David Thompson
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October 20, 2014

Comments

rjmadden

Foresight is an oppressive bourgeois construct.

David

Foresight is an oppressive bourgeois construct.

And on top of his new-found ability to repel employers, Mr Clark will also have to contend with being considered a lightweight in terms of facial modification. I mean, you can hardly call yourself hardcore until you’ve got a lip plate, a cheek hole, and ultra-massive hoops with optional beer can enhancement.

Minnow

It's a clue, I think, as to why British industry has struggled to cope in the modern era. We are still largely managed by people for whom the right appearance and background matter more than ability or productivity and for many this seems natural and even right. It's a pity, but things can change.

David

This guy, on the other hand, is totally rocking it.

Nikw211

After seven unsuccessful job interviews, 24-year-old Luke Clark began to think something other than his CV was playing havoc with his job prospects.

I note that thanks to the Guardian's exemplary journalistic standards, we are not actually told *what* jobs Luke Clark has been applying for or, given that as a 24 year-old graduate, whether or not it really *is* his CV that is lacking in the experience and skills the employers are looking for and that's for reason why he doesn't have a job yet.

Still, I suppose some will raise the argument that if you can interview and employ a woman wearing a niqab or burqa, why not a guy with handles for ears?

Joan

a cheek hole,

That's not going to end well.

Anna

Clark had begun stretching his lobes at university

That.

Minnow

"Still, I suppose some will raise the argument that if you can interview and employ a woman wearing a niqab or burqa, why not a guy with handles for ears? "

I will if nobody else wants to. If you decide not to interview a woman in a niqab just because eh is in a niqab you may be missing the best candidate. Foolish. Same goes for ears we may not like. This is the thing with social authoritarianism: it ends up biting you in the arse.

Connor

Out: bourgeois norms that help get you a job.
In: anti-bourgeois norms that get you shown the door.

Progress!

Jimmy

I will if nobody else wants to. If you decide not to interview a woman in a niqab just because eh is in a niqab you may be missing the best candidate. Foolish. Same goes for ears we may not like. This is the thing with social authoritarianism: it ends up biting you in the arse.

Minnow, are you trying to be ironic?

Ian

"It's a clue, I think, as to why British industry has struggled to cope in the modern era. We are still largely managed by people for whom the right appearance and background matter more than ability or productivity and for many this seems natural and even right. It's a pity, but things can change."

Pfft. And where do you work exactly?
I'm so productive and able that I can wear this t-shirt to work every day:

http://tinyurl.com/kkw3tuk

What's more, the boss has a tattoo of a spider web on his neck, and we're ok with that. You should see his productivity levels!

It's all ok because we're at the forefront of British industry, so we can stick two fingers up to those bourgeois squares!

If your workspace seems stuffy in compaison, have faith: I'm sure our enlightened stance will become ever more commonplace throughout the UK. British Industry demands it, after all.

David

This is the thing with social authoritarianism: it ends up biting you in the arse.

But is it socially authoritarian? Our ear-stretching hipsters - our non-conformist conformists - are, after all, free to look clownish and narcissistic, and thereby fit in with their peers. Their ears are still their own. Just as potential employers are free to make judgments based on (among other things) what they see during the interview, and what that may imply about the person sitting there. Is that more authoritarian than, say, insisting that other people should be forced to employ you regardless of how you choose to present yourself, and regardless of how that chosen appearance might affect the employer’s customers and the image of their business?

I’ve no wish to prevent people looking pretentious or silly, but the scenario above is a transaction with two parties and (maybe) wider considerations, at least for one of those parties. Basically, why choose to do something that is likely to make one’s chances of being hired slimmer, perhaps very slim indeed, and then complain about being rejected in favour of someone else? Why prioritise ostentatious ear-stretching - a fairly frivolous expression of vanity and transient fashion - above something rather more important, like getting a job and earning a living?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - We are still largely managed by people for whom the right appearance and background matter more than ability or productivity and for many this seems natural and even right.

I agree with you!

I've always gotten by because I look good in a tailored suit, know the latest corporate buzzwords, am able to hold my drink and feign interest in golf, and shamelessly exploit the girls in my team by taking full credit for their work, while blaming them for any failures.

If you sound like you know what you're talking about, say everything with absolute authority and conviction even when you only have a hazy idea of what's going on, people follow you. It's brilliant.

I do final round interviews for my company after HR has supposedly weeded out the dross. Heh. I can say with pride that nobody with piercings, weird hair, visible tattoos, or anything else like that has ever gotten past me. I also discriminate against fat people, because they're lazy and I don't want to look at them.

I do not discriminate on the basis of race or sex. I want good looking, sharply dressed, enthusiastic young people of any background in my team. If they happen to be female and gorgeous, all the better.

Once I was on holiday and in my absence they hired a 20 stone goth woman. Happily, she didn't last long.

Your mistake is assuming that appearances don't matter. They matter a lot! Most of life is acting. If you don't look the part, you can't play the part. Would you trust the Prime Minister if he turned up in Parliament dressed in a gorilla costume? Of course not.

