I’d say most men run into the fiercest opposition at work, where the vast majority of white-collared working men wear nothing on their face but a pair of glasses and a faint scent of aftershave.
I noticed that it took me about a full year of beard-growth to bypass the typical, “When are you going to shave that thing off?” comments at work. But, it wasn’t just simply growing the beard that made those comments disappear, it was how I maintained it, how I groomed it, and how I made it a part of my image.
I’m the type of guy that looks 30-years-old with a beard, and about 15-years-old without one; so, I was lucky to find that growing a beard helped win me the respect of my older peers at work. Perception is often times a function of reality, and most people feel more confident receiving instruction from a bushy-bearded man than a smooth-skinned baby-face, I learned.
But like I said, growing it wasn’t the hard part… it was growing a beard while submersed in Corporate-Culture that was the true challenge, but here’s my advice on how to fend off the razors and the haters:
You probably wouldn’t go a year without cutting your hair, and the same should be said about your beard. I wholeheartedly think it’s AWESOME when men can join the Yeard-Club (go one year without a trim), but we’re talking about working in an office here, which usually has a different set of rules to abide by.
Most do, so a good one should be easy to find. The goal here is to find a style that you can maintain on a daily basis. I found keeping my beard relatively short worked well for me, this way I didn’t have to spend too much time in the morning, groggily brushing/oiling/blow-drying my beard.
‘Bad-Beard-Days’ (like bad hairdays) are a reality now, so just think, if you wouldn’t go to work with messy bed-head, you shouldn’t go to work with an unkempt beard.
I choose to keep my beard short for convenience, but that doesn’t mean you should have to. There was a period last November, when I went about 4 months without a trim (see pic below). I was trying to reach a level of fullness that only comes with a consistent growth period, so it was pretty bushy and long.
I balanced out my wild mane, but keeping my hair up top sharp and clean. I trimmed my neck hair, and had my barber put in a mean side-part on the side of me head as well. It’s all about balance… I found that the more wild my beard got, the more time and effort I put into my haircut. And when I want to grow out my hair in the future, I’ll keep my beard nicely trimmed.
Honestly, I think this might be the most important concept, in-tune with balancing out your look. Spend a paycheck on a sharp work-wardrobe and slick shoes, and you’ll soon find that you’ll have far more confidence with your beard no matter what awkward growth-stage you might be fighting through.
So, grab a fitted short-sleeved button-up, colored chinos, and a pair brown-leather shoes, and that beard will fall in line with a perfectly your business-casual look.