An Associated Press story had me falling out of my chair in laughter last week. An “expert” — who just happens to be a hair restoration surgeon — says balding people are at a disadvantage in getting hired. What's the follow-up story going to be — a plastic surgeon saying people with large noses are also at a disadvantage in the job market?
As proof, the hair doc points out that our last bald president was Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961). Of course, the story fails to note that he ran against an equally bald guy, Adlai Stevenson, not once but twice! Since Eisenhower, we’ve elected two presidents with visibly receded hairlines: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
Never underestimate a doctor’s subtle marketing pitch.
I’m bald, and I don’t hide that alleged malady. I’m also gainfully employed and have been for most of the last 20 years, during which I’ve gotten progressively less hirsute. I’ve been hired – and not hired — by people with full heads of hair and people with shinier pates than mine.
So what’s the matter with hiring the follically-challenged? Nothing. In fact, I would argue that they have these distinct advantages in the job market:
- Less chance of a "bad hair" moment in an important meeting with a client. Most bald guys don’t need to look in the mirror to check their hair before entering the meeting room. They might ask a shoe-shine guy for a little buffing, though.
- You can trust a person who doesn’t hide anything. "Real" bald guys accept their, um, shortcoming, without covering it with toupees or plugs. (Take that, doc!) If they’re honest about their condition, assume they’re honest about anything (Nixon notwithstanding).
- Baldness is a sign of age, and age is a sign of wisdom. And wisdom comes from experience! If you’re looking for a seasoned professional to get the job done, keep this in mind.
If we were to believe all the statistics about who has the best chance of getting hired, you'd never see anyone bald in the workplace, nor anyone who wasn't tall, slim, beautiful, and youthful. Tell me … do all of your coworkers match that description?
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