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Will My Eyebrow Ring Hurt Me in Residency Interviews?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Notmyrealname, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. Notmyrealname

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    I'm about to start 4th year and am contemplating the fate of my eyebrow ring, which I have had for 8 years. I will be applying to Med-Peds programs; any thoughts on how much my facial piercing might hinder me from getting the program I want? It's a pretty subtle piece and I typically wear glasses so many folks say they don't notice it. However, one clerkship director made me take it out for a rotation last year....any thoughts would be helpful.
     
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  3. Solideliquid

    Solideliquid Members Only
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    We won't know for sure until we see some pics!
     
  4. Proton Dense

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    "Will by Eyebrow Ring Hurt Me in Residency Interviews"

    My honest opinion is Yes.
     
  5. TexasBoy

    TexasBoy You talkin' to me?
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    Yes, your eyebrow ring will hurt you. I'm surprised that it hasn't already.
     
  6. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    Are you serious? You will be wearing a suit and talking to doctors. Would you feel comfortable with an eyebrow ring in that situation? Do you plan to wear it when you practice?

    If you have to ask, well...you probably know the answer already. Better safe, conservative, etc. than sorry.
     
  7. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST
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    You've already had one person of power comment on it and make something happen. Just visualize the most conservative person you can, and assume that that is with whom you will interact. Extrapolate that to a negative on your application; after all, the interview is the great equalizer, and you will come out below.

    Now, common sense might argue as such: on one hand, eyebrow ring - on the other, the job you've worked for for years. Common sense would seem to prevail, but, if it doesn't, why would you even question it? And, if worst came to worst, take it out, get your spot, then sign your contract, make sure it's not in violation of dress codes at where you match (at Duke, for example, it would NOT be permitted), then put it back in.
     
  8. Proton Dense

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    Maybe you could just take it out for the interviews. Seriously, that stuff matters. The reason, as always, is complicated. You are always better with the conservative route especially when applying for residency.

    The reactions for sure will be varied, but you don't want any inkling of the feeling creeping in, "Will this resident give us trouble"

    Dumb residents they can handle, what they want least of all is trouble.
     
  9. lucky_deadman

    lucky_deadman Working Class Hero
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    Absofreakinlutely it will hinder you in interviews. Especially if you're even thinking of any of the "bible belt" or conservative areas for residency.
     
  10. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    A very large nose ring might distract them from the eyebrow.
     
  11. razorback58

    razorback58 Resident
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    Yes it will hurt you. I have had PD tell me how people would present for interviews and they were not impressed. Don't stand out....... don't look ulitmate GQ or Cosmo............standard dress and look. You can make your statement when you are finished with residency.

    I know a guy that was accepted for a surgical residency and he was ridden with tatoo's. They cut him from the program - don't know what excuse they made either.

    He had them up and and down his arms and legs.......

    To be a professional you have to live, act and look like one. People are judgemental. Once you get out of residency, it is up to you.
     
  12. PediBoneDoc

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    1st impression is everything. take it out. you not interviewing for rockstar wannabes reality show
     
  13. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD
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    It might hurt, depends on how hard you pull on it. :p
     
  14. Tired Pigeon

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    Is it not possible to remove it just for the interview?
     
  15. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    It will absolutely hurt you, at least to some degree. Like somebody already mentioned, if you have to ask, then ....

    Good grief people these are INTERVIEWS! This is the one moment in your life when you want to convey the BEST POSSIBLE image of yourself. They last only a of couple of hours. This is NOT the time for fashion statements. It is truly amazing that this needs to be explained. AFTER you get your spot, dress in whatever manner is allowed for your residency (mine is scrubs or better). Keep in mind then too that different attendings may again take issue with your appearance and this may negatively affect your residency evaluations if you choose an unprofessional standard. After you graduate and you have your own practice, dress or ornate yourself in whatever manner you desire. Then, it will be market forces (patients) that will determine as to what degree you can decorate yourself and still command an image of somebody they can trust.
     
  16. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    This should be on some sort of sticky or FAQ in Pre-Allo.

