wee answer Wednesday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s wee answer Wednesday! We’ve got interviewers who don’t ask any questions, a coworker with a secret sex life (oh no!), and more. Here we go…

1. Can I require exempt employee to keep certain hours?

I have 3 exempt-level employees and 1 non-exempt employee. The exempt employees are arriving and leaving work, basically whenever they feel like. I get that “exempt” is not “hourly” and that they don’t have to be tied down to clocking in and out, etc. However, just because you’re exempt doesn’t mean you can come and go whenever you feel like, right?

You can require exempt employees to work certain hours. What you can’t do is to dock their paycheck if they don’t; that’s where the law on exempt workers come in — they must be paid their full salary for any week in which they do any work. However, you can require them to work certain hours and discipline them for not working your required hours (including firing them for it if it gets that serious). In other words, the law dictates how you pay them, not how you manage them or what you require of them.

If you want them there certain hours, tell them and hold them to it. (Although how rigidly you enforce this should depend on what the work really requires; many jobs allow for some flexibility.)

2. Office is gossiping about coworker’s sex life

While I was not at work, I received an email over a social networking site from a coworker. To make a long story short, this email contained explicit photos of one of my male coworkers asking for sexual favors on Craig’s List. The co-worker who sent this prefaced the email with, “What do you think we should do about this?” Well, I am stumped, and to make matters worse, I work with this guy every day and we work with kids. Although nothing in the ad suggested putting children in harm’s way, I am shocked, saddened and just plain worried. This guy is trained as a youth leader! It is all over my place of employment now! It seems most people know about this fake/real ad. Also, I enjoy working with this person, while a majority of my co-worker’s can’t stand the guy. I just don’t know what to do in this situation. I have thought about prining this information out and leaving it on his car with something like “hey, what is this,” or “please take this down.” But, I am thinking this is not my place, but working with this guy everyday is just starting to get uncomfortable. I also have a feeling he really doesn’t know about this. What should be done if anything?

Wow. You all should mind your own business. His sex life has nothing to do with his job or with any of you, and I hope you’ll point that out to your coworkers. (That said, the guy is dumb for including identifying photos in his ad.)

3. Have I alienated this staffing agency?

After many years of searching for full-time work, I received a call from a staffing agency regarding a long-term temp position. I did interview and get the job, where I worked for five months until the assignment ended. While employed, my pay rate was $14/hr. When the agency vowed to help me keep working, the recruiter called me to offer me a position paying $9/hr and located about an hour away. I politely declined and explained the lower pay and far location wasn’t beneficial to my present financial situation. I have not heard from the recruiter since I turned it down. I assume they weren’t very happy that I didn’t accept. Do you think they will still assist me in my job search or should I just cross this agency off my list?

I don’t know. It was reasonable to turn down the position, but they’re not necessarily reasonable people. The only way you’ll find out is by making contact with them, letting them know you’re still interested in working with them, and seeing what happens.

4. Out-of-state jobs that require a local driver’s license

You’ve written before about the challenges of applying to long-distance jobs. Another aspect of that which I’ve recently encountered is job announcements that list a valid state driver’s license (for the state where the position is based) among the qualifications/requirements. Since I don’t yet live in that state, I currently hold a driver’s license for my own state and not the one listed in the requirements. I can and would get one if I lived there. Is this a way of weeding out non-local candidates? Is it something that isn’t really expected at the time of hiring but that the employee can and will acquire it at the start of employment? Is it another point to address in a cover letter?

If you have a driver’s license in your current state and are confident you’d be able to quickly get one in the new state as soon as you relocated, I’d assume you meet this requirement. I’d look at the requirement more as “definitely will have this by the time you start.” If someone has a problem with it, they can let you know, but otherwise I wouldn’t even bother addressing it.

5. Interviewer asked if I’ve seen immoral behavior

I am a college freshman and would like some advice on how to answer an interview question that stumped me. The question was along the lines of, “Have you ever seen somebody do something morally wrong or bad? If so, what did you do in response?” This question came up in an interview to become an RA, and quite frankly, I was stumped. The interviewer told me it didn’t have to be anything illegal, just unethical. I couldn’t think of anything and said so, which was probably a bad idea, but the interviewer still pushed me for an answer. The reason I didn’t have an answer is because the things I’ve seen people do that are bad and that aren’t illegal include spreading untrue rumors and just general rudeness. I eventually answered with that, but I could tell the interviewer was unimpressed just by the bored look on her face. This really makes me worried because I’m afraid telling someone not to spread a rumor just makes me seem like I associate with a bunch of elementary schoolers. However, I certainly don’t want to lie either. How should I answer this question if it comes up in the future?

Don’t lie. You answer questions about your experience with what your experience has given you. Since it was an RA position, they probably wanted to know how you’ve handled situations where someone stole, cheated, or so forth, but you can’t make up something that didn’t happen. You could, however, say that your general principles for handling unethical behavior by others are ___. (Think twice about wanting to be an RA though. The bigger dorm room might not be worth the constant and weird interruptions.)

6. Including company links on a resume

Is it weird to write a company’s website into your resume? For example, I work for a company that does great work but isn’t too well known. I feel like by including the company’s website address after its name and location, it might help the employer understand, if in fact they are even interested.

Meh. If they want to look at the company’s website (and they almost definitely don’t on the initial screening), they can look it up online. I wouldn’t clutter up your resume with a bunch of links.

7. Interviewers who don’t ask any questions

What’s with the kind of interview where you go in and the interviewer just describes the job and doesn’t ask you any questions? I once had an interview like this for a receptionist position at a hair salon. She told me in great detail about the job, its duties, and what sort of skills and availability they wanted. It was brief, and she didn’t ask me any questions about my experience, personality, skills, job history – or anything whatsoever. What’s up with this? Is its purpose to gauge your character from observation so it doesn’t matter if you say anything? Is it a secret test where the interviewer is waiting to see if you assertively and deftly provide your own sales pitch for your abilities and skills? Or is she just someone who doesn’t know how to interview? I have a friend who recently had this kind of interview, too, for a retail position, and am curious.

Believe me, there’s almost certainly no strategy behind it. It’s just someone who doesn’t know how to interview.

{ 199 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    In regards to the second question about someone stumbling across explict pics of a co-worker and spreading those pics being around, I have no advice, but I do feel for the person who is “burdened” with this information that they rather not have. While at a temp job several years ago immediately post college, I accidently came across a posting in the Casual Encounters section complete with full body (with face!) pics that had been posted by one of the managers in the small non-profit I was working with, (in the relatively small city we were working in).

    I never said anything to anyone and I’ve always assumed that was the correct response. But still, it felt awkward, especially since I spent most of my day seated at a desk that faced right into his office.

  2. Kimberlee*

    For the interviewee in the last question… I sort of feel like its an interview where they never intended to hire you. I had one like that, though it was a phone interview (and 45 minutes!!), and it sort of got to the point where I felt like they were explaining the position in depth so at some point I would say “Oh, I totally couldn’t do that, I’m not right for the job.” They never contacted me after that, or replied to my follow-up emails. Oh, well!

    1. Evan the College Student*

      I agree with AAM’s response. I had one interview like that a couple months ago; he asked me one or two questions and talked a lot about the company and the job. At the end of the fifteen-minute interview, he said he’d offer me the job as soon as he ran the paperwork by some other people. I ended up not taking that, but it was a strong contender.

      And yes, this would have been a computer software/hardware design job! I assume he was relying a lot on my resume and cover letter, but I was still shocked by how he handled the interview.

    2. Lauren*

      I don’t think its about being a bad interviewer, as opposed to someone that loves to talk and forgets other people are in the room. Some people are just long winded, one interview I had sounded great. Interesting job, had all the things on my bucket list of things i wanted to learn, but the interview dragged on for four hours. Started at 5 pm – 9 pm. He was talking 85% of the time, and I was exhausted by the end, and even though he was ready to offer me the job, I asked to meet his partner before making any decisions. I met his partner, great guy but the original guy was there too. three hour interview 6pm – 9pm this time around. At this point, no amount of money could get me to take this job. This owner just talked and talked, would not shut up. I knew from the interviews that everyday would be like this, and i barely survived the 7 hours of interviewing! People keep forgetting that you are interviewing THEM too. You can learn a lot from a talker, and in my experience if you can’t get a word in during the interview its a precursor to what will happen if you work there . Just saying.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Someone who loves to talk and forgets other people are in the room, and conducts themselves that way in an interview, is a bad interviewer.

