So a few weeks ago, a young man came to my business and asked for an application. While state law says I have to give him an application, I told him he was wasting his time, as I had no positions available and, in fact, didn’t have enough work for the employees I already had.

He sighed and said “I’m finding that all over” ….”Even the places that are hiring don’t give me a second look….I’m fairly smart, hard working and I just want to work….I need a job”. He was looking fairly discouraged.

Now this kid was indeed fairly well spoken, somewhat handsome, tall, clear of eye. He seemed earnest. But he was dressed like a ghetto hood. Pants too big, belt pulled tight. Hoodie with a baseball cap. Unshaven, but not yet a beard. Some weird sneaker type shoes. Bling on a necklace around his neck. Not the image I would want my employees to give.

“Want some advice?” I asked.

“Sure” he replied. “I’ll take anything that will help”

I told him to follow me to the men’s room. Once there, I said “look in the mirror”.

He did so.

“If you were me, would you hire that guy?” I said. ” ’cause to me, and to my customers, he looks like a hood”.


“Wanna increase your chances for a job?” I asked.


“Then dress like you want a job. Dress for the position you are applying for. Don’t show up looking like a Gangsta lowlife wannabe. Trust me, It’ll help”.

Thoughtfully, he nodded, said ‘thank you” and left.

Truthfully, I had forgotten him until he returned yesterday.

I nearly didn’t recognize him.

Shaved. Hair long, but neat. Polo shirt. Black jeans. Casual but decent shoes.

“just wanted to say thanks” He said…

“For what?” I asked.

“For telling me the truth. No one else did.”

“Truth about what?”

“How to get a job…..It worked” He smiled.”people looked at me differently… I got a job.”

“Good for you”

“You were right. It did make a difference. So thanks.”

I was actually somewhat moved. He took the time to come in and say thank you for the advice. Had the class to say thank you, even though he had been insulted. Apparently, no one else bothered. And I felt good.

And thus I pay it forward….

Then I realized that I have become my parents.

10 thoughts on “Class

  1. That's AWESOME!

    It must have made you feel really good when he came back to thank you for what you did for him.

    Alot of people need to take heed and realize that no matter how many laws they put in place to make things equal. People will always base a book on it's cover.

    The kid sounded like a really good kid and the time you spent with him was well worth it.

    Good on you MrB.!!

  2. Good story about a good deed! We must not assume that all, or even most, of the young job-seekers today have been told things like this, that older folks like me take for granted.

  3. I have given that exact same advice to people, and it is always met with scorn.
    I wear dress shirts and often blazers. I catch a lot of crap for that, and I am told that it makes me a nerd or a geek.
    When I point out that people are judged by how they look and what they wear, I am often told that makes no difference, and all that counts is the degree on the wall.

    I disagree with that. Dress for the job that you want. If an employer knows you, and knows that you often look like a slob, you are less likely to get hired, all other things being equal.

  4. Very nice. You cared enough to be honest, he was honest enough with himself to change. That is as it should be. Good job sir!

  5. Sometimes sadly with these kids they do not have anyone and have not had anyone tell them how they should dress for professional functions. (And I feel old for stating that and I'm not much in to the 30's) Taking the five minutes you did helped him and was perhaps the first time anyone ever gave him subjective and useful advice. And good on him for taking the time to tell you that. Can't change the world perhaps but you can make a ripple effect though helping where you can.

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