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Having a Beard in the Modern Work Place

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To beard, or not to beard. That is the question.

You’ll find more beards in the boardroom than ever before. The last few years have sparked a resurgence of beards in the work place. As a society, we have broken away from our father’s generation of ties, briefcases, and clean-shaven faces. We’ve traded in our suits for a more rustic outdoorsmen look of beards and plaid.

Personally, I’ve run the gambit of male facial hair, from baby face, to full mountain man, to permanent five o’clock shadow. But how does this make me look as a professional in the modern work place? Do I have to shave before my job interview? Is my beard holding me back?

Short answer… No. You don’t have to go clean-shaven. Beards left for a while, but now they’re back.

A Beard, A Beard! My Kingdom for a Beard!

The titans have beards again. In the early 1800’s it wasn’t uncommon to have a beard and still be considered one of the pioneers of your industry. In fact, looking at the epic beards from our past, there is a strong correlation between having facial hair and being a non-conformist who wasn’t a corporate drone. Such prominent bearded men as Henry Clay Frick, Jay Gould, and Collis Potter Huntington sported manly facial locks as well as commanded immense business empires in their respective fields.

Beards only disappeared in the early 20th century due to their correlation with political unrest. Luckily, the beard hibernation was not long. The 21st century has redefined the beard, and brought it back to the office.

The Taming of the Beard

Silicon Valley leads in tech and beards. Over the past ten years we’ve seen more and more CEOs starting to rock the beard. From Saleforce’s Marc Benioff, to Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, beards are breaking back into the work place.

What started as subtle stubble has grown in to well groomed manes. With younger CEOs leading companies, well-maintained beards have added a much needed sense of maturity to these new entrepreneurs.

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.” – William Shakespeare

So should you branch out and showcase your facial hair growing abilities? Or play it safe and keep that baby face?

Be Not Afraid of Beards: Some Are Born With Beards, Some Achieve Beards, and Some Have Beards Thrust Upon Them

It depends. If you’re going to an interview and don’t know if you should keep your beard or shave… shave.

Not everyone can grow a full beard, and not everyone should. An ill-groomed beard can be distracting and taken as sloppy. As a general rule, trimmed is the new shaven.

Having a beard won’t hold you back professionally, or keep you from getting hired, but looking like a disheveled wildebeest might. If you do choose to grow a beard in the work place you should take pride in your appearance. Make it look like your beard is on purpose.