What would customers think if they came to our office and were assailed by the sight of a freakish collection of oddballs and uglies? We're running a business here, not a casting call for Star Wars.

The only people who I tolerate relaxing the rules for are IT guys. They're mostly aspergers types so you can't expect them to be presentable. And they live in the server room anyway, where they can't spook my girls. Never go into the server room, it reeks of involuntary celibacy, Doritos and despair.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

"If you decide not to interview a woman in a niqab just because eh is in a niqab you may be missing the best candidate."

I had one of those a couple of years ago. It was quite a surprise when she came in to the room!

I wasn't sure how that would have gone down on the sales floor. It's a very politically incorrect environment with lots of banter and jokey innuendo flying about.

She wasn't the best candidate though, not by a long chalk. So that one solved itself.

Minnow

"But is it socially authoritarian? "

Yes, the urge to punish or exclude people because of the way they dress is socially authoritarian. There is a constant push back of course, over time, and what seemed outlandish a generation ago (hair over the tops of his ears!) will seem mundane in the next? But what a waste of energy and talent in the meantime.

"Is that more authoritarian than, say, insisting that other people should be forced to employ you regardless of how you choose to present yourself, and regardless of how that chosen appearance might affect the employer’s customers and the image of their business?"

I suppose the obvious test there is legislation to prevent racial discrimination by employers or discrimination against gay men and women. How you feel about that will probably be a fairly good guide I reckon.

"Why prioritise ostentatious ear-stretching - a fairly frivolous expression of vanity and transient fashion - above something rather more important, like getting a job and earning a living?"

Because there is a moment in life for some people when they are young, impetuous, and not yet thinking about pleasing employers and climbing the corporate ladder? Maybe it would be better if they didn't have to pay for that forever? maybe employers might find some of those people as good or better employees that the ultra-conformists who have dreamt of nothing but sitting on the finance committee since the age of 14?

Lancastrian Oik

"The true eccentric is now the individual happy to be ordinary and out of the limelight"- Peter Whittle, Look At Me- Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - "the urge to punish or exclude people because of the way they dress is socially authoritarian"

Hmm.

I see it as quality control.

A chap decides to get a bone through his nose, then expects me to hire him?

Quite apart from the aesthetic trauma of having to look at him every day, I'd be left wondering what else he might do? What if he decided to sacrifice a chicken on the photocopier? What if he chose to get devil horns implanted in his head? What if he was some sort of environmentalist nutter, and wanted us to turn off the heating in winter? Or complained about the Christmas party being offensive to Wiccans or something?

Sorry, it's not going to happen. Not on my watch.

David

I suppose the obvious test there is legislation to prevent racial discrimination by employers or discrimination against gay men and women.

A typically sly conflation of quite different things.

Yes, the urge to punish or exclude people because of the way they dress is socially authoritarian.

You beg the question. I shouldn’t imagine many potential employers have time to spare indulging any theoretical urge to “punish” job applicants based on their lobe expanders (or neck tattoos or whatever). Most likely they’re just trying to find the most acceptable employee before a deadline or before they die of boredom. And if their definition of acceptable entails not looking like a fashion victim, then that’s just how it rolls. And yet if you poke through the Observer comments, you’ll find a number of people whose tacit assumption seems to be that everyone is entitled to a job – entitled to be hired – regardless of how they present themselves to an employer (and, perhaps, to her customers).

In practice, sifting through potential employees is often a chore and a risky endeavour. A significant chunk of time and money is being staked on the person who gets picked. Mr Elongated Lobes may think he looks fabulous but he’s entering a world – the job market – in which other people exist and have their own priorities - and who have to thin the pool of applicants one way or another. Mr Lobes’ bold fashion statement may well act against his ambitions, perhaps decisively. Given that reality – which you’d think most adults would comprehend - the question remains. Why make the chances of being employed slimmer? Is it wise, and is it something to reward?

Lancastrian Oik

I suppose the obvious test there is legislation to prevent racial discrimination by employers or discrimination against gay men and women. How you feel about that will probably be a fairly good guide I reckon.

Such legislation does not force employers to employ any given individual; it merely requires that they do not discriminate on the basis of certain criteria. Probably the only people who turn cartwheels with joy when presented with further statutory anti-discriminatory requirements which affect the workplace are HR types ("Whoopee- more empire building!") and solicitors and barristers who specialise in that area. And if any future Employment Bill contains provisions relating to the mandatory discounting of Masaai earlobes, facial tattooing or extreme tongue modification when interviewing for a new receptionist then I believe we will have definitely fallen down the rabbit hole.

Which probably means I fail your 'test'.

WTP

The obvious solution is for some enterprising individual to hire all these prominently qualified rouges and rapscallions and form the most awesomest corporate powerhouse operation, taking over all industry and finance.

Odd that given the copious supply of material this doesn't happen. There's been plenty of instructional material available free on TV and in the movies. Odd.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RagtagBunchOfMisfits

Of course even in the instructional material, some change is required. Perhaps that's the key.

Minnow

"A typically sly conflation of quite different things."

They are different but similar enough to be enlightening.

