Saturday, August 14, 2010

Going comfortably gray and interviewing at 46

Initially as an austerity measure I stopped coloring my hair. Plus the reality of all those chemicals grew nightmarish. Why was I paying big buck for organic produce when I was smearing god knows what toxins on my head!?

Not that I am saying no one should. I loved my hot red head hair-do for years and faithfully dumped hundreds of dollars on it every 6 weeks or so. But those red hot days are far behind and for me it just seemed "been there, done that".

So I quit cold turkey, ignored the ghastly roots for a good year then got a happening short hair cut and decided I liked the gray. Right now it is, how they say, salt & pepper and sometimes it shimmers like threads of silver and I think, "Not bad. Gray hair doesn't have to equal geezer."

But as I go out into the job market after 10 years, I briefly wondered if I should try and do a bit of "youth-ercising". Does that mean covering up the gray?

I just don't want to go there again. I did buy new interview duds and even briefly toyed with the idea of a little makeup (gasp) but the hair-do is staying gray. I have decided it is a badge of honor and proof of all those lessons learned.

At 46, I feel I am squeaking right in there before full blown age discrimination sets in (or perhaps I show my naivety).

I tentatively begin the "informational interview" circuit and generally people are really amazingly generous with their time and contacts. All you have to do is ask nicely and perhaps buy them a coffee. I humbly try to impress, thank them profusely as I optimistically think about the seeds sown.

I scour job listings, brush up and re-write my resume, try and bang out a stand out cover letter and start sending them out.

Much to my surprise! I got a bite!

Thankfully I manage to not be as nervous at the interview as I have been in the past. Maybe it is the acquired life skills or just being able to read people better or the fact that I have nudged up against much bigger issues over the years but somehow it puts an 1/2 hour sit and chit into a more appropriate perspective.

As I look across the conference table at what would be my new supervisor, I see a sweet young gal a good 15+ years my junior. She looks at me with warmth and interest, not yet "chewed up and spit out", not having acquired that crusty veneer of cynicism.

I really like that about youth and I realize that I would like to work with this girl. So I did my darndest to "connect" and ended up getting called back for a 2nd interview which was more relaxed and friendly and informal.

It sort of feels right but I don't want to jinx it and only wait to see if I get the final nod.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gray I bet looks great on you. Take it from a true red head who had gone gray and yes follicly challenged:)

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