November 22, 2011

And...yet again

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I think I've mentioned on here I haven't been hired by a non-Islamic entity since becoming Muslim. Yes some people have no problem but they either A) have a very advanced degree or B) cover in a less traditional manner. Or both but .... anyway. :-)

So I had applied for a job at a call center type place. Decent pay (much better than my babysitting job!) and I could work part-time which is important for me to have time with Aaminah. I did the data entry, typing, call center etiquette and another test online. My scores were excellent far above average (they give your results immediately).

The lady from the staffing company called me the next day, gushing about my scores. "Well if that's your off-day, I would love to see a good day!" is what she said in response to my comment on my data entry score. Alhamdulillah. I went to meet her and yes, I wore my brown abaya, black khimar, black pants and black shoes. I am friendly, clean, well-spoken, articulate and intelligent. I am also a covering muslimah. And? No bearing on the job. It's halal, answering calls for doctors' offices all over the country. I do not have to have close interactions with anyone (which means really non-mahrem) so I was very happy. Also close to home. Wow, great.

Yeah, you know there is a catch right? Today I get the following email:


Good afternoon. I so enjoyed meeting you last week, so thank you for your time in the interview and the computer testing.

I wanted to update you on the ___________ assignment. Unfortunately, you were not selected for the assignment. However, I'm working on some exciting other opportunities (new clients) that I think you might be interested in, but it will take some time. I have you registered with us now, so I can give you a call when we get a little closer. And of course, please feel free to check back with me as well.

Thank you,
__ ______________, PHR
__________, President
_____  _________   ________
Knoxville, TN 37922

Office: 865-xxx-xxxx
Cell: 865-xxx-xxxx

Hmmmm. Well, alrighty then. Honestly, I just said "Alhamdulillah" and went on. Surprised? Yeah a bit. She really liked me (or seemed to) and I know, before covering, I would have had that job like nobody's business. Let's be honest, the job is not beneath me but it's far beneath what I am capable of. I told her I really needed the job and could be very flexible.
Nothing else makes sense except my religion. Muslim=unemployed here. OK sorry, let's go back. MuslimAH muhajabat = unemployed. As I said, I have seen some muhajabat with jobs here but they are more trendy, mainstream, a bit more current in their fashion. I really thought (silly me) that my personality and my qualifications would help me land the job.
Alhamdulillah. :-) I am learning many lessons in humility and trusting in the qadr of Allah. I will continue to do my best, to strive, but when it falls away at the end, still praise Him for it all.
May Allah swt make it easy on my family and I. Amin.


Gail said...

Assalaam waliekum. I know what you are saying and it's a cowardly, underhanded discrimination too. I mean, the Muslims would not mind hiring non-Muslims for jobs yet the non-Muslims can slyly play the "bigot" card to keep Muslims from working in their establishments. Plus they have NO problem with hiring "undercover" Muslims because the undercovers will bend backwards to please them to the point of ridding themselves of an show of outward Islamic ways.
However they can go kick rock, wearing a Moses' shoe (open-toed shoe)and it would surprise me if insha'allah they shot themselves in the toe due to the fact you were the most intelligent, hard-working woman that came their way. And YOU were too good for them and they could not handle that. To have a Muslimah who is educated and follows her deen at the same time would seriously cramp their style

May Allah SWT Grant you a successful job and may He Bring religious discrimination against the Muslims to justice. Ameen.

Banana Anne said...

Subhanallah, I'm really sorry that you didn't get the job. Although your clothes may have contributed to not being hired, I wouldn't necessarily assume that it was the clincher. The job market is still really awful, and there are lots and lots of people who are completely qualified, if not overqualified, who can't find any work because there are just too many people looking. There may have been many other people vying for that spot at the call center. Now if you had been the only one applying for it and they rejected you, or if they specifically said they wouldn't hire you because of your hijab, that would be a totally different story. But because they didn't say, and especially given how scarce jobs are now anyway, it may have been other factors, ALLAHu 'Alim.

