Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Schick's Depressing Lesson In Conformity

The Schick company spends a lot of money on their commercials, so I expect a lot of folks have seen the commercial where the razor appears to win a job for a young man. The scene opens with a young man sitting in a waiting room with a number of other men. They are all of similar age, all male, and all dressed in similar suits. The young featured is a bit nervous; obviously he's worried about his chances.

The men across from him seem a little nervous, but generally confident.

Suddenly, the young man jumps up and runs from the waiting room. Has he panicked and given up? For some reason, he feels the need to shave!

But he's not settling for getting rid of the goatee, he shaves off all the hair on his head. Apparently, it was really itchy?

For whatever reason, the young man is now confident. As the camera pulls back, we see for the first time a row of paintings of - apparently - current and past CEOs, all of whom are bald.

The young man is now confident that he has a decisive advantage.
After a few airings, I began to be annoyed by the commercial. At first it was because I don't know many companies with razors and shaving cream for sale in the lobby. Also, I seriously doubt you can use a.razor to shave off your hair without the help of scissors and a second mirror to make sure you don't miss some of the back and top of your head. I also can't imagine anyone shaving while wearing a suit, without getting any hair, water, or shaving cream on their clothes.
But the really big problem I have with the commercial, is the message that this guy had to shave off his beard and hair in order to fit in. That the business sells razors to help applicants shave off their hair only reinforces that rather dismal message. Seriously, I know it's just a commercial but I'd be a very poor professional if I judged an applicant for a position by how much they looked like the head of my company .. or how much they looked like me. Also, if the message is fitting into a culture, that too only goes so far. Frankly, I look for different skills, experience and personality for different roles, and in my opinion so long as someone is courteous and cordial, a perspective a bit different from mine is a plus. I would be more than a little uneasy with someone so lemming-like that they would drastically alter their appearance to look like me or my boss, in hopes of getting hired. I'd much prefer to see an individual, not a clone wanna-be.
We live in a world which demands we fit into molds and boxes. Sometimes that is necessary, but it's not the road to success, much less happiness. Know yourself, and learn to like that person. That's my suggestion.