tattling at work, lost interview invites, and more

It’s mini answer Monday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Tattling in the office

In the past two weeks, I’ve had a strange meeting with my former supervisor where she vaguely indicated everyone in the office was accusing me of tattling, then she did something tattle-worthy the next day. Now today, another office person did something tattle-worthy. I haven’t had to tattle on anyone, to date, but I sure do feel like I’m being set up. Should I actually tattle? I’ve never had this kind of situation in a workplace before, and I’m very fed up. I think that if I do tattle, it will present some strength of character — that being that I won’t back down when someone’s doing something wrong. Yet, if I’m being set up as I think might be the case, I’ll have to tell every single time something like this happens. No manager would look kindly on this, I’m afraid.

My boss is a good boss and will listen to me and at least commiserate. I plan on just describing my discomfort and my situation and asking him for advice, though I know he’ll probably do something about it. My life is going to be made miserable, it already is.

There’s really no such thing as “tattling” in the workplace. There are petty complaints about things that don’t affect anyone’s work (“Jane is five minutes late every day” or “Bob won’t stop popping his gum”), and then there are comments about things that truly do affect the organization’s work. It’s not tattling to bring the latter to your manager’s attention. I have no idea which category the “tattle-worthy” things you mention fall into, but I’d start by not thinking in terms of tattling and instead thinking in terms of things that do and don’t affect the work.

I would, however, go talk to your boss and say that you’re concerned by the bizarre conversation you had with your former supervisor (who sounds absurd — both for relaying something so vague and for the entire “tattling” concept) and want to make sure that she doesn’t have concerns you should know about.

2. I just found an interview invitation from six weeks ago

I submitted my resume for a part-time job on April 1, received an interview invite on April 24, but I did not see email until June 8. I do not understand how I missed it because I checked it several times since then. What am I to do? I want to write an letter letting them know I’m still interested. What is the proper way to construct the letter. Or, should I send one at all?

Ouch. They’ve probably moved on — the position may not even be open anymore — but there’s no harm in trying. I’d write something back like, “I’m mortified — I just found this message in my spam folder. I realize it’s probably far too late, but if on the off chance you’re still interviewing, I’d love to talk with you and will make myself available whenever’s convenient. I realize you’ve probably filled the position by now, and if so, I appreciate your consideration and wish you all the best with the role.”

3. Can very short hair on a woman be a negative in job interviews?

I have a question for you about hair at interviews. I am a straight female and have short hair (short pixie). In the summer when it gets really hot, I like to cut my hair very short (think buzzcut with bangs) once in the beginning of summer and let it grow back out throughout the year. I’m due for my haircut, and while the cut isn’t a mohawk or Skrillex style, it’s a bit odd for women who don’t have ethnic hair. Do you think my short boy-style hair will negatively impact my applications for clerical positions that don’t interact with customers?

Nope, not unless you’re in a particularly conservative area of the country where very short hair on women is unusually shocking. (The south, maybe? I’m just guessing.) And even then, I suspect it’s not going to be a problem for most people.

4. My boss relies too heavily on my help

My current boss doesn’t know how to use a computer, let alone how to do the work we are supposed to do. For the past year, she has relied on me to do everything from creating our department’s strategy to helping her cut and paste he weekly updates for our organization’s leadership.

I’ve said something to both HR and her supervisor (the director of our department) and they just cannot believe that someone in her position doesn’t understand basic things essential for our job. Do you have any suggestions for me on how to handle my boss? I feel like she is taking advantage of me, and refusing to learn.

I don’t think there’s anything you can do here. It’s legitimate for your boss to enlist your help, and it’s not really up to you whether she’s refusing to learn or not. It’s for her managers to evaluate her performance, and if they’re happy with it (including her use of employees to help her achieve the results they want, which is an appropriate part of a manager’s role), then there’s not really much to be done. It’s more a question of whether you want to stay in the job under this particular set of conditions or not.

5. When employers want to talk to a reference that you don’t want them to talk to

I recently left a job after working for nearly a year as a content manager. The reason for my departure was mainly due to the vast cultural differences and language barriers between my employer, staff, and me. Plus we didn’t have a great professional relationship because of communication differences. My former employer is not known for putting in a good word for his former employees, whether they have quit or been dismissed. I know this for a fact, as he badmouthed them to me when I interviewed at that company. He has nothing positive to say about them, regardless the nature of their work performance or their relationship with him. He claimed that they were lazy, unreliable, had difficulties understanding their tasks, did not meet his performance expectations, etc. Now that I am no longer an employee there, I am worried that he will do the same to me.