Minnow

"A chap decides to get a bone through his nose, then expects me to hire him?"

Not 'expects' so much as 'wants' I should think. And if you decide that you would rather choose your candidate based on the nose decoration rather than the ability of the candidate, you will eventually pay the price in poorer performance. That is the snobbery tax. It has been paid by British industry for decades.

David

Of course it’s possible that Mr Elongated Lobes is a good candidate for that accountancy job or vacancy at M&S, maybe better than the applicants whose ears are unremarkable, even dull. But in the world of mainstream job-hunting - where ostentatious body modification is rarely regarded as signalling enthusiastic competence - the person doing the sifting of applicants may not have the time or inclination to fathom this. Faced with several candidates that seem roughly equal in potential, visual clues may prove decisive. And after a day of staring at CVs, the person doing the shortlisting may look over the desk and see a guy who’s overly concerned with displaying his edginess, has made at least one rather obvious poor decision and as a result looks a bit of a tit.

Though if the job in question values edginess and tittery, well, huzzah.

Ian

There should be a quota system: at least, say, 7.5% of the workforce should have flesh tunnels.

That ought to counteract the British snobbery tax.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - And if you decide that you would rather choose your candidate based on the nose decoration rather than the ability of the candidate, you will eventually pay the price in poorer performance.

Well, by the time they get to me, most candidates (I'd guesstimate about 80% or 90%) are much of a muchness.

The other 10 or 20% are either outstanding and get me very excited, or they're hopeless and make me wonder if HR are yanking my chain. Like one guy hoping to get a sales job who boasted to me - boasted, mind - that he just loves helping customers and could spend days sorting out their problems even if it wouldn't earn him any money.

So in most cases there's not much to choose between candidates. Therefore, why not filter out the ones who don't look the part?

That is the snobbery tax. It has been paid by British industry for decades.

Compared to who? The Americans? The Germans? The Japs? In my experience their corporate culture is more conformist than ours. Where is this corporate wonderland where blue-haired, horned people with forked tongues are creating something of value?

bilbaoboy

I have, in my career (yeah it's all anecdotal), selected for our own firm and we have collaborated in thousands of selection processes for clients. I want somebody to tick all the boxes. I have yet to have a friki (as they are known here), tick all the boxes. Lots of others haven't either (more than all the frikis I have ever seen), but not a single friki has.

Rampant body odour (sorry, poor personal care), dirty clothes, and the one we have here, desire to visually shock has (obviously purely coincidentally) also coincided with; bad questions (what time do we go home?), lack of qualification, lousy timekeeping, lack of experience, poor communication skills, total lack of basic respect during interview, clear incapacity to do the job, an attitude problem (yes we can detect these things)... All these things are far more important than the frikiness, but, dammit, so often one or the other coincide with frikiness.

I must be unlucky, but I have never had a friki as the best candidate (I don't rule out that I am a total scumbag and allowing my prejudices to get the better of me). As I tell my kids, there is a lot of competition out there and I am not in the business of giving the benefit of the doubt. I have yet to find a spec which says visible tattoos and piercing are fundamental or a plus. Could happen, but hasn't yet. There are jobs where a mild frikiness is a plus. Generally I'm not involved; certain NGOs, social network companies...

As somebody said, in IT, sometines they tolerate frikis, but even then they (the people who pay our bills) prefer somebody who turns up smart casual and only calls attention to themselves due to the quality of their work. Scruffy is not friki incidentally. There are jobs where not being smart is no hassle.

If the friki ever turns out to be the best candidate (from the Guardian and Minnow's info something much more common in the UK) I would, of course, present him or her to the client. Up to them to choose. I would also warn them about the 'issue' if I felt it was relevant to them.

BO on the farm might not be important, but in reception in a small office?

Nikw211

So what kind of people decide to get body modification anyways?

Well, according to one source:

    Body modification is a subculture where individuals engage in body art practices which threaten the social order in their ‘celebration of grotesque’ and their ‘refusal of orderliness and social control’ (Pitt 2003, p. 41)

Hmm, ‘refusal of orderliness and social control’ - well that sounds like a surefire winner with a prospective employer. The source continues:

    There are various discourses at play in the broader cultural understanding of body modification practices such as pathologisation, deviance, and ultimately depoliticisation via capitalist appropriation. Individuals who engage in these practices both employ and contest various dominant discourses.

Can't possibly imagine why wearing those particular political opinions on your ears like that might count against someone trying to get a place on a graduate training scheme at KPMG.

You can't expect to dismiss mainstream of society for being soulless wage slaves then turn round and complain that those same people keep you at arm's length.

The young man either needs to de-modify his ears or start looking for jobs in places where that kind of body modification is seen as a bonus - say, a tattoo and piercing parlour.

Minnow

" the person doing the sifting of applicants may not have the time or inclination to fathom this."

That is true (with the emphasis heavily on the 'inclination') and, in fact, there is lots of research that shows interviewers tend to be looking for people as much as possible like themselves, even if only subconsciously. This is why legislation against racial and sexual discrimination is so important, not just for justice but because looking deeper and wider is actually better for business.

