Once, I had a bad hair day and didn’t consider it fair to allow my colleagues to behold the unpleasantness of my dark afro cluster. So I spent the entire Wednesday night at my wardrobe pulling out and pushing in drawers in search for a solution. Just at the inner right corner of a drawer hid a transparent red wig-bag. “There you are!“, I blotted out somewhat unexcitedly. I didn’t quite like the option because of how much I get to sweat under the thing, but I fixed it on anyways.
Mmm mmm… Distasteful!!! Except I get help to turn my huge afro-bulk into flat corn-rows, I might just need to get my face painted to complete the clown look.
So, back to the drawers…Search… search… search…
“VOILA!!!” It was a sea-green velvety hair wrap and it fitted just perfectly. Dark trouser suit and a matching blouse, I already anticipated the compliments from the new workday.
The not so cloudy Thursday morning begun with much enthusiasm. It was another great day at work and my self-confidence was sky-high, particularly because I believed I looked STUNNING!
It’s almost the close of business day and my phone rings. It was a close HR colleague seeking clarification on some professional jargon. Thereafter we just chatted away for what I believed was not so brief. Work had been hectic at both our ends.
“I don’t have a life again o! How will someone even find a husband at this pace?” We both released a hard muffled laughter, being careful not to blow our covers as I too shared my own woes. I mentioned how I had been so pressed with work in recent times that I couldn’t even make time to fix my hair. And that was when the discussion went north, south, east and westward.
HER: “So what did you do to your hair?”
ME: “My dear, I have a head-wrap on! Can’t kill myself by myself. Amazingly, it turned out it really nice!!! As in niiiiice!!! I look GOOOOD and have bagged enough compliments today to last me until mid-year! (lol) I’m thinking I should just make it my signature style.”
HER: “Turban?!?!? Head-wrap!?!?!? To the office?!?!?… H-R!!!!!!!!!!!!”
ME: “What happened?!?!?!”
HER: How can you wrap your head to the office? Do you mean none of your bosses said anything?
ME: Anything like what?!?!?!
HER: Ahn ahn… Madam HR, that’s inappropriate noooow! What then will you expect from other staff when “YOU, HR MADAM”, custodian of appropriate dress code, is flaunting the rules?
ME: Rules??? What rules? Is a head-wrap inappropriate dressing?
HER: Of course it is!!! Like you don’t know! How can you ask me such a question?
ME: Chill, chill, chill. Slow down first… Wow! That’s new! Didn’t get that memo. Was there an HR manual where specific dress codes were stated for HR professionals? I definitely missed that course. WHY can’t I wrap up my hair?
HER: Oh come off it, it’s I you are talking to remember? So don’t play that card. How can you ask me such a question? You know it is not acceptable.
ME: Honestly speaking, I’m really shocked at this. WHY is it unacceptable? In all my years of practice I am yet to spot anywhere, whether locally or globally where it is stated that a nicely fitted head wrap is inappropriate for the workplace. If it is, then how do we enforce an inclusive system for talent who observe strict dress codes due to religious beliefs?
HER: You want to use your HR power to twist things now. But you know some things are not just written. Moreover, you just said it, “religious beliefs”. That’s a different perspective.
ME: I seeeee!!!!!… So how can you tell the reason for which I am wearing mine? WHY can’t it possibly be for religious reasons?
HER: Stop! You know you are not one of them…
ME: One of who? How can you tell? Do you know if I changed beliefs in recent times? And even if I have, what does it matter if it does not affect my job performance, productivity report and even more, if it does not bring disrepute to the organisation’s values and essence?
That was how we went on and on and at some point, we just “dropped it” because we had to return to do what we were actually being paid for. But frankly, I have not gotten over the entire discussion since that day. It just made me realise how we are so frequently faced and overwhelmed with unclarified stereotypes that enslave our thoughts and control our actions. Interestingly, no one ever so frequently stops to ask “WHY?”
“Why is it wrong to do this/that?”… “Why not?”… “Why so?”… “If so, then what next?”…
Reminds me of the proverbial monkey story – Click the link to read more
MORAL ADVICE: If we are ever going TO DO or NOT DO a thing, let it be based on the understanding derived from a proven knowledge acquired, accepted and believed.
What is IMPORTANT???…
- DISCOVER YOUR TRUTH,
- EMBRACE YOUR REALITY,
- DEFINE YOUR NARRATIVE,
- WORK AT YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME, and
- NEVER GIVE UP, UNTIL YOU WIN!
And thereafter, WIN AGAIN & STAY WINNING.