weekend free-for-all – April 29-30, 2017

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson, which looks at what happens to people after an internet mob goes after them (e.g., Justine Sacco, Jonah Lehrer, etc.). Really interesting.

open thread – April 28-29, 2017

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

men with long hair at job interviews, I almost hit a coworker with my car, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Men with long hair and interviews

My husband is agonizing over whether or not he must cut his hair in order to get a new job.

He was laid off recently due to a reorganization and cutbacks. He works in accounting, which is typically a more conservative field, but had been working for the last few years at a small, laid-back company. He had very short, professional hair when he started working at his last job, but decided to grow it out while he was there (there were other men with long hair, women with untraditional colors, very casual dress etc.) He had wanted to grow it out forever, and it is now to his shoulders and when he was at work he would usually wear it pulled back in a neat, low bun.

He has started the process of applying for jobs and has a few interviews scheduled. Since we’re financially secure for now, he has the luxury of being somewhat choosy and he is applying mostly to companies that seem to have a more laid-back environment (like the accounting departments at local restaurants, art schools, etc.).

Most of our friends say that he will need to cut his hair in order to get a job. That sounds so retro to me! He is in his 30s, and is well spoken and handsome with clean, smooth hair and a very nice professional wardrobe (and a great resume). I think as long as he pulls his hair back neatly for interviews that he will look professional enough. Our friends think that my perspective is skewed because I’ve always worked in creative industries. So, do you think that a man has a better chance of getting a job with short hair? Is it possible for him to look polished with long hair? Will interviewers see him as some sort of unreliable dirty biker because of his hair?

Totally depends on the type of company he’s applying to and the geographic area. There are definitely still places that aren’t cool with long hair on men, and accounting is indeed a conservative field (although that may not matter if he’s applying for in-house accountant jobs rather than at accounting firms). In general, his prospects will probably be broader in that field with shorter hair, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places that won’t care.

2. I almost hit a coworker with my car

I was backing out of a spot and almost hit somebody, and was so freaked out that it didn’t occur to me to get out and say something. Then I saw them at a meeting, and afterwards, I realized who it was. Of course, I want to apologize. How should I approach this?

Be direct! “I’m so sorry — I think I may have almost hit you when I was backing out of a space yesterday. I should have stopped at the time, and I wanted to apologize now.”

3. Offering to work for less to offset a lack of experience

I am out of work and have been job searching for several months. I’ve had a handful of interviews, but no offers. I’ve found a position that I’d very much like to apply for, but I’m lacking some key experience (related to activist organizing). I genuinely think I could succeed at this job with a bit of a learning curve.

The job pays far more than I expect to make at this point in my career, nearly twice as much as most other positions I’m applying for. Would it be appropriate to mention in my cover letter that I would take a pay cut to offset my lack of experience? Or am I better off letting this one pass me by?

If they’ve listed the experience as one of only a few key must-haves and you don’t have it, you’re probably not a strong candidate for the job. If it’s one in a long list of qualifications, it’s possible that you’d be plausible if you’re strong in other areas, and in that case I’d still apply. But don’t offer to take a pay cut; they (hopefully) want the best person for the job, not the cheapest. And if they do think your experience would warrant a lower salary, you should let them bring that up.

4. Company offered me a job without checking references

I applied to an opening with a company, one where a family member of mine had a personal connection with someone very high up in that organization. My family member connected with that person and got me an interview. The process continued on normally from there and they have extended a job offer … without asking for references.

They did not ask for references from me at any point and did not say that the offer is contingent on good references. This puzzles me and makes me a little nervous. My family member waved off my concerns, says that their connection knows them really well and probably fast-tracked my application without references since family member vouched for me.

I want to accept the offer but should I be concerned with this? Should I offer or ask about references? I don’t fear my references saying something bad and the offer being withdrawn so I don’t mind giving them. Is it normal for vouching from a personal connection to override references?

They should be concerned with it because it’s a bad way to hire (especially if they’re just relying on the word of a family member), but I don’t think you need to worry too much about it. Some companies don’t check references. It’s weird and they should, but not everyone does.

If you’ve done your due diligence on them and are otherwise convinced that they have their act together, I wouldn’t let this give you significant pause.

