Self express yourself out

I had an interesting encounter today at work.  I came out of one of my customers establishments to meet a young person that seemed rather upset.  He was dressed rather oddly I suppose, he was dressed mostly in black with lots of patches and symbols on his jacket.  His head was shaved except for a long strand of hair that was braided in the back.. it went down to his waist.   He had piercing’ in his lips and eye brows and tattoo’s from head to toe.  I did not get a good read on what was tattooed on his forehead, but my guess is that it did not say “have a Great Scouting Day!”.

I said hello to him as I walked past, he yelled at me “Hey, are you guys hiring?”  I said “sure, they are always hiring for part time work.”  He informed me that he wanted nothing to do with part time work and he was pissed that no one would hire him.  He told me he wanted to be a driver too and inquired what he needed to do to be one.  I told him the first thing he needed to do was loose the piercing.  He told me that it was not going to happen.. so I told him that neither was a job.
He told me that he should not be judged because of his “Self Expression”.  I told him he was right.. but that is not the world we live in.
And I suppose this is the point in which I disclose my personal opinion.  I totally agree that you can express yourself right out of the running.  You need to be aware of the social norms and those things that employers will and will not tolerate.
I work for a pretty conservative company.  There are grooming standards and the company expects its employees to represent the company well.  Kind of like we ask our Scouts to represent Scouting well.
When we wear our uniforms we wear them correctly.  In my Troop we wear our uniforms when traveling to and from camp outs.  When we stop at a rest stop the Scouts are better behaved when they get out of the cars.  We require them to have their shirts tucked in and hat brims facing forward.
The young man that I met today had self expressed himself right out of a potential job.  As it turned out he was in the business trying to apply for a job.  The owner of business told him to get cleaned up and try again.  He would be required to assist clients.  He needed someone that is articulate and well groomed.  Event though he is a pretty open minded guy, he could not afford to hire this young man.  Clearly a business decision.  He understands that looks do matter and if you do not look the part, you will cost the business in clients and financial gain.
I feel bad for this young guy.  Some where along the way someone told him that anything goes.. and it doesn’t.
We don’t want to judge, but we judge everyday.  And it is not always a bad thing.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

One comment

  1. Just wanted to affirm your assertion: "When we wear our uniforms we wear them correctly." In my volunteer role as Philmont Council Contingent Leader (5 crews) I require full field (Class A) uniforms on travel days. An excerpt from my annual email, "High Expectations for High Adventure": "One thing is certain; we will leave an impression with everyone we meet. Impressions will be formed about Boy Scouts in general and our Troop in particular. We will be judged by our attitude, actions and even our appearance. We are, in effect, ambassadors for the Boy Scouts. Fairly or not, we will be judged as such."The uniform, and how it's worn, is part of Scouting's brand.


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