I’ve been at job interviews where they have not only asked about my work experience at that company but asked me to evaluate my relationship with him. It’s not my nature to trash-talk people, so I tell them them that I left because I felt I wasn’t a good fit for the cultural environment in that company. Not all of them accept that answer and ask me to elaborate. Or they will ask if they can contact my former employer. If I tell them no, they will ask why or why I haven’t listed him as a reference on my job application. Not all hiring managers will ask for references, but I am concerned that they may contact my company anyway and ask about me. No one else at that company speaks English very well and they were openly hostile towards me. What should I do if the hiring manager insists on contacting my former boss (or anyone else at that company) or asks why I shouldn’t? I don’t want them to get the impression that I am withholding information or that I am unable to get along with people of different nationalities which isn’t the case.

All you can do in that situation is (a) prepare them for what he’ll likely say and (b) offer plenty of other references who WILL speak glowingly about you. To prepare them, I’d say: “I didn’t list him as a reference because he hasn’t handled it well when people have left, and I only saw him give poor references for other employees, even people whose work I knew was good. Since he seems to consistently give negative references, regardless of work performance, I’d rather offer you other references who can speak about my work.” And then compile as strong a list of alternative references as you can.

6. Nicknames on resumes

I am a grad student hoping to graduate end of this year. I have been reading your site for a while getting insights on the application process and resume. I have an unpronounceable first name (please refer to email address). My friends call me Maddy or Mads. Is that okay to include on a resume? Also, I am planning to go to a couple of networking events. Is it a good idea to get business cards made? Should I put my nickname on there too?

If you go by Maddy and want to be called that at work, then put Maddy on your resume and business cards. It’s also fine to put your unpronounceable first name, followed by “Maddy” (in the quotes), then last name. In other words, if I went by Rudolph, I might list my name like this:

Alison “Rudolph” Green

But overall, know that your resume isn’t a legal document that requires your full legal name. It requires the name you’re known by. You don’t want an employer calling references and asking about Alison Green when you go by Rudolph Green; your references aren’t going to know who they’re talking about. Similarly, it’s really weird to get to know someone as Alison all through the hiring process and then discover on their first day of work that they’re actually called Rudolph. Use the name you go by.

[Also, for the unpronounceable name, this might help (#2 at the link).]

7. Can my former employer refuse to reimburse my travel expenses?

I just moved to another job and quit the old one. But the old compony owes me about $3,000 in travel expenses for out of state travel. Can the company not pay me?

Legally, no — but if they resist paying you after you’ve requested it, you could need to go to small claims court to recover the money.

{ 133 comments… read them below }

  1. Laura Treider*

    #1: Can you give us any more insight into the nature of the offenses? Are your coworkers bullying you? It sounds like you’re more upset than a person would be if someone were installing chocolate teapot handles on backwards or soemething to that effect.

    1. Kelly*

      The pickle that #1 is in sounds like a lot of retail/restaurant jobs. The person doing the hiring/ “human resources” person may have worked their way up as either a server or worker bee and not have a HR degree or certification. As a result, they have existing personal relationships with both direct and secondary reports that can compromise their judgment in the eyes of others who don’t have as close a relationship and have trouble viewing them as impartial. That creates difficulties in enforcing the rules and policies and dealing with interpersonal conflicts between multiple people, especially if they are closer to one of the parties involved.

    2. Nony*

      Hi. I’m the person in #1. I’m not in a restaurant, I’m the shipping clerk for a manufacturer. I used to be the Office Assistant for the retail portion of the business. The retail side was sold (though it still occupies the same building). The discussion really was that vague, but the incident that followed went something like this:

      Employee #1-hey shipper, can you ship this box via XCompany? they’ll be paying for it, here’s the info. It’s not any different from what you do with the other boxes.
      Me: Ok. I’ll just get the info from my former supervisor, who trained me on this job.
      Former Supervisor: You don’t need that info.
      Me: I’ll go online
      Former Supervisor: You’ll need the password.
      Me: Ok. Can I have it?
      Former Supervisor: (something I can’t remember because she walked away from me while she was talking.)

      It really struck me as wierd and sstrange. I’ve asked her for this info 3 times in the past 3 months that I’ve done this job. First, the answer was no because I was still training. The second time, I didn’t get an answer. Now the third time, I still don’t get any explanation. It is clearly in my job description from my current supervisor that I am to be the one shipping ‘all the things.’

  2. Sniper*

    For #4, I interpreted this as the OP is doing the work and the supervisors are viewing that work as being done by the manager – and they don’t realize the incompetence of the manager.