        1. Ellie H.*

          This is something I worry about finding the right balance with when I do college admissions interviews (I’m an alumna volunteer, not an admissions worker). One of the purposes of the interview is for me to talk about the school and answer whatever questions the student has – it’s supposed to be a resource for them as well as for me to gauge whether they are a good fit or not, so I need to talk some. I also like talking in order to make the students feel comfortable, because I feel like the main purpose of these is to figure out what their personalities are really like rather than to interrogate them about their abilities, and I feel like the best way to do this is to have it be more like a real conversation. (I think this is slightly different from a job interview in that the most successful, highest-achieving, rock star students still might not be well suited to my school – though obviously personality/fit is very important in the workplace as well). But I know I’m a bit of a talker, so I try hard to make sure I’m not dominating the conversation and that the students are doing a lot more talking than I am.

          1. Elizabeth*

            When I did interviews (also as an alumna volunteer), my alma mater gave me a big list of sample questions. I usually opened the interview with the thirty-second version of my life history from college on, then started with softball questions like, “So I see from your form that you play in an orchestra. How long have you been doing that?” Then I focused on the student until near the end of the interview, when I invited questions.

        2. Jamie*

          Yes. Some interviewers just love the captive audience and it’s almost like they don’t want to let the pesky business of vetting your candidacy get in the way of their monologues or stand-up acts.

          I stand behind one of my posts on another topic which would require anyone involved in the hiring process to follow Alison’s methods. Federal mandate.

      2. K.*

        Whoa, you sat and listened to ONE person talk for four hours? The only time I’ve had a four-hour interview is if I was going to be meeting with many different people – and they told me in advance to plan to be there for four hours (or eight hours). An interview that goes until 9 PM is insane.

    3. Anonymous*

      sounds like somebody was thrown into interviewing when they probably didn’t have the knowledge and/or experience on how to. Seems like they just played it safe and stuck to what they did know which was the position and the duties.

      1. Lauren*

        How does one kill an interview if it takes too long? If I didn’t want the job anymore, I wouldn’t care about burning a bridge, but what about a job you want but the interviewer is bad and taking up a lot of your time as AAM said.

        1. Anonymous*

          I think 1) even if you didn’t want the job anymore you should still care about burning a bridge. always be polite, you don’t know when you’ll see them again or when you may need them.
          2) if they didn’t prepare for you to be there as long as they were holding you there and you are just losing focus and energy after 3 hours of meeting with the SAME person, I think you could probably politely say.
          I’m so sorry and I hate to do this but I only planned on this being a few hours and I have obligations shortly. Again, I hate to do this when I’m really enjoying our conversation but I really do need to get going, unfortunately.
          I ALWAYS send people a schedule of how long they will be speaking to each person so they can plan accordingly. Bringing somebody in and speaking to them for FOUR hours, just the two of you, is kind of crazy. IMHO

    4. Ellie H.*

      This was my question! Thank you so much for including it, Alison!

      I’m not sure if she was definitely not going to hire me, inasmuch as anyone is ever capable of speculating about that. Now that I’m thinking more about it, I’m remembering that one of the things she told me was that they were hoping for someone who would stay longer than a year, which I was pretty sure I didn’t want to do, but I don’t think I mentioned that during. (Although, this was prescient as I ended up moving back to MA in December and now have a full time job here that I really like!). But I would have taken the job then if she had offered it to me. Annoyingly, I didn’t ever hear back after the interview.

      I really don’t get what the point of these is. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. I can’t imagine how the interviewer uses the information from the interview – it will have to be based on how the person comes off on a very superficial level and even makes you worry that it’s based on your appearance, if they don’t care what you have to say. Unlike Evan’s scenario, my interview was for an “interacting with people” job where you really can’t tell from my resume to see if I’d be good at it or not.

      1. fposte*

        If it’s like my old co-worker’s interviewing, there was no point–she was just a horrible interviewer who was constitutionally incapable of withstanding the smallest silence. She’d actually ask a question, and then she’d answer it herself. (Which wasn’t quite as creepy as it sounds–she didn’t put on a different voice or anything–but was just as annoying.) Fortunately, the one hire turned out to be excellent (she’d gotten one very sharp question in), but it’s now something I’m very aware of in interviews.

        Some people really, really like to talk.

        1. Anonymous*

          I had a manager who did this in my interview! She would ask me the question, then point out all the information in my resume that matched what she was looking for. I also heard from a reference that the reference phone call consisted of my boss telling my reference all the reasons I was a great fit and would be a good hire.

          Fortunately, the job worked out well for me, but it was definitely the strangest interview process I’ve gone through.

    5. L*

      My boss interviews like that. I wind up carrying the interview by cutting in to ask actual questions. We’ve had some really terrible hires because she doesn’t know how to interview properly.

  3. Anonymous*

    #2) What’s wrong with your company’s ethical policy? How is it ok to even discuss sexually explicit pictures at work? Haven’t there been lawsuits where nude people wins lawsuits when this type of thing happens? I must have heard of dozens of these cases in the past. Assuming it’s all off work hours why do you and your coworkers care if there is no sign of harm to kids? I notice this is becoming a norm where everyone has some improper picture on the internet. I predict it to become something that doesn’t matter 5-6 years from now.

    1. anon2*

      Excellent point. And not only would I think the craigslist guy (foolish as he was) would be able to sue over the underhanded harrassment he’s being subjected to, I think our OP here too would be, on the grounds of 1) having pictures shown to her unsolicited 2) messing with her good relationship with her co-worker 3) being terrorized by the gossip campaign.
      Basically, the word ‘bullying’ needs to be used in public. Because this sounds like a major bullying episode, the sexual components being mainly used for intimidation, kind of like at Abu Ghraib..
      And personal advice for the OP: find out who exactly is at the origin of this campaign, and stay away from this person and all his friends! Be very careful..

      1. K2*

        +100 – Sound advice, especially regarding who originated the campaign.

        Hearing stuff like this makes me more cynical about company culture. Especially when it seems like more employers want to know about your personal business outside of work.

        If your off-work activities are not hurting anyone at your place of employment, then co-workers should grow up and mind their business.

        He was dumb to put his picture up, but I bet this guy would be 100 times embarrassed and hurt if he knew what they knew.

        1. Anonymous*

          I totally disagree.

          The information is out there for public perusal.

          No one hacked his computer to get the explicit photos.

          I’d rather have employees that care, even in a negative sense, than everyone who just focuses on making money.

          1. Anonymous*

            As long as this guy keeps his pants on at work and isn’t recruiting partners for his outside activities, it’s none of anyone’s business what he’s doing on his own time.

            Passing around stuff like this and gossiping behind a coworker’s back does not constitute “employees that care”, it’s just high school all over again.

            AAM’s advice, “…You all should mind your own business…” is spot on!

            1. Liz*

              I totally agree. I hate it when a co-worker approaches me with some criticism about some other co-worker as if I’m going to care – and they usually follow up by hinting or sometimes even directly asking ME to do something about it. If you have a problem with someone, then take care of it or ignore it or otherwise just deal. Don’t try to recruit other people to make you feel better about it or to take care of it for you. That’s just so whiny.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’d rather have employees that care, even in a negative sense, than everyone who just focuses on making money.

            How about employees who are focused on meeting their work goals and not getting distracted by irrelevant drama?

      1. Anonymous*

        I think they already are developing. I have a profile on the dating site OKCupid which asks members a bunch of questions to help match/rule out mates. Some of the sex-based questions are somewhat explicit like “I need to slapped to have an orgasm”. It’s amazing how many people just answer all of them without thinking twice. You can mark your answers private so they still count in the matching algorithm but aren’t displayed publicly but not many people do. This could be because OKC is geared heavily towards people in their twenties (it can be a ghost town for old coots like me in our 40’s). I think I was pretty naive about keeping some things private when I was that age. Maybe people who grew up always knowing MySpace, Facebook and craigslist have a lower expectation of privacy.

    2. Charlie*

      I was a bit worried by the whole ‘he was asking for sexual favours’ and ‘he works with kids’. Having a sex life deemed ‘non-vanilla’ does not make someone a paedophile, but I notice this is a common train of thought. Presumably, he was not asking for sexual favours from kids? Yeah he’s dumb for posting recognisable pics but why would his out of work sex life be an issue? I can only assume he was found out because some other member of staff was looking on the forum also…

      1. Anonymous*

        Any time you mention craigslist casual encounters to a group of people, it seems like every straight-laced person in the room says “do you believe the nasty stuff on there”? Um, how would you know?

        1. Raechel*

          This is what I thought when I read the question in the first place. If everyone he works with is shocked at the fact that he uses Craigslist casual encounters, who found the pictures in the first place?

          1. JCW*

            Not really… sometimes I go on personals just to have a laugh at all the eccentric/desperate weirdos. Not regularly enough where I would probably catch anyone I know on there unless it was a major fluke though.

