what jobs can you get with dreadlocks?

what jobs can you get with dreadlocks?

what jobs can you get with dreadlocks?

is a question that gets asked time and time again. Dreadlocks used to have a lot of stigma and prejudice attached. But today, things have changed dramatically.

Its never easy going for a new job as we have no idea what we'll be judged on. Prospective employers will judge you on many aspects of your appearance, one of which may be your dreadlocks. Having spoken to a number  of hiring managers, the one thing they all say is that its confidence that sells the day. Dreadlocks would never be an issue if you a presentable with it combined with great confidence. This goes for all areas of work.

But don't take my word for it. Here are a number of people from around the world, giving their story of having a number of professional roles, including


Science Teacher

business development rep for Honda

Director of finance and administrations

Chef's and more...

That said, there are so many other reasons finding work is difficult right now with the current economy.

  • Meet Tina Sypek D'Amato, A criminal defence Lawyer and occasional pardon and personal injury claims attorney Since July 2004

Lawyer_Jobs_with_dreadlocksHow did dreadlocks become a part of your life?

When I was 39 years old, I was admiring a woman's dreadlocks. She had beautiful locks and I wished she would take them out of her headband. She was in her late 50's. They were very long and looked so soft and clean. They were completely gray. I envied her for about two years. One day, I woke up compelled to have dreadlocks. It was something akin to what I think happens to a person before they become a priest or a nun. It was only what I can describe as a “calling.”

I did not think about stigma that may be associated with them or how dreadlocks may affect my business. I was so surprised at the patience and determination I had. I also couldn't believe that I was able to do them myself. I think I loved them more because of it.

I think people know, judges and lawyers alike, that I don't march to the same tune as everyone else and I don't walk amongst the sheep. I never did. I am independent, strong and courageous. I keep my locks neat in order to respect to the Court.

I have never gotten a20150526_110348 comment from a professional person. I can only remember 4 comments from people. But those were close family members and a woman who was the best friend of my husband's ex-wife. Even the ex-wife stuck up for me.

As far as clients, I don't believe anyone has ever dis-engaged or decided against my services just because I have dreadlocks. In fact, because I am a criminal defense attorney, it may actually help. I get a lot of positive feedback from clients. Even spontaneous hugs.

I think my dreadlocks actually augment my profession. I don't perceive my locks as hurting me. If anything, they make me stand apart from others and get more attention in a positive way.

What would you say to someone else thinking of getting dreadlocks as a lawyer?

I'd say, be true to yourself. Do what makes you feel good. I know it's easy to say, and not so easy to do, but when I am true to myself, I am much happier and people treat me better because they mirror my feelings toward myself. Also, there are going to be times, especially in the first year or two that you want to brush them out, or even shave them off. They can be uncomfortable at times and downright messy. But as you go through those feelings and stay the course, you will be enlightened about yourself and the world around you. In the end, you will love them in an unexplainable way. But don't quit before the miracle happens.

My dreadlocks teach me so much every day about me. They are so much more than a hairstyle. But I don't think anyone could understand that without the experience.

  • Meet Amanda LaPlante, 37. A Director of Finance and Administration (CFO)

Director of finance jobs with dreadlocksMy major field of study was to become an accountant, and realizing the professional nature of this career choice, I held off on getting dreadlocks because at the time, I perceived some societal negativity of them.   I was settling into my profession and proved myself to be a responsible and dependable employee.  I took "the plunge" in July 2013.

Almost two years later, my coworkers, colleagues, friends, and family all say that my hair "fits" me and my personality.  I am extremely active in social situations with leaders in the community; whether it be a fundraising event, a charity dinner, or a volunteering function.  I have attended many a "formal" event representing the United Way.  I am never met with any disapproval or condoned for my choice of hair style.

