Culture, Identity, Justice, Religion

More about Jews + Day Jobs

From a friend:
As for not hiring you…dude…think about it…a big professional firm needs to look professional. Big bushy frum beards don’t portray that image. Granted, we aren’t suits, etc….but it is business casual. Beards are out of fashion in the professional world. Not to say you wouldn’t get the job…but it’s the equivalent of showing up in jeans and a t-shirt.
You know — when Brando* was cast in Streetcar Named Desire, they told him he had to grow three days’ worth of stubble. He refused because he said it’d make him look trashy. He said, “I’ll act the stubble.” And, so the story goes, he did.
I guess that’s how I’ve been in the business world. Three-piece suit, tie in the straightest Windsor you ever did see, and my wedding shoes, and I’m set. I wasn’t getting jobs when I first moved here, and I thought that was why, and then it turned out the companies I applied to just weren’t getting jobs — 2 out of 3 of them went out of business. My new temp company is great. They’re like “you can type fast, and you look good” and that’s all they need.
Yeeah…I look good.
In Chicago, people are much more upfront about staring at you when you’re obviously Jewish — I haven’t been around that in a while. Everyone’s so whitebread and middle-American. I thought I was losing it, “it” meaning whatever I had, and then today this dude in a bar was like “Are you a Jew? I thought that was what y’all look like!” and everyone started becoming friends with me. I didn’t pay for a drink for 2 hours straight.
* edited — & many thanks to Shlomo.

6 thoughts on “More about Jews + Day Jobs

  1. I am apparently going to the wrong bars in Chicago. To your point though, I feel like people do stare at me for my kippah more than I ever could have imagined. It has been fairly eye opening (especially compared to coming from NY). Also, people assume that I am the end all authority on all halakhic decisions. Huh.

  2. I am not a kipah wearing Jew, nor is my family, but growing up in Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Oregon and parts of California (and Seattle, come to think of it) I was also the authority on all Jewish issues.
    Moving to NYC has been a bit of a shock, no longer being an expert at much. Or at least being surrounded by lots more experts on any given topic, Jewish or otherwise, at any given time.
    Point being, I hear ya. Urban Jews gotta get out of the city more. It would do wonders for their sense of self-empowerment. The organized Jewish community can’t follow you out there.

  3. Shlomo — you’re totally right! and I am a dork! I’m going to hang my head in shame & go edit it now, not that I believe in revisionist history, but because it’s a Positive Learning Experience.

  4. That Brando story sounds apocryphal to me. Without even getting into Lee Strasberg – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Brando in films where he wore stubble.
    Just saying.

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