Minnow

"So what kind of people decide to get body modification anyways?"

You mean apart from nearly all women? I would say mostly young people.

Dr Cromarty

They are different but similar enough to be enlightening.

No, they are not.

Earlobe elongation, piercings, facial tattooing are all choices meant to signal something. They are a conscious choice to signal something. Race is not a choice and discrimation is rightly outlawed on the basis of race. You are conflating to build a straw man.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

bilbaoboy - the 20 stone goth woman they hired when I was away?

She was meant to be a project manager.

Let me tell you the ways in which she was awful:

* She was a goth
* She was 20 stone, but dressed in tight black goth clothes
* Her fat face was caked in pale makeup, which was unpleasant to look at
* She had a terrible attitude - always complaining and arguing
* She was off sick at least once a fortnight
* She breathed like an obese bulldog
* She sucked the fun out of the office, like a fat cloud of misery, because she took offense at everything
* Customers hated her

Now, sure, not all frikis are like that. Maybe. But I suspect most of them are.

Our aspergery IT guys mainly have aspergery IT guy characteristics - poor personal grooming, visible ear hair, either an inability to look you in the eye or verbal diarrhoea about subjects nobody cares about, a certain painful thirstiness about them when they're allowed near the girls in customer services, which creeps out the girls.

But half ton goth made them look like model professionals.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - interviewers tend to be looking for people as much as possible like themselves

Not true.

I am not a busty blonde, for example.

Minnow

"Earlobe elongation, piercings, facial tattooing are all choices meant to signal something. They are a conscious choice to signal something. Race is not a choice and discrimination is rightly outlawed on the basis of race. You are conflating to build a straw man."

I said they were similar not the same. And they are. Are you suggesting that if people chose to be not-white it would be legitimate to discriminate against them? Sounds a bit mad to me. And it makes me wonder what you would do about the Jews, because they could convert. Aren't they Jews on purpose?

Nikw211

You mean apart from nearly all women? I would say mostly young people.

Sorry, can I refer to the story at the top of this thread - the one that concerns the young man that is actually under discussion?

"Nearly all women" (in the West, certainly) do not have ear piercings that look like this.

That is the topic of the discussion, not earrings or pierced ears.

Minnow

""Nearly all women" (in the West, certainly) do not have ear piercings that look like this."

No, but they nearly all have body modifications. I don't see on what basis you are deciding which are the right, permissible kind and which are the wrong kind, so it just looks like old fashioned prejudice.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - Are you suggesting that if people chose to be not-white it would be legitimate to discriminate against them?

Yes, it would be fine.

If somebody decided to get negroplasty I'd be happy to not let him marry my daughter.

Bart

"It's a clue, I think, as to why British industry has struggled to cope in the modern era"

A clue is something you appear to be conspicuously lacking:

"Britain is expected to be the fastest growing major economy in the developed world this year, expanding at more than twice the pace of Germany and eight times the pace of France"

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2788541/european-stock-markets-tumble-fears-deepen-eurozone-s-woes-poor-global-economy-outlook.html

"This is the thing with social authoritarianism: it ends up biting you in the arse"

If you turned up for an interview at the Guardian wearing a UKIP t-shirt, you'd be lucky to get through the front gate, and their finances are a total shambles. So yeah, that seems to check out.

Minnow

"If somebody decided to get negroplasty I'd be happy to not let him marry my daughter."

I impressed that you have such an easily led daughter.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

On the subject of body modification and negroplasty, my childhood heroes - Richard Rowntree, Mr. T, Darth Vader - were black.

I don't want to be black, but I do feel a special affinity for cats.

They are beautiful, mysterious, independent, playful, and sleep 16 hours a day.

I would like to be a cat.

If they had kittyplasty, would I be justified in expecting my employers to supply me with a litter tray and somewhere warm to sleep, and perhaps a laser pointer to amuse me?

Would I be right to ask them and clients to address me as Chairman Miaow?

Would I be justified in expressing my displeasure at long meetings by hissing and then scratching Sharon from Accounts?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - I only have sons at the moment, but I'd get a daughter just so I could forbid her from marrying a guy who had negroplasty. Then I'd laugh and drink mineral water made from the righteous tears of the oppressed.

Dr Cromarty

I said they were similar not the same. And they are. Are you suggesting that if people chose to be not-white it would be legitimate to discriminate against them? Sounds a bit mad to me. And it makes me wonder what you would do about the Jews, because they could convert. Aren't they Jews on purpose?

That's the whole point. The reason we don't discriminate on the basis of race is because it is non-voluntary. You can't choose to be non-white. That's the whole point. Unless you're thinking of Ali G, which isn't the serious basis of an argument. The number of Jewish converts is small and Judaism is defined by matrilineal descent, so your example is not a good one.

Does getting things arseways round come naturally or do you practice?

Nikw211

Oh, Minnow, you are a card.

Here was my point:

    A young man who adopts a particular look that demonstrates an anti-social attitude to the mainstream of society begins to wonder whether or not this might be what is having an adverse effect on his chances of getting a job with a company - a company, by it's very name, being a social organisation regardless of what business it's in. Adopting a fashion associated with anti-social attitudes may well be unhelpful.