5. Writing “yup” in work emails

My boss is frequently cc’d on emails to outside tech support people because he helped create many of the systems I am working with. (Also, he apparently needs to know *everything* that goes on.) Today, and once or twice previously, he called after I sent an email to one of the support people I am working with, and told me that I should never use the word “yup” (or a similar casual word) in an email. Is he out of line or am I just being a bit too sensitive?

In the vast, vast majority of work cultures, “yup” (or “yep” or so forth) is perfectly fine. I suppose it’s possible that your office culture is so formal and uptight that “yup” is truly out of place, but there’s a better chance that your boss is just weird in this way. That said, he’s asked you not to use it in work emails, so it makes sense to stop using it in work emails. It’s not a big enough thing to expend capital pushing back on.

my interviewer asked “how low I was willing to go” on salary

A reader writes:

I had a wonderful phone interview that lead to an in-person interview. Both went extremely well and the job is one that interests me.

However, at the end of the interview, I was asked for a ballpark salary requirement, which I gave along with the standard caveat that I would want to consider a complete compensation package. The hiring manager suggested I spend my weekend thinking about how “low I was willing to go.”

I bit back the urge for a snarky reply that they should spend their weekend thinking “how high they were willing to go.”

Needless to say, I sent the requisite thank-you letter and am continuing my search with other companies. Is this a new style of salary negotiating?

I don’t know that it’s a new style — there have always been companies that are pretty open about trying to lowball people — but it’s certainly a crappy one.

This isn’t a job you want (unless you are extremely desperate, and even then, you would only want it for as long as it takes you to find a better one).

Good employers do not pressure people to work for the absolute lowest figure they’d find tolerable. Good employers understand that in order to attract and keep good employees, they need to pay a salary that feels reasonably fair and in line with market rates, and that if they are blatant about their desire to cheap out on salary, they will reap the results of that in low performance and high turnover.

All that said, there’s one scenario where I can imagine an interviewers saying this without it being so outrageous: If you asked for a salary range that’s wildly above market range in your field but then added in that you’re willing to be flexible, I could imagine someone saying, “That’s pretty outside our range — we’re thinking $X to $Y. Will you think about how far you’d be able to come down and let me know?”

But if that wasn’t the context, then yeah, these people just told you that they want to cheap out on salary. And since money is probably the reason you’re interested in working in the first place, you’re pretty safe in declaring this organization Not High On Your List.

update on the bird phobia letter and the employee who won’t come back unless her coworker is fired

Remember the letter from the person dealing with a bird-phobic employee who pushed another employee in his effort to get away from a bird in the parking lot? The second employee was seriously injured and was refusing to come back unless the first employee was fired. Here’s the update.

There was a police investigation because Liz was injured by a vehicle. Both the police and the driver’s insurance company found Jack to be 100% at fault for what happened, based on multiple witness accounts that Jack had extended his arms back and then out when he pushed Liz and didn’t just lightly bump into her. Liz agreed it was Jack’s fault and not the driver. One of the mirrors on the vehicle was damaged when Liz was hit and Jack paid to have it repaired as a resolution with the driver, and everything between the driver and Jack has been settled. Jack has not been charged with anything. (It is still a possibility that he might be.)

HR and Jack had attempted to keep in contact with Liz after she got out of the hospital to see if there was any chance of her coming back but she never responded. Eventually both Jack and the company received a letter from a lawyer asking that they not contact Liz again. She never asked for money to pay her medical bills, didn’t file a workers comp. claim, and didn’t take any legal action against Jack.

The legal department and the outside legal counsel who HR got a second opinion from had told Jack and the company to prepare for a claim and other legal action and advised all to settle because Liz had a strong case. Her letter stated she had decided to not take action and just wanted to move on for her own well-being. She now has another job. Our company was not contacted for a reference or employment history. I don’t know if Liz told them what happened during the interview but our industry in this area is small and I know for sure she has now told her new job everything that happened.

After what happened, Jack told me he decided to take a break from therapy and look at his options. I was surprised and he volunteered that information without me asking. But since I am in a management position over him, I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to comment or tell him that.

His work is still excellent and he has had no disciplinary or work-related issues.

Note: Due to how out of hand the comments on the original letter got, all comments on this post will go through moderation, which means they may not post immediately.

we raised a lot of money to help a coworker — but the person holding the money died

This is a really tough one, so I’m throwing it out to readers to help with. A reader writes:

I’m writing to you seeking help about a sensitive circumstance that has taken place at my work. My coworkers know I am writing to you and there is agreement about my submission to you.