    I think the OP is trying to figure out how to make sure that s/he is receiving proper credit for the work, as opposed to the manager receiving credit for that work.

    1. PEBCAK*

      But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. If the manager takes all the credit for the work accomplished by the OP and the manager, and that total amount of work is enough for the higher-up’s, there isn’t much the OP can do

      1. Anonymous*

        I disagree wit PEBCAK and AAM on this one. The workplace isn’t us a tight “chain of command” that we because the boss wants it, it’s OK, and only if the boss’s manager find the boss’s performance lacking is this a problem.

        The fact that the boss’s manager don’t even believe it suggests that if they did believe it they would not find it acceptable.

        Where there is a lack of understanding in the office over who/what is productive, something is wrong. It’s important that the higher level managers be aware of this. If they actually know, and are OK with it, the OP should suck it up. But at the moment, the higher level managers cannot accurately manage because they have wrong information.

        1. Pandora Amora*

          +1 “the workplace is not a tight chain-of-command”.

          In an environment where managers follow bureaucratic supervise-by-the-checklist roles, then Alison’s advice makes perfect sense.

          In an environment where managers are servant leaders, then the OP’s manager and a few layers up are being negligent.

          Not having basic computer skills means your manager won’t be able to objectively evaluate the computer skills of candidates that come in, were you to leave.

        2. Rob Aught*

          You have to be extremely careful though because the manager’s supervisor has some skin in the game and if they feel this could reflect bad on them they may be reluctant to do anything about it.

          I’ve seen some poor managers continue on in their positions simply because the director above them didn’t want to have to take over their work while they look for a replacement.

          Pathetic, but it happens.

        3. FiveNine*

          I just learned last week that the top editor at my publication freaked out last year when the company incorporate a new-to-our-format but basic technology (hyperlinks) and, despite training, still cannot do them and/or flat-out will not do them. She has the assistant editor insert every single one throughout the publication and do any accompanying conversion to print. I understand the argument that she can delegate pretty much any task to anyone below her, but it’s jaw-dropping, almost akin to technologically being so thrown by how to format a headline for publication.

        4. Forrest*

          Except the OP has taken it up the chain. She’s told HR and her boss’ boss. They don’t believe her. And if the boss of the person who is the problem doesn’t believe, I don’t see how reaching out to people even further from the problem would believe her. In fact, she would probably just make herself look worse.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Exactly. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that the boss adds plenty of value, just in ways that the OP doesn’t see — which is a pretty common thing to happen. The OP might think that the most important things for the boss to do are A, B, and C, when in fact what the company most cares about her focusing on are D, E, and F, and she does good work there.

            1. Anonymous*

              Not exactly. Apparently the higher ups don’t think it’s true because it’s so strange. If they believed it, then nothing could be done or should be. But they don’t even believe it.

              If they’d have a different reaction if they believed it, then it’s worth pursuing (if possible). And it’s likely they would.

              1. Forrest*

                I’m honestly unclear on what your point is. You say the OP needs to make people aware…but she did and they don’t care/believe her. You say they don’t believe her because this is so strange…but it really isn’t. Lots of under qualified people end up in roles that require more experience.

                Further, I’m not sure how she’s going to “prove” things to the higher ups. All we have is two examples and designing a strategy could mean anything while cutting and pasting is something that I would expect a supervisor to be directing their assistant to do. There’s not really any evidence of any foul play going on here.

                Further, I feel like you’re arguing for a different situation than the one that is presented. I’m sure AAM would of offered other advice if the boss’ supervisors were unhappy with her…but they are happy with her. That’s why they don’t believe the OP.

                I think you may be projecting a little her. Sure, some bosses take advantage of the people that report to them. And some bosses don’t know how to do their jobs at all. But we don’t know if either is the case here. All we know is that the OP has been given signs to drop this and she should.

                1. Layla*

                  I think the strange part , to me , is not knowing how to use a computer. Is this common ? Ie not strange ?

                2. Forrest*

                  Maybe but again, not knowing how to use the computer can mean a lot of things. Just because your boss relies on your Excel skills doesn’t mean she’s a crappy boss or doesn’t know what she’s doing. Like AAM said, the OP could be focusing on A, B, C when the boss’ job is really X, Y, Z.

  3. Jen in RO*

    #2 – Write back, can’t hurt! I had an interview ~1 month ago and they said they would sent me a test via email. When I never got the test, I just assumed they weren’t interested anymore… until they wrote back a few days ago asking if I was having any trouble! Oops, the test was in the spam folder… Of course, the situation is a bit different, I had had the first interview already, but I wrote back, they liked the test and I’m going in tomorrow to negotiate the salary.