Here, as far as I can tell, is what you appear to think is a rebuttal:

    You must be a racist!!! Because … Well, dammit because, you just muse be one!!

As it happens, its fortunate for me that you referred to this prejudice as old fashioned because the crux of this discussion, I would say, is fashion.

Fashion, by it's nature, communicates various things about the wearer. Having body modifications of that sort, ear plugs and so on, communicates a certain degree of contempt for the world of many employers through it's association with a rejection of mainstream social values.

Would you, for example, register surprise or not if you were recruiting someone for a job in an office who came to the interview wearing jeans, trainers and a Hong Kong Phooey T-Shirt?

As I said previously, body-modification fashion is good in some contexts - a tattoo and piercing parlour for example - but it is potentially more problematic in other types of work places.

That's fashion for you.

bilbaoboy

Minnow - interviewers tend to be looking for people as much as possible like themselves

Not even a generalisation, just an unjustified smear.

Wouldn't last a week if I did that. And all the headhunters and personnel selection agenices and temporary work organisations are staffed by people far more professional than you seem to think. We can (and do) get it wrong. But there is slightly more objectivity than you would like to believe. Or maybe in the UK they are all crap. I do remember one brother going for an interview for a job he didn't really want and the interviewer asked what car he aspired to. My brother didn't drive but he said some long bonneted sports car and the interviewer made a comment about penis envy. My brother nearly pissed himself laughing, but obviously the interviewer was not a pro.

Minnow

"That's the whole point. The reason we don't discriminate on the basis of race is because it is non-voluntary. "

No it isn't. As I pointed out, if it were voluntary it would still be wrong. or do you disagree? If it were possible for black people to (safely) 'whiten' themselves, should they be expected to to please employers?

"The number of Jewish converts is small and Judaism is defined by matrilineal descent, so your example is not a good one."

Numbers are hardly the point, but what I was getting at is that Jews can choose to convert to non-Jews. I think you are arguing that since they can, it is reasonable to discriminate against those that choose not to.

Minnow

"I don't want to be black, but I do feel a special affinity for cats. They are beautiful, mysterious, independent, playful, and sleep 16 hours a day. I would like to be a cat. If they had kittyplasty ..."

Fill your boots:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/dennis-avner-dead-cat-man-1435103

Rob

I wonder what chances a candidate would have at the Guardian if he let slip that he had a discreet tattoo of the English flag on his arm. None whatsoever I imagine, regardless of whether he was the best candidate or not.

Anyway, we are told we need quotas to ensure 'fair' representation of women, etc in industry (e.g. In boardrooms), regardless of whether they are the best for the job. On balance, I wonder what will cause the most lost productivity - compulsory women in boardrooms or not employing men with abnormally long self-stretched earlobes?

Minnow

"Having body modifications of that sort, ear plugs and so on, communicates a certain degree of contempt for the world of many employers through it's association with a rejection of mainstream social values."

Are you sure? This isn't true in my experience. Why not ask instead of making such broad generalisations. Perhaps in an interview? For a job. Not that 'mainstream social values' is a very clear category. Do you mean mainstream in Clacton or Hampstead?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - If it were possible for black people to (safely) 'whiten' themselves, should they be expected to to please employers?

No because it would look weird. They'd still have afro hair.

Sure they could dye their hair. But who wants to look at a ginger afro?

Thanks for the link on tiger man. Poor bugger. He didn't even look like a tiger.

Minnow

"No because it would look weird. They'd still have afro hair."

You mean they would look Jewish?

http://tinyurl.com/l7wgmwo

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - sort of, tho when I saw that picture my first thought was "twat" rather than "jew".

Nikw211

Are you sure?

Fairly sure, yes.

Why not ask …?

Maybe, I will - but why don't you answer my question first?:

    Would you, for example, register surprise or not if you were recruiting someone for a job in an office who came to the interview wearing jeans, trainers and a Hong Kong Phooey T-Shirt?
Minnow

"Would you, for example, register surprise or not if you were recruiting someone for a job in an office who came to the interview wearing jeans, trainers and a Hong Kong Phooey T-Shirt?"

Is this really a pressing question? Yes, I would register surprise. I might ask him why he had turned out like that too.

Dr Cromarty

Numbers are hardly the point, but what I was getting at is that Jews can choose to convert to non-Jews. I think you are arguing that since they can, it is reasonable to discriminate against those that choose not to.

Some rabbinical schools would differ with your view. I take it you think you know better than a rabbinical court who is a Jew of not.

Minnow

"Some rabbinical schools would differ with your view. I take it you think you know better than a rabbinical court who is a Jew of not."

I think you are dodging the point. If a Jew could stop being a Jew (as the Spanish Inquisition amongst many others has believed), should an employer be entitled to demand it? If not, your entire argument collapses it seems to me.

Lancastrian Oik

Why not ask instead of making such broad generalisations(sic)

Broad generalisations such as the ones you've made throughout?

