Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hair and the Workplace

During the summer I usually wear my hair in braids. Braids give my hair a break from relaxers and is a great way to deal with the DC humidity. I just took down my traditional style of braids. I have been debating on getting cornrows to tide me over until my birthday when I'll get the standard [read: more acceptable] style.

The problem with cornrows is that some people see them as "street" "hood" or "ghetto." Basically most professionals don't see them fitting into the workplace dress code. I worry what my Caucasian conservative coworkers will think or say. They are the type that would compliment you to your face but will talk to your boss behind your back. Then your boss will pull you in their office for a "talk." Believe me. It's happened before.

It is disappointing that we still have uncertainty about wearing ethnic hairstyles in the workplace. My sister recently had to cut her beautiful dreadlocks [locs] for a job. Now this was in California (everyone has locs in DC-I'm guessing this would not happen in DC) however in 2012 locs are STILL unacceptable/unprofessional? My sister kept her locs neatly maintained. This job she accepted believes that anyone who is a manager or works in customer service must be clean shaven and have "neat" hair. My first reaction was to tell my sister to pass on the job offer but who can really afford to do that in this economy? What would you do? Are we moving towards a more conservative society as far as the dress code in the workplace?

I call it the Mad Men affect. Suits, pantyhose, pumps, skirts are making a comeback. Soon Afros, braids, locs, natural "ethnic" looking hair will be on the outs. It will not be a direct assault. It will be more like peer pressuring you into conformity.

In the end I decided to style my hair cornrowed halfway back (meaning they stop at my ears instead of going to the back of my head by my neck). It was a compromise. (I won't conform just yet). I can curl the loose hair in the back and make it professional. I can't afford to lose a good job in this economy!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Anxiety is a bitch. I think people see it as some current "new aged" problem. Something doctors made up to prescribed pills. In the past few years I have a begun to admit that I have anxiety. It's hard for me because I always thought that it was just me "being me" or that everyone worried like I did. Who knew everyone doesn't have panic attacks??

Recently, I retook the Praxis test (the test to become a teacher). I have extreme test anxiety. I always tell people I don't really need to study or I'm not very good at studying. However that isn't exactly true. Basically if I start studying early that starts my obsessing. I worry, panic, stress, every single time I think about the test. I mean EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I just KNOW I will fail. I imagine and believe the worse. Thankfully my anxiety doesn't stop me from performing although I fear the day it will.

Before the test I start to slide right into a panic attack. It's not unusual or completely unexpected. Years of counseling has taught me a myriad of coping techniques. I refuse to go on meds. Either I'm in denial or I don't really need them yet. I started doing visualization and deep breathing. I know it sounds stupid but once you control the biological reactions you can try start to control the mind. It works enough to prevent full blown panic attack.

The test went okay. If I did perform well, I would still feel like I performed horribly. I pray that I passed so at least I don't have to do it again. It took me at least 4 days AFTER the test to  stop feeling the pressure from it. I'll know the results in 4 weeks. Until then I'll be practicing my breathing techniques!

 PS- I guess I should include a PSA about anxiety being different for everyone. There are many different types of anxiety. It is important to see your health care professional.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We almost bought a timeshare

Jay and I "won" a vacation to Massanutten. It was one of those congratulations you won now please come listen to our timeshare presentation. We needed a vacation and I was sincerely interested in the timeshare because my family had one growing up and that is how we were able to afford fabulous vacations. The place was huge and pretty rustic. They kept describing the place as luxury resort- um no- not by my standards. Call me bougie. We had dinner at their signature restaurant. The food was decent if not boring; the service was excellent. We stayed in the resorts hotel. It was definitely not close to anything we saw online. It was rundown, old, stinky,cheap, out-of-the-way, and very disappointing.

The next day we went to the timeshare presentation. This was my first one but I've heard stories. I assumed we would be listening to some salesman in a room with other couples - I might have preferred that. Instead we were introduced to our salesman (Mike? Joe? David)who was assigned just to us. He was nice but I hate salesmen and I already decided he was going to have to work really hard to gain my attention and trust. Plus I read every review of this resort and timeshare offering. I knew they were going to be pushy. Basically our guide took us around the resort in his personal car. It was long  and annoying. We couldn't just get out of his car mid-presentation and say we're not interested. Could we? Did I mention that at the end of the presentation we were promised a $200 gift card along with a voucher for another free trip? Also, I should mention he freaked out when I pulled my cell phone out to look up information. "Because this is a presentation we ask that you don't use your cell phones."  WTF?

 I felt like we were fish, he was baiting us, to reel in later. When we finally got back to the office (read: huge room full of tables where salesmen make their final pitches. Where the music is turned up loud enough so you can't hear people at the table next to you). We finally talked numbers. To be honest I was interested. I think they could sense it. It was like blood in the water. I was worn down, hungry and tired- we started at 12:30pm it was a little after 4pm when we returned to the office.  

The offers were awesome (and kept getting better after the first and second NO) but I kept thinking it's silly to buy a timeshare when we don't own a home yet. It's silly to buy a timeshare in a place we'll probably never return to. The biggest appeal to me was the ability to transfer your weeks to other places. So we said no. We kept saying no. After a hour (if you're keeping track- about 5pm). They finally released us. We finally got to pick up our gift card! We wasted almost a full day! I was pissed. The famous Waterpark that this resort was known for was closing at 8 and was going to be closed the following day. We didn't make it to the waterpark.

The next day- our last full day- I wanted to make the most of our trip. We decided to go fishing. Something I've never done! So we fished. It was fun. I'm not a girly-girl but I just couldn't put that worm on the hook. I made Jay do it! He ended up catching three fish to my two. We also went miniature golfing. This was probably the most boring mini golf course I had ever been on. I- normally a stickler for the rules- just goofed off and didn't bother keeping score. 

Overall we had a relaxing time. I enjoyed spending time with my husband away from the day-to-day. I'm not a outdoorsy time of girl or a cold weather type of girl otherwise I might consider going back. Of course I'd rent one other those really nice rooms.