            Anyway companies have the right to take action against how you are coming across on the internet. It’s not an evasion of privacy if you are airing it out there. However the wrong here comes if company email or time is being used to pass this information around or discuss it. The only reason to do so would be to bring it to the attention of HR and no one else.

            It’s human nature to gossip, everyone is guilty of it, so no self-righteous responses. But not during company time, and not in a way that makes it awkward for the person in question to do his/her job.

          1. Anonymous*

            It’s only one person though that would have found the pictures and thus be invalidated from judging.

            But sometimes people just type each other’s names into Google and see what comes up and that guy might have attached his full name and it came in the search, so it isn’t necessarily weird.

            1. Anon*

              That would even make him more dumb to do that.

              I’ve personally trolled through Casual Encounters out of sheer curiosity and most of the consenting adults DO NOT put their full name, address or anything otherwise in those ads.

              You would have to do some serious digging on Google to find an anonymous sex ad on CL by name.

            2. jmkenrick*

              Craiglist ads also expire quickly – and if you Google one after it’s a few weeks old you’ll just get an expired link re-directing you to the homepage.

            3. Lauren*

              I still think someone should tell him they found it. No one wants to be a laughing stock, and he should be told to never have his face posted on these things again as it could be an issue if parents saw it. If he knew the whole office knew, he could decide for himself how to handle it. (quit / tell people to get over it already)

      2. jmkenrick*


        I can’t see how his working with children is relevant. If anything, these issues are less likely to come up with children, since very few kids troll the “casual encounters” section looking for familiar faces. .

      3. Anonymous*

        I think it’s an issue because he made it very public. Do whatever you’d like with your partner(s), but when you put it online you made it other peoples’ business. For those of us who work in education, having your private life affect your professional life comes with the territory. When you hold the power in a relationship with a vulnerable population, you are held to a higher standard inside and outside of work. If my accountant did this, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. If my hypothetical child’s teacher did this, I would be concerned.

        1. Elizabeth*

          Would you be concerned for your child’s actual safety? If so, then I respectfully disagree entirely. People posting ads looking for adult partners are probably *less* likely to have any sexual interest in children than the average person. They’re (rather bluntly) demonstrating their interest in adults.

          As a teacher myself, I do feel that this wasn’t the wisest move on this man’s part, however, especially if he works with high schoolers. Teenagers definitely find their way to places on the internet that they shouldn’t be, and if his students stumbled across the ad it could undermine his relationship with the kids. Not because seeing a naked man would scar a kid for life (especially a kid who chose to go to the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, and thus is probably not easily surprised), but because seeing their teacher/youth group leader/etc. naked would weird them out.

          I don’t think that the co-workers discovering it merits any greater action than at most someone saying discreetly to the guy, “Hey, you might not want to put recognizable nude shots of yourself on the internet.”

      4. Elizabeth*

        Yes, very much yes. Nor are you a bad role model and incapable of working with children.

        The only possible thing I might do, in a co-worker’s shoes, is to send the guy a quiet email saying something like, “Hey, what you do is totally your business, but you might not want to put recognizable pictures like that on the internet where there’s even a small possibility that the kids you work with could stumble on them.”

      5. Mander*

        “Having a sex life deemed ‘non-vanilla’ does not make someone a paedophile”

        +1000. This is a very worrying trend, and a totally unfounded conclusion.

    3. Student*

      This exactly. Try to put yourself in this guy’s shoes for a moment. If you found out that your co-workers were passing around “explicit photos” of you, what would you do? It doesn’t matter where the photos came from unless he handed them to you himself!

      Time to talk to your co-workers and tell them to knock it off before they get themselves fired or get the company sued. Then it’s time to talk to your boss, explain exactly what happened, and tell him that you expect it to stop immediately. Then, and only then, do you ask your boss to talk to him about taking down the photo, if and only if you think the photo itself may have negative business repercussions.

      Note that negative business repercussions means that you reasonably believe that either the children that the co-worker interacts with, or the children’s parents, might run into it. If this photo is behind a paywall or a set of reasonable privacy restrictions, then it probably shouldn’t have a serious business impact and shouldn’t be anyone’s business at work. If it’s likely to be found on a public site and drive off customers, then your boss has a legitimate business interest in asking him to remove the photo.

      1. Jamie*

        “It doesn’t matter where the photos came from unless he handed them to you himself!”

        I disagree to an extent. It’s vile that they are doing this and moral asshattery…but once something is posted on the internet control over it is lost.

        Although, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know where it crosses the line to harassment – but the line is blurry when it comes to things posted publicly.

        1. Mike C.*

          You’re missing the point. The person you’re responding to is making a moral argument. Just because control is lost does not give your coworkers the right to spread the photos to others at work using work time and work resources.

          1. Jamie*

            There was no mention made of work resources. She clearly stated that she received an email outside of work from a coworker through a social site. Also, when she mentioned it’s all over work I took that to mean the gossip – not that they had wallpapered the ladies room with printed copies of the photo.

            I also don’t believe I’m ‘missing the point’ because I have a differing point of view. Reasonable people can view the same set of facts and reach different conclusions.

            1. Mike C.*

              I don’t believe that you’re missing the point because of a differing view, I believe you’re missing the point because of differences between an “is” and an “aught” argument. Student speaks about what coworkers should and should not do, you speak about how once something is on the internet all control is lost.

              When I say, “you’re missing the point” I’m not trying to tell you that you have a bad opinion, I’m literally saying, “you’re arguing against something that wasn’t stated”.

              1. Jamie*

                I’m not going to belabor the point – but my argument was about the portion of his post that I quoted, that it didn’t matter where they came from unless the guy handed them to you himself. I do think the fact that he posted them publicly matters in that he has no control over them after that.

                It isn’t like someone hacked his phone and stole private pics.

    4. sparky629*

      I think the greater question for me is why was the co-worker on Craigslist looking at the ‘sexually explicit’ singles section?

      Was she looking for herself? Then we have to say…”Hello, kettle meet my friend pot.” :-) Was she specifically looking for stuff to gather on him? In that case, she is a part of a smear campaign and I would stay far away from her because she seems like a whole lotta trouble. What would prevent her from doing it to you or somebody else if she got mad at you?

      As his friend, I would say “Hey, I know this is uncomfortable but this is what’s going on around the office about you. You may want to think of someway to minimize the damage to your reputation.” Then leave it at that.

      As someone who was the subject of unfounded rumors in my past by a rejected suitor, I was really really really glad that someone (whom I didn’t even consider a friend) told me so I could handle it in the best way possible.

      1. Diane*

        This kind of gossip is so destructive, whether or not it’s got any connection to reality. Someone told me, “Rumors are circulating about you and x, but I don’t know what people saw/heard/inferred that let them to that conclusion, only that your reputation is at risk.” My tactic was to ignore everything, lest denial imply guilt. Since I didn’t know who was talking, I couldn’t have a direct conversation.

    5. EB*

      Doesn’t this skirt pretty close to sexual harassment – not quid pro quo, but hostile environment?

      1. fposte*

        My guess is no, because it’s not seeming to be related to a legally protected category or status. (Although this sounds like you could plaster nude pictures around legally as long as you plastered everybody’s, and that doesn’t seem right either.) If they’re in a jurisdiction where sexual orientation is protected and he’s gay, however, that could be problematic.

        1. Natalie*

          My understanding is that the federal prohibition on sexual harassment follows from the prohibition on sex discrimination. The person in question is male, a sex, and thus could be part of a protected class if the behavior rises to the level of harassment.

            1. Natalie*

              Hmm. From different cases I’ve read about, I don’t know if that’s a requirement for a sexual harassment case, but really I’m not an expert on the subject.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s potentially sexual harassment in the hostile workplace sense (picture the same situation if this were a woman and it might feel clearer), but we’d need to know more.

  4. Anonymous*

    #6) If I see a link on a resume I’m going to click on it and start surfing the web. When I surf the web I forget about stuff that I’m supposed to be doing. Do you want the recruiter to forget you and your resume?

      1. Jamie*

        Thanks, now I want to surf the web while eating a cookie. :)

        I need to go find a cookie…

  5. Anonymous*

    #7) Have had that situation before. I always prepared an elevator speech and stuck that in at the end of the meeting when you might be able to get a few words in. You can always slip in a few words just before the exit of your interview.

  6. Harry*

    #2: something seems fishy here. Have you thought that it is a set up by the email sender? If I found a co workers pic at a site that solicits sex, the last thing I want to do is to let someone know I was browsing through that site!

    1. Elizabeth*

      Even if it’s not the email sender setting him up, there’s still a possibility that the ad was not posted by the man in the pictures. It’s not unheard of for a vindictive ex to take revenge by publicly posting sexy photos from when the relationship was going well. I suppose that would be one of the few legit reasons to mention it to the man at all – if there’s a chance that he doesn’t know it’s out there.