At the beginning of February, the wife of one of my coworkers gave birth to a premature baby, 16 weeks before her due date. A collection was taken up for him and his wife because the baby was in intensive care and it was a stressful and draining situation for them. A manager deposited the money in the bank and was to write a check for him and his wife (a confidential spreadsheet was kept of the donations and everyone signed off on the amount that the check was to be for).

The next day the manager who was supposed to write the check was killed in a car crash. We hate to even be thinking of this, but we have no way to access the donations and only her family can access her bank account. It was a significant sum of money (over $1,500). The crash made the news and her family has started a fundraiser to pay her hospital bill and funeral expenses as they cannot cover it on their own.

Our question is how we can tactfully ask them to give us the money so we can donate it to our coworker who had the premature baby as intended? We don’t work for a large company with the funds for another check, it’s a small business. Many people here dug deep to give a donation and no one can really afford to do it again. We don’t want to upset or hurt her family but that money wasn’t hers. None of us want to offend her family because they are struggling too.

Oh no, this is terrible. I’m so sorry for everyone involved.

I hate to say it, but I don’t know if there’s an easy way to get that money back. Her family may not even be able to access her bank account yet.

And then of course, there’s the sensitivity around approaching a grieving family and asking for the money back — that’s a tough thing to do, especially when they’re in the middle of raising funds themselves.

I’m stumped on this one. What do others think?

I got drunk and flipped out at a company dinner, talking about weaknesses in a job interview, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I got drunk and flipped out at a company dinner

Friday night, we had my company’s annual dinner, which includes all management. My husband works for the same company and we are both at the same level. I drank entirely too much, and didn’t eat at all (food was terrible). I was fine during dinner, having fun and laughing, nothing out of control. After dinner, some coworkers decided to go to the bar, so my husband and I agreed to go also. Before heading to the bar, I told my husband I needed to use the restroom.

From this point on, everything is a blur. I came out of the restroom looking for my husband, and thought he had ditched me. I looked and looked for him and finally found him at the bar, with two guys from work, one of them who I REALLY don’t like. I went ballistic. I lost it. My husband tells me I flipped out on him and apparently also said a few things (very mean things) to the two guys. I don’t remember most of this or why I was so angry. My husband got me out of there eventually.

I’m currently dealing with a lot of personal things, so maybe not finding my husband was a huge trigger for me. I think I felt abandoned. I’m filled with shame and embarrassment. I really feel like I should send an email to the two guys and apologize for my behavior, but my husband says I shouldn’t. We work for a big company, I don’t work directly with them, but I do see them every now and then. I don’t want to get in trouble either. I don’t know what to do.

It’s hard to imagine that you shouldn’t apologize if you flipped out and said mean things to these guys, so I’m curious to know what your husband’s reasoning is for that. Does he just want to not deal with this any further and worries that apologizing will drag it out? If it’s just that, I’d overrule him and apologize — it’s your name and reputation that’s on the line here.

If possible, I wouldn’t use email. Email can feel like a cowardly way out in this kind of situation, so I would talk to them face to face. (And actually, same for anyone else who may have witnessed it, not just these two guys.)

2. Talking about weaknesses in a job interview

I am graduating from college soon and am nervously anticipating interview questions. Specifically, the dreaded “what’s your greatest weakness?”

I know what my greatest weakness is. I can be very judgmental of people and it takes me a while to get over a bad impression. Since I want to answer this question honestly, my practice answer is, “My greatest weakness is my tendency to over-judge people. I realize how harmful this mindset can be, and I try and challenge my perceptions and overcompensate by trying to be as empathetic and understanding of others as possible.”

Do you think it would be shooting myself in the foot to admit this weakness during an interview, or do you think my explanation of my improvement plan can help?

I wouldn’t use that weakness. It makes you sound potentially like you’re going to be difficult to work with or that you’ll have trouble in your relationships with coworkers.

I know I say you should be honest about your weaknesses, but when you’re just kind of going fishing for one to use, I’d pick something different. If you worked during college, where did you feel like you had the most room for improvement? What kind of feedback did you get from managers? That might point out in the right direction, but if it doesn’t, pick something that’s more about work skills than interpersonal skills.

