I think this concept can also apply to the rest of our lives – especially in our adventurous younger years, when experimental actions lead to both great triumphs and miserable failures. These life lessons are the many hats of our lives. Here is one of mine.
The aforementioned job quest that sparked the idea for this series also instigated my first IRL hat solidification: The Honesty Hat
For those of us without college degrees (I’m workin’ on it, OKAY?!), it’s frustrating when you find a perfect potential job – great pay, great location, great company, you know you could rock it, you have more than the required skills, you have vast experience, etc. – only to see a tiny sentence at the end of the page: "College Degree Required."
For one job in particular, I decided to do something… silly. Something that a lot of people do and easily get away with. Beside the college education line on my resume I wrote one, single, solitary word: Graduated. It was quite painless since I actually did go to college for four years and it feels like I finished anyway. I just don’t have that fucking piece of paper to validate my ENTIRE LIFE.
And even if I did have said piece of paper, it’s not like they ask you to bring a framed copy to the interview to be tested for authenticity. No, they did something far more revealing; they asked me directly.
“So, you graduated?” my perky interviewer asked with a smile.
“Yes!” I said, with an equally large grin
That night, counting cashmere sweaters couldn't even get me to sleep. And when I got a message the next morning asking if I would come in for a second interview, I threw my alarm clock across the room, because I knew I’d gotten myself into an ethical clusterfuck of mammoth proportion. I was so, so close to getting something amazing that I wanted very much, but I think dropkicking a toddler and stealing her candy would have been less detrimental to my moral standards.
Before even washing my face, I put on my honesty hat, called the HR girl, and told her the truth in a seriously awkward voicemail. In summation: “I’d rather stick with the craptastic job I got honestly than get this amazing job dishonestly. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”
That awful pressure in my gut relinquished, and I changed my safe-word to “voicemail.” A few hours later something amazing happened. I got a simple reply email (even though I wasn’t expecting one at all) that read: “We like your honestly. We’d like you to come in for the next interview anyway.”
I had an inappropriate dance party with myself in celebration (inappropriate because I was sitting at my desk at work doing the sprinkler and other douchetastic moves) and decided never to take off my honesty hat again.
I didn’t get the job in the end (not the point… NOT THE POINT), but there’s a lesson in all this: find your honesty hat, wear it well, and wear it often. Something good will happen before it's all over. Also, a not-so-obvious but equally practical tactic: find a personal safe-word to use when you’re fucking yourself over. You might be surprised how fast you stop.
This is a Suzanne Newman topper that was given to me by a dear friend on my birthday this year. It’s the only hat I own that has its own round box, which I sometimes carry around just to feel glamorously retro and tres chic.
It’s the kind of hat I grew up watching women wear to church. I always envisioned these women as the most virtuous individuals on the planet – people who always knew the right answer and could never have done any wrong. Of course that wasn’t the case, since most of them put their asshats on as soon as the sanctuary doors closed behind them.
But by association, worship-appropriate headgear became a symbol of purity, morality, and respect. Thus, as long as I’m wearing this hat, either physical or metaphorical, I can never tell a lie. Unless a little old lady at a church homecoming luncheon asks if I like her pimento-cheese half-sandwiches, in which case I would smile big and say “YES MA’AM!!” Because that’s what Jesus would do, asshole.
Photos by my amazeballs friend Lydia Hudgens
Hat by Suzanne Newman
Spiked ring by absolutely no one via Buffalo Exchange
Gold-ish collar thing via 25¢ bin at Housing Works
Top by Ann Taylor via Goodwill