  7. Shame on You, #2*

    2. Wow, I am stunned at the closed-mindedness of this one.

    “I have thought about prining this information out and leaving it on his car with something like “hey, what is this,” or “please take this down.””

    Why on earth would you do this?? Why should he have to explain his sex life to you or his co-workers? You are not the sexual morals police, so stop trying to shame him.

    By the way, your other co-worker has no right forwarding that kind of posting/email around the office. Besides, how do they explain their own discovery of it?!

    1. Indie_Rachael*

      I completely agree with the posts about #2. If the pics/ad don’t seem to suggest pedophilic or otherwise illegal behavior, and if there’s nothing to suggest he created or manages the ad on company time, then it’s not a work concern.

      Some great points have been made regarding the other issue that OP does, however, have a coworker who is spreading potentially offensive materials to coworkers, possibly creating a hostile environment for the victim, and who writhe frequents these personals ads themselves or has fabricated the whole thing in order to get someone they don’t like fired.

      THAT is the coworker I’d be worried about.

      1. Anonymous*

        I completely disagree.

        If this ad was found by a co-worker, the ad could just as easily be found by a parent of these children. If a parent stumbled upon an ad like this they would be horrified, especially if his face is identifiable in the pictures and he is posting inappropriate photos. When you work with children you automatically become a role model– posting nude photos requesting explicit sexual favors? Not exactly role model material. And how old are these kids? Imagine if they stumbled upon these nude photos requesting explicit sexual favors and saw it was someone they respected and looked up to?

        I think that when you work with children you need to be aware of what you are doing on the internet, and realize that while that sex ad was for the persons private life, he/she IS NOT posting it in a private place, and not even posting it in a password protected place.

        1. Listmonkey*

          Wow you *are* putting a lot on anyone who has a job that involves working with children. So are they not supposed to go out drinking and partying with their friends as well in case some kids they work with come across those photos on facebook? And how do you know kids “automatically” look up to adults working with them? I’ve worked with kids when I was younger, but I actually really sucked at it. I did it for money and I was unable to bond with any of them (and I’m female, ha!). I highly doubt that any of those kids looked at me as a “role model”. It just seems like you’re generalizing a lot of things and making judgement.

          1. khilde*

            “I highly doubt that any of those kids looked at me as a “role model”. It just seems like you’re generalizing a lot of things and making judgement.”

            Be careful of your own generalizations. The fact is that we are all influencing others every time we come into contact with them Some we influence for good, others for bad. Some we don’t even know how much or the extent that we’re impacting. Just because a person isn’t visibly changed by an interaction with you, doesn’t mean he or she wasn’t influenced.

            Even so, I agree generally with the fact that this dude posting pics of himself and doing his own thing on his own time is generally not a problem. But I don’t think a person could entirely say that it won’t bleed over into his job and impact on children and their families. Probably not, but a person can never be sure.

          2. Anonymous*

            I worked at a K-12 school district for a while as an administrator and I can tell you kids look up the teachers online all the time. Every year we would have at least a few incidents where students would be passing around an online dating profile, bikini photos found on Facebook, etc. We preached to the staff all the time not to let these kids into their digital lives but some wouldn’t listen. They wanna be buddies with the kids and then get taken advantage of. Kids today are so Internet savvy, give them a hint of an online presence and they will find everything.

            1. Elizabeth*

              “We preached to the staff all the time not to let these kids into their digital lives but some wouldn’t listen.”

              I totally agree about Facebook (my school has a policy against teachers being Facebook friends with current students, and it’s just common sense to make things like bikini pictures friends-only), but disagree about online dating profiles. Assuming that the teacher in question wasn’t using their full name as their username, or being overly explicit in writing or photos, I think that teachers have just as much right to look for a romantic partner as anyone else. In that case, I think it’s the kids that need a talking-to about letting people have personal lives without ridiculing them.

        2. Mike C.*

          Yeah that makes perfect sense, because parents never, ever have sex.

          Does your understanding of healthy human sexuality go beyond fairy tails about storks?

        3. A Bug!*

          Unless for some reason the guy included his full name, or other information that render the post “Google-able” using information the parents are likely to know, the pictures are only going to be available to people who choose to browse through the listings in Casual Encounters.

          Consequently, if a parent is offended by human sexuality, but chooses to browse Casual Encounters anyway, that parent is not really in a position to be making value judgments on people who are adults seeking consensual sex with other adults.

      2. The gold digger*

        His sex life has nothing to do with his job

        But it could. If there is a morals clause in his contract, he could possibly lose his job over this. This did happen to a college friend of mine. I’m not saying the situation is exactly analogous, but with my friend, money changed hands (about sex), the police became involved, he lost his teaching job, it was the last straw for his wife, the marriage ended, the kids’ college fund was wasted on sex addiction rehab, my opinion about which I shall keep to myself, and it was a tragedy all around.

        1. K.*

          I don’t think the situations are comparable at all, other than that they involve sex. Your friend engaged in illegal activity (sex for money – not sure if he paid or was paid, but it doesn’t matter). From what I can tell, OP’s coworker wasn’t asking to pay or be paid, so there’s nothing illegal about his actions. And while I sympathize with sex addiction (or any addiction), there’s nothing to suggest that OP’s coworker is a sex addict whose addiction interferes with his work.

        2. jmkenrick*

          The situation you’re describing sounds quite sensational, but that’s definitely a rare occurance. That’s why is’s so gossip worthy. :)

          There are some fields where your sex life might be deemed relevant, but I think those are few & far between.

    2. Paralegal*

      If I were poster #2 I would probably want to approach this co-worker, not in a judgmental way (with the “take this down”) but just to let him know. He deserves to know that these photos are being passed around the office, especially if it might be part of a wider smear campaign.

      There is also the possibility that the co-worker DIDN’T post the pictures himself (and might be horrified to find out they are online). Dirty pictures that were sent to someone else can easily find their way online if the relationship turns ugly.

      1. Anonymous*

        I agree with Paralegal here on both accounts (that he should know it is being passed around and that he might not have even posted them [it is possible they are photoshopped quite well?]).

  8. Karthik*

    6) You can create an online version of your resume with clickable links. Maybe in the footer of the first page “an enhanced version of this resume with links to project and company pages is at abc.com/~myresume.”

  9. Charles*

    #2 – viewing co-workers sex ad on Craigslist.

    Hey OP – surfing for porn could cause your computer to crash!

    Further, leaving porn on someone’s car windshield is a stupid and cowardly thing to do.

    P.S. given that some of your co-workers don’t like the guy how do you know it isn’t a photoshopped pic that one of them created – maybe the sender of the email? And if it is real, why is that sender viewing craigslist for “sex wanted” ads? I’d worry about that person more!

    1. Anonymous*

      The children he is working with could be viewing the sex wanted ads for fun because they are immature children, and craigslist is a popular and well-known website, also free and you don’t need to log-in to view anything… and then they find their “Youth Leader” asking for sex with graphic pictures and all. This would look great for the company!!

      So yes, I’d tell him to take that down. You’re working with kids, you have to think about where you are posting this crap. Yes, human adults are sexual beings. But they are also expected to be responsible and thoughtful about how they go about seeking such “needs”. Craigslist, really?

      1. Anonymous*

        We don’t know if his “Youth Leader” position is related to what he’s doing at work. If he’s a “youth leader” in his spare time and does, say, admin work during the day and these coworkers are from his admin job, then it’s none of their business. The tone I got from OP’s letter was that s/he thinks s/he is the morals police (the “kids” thing came out of seemingly nowhere, IMO).

        Furthermore, since the OP clearly states no one else likes this guy, isn’t it possible that this ad was the product of some juvenile act by the other coworkers who don’t like the guy? It’s not hard to photoshop something and post an ad anonymously as someone else.

        1. Anonymous*

          Oops, missed the part about they work with kids as part of their jobs – even still, it really doesn’t matter. The guy’s activities on the internet, as long as they are with consenting adults, do not have anything to do with his job. Period, end of story.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        If one of them had demonstrated the ability to handle this in a professional, mature, discreet way, then it might be worth pointing out to him that colleagues had stumbled across the pictures and he might want to be more discreet. But none of them have shown they’re capable of handling it that way — to the contrary.

        1. Malissa*

          This. If I liked this guy as the OP states, I’d print the thing out and have a talk with this guy away from everybody. If it is his posting, then he can figure out a way to be more discreet. If it is a Photoshop job by an immature coworker, then he can take it to management to be dealt with.

        2. Charles*

          “If one of them had demonstrated the ability to handle this in a professional, mature, discreet way . . . But none of them have shown they’re capable of handling it that way — to the contrary.”

          True! very true!

