To Dye Or Not To Dye

A friend sent me this article “To dye or not to dye” by Cheryl Howard.  I’ve put a copy below.  It’s about dying your hair in preparation for a job interview.  It’s a well written article but think about this.  My sister started her family at age 40 with twins.  She’s younger than me but her hair was grey even before the twins arrived.  She stopped dying it when she was pregnant and no longer colors it.  People often comment to her that it’s nice she can spend time with her grandkids.  Ouch!  And, this comment doesn’t come from younger people. 

So, think about the image you want to present in an interview.  Dye or no dye, an up-to-date haircut and glasses (if you wear them) can make a world of difference.  If you do decide to dye your hair, get expert help.  Here’s what Patricia, co-owner and hairstylist at Salon Eau told me about grey hair:  Your hair and your complexion go lighter as we age.  So dying your hair your natural hair color may not work anymore. Grey hair is actually hair without color.  To get a dye to take hold, the colorist must damage the hair shaft with harsh chemicals to get the color to stick.  Even when done professionally, your new dye job will only last 2 to 3 weeks if you have short hair.  Patricia recommends that you invest in a great, up-to-date hairstyle instead of an increasingly expensive dye job. Above all, I recommend that you do what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.  

Here’s the article: 

I was discussing an upcoming job interview when a friend kindly suggested that I prepare for it by dying my hair.

I am nowhere near the age to qualify for Denny’s senior menu, but I do have some silver strands on my brunette head. I’ve brought the subject up to various job seekers. One and all bristled at the idea that we should be compelled to change our appearance to overcome some subtle bigotry.

Career advisors invoke an image reminiscent of an invasion, where hordes of youthful, vibrant workers are streaming from their universities to compete against us older folks for a dwindling number of jobs. They imply we would be on more even footing if we looked younger.

Putting that imagery aside for the moment, a friend of mine looked for a human resources role for six months with no results. Then she dyed her hair from silver to blonde, and she had an offer three weeks later. She doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. Yes, I did say human resources, and I do see the irony.

The pressure isn’t just because I’m a woman, either. A colleague said he was advised to airbrush his image in Photoshop to look a bit less “worn,” shall we say.

But the tide may be changing. According to a survey by Watson Wyatt, workers ages 50–64 are postponing retirement. Although the average planned retirement age for all employees is 65 years old, half of those surveyed plan to retire at age 66 or later.

Their reasoning is sound: 76 percent cite a decline in 401(k) value, 63 percent the high cost of health care, and 62 percent higher prices for basic necessities. While the youthful horde might be lining up for interviews, the so-called silver generation is not marching quietly out the back door. 

I have no wish to be a young pup again. Those lines around my eyes are from years of laughter as I brought energy to a struggling office. I developed furrows on my forehead from successfully managing declining budgets and increasing workloads. My hands, not as smooth as they once were, have shaken thousands of hands, taken countless photos, designed hundreds of posters and pamphlets.

Most of all, companies need us older folks to teach the next generation. Technology has changed how we contact one another but not why we do so. We have the experience to establish communication with purpose, not just empty air. We also have the wisdom to value continuous learning.

If I dye my hair, it will be because I make a great redhead, and I find the silvery glint on my head distracting. However, if I’m supposed to dye my hair as an apology for actively living my life, then I refuse. 

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