#WorkCrushWednesday - "Bun Life & Mental Wellness"

Meet Alyson...

Alyson is native New Jersey millennial who now resides in Washington, DC. Alyson studied nursing at Georgetown University and is currently a registered nurse in an outpatient infusion setting that treats patients with autoimmune diseases. At work, Alyson is responsible for educating patients on their disease, giving them biological medication infusions and occasionally assisting with clinical trials. Alyson also started her own blog recently that focuses on mental hygiene and wellness. Let’s get to know her a little better.

Cubicles & Curls: Tells us about yourself. How would you describe who you are? What are your interests?

Alyson: I am passionate about dance, and although I don't dance as much anymore, dance is still part of me. I love helping people, and luckily I get to help people everyday as a nurse. I spend a lot of my personal time working out, practicing yoga, reading, and writing. I'm a cool and calm person with a go with the flow personality. Getting to know myself more and more everyday is what I find most enjoyable. Recently I started a blog called Perfectly_Imperfect on Tumblr which focused on mental hygiene and wellness. I use the blog to express my personal growth journey, and I hope to inspire others on their journey as well.

C&C: What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 years? What are your career goals and aspirations?

Alyson: I see myself wearing real clothes to work in 5-10 years (LOL). Scrubs are comfy but at some point, I would like to feel like an adult going to work . Where do I see my self in 5-10 years? I can really go either way. If I land a great job that intrigues me, outside of the medical field, I'll be all for it. But I can equally see myself with some promotion *fingers crossed* working as a Nurse Educator. I would love to be a resource to new nurses in some capacity as well.

C&C: What's your go to hair style for work?

Alyson: I used to always style my hair pulled back, edges laid, in a bun. It all started because in the hospital it is just gross to wear your hair out-- there are so many germs roaming around in the air, on the walls, on the floor and on my patients (lol). I also used to work the night shift, and any sleep I could get during the day I would take, so waking up early was not an option. The easiest style for me was a bun. 

When I first transitioned to the outpatient setting, I was much more conscious of my image, and how I would be perceived with my large curly hair. I thought it looked more professional with my hair neatly placed in a bun. Or more polished, maybe. I pulled my hair back for about a year, but now I am so happy to say that I am wearing my hair out and curly almost every day! I became more comfortable with my hair regimen, and the consistency of my results. I also get great reviews from the white doctors (yeah, I had to make that distinction ;-) ) when I wear my hair out and curly, which makes me feel better about embracing my curls. Before, all it took was a couple of people to say "oh, you didn't feel like doing your hair today,' or "wow it's so ... big" and I was sticking to a bun. Not anymore! I'm fully embracing my hair and natural beauty.

I straighten my hair about twice a year.


C&C: Do you ever feel pressure to straighten your hair at work? How so?

Alyson: I feel there is pressure to look "professional," and my white bosses -- who are used to seeing women with straight, simple hairstyles -- define that term. Personally as long as I feel comfortable with my hair, and I look appropriate for work, then it's professional. I've also never received feedback from any bosses that my curly for was unprofessional. I keep my styles simple and natural. I wouldn't necessarily wear my fun hairstyles, like a curly Mohawk or pineapple hairstyle to work, but that's just me.

C&C: If you've worked at more than one company, has the reception differed based on office culture or across different industries? How so?

Alyson: I think nursing in general is very accepting. Like I mentioned before, the hospital is just not the place to wear any style with your hair out and flowing. But nurses really come in all variations, so it’s not a big deal to have natural hair as a nurse. Nurses have tattoos exposed now, nose rings if they are small, different colors of hair – I like to think we are a pretty colorful bunch!

The inpatient setting is just a tad more of a controlled environment as far as your appearance goes, but they are still very accepting of natural hair.

C&C: Are there any instances where your hair helped or hindered your progress in the workplace?

Alyson: Nope, not that I am aware. I have gone on interviews with a bun, a wash and go and straight. I got all the jobs so I don't think I've been hindered yet. Now that I’m in my role at my company, I don't think I’ve been passed up for anything based on my hair.

C&C: Oh, no! You woke up late for work but you have an important meeting today! What's your natural hair style on the run?

Alyson: BUN LYFEEEEE! Slick them edges girl! I wear a satin scarf while I'm in the car driving, take it off about 5 minutes before my destination just to make sure I don't have any unforeseen lines on my forehead from the scarf, and I'm good to go!


 C&C: How do you maintain and care for your hair with your work schedule?

Alyson: Wash day is usually Sunday in my house - I detangle, wash and deep condition. Monthly hot oil treatment and protein treatments. I pineapple at night sleep on a satin pillowcase and wear my wash and go for the rest of the week. Saturday I may co-wash and diffuse to go out, but I typically don’t need to do anything to my hair all week. Then back to the drill on Sunday to really deep condition and pamper my curls.

C&C: Who is your curl inspiration and why?

Alyson: Mo Knows Hair ! I love her!! She definitely has helped me with my routine and hair care. I feel that her hair type is similar to mine so I love her product suggestions, she explains about the science behind our hair so well, and her hair is freakin’ awesome! I hope one day to have healthy hair like hers.I have always had natural hair but definitely didn't have a good routine, and did not take care of my curls. I wore it straight almost every day from 10th grade to somewhere mid senior year of college. I love learning about how to take care of my hair, and she's definitely a wealth of knowledge.

I also really love HeyFranHey. I found her this summer, but I watch all of her DIY raw and organic beauty videos, and use a bunch of her recipes (Hair butter, **body butter [LOVE this one!], deep conditioner, etc). The ingredients are raw and organic, the process is simple, and I know exactly what is going into my hair and body. 

What advice do you have to offer other Cubicles & Curls girls?

Don't give up! At first there is sooooooo much info on natural hair on the Internet (well nowadays there is, there was hardly anything in the past like 7-10 years). There are still a lot of different opinions and products and blah blah blah that it can all seem like too much. But then you weed out the BS and find some truly masterful naturalistas that have a wealth of knowledge. Before you know it, you’ll start to understand you hair and the products/techniques that work well for your hair. And that’s when it becomes fun to explore your hair!

Do you get your hair done at a salon? If so, which salon(s)/stylist do you go to and where?

I rarely go to a salon, but I recently went to an Aveda salon and LOVED the experience. My stylist cut my hair in layers to perfection! It looked great straight and curly. I'm also a huge fan of their products because of their organic nature. If you're in the DMV area, check out Gianne Nascimento!

Be sure to follow Alyson's blog, Perfectly_Imperfect, to contact her and get your mental hygiene & wellness fix.