    If the OP had asked the question over there a bunch of people would have said, "leave it in! You wouldn't want to go to a program that would discriminate against you!"
     
  17. changeofheart77

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    The Peds program in our school is very conservative. Earrings must be less than 1 inch in diameter, no facial piercing, no unnatural nail polish....yadiyadiyada...Point is they say they are very concerned of what parents would think since you will be taking care of their child. Something to consider since you're doing Med-Peds.
     
  18. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    Sure, because after spending years taking classes you hate, doing ECs you aren't interested in, studying for the MCAT instead of going out to party, and becoming president of clubs with zero relevance whatsoever, why would you compromise on something as important as an ugly piece of jewelry?

    You're right, this should be in pre-allo.
     
  19. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    Ha ha ha ha. Well said.
     
  20. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Even if it didn't hurt you, it will NOT help you in any interview situation.

    While I sometimes liken the residency interview process to dating, in this case, you DON'T want to be yourself when you interview but rather be like the person interviewing you. Be the woman who pretends to love football when she dates a weekend quarterback...suprise him after he commits by proudly proclaiming your distaste for football/ring-less eyebrows!:D
     
  21. AutomaTron

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    I think you should get a nipple ring and wear a see through shirt and no bra. It might help. No to the eyebrow ring though. Nobody likes someone who is half ass.
     
  22. Notmyrealname

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    Wow! I didn't expect some of these response to be so harsh. I'm not a hard rocker, people, I just have a simple eyebrow ring. I am capable of dressing in a suit and being a professional with a small piece of jewelry in my eyebrow. Yes, I feel comfortable talking to doctors with it in all the time. Did you think I had somehow succeed this far without talking to people? Yes, one doc made me take it out; he also gave me honors for the rotation.

    I do get the point here though. I guess I should've stated my question somewhat differently: I don't want to misrepresent myself at interviews by not wearing it and then showing up w/ it for work. So, there doesn't to be much flexibility on this one....sounds like good-bye eyebrow ring. In case you're curious, this is what it looks like. Not a great close-up of it in either, but I assume PD's don't examine you THAT closely. Goodness only knows, after that tattoo story, maybe there is a strip search.
     
  23. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    I am a little surprised too...I can appreciate that medicine is a conservative field, and no it won't particularly help you at all -- I would never advise anyone to go out of their way to pierce their eyebrow for their interview. But I don't know...It really isn't the absolute craziest thing ever, either. You've gotten this far with it, and apparently only had an issue with it one time. We of course can't tell you (nor can you likely completely tell) how it's affected your performance and interactions otherwise -- have your evaluations been all right and patients all right dealing with you? Have other people mentioned it in a negative light besides the one attending? It sounds like it's usually worked out pretty well. Did you have it applying to med school or not yet?

    I don't disagree with a lot of what people are saying here -- get the wrong interviewer at the wrong program and you will be done before you open your mouth. But I think its far from universal...Only you can decide in the days leading up to the interview if it feels right and it's a chance you're willing to take. A lot of Med-Peds have been some of the nicest, laid back attendings I've ever met. There are plenty of times I think it'd be fine, or at least not the end of the world as it sounds here. I do agree that this will be VERY influenced by geography, so take that into consideration...

    Just as a general gauge for the sake of comparison, I do think that your eyebrow ring will hurt you considerably less than pierced ears would still hurt a male -- probably still a terrible idea almost anywhere you go, although I'm sure there are doctors around somewhere with them.
     
  24. Notmyrealname

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    I guess that was part of the shock factor in these posts for me; it really hasn't been a problem. I worked in an conservative, east coast academic medical center for 2 years prior to entering medical school and no one said a word. I did take it out for med school interviews but there was no problems when I showed up first year w/ it. 3 years of med school, almost the same, except for the one attending. I've received excellent evaluations and no comments on the low professionalism in general or the eyebrow ring in particular. I've done very well in clinical rotations. That being said, I'm in med school in AZ and things are decidedly less conservative than other areas of the country.
     
  25. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear
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    Question: If you took it out for med school interviews then why don't you want to take it out now?
     