    1. Sniper*

      When job hunting, always, always, always check your spam folder on a regular basis. You never know when a legit email will end up there.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Given how common it is here on AAM and elsewhere to hear about people finding interview requests and whatnot in their spam folders, it makes me wonder how many companies have been unfairly maligned because they don’t respond to candidates, when in fact the candidate just never checked their spam? Certainly not all, of course, but it does make me wonder.

      2. 2013 Jobseeker*

        The thing is, when you’re job seeking, suddenly your spam magnifies exponentially. A full-out job hunt from January-April increased my spam from 1-3 per day to 5-10 per HOUR. So it becomes even easier for stuff to get lost. Look *really* carefully.

    1. Flynn*

      I assume that means it’s all diverse. So half straight, a little bit crinkly on top, blonde forelock, that sort of thing.

      1. TheSnarkyB*

        It really doesn’t though.. That’s never how people use it so it just comes across the same way it does when my 80 yr old relatives call me “colored” because at least they know “Negro” isn’t cool any more. “Ethnic hair” was an attempt at PCness long ago and it failed.

    2. Josh S*

      For whatever reason, beauty & personal care product manufacturers, retailers, etc etc etc all refer to the sub-sector of hair care products that happen to be specially formulated for the hair of African-Americans (or, outside the US, black people) as “Ethnic Hair Care”.

      It always struck me as pretty racially insensitive, but every company I’ve worked for or seen publish information about this in market research (and that’s the majority of them) refers to the category in this way. And it trickles through to the vernacular–I’ve seen hair salons in predominantly black neighborhoods in Chicago advertise “We style ethnic hair” or things to that effect.

      I don’t get it. But it’s either not offensive or so pervasive that people don’t realize it’s offensive.

      (I say this all with a perplexed look on my face since it seems a bit let’s-highlight-what’s-different-about-you-and-emphasize-the-us-vs-them-mentality, and I’m about the whitest white guy ever.)

      1. Elizabeth*

        Yeah, I’d say it’s best to err on the side of not using a questionable phrase, though. Especially when the speaker isn’t part of the group. “[My hairstyle] is a bit odd for women with straight hair” would have conveyed the same idea, I think.

        1. Nichole*

          Black women, who more usually have dark, curly hair, can cut their hair buzz cut short and you can still see a distinctive hairline. A woman with fair skin and thinner, lighter hair or hair that doesn’t curl tightly may look like she’s balding. This tends to make white women with very short hair stand out, even when it works well with that woman’s particular hair type, just because it’s so unusual. The straightness would probably be more the cause, as you suggested, but the all around combination of color and texture may be what the OP was referencing. I agree that it probably won’t be an issue as long as the OP looks neat and professional, unusual =/= bad.

          1. FreeThinkerTX*

            Back in college, I worked at a high-end, boutique, retail store in Orlando. A new hire showed up for her first day with a style similar to what the OP is describing: blonde hair that was buzz cut with bangs. The owners of the store were quite taken aback and wanted to rescind their hiring offer. Apparently she’d had long, below-the-shoulder tresses when she’d interviewed the week before.

            A couple of us talked the owners into keeping her on, and she worked out great. But they confessed that if she had come to the interview with the buzz cut, they never would have hired her.

      2. CoffeeLover*

        Political correctness gone awry? Black people hair definitely provides a different challenge than white people hair, but how do you label it without offending someone? Personally, I also hate the phrase “African-American.” I don’t call white people “European-Canadian”. Though I’ve never actually heard someone use “African-American” (African-Canadian?) in Canada. People just say “he’s that white/black/brown/arabic/mocha/cocoa guy over there”. I don’t think Canada has the same racial segregation issues as the U.S. though, so maybe that’s why?

        Note: Definitely not trying to start a racial segregation debate, so I hope this doesn’t go there.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Definitely not trying to start a racial segregation debate, so I hope this doesn’t go there.

          Yeah, can we not further debate the term here? It’s a common enough term that the OP didn’t mean anything offensive by it, and that’s not the point of the question. Thank you (all)!

        2. Chinook*

          CoffeeLover, I have noticed the phrases used for different ethnic groups varies by region (and is probably based on mutlicutlrual issues from the past). When I was in Halifax, there were groups that called themselves African Canadian and Black Canadian depending on how long their family history has been in Canada (i.e. first or 2nd generation from Africa vs. coming here during the American Revolution). And in Halifax there were definitely lingering affects from racial discrimination issues that are still profoundly felt, especially around issues such as Africville and the Coloured Orphanage. As a result, I learned very quickly that referring to the “black guy over there” could cause issues (though I never had issues with being referred to as the “white sub” at the one school where I was noticeable paler than everyone else).

