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Joblessness grows. So does the beard

Source: PTI
December 12, 2008 14:55 IST
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The stress of financial turmoil is literally showing on the faces of Americans, with many unemployed individuals growing beards in the country.

"Call it the face of freedom," said the Wall Street Journal and added that the facial hair is showing up on more former corporate types.

"It's one of those tiny luxuries unleashed by unemployment, a time when people are briefly released from workaday habits and may wish to take stock of their lives before setting out anew," the daily reported in an article published online.

Quoting Jorge Hendrickson who lost his job at a Manhattan hedge fund a few weeks ago, it said, he stopped shaving.

"I have shaved for so long, and it is nice to be able to look at the positive side (of losing a job). I am changing my lifestyle while I can," he was quoted as saying. Pointing out that Nobel laureate Al Gore grew a beard after losing the presidential election of 2000, the daily said that neatly trimmed "it looked cozy and anti-establishment as he pursued creative projects on his way to Nobel Peace Prize".

The WSJ said that 35-year-old investment analyst Scott Berger, stopped shaving in October after being laid off from hedge fund Laurus Capital Management.

For most office workers, the look remained too daring -- until they had nothing left to lose, as per the report.

"For many men, growing that unemployment beard is akin to a tame dance at a bachelor party -- a momentary freedom enjoyed while the rules are suspended. Many of today's beards may be as short-lived as the holidays," the daily said.

Berger shaves for job interviews, then re-grows his beard, which takes about two weeks, the WSJ noted and quoted him as saying, "I can't go on an interview with a beard."

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