For the future, if you're worried about your presentation, do you have something else you could wear besides an abaya and long khimar? When I have to look a little snazzier/more professional, I will wear a long skirt and blazer or nice sweater, paired with a wrap hijab that covers my chest. It looks cleaned up (although I love the style of khimars that you and I wear, square or rectangular hijabs do tend to look more formal and put-together), less "threatening" and "foreign" than a jilbab, and still fulfills the conditions of hijab.

Praying that you get a good job very soon insha'Allah!

Rene´s Bare Essentials said...

Salaam Alaikum Sis,

Sorry about the job =( What helps me is remembering that if you were meant to get the job you will get it regardless if you wear hijab/abayah or not.

InshaAllah the right job will come your way! In the meanwhile have you thought about applying for govt aid?
Also if you have a salvation army near you they usually give out bags of food weekly. I used to volunteer at a salvation army near my house and wed give out fresh bread, veggies/fruit as well as beans, etc. That way you can save money that you would have spent on groceries. WIC is another option for food. As for transportation non-profit agencies usually have older cars/vans that they sell for a very cheap price.

Hugs to you and your little one


Xo Xo...Sweet Success! said...

Feeling you there sweets. May Allah give you patience. The right job will land in your lap soon, inshaallah. Keep on trying!

Anonymous said...

Salaam sister,

It may not be the covering. I am overweight - I recall you struggling with that as well. That is a definite area of prejudice, and to be frank more likely a renegger than the veil.

I know many Muhajabat working and well covered - perhaps not in black/brown but well covered. There is a reality people will wonder if you will fit into their office culture. IT is your duty to show you can fit in without having to engage in the negative.

I do however know of a well educated friend - jilbab/hijab dress who would be somewhat off-putting when going to interviews by "matter of factly" (her words) telling potential employers a litany of things she would NOT do during the interview and her list of religiously tinged accomodations. Close to 8 years later - she is still unemployed. Is it because she covers or because she is off-putting? I go with the later.

To make a long rambling point brief don't blame the outfit. Think of how you are carrying yourself, are you really wanting the job (since you haven't worked in the private sector in ages, not wanting to leave your daughter), and so on. It is easy to become paranoid and think OMG they will hate me when they see me, and then act accordingly by being obviously not comfortable/nervous.

I am now supporting two kids alone because I no longer wanted to be with an abusive man. They are in day care 45-50 hours a week. I will NOT seek a new man for at least 2 years because I am prone to get hitched to men who treat me poorly and I do not want that again for myself or my children. You had better believe when I went to apply for a job, I gave it 110% down the line, because my lifelihood depended on it.

Umm Hamza said...

Salam walaykum sis! Allah is the best of planners. He will send you a great job for your patience, I'm sure beithnillah! Just stay strong and keep applying. You never know where your blessing lies. Keep your chin up. May Allah watch over you and your family, Ameen.

Stacey said...

Salam Umm A
InshAllah you will find something better. I have this fear about going back to work and not finding a job because of my hijab....

Halima said...

Salamz Sis!

I know from personal experience that wearing hijab (as in head scarf) limits one's job opportunities- but it doesn't make it impossible to find work. I got hired as a librarian in a public library in London, UK wearing hijab- but, having said that, I left off my abaya and went for modest Western dress instead. I think the abaya is a bit of a barrier. I prefer them too, but I wouldn't interview for a job in one unless it was for something like a position in an Islamic school, for example. The hijab is something I just can't compromise, but the abaya is a personal preference and therefore optional. Continue in your search with Sabr and Allah SWT will provide for you from sources you can't even imagine, Sis.

Stacey said...

Hmmm I don't know I agree with Halima, if you feel wearing the abaya is part of dressing modestly then keep it on. As soon as you sacrifice one part of your belief, it'll be easier to sacrifice more, and sometimes you won't even realize it right away.
If someone is going to overlook your qualifications based on what you wear and not hire you, then that is their problem, and only shows their lack of education among other things.

Kate said...

So sorry to hear of this, but if they can't value your worth then they don't deserve you anyway. Allah is indeed the best of planners, something better will come along eventually. keep trusting in His plan and doing your best, and He won't fail you.


