Friday, 24 September 2010

Today's Non-Story

Haley O'Neil, 23, (pictured) was upset by a Job centre plus employee advisor asking her, "Who would hire you looking like that?"  She said she was also advised to 'stand behind a wall' or to 'put a paper bag over your face'.

Haley, who also has 20 body piercings, said she felt so humiliated.

"I said I could take the piercings out but they look a lot worse when they are out."

"He talked to me as though I was just going through a phase in my life but this is my lifestyle choice and this is who I am."

There's an old saying 'sometimes the truth hurts'.



Smoking Hot said...

Wow, actual real advice from a Job Centre ... must be a first.

Indyanhat said...

So they didn't trawl through receptionist jobs at tatoo and piercing parlours then? They always were a bunch of t.....'s, Hi Rosie!!!

George Laird said...

Dear Subrosa

Last night I saw a piece on This Week on the importance of dress by people in politics.

The consensus was that ordinary working class people expected politicians (and I include activists) to look smart.

So, here is a story.

At an SNP branch meeting, an SNP Organiser wanted to bring in a dress code for certain events and activities.

Shirt and tie for canvassing and certain high viz meet the public events.

This was rejected by the list SNP MSP and backed up by his pal a Glasgow SNP Councillor.

In the last 5 years, the SNP fighting in that area came last twice and 6th out of 10 in the last 3 first past the post elections out of all the SNP Groups in Glasgow.

The worst SNP record in Glasgow!

When the Organiser was asked to do work regarding an idea to boost activist participation he sent it to the SNP MSP in four days, outline his idea on one piece of A4 and asking for feedback.

How long did it take for the SNP MSP to provide the feedback?

A week? Two weeks? Three weeks?

The correct answer is never.

The organiser was held in such contempt by the Glasgow List MSP that he never even got an acknowledgement of the email, never mind the feedback.

After nine weeks the SNP Organiser stepped down because the promises given to him by certain people in terms of training, support and resources were never honoured.

Not one organisational meeting was held despite the SNP Organiser repeatedly asking for these issues to be addressed.

In the five weeks since the organiser stepped down the branch hasn’t been able to find anyone to be the new organiser and no member stepped forward at the last SNP branch meeting.

The MSP will have to pin his hopes on the Glasgow Listings which are published next week.

And if he doesn’t get a high enough ranking, he will be putting on a shirt and tie when he goes to future job interviews because as we know teaching jobs are getting tight!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Alec said...

>> Haley, who also has 20 body piercings, said she felt so humiliated.

Just hammering home the point.

Clarinda said...

I'm not surprised that this multi-pierced young woman cannot find a job - she will be quite rusty?

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

Yep, her lifestyle choice is to be unemployed and her feelings were hurt by the suggestion she should work.

Demetrius said...

Has she ever thought of going into debt collecting?

BTS said...

The guy at the job centre is useless.

Firstly, that wouldn't be tolerated in the private sector. Under no circumstances can that be said to be polite or even constructive*. It was rude. In the private sector there is competition for whatever 'business' is available and she could take hers elsewhere, but when dealing with the government there is no alternative. She can go elsewhere to look for work of course, but not to sign on. And, whatever ones views on the benefit system are, she does have every right to do so (assuming that she is fit and looking for work).

More importantly to those not directly involved however, is the fact that he is obviously crap at his job. And we are paying for him to be crap. Even were one to assume that she could not be employed in any job which involved face to face contact with the public (barring Indyanhat's sage suggestion of course) then he seems to have forgotten every single job which doesn't involve direct contact with one's customers.

And to top it off? He doesn't just waste our money by not doing his job but he then essentially signs her off indefinitely. He's just told her she's incapable of getting a job, made no serious suggestion of how to improve her prospects and then sent her packing. And it makes no difference whether she is a hard-working and diligent individual who is desperate to find work of any kind merely to fund her preferred pastime of knitting teddy bears for the children in the local hospital's cancer ward or whether she is some Daily Mail-esque thieving scrounger who is stealing money which would be otherwise used to cure aids in babies to feed her scag habit. Either way he's failing to do his job - in the first instance by doing sod all to provide any useful assistance to a willing potential member of the workforce and in the second by giving the supposedly thieving bitch a free pass. Lose-lose however one cuts it.