Frankly, though, I think this question is going out of style and you’re a lot less likely to encounter it than you used to be, and that’s especially true when you’re interviewing as a new grad since people know that you’re unlikely to have a good sense of your work-related weaknesses yet. It’s still good to prepare for it because some interviewers do still ask it, but good ones will cut new grads a lot of slack for not being able to accurately assess their own skills.

3. How do we get out of a company softball league?

A colleague of mine recently organized a co-ed softball team that our company has chosen to sponsor. This co-ed league requires a team of five women and five men to play each game. If there are not enough women, the team is forced to forfeit. I work in a male-dominated industry and there are very few women who work at our company. After asking about everyone he could, the organizer was able to gather four hesitant female coworkers who said, “yes, I would be interested in playing softball.” The other player is the girlfriend of organizer and is not an employee at our company. The team organizer had very few details about the games and schedule when he sent the interest email.

About a week after the original email went out, the organizer sent out a second email that said he had signed up our teams and thanked us for all committing to playing. I did make the organizer aware of my hesitation with playing in the first place, but I did “commit” verbally after the original interest email went out. I have spoken with two female coworkers who feel that they did not actually ever say they were “committed” to playing and now feel trapped.

It has now been almost a month, and we just received the softball schedule. Many of us leave work at 5:30 p.m., and we were told the games would be no later than 6:30 p.m. Six of the 10 games don’t even start until 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. Our company is at the halfway point between where I live and the field where we’ll play. From my house, it is about 45-50 minutes to the field. From work, it is still about a 25-minute drive for everyone. When I originally said I’d be interested, I really hadn’t realized I would be committing all day, every Monday, until July to this softball league. I have other after work commitments I really enjoy and must rearrange to make these games, which has made me lose all interest in actually playing.

I would love to be able to say I cannot make the games that are later than 6:30 p.m., but that may mean that they don’t have enough women to play at all. At least two other female team mates would also like to back out, but because it is a company-sponsored team we feel that it would reflect poorly on us and put the organizer in an awkward position. Is there anything I can do here to save my colleagues and I or do we have to suck it up and play?

You absolutely don’t need suck it up and play, nor should you. He’s asking for a pretty big commitment, and he didn’t even give you all the relevant information at first; in fact, he gave you wrong info. It’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Sorry, when I said I’d be interested, I based that on your initial email saying that no game would be later than 6:30. This schedule won’t work for me, so I need to withdraw.”

And even if the scheduling mix-up hadn’t happened, it would still be reasonable for any of you to say, “I’ve given this more thought and realized it’s a bigger time commitment than I can make,” or for your coworkers to say, “Hey, wait, I said I’d potentially be interested, but I didn’t commit — please don’t count me as a definite yes.”

You don’t need to worry about it reflecting poorly on your company; the organizer is the one who messed this up, and while it’s nice to help people out of jams when you can, losing all your Monday evenings for months on end is far beyond the call of duty.

4. Can I redo my application for a job I applied for recently?

I saw a great job posting that I felt qualified for. It recommended applying within a month of the posting going up, but had zero indication of when that actually was. Not wanting the opportunity to pass me by, I decided to apply as quickly as I could.

It’s now been over a month since I applied, and certainly over a month since the posting went up (whenever the heck that was). So obviously, time was not as big an issue as I thought. I don’t think my application was bad at all, but after a month of dwelling on it (it really is a dream job for me), I do think I could have gone an entirely different direction on my cover letter — one that would have more specifically tied my experiences to their needs. Not to mention, I’ve accomplished some things in the past few weeks that would boost my qualifications. I’m trying to be positive and say that this is all stuff I can use to wow them in an interview, if I get there.

But still, a question lingers … if there’s been an opening for months and you feel like you can make a notably better application, is it acceptable to re-submit for a job you’ve already applied to? Obviously the quality of an application is different when I have two days to think about it, versus two months. But it still seems like something that comes off as naive and unprofessional. If a friend were asking me for advice, I’d say to just keep their fingers crossed and trust their initial application. But what’s the hiring manager perspective on this?

Yeah, don’t do it. You’re expected to basically put your best foot forward when you apply, and it’s annoying to be asked to read a second application for the same person because they want to take another stab at it. I totally understand the impulse, but resist it!

