend a private school, you shave
  4. If you want to look presentable and professional, you shave
  5. When in doubt, shave

Today’s Rules:

  1. Fuck every rule above

I turn on the TV and I see ESPN reporters like Jesse Palmer and Tim Tebow rocking the 5 day beard like they’re hung over and on their way to their basket weaving classes.  Or Matt Lauer and Carson Daly on the Today show looking like they’re on their way to a 420 rally.  It’s just so different from what I was used to growing up.  If someone came into school or work with a 5 o’clock shadow they were forced to either shave with cold water and a rusty razor or would be sent home for the day.  Now days it seems like it’s acceptable for reporters and employees to show up to work looking as if they have just been on a 5 day bender with some stink left on their face.  And am I complaining?  Absolutely not.

Working in fashion over the past years I have learned to abide by anything BUT the rules I was brought up with.  Do I agree with them?  Absolutely?  I think it makes a statement when a man shows up to work looking clean cut, clean shaven, and professional.

Am I being a hypocrite?  Probably.  Having to shave your face everyday does some serious wear and tear.  I don’t think men should have to be subdued to that kind of demand.  But I do think when you look at a guy in a suit who is clean shaven, you think, “Lawyer.  Banker.  Insurance Salesman.  Professional.”  To many people those professions can be better translated to: DOUCHE.  But to many, it symbolizes that you’ve got your shit together, whereas a guy in a suit with some scruff could be seen as, “Someone who cares but doesn’t actually care.  Someone making a failed attempt as a male model.  Someone who is so high up he just doesn’t give a shit and can do what he wants.”  Or better yet, a guy seen with scruff constantly can be viewed as, “A regular guy.”

Guys don’t like shaving so frequently and I am honestly glad to see the media and work places ease up on shaving policies.  I have buddies who grow beards left and right with work.  I always ask, “Doesn’t your boss get pissed with you showing up looking like a broken hearted, breakup victim who is too lazy to shave?”  Their response, “Nope.”

I love it.  However, I still admire seeing the old school natured folk like the Yankees and most news networks who demand clean shaven at all times.  It just kind of feels right.  The decision is yours folks.  Business owners all over are changing policies.  Where do you stand?

… I’m writing this article wearing a 2 week beard.

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3 thoughts on “Facial Hair in the Workplace

  1. Very funny. And I agree. I used to think men looked a bit dodgy with a beard – religious types or just scruffy. But now they are so fashionable my husband and one of my sons are doing it (very straight types), and no-one complains. Women will stop shaving too soon. That will give you all a shock but you will get used to it.

  2. You know that most of my adult life I have had facial hair of some sort and have spent most of it working. I can honestly say that that many employers allowed facial hair that was well kept. Since I started working when Bono was Cher’s married name, that amounts to about 40 or so years. Yes, it is far more acceptable than it was, and I applaud that, but need to urge restraint. A five day growth that is not running down your neck gives a scruffy look that is not offensive, but an unkempt look should never be your go to look. It makes you appear lazy if kept too, long and should only be one look in your arsenal.

    • Agree completely. Most employers allow consistent, well-groomed facial hair. They don’t enjoy someone who decides to grow a beard every 2 months or is consistently shaving new patterns into his face.

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