  4. Lydia*

    #3: I have done something very similar with my hair since I was seventeen years old (I’m now in my mid-twenties). Honestly, I don’t think it has ever been an issue and my pixie is incredible short year round. I am staff at a Southern Baptist church in the deep south. No one has ever mentioned my hair to me other than to say that it is perfect for my face and personality. The church is conservative to the point that I cannot pray in front of men, or teach any mixed gender classes. If possible, I would really like for this not to turn into a religious discussion. I am using these beliefs only to explain that my hair cut has not been an issue in an incredibly conservitive workplace.

    1. Anonymous*

      I’m in the same boat as OP#3. I have a pixie cut of varying lengths (dependent on the time of year) and I’ve never had a problem with it, professionally. Some of us ladies (for whatever reasons) just can’t work long hair. :)

    2. Andrea*

      Last May I cut over a foot off of my hair (donated to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths). Only 3 people (of 15) noticed that I was sporting a new pixie cut. Engineers are fun to work with. :)

  5. Dan*


    Alison’s right, as usual, but I’d focus her statement a bit more. Either other people’s transgressions affect your ability to get your work done, or they don’t. Even if there is a larger impact to the organization, if it doesn’t affect you, I’d say stay out of it unless asked directly.

    Now, if your boss comes to you and asks you a question, I wouldn’t lie.

    I should caveat my answer and say it applies to “misdemeanor” transgressions, “felonies” are a different story.

    1. Jessa*

      Exactly. It really matters WHAT the issues are. If they don’t disrupt your work, leave it alone.

    2. Lindsay J*

      I really don’t like this attitude. If the behavior is impacting the organization as a whole in a negative manner, the management should want to know what is going on so they can rectify the issue.

      In this example, people could be stealing or something like that, and since it is not affecting her work directly she should keep her mouth shut?

      1. Legal Eagle*

        Stealing is a workplace “felony.” Someone wearing dark gray pants when everyone is required to wear black pants is not something to report.

        1. Anonymous*

          Okay, then it seems like we agree. I would definitely want to know about major workplace “felonies” like stealing, harassing other employes, losing the company contracts or business through rudeness, etc, and as an employee I would think less of my management team if I went to them with an issue like that and they told me to stop snitching.

          However, I would be annoyed if an employee came to me with “issues” like pants color or somebody occasionally taking too long on a coffee break, and if these are the types of problems the OP is bringing up she should definitely stop.

      2. Colette*

        The thing is, if it is minor and doesn’t affect your work, you likely don’t know enough to know whether it’s really something that affects the organization. For example, if someone gets in an hour late, you don’t necessarily know whether it’s because they didn’t feel like getting up or because they have medical appointments in the morning, and it would be inappropriate to bring it to your (or their) manager’s attention, because it has nothing to do with you.

        If you see someone walking out with a laptop concealed under their sweater, that’s a different scenario.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          This. And the “does it affect your work” distinction is important in that scenario too, because even if the person has a good reason for coming in late, if it’s affecting your work, it might be that whatever the issue is could be addressed in another way.

        2. Lindsay J*

          Yeah, I think honestly we agree. I was thinking of bigger picture issues and not things like dress code, being a few minutes late here and there, or sneaking a personal phone occasionally.

          I do think that if you were in the position of being able to notice a coworker being significantly late on a regular basis while your boss is not (say you and boss work different hours, or boss travels or works remotely most of the time) it could be appropriate to bring up the issue to the boss once and then drop it, since if the company is paying the employee a wage on the assumption that they are working 40 hours a week and they are only working 35 hours a week then that’s not cool. Over time that could be a lot of time/money they are essentially defrauding from the company.

          However, I would approach this in a quick, “Just curious, are you aware that Wakeen has been coming in at 10:45 or so instead of 9 several days during the week every week?” and then stop the conversation. If there is a prior agreement in place then the boss can just reply, “Yes I’m aware,” or similar without having to disclose any of Wakeen’s personal information, and if not then she can deal with the issue according to whatever she wants to do. It wouldn’t be a good idea to do this if you already have a reputation of a tattle-tale, though.

          1. FreeThinkerTX*

            Hmmm. . . I wouldn’t take this approach. If the employee is hourly, then the manager will know based on whatever time tracking system is in place that they aren’t working standard hours. If the employee is salaried, then [I hope] the only thing the manager cares about is productivity and deliverables. If I can deliver my project in 30 hours, but it takes you 40 to complete yours, who cares? And, furthermore, if I’m salaried, how are you to know if I’m working my tail off at the office [or at home] long after you’ve left the office?

