My Plan To Be Scruffy At Work

I am a proponent of people taking pride in their personal appearance when it comes to showing up at work. Nonetheless, for the month of November I will be growing day by day a moustache, all in support of Movember; the cause that raises awareness and funds for men’s health – especially prostate cancer.

My objective is a lofty one for someone who is taking part in this cause for the first time; I want to raise $1,000.00. Yesterday evening was my first shout out to those I know, and I started the evening with exactly zero dollars. The first three on board were my daughter and her husband, a couple who are long-time friends, and a member of my extended family. All three have generous hearts, and stepped up almost immediately upon hearing of my request for help.

So here’s how it works. I joined a team of men who likewise work for the same employer, albeit at a number of locations around town. All of us will start the month clean-shaven, and will allow the hair to grow under our noses for the month of November. As we do so, people will notice, ask about it, and we’ll explain the reason and maybe collect a donation along the way.

Now to do something like this, you need the permission of your employer because after all, you still represent the organization with whom you work, and in my case, I have to be sensitive to the fact that the clientele I work with may take my unshaven face as a green light to go scruffy anytime and all the time. And that would be missing the point. It is not permissible to show up for a job interview unshaven or without some grooming and expect to have this ignored. While you may explain your cause if job searching in November, you run the risk of being judged negatively and not respecting the hiring process you are in.

The opposite could of course be true, in that the organization you are interviewing with is fully aware of this cause, has staff of its own partaking, and supports social causes such as Movember. If this is the situation you stand a much better chance than say, showing up for your Vice-President of a financial institution interview looking like you have little care for your personal grooming. is a link to my personal Movember page. If you are so inclined, you can visit the page and click on the,”Donate To Me” link. If you don’t choose to donate, I’m entirely okay with that too because so many of us get requests for assistance and donations. However, I’m hoping of course that you get behind both me and the cause.

So let’s talk openly about cancer and the workplace. There are a number of people who are hesitant to use that word aloud when someone in the workplace has it themselves or has a friend or family member who gets diagnosed. We don’t seem to mind talking about other illnesses, but I suspect cancer is talked about less frequently because the implications for death are heightened; and if not death, certainly a dramatic change in one’s health.

In my organization, it was only last year that a very well-respected and loved Manager was diagnosed with this, and she has only recently returned to work. Just prior to her diagnosis, she accepted a promotion and got all the well-wishes she deserves which were considerable. Knowing she had a huge group of well-wishers and supporters here in our office meant a lot to her apparently, and that’s a fabulous tool in tackling the illness – support.

I don’t have cancer; my dad passed away from it, and quite frankly in his early seventies I know how much I would have appreciated him around all these years later. But it got him. And if it wasn’t that, it would have had to be something else because we don’t live forever. Do you know someone affected by cancer?

But here’s the real deal around men and illness; generally guys aren’t like me. I talk openly about illness and last year had my first colonoscopy. Men seem to avoid medical check-ups more than women, as if somehow if we don’t get checked out, nothing can be confirmed or discovered. Weird. If there’s something to find, why not find it early, treat it, overcome it if you can by making changes or surgery, and then live longer? Maybe not forever, but you might be there to see your kids buy their first home, throw the ball around with your grandchildren, or just be with the love of your life a few years more?

So no pressure intended, and I’ll not think any less of those who opt not to sponsor me, but I have to at least ask you to consider sponsoring me and supporting the cause of men’s health and prostate cancer screening specifically. If you can afford it, big or small, visit and give what you can.

And a big thanks in advance for all your ongoing support!


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