“But this is my lifestyle choice, and this is who I am.”

”Who would hire you looking like that?”  That’s what a job counselor said to Hayley O’Neil, 23, when she asked what positions she could apply for.

He also tried to teach her about first impressions and asked if she thought she would have a better chance for a job if she stood behind a wall or put a paper bag over her head.

I think Ms. O’Neil summed it up very nicely with this comment, “”But this is my lifestyle choice, and this is who I am.”

She made a choice and how will have to live with results of that choice for the rest of her life.  Choices have consequences.  And we can’t, or at least shouldn’t, blame others for the consequences of the choices we have made.  Our choices, our consequences.  We own them.

As I see it, the main problem with “body art” choices is one of permanence.  Tattoos, extreme piercings, and other body modifications are for keeps.  Choices made today can’t be changed tomorrow or perhaps ever.

When I see someone with visible–read impossible to easily cover–tattoos on their face, neck, or full arms or piercings that look like they fell into a fishing tackle box, I wonder about the amount of wisdom they can possibly have.

Will they really want giant holes in the ear lobes in 15 years?  Are they going to get tried of that big tattoo on the side of their neck?

Ms. O’Neil made a lifestyle choice.  She is certainly free to do whatever she wants to her face and her body.  But she shouldn’t be surprised when she finds it difficult to get job.  She made a choice and her prospective employers will also make choices.

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2 Responses to ““But this is my lifestyle choice, and this is who I am.””

  1. Julie Says:

    To me it was also about the scowl on her face. If she’s really happy to be herself, shouldn’t she look happy? Or neutral? Makes me wonder if she goes to job interviews with the same scowl – and I wouldn’t hire anyone with a bad attitude, even without tattoos and piercings.

  2. Doug Says:

    Bravo to you Craig for doing a sensitive job of explaining the consequences of our choices without putting down the person who made those choices.

    The simple answer many employers will likely give her is, “I respect your lifestyle choice, so I’m sure you’ll understand that our business makes lifestyle choices too in who we ask to represent us to the public.” But somehow, businesses seem to be frowned on for wanting to be free to make those kind of choices, but it is OK for individuals to do so. A sad double standard.

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