The Big Change: Social Reactions:
When I started writing about the big change to cut my long hair, I was focused on the physical reactions I would have and the psychological reactions and how to tailor both of those to create the future for myself that I wanted. focusing in on the change and how the change effected me. This has been something that has helped me grown in profound ways that I have shared already. The thing that caught me off guard was the social reactions that have arisen from this change. I knew that I would be treated a little differently by those that knew me and probably significantly differently by those that don’t know me. I did not expect the profound ripple effect that I had on the world directly around me.
The small changes in how people interacted with me where just what I expected and for those that already knew me, they were slight and disappeared into the background noise of life very quickly. The change in how people approach and talk to me has been a bit more noticeable. I have become more acceptable in the eyes of the normative culture and as such, more people are talking to be out of the blue and interacting with me on a more familiar level than they had when I had long hair. I am getting to see how the socially created snap judgments affect how people respond in their day to day lives. That has been fascinating to watch and all, but didn’t shake my expectations of the world around me.
The change that did shake that foundation was the social change that occurred in direct response to this change. I work for a long standing (over 100 years old), conservative company and have for a few years now. The change to cut my hair was catalyzed by the company. The long hair was against dress code and after two years, somebody finally decided to demand that the dress code be enforced. Since I had been thinking of making this change for many years now, I took it as a sign from the universe that it was time and walked into the change with joy and excitement instead of anger or annoyance.
A little over a week after I had cut my hair, I was once again called into my manager’s office and advised to remember that I was a trailblazer. As it turns out, the whole incident with my hair rippled up the chain to the director of human resources who decided that keeping good employees was more important than that part of the dress code. The dress code for the company now only defines that men’s hair be well groomed and doesn’t have the stipulation that it be cut so as not to touch the collar. Going one step further, they have allowed earrings in all employees as long as they are not gauges. Now, let’s really drive this change home as it was driven home for me. This company is over 100 years old, at this point and seen as a conservative company in the industry. To the point that just this past year they have allowed employees to wear jeans to work once a week. This isn’t a position where the employees are in front of the customer all the time, or even frequently, but we still could not wear jeans, even as recent as a year ago. Now it is only okay to wear jeans, once a week. My situation caused this change averse and steadfast company to make a massive change in the way they interact with their employees.
That change was completely unexpected in my world, but has become a symbol of the Fact that I can affect on the world around me. It has been an empowerment for me and will serve as a reminder of what I am capable of for years to come.