            Trust me, if I’m not doing my job, my manager is going to notice, whether by time card or by missed deadlines/quotas/etc.

            1. Lindsay J*

              In a place with good management I would definitely agree with you. I honestly think most salaried workers should be judged by their deliverables and not whether they have their butt in a seat for 8 hours each day. However, there are many places where salaried employees are expected to be in the office and available for set hours, and where work-at-home or flexible hours are not available, and in these environments I feel bringing up the fact that a person was not where they are expected to be (for significant amounts of time – I’m not talking about 15 minutes late here or there) is warranted. If an employee is in a workplace where work-at-home or flexible hours are available then generally they would be aware of this and the idea of someone being “late” being a problem would not cross their minds.

              And I have never worked in a retail or other hourly environment where management has reviewed the time cards to ensure everyone is working their hours. Usually the information is transmitted electronically to payroll. (Though usually hourly employees have more direct supervision anyway and it is likely that somebody would notice them being absent without having to be told).

  6. Seal*

    #6 – I have a given name but because it’s a family name (the same name as my mother and grandmother), I have always gone by my nickname. After some awkwardness with the whole name thing in college, I always use my nickname on my resume and the like unless I absolutely have to use my given name, such as on legal documents. Since my nickname is not an obvious derivative of my given name (i.e. I’m not a Jennifer that goes by Jenny), I’ve found that it’s much easier to tell someone after they know me by my nickname what my given name is rather than vice versa. Otherwise people don’t seem to know or remember what to call me, something you certainly don’t want to happen to you when going out on interviews.

    1. Rin*

      It’s like on Gilmore Girls – Lorelai named her daughter Lorelai, who goes by Rory. It’s not an obvious derivative, and no one ever calls her Lorelai.

      1. Anne*

        My husband’s legal name is Alexander, but he goes by Sandy. Very common shortening of it here in Scotland, but my American family can’t help giggling (or more recently, calling him “Hurricane”).

        1. Meg*

          My family is Russian and we have Alexander/”Sasha”, Michael/”Misha”, Ivan/”Vanya”, etc.

    1. Blinx*

      True, women have been getting pixies and bobs for many, many decades now. But a “buzzcut with bangs” is quite modern and is far from conservative.

      I just got my “summer cut”, since we recently went through a heat wave — I can’t stand to have hair hitting the back of my neck in the summer. Since I’m job hunting, I made sure there was still enough length and fullness that I could style it more conservatively if I wanted to.

      1. tcookson*

        One of the women I volunteer with at the animal shelter recently got her hair cut not much longer than a buzz cut, and my first thought was to be a little envious and to think about getting mine super-short, too. I did wonder if it meant she was a lesbian, but didn’t assume that it did (not that it matters — but in the interest of full disclosure, it did cross my mind).

        Anyway, my hair is in a just-above-the-shoulders blunt bob right now, and I’m sorta thinking about getting it like this for the summer: http://woohair.com/large/Very_Short_Haircut_For_Women_6.jpg

    2. Calla*

      Certain haircuts do read more “maybe not straight” than others imo — but mentioning it in the question wasn’t needed because OP #3’s actual sexuality isn’t relevant to the question (how will potential employers perceive this?) unless she is telling them “I am a straight female” in the interviews, too.

    3. Ash*

      To some [backwards/ignorant] people it does (i.e. in that they believe a woman with short hair is a lesbian and that a man with long hair is gay). I agree though that there was no reason for the OP to mention she was straight. Had she left it out, I don’t think Alison would’ve asked, “Well are you a lesbian? Because if you are, then this is more acceptable. But if you are straight, better grow that heteromormative hair out this instant!” or whatever.

      1. Tinker*

        I think straight women can perceive that their problem might be materially different than that of a queer woman with the same hair (or whatever). Hair on its own is probably less of a matter of identity, and additionally a straight woman probably sees themselves as being less concerned with being outed at work and such like — or as not having the option of being out at work as a solution, conversely.

        I’m not sure that it actually is different, because IME homophobia as applied to females is really hard to parse out from sexism and besides people who have any serious -ism seem to have a tendency to play Pokemon and “gotta catch ’em all”. But I can understand how someone might feel the need to draw the distinction, particularly if their experience with the nuttier end of the fruit basket is limited.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t know ANY lesbians with buzz-cut hair. All my gay women friends have typical conservative hairstyles–some short, some longer. One girl I knew in college had hair down past her butt! *jealous*

    4. TheSnarkyB*

      Actually, I can see why OP mentioned it. I wouldn’t have, but perhaps she was trying to give AAM all possibly relevant info so that the answer could be as comprehensive as possible. In this case, if she wanted to, Alison could have said, “This could open you up to sexuality discrimination from some of the ignoramuses who think that short hair means you’re a lesbian, but you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway, and people like that are in the minority.” (Just to give OP a little more info for whatever reason.)

