Natural Hair In The Workplace
I know we’ve all been there as naturalistas, as natural chicks, and the corporate woman. We’re working in the workforce, we’re going to work every day dealing with Corporate America the best way we know how. There are times we want to rock our natural curls, we want to wear our Bantu knots, and we want to wear our braids. But a lot of times, we almost second guess doing that.
We always second guess that it’s almost like, should we wear our hair this way? Should I be natural? What if my boss says something to me about it? What if a co-worker says something to me about it? That’s a conversation we’re going to be having today and it is all around…
Three responses to handle unprofessional comments about your natural hair in the workplace.
I decided to talk about this because I think it is a very big deal. I think a lot of times we place judgment on whether or not we wear our hair curly or straight depending on the situation at work. Because recently, I attended a meeting for my job and a co-worker walked up to me after I spoke to her.
She was like oh I didn’t recognize you. Your hair is different it’s. Bigger or something…
I’m sorry, what?
At the time my hair was naturally curly. If you follow me on Instagram or you tag along on the blog. You see I wear my hair curly, straight, twist. I mean it just really depends on my mood. I was taken aback by this statement that she made to me. It made me realize that more often than not this happens. It may be those comments like that that really triggers that, girl… What did she just say? What does that suppose to mean? Especially when you may be the only minority in the room. It really, really stands out.
Number one: Only react when necessary.
So in my case for example, when she made the statement to me about my hair, I was like, oh, no I didn’t change it.
You know it is maybe a wild hair day for me. But deep down inside it bothered me. It bothered me so much so that when I rode all the way back home two hours away, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that she said that to me. Now, why does it bother me so much because I felt that she was out of line and I felt that she was unprofessional at that point? So only react when necessary because a lot of times you just want to be out to be an angry mad black woman you know your job would be that minority that always gets an attitude when a statement is made. You always have to remain professionally tact at all times and you have to treat it as such.
Number Two: Do not go into ATTACK mode.
Y’all know how we can get, we can go into a straight attack mode. We don’t want to do that here. Especially in a setting if it’s a meeting of is a public place. If it is during lunch or you know during one of those corporate outings. We don’t want to go into attack mode because at the end of the day it’s going to look bad on us and nine times out of ten for some of those people who make those statements they really may not know that they’re saying something to you that gets your feathers ruffled so you definitely want to tread lightly, you don’t want don’t want to jump off a cliff and just go into full attack mode because you just really never know they’re understanding or if they’re statement was made purposely to hurt you or to offend you so you definitely don’t want to go into attack mode. I know how bad we want to sometimes, but sometimes we have to take a step back and reserve ourselves from doing that.
Number Three: Don’t confront your insulter via e-mail.
If I don’t know anything else in this lifetime, my momma taught me one thing is for sure, be careful what you put in writing because it may just come back to bite you. Unless of course you’re telling a good story or are writing a book purposely for that but be careful in Corporate America and in the workspace what you said via e-mail. So you try to come in and attack that person via e-mail and say you made me feel this way you should have never made that statement. You don’t want that to be out there floating around for it to come back and potentially I don’t know, get escalated to up to HR or whatever the case may be so you definitely don’t want to do that.
Speaking from my experience on these three points, because I am going to elaborate more into this in another segment. I’m not going to get into it today. When it was over for me, I had to eventually pull my manager aside and let him know that it bothered me and it bothered me so bad, that I had to bring it to his attention. Because I didn’t want to seem like I was the one with an attitude, the reason why I don’t want to talk to that person.
If he ever asked me to work with her, I would probably have that side eyebrow, like, I ain’t working with her.
I didn’t want it to seem that way so I brought it directly to his attention soon after that meeting was over. I told him, I don’t need you to rectify the situation for me. What I need you to do is be aware because if anything ever comes up in regards to what has been said or something that she says to me. I want you to know the history of this.
To blatantly not speak to me, or to avoid me at all cost, I felt some kind of way. So the next time my manager hosts a meeting, and this behavior happens again. That’s not going to be on me because I already made him aware.
So I just want to encourage you to rock your natural hair. Do the styles that you love but always keep it professional. Even when people make those statements about you. Just be very calm, poised, and professional at all times because at the end of the day they’re always watching to see how we’re going to react to those statements.
Have you encountered unprofessional statements being made about your natural hair in the workplace? How did you handle it?
You can watch the informational video here or click on the image above.
Do me a favor, if you know a naturalista that’s in the corporate world. And this may benefit them, definitely hit that share button, and share this with them so they too can become a little bit more knowledgeable when it comes to dealing with people in the workplace.