5. New hire has weird boundaries

I had an employee start today, and he’s already showing signs of being “inappropriately” uncomfortable. It’s little things: picking things up off other other people’s desks, leaning against doorframes, walking into another department’s office to “explore” while on his 10-minute break.

I don’t want to sound uptight, but it feels something akin to someone visiting your house for the first time and opening your fridge without asking. It’s like, “hey, boundaries.”

How to I politely nip this in bud to let him know I expect him have a more professional/respectful demeanor? (He’s also not new to working. He’s 27 and has been in the workforce for eight years, including two years as a manager in a corporate department.)

Start with this: “Hey, it seems like we might have somewhat more formal boundaries than you may be used to from past jobs. Picking up things off other people’s desks or going exploring in other departments without a reason for being there will come across strangely here. Since it seems like it might be a different culture than what you’re used to, it might help to be deliberate about watching how others on our team do things here, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have too. I know it can be tough to adjust to a new culture.”

If it continues after that, you’ll have to decide how big of a deal it is. If it’s not just the stuff you named but bigger things too (interrupting in meetings, being relaxed to the point of unprofessionalism in his work, etc.), it may be that he’s just not the right match for your office (although it’s still worth naming that stuff explicitly for him and seeing if some feedback gets you anywhere).

my boss advertised my job without telling me

A reader writes:

I started working part-time in communications for a small nonprofit startup (25 employees) six months ago. My boss, who is a very smart, talented woman in her late 20’s, started the nonprofit with her boyfriend and a couple of friends a few years ago, and it has been extremely successful. But she doesn’t have much experience managing employees who aren’t her personal friends. I was the second hire in her department after another college friend, and I’m significantly older than most of the other 20-somethings in the office (who tend to go off to grad school or medical school after working there for a year.)

The organization underwent a major transition this spring, and she’s largely been absent since I was hired — in meetings, working somewhere else in the office, doing something more important than supervising or helping me. Her desk is less than six feet away from mine, but I’ve resorted to sending her daily update emails with questions and reports. At the same time, she doesn’t trust me to write things and checks and rewrites all my work–down to individual Facebook posts for our web page–because I either “don’t have the right tone” or I make copy-editing errors. The poor communication and lack of trust make it hard for me to get work done. It’s all strange because my last three bosses all loved my writing, and I’ve worked as a professional writer for decades. I’ve gone from being a star to an incompetent in six months.

My title has been “acting communications manager.” Recently, a friend of me sent me a listing for a “communications manager” job, saying “Isn’t this your job?” It was! I emailed my boss the listing saying “We need to talk about this.” We had a professional development session coming up, and she said she was looking for someone who could replace her, and that person wasn’t me. That’s fine — but she doesn’t seem to understand that I spent my whole weekend terrified that I was about to get fired. I stayed quiet; she didn’t seem to understand the effect it had on me at all, and I didn’t know how to start explaining.

She’s trying to find another role for me in the organization (under a different supervisor), but I’m feeling angry and betrayed. Did she think I wouldn’t find out? I get along well with everyone else in the office, but I feel like I can’t trust the organization as a whole. I’ve started looking for another job, but my contract goes for another month and a half. What should I do? What should I say?

She sounds like she’s just an inexperienced manager who doesn’t know what she’s doing … which is another way of saying she’s a bad manager.

It’s not just her mishandling of this; it’s her incompetence in managing you more broadly. For example, if you “don’t have the right tone” for things you’re supposed to write, she should be giving you actionable feedback and coaching you on that, not just settling on redoing all your work as if that’s an acceptable solution. And if things reached the point where she had decided you weren’t the right fit for the job, she should have talked to you about that, not left you to figure it out when you saw your own damn job listed.

It’s most likely her inexperience that’s making her a bad manager. It sounds like she started the organization soon after college, which means it was probably her first time managing people (which rarely goes smoothly, even when the new manager has a boss to coach her, which she doesn’t have) and that she hadn’t had much time in the work world to watch and learn from other managers. And she’s been managing only friends up until now, which isn’t exactly the sign of a super professionalized manager.

So, if you step back and look at it, this isn’t terribly surprising. It’s a start-up organization run by someone without much experience, and she is indeed operating like someone without much experience. That rarely works out well for the people being managed in that situation.