*Constructive could, under the circumstances, be stretched to include the question, 'Have you ever thought about God? Because there are some members of some religions who believe that their God has some pretty er.. bizarre views on what women can wear in public and they're always looking for new members..'

Derek said...

I find it a sad reflection from various quarters that this item has drawn support and derision of both Haley and the interviewer.

Sad for Haley, because whilst seeking to 'be' somebody she has resorted to inserting metal studs in places other than generally recognised beauty points, such as ears for ear-rings. Whilst in some parts of the world many and various are the attitudes and attachments of beauty, in the West body piercings and tatoos are mostly adopted by those wishing to 'stand out' or seem to be anything but part of natural life - we were not born with metallic implants or tatoos - (hopefully we will not be in the future, though some would wish it) even though at times some such adornments may appear to be most artistic. But beauty and art are in the eye of the beholder. If you dare to be different, expect some flack.

From the point of view of the interviewer making comments as are reported, that person needs some stiff education in people management. Such comments may be thought, but should never have be expressed in such a manner, they are personal insults.

It is nothing new though. I have been myself made to feel insignificant and inadequate by an interviewer who wanted nothing more than to deliver a blow to the psychology of a new employee, and show a display of arrogance and the power of his position. That was 45yrs ago.

As that person needs educating, so too does Haley need to examine her desire to be 'different', when clearly for many, the visual shock of meeting a pin cushioned painted lady is enough to take their minds off of any subject in hand - unless in a tattoo parlour or circus ticket booth.

If one wants to be accepted, or simply taken for what they are, it is done more effectively if one appears to be themselves without the ink and metal. If one does not want to be accepted, and willfully displays such adornments - get a tougher mental outlook - you're going to need it.

Hayley looks to have a good facial structure, well shaped lips and kind eyes, despite the unsure of herself look as pictured. She doesn't need adornments, she needs encouragement to emphasise her natural features rather than add attachments.

Indyanhat said...

Spot on observation there BTW, have done a little post to 'follow' on from this Rosie and linked back to you from it.

I am curious too know who you would employ people, Hayley or someone in full Burkha/niquab, so if you have the time and inclination pop over and leave a comment

Interesting little conundrum methinks!

William said...

The full article has Haley admitting that the interviewer actually said 'on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?' I think it is legitimate feedback on dressing appropriately for interviews and potential employers. He's tried to make a joke of it and perhaps went too far but I don't think he needs to be executed for it. If she was being honest - which she isn't - she would acknowledge the guy was simply trying to do his job and trying to offer some advice which she would do well to try and take on board.

I wonder what she will look like when she's 75. The mind boggles.

subrosa said...

No job offer though Smoking Hot. Pity the article didn't give Haley's qualifications and what type of work she preferred.

subrosa said...

Hi Indyan.

Auch there are plenty jobs which don't involve being the public face of an organisation. Just depends what capabilities she had.

subrosa said...

George, I was talking to friends from Warwickshire last night (tories) and they were saying the collar and tie is definitely coming back down their way. Even the liberal candidate wears one when on duties meeting the public - and the greens.

subrosa said...

You have Alec, you have. :)

subrosa said...

Auch Clarinda, why can't I be as witty as you? Certainly made me smile.

subrosa said...

I can't see why her feelings were hurt when she must know, at the age of 23, that facial piercings aren't appreciated by most of the population Buckingham.

subrosa said...

Oh Demetrius, you'll have to get together with Clarinda. The pair of you could have a wonderful satirical blog.

Joe Public said...

BAA security were going to offer her a job, but withdrew it when she set the alarms off at her interview.

Richard said...

She has the perfect right to look as she wishes to. And employers have the perfect right not to employ her. That's the reality, and what the JC adviser was trying to say, albeit a little clumsily.

subrosa said...

BTS, I agree he wasn't professional in some ways, but at times some of us feel the truth is better than the lie.

But of course she could be employable in certain areas. I'm sure she didn't want to be a TV presenter. Then again...

subrosa said...

I see your view Derek and agree it is sad. Back in the 60s many of us dressed 'inappropriately' according to our parents, but we didn't mutilate ourselves this this lassie.

