Why I walked away from a job opportunity

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This is the first year in a few that I do not have a job for the school year, and am not involved in any way in Welcome Week (McMaster’s orientation/frosh week).  But I happen to have McMaster’s campus events co-ordinator on Facebook, and in my news feed it showed up that a company she knows of was hiring a promotion team for a few days during Welcome Week.

It also turns out that I somehow managed to get both Thursdays and Fridays off for first semester this year (long weekend every weekend woohoo!).  In my head, I thought “Hey, this could be a good way to make some extra money before school, and maybe turn into something a bit more permanent during the year.”   So I emailed the contact person asking what sort of information they wanted from me, hoping for a quick response.

Shortly afterwards, I got a reply.  They told me to send the sort of things I was expecting:

  • Resumé
  • Contact info
  • Time available for a phone interview
  • Availability during the school year

But there was another item on the list that really threw me off.  I was required to submit a head shot.  But I didn’t feel comfortable applying for a job where part of the basis for me being hired was my physical appearance.

This position instantly reminded me of the scantily-clad girls at sporting events and concerts handing out swag, samples or coupons.  That is something I could never see myself doing.   I do not ever want to feel like I’m using my body to sell a product – it would make me feel I had abandoned my values.

I’m not necessarily insulting my physical appearance here, but I feel that my ability to work for an organization should have nothing to do with what I look like, but the skills I possess.  I have developed lots of skills that would be useful for doing promotions because I’ve previously done some niche marketing work.

Now, I’m not saying that the people who do this kind of work are knowingly using their physical appearance to sell products.  Money is money and sometimes jobs in your field of interest can be hard to get, especially without a degree to back it up.  I’m just saying it’s not for me because I feel it compromises my values.

Part of me still wonders if I should have gone through the application process.  Maybe I’m making everything seem worse off than it is. I don’t know how likely it would have been for me to be walking around campus in booty shorts and a halter top hawking a product – as well as part of myself – to passers-by.

What I do know, however, is that having a bit more extra spending money right now would be useful.

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