The Past Year .... Work/ Coporate Wardrobe and Natural Hair

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's been a HUGE learning curve for me. I wasn't too impressed with my hair's progress. I suppose that's why we call this a "hair journey." You live and learn. I didn't have any set backs as such, but I didn't see as much progress as I had expected.

What do I think was the problem? Well, I was wearing a lot of plats and twists (without extensions), which I was redoing every 2 weeks or so. I gather that was too much manipulation for me. While I think they were better for my hair than having it out all the time, I think I would have seen more progress had I chosen a longer-term style.

I see other ladies being able to keep in their twists or plats for longer, but I couldn't do it. It would get too untidy to be presentable for work, so I redid mine often.

I also started working in June in the industry I studied for. I wanted to make a good impression and dressed really well (semi-coporate), even though no-one else did. It was an entry level position while I was on the homestretch to finishing my degree. You know, the whole dress-for your-next-position-type-thing. Before, I make my point, it may be good to add that there are not many black people where I live. So, I didn't want to wear extensions because I felt that if I took them out, I'd have to be answering too many questions that I didn't want to. It would cause people to focus on my hair rather than my work. So I wore my hair in a bun for the first 2 months or so .... which I redid everyday. Yes : (. As a natural 4b this is something I learnt I shouldn't do for 2 months straight. For a few weeks, it's absolutely fine, but by 2 months, it will have taken its toll.

After those two months I'd settled into the job well. So I started up again with the twists and plats which I tied back in a bun. Much better than the lose hair bunnning! But I redid them every 2 weeks or so ... which for me, is too much manipulation. This carried on into my next "real" job after graduating about 5 months later. Stictly coporate, so I went back to bunning for the first couple of months .... then into the bunned twists and plats ... until I unleashed the yarn braids on them!! LOL. This was after the 3 month probationary period was over.

You probably know how that went. How did you do it? How long did it take? Oh, is it painful? WHAT?? You do them yourself? How do you do the back?! People touching the braids with their dirty hands. One of my Eastern European coworkers who likes to think she knows everything 'black' said in an ebonics-type accent, "girl, you should get a weave!" While rolling her neck and bobbing her head from side to side. I just smiled and continued working. AND THEN, she came back to tell me my hair was "unbeweavable." LOL.

So yes, it did cause a bit of a shift of focus to my hair for a couple of weeks. But I suppose I felt that I had established myself in the new job for it not to matter too much. I didn't want my hair to define or influence too much while I was still starting. I wanted people to just focus on me being a good worker in those first 3 critical months while I started my career.

It's funny. Part of this work thing is really a game. You have to learn to play smart. Especially if you're Black and Natural.

So, I'm opening up the floor. I know natural hair in the workplace has been discussed on a lot of blogs. BUT I truly and genuinely want to know, if you're natural, how have YOU handled your hair in the workplace? Have you felt limited in your styling choices? Have you used the gradual, unleasing technique (LOL) like I did?

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