          The original “finder” of the craigslist posting should have notifiied the manager (or the craigslist guy) if she were truly concerned about how it might affect business, the children, the parents, the craigslist guy, etc. But, no instead she sent it to the OP (and other co-workers?). That’s the real problem.

          And, according to the OP, “it is all over my place of employment now! It seems most people know about this fake/real ad.” This part leaves me kinda speechless – they are all busy gossiping!

          Hopefully, the OP does not have the whole story and someone has thought to take the issue to the manager, or discreetly told the craigslist guy. Hopefully, it is just that the OP doesn’t know any of this because someone else has already been discreet. (I’m glad I not the manager of that bunch! This is one reason why I could never be a manager, I don’t know how to deal with adults who act like children)

    2. YALM*

      From what I read, OP isn’t the one who stumbled onto this guy’s pictures. She seems to be trying to find a way to calm the storm, so I give her credit for that.

      That said, the co-worker’s sex life is his business unless he drags it into the workplace. There’s no evidence of that.

      OP, tell your gossiping co-workers to take their immaturity elsewhere–you’re not interested. As to the guy, your thought about leaving the pictures on his car suggests that you’re not comfortable handling a situation like this directly or that you’re not close enough with him to have an appropriate friends conversation about this. Were I you, I’d leave it alone except under the following circumstances:
      1. The insanity in the office becomes a distraction. In that case, it should go to a (hopefully adult) supervisor–not that this guy is trolling on craigslist, but that a group of people in the office can’t keep their eyes on their jobs and *that* is affecting work.
      2. The guy notices new weirdness from some of his co-workers and asks you about it. In that case, address it honestly–someone found his pictures. You could also tell him that it’s not your place to tell him how to handle his personal life, but suggest that maybe toning down his online presence isn’t the worst choice he could make. The end.

      If parents find the pictures and make an issue out of it, that’s for the business to handle. And if the kids find it, well, that’s a parental issue about who and what the kids are looking for on the internet.

  10. Anonymous*

    Regarding #2: AAM is right. His sex life is none of your business as long as he’s doing it with another consenting adult. I worked in an office once where coworkers gossiped about my sex life (and one manager actually had the nerve to look me in the face and ask me who I “boned” that weekend) – it’s not going to make things any better for any of you. Leave it be.

  11. K.*

    Re #2: Unless he is looking for sex from kids, or doing so during office hours, I agree that it’s none of anyone else’s business. I mean, it was unquestionably stupid of him to include his face in the ad, but an adult seeking consensual sex from another adult on his own time? Not something that requires discipline.

    If the parents of the kids he works with find this picture, it means they were trolling on Casual Encounters too, as were your coworkers. And even without knowing how big your office is, I would bet that this guy’s not the first person there to seek/find/peruse ads on that or a similarly-themed website.

    1. Riki*

      Yes, this. Craig’s is not the best organized site. You need to actively search for what you want in the appropriate section. It’s highly unlikely that you will come across naked photos while looking at used car ads.

      So, how did coworker 1 find coworker 2’s post in the first place? Why on Earth did s/he feel the need to share these photos with the entire office??? Was that really necessary? Why didn’t they just go to the boss or HR if they were really worried? Something tells me this has nothing to do with genuine concern for the children. Clearly, they have not thought about how their actions make them look bad, too.

    2. The Right Side*

      This. Exactly! Who found this ad? And who might see it in the future? B/c those ppl would be just as “guilty” so boo on them for trying to shame him for something they are doing, too!

      I agree that the face-in-the-photo isn’t the wisest but who cares! Ppl have sex! These are consenting adults!! Politicians are always trying to take each other out for consenting adults having sex – get over it ppl! We all have sex. I have two kids… who were NOT immaculately conceived – shocking, I know!

      Get over yourselves, ppl!

      1. Melissa*

        As a teacher I disagree a bit here. My first thought is who the heck cares, but that’s not the reality of the situation. The reality of the situation is that when you are working with kids you are working with the public, and your reputation is important. If you don’t respect or care about that fact, you don’t last long in a job. For example, if you know you are going to a store where your students and their parents frequently go, you don’t go dressed like a hooker. That’s not to say that you can’t go out looking like that, but you need to use common sense about it – dress that way at a club at night. I don’t think anyone is saying that this dude can’t post pics of himself online, or even solicit sex. But what he absolutely should NOT do, given the fact that he is working for the public, is post RECOGNIZABLE pictures of himself.

        This is not the type of job where you can be a faceless entity and go about your business. People who work with children publicly are held to a different standard.

        1. Natalie*

          Melissa, I think you’re exactly write that the person who posted the ad would be smart to not include their face, but from the tone of the OP I don’t think their co-worker who found the ad is concerned about the guy’s professional reputation. If s/he was, she would have dropped a discreet, private note to the ad-poster instead of blasting the ad around to all of his/her co-workers. The co-worker that found the ad is behaving like the the ad, rather than the face in the picture, is a problem.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            This is such a good distinction. And I totally agree that they can’t really say they’re concerned about his reputation when they’re actively messing it up.

    3. Jamie*

      “Re #2: Unless he is looking for sex from kids, or doing so during office hours, I agree that it’s none of anyone else’s business.”

      This. If someone stumbles across it as they do whatever they do on the web, that’s their problem. This couldn’t be less of a work related issue, imo.

      1. jmkenrick*

        It’s totally not. But it is fun to watch the raging conversation in AAM’s comment section…

  12. Betty*

    A suggestion for enforcing work hours:
    At my company, we work 9-5, and while it’s never a problem if you need a hour or two to take care of something personal, the culture is to always email the team with the time you’ll be gone and the reason. It’s just a very casual, “Hey everyone, I have to leave at 4 today for a doctor’s appointment, so let me know if you need anything before then.” So while it allows for flexibility, it does make it so that people know when you’ll be gone and you need to have a legitimate reason; no one just leaves early or comes in late whenever they feel like it, and it would be obvious if a few people were taking way more time than others. Could be an easy way to change the policy in your office since people sort of end up policing themselves.

    1. Elizabeth*

      The only thing I’d add to this is that hopefully it can be acceptable now and then to give a vague reason – like just “an appointment” instead of anything more specific – so that people with uncomfortable, personal, though legitimate reasons to miss work don’t feel like they have to lie. (E.g. have to meet with your lawyer about your impending divorce, have to have a follow-up on your abnormal mammogram and don’t want to have to talk about it, etc.)

  13. YALM*

    #1. Every company I’ve ever worked for as an exempt employee has had core hours for exempt employees. There is nothing unusual about setting them and expecting people to abide by them. Core hours tend to be less than 8 hours a day, which provides some flexibility, but that’s not always the case, even for exempt employees.

    Do you have a business reason for wanting all of your people to work at the same time and over some identifiable part of the day? In other words, why do you want to set hours? If you have business reason, use it to determine the core hours you need them to work and explain it to your people when you launch this plan.

    1. OP #1*

      Thanks for taking my question, Alison! :-)

      Our Director, who is clueless about exempt/nonexempt, has interpreted exempt as “You can come and go as you please” and nonexempt as “You HAVE to be here at 8, you HAVE to clock out for lunch, and you HAVE to leave at 5”. He’s passed this sentiment down to his employees; as a result, the nonexempt staff are very diligent about their hours, and the exempt staff come in around 8:45, take 2 hour lunches, and leave around 4.

      Personally, I don’t care when they come in, as long as I know where they are, and that the work is getting done. But our Director is all about appearances, and “face time”.

      1. YALM*

        So, if I’m reading this right, your director wants your peeps in the office for something like a “normal” work day. However, your director thinks exempt means this can’t be required, and has either implicitly or explicitly made this erroneous belief known to everyone.

        And you have now been put, directly or indirectly, in the position of possibly implementing a strategy that is legally legit but as far as you can see serves no business purpose, other than it’s what the director wants but doesn’t know he can have…? Ew.

        1. OP #1*

          LOL. Yep, you pretty much nailed it. He wants us all here 8am-5pm, but he thinks that he can’t *require* exempts to be here on time. And really, as long as the work gets done, it doesn’t really matter if they work 8-5 or 7-4 or 9-6. But he’s all about “appearances”; if his department looks empty, he thinks it’ll make him look bad.

          1. Anonymous*

            If the director isn’t smart enough to look up the law or think of a way to get his people to do things the way he wants them done, then he deserves a staff that does things as they please.

      2. Tax Nerd*

        I’m not sure how your Director squares “come and go as you please” with putting in facetime in his own head, but somehow he has.

        I would definitely suggest that you or he communicate to the exempt staff that they’re full-time, and in America, that means about 40 hours every week. You can suggest core hours, such as 9-4, or 10-3, depending on how flexible you want to be, but say that the expectation is that people will be there about 8 hours on average every workday.