In the past year, the only disapproval was from an elderly gentleman at the grocery store. To be honest, given the conservative atmosphere of west Texas, I truly believe that most adults over the age of say 45 or 50 don't even know what dreadlocks are.  Occasionally, I meet someone out and about, whether for work or personal time at a pub, that is interested and curious enough to ask about them.

United Way of Odessa Staff at 2015 Annual MeetingI would conclude my experience with dreadlocks in the accounting profession as a positive one.  It is my belief that my actions and who I am as a person, an employee, a friend, and a coworker is what defines me, not my hair.  I work hard, I excel in my position, I meet everyone with kindness and a smile, and I'll be the first person to offer help to those in need.  I feel that my employer as well as our 36 member Board of Directors take me seriously and appreciate me professionally because I consistently prove myself through my work ethic and job performance.

To someone else in the accounting profession thinking about getting dreadlocks, I would give this advice: "Always be true to yourself, but work hard to shatter social misconceptions".  Always represent yourself as the knowledgeable and capable contribution to society that you are and you will earn the respect you deserve, dreadlocks or no dreadlocks.

  • Meet Nichole, 40. A Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW).

Mental Health Worker jobs with dreadlocksI work at what is called a CSB or Community Service Board, which is a quasi-state agency meaning that we get a lot of our funding from the state to serve those clients that cannot afford treatment. I currently work at the supervisory level as the Team Lead for two programs (Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Peer Support) for adults living with severe and persistent mental illness. I supervise eight professionals as well as help the team handle any crises that arise, facilitate meetings with clients' and their families and facilitate monthly treatment team meetings with the other programs in the agency that work directly with the clients my program serves. That's my job in a very small "nutshell".

As a child, my grandparents had given me their old National Geographic magazines...you know the ones with all the beautiful photos of all different types of animals and cultures? I always admired the simple beauty of many tribal cultures. In my late teens and early 20's, I was exposed to dreadlocks through some type of media. I have NO TIME to worry about what others will think when it comes to my own personal choices about how to live my life. I'm so happy I did. It's a very freeing thing.

I have considered them many times throughout my life, but only last year started to think that it was something I might actually do. I talked about it for months and months...I know I drove my husband crazy! However, he was very supportive and was nothing but encouraging.

I did not have them before I started this occupation. In fact, I have a little secret. I had an idea that a promotion might be coming down the line, so I specifically waited to get them until after. However, I did mention it to my boss right before and she was VERY supportive.

Most of my colleagues have really been supportive and expressed that they like my dreads. Some haven't said anything. My agency just recently updated their Dress Code policy. All it says is that employees much present themselves in a professional manner and in a way which does not detract from job performance and responsibilities. They have asked questions like... How did you do that? Can I touch them? Do you wash them?

I'm currently in a summer long training to learn to use DBT (a specific type of therapy) and I have a couple of ladies that just stare at me. I've found that it really doesn't bother me.

So far, I feel very accepted and that it has gone largely unnoticed. Which I think is great! It's a personal choice that I believe everyone should be able to make for themselves without fear of losing their job or being reprimanded. I also have visible tattoos, a pierced nose and stretched ears. If anything, it's a great ice breaker with the clients I work with. They always comment and ask questions, almost always positive.

If you want to.....do it. No time like the present and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I told myself, it's always reversible, but I don't want to waste a second of my life thinking "I wish I had tried that". Some things I have learned in my 40 years walking this earth, life is short and we are only limited by the limitations we place upon ourselves.

  • Meet Ewan Haigh, 29. Chef in a busy restuarant called the Tivoli

chef jobs with dreadlocksAs a young kid in the 90s the older lads we knew were all into skate-punk music and skateboarding so it followed suite that i myself got heavily into the scene and still listen to it everyday now.
I can exactly pinpoint the moment the moment i decided i wanted dreads.

School wouldnt allow dreaded hair so i bided my time and grew my hair and got my hair dreaded.for the 1st of 3 times when i was 17.

I never felt too worried about what others perception of my appearance would be.

