Sometimes I would like to go postal on behalf of people who are not angry enough to go postal for themselves. Take this nice woman who has been driven from her job selling CDs in London because she doesn’t want to wear makeup. Does she need to wear makeup? No. Obviously the men working beside her manage to sell CDs without it, so it’s irrelevant.

But not to the aesthetic orthodoxy police. Apparently everyone has to look like a fucking barbie plastic freak just to do a basic retail job. The problem is there are no cultural standards for clothes and grooming that everyone agrees with or agrees to adopt. Your scruffy is my chic.

When I worked in publishing and employed people in production roles I experienced friction with a business owner over who I chose to employ. She was a pompous ignorant twit who wanted everyone to be princesses. I wanted smart people with skills.

One young man came to interview for a graphic designer role. He came in trendy jeans and smart casual. I hired him over her objection citing his great portfolio and enthusiasm. She cared more for the fabric from which his trousers were cut. But trousers don’t do Photoshop.

Another conflict was over a woman who was an Adobe Framemaker page layout specialist. She could whiz through pages of textbook page layout faster than any of us in the team. She was not the most reliable person, and was somewhat feral sartorially. But I argued we needed her. The boss had no idea how rare and valuable Framemaker skills were. Instead of hassling her for her personal presentation I tried to value her for her work.

The minimum standard should be clean and neat. If it doesn’t get in the way of work it shouldn’t be an issue.

your aesthetic values are not important

4 thoughts on “your aesthetic values are not important

  • 5 July 2011 at 8:19 am
    Permalink

    Totally agree! The Barbie aesthetic is alive and well…I’ve had countless customers comment that I’m one of few people they know without fake nails, others say my make-up looks “so natural” when I’ve none on at all. Sigh…

    Reply
  • 5 July 2011 at 4:27 pm
    Permalink

    My partner works for a bank. She is always telling me that colleagues who act in a more sexually provocative manner are more revered and favoured by management. Youth over proficiency seems to be the determining factor when positions need to be filled.

    Reply
    • 5 July 2011 at 10:29 pm
      Permalink

      I’m not sure what this has to do with makeup and grooming?

      Reply
  • 6 July 2011 at 9:02 am
    Permalink

    Sorry if my post does not have anything to do with grooming per se. However I thought I would draw on what I see as employer expectations being based on outward appearances rather than proficiency, where customer contact is concerned.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *