Far out Friday: Facial hair for the facially aware

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Ahh, beards. Beautiful, bouncy, bodacious beards. Seems every male hipster over the age of 14 is sporting one – and the trend appears to be seeping into the corporate realm as well, with the likes of Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak flaunting facial fuzz. But is it ok for advisers to go unshaved at work outside of Movember? (Lady advisers, please feel free to weigh in on this).

While some professionals, like fire-fighters and chefs, aren’t encouraged to – or are outright banned from – growing facial hair, there’s no obvious health and safety risk for loan writers wanting to sprout a ‘stache’.

Some employers continue to consider a bearded look unprofessional, and it's not unheard of for company policy to forbid beards (though this has caused some controversy when it comes into conflict with an employee's religious beliefs). Others say it depends upon the culture of an organisation – and that the tone is usually set by the highest-ranked man in the company.

As a rule of thumb for beards at work, J. Scott Omelianuk, co-author of Things a Man Should Know says:

  • Look around – At the most conservative companies, it isn’t a question of finding an appropriate look: Any beard at all is probably a lousy idea.
  • Get a second opinion – Don’t make the decision alone.
  • Keep It Simple – When the decision has been made to keep the hair, Omelianuk says it should be well-kempt and trimmed.
  • Cut! Omelianuk thinks it’s best for individuals to go without until they’re professionally established – unless the direction comes from the top.

Finally, in case you’re still having a tough time figuring out when to say when, you should definitely not be able to do this with your facial hair:

Share your beard habits below. Does the look work for you?

  • Jim M on 29/08/2013 11:38:56 AM

    According to research - the general public will trust a clean shaven person more than they will trust someone with facial hair. Therefore, if you work in sales, you are more likely to be trusted (and make more sales) if you are clean shaven. Oh - and if you think that (as an adviser) you don't work in sales - think again ;-)

  • JM on 23/08/2013 11:42:47 AM

    Ridiculous article.
    Written by somebody who cannot sprout whiskers I'm guessing.
    Men have beards.
    That is all..

  • Paul S on 23/08/2013 10:52:53 AM

    My clients would not recognise me without my moustache & beard.

    My Face
    My Choice
    My Business

    Be an individual (a well groomed one) don't be a corporate clone.

  • Eric Taylor, CPA on 23/08/2013 9:54:44 AM

    As a 60 year-old member of CPA Australia, a Fellow of the IPA, a Chartered Tax Adviser & a registered tax agent & SMSF Auditor, it is with pleasure that I can announce that I have been happy with my hirsute facial adornment for over 50% of my life. Never have I had an issue with client nor any of my employers. If anyone feels an issue, then the issue is their & it is a personality issue.

    ps. I did shave it off once, many years ago. The wife said get it back :-)

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