    5. annie*

      Coming from a large urban city, I read the OP’s explanation a little different – I think she described it that way because at least in my city it is pretty common for some lesbians and African-American women to have that type of very short hair style and I’m used to seeing it on professional women. For the white/straight OP, it would be out of the ordinary and perhaps read as more “punk” – that’s why I think she included the context, which I do think might change the perception.

        1. Felicia*

          Me too. I think she was trying to explain why the hairstyle might be considered unusual on her, but not on other women.

    6. T-riffic*

      I agree with you Coco, but some people are kind of dumb and narrow-minded. When I had very, very short hair I was once asked point-blank if I was a lesbian. Apparently, the asker had been earlier sitting with a group of dudes who were pointing out the people passing by and making judgments about them (“She’s probably a lesbian”).
      At that point I was about 2 months out of chemotherapy.

  7. Anonymous*

    #6. I personally have a preference for brackets – so Alison (Rudolph) Green, as in the example above. Quotes invoke mental images of air-quoting for me, but certainly there’s nothing wrong with that either. Just thought I’d suggest another option.

    1. Coffee Bean*

      For women, the brackets indicate a maiden name, so that could end up confusing people. If I saw Alison (Rudolph) Green on a resume I’d assume Alison Rudolph had changed her last name to Green, but was putting both names on the resume to avoid confusion with references, past published work, etc.

      1. Brandy*

        Wholly agree. I debated for a while using my full vs. nickname ( my full name is never used at work– think Elizabeth but goes by Beth, Katherine goes by Kate), and just switched to nickname which is what I use professionally when a maiden name came into the mix.

        Used to be First: Brandyloowho “Brandy” A. Green

        Then I married Mr. Rudolph and changed my last name…so my resume now has Brandy A. (Green) Rudolph, rather than Brandyloowho “Brandy” (Green) Rudolph. I’m about 10 years into my post-college career; I’m comfortable with nickname-only at this point. It’s not like my nickname is something goofy or totally unrelated to my full name.

        1. Heather*

          Speaking of nicknames that are goofy or unrelated to the full name – this just made me think of an account manager I used to work with who signed all his emails “Joe ‘Fired Up’ Schmoe.” Whenever he called, I was so tempted to say “Fired Up! How’s it going?”

          1. Jamie*

            Yep – that kind of thing can be really off putting.

            I was watching this season of Food Network Star (don’t judge) which started last week and there is a contestant named Connie “but the world knows me as Lovely.” So she’s captioned Connie “Lovely.”

            If that was her actual name, fine, but I would be really uncomfortable calling an adult woman a descriptive and imo goofy nickname if there was any other option.

            1. Andrew*

              I wouldn’t presume to judge, especially since I watched Food Network Star right after the premiere of HGTV Star.
              Can’t remember which contestants are on which show, though.

              1. FreeThinkerTX*

                I, too, watched both shows [and have my DVR set to record all episodes of both] and have NO problem remembering that Russell Jackson is on Food Network Star. Rawrrr! He’s a hotty and a half!! :-)

            2. fposte*

              Jamie, were you voting in Chicago when Jerry “Iceman” Butler was on the ballot? And I mean exactly like that, with the sobriquet? It always caused us much amusement.

              1. Jamie*

                No – I missed that one…but just looked him up and his profile for Cook County Commissioner has “Iceman” as well.

                And I will work sobriquet into as many conversations as I can today – what a mellifluous word! Maybe I’ll just steal his to give me a reason to talk about it…

                Jamie “the Icewoman” Keyboard-Monkey

                I am so getting new business cards with that.

  8. Rob Aught*

    #3 – VERY short hair on women

    I live in a conservative part of the country and don’t think this has ever come up. I used to work at a place that had job clinics for college grads and the guideline was to make sure they were “well groomed”.

    I do care about appearance in an interview. As long as they don’t show up in a T-Shirt and jeans or are completely slovenly, not being perfect is not going to be a dealbreaker but I want to see they made an effort to look professional.

    I don’t want to stereotype but I am going to be VERY generally here. In all the interviews I’ve conducted women of any ethnic or racial group usually don’t have a problem when it comes to hair. Length is not important and none of them are unkempt. If anyone has had issues in this area it is usually men, but even that happens rarely.