  26. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    The distinct difference is in "working in an academic medical center [as a researcher/whatever]" and working in an academic medical center as a physician. The expectations for non-physicians are much less in terms of professional appearance than they are for allied medical, research and administrative types. I spent nearly ten years working in an academic medical center as a medical researcher before medical school and "got away" with lots of things physicians wouldn't: mini-skirts, shorts, etc.

    Your picture does show that the ring in question is unobtrusive but I would still argue that while you maintain that you know how to dress in a suit and look "professional" that some in the medical community believe that rings outside of the ears and possibly even hands are NOT professional. First impressions count a lot - all you need is someone who objects to such adornment to see you and your otherwise professional appearance and behavior are for naught.

    Heck, in some fields female applicants are told to not wear any jewelry other than a watch (seems the wedding ring can "indicate" that you are not as dedicated to your career as you should be). At any rate, why would you take the chance with the earring? Once you've matched, put it back in...if they have a problem, they'll tell you - but its extremely unlikely that there would be any moves toward firing you.
     
  27. LovelyRita

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    holy crap.

    I'm not sure how competetive med-peds is, but when you're 'competing' it seems like you can either benefit from being different from the rest or suffer from being different from the rest. I've seen both scenarios. Just whatever you do keep your hands out of your mouth. ( Had a med student last month who must have had some sort of nervous habit of always putting her fingers on her mouth when she was thinking. Which was often. Ick)
     
  28. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD
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    It's not that medicine has a perpetual DRE or that it's super-conservative. It's just that your chance of getting into the program depends on the subjective impressions of one or two people, and you want to maximize your chances and not take the risk of your interviewer being some dude who thinks eyebrow rings are evil, like the fruit of the devil.
     
  29. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    Even less conservative attendings or interviewers would think that the applicant was demonstrating poor judgement by taking such a stupid, foolish, vain, risk (over something they don't have to).
     
  30. GoodMonkey

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    i have a nosering. small sparkly stud. i took it out for interviews and put in a clear retainer. i put it back in and will keep it when i start residency this summer. if someone has issue with it/asks me to take it out or there are hospital policies against it, then i'll consider the situation and do what i have to at that point.

    i didn't think it would *hurt* me, per se, in the interview process, but i didn't want to take the chance, as i knew it likely wouldn't *help* me. and i'm going into a relatively competitive, conservative field, too.

    that being said, i've seen may an intern/resident with small nose studs. sorry, can't give any anecdotal evidence re: eyebrow rings.

    just my $0.02.
     
  31. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Of course, that attitude, if it even exists (since no one has actual data that they have been derogated for wearing a wedding ring), probably tends to exist in less family friendly specialties like surgery.

    That said, there are plenty of programs, including surgery, which are family friendly and realize that having a good home life makes for a better resident. I think that those attitudes are slower to come for female residents in these fields because in many places (and NOT all, lest I be accused to perpetuating the surgical stereotype), there is still the belief/fear that female residents will quit/take more time off/get pregnant and need maternity leave/be frequently late due to childcare issues, etc.

    But yes, I have seen books which tell female applicants not to wear wedding rings nor to talk about family.:scared:
     
  32. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    i'm in a somewhat similar situation - i'm a male with facial hair (goatee). and i, like the OP regarding her eyebrow piercing, have wondered if i should just shave it off when i do residency interviews next year. so far the plan is to just leave it as is. i've worn it all during MS3 without problems, and if i go to a place that's that uptight, i personally don't want to be there. i don't know if it makes a difference to this discussion, but i'm applying for pathology.

    however despite what i plan to do, i still think the OP should remove her piercing for interviews. while i've seen indian female with noserings, that's about the only facial piercing i've seen people make no comments about. is it fair that someone might ding you for the piercing, of course not, but what do you gain by not taking it out? nothing, and even though the risk may be small, it is real.
     
  33. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    Goatees and beards are kinda gray areas but I would recommend shaving it for the interviews. When in comes to this point I don't think there are any super strong feelings except that facial hair can make people think "that applicant looks old" which I have seen in post interview discussions of applicants :eek: . Also, you don't want to be referenced as that "bearded guy." Hey, in residency, I grow a beard for 4 months a year. No biggie. For the interview though, I would certainly go clean cut.
     