        Some boss-types would say that if they’re only working a little over five hours a day, and they’re getting everything done, they either don’t have enough to do, or there’s an overstaffing problem and it’s time to re-evaluate headcount.

      3. Jamie*

        It is very common to have stricter rules on lunches and in/out time for non-exempt people because of OT.

        I’m exempt so if I work a little longer or skip lunch who cares, because it doesn’t affect my check. But if I were non-exempt I would have a manager who had to account for my OT hours and all the metrics (labor to billing ratios, etc.) that go along with that. Managers don’t want to take the hit to their metrics from the OT that can pile up just from coming in early, leaving late, and skipping lunch – without a business reason and approval.

        1. Natalie*

          Since the OP is talking about flexibility, I suspect they mean the non-exempt employees aren’t allowed to, say, come in at 9, work through lunch, and leave at 5.

          1. OP #1*

            Yep. We’re really good about making sure non-exempt staff clock out for lunches, etc. And they’re really good about coming in on time – and if they have to stay late for something, they’ll come in late the next day, etc.

            However, the exempt staff just come/go whenever they feel like, which is not QUITE what their status means. No, we’re not going to dock your pay or penalize you for coming in at 8:15 instead of 8:00, but that doesn’t mean you’re setting your own hours!

  14. Catherine*

    5. AAM, is being an RA really about getting a bigger dorm room? I’m not going to argue that being an RA is a great job. But at my college the RAs didn’t get bigger rooms: they got free housing and a small stipend. Most of them did it because that’s how they could afford to get a college degree, and many of them who were planning to be teachers or social workers got a nice boost to their entry-level resumes. Considering the current student loan crisis and and how many career and life opportunities can be dampened by having to service student debt, I think that those who are willing to take on the difficult job of RA are making a smart long-term move, not a frivolous one about slightly better room size. (Otherwise good advice! This is just a quibble about the last part.)

    1. Anonymous*

      From my experience attending Residence Life Conferences, every school has a different process, perks, and responsibilities assigned to their RA’s.

      At my school, being an RA meant huge perks, being part of a well-managed team, and getting to attend conferences and professional development seminars. It was a highly competitive job at my school and you had to complete a thorough 4-step interview process to be hired. On the flip side of that, the University down the street (my city had two “top” universities) RA’s were given relatively few perks and very little authority (meaning they dealt with a lot more crap and could do very little about it) so the students who tended to work as RA’s there were in it more for the free room and board then anything else.

      My greatest recommendation for people applying to Don/RA/RC/whatever your school calls it – only do it if you REALLY want the JOB (not the room, not the perks, THE JOB) and either have a very accomodating school schedule or don’t mind taking a hit in your grades. This position can be incredibly rewarding and teach you a lot about working with people with different personalities and conflict resolution, but if you don’t love what you’re doing both you and your students will have a bad experience.

    2. Anonymous*

      I’m going to +1 on this. At GWU (in AAM’s back yard) on-campus housing costs $12k-$13k per year (back in my day, it was only $10k). Being an RA got your dorm fees waived, and that was some serious savings.

    3. kbeers0su*

      As someone who has worked in Residence Life for 10+ years (including as an RA myself) I want to second what Catherine said. Being an RA is not about getting a bigger room, and most (good) RA hiring processes will screen out anyone who is in the process for that perk alone. Believe me, it becomes perfectly clear about 2 weeks into the year if that’s why someone takes the job, and I’ve fired at least one RA for this every year in this field.

      Especially given the lack of skills that are current college graduates have (something that has been a consistent thread running through multiple posts on this sight) I think we should, in fact, be advocating for college students to be RAs. There aren’t many college-level positions that will teach a young person this level of responsibility (building security, policy enforcement, handling keys and personal information), interpersonal skills (communication skills, listening skills, empathy skills, teamwork), and general good-to-have-if-you-want-to-be-an-adult skills (critical thinking, trouble-shooting, thinking on the fly, self-awareness). I’m pretty sure any employer would want someone with these skills!

      1. Yvonne*

        For the non-americans, what does RA stand for? (wikipedia did not assist me with this answer for once!) I get what it is vaguely from the comments, but still perplexed.

        1. IT girl*

          Thank you Yvonne! I was wondering too. My first guess would have been Research Analyst.

  15. Dana*

    #2… umm.. also, who found this ad? No one has said anything about someone perusing craigslist for hookups, so the only guilty party is the person who posted an add? Bunk.

    Also… this has nothing to do with your ability to work with children! Good lord. You don’t cease to have a libido in your personal life because you work with kids during the day. WTF?

    Seriously, no one’s business to say anything to each other or to him. Sheesh.

  16. KayDay*

    #2 This is a case of how things should be vs. how things actually are. Yes, if the children are not in any danger of harm, you should all mind your business. But, teachers and other professionals HAVE been fired for these sorts of things (including pictures drinking, partying, etc.) Also, since this guy isn’t well liked, it is very possible that the original co-worker to “find” the ad actually created a fake ad–it which case he would probably want to know that a co-worker is spreading gossip that might put his job in danger. I think the OP should very discretely (but in person and NOT anonymously) mention that some co-workers had seen pictures of a sexual nature and that if these were true, he might want to be more discrete, and if not true he need to talk to the person who is spreading gossip.

  17. Anonymouse*

    I’m stupefied at the responses here, which claim his *explicit* photos are his sex life and nothing to do with work, when just a few weeks ago, there was widespread condemnation of a woman who had burlesque photos up on her MySpace? account. She was deemed unprofessional, poor in judgement, and unsuitable for employment.

    Why is society so afraid of women’s sexuality?

    1. Jamie*

      I don’t see how this is about gender at all, I personally would feel the same in both scenarios if the genders were reversed.

      The other situation was, iirc, a applicant for a marketing position and those came to the top of the search engine results under her name. Image and online presence is a big deal in marketing, so this showed a profound error in judgement.

      This time it doesn’t say if the gentleman in question used his real name or if someone stumbled across his ad while cruising the net and recognized him from his pictures.

      There is also a different standard between a candidate and employee. There is a far lower bar for things that can cost you the opportunity to get a job as opposed to the bar for things which should cause you to lose your job. Known vs unknown.

    2. Nikki*

      If I remember correctly, she was applying for some type of marketing position and the interviewer found them. (Also, if I remember correctly) The discussion was regarding how she could be so inept as to not have the proper privacy settings. .she’s supposed to be marketing/social media/whatever 2.0 and she can’t hide her personal website?
      This particular situation, who knows if the ad is even REAL. The coworker is trying to deal with gossip. This isn’t a manager wondering how/if to approach his employee.

      I’m sure others will jump in if I got this all mixed up.

    3. Dana*

      If this guy had put up these explicit photos that were tied to his name via social networking, I think people would feel differently. But the fact that someone had to sift through a bunch of craiglist ads to “find” this one is suspicious, IMO.

      FWIW, I don’t think someone with those photos is unemployable or unprofessional. I do think that people have to realize that in putting up photos that might be considered risque on a site that can easily be linked to them, they are potentially compromising opinions of them in a professional setting. Do I think it’s right? No. But it’s the same as the teachers who have gotten fired for facebook photos featuring them drinking.

      1. Natalie*

        For that matter, someone was interested enough in his post title in a list of post titles that they opened the post. CL doesn’t show thumbnails or anything before you open the post.

    4. K.*

      Without having seen this guy’s casual encounters ad, I think there is a difference in that he probably intended for the ad to be anonymous and not part of the “public persona” he puts out online. I doubt the ad said “My name is John Smith and I’m looking to hook up,” even if he did (foolishly) post his face. The point of the casual encounters section and other similarly-themed sites is exactly that: casual, anonymous, etc. I have a friend who has used it and he uses a dummy email address because he wants to remain that anonymous.

      Whereas with the burlesque woman, she made a choice to present herself to the public that way. I actually used to know someone who had a “real job” and in her spare time was a burlesque performer (pasties, all that) and unless you know that about her, you wouldn’t know. It’s her private life and she doesn’t present it publicly.

      I’m not a lawyer but I think it comes down to a reasonable expectation of privacy – if you post an anonymous ad, you expect that it will remain private. If you post a website, you lose that expectation.

    5. Mike C.*

      It’s called a double standard, and I hope the readers here take it as a lesson on bias and different expectations society holds for different groups of people.

      1. Mike C.*

        And remember, the woman simply had burlesque pictures of herself, she wasn’t even seeking sex with others.

      2. Malissa*

        It’s not a double standard. It’s the difference between a social site with questionable pictures with security settings the user can control that is easily Google-able and a discreet craigslist ad that probably did not contain the guys name and the only way of discovery was to actually browse through the ads. Big huge difference.

