(A sister's journey to finding a job with Hijab)
By: Samara Gabriel
I know the job market is bad here in the US. Its also is hard to believe that these people who have interviewed me for a job didn’t make up their mind once they saw the hijab. I started wearing it about January or February of this year… I knew it would be tough. But I guess I didn’t realize there are just SO many bigots and ignorant people around me. This is my probably first time being unemployed in about 20 years. These are two examples of how my job search is going.
I saw a position available a couple months ago. I sent my resume. We talked on the phone for about 45 minutes. The phone conversation seemed to go well. She asked me to come in the next day to meet me. When I went in I introduced myself. I had to wait outside for a good 20 minutes or so. Then when she was ready we went to a back room and she spoke to me for about 2 minutes. Yes, it was about 2 minutes. I didn’t understand why she even called me in. It was a 40-minute drive home. I called her the next day. She answered with the normal greeting. I asked how she was and said My name. She hung up on me. I thought we got cut off so I immediately called back. Twice. There was no answer.
Another job prospect… This man seemed very interested in me. The owner of a company that I dealt with in the past via email through my previous employer. We spoke on the phone a few times and emailed back and forth the week before we met. Without giving too many personal details, I’ll just say I considered myself a good fit, it seemed we already knew each other. He seemed to think the same. Then we met. He wanted to meet at a diner, said he would treat for dinner. After all the comments about my portfolio, my experience, etc. He now decides my ‘style’ wasn’t what he was looking for……. He ordered a tea. I decided not to order anything. ……….. another hour long commute back home.
Yes, the job market here sucks. Yes, many people are unemployed and looking for work. I don’t want to sound arrogant. I won’t say that I was better than anyone else that applied to all these jobs. However, I honestly believe if I wasn’t wearing hijab some of the interviews that I have attended would have ended differently.
I try to remember that Allah provides for me. Not these people. I try to always remember that when its my destiny to get the job I will. I consider my career over. Not just because of the job market. I need a career change. My dream job right now is to teach ESL in Saudi, Qatar, Egypt or near there…
Alhamdulillah, Im not starving. Im not homeless. I am still fine.
I want to add here.. I was at my old job, a newspaper, for 11 years. After I reverted, they didn’t know. When I started wearing hijab they knew and would ask questions and comment. Then the editor asks me one day about wearing it. He basically says my response is crap and says, his exact words… ‘What if I WANTED to look at you?’ As if it’s HIS right to sit there and look at me while he’s suppose to be working. This is WHY hijab liberates women. I’m not here to be some man’s eye candy. I’m not using my body to get attention. I’m not falling for this false belief that being naked means ‘PRIDE’ or ‘FREEDOM.’ I’m not dumb enough to believe that showing off my body gives me ‘power.’ I realized he wasn’t really asking and only questioned me to insult me. I walked away. Later he apologized. I resigned a couple months later.
Click for The Hijabi Anthem Warning about Music and lyrics. May not be suitable for all audiences.
Someone suggested I try to hide the hijab somehow… Wear a turtle neck, hat, something to make it look like I’m not Muslim. I was offended by this. I am not going to hide that fact that I am Muslim. Also, does it make sense for me to dress for these people instead of Allah? Most important, by trying to dress to please these people, I feel as if I not trusting in Allah to provide for me. Trying to hide myself and who I am for these people is the same as turning my back on Allah.
I won’t do it.
I already make little compromises for people who don’t understand Islam. I would love to wear Niqab. However, with the ignorance that surrounds me, I feel it’s my duty to smile at women as they walk by to appear more welcoming. Maybe that one smile and that brief 2-minute conversation in the produce section of the super market might give her a different view toward Muslims & Islam besides what the media has been feeding her.
Let's help sister Samara find a job for the sake of Allah. Jazak'Allah khair.
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