She's quite bonny and to do that to herself is quite extraordinary. Surely she knows about piercings and tattoos at her age?

subrosa said...

En route Indyan.

subrosa said...

I actually agree with your comment William and see it as the common sense of the article.

75? She'll look strange at 60.

subrosa said...

Yes she does Richard, but she shouldn't take offence when someone tells her she's not suitable for a particular job. We don't know the type of work she wanted of course.

Macheath said...

She said she was also advised to 'stand behind a wall' or to 'put a paper bag over your face'.

At least according to the Telegraph headline, which used the terms 'told' and 'advised'.

However, the paper then quoted her as saying,

"He said: ' look at it this way if you were to stand behind a wall - or put a paper bag over your face do you think you would have a better chance?' "

As William pointed out, the advisor was asking her a hypothetical question - that she took it literally is obvious from her reaction. This was obviously one of those situations where rhetoric is best avoided.

Incidentally, she was accompanied to the interview by her mother, who managed to put her oar in as well.

Surreptitious Evil said...

Well, I couldn't give her a job. None of my clients would take her seriously. To extend the point, I have a colleague who joined the TA and was required to lose his ponytail - he was amazed how much extra and more senior work he got as a result. No change in competence, attitude or even dress (non)sense. Just a haircut.

@George Laird
"The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University"

Wow, that's a real "eats shoots and leaves" footer (I typo'd 'shotts' there too - :) ). Just how narrow is your campaign? Just asking as a GU lecturer!

BTS said...

I would say that Richard has it correctly, but that the chap was more than a little clumsy. I'm really not too fussed as to why she chooses to adorn herself in such a fashion nor even that her feelings were hurt, more that he displayed a lack of professionalism when such an ability is the very least that is expected of him.

William claims that 'on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?' is a reasonable question and I can understand why, but I would suggest that it isn't. It is a closed question with a yes or no answer. It doesn't lead to any further discussion about what jobs she may be looking for and how and why she may, or may not, be suitable. His job is to help her find a job. If he'd included the word 'why' it would have been valid whilst making a point. Besides, even if one thinks of that as a legitimate question, his follow-up comments were not.

It seems to be the consensus that she is facing something of a handicap in the job market, albeit self-inflicted, but that just means that she will probably have to try harder to get a job. Telling her not to bother when your job is to do the opposite seems rather counterproductive to me.

And although I can understand the interest as to her job preferences SR, unless you have further sources to refer to, we can only speculate and that really won't solve anything. I think it's fair to say that if she were looking for work as a supermodel, the word 'diet' may crop up somewhere in the conversation, but asking for it to be swiftly followed by a few suggestions regarding current local vacancies to help her get by whilst she's getting in trim isn't too much to ask is it?

Myself, I'm curious as to how she's supported herself up to the age of 23, but then I didn't interview her.

It is perfectly fair to say that she ought to expect some comment in general regarding her style, but not in such a manner and not from a public servant.

I wouldn't have given a damn if she'd left the place with a couple of phone numbers (or even a few pointers to brighten up her CV) but that doesn't appear to be so.

subrosa said...

I didn't realise she was accompanied by her mother Macheath. That didn't do her much good I shouldn't think.

subrosa said...

We all like to be 'different' when young SE, but by the age of 23 most have grown up and acquired adult values.

subrosa said...

I've never heard of anyone ever exiting a job centre and considering the visit was worth while BTS. That's the real problem.

Staff have boxes to tick. This man I presume had to discuss appearance and did it with such stupidity he created more of a problem for himself and his client.

I don't have further resources to refer to BTS and you're right, speculation doesn't achieve anything.

BTS said...

'I've never heard of anyone ever exiting a job centre and considering the visit was worth while BTS. That's the real problem.'

Too true.

Tried it once.



Still feel dirty..

Never again.

Thanks for the discussion. Good night.

Leg-iron said...

Well, at least she's trying to get a job.

Although presumably not in a magnet factory.

subrosa said...

Thank you BTS for the discussion.

subrosa said...

I don't know LI. She could be employed in quality control surely. ;)

Dark Lochnagar said...

I as going to get my willy pierced, but not after that!

subrosa said...

I should think not DL. It could well deflate your ego. :)

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