        1. fposte*

          Yup. And honestly, Mike, if somebody were hiring and decided to prefer another equally qualified candidate over him because of this ad? I’d probably be okay with that (depending to some extent on the fuller story). Hiring gives you all the options and none of the commitments–it’s a very different situation.

          1. Mike C.*

            I’m not talking about hiring though, I’m talking about the difference in reaction in this blog to a woman being sexy outside of work, and a man being sexy outside of work.

            The woman was condemned as shameful and the man was not. While discretion should be advised, neither should be shamed.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Except that my answer (and I think other people’s) would have been the same here if this were a woman. And same with the earlier situation if it had been a man.) You’re comparing two very different situations.

            2. Elizabeth*

              I found the post (this one: https://www.askamanager.org/2012/03/yes-near-nude-shots-on-your-myspace-page-might-hurt-your-job-prospects.html ) and scrolled through the comments – I disagree with your take on them. Most of them that condemn the woman do so for not monitoring content that comes up when you Google her name – not simply for “being sexy outside of work.” A few commenters did say something along the lines of “She shouldn’t have taken sexy pictures of herself and then they wouldn’t have gotten on the internet,” but many people replied to those comments disagreeing with them.

              (She also got bashed a bit for using MySpace and Hotmail, but I don’t think that’s a gendered thing either.)

            3. Mander*

              I was under the impression that the main issue with the MySpace page situation was not the content (semi-nude sexy photos) but the fact that someone applying for a marketing job clearly demonstrated that they don’t know how to manage their own online presence, which therefore raises questions about their professional competence.

              In the present case, I think the issue *should* be about the malicious co-workers and whether the OP should discreetly tell him what is going on (NOT by sticking a printout of the photos on his windshield!). The majority of the comments seem to agree that he was stupid for posting his face, assuming that he in fact posted the ad, but that his sex life is otherwise his business.

        2. Mike C.*

          A discrete ad on a public website containing full nude photos versus a semi-private site containing non-nude photos should have a similar reaction but they did not. The circumstances are pretty close to me, and yet the treatment of the individual featured in the photos is drastically different.

          Also, you guys know that Google works for more than just text, right? You can use images to search for similar images, so the idea that the Craigslist advertisement is “more private” or that there is a “big huge difference” seems really silly to me.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            This guy wasn’t deliberately putting the photos out to the public with his name attached. We can debate whether he had a reasonable expectation of privacy or not, but there’s no debate that the earlier woman with the photos on a public MySpace site did not.

          2. fposte*

            I’m less concerned with everything one *could* find than what one is *likely* to find. Mike, seriously, have you ever used this function in Google images? I just searched on a professional picture of me and was pointed to one of the Obamas (books in the background on both was enough); it didn’t find any of several other pictures of me online. If you don’t have the exact picture, you’re not likely to make a match.

            If his name was attached, and it was coming up easily in searches? I could see a situation where I’d pull him in and ask him to take his name down from the ad. Which, coincidentally, I would also do with the MySpace woman if she were already hired and I felt the situation warranted it.

            For me the two key differences are named vs. not named, applying vs. hired. If you’re applying, you’ve got to be comfortable with the picture of you that comes up on the first page of Google and to realize that people don’t have any knowledge of you to counterbalance the information they get there. If I know you and I’m not going to be discussing your private parts with donors because your name isn’t attached to them, then I don’t care.

            1. Jamie*

              This. All of it. 100x.

              It isn’t the gender or the pics – its the circumstances that draw the distinction.

      3. Anonymouse*

        This discussion reminds me of a quote from the documentary The Education of Shelby Knox, “Sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love.”

        The notion that sexuality is a perfectly normal and acceptable part of the human experience, as long as it’s carefully hidden, and is disgusting when it’s not, is just baffling.

      4. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s not a double standard. It’s two totally different situations. A double standard would be if no one had a problem with a male job applicant posting nude shots of himself on MySpace or whatever the site was in that post. They would.

  18. Jamie*

    #1 – Absolutely you can require exempt employees to keep set hours – the flexibility you offer them should be based on both their job functions and work habits. By which I mean, if they are not taking advantage of the flexibility and you’re getting what you’re paying for then I wouldn’t micromanage the time.

    But I have worked with people who took the “we get paid for what we do and not the hours we’re here” to mean they could routinely work part time hours and collect a full salary. In those cases absolutely set the hours and enforce disciplinary measures. People taking advantage is really toxic to morale…there are few things resented more by the people who are meeting their obligations.

  19. Kate*

    On #4 – What if you don’t plan on converting your license? I live in New England, so my commuting radius potentially includes several states. Is the requirement actually for a valid license, or is it a roundabout way to require residency?

    1. Jamie*

      I’ve lived in six states in my adult life and all of them had a drivers license requirement for the state of residency. Unless you are active duty military (or a dependent) and then you can keep your license from your home state.

      Check the laws where you live – there is typically a set period of time before you need to have convert your license.

      1. Anonymous*

        Jamie, I think Kate was saying that if she lives in Rhode Island, but works in Massachusetts, her drivers license would say Rhode Island.

    2. Jaime*

      I’ve never had to insure a business vehicle, but is it possible that it could be about insurance? Perhaps their policy requires the employee drivers to have a license from the same state the vehicle is registered? (shot in the dark here, assuming they’ll be driving a company vehicle)

      1. Diana*

        That could be difficult for the individual who lives in one state but works in another. DMVs usually require proof of residency before they’ll issue a license.

        1. Jaime*

          Yes, but I could see this being true in states or areas of a state where there is less overlap with other states.

          Or, maybe there are states where there is a reputation for lax licensing requirements. Like here in KS, it is an open book test.

  20. Elizabeth*

    #5: “I could tell the interviewer was unimpressed just by the bored look on her face.”

    Be careful how much stock you take in what the interviewer’s face looked like. Someone who is hiring for RA’s is probably pretty well trained in looking blank when needed. I know because I was an RA and helped interview others for the next year. What AAM said is good advice. What they are likely looking for in this type of position and with this type of question is if you have a sense of yourself, your personal morals, and know how you typically respond in difficult situations. Everyone else applying is at a certain general age and experience level, so they know they do expect you to have seen and done everything you might see in the job.

    1. Elizabeth*

      I’m sorry, I meant to say that they do NOT expect you to have seen and done everything you will encounter in the RA job.

  21. Former Rezlifer*

    #5 – I actually like your answer to this question. As a former RA and Residence Life Coordinator (full time position professional position that oversees all the RA’s and discipline of students etc. – different schools have different lingo for res life) I can tell you that bullying (especially via social networks) has become a huge residence issue (particularly with roommates).

    Typically what Residence Life looks for when hiring is good judgement, they shouldn’t expect you to know all the procedures and rules to follow, rather they should be looking for logical answers that show critical thinking skills. (You would be amazed by some of the answers I’ve received about dealing with common residence issues – one RA candidate responded to a question about a student spreading a rumor about another student by saying he would attempt to physically intimidate the rumor spreader, then spread a rumor about him).

    Another point – you mention you are currently a freshman. Something I cannot recommend enough is to take off second year, live out of residence (if possible in your city – some school don’t have very good off-campus housing) and experience life a bit before applying to work in residence. Working in Residence Life is a full-time job and people are depending on you to do your best. Taking your second year to have fun with friends, work on school, and get into the rythm of things will benefit you greatly in an RA position. Having this “life experience” will also make you a greater asset to your RA team and the students you will be mentoring.

  22. Anonymous*

    In #2, the guy is only guilty of being dumb. I’ve posted ads on CL casual encounters, never included a pic and still got responses. Most people think you must include a photo because there’s so much competition for the few real women on CL but I don’t think they’re giving women enough credit. A witty, clever ad has always gotten me responses from real women, we trade pics privately and then meet if we choose. You literally couldn’t pay me to post my pic on a CL ad because I know how many “normal” people read them, even if only out of curiosity.

  23. Mike C.*

    So how is passing around and discussing naked pictures of a coworker at work on work time and with work resources not sexual harassment?

  24. Sophie*

    #1 – I am exempt and have a flexible schedule but my boss requires set hours, as does HR. I am part of a small tech support team at a university. As part of our flex time agreement, we had to submit a form stating our regular schedule. Of course I have a little bit of flexibility within this – there are days when I work overtime and I can come in a little later the next day without informing my boss or getting permission. I can take my lunch break whenever I want. But the reason we have set hours is because we need support coverage from about 7am-8pm. It is understood that small adjustments can be done as needed, but we should stick to our regular schedule as much as possible. So as long as there is a good reason to require set schedules, then go ahead and do it.