Now older wiser and slightly more grown up with finance, insurance and rent ect i still wear my dreads as an outward manifestation of i guess just being a friendly chap who neither wants to harm others or otherwise behave in an offensive way. To display i'm a human of sound character!

As a chef people who eat at your restuarant expect i suppose a certain perceived cleanliness and image of those handling their food like they see on tv shows...and to the 20150523_104918ignorant or uninformed dreads may not fit in with that image.
I personally have never knowingly been overlooked for a job as i explain during interviews that my locs shall remain covered by a Buff headband at all times,ensuring a lower chance of errant hairs appearing in a diners food.
Thats not to say my hair hasn't cost me a shot at jobs iv trailed for, for which iv been qualified for but on the whole in the catering trade ability and reliability speak much louder than appearance.

I feel lucky because as you spend so much time together working in a kitchen any prejudice can be educated or bantered about until my locs aren't even given a second thought. Anyone who would genuinely dislike someone on appearance alone, it speaks poorly of their character.
I've had dreads on and off through 8yrs in the trade.
I would say to anyone with dreads wanting to become a chef not to trouble about it as most of the time the customers wont see you and trust me, your head chef shall be way more concerned about your aptitude and timekeeping than the locs under your hat!

  • Meet Harri Aburrow-Newman, a 27 years old science teacher in Hull.

Science Teacher jobs with dreadlocksI first started thinking about getting dreadlocks when I was a teenager, I was 25 when I started thinking about them again. They've taught me a lot of patience though, and I love them!

My initial reservations were probably quite usual - how would they affect my job prospects!? What happens if I change my mind about having them etc. I got them while I was working as a carer, before I started teacher training.

Everyone at school thinks they're really cool! My colleagues have never said anything bad about them, and neither have the management, which initially surprised me as I work in a pretty conservative church of England school. I was very nervous about them when I first started and always kept them tied back, but I'm much more relaxed now and usually wear them loose. The students are fascinated by them, always asking questions and wanting to touch them. Several call me "Miss Dreads". I actually can't think of any negatives!

As a teacher, check that your school will be cool with it first - I think it's just courtesy to let them know that you might look crazy for a few months. Otherwise, just go for it. Be prepared to answer a whole lot of questions (particularly "do you wash them?"), but mostly just enjoy being a bit different to the other teachers!

3 thoughts on “what jobs can you get with dreadlocks?”

  • Kate

    Really comforting you guys got your dream jobs...but one concern I have is that as a black female I'm worried about discrimination on my part in terms of how I'm perceived. Biases and such...Whether I am deemed competant or not. Now with dreads... Just worries me. But I want to be free and true to who i am.

  • Paul martinez
    Paul martinez March 5, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Hi.....I had just written a long ass letter but my computer died maybe that was a good thing I have a problem to see if you can help me with I've had my drives for the past 10 years I cut them the reason it was because I was going gray in my 30s and they were too heavy and I cut them to my shoulders I don't know if you know with gray hair does too dreads get then they start the fall out the The new growth. I have a lot of breakage They used to be right back now they're real thin people say they look fine they're just too thin so I was thinking of putting human hair extension to Bulk them up A little. I am so scared I don't want to cut them off but if I have to I will. Right now my hair is to the middle of my back and it's all natural gray dreads I do use the crochet hooks sometimes mainly at the route.i've seen so many videos that tile to do this do that this will help this won't help I love your product watch lot of your videos so I decided to try this .at this point I was thinking of putting human hair to bulkit like I said the hair is called Afro. I Believe there something out there for me what do you think sorry. I know it's not a lot to go on I would appreciate it if you can get back to me. THANKS Inkboy1 PS. like I said I'm very sorry it's very crazy here

    • Gina Gallegos
      Gina Gallegos May 30, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Paul, did you end up adding afro bulk to your dreads? I added some to mine and it made a world of difference so i hope you did it. If you haven’t, do it, it’s the best solution!

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