That cat-bloke who topped himself- he kind of proves Steve2's point. There would probably be a job for earlobe-stretcher Luke Clark in IT if only the poor bugger knew how to code.

svh

I think you are dodging the point.

Wow. Irony overload.

Minnow

"That cat-bloke who topped himself- he kind of proves Steve2's point."

Because non-pierced, non-tattooed men in business suits never make an early appointment with unknowing?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Minnow - there is good discrimination and bad discrimination.

Here's a ready reckoner I use:

Bad discrimination -
Race
Sex
Religion
Sexual orientation

Good discrimination -
Fat people
Unattractive people
Bad attitude
Body modifications / weird people
Ability
Age
Can't speak English properly

Nikw211

Yes, I would register surprise. I might ask him why he had turned out like that too.

Well, to slightly adapt an earlier comment appearing in this thread:

    I don't see on what basis you are deciding which are the right, permissible kind [of clothes to wear] and which are the wrong kind, so it just looks like old fashioned prejudice.

Of course, you do say that you would enquire to find out why – but that begs the further question that – bearing in mind we are talking about an office job here – what answer could the candidate possibly give that would satisfy you that they would be suitable to fill the post?

Do tell.

Henry

I think the same person just said

We are still largely managed by people for whom the right appearance and background matter more than ability or productivity

and

Why not ask instead of making such broad generalisations

Anyway my irony-ometer broke

Minnow

"I don't see on what basis you are deciding which are the right, permissible kind [of clothes to wear] and which are the wrong kind, so it just looks like old fashioned prejudice."

Surprise isn't a value judgement. I don't think you have thought this through.

Nikw211

Surprise isn't a value judgement.

Then wherefore the surprise?

If no judgement is made, no evaluation of marked / unmarked; normative / deviant etc. then why the surprise?

I don't think you have thought this through.

Anyway, I'm off to the pub - enjoy your evening.

David

In case the original point of the discussion has been lost in the thrilling to-and-fro, here’s a brief recap for newcomers. Mr Clark has chosen to make a statement by deliberately stretching and deforming his ear lobes - to the point where a jar of instant coffee could almost fit through the holes. Is he right to feel wronged when, during job interviews, potential employers notice - and find inappropriate - the statement that he’s chosen to make?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

David - Well, I'm torn.

On the one hand, there are questions of standards in the workplace, the employer's concerns with what message the appearance of staff communicates to customers, and the natural human yuck factor.

On the other, tattooed, modified hand, we have minnow's argument, which I may summarise as:

you don't like weird ear stretchers so... something something... you're a Jew-hater and a racist.

It's an ethical pickle.

bilbaoboy

I'm getting into the spirit of things...

There is an Helf an Sayfty issue here.

A loopy earlobe could easily get caught up on equipment, machinery, somebody's pen as they walk past etc.

Whose fault would it be?

Can I see opportunities for claims here?

Away with you you loopy-lobed candidate. Too risky for me!

Dr Cromarty

Minnow

I think you are dodging the point. If a Jew could stop being a Jew (as the Spanish Inquisition amongst many others has believed), should an employer be entitled to demand it?

A Jew can't stop being a Jew if it's through matrilineal descent, which the Beth Din would confirm. The employer could not demand the Jew becomes a non-Jew as it would be impossible and would anyway be illegal if a condition of employment. Your argument is silly, shallow sophistry. Just as it always is.

dicentra

Anyone stupid enough to permanently disfigure his own body because it makes him look "cool" to his peers is a moron, by definition, and morons make bad employees.

Bitty fish, your protestations are as hollow as they are predictable. Those kinds of fashion statements scream "I haven't grown up yet! I'm still rebelling against daddy!"

Which, that's exactly what the disfigurements are INTENDED to communicate; it's not prejudice on my part. How we choose to adorn ourselves is a message to the rest of the crowd, so don't get all snippy if your choice communicates exactly what it was meant to communicate.

Furthermore, the reason that tribal folks adopted disfigurements such as lip plates and brass neck rings was to make themselves undesirable to slave traders, IOW, useless to those who wanted laborers.

And the shallow hipsters who adopt those same "fashion statements" are surprised that it has the same effect?

Again, morons, and therefore bad hires.

He dicho.

Sam Duncan

This thread's so long I didn't read it all, and I've just noticed that David has made the same point I was about to, about three comments up. But to recap:

Why do they tell us they're wearing odd clothes, or mutilating themselves? “To make a statement”, right? e.g., “I'm, like, a total rebel who doesn't care about the bourgeois conventions of the man, man”.

So someone hears that statement and decides that the person making it may not be the best candidate to be a bank clerk or a policeman or whatever, doesn't hire him, and he gets all upset.

But someone in a suit and tie is making a statement too. He's saying, “You want someone who'll slot into this business without any trouble and do the job you ask? I'm your man”. Tough decision, eh?

Hal

Hmmph.

Aside from Minnow totally missing the point---no surprise there---that article also totally misses the point, and thus actually isn't worth any of the commentary . . .

---Aside from mebbe haranguing on the Observer missing the point, and I'll settle for the easy punchline of Who observes the Observer? . . .