Stacey said...

Salam Umm A
I'm not sure why you didn't approve my second comment, I wasn't trying to insult anyone at all. I hope you know that, just going along with the discussion.


Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam ya'll. Will reply to comments soon but Stacey, I have been using my new phone to view emails and I simply deleted the notification of a comment from you. :-) Sorry 'bout that, I'll try to be more careful in the future. I don't typically block any comments unless they are against Islam or very rude. :-)

Thanks ya'll, tired today...

Anonymous said...

asalaamu alaikum

aww I was rooting for you getting it since its important your able to feed yourself and your daughter. Maybe the covering was an issue...maybe not.

I did wanna give you a few interview tips though since you cover as a MOhajabaat and not a trendy stylista...LOL

1 choose a more mainstream, bussiness professional a long jordanian jilbab in a light color or a long conservative tunic over a long skirt in lighter tones. Ive found for job interviews that actually helps...showing up in an abaya, unless its more bsuiness-suitish tends to not work so well. LOL

Scarf...try to go for a patterned one in a lighter color, I found squares work good, even a larger sized square, id stay away from khimaars....shaylahs would work too.

I'm not saying you need to tone it down, im saying just try to make it more business-y. It boils down to a professional look.
I know your strapped for cash and your wardrobe is in Massachussets but if you can, try to get urself a full length neutral tones jilbab or something.

Ne way, just my suggestion...

Umm Aaminah said...

Thanks you guys for all of your comments and suggestions! I did consider dressing a bit more "modern" but, in teh end, I felt it would be disingenious to dress differently when I knew what I would be wearing on a daily basis. :-)

Also as this is a call-center environment, the standard issue dress is jeans and a tshirt with no print, so I did feel like there should be no problem with my abaya/khimar.

This is a super-tight job market but... on the phone the woman basically promised the job to me. My typing was 79 wpm and data entry 8700 kph. I scored super super high on the other tests as well so I felt confident about the job.

However, I did neglect to make as much dua as I should have simply due to the arrogance of my nature. I knew I was a great fit for the job and I am afraid I neglected to be as prayerful as I should have been. A great lesson. :-)

I remain optimistic and trust in Allah swt to provide for us. I am doing what I can as well (tying my camel) but also in the absence of a vehicle, I am pretty limited in my transportation options. As in, I have none. :-)

Please continue to make dua for me sisters. Ma salaama :-)

Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu Aleykum dear sister,

I guess everything has already been said by the other sisters.I loved sister Stacey's comment mashALLAH.
ALLAH SWT is the best of planners, you'll get your Rizq whatever you wear InshALLAH.

Keep making duas and rely only on ALLAH SWT InshALLAH.

May ALLAH SWT make it easy for you and your little one.

Lot of love

Eszter said...

Dear Umm Aaminah,
I'm really sorry to hear your story, I definitely feel with you. Even though I'm not a Muslim girl, I have great respect for everybody who stands up for their beliefs, and I do know a lot about the pure nature of Islam as a religion.

My experience is that people are very prejudiced: not just when it comes to people of other cultures, nationalities, religions or even appearance, dress-style, but in general. The staff always prefers to employ people who are similar to them and thus fit the office-culture. I know from a HR point of view that work-teams are always selected according to personality-types, and it is hard to put any other factors - such as strict religious rules - in the picture. You know, there are mixed-gender teams specialized in different areas at a call-center, and they hang out together, preferably socialize with each other, so the HR-assistant might have been afraid that you would not fit in since socializing with random guys is not an option for you.

I am not saying that such treatment is nice, but I believe you should also have some understanding of the other side. Maybe the spiritual lesson of the story is to gracefully accept the decision of others, even though it contradicts with your own level of comfort. As far as I can see, you have passed with flying colours, so something great is definitely out there for you. :) I mean something that fits your qualifications, salary-needs, personality-type AND spiritual/religious requirements at the same time.

I hope you will find your dreamjob soon. :)

Eszter from Hungary

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