Ah, but looks can be deceiving

Yesterday, I had a job interview. I got all dressed up in one of my “teacher outfits”, which made me feel like I actually look like a professional who maybe even sort of knows what she’s doing, and probably isn’t under 20. It definitely helps boost my confidence.

I had to be at school both before and after the interview, so I wore everything to school; it’s not much of a big deal to be dressed up at school, it’s assumed that you’re giving a presentation or have been assigned to go work in a classroom. Even at the Abbey it doesn’t gather much notice (we do, after all, live on church property, and a decent amount of people still like to come to church dressed nicely).

I picked up lunch while I was out, and was surprised at how I was treated completely differently than when I’m out with jeans and a sweater. As I sat in my parked car in front of Chico Junior High finishing my lunch, recapping the social interactions in my head, I wondered if the people walking by my car would smile so brightly at me if I looked different. Say, maybe a middle aged man sitting out on the street? Especially in front of a school, I have a feeling the reception wouldn’t have been nearly as friendly.

And while it feels nice when I get the good end of that situation, I wonder how it must feel for some of the people who get judged because of their tattoos, piercings, ragged clothes, or disheveled appearance. The couple we have staying with us right now just got out of jail, and both have a decent amount of tattoos, but they are by far the most pleasant guests we’ve had.

As I got home and talked with one of them, I thought about how my interview might have gone significantly differently if I’d had to check yes to any of the questions about criminal convictions.

Sometimes I forget that, even as a college kid, I still have a lot of privilege that many other people don’t. And I don’t just mean world-wide, comparing us to another country; I mean in comparison with people right here literally in our own backyard.

I’m not sure that there’s much I can do to really change that. I know it sounds cliche, but I guess the place to start is with myself and the assumptions that I allow myself to have about people. That may not help someone get a job, but being accepted is a start.

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