After seven unsuccessful job interviews, . . .


For. Bloody. What. Sort. Of. Work.?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!


A number of years ago---and the fellow was last heard having moved to Mexico, so I have no idea what he's been up to recently---there was a computer admin community leader, quite successful businessman, professional I.T., where among all his other regular successes, he had the regular business of strolling into a company that was having ongoing computer issues. He would interview from top to bottom. He would assess from one end to another what the company needed. He would then design and build a complete new set of computers---if needed--a complete change of operating systems, assorted software running on them, reset all sorts of procedures . . . . and at no time would the company shut down or otherwise alter what the company did, as the entire company was migrated over to the all new and much better systems . . . .

Oh, by the way, as a rather minor issue, he also had a hobby of how many new rings he could add as piercings to his ears and other parts of his head . . .

Now, as David has noted at some point in that wall o' text up there, if Mr. Clark was applying to be a body double for the Prince Of Wales . . . or any other related position . . . well, gee, I couldn't get that one---I'm told the accent wanders in and out, and my ears are more pointed than elephantine and haven't been perforated, but particularly I have the family history established rather bald scalp.

Of the fellow in the Army that the Observer story tells of, beards breaking breathing mask seals are a reason that fire fighters have a definite tendency to not have beards.

But we're not told that Mr. Clarke is trying for some Army or fire fighting position, or what he's trying for at all . . . . . . .

All in all at best, the article provides an excellent example of Hitchcock's McGuffin . . but that's about it . . .

Rafi

Mr Clark has chosen to make a statement by deliberately stretching and deforming his ear lobes - to the point where a jar of instant coffee could almost fit through the holes.

Or a fairly big pepper mill.

dicentra

If a Jew could stop being a Jew (as the Spanish Inquisition amongst many others has believed)

Oh, this is a good one.

The Spanish Inquisition (wholly unexpected) was a political thing, not religious or ethnic. Forcing the conversos to abandon their rites was to solve the loyalty problem, los Reyes Católicos having just expelled the Moors from Granada.

Isabella wanted to ensure that every soul in Christian Spain was foursquare behind her and Fernando. Because Jews are always being suspected of dual loyalties, the Inquisition sought to "un-Jew" them to bring them into line with the New Bosses.

But even the Inquisitors didn't believe that their physical Jewish lineage was snuffed out, else they might have attempted exsanguination to "cure" their badthink.

Dr Cromarty

Edith Stein converted and became a Carmelite nun. She was still Jewish enough for the nazis to gas her in Auschwitz.

Hal

And now that I've read through the wall of text rather than just skimmed . . .

Lancastrian Oik: Look At Me- Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain

Hmmmmm . . . . That looks interesting. Thank you for the reference! I'll have to add that to my collection.

Dr Cromarty: Does getting things arseways round come naturally or do you practice?

Oh, as far as we can tell, he practices on us.

R. Sherman

I have told my children that those kind of fashion choices tell the world you don't want a corner office at IBM.

SteveS

If somebody decided to get negroplasty...

Negroplasty. I had no idea they can do this now. I'm glad I live in the 21st century. It truly is an age of Miracle and Wonder

Jacob

Or a fairly big pepper mill.

Or a 50cl water bottle.

Connor

Or a 50cl water bottle.

Or vacuum cleaner attachments.

David Gillies

Why can't I refuse to hire black people, or lesbians, or crusties with huge holes in their lugs? I can see why I shouldn't refuse to hire people based on spurious criteria like this, because a) it's an unpleasant thing to do and b) it's counterproductive to discriminate on such things which may have no bearing on the person's ability to do the job. But why should it be a matter of law? Why is bigotry not merely immoral, but illegal?

Friday Night Smoke

I'm someone with quite a lot of visible piercings; and I have never had any problems finding work. This is largely because I have demonstrable skills, and also because I have avoided applying for positions in organisations run by appearance-driven wankers.
Nowadays it is me who does the employing, and I employ people with skills; with almost no regard for appearance. I do however have the luxury of operating in an entirely unglamourous industry, where my customers want tangible benefits and not a shiny-suited salesman in a leased base-spec Audi.

ac1

2 examples of sexism.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-16/women-dislike-having-female-bosses-more-than-men-do

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/390425/students-transgender-woman-cant-be-diversity-officer-because-shes-white-man-now

Kevin B

Slightly OT here, but I note that Minnow is usually refered to as he. Do we know this for a fact or is it guesswork?

I ask because whenever I read one of Minnows comments I always assume it's from a woman. Something about the style of argument screams female to me.

Now this is undoubtedly horribly sexist, but in my defence I'm quite old now and was brought up in simpler times. And I also have three sisters, a (sadly late) mother and (briefly) a wife,

wtp

It once made reference to a wife, but perhaps I was wrong in deriving anything from such. Reads much more like a man to me, be it a worthless one. One who probably derives much pleasure in the resulting speculation.

Simen Thoresen

Look! A nutcracker!

http://www.jwz.org/blog/2014/10/not-quite-sure-i-get-what-this-piece-is-going-for/

Hugs,
-S

David

Friday Night Smoke,

and also because I have avoided applying for positions in organisations run by appearance-driven wankers.

