Washington State is only one of many states to ban smoking in public places. The current wording makes it clear, smokers are not welcome in Washington State:
The Washington Clean Indoor Air Act of 1985 (RCW 70.160) was revised in December 2005 after voters approved Initiative 901. The new, comprehensive law prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, including restaurants, bars, taverns, bowling alleys, skating rinks, non-tribal casinos, and in all places of employment (any place employees must pass through during the course of employment). In addition, it prohibits smoking within 25 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve indoor public places or places of employment.
How does the non-smoking attitude affect your job search? Understand there is absolutely discrimination against smokers. Smokers take time off task for smoke breaks, smell badly and are sometimes considered less intelligent than non smoking peers. Statistics indicate smokers take more sick days. Often a company will not hire smokers for insurance reasons.
Worse, some companies are taking drastic measures. According to USA Today, Weyco, a medical benefits provider based in Okemos, Mich., banned employees from smoking on their own time. Employees must submit to random tests that detect if someone has smoked. They must also agree to searches of briefcases, purses or other belongings if company officials suspect tobacco or other banned substances have been brought on-site. Those who smoke may be suspended or fired. Employees who smoked before the ban was passed are not fired; however, they can't get medical insurance through the company. Some companies have such a strong no-smoking policy for employees, new hires must submit to a urine test to prove they are tobacco-free. Is this the wave of the future for smokers?
It is clear that smoking and employment is a huge issue. Rather than make it an impediment to your own employment, take steps. This is not a lecture to quit, if you could have you would have. This is advice on how to handle smoking during your job search.
You may not smell it, but others can. Have your job search clothes laundered and kept separate from your other outfits, even if you have to keep them in the garage or a neighbor’s house. Do not let the new attire come into contact with any clothes worn while you were smoking.
Wear them for interviews and networking, but don’t smoke while wearing them. As nervous as you may be, don’t smoke before or during the interview. Most people are at worst, offended by the smell and at least, distracted.
If you are invited to interview over a meal and not smoking leaves you agitated or distracted, it is best to avoid the invitation. Conduct all interviews face to face in the office but not over a meal. Protect yourself from your own urge to smoke. One lapse may mean the difference between a job offer and a protracted search.
Rita Ashley is a job search coach who works with executives to create a compelling job search or road map to advancement. In the last two years, 98% of her clients achieve their goals well within six months. Want to read some testimonials?