And because she’s running this organization, it’s very unlikely that moving to another job there would be a great choice because the whole organization is going to be mismanaged. Since your contract there ends shortly anyway, I wouldn’t worry about addressing this with her; just focus on finding a job that isn’t there.

(All that said, “acting communications manager” does imply the role wasn’t a permanent one, so maybe there’s something there that explains some of how she handled this?)

how many interviews are too many?

A reader writes:

I applied for a job that I thought I’d be a good fit for. I clicked with the external recruiter immediately, and he said he wanted to introduce me to on-site recruiter at the client. When I met the second guy, he said he would definitely like to introduce me to the owner/director of the business. I met with the owner/director, and we talked for over an hour.

Then the first recruiter got back in touch and said that she would like to hear me explain what I can offer the company and how my skills can help move it forward. I decided to compile notes on all areas… sales, communication, people, costs, then round off with talking through the words people have used to describe me in feedback I’ve had throughout my career. I thought we had covered this already and in detail.

I did yet another interview this morning. At the end they said, “We’ll get back to you on Monday, we think. We might need candidates at this stage to complete a personality test. We’ve hired badly in the past and we don’t want to make mistakes again.”

Meanwhile I’m thinking, “This is the fourth interview I’ve had regarding this. I’ve been very open and honest and I think I’ve given a full picture of who I am and what I can do.”

They kept talking about avoiding a bad fit, but as far as I was concerned I had decided I really wanted to work for them after interview #3 and told them that. So I guess my quandary is… getting a second interview is a signal that they’re really interested, and getting a third one should be even more positive, right? But a fourth or a fifth? I just do not know what to make of this; my head is buzzing.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

my intern told a horribly offensive joke at a meeting with other companies

A reader writes:

Every spring, the company I work for hires interns. This year I was assigned an intern to train and manage for the first time. Two days ago I had a project meeting at another site and my boss said I should bring my intern as it would be a good experience for him. Up until this point, my intern’s behavior had been nothing but professional.

Before the meeting started, when people were still arriving and getting settled in, my intern told someone he was speaking with a tasteless, disgusting joke (about people jumping from buildings on 9/11). He said it with a normal level voice and everyone around him heard, including me. I immediately told him to stop talking. The person sitting next to him went off because she had a family member who died on 9/11 and may have been one of those who jumped. She had to be pulled out of the room by three of her colleagues in tears and still yelling at him over their shoulders. No one could blame her for her reaction.

My intern was kicked out of the meeting and took a cab back to our office. I texted my boss to let him know what happened and profusely apologized to everyone on behalf of the company. There were people from two other companies and the government at this meeting, and they were all appalled. The intern was fired and at least two complaints have been filed against him to the association that governs those who work in our industry. Multiple people from the meeting have called my boss and other higher-ups to complain.

I am worried that my intern’s behavior will reflect badly on me. I think what he did was disgusting, but he was here for a month before this happened and he was nothing but polite and professional. I was so embarrassed at the meeting.

My boss and the higher-ups are furious and doing major damage control. Should I say something to them or try to explain I had no idea he would do anything like this? Should I apologize again? I’m afraid to show my face at the next meeting because I am so embarrassed.

You aren’t responsible for someone else’s offensive joke.

Actually, I’ll caveat that: If you’d seen earlier evidence of problems with him and not addressed it, then sure, you’d have some responsibility here.

But that’s not what happened here. You’d seen nothing but professional behavior from him previously, and you had no way of knowing that he was about to bust out a horrible offensive remark.

When it happened, you immediately told him to stop talking. You apologized profusely to everyone who was at the meeting, and you alerted your boss to what happened. Those are all the correct actions to take.

Sometime people turn out not to be who we thought they were. As long as you don’t pretend you’re not seeing/hearing it and as long as you don’t let bad behavior continue, that’s not your fault.

I don’t know what you’ve said to your boss and other higher-ups so far, but if you haven’t told them how appalled you are and that you’d seen no signs of problems from him before, tell them that now. Emphasize “appalled.” Also, tell your boss that you’re really embarrassed and ask for her advice about whether there’s anything else that you should be doing.

But really, this sounds like an intern who ran amok in a particularly awful way. Sometimes that happens. You deal with it, you apologize to anyone impacted, and then you get to move on.