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To dye or not to dye graying locks?

by on
in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Aging is a fact of life, but these days you can find plenty of ways to conceal its harsher effects on our appearance. Should you take advantage of these techniques?

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum: “Someone in my office is considering having a little minor cosmetic surgery done, solely because she thinks there’s a little age discrimination always going on among co-workers, not just in hiring. She made such good points that I’m at least thinking of dressing ‘younger’ and dyeing my hair. Am I going too far to fight ageism? (And would I actually be part of the problem at that point?)”

Readers offered their take on the issue.

“If someone really wants to fire you based on your age, they’re not going to look at you, they’re going to look at the date of birth in your records,” a reader named Tracy wrote. “I really don’t think dyeing your hair and dressing differently would keep someone from getting rid of a person based on her age.”

A few readers agreed with Tracy’s take, but others said there really is something to dyeing your hair and taking other steps to appear younger.

“I don’t think you are going too far at all,” a reader named Mark wrote. “Age discrimination, whether overt or subconscious, is usually based more on what someone’s age appears to be, rather than someone looking up your age for the actual date.”

“I stopped hiding my gray hair and had trouble getting hired,” JoAnn Paules wrote. “I dyed it and got the next job I interviewed for. Coincidence or results? I do think it can make a difference on an interview, but I’m not sure if that is the case if someone already has a job. My advice is dye your hair if you really want to. Dress appropriately. Knock their socks off with your skills.”

Other readers put a focus on clothes and suggested a wardrobe review to make sure everything is up-to-date and professional looking.

“Professionalism is what you want to focus on,” Carole wrote. “Try to have your wardrobe to current styles … if you try to dress too young it’s going to make you look ridiculous.”

“Always look for professional help for your hair, skin and makeup, try on everything before you buy anything and consider a tailor if something doesn’t fit quite right,” Carol wrote. “If you are still unsure of what type of clothing to buy, then watch the TV program ‘What Not To Wear’ on TLC.”

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