And the chaps who spend years stretching their ears to look something like this, thereby drawing attention to their imagined rebelliousness - they aren’t and could never be “appearance-driven wankers”?

Interesting theory.

Diesel Drinker

24 year old Mr Clark needs to get some perspective. I've had considerably more than just seven interviews without getting the job at the end of it. I have many years of experience, the correct qualifications, and much extra curricular and community activities to gain even more transferable skills, and a perfectly neutral business like appearance, and I'm still not being successful. Once he reaches 100 interviews for jobs where his appearance is appropriate, perhaps he will then have reason to complain.

TDK

There is a constant push back of course, over time, and what seemed outlandish a generation ago (hair over the tops of his ears!) will seem mundane in the next? But what a waste of energy and talent in the meantime.

This is a curious statement from Minnow. Here he is explicitly recognising that society has a means of correcting itself without Guardian readers having to write stupid articles let alone pass laws. Good man. Now pass on the message to your comrades.

dicentra

I first assumed that Minnow was female as well.

SO passive-aggressive, but I guess the castrati on the Left ape Their Betters to prevent further detachment of precious organs.

So sad.

bilbaoboy

Kevin B

I know exactly what you mean. When I saw Minnow referred to as a man, it surprised me.

I am male, 3 brothers and no sisters but a wife and daughter (sons as well but nobody is perfect)

Friday Night Smoke

David,
Of course there is a limit. I haven't done anything 'irreversible' as that gentleman has and I would strongly advise people against that.
Also for the avoidance of doubt, I consider that who someone chooses to employ, and for what reasons, are their own damn business. That does not stop me from having an opinion on the excessively strict policies of some employers, though.

Henry

I first assumed that Minnow was female as well. SO passive-aggressive

I ask because whenever I read one of Minnows comments I always assume it's from a woman. Something about the style of argument screams female to me

Yes lots of implications - leaving one to flounder about guessing whatever (s)he is talking about. But I too do passive aggressive sometimes, or maybe in my case it is the bland, annoyingly unruffled way I try to do it.

But I'm not sure. There's a certain obsessiveness about the theory - more a male thing if you ask me.

Anyway can I mention that when I argue with Minnow, the response is always an instantaneous reply to someone else's point. Mine always go unanswered by him/her. I don't mind, but it's a bit of a pattern, therefore interesting - to me at least.

David

Friday Night Smoke,

Of course there is a limit. I haven’t done anything ‘irreversible’ as that gentleman has and I would strongly advise people against that.

To be clear, I’ve no strong feeling about employers’ dress codes in general or how people choose to adorn their own anatomy, beyond noting a certain absurdity and neediness at the extremes. People can stick pins in their eyes if that’s what gets them hot - though they should think twice before complaining about employers being deterred by it. But it seemed important to recognise that people who indulge in ostentatious body modification are very much interested in their appearance and the effect it has on others. At least as much as the besuited “wankers” to which you refer.

JL

For me, Minnow comes across as some sort of experimental Turing-bot, armed with phrases like "you might not have thought this through". Like the HAL 9000, he is, for all practical purposes, "incapable of error".

Minnow

"I first assumed that Minnow was female as well. SO passive-aggressive"

This is 'passive aggressive' used in the special internet sense of 'not aggressive even when I am'. But I don't think I have said whether I am a man or a woman.Happy to be considered either.

Minnow

"The Spanish Inquisition (wholly unexpected) was a political thing, not religious or ethnic."

Snork. You mean 'not religious' in the sense that Isis is non-religious.

David

Oh, lord. This one’s going to run to several pages, isn’t it?

[ Reaches for coffee. ]

Jake Haye

I ask because whenever I read one of Minnows comments I always assume it's from a woman. Something about the style of argument screams female to me.
Kevin B | October 20, 2014 at 23:11

Glad somebody said it. IIRC Minnow said something about having an eng lit / humanities background, which is pretty strong evidence in itself, though I don't mean to suggest that it's a matter of much significance.

Nikw211

OT

But I don't think I have said whether I am a man or a woman.

Just for the record, you have actually, but it was ages ago. I apologised at the time for having previously referred to you as a 'she' after it transpired you are in fact a 'he'. (I forgot recently, referring to you as 'she')

Incidentally, I'd thought you were a 'she' because I could have sworn you'd once refereed to yourself using the phrase 'As a mother, I say X, Y, Z to my children' but that turned out to have been my memory playing me false.

I really don't think men or women are really any different to be honest, and certainly not when it comes to written discussions of this kind, so that it would be impossible to tell either way going only on the evidence of these comments.

Minnow

"I really don't think men or women are really any different to be honest, and certainly not when it comes to written discussions of this kind, so that it would be impossible to tell either way going only on the evidence of these comments."

We agree completely about something at last! I do get the impression tat some people on here think 'you are a girl' is a mortal insult, though.

svh

I do get the impression tat some people on here think 'you are a girl' is a mortal insult, though.

Names please.

Minnow

I'm sure you can spot the culprits SVH.

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