Social Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

Careers for "punks"?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5471 points ) August 6th, 2012

I’ve been wanting to get a mohawk for ages now, the problem is obvious – employability. I’ve spent the last 2 years in an office environment and now, even with “normal” hair I’m having trouble even getting a reply from prospective employers. So it got me wondering, are there any decent careers (so no game/music/porn shops, no tattoo parlours, or the like, either, please) that would allow me to flash my punk side?

(Putting this in social, as a lot of you will probably lol at this question ;-)

Cheers!

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24 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Any kind of sci/math/computer research at MIT or Cal Tech.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@gailcalled thanks, problem is I’m nearing 30, not really the time to reeducate myself… I’ve worked in call centres (two huge corporations) the past 2 years, so basically my only skills are customer service and English (I’m Polish). So you see my options are kinda limited here :P

DigitalBlue's avatar

Flight director for NASA?

fremen_warrior's avatar

@DigitalBlue although some distant uncle of mine was a dentist at NASA, he’d have to pull more than teeth to get me a gig there, thanks though xD

funkdaddy's avatar

Most people I know who face the same challenge have an “interview length” for their hair, beard or sleeves that they use when making a first impression.

Once they have the job, they let their freak flag fly.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@funkdaddy care to elaborate on the “interview length” length? By the way I’m surprised there’s still so much discriminating going on based on how people look. Some of the wierdest-dressed people I’ve met were also some of the most interesting ones…

funkdaddy's avatar

It depends on what it is.

If you want a mohawk, it would depend on why. Do you want to wear it up all the time? On weekends? For concerts? Usually there’s a way to have the best of both worlds and style it differently for things like interviews. Short mohawks are everywhere right now, people just don’t wear them spiked and purple to their job at the bank.

I mentioned beards and sleeves because people would usually trim up a beard, mustache, or their facial hair to make a best first impression. And long sleeves to cover up tattoos. You’re selling your time, put a bow on it.

I don’t think it’s discriminatory to use someone’s chosen appearance to decide if they’ll fit well with a team of people you already have. Yes, you’re being evaluated, that’s what an interview is all about. It’s not about who you are as a person in most cases. An employer has a job that needs to be done and they want the best person for that job. It’s not about seeing if you’re interesting or even someone they’d like to be friends with. They may love to have a beer with you later but not want you to be the guy they’re depending on to make them look good at work.

Just about anything can be acceptable if the total package shows a well kept appearance and understanding of the audience. In my experience, creative professionals are given more leeway than most and smaller companies tend to be more accepting than large. Maybe focus your search or your new training there?

fremen_warrior's avatar

@funkdaddy I should definitely have a chat with my barber about this then ;-)

You’re right, I understand the arguments about being “presentable” and well groomed. On the other hand, so what if my chosen appearance is not exactly the “norm”, as long as it does not affect anyone else directly (no sharp pointy objects sticking out, clean and shaven otherwise)?

It really p*sses me off that people still feel the need to judge others by how they decide to dress. A guy/gal sporting a mohawk might for example have eons more experience / be more qualified for a job then “boring-hair Larry” and still lose the job to the latter because someone decides they don’t LOOK RIGHT?! Say what you want man, in my book that’s discrimination. Falls into the same category as people actually being offended by someone else’s attire. Society needs a makeover, man; lol. And here I thought my “f*ck the system revoltionary superstar rocker wannabe” days were long gone ;-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are you artistic? Exceptionally creative people with track records are given some leeway for being a bit on the odd side. Note I said “exceptionally creative with track records”.

@fremen_warrior You wrote: “It really p*sses me off that people still feel the need to judge others by how they decide to dress.” If they do not know you, that is the first data point they get. Have you read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? It describes how we all make decisions in the blink of an eye. You might be a genius on the inside but that mohawk to me would mean you might be difficult to work with, might not respect authority, might be a self centered, egotistical dick. I have no idea. But that is the Blink, thin-slice judgement that runs through my head – and I am not the only one to think that way. Why handicap yourself?
You probably think I am a boring stuffed shirt because I wear a button down shirt with a collar and have short hair.

funkdaddy's avatar

@fremen_warrior – I hear you. It’s exactly those types of decisions that make it useful information though.

Also, I was “boring hair Larry” at the punk shows, it goes both ways.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Last night I saw a dude at NASA with a mohawk, so there’s one option.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@LuckyGuy not really, I used to wear a suit and tie to the office quite often. First impressions may be made in a split second, what they are depends on the individual though. I for one admire people with unusual, colourful hair, tattoos etc. and would, obviously, never consider that an issue when hiring someone. Tolerance of sth different is not the strongest side of most people though I understand that.

