I remember it vividly. I was looking for work in Atlanta, GA. I had recently quit my job, due to racism and sexism. I landed an interview fairly quickly with a company. The job was a sales job. It was something that I could do, but also something that I was attempting to get out of. I found the job through a job search site. I signed up with quite a few of them after I quit my job.
I flooded the web with resumes and applications. I received the call for this particular interview and it sounded okay. I decided to go. I was clueless about what I had actually signed up for. When I arrived to the multi level building, I made my last-minute preparations in the parking lot. It was quite a hike t get from my parking spot to the front door. Nevertheless, I walked in and proceeded to the designated floor. Once I was off the elevator I walked through the glass doors of the office at the end of the hall. I checked in and sat down. As I waited I spoke with a lady in the waiting area.
We talked about what we knew about the job. We talked about the requirements and the duties. She told me that she heard from someone else about the job. She also told me about her personal experience up until that moment. None of what I heard influenced my decision to move forward. I listened to her and what she had to stay while I waited to be called backed. We talked and we watched. We saw people get called back and quickly escorted out. Her information eased my concerns about that.
Time passed and then the heavy wooden door opened as I heard my name being called. I grabbed my things and headed towards the door. I was alone by the time the door swung open so I was ready to get up and get out of the waiting area. Once I went to the back, I spoke to someone briefly. They informed me that I would be going out with a seasoned representative as a part of the interview. It was explained that this method would allow me to get a sneak peek into what the job entails and they would be able to see if I would be a good fit.
I went with the rep that they assigned me to learn more about the position. The girl was a few years younger than me. She was about 5’5″ maybe 5’6″. Her skin was a rich brown color. She was a curvy girl with something to hold on to. She was also very well spoken and seemed to be very intelligent. When she introduced herself I felt like it couldn’t be too bad. As she led me out of the building towards her car she began to give me information about the job.
The first thing that I learned is that you have to use your own car to travel around your assigned area. You record your mileage and they reimburse you later. I didn’t like that too much but I kept it moving. We left the office around 10am and she fed me a great deal of information before we got to lunch. During lunch, she went over more details about the job and the company. It was basically selling phone and internet services to business owners. It was like a business pyramid. You can make more money by moving up and having people under you. They “promote” from within so there is a lot of room for growth…well, that’s what she said.
After lunch we went back out to finish her work day and my interview, which is more like orientation/shadowing. We went to a few more businesses and eventually returned to the office. She told me that she would give her report to her supervisor (about my personality and if I would be a good fit) and be back to let me know. If they agreed then I would be interviewed by her supervisor. So…I sat and waited for them to talk about me. They came out about 15 minutes later and asked me to come to the back conference room. The rep left us alone. I sat there and had the second part of the interview with her supervisor.
Before he called her back in to escort me out of the building, he offered me the job. I accepted the job and walked out with a smile. The rep came back and smiled as she congratulated and welcomed me. We walked to the elevator at the end of the hall and rode down to the lobby. We talked about the position and what I would need to do next. She waited until I was near the exit to mention that it would be best to change my hair.
My excitement about finding a new job so quickly was gone. I asked her to explain. She went on to say that my twists are cute and all but they will get messy when new growth becomes visible and that is unprofessional. My hair was twisted the week prior to my interview. Although the twist were long, they were well-kept and very neat. I explained to her that my hair is naturally full of new growth and once these twists come out then what…Am I supposed to wear a wig? Am I supposed to perm my hair? She told me that she understood but “they” just prefer for the women to have hair like hers…
I would not have been looking at her sideways in this moment had her hair not been hidden by a wig. Her wig was sloppy and barely holding on to her head. She looked less professional than I did from hair to clothes to mannerisms. How is it that “they” prefer hair that looks like yours rather than neat hair like mine? Was it the neatness that they were worried about or was it the ethnic connection?
This happened a few months before I decided to loc my hair…now, a few years later, it is deemed “legal” to deny someone employment based on the fact that they have locs. I declined the offer to work with a company that sees my appearance as a threat or something that I need to change based on their personal feelings. Now it is legal for companies to blatantly say no to a potential employee because of their hair…
I am not sure how hair gets the job done but…ok…