||[Jun. 29th, 2007|09:56 am]
What conflicts have you had because of your lifestyle? Have you had to make any gothy sacrifices for your career/job, or is your workplace very accepting of who you are? Is your job oriented around anything gothy? Finally, what sort of job would you possibly enjoy having that incorporates things you enjoy such as the gothic subculture?|
I've never had issues with an employer because of my personal style. In high school I was a camp counselor, supermarket cashier, and an assistant in a law office. I could wear pretty much whatever I wanted to all of them, including the law office because it was my father's office. I had purple hair in the office and no one cared because I was just doing photocopies and filing and stuff. I did get yelled at once for wearing ripped up skater shorts and a cut up tshirt, but I deserved it.
In college I got an on-campus job at a tutoring center and was eventually promoted to management. Since it was on-campus at a very liberal university, I could wear whatever I wanted - torn concert Ts with big lacy skirts and docs, velvet gowns, you name it. Some of my supervisors even went out of their way to compliment my style.
However, my feelings about being the token goth in the workplace shifted around junior year. As a manager I felt like it wasn't fully appropriate to be wearing torn fishnets to meetings with the employees I was supervising. I also got a job as a teacher's assistant where I'd present lectures to the class, and I wanted their attention on my lecture and not my wardrobe. I took a summer job as a camp counselor in a very fiercely Italian neighborhood where yuppies were considered dangerous outsiders, nevermind goths! That was the first time I went out and purposefully bought denim skirts and colored tops. I didn't hide the dozen or so piercings in my ears and face, but I did dress much more "normal." The boss was awful and hassled us constantly anyway so I can't imagine what it would have been like if I came in gothed out everyday.
After that I really became a more serious student and wanted to focus on learning, not on being a one woman fashion show every day. I never felt discriminated against in the classroom due to my appearance, but I definitely felt stereotyped in an innocuous and expected way. With a septum and lip ring, no one assumed I was a serious student - I had to prove it to them. I got tired of having to fight against people's expectations. I started dressing a bit more "corporate goth" - still a lot of black, but much more subdued. Honestly it made me feel more comfortable not having to worry about endless "so are you a goth" type questions, whether they were being asked directly or silently.
Now I work in medical research coordinating stroke studies. I guess I dress pretty damn normal at work. I still think I look cute in my white eyelet skirt and polo shirt, even if I do blend in more and it's not something I'd choose to wear on the weekend. At this point in my life the last thing on my mind is losing or gaining goth points. I'd much rather be taken seriously at my job. At best, goths become the office in-joke, and some people are ok with that but I want the focus completely on my quality of work. My career is much more important to me than the goth scene, as I think it should be! I help run a goth night and am active in the scene, but for me it's a fun hobby, not something that necessarily has to bleed over into every aspect of my life.
In the future I hope to get my Ph.D. in Neuropsychology and work in a university conducting my own original research. At that point I'll probably be able to get away with a lot since hopefully I'd be running my own lab. But I'll still need to look like a doctor, so I don't know that I'll suddenly bust out the velvet and fishnets. All that said, it's amazing what a long lab coat can cover up :).