Can a woman's hairstyle change really change her standing in the corporate world?

Today we’re going to play an imagination game. Today I want you to imagine you are a woman in the corporate world. You are attractive, have long brown hair, and let’s say you work for a bank. Let’s say you’re name is “Kristen” and Kristen, you’re very good at what you do. You’ve been doing it for many years and you’re rather high up at your bank now. Let’s say today you’re in a meeting and you’re preparing to make your point, and as you always do, you must prepare rebuttals to all the detractors who will, as they always do, yell and swear and tell you your idea to hire XYZ vendor (or whatever your suggestion is) is the most insane idea they’ve ever heard.

Sometimes you win these battles. Sometimes, you don’t.

Now let’s say, poor Kristen, you get sick. Very, very sick. You miss six months of work. You lose nearly fifty-pounds. Your hair falls out, then grows back in. Completely grey. Short, curly and grey.

You get back to work, finally. Relieved. Happy to be back. It’s your first big meeting. You’re preparing to make your point, and as you always do, you’ve prepared rebuttals to all the same detractors who you are certain will, as they’ve always done, yell and swear and tell you your idea to fire the ABC vendors (or whatever your suggestion is) is the most insane idea they’ve ever heard.

Today, you make your point. And everyone nods their heads in agreement with you. The end.

Since your return to work, this pattern continues, meeting after meeting, you keep getting this form of rampant agreement with your point of view. Your ideas haven’t changed. Your way of doing business hasn’t changed. Although a couple of co-workers have commented on your new, grey hairstyle, “You look so distinguished now.”

Could it really be your new distinguished hairstyle that has made your point of view more valid to your detractors? Really?

I make no pretense about understanding what it must be like for a woman to navigate the inner-machinations of the corporate world, much less the corporate banking world. But for my dear friend, we’ll call her “Kristen,” this story took no imagination at all.

 

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