That’s why I’m asking if you can think of careers where it should not matter much, because society cannot deal with “different looking people” just yet…

@funkdaddy indeed it does, thank you for your input also

@_Whitetigress do you work there, or was it on TV? If you do work there, can you get me an astronaut gig? Like space station janitor or sth? That would probably do it for me ;-)

Ron_C's avatar

I suggest that you accept your age and drop the punk act. Punk can be charming with little kids but it is downright creepy in adults. I am not surprised that no one want to hire you.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Ron_C if you had spent a few minutes reading through this thread you would know that I do not yet have a mohawk – I would really like to get one, but it clashes with my employment prospects.

“Punk can be charming with little kids” – was that supposed to be a (veiled) insult? I am not impressed. It’s bigots like you that slow down the progress of society. Please prove me wrong, or go away.

Ron_C's avatar

@fremen_warrior I did, in fact read your entire question. I’m not in the habit of dumping on people but this question struck me as particularly self indulgent. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why a 30 year old feels compelled to get a Mohawk. The last time I saw one was on an art history major at Carnegie-Mellon. I can guarantee that he cut it off when he found there were no jobs outside the porn industry for adults with Mohawks and a arts degree.

Just because you recognize something as juvenile, it doesn’t make you a bigot. Don’t worry, after this I’m going away and you can play your self-indulgent games.

laurenkem's avatar

The culinary arts. Lots of chefs have “different” hairstyles, and as long as they’re a great chef, no one seems to care.

Also, hairdresser! Everyone will be thinking you’re making a statement, lol.

gailcalled's avatar

If you are a chef, you need either a pony tail or a hair net so you don’t have hair flying around.

You can tuck unruly locks into a cap, also.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I currently live in the tattoo, piercing, mohawk and whatever haircut capitol of the world, here’s what people do: Own their own business: bike repair, bike rental, coffee shop, computer shop, general contractor, artist, musician, screenwriter, actor. That’s what I can think of with people I know. Other people I know that are employees : #1 job: Barista. Then, hairdresser. I have a good friend that is tattooed from neck to toe and wears a mohawk and he is a head warehouseman for the local huge natural foods conglomerate. Others: They all do IT. Mechanical engineering. Game testers. Retail. Draughtsmen. That’s what comes to mind that I know of.

jerv's avatar

Move to Seattle. We have a lot of people here in all sorts of jobs who have unhidable ink, obvious piercings, and/or other body mods. IT professionals, grocery store cashiers, and many in between. Hell, one of the best mohawks I ever saw was a cashier at a local supermarket; a full 12 inches, and fire engine red.

The truth is that it matters less what you do than where you are. Some areas are rather intolerant whereas others are really open-minded. My wife is rather tame with her dark magenta hair and nose stud; she also has many customer service awards and is otherwise well respected by her customers, her co-workers, and management.

@Ron_C You would never survive here. You would have a stroke within a week.

cookieman's avatar

The Dean of Academic Affairs where I work has many visible piercings and tattoos and he’s very well respected.

Of course he has two PhDs and we work at an art college in a very liberal part of Boston.

I think @jerv is right about location being key.

ucme's avatar

Any position that is Pretty Vacant should do, maybe even a public toilet attendant.

gailcalled's avatar

@fremen_warrior : Check out picture #22 in this series of shots of Mars (and of NASA mission control) after Curiosity landed.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-mars-scientist-grotzinger-pictures,0,4428327.photogallery

“Activity leader Bobak Ferdowsi cuts his hair differently for each mission.”

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Ron_C Thanks for sharing. Just because you cannot imagine/understand something does not make it wrong, my friend. Read this if you care. You adhere to a certain set of rules, subscribe to certain views and wear certain types of clothing, with your conventional hair because that is who you are. I am not you. I feel alive when surrounded by creative, open-minded individuals, and like to consider myself one. I play guitar, I dabble in poetry, I enjoy meeting and talking to random people, I am a dreamer, a wanderer, and I will have a mohawk – hope this helps to understand my reasons.
——————————————————————————————————————————————-

@laurenkem I’m afraid @gailcalled‘s right here. Thank you for your input though :)

@trailsillustrated these are good, thank you. Starting my own business has crossed my mind before, perhaps it’s time… Or I could practice guitar harder ;)

@jerv that’s a very good point: location, location, location. Though moving to Seattle is not really feasible for me as Polish people still need visas to enter the US of A but I hear Berlin is a very artsy place, with plenty of… colourful individuals, aaand it’s like a day’s train ride from where I live. Definitely worth considering :)

@cprevite Dean fremen_warrior does sound appealing :D I want nothing more to do with Uni for the next couple of years at least, so that’s out of the question for the time being, thank you though.

@ucme everybody’s gotta be a comedian nowadays, eh? ;-) thanks

@gailcalled you restored my faith in humanity with that picture ;-) thank you

_Whitetigress's avatar

Here’s a trick of the trade. Get hired anywhere, THEN get the mohawk cut.

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