  34. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    UNLESS you have a babyface and have the facial hair in an attempt to look older. In which case, it really doesn't make you look much older and in fact sometimes makes you look stupid.

    (trust me, that was me, I tried...)
     
  35. gwen

    gwen Senior Member
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    why don't you check the policy at the hospitals you're interviewing at. if you care so much about your eyebrow ring (you obviously do since you're asking all of us), then maybe checking into the policies will help you sort out what places would be ok with it. in an ideal world, no one would care that you have it, but most physicians and the academic world do care.

    as a side note, my sister went for an interview at an undergrad program (for a bs/md interview) and had a psych professor (with a huge eyebrow ring) interview her. my sister was very surprised and my parents (very conservative indian folks) were horrified. not that it changed their minds about the school, but certainly got a reaction out of them.
     
  36. Wifty

    Wifty Eccentrically Silly
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    Just for the record, in the Seattle area, I have worked with doctors with facial piercings, tats, long hair, etc. It is a much more liberal area and such things are not seen the way they might be in the bible belt.

    So, it all depends on how much you feel you need it for your identity. If its super important, then try to go someplace where they are more liberal.

    Good luck.
    wifty
     
  37. Wifty

    Wifty Eccentrically Silly
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    My hubby did all his residency interviews with his beard (now a goatee). He interviewed at some high profile places. He didn't get them, but I doubt it was because of his facial hair. After all, they see a pic of you that is attached to the application....right?

    Hubby did cut his ponytail to get into med school though. It all depends on how attached you are too something. Hubby wouldn't have shaved for anybody and feels better about himself since he didn't. If its an non-issue for you though, then you might decide to shave. Just, how will you feel about yourself after? Thats what is important.

    Good luck!
    wifty
     
  38. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    i think that like your husband, i'd feel a little bit like i was selling out if i shaved just for my interviews. it's not that i'm uber-attached to it, or like it would be that big a deal to just regrow it. it's primarily the principal of the matter for me. i also, in addition to going into a non-clinical field like path, have the advantage of being interested in programs outside the northeast and southeast, areas of the country i think are most conservative. thanks for your thoughts, wifty.

     
  39. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    If hair on your face is THAT important to you (it GROWS BACK FOLKS!) then you are either vain or nuts.

    *insert "it's my religion" diatribe to follow*

    Is it just me?!?!?:rolleyes:
     
  40. EUA

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    Two words: clear retainer. Keep the eyebrow piercing, but make it more palatable for the tender-hearted.

    It's most definitely regional. I'm in AZ too and we have med students and resident applicants all over the place with nose studs, tongue rings, etc. and no one in this department gives a damn.

    Regarding the story about the surgical resident getting fired for tattoos -- I call B.S. on that story. That's kind of, you know, illegal. He had to have done something else.
     
  41. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    it's not that my goatee is that important - i'd have shaved it during MS3 if i ever had to deal with a patient on respiratory isolation because i can't wear an N95 mask properly now. it's the principal that my skills as a future doctor have nothing to do with my facial hair, and if i go to a place that's so uptight that it bothers them, well, to hell with that program and it's their loss on a perfectly competent resident.

    haven't you ever felt strong about something on principal alone?
     
  42. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    Not for something so stupid! Sorry. It's life dude. Pick your battles and opponents carefully. The "Give me facial hair *nose ring, ear plug, feather boa, WHATEVER* or give me death" attitude is silly and quite frankly, sounds like whiney high school student.

    Look, do your residency at Hell's Angels Unversity Medical Center or whatever circus show you choose if it really matters that much.

    As I said, I don't think a goatee is a big deal and you would probably do OK. All I am advising is keep it safe. A goatee grows back... big deal! One person can ruin it for you for any number of stupid reasons. Don't provide any for them that you can help. That is all I am saying. Its crazy but being on the opposite end and having to decide if someone would be good for the program based on one day's interview is really tough. You don't want a piece of pasta stuck to your goatee all afternoon to ruin it for you. Believe me, it has happened. I am not saying that is all it takes to get passed.