    1. OP #1*

      Thanks for the feedback – we are also expected to provide “coverage” from 8am-5pm. I agree, adjustments here and there are ok; I just think that some of the exempt staff are taking their exemption to mean they can come in around 9, just because they don’t have to be here right at 8am. Unless they have a specific reason to be late (doc appointment/meeting/whatever), they should be held to the same hours as everyone else.

      1. Sophie*

        Very much agreed. It also makes an impression on new hires and people outside the department we work with. My manager is one of those that takes advantage of his exempt status and regularly comes in around 11 (should be here at 9) and leaves about 5 (instead of 6). None of his subordinates have any idea what he is doing that causes him to not be here 8 hours each day and he won’t tell us. It’s really awkward to explain this to other people, usually because I am the one explaining it.

        We also use a department-wide chat system and are encouraged to keep our status updated. So some others in the department have very flexible hours, but they are pretty good about updating their statuses so we know when they are available. I telecommute part of the week and it helps us all out to know when we are available via the chat status.

        1. JT*

          Do you actually have to explain anything? Can’t you just say “He’s not here” and perhaps add “He typically arrives around 11.”

          Just that.

  25. Liz T*

    #5: Whoa, if you think it’s dumb to speak up against people spreading nasty rumors, you shouldn’t be an RA! We all indulge in a little gossip, and have to judge what to let slide, but rumors can be really damaging and malicious, and they are everywhere. It’s scary how easily a rumor can shift your perception of someone.

    It’s not always easy, but if you’re afraid of standing up for basic morality and courtesy because you might seem, I dunno, LAME, then RA is not the best position for you.

    And trust me: in a few years you’ll wish everyone abided more by those rules we learned in grade school. That would cut down on the emails AAM gets by at least half.

    1. Liz T*

      Though, to be fair, I reread your question, and it’s not clear whether you’re saying you don’t speak up about rumors, or you do but felt immature saying so. If it’s the latter, I retract my tirade–and encourage you to not think of that as kids’ stuff!

      1. Anonymous*

        I think OP was saying s/he was afraid that the interviewer was looking for a “deeper” answer (or an example of an extreme illegal activity) and would think that they’re too immature or have too little life experience because they used something like someone spreading rumors as an example.

        (From what I gather, OP is just finishing their first year and still pretty young, when I was that age I definitely held the view that everyone older was “mature and adult” and spreading rumors was something reserved for teenagers – now that I’m older I know otherwise!)

  26. ruby*

    I hope I’m wrong but I have an ueasy feeling that the guy in item 2 had this ad/picture placed in an m4m area and it’s less about the fact that this employee has a sex life out of the office (shocking) and a whole lot more about it being a gay sex life.

    Someone said this upthread “if you post an anonymous ad, you expect that it will remain private” – agreed, unless you post a picutre of your face…then it’s really hard to argue that you’re concerned about privacy.

    I don’t think what this guy does in his personal life (as long as it’s legal) is any of his co-workers’ business BUT I think you have to be practical and realize that if you post easily recognizable pictures of yourself on Craig’s List, it’s realistic to expect that people might recognize you.

    1. Yami*

      I agree with you. There are LOTS of people that falsely believe that gay = pedophile (even though statistics show that the majority of pedophiles that prefer BOTH genders are actually straight men). Depending on where he lives he could be fired for that, I think.

      1. Eric Brasure*

        Yeah, I’m actually surprised that angle wasn’t brought up in the answer. He has a sex ad on Craigslist so he’s a danger to children? Homophobia much?

  27. fposte*

    On #2–OP, are you really not prepared to let the guy know face to face or at least by email? I think it’s better to do nothing than to leave something anonymously on his car, but can’t you just drop him an email saying “Bob, people here seem to think they’ve found something from you on Craigslist, and I thought you should know”? No “I saw you naked” or anything, just alerting him that there’s a conversation he should be apprised of.

  28. Anon*

    Online dating is both a tremendous boon to people with non-normative sexualities (kinky, polyamorous, various shades of queer) but they’re also risky. Everyone wants to be up-front about their appearance and intimate needs, and a lot of that is showing your face and being explicit about your sexuality, especially if that sexuality is out of the ordinary and you need a partner that is at least okay with that, but a lot of dating sites will have shoddy security.

    I don’t know if the guy is completely stupid, though. Maybe this guy is older and less tech-savvy. Maybe he weighed the risks of getting caught (sounds like only someone browsing through casual encounters would find him anyway, so there’s a kind of mutually assured destruction) vs the benefits of showing his actual appearance in finding partners, and came out in favour of the latter.

    I really hope that either security settings can be transparent and comprehensive for users less familiar with the internet, or that workplaces will be less composed of shrinking violets. This article made my blood run cold: http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/178510/okcupid-has-no-love-for-user-privacy/

  29. Steve G*

    OP in #2 – so your coworker apparently sleeps around and skowers through all of the pics. There is no way to just happen upon a hook-up ad. People used to say “oh a friend made me go on the site,” or “a friend was sick of me being single so signed me up without knowing,” but those are usually coverups.

  30. Jess*

    #5- MyRA interviews (I’ve been an RA at 2 schools (undergrad and grad RA in an undergrad apt. building) and participated in hiring interviews for both) have been interviews where they want stories. So, if you told in a clear way about handling rumours, that could be perfect.

    Also, totally be an RA, just be prepared for some ridiculous training requirements, and some odd interruptions. It can be a lot, but not paying loans on housing is great, and I’ve found that the job really helped prepare me in terms of communication skill for my job supervising inters, and for law school. It’s NOT a free room, but it can be a really valuable experience.

  31. Long Time Admin*

    #3 – regarding not accepting lower paying temp assignments –

    I temped for a long time, and what I found was that there are a lot more lower paying assignments than higher paying assignments. You lucked out with the better paying 5 month gig. It’s not what normally happens. I’ll bet your agency just doesn’t have any higher paying jobs right now.

    Call them every so often (I called every week when I didn’t have work) and check in with them. I think you were right to turn down the lower paying job that was farther away. With the rising gas prices, you can lose money taking that kind of job.

    Good luck! BT, DT, and will probably have to go through it again soon.

    1. Sabrina*

      Could be. I have had agencies get upset with me if I turned down a job with a larger client. I would call every week and they never had anything for me, ever, and that was way before the economy tanked.

      So could the OP have alienated them? Maybe, but I would call to check in and be prepared to write them off. Too many temp agencies are way too emotional and are easily offended.

    2. Anonymouse*

      I think they usually understand that it’s just part of doing business – some opportunities won’t be the right ones for you. I temped when I was first out of college and saying yes and no never burned any bridges for me. I wouldn’t discount them outright. You might want to look at some different agencies.

  32. Lindsay H.*

    In response to Question #2:

    1. Broken record statement, but there is a difference between being unprofessional and not tech-savvy and being a danger to children.

    2. How ’bout we have conversations with our kids about what’s appropriate to look at on the Internet and what’s not? I know you can’t monitor children all of the time, and I am someone who feels that you can’t bubble wrap them forever. However, set down some guidelines. If a kid comes across this type of the material unbeknownst to you, then have a conversation about it. Heaven forbid we have to talk to our children, especially about sexuality.

  33. Anonymous*

    I’m an exempt employee, and whenever I’m more than three minutes late my boss makes me take leave. He’s never written me up or disciplined me for my tardiness. I’ve talked to HR, and they say it’s within his perogative as a manager for doing things that way. I know they’re not allowed to dock your pay, but is my HR department right in that docking leave is different? Thanks to anyone with insight.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, the law only applies to how they handle pay. They can handle leave however they want. But how much leave is he making you take for these three minutes?

      1. Anonymous*

        Thanks so much for the answer, AAM. I figured that was the case. I’m looking around for a job situation that is a better fit for me anyway, so hopefully I won’t have to deal with it much longer. The leave actually only starts when you’re MORE than three minutes late, so for 4 minutes it would just be 0.1 hours of leave. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up, and I’ve got little leave left to start with (not because of irresponsible leave management – health reasons).

        I get all my work done (and go above and beyond), I have consistently exemplary reviews, and I work as many hours as I need to each week to finish my work (Generally around 50 hours). It just seems so weird to me to have to take leave for being late when I work so many hours over. Boss says I don’t have “permission” to stay late so they don’t have to take that into account. But if I try leaving exactly at 6 he gets frustrated because work gets done more slowly (duh). Yeah, I’m glad I’m getting out.

        1. Anonymous*

          They can only make you dock your leave time if you do not work at all during that day. If you work any, it counts as a full day as an exempt employee. They can discipline you for being late. I’m I correct??

          Why can’t we push through better laws so that this very complex totally vague regulation could be made understandable and fair for all? Everyone handles it differently. The rules are very clear for hourly people. Why aren’t they clear for salaried people?

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