    Look, I am offering wisdom, do with it as you choose or fight the battles that you can only lose and mean nothing. I am spent. This has been seriously like talking with a teenager about proper interview etiquette and just as mind numbing.
     
  43. RookieRoo

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    If you do not look like the cookie-cutter MD image it will count against you at the most conservative places. Some folks are just going to find something wrong with you no matter what you do. I got a comment during an interview because of my honey-blonde highlights!:eek:

    So what you need to consider is what type of program you are interested in. If you want a very laid-back program where you will be accepted as you are then you might consider leaving it in. However, if you believe that the program you want to get into is very conservative you should strongly consider removing it. By wearing the ring, some narrow-minded people will make negative assumptions about you. Unfortunately, some of these folks will be your interviewers. It basically comes down to what you are willing to risk.

    Think of it this way, some people's differences aren't as easy to remove as a ring. At least you have a choice.
     
  44. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    you make some valid points, and i generally agree with the principal to play things safe. i suppose it's just a matter of what i consider safe. i also agree that in life you have to pick and choose your battles - i simply don't see this as a battle. men wear facial hair - it's not a radical, crazy concept. it's not a gimme X or gimme death attitude by any means. i just like the way i look with facial hair more than i do without it.

    i appreciate your trying to give what you consider to be solid advice, and perhaps it is and i'm wrong. maybe you're at Mass General for general surgery, which is probably a place a lot more conservative than New Mexico pathology.

    how's this - if you're a pathologist on a residency application comittee somewhere, let me know and i'll be sure not to waste my time and money applying somewhere where there's a possibility that things like facial hair, eyebrow rings, and earings are discussed in committee meetings, leaving less time to talk about the candidate's aptitude, commitment, and ability to successfully complete the residenty. otherwise, let's end this because i too am spent.

     
  45. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    Many people have brought up regional differences which is true. The west is generally left.

    As far as specialties go, not being a pathologist I can't say one way or another but I would imagine a beard or goatee would not matter.

    I really don't think it is a bad idea necessarily. My point is just as you said, play it safe when you can. I would certainly say that a nosering or a eyebrow ring could certainly hurt your interview but a beard?!?!?! Feh! Having a beard myself at times, I know it can sometimes be an attractor of anything that goes in my mouth (yes I should take smaller bites). But that's me.
    The wedding ring thing was NUTS! I have a hard time believing that but I guess it is true.

    To place more specifics in this general discussion I can tell you one place that is VERY conservative in the grooming standards of its residents... MAYO! Shirt and tie for everyone (males of course). I would be dressed for inspection if I interviewed there. Keep that in mind if you intend to interview at Mayo Jax.
     
  46. Click Here!

    Click Here! PGY 2
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    I wear a beard and just went through pathology interviews in the SE and Texas. Got positive feedback (in general, not about my beard!) from the programs at the top of my list and matched at my #1. As long as you're neatly groomed I can't imagine why anyone would care. Several of my interviewers had beards/goatees, and occasionally a basic scientist will sport a Grizzly Adams.
     
  47. San_Juan_Sun

    San_Juan_Sun Professor of Life
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    West of the Sierra Nevada maybe.
     
  48. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    yep, i'd heard that before about Mayo - both Jax and MN. i hadn't planned on applying to either one for geographic reasons anyways (wanna get out of Florida and Rochester is too small and ethnically homogenous for me), but that probably would have been a red flag for me anyway. i'm way too chill to fit in at a program where suit and tie is expected every day. thanks for the warning though.

    and click here - thanks for your thoughts as well. i too plan to maintain good grooming of my facial hair - i'll likely trim and will definately shave the morning of each interview to ensure this. not quite sure what the grizzly adams reference was, but i think i got the gist of your reply nonetheless. :thumbup:
     
  49. Obedeli

    Obedeli Senior Member
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    Keeping it groomed and neat is certainly the way to go. :thumbup:
     
  50. toothless rufus

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    :laugh:
     

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