  9. Runon*

    #7 should the title be employer instead of employee? (I’ve read twice it and can’t see how it should be employee.)

    #1 I think using the word tattle is weird and inappropriate in most cases, and much more so at work. What did these people do? Sell state secrets or take a 16 minute break? Need more information.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Unless the parties are young children, “tattle” is wierd and inappropriate. I’d almost prefer the use of “snitch” and “rat out” because at least the parties sound like adults (in a mafia or prison movie) rather than children.

      other options:
      – report (with much less childish and negative implications
      – blow the whisle (with positive rather than negative implications)
      – expose

      Of course if the LW’s repremand from her former supervisor really did include the word tattle, I understand why she used it beut still. I would have had trouble not laughing at adult who accuses another adult of it.

      1. Runon*

        I prefer to think of appropriate and inappropriate reporting. (I tend to dislike snitch/rat-out other than in mafia/prison movies, and see whistle blowing as significant organizational reporting.)

        Though if we are talking about things like someone going to the coffee machine one to many times or Bobby touching Suzy’s desk then maybe tattle is the correct word…

        1. Ash*

          I agree. “Snitch” and “rat out” imply something criminal and illegal. Tattle is a perfect word for this because it’s usually minor, gossipy, trying-to-start-drama stuff and people should be reminded that they’re children if they participate in that kind of behavior.

        2. fposte*

          I like that “appropriate/inappropriate” approach, Runon. It’s simple and it carries no insulting baggage–it’s about assessing what supervisors need to know rather than what kind of person one has to be for sharing it. Seriously, even with the coffee machine thing, I think “tattle” isn’t a useful word–it’s demeaning without identifying the problem.

          1. Jamie*

            Unless you are discussing a famous Brady Bunch episode over lunch (and who hasn’t?) I agree that “tattle” has no place in the work place.

            It infantalizes the whole thing.

      2. Just me*

        “Rat out” is used quite often in my workplace, but then again, I think I work with the west coast eqiuivalent of mafia members, think criminal bike gang.

  10. Anonny*

    Can we please stop with the “ethnic” hair and “ethnic” skin, etc? Everyone has an ethnicity.

    1. Ash*

      What’s a better way to describe “Black hair” without sounding racist? People are so touchy about what words you use, especially on the Internet, that it’s hard not to push some SJW buttons regardless of your phrasing.

        1. Rob Aught*

          I’m with you. I’m not sure what ethnicity of even sexual preference has to do with women’s hair styles. At least for purposes of a job interview.

          Hair style has very little indication what they’ll be like as an employee. Grooming and general hygiene are not the same thing.

          Now come in wearing a mohawk and apply for an investment banker job and then you might see a problem.

          1. Doy*

            Depends on the resume and references-

            I’ve heard of a pony-tailed ginger (male) who has a responsible job with an international bank…

        2. Chinook*

          “A start would be questioning why one is describing it in the first place.”

          That is easy – she is trying to describe a natural hair type that really does work well short. If you don’t have the vocabulary to call it kinky (?), very curly (?), coarse (?), what would you call it? Ironically, her adjective worked because we all seem to agree on what type of hair she is referring to.

          1. Flynn*

            Ironically, her adjective worked because we all seem to agree on what type of hair she is referring to.

            Eh. A lot of non-caucasian ethnicities have specific hair, often thick and black. I extrapolated from this being a US blog and then the subtle hints in the comments talking about African Americans :D – but all I got from the original comment was “I have normal white person hair” (whatever THAT is!).

            1. Chinook*

              “Normal person hair” would be the worst adjective ever because that would give you zero information about hair colour and texture. Then again, maybe it would be used to describe someone with long, blond, shiny, silky hair (which no white person I have ever known has had)?

              I understand, though, that “ethnic hair” is just as poor an adjective as it eludes to nothing specific as well. Is it East Indian ethnicity meaning black and thick? Irish ethnicity meaning red and curly or Scandanavian ethnicity meaning white blonde and straight?

              I just wish we had better ways to describe hair.

      1. Anonny*

        What’s wrong with saying black hair? How is that racist? You are describing the kind of hair alot of black people, like me, have. Just identifying something as [insert race here] isn’t being racist.

          1. Anonny*

            Right, but most of the people with black hair are black, hence it’s called black hair. (Informed) Generalizing is vital to communication, if only because that’s how the human brain works and learns. We just have to keep the existence of exceptions in mind and expect them, like the one you pointed out.

            1. fposte*

              Actually, most people with black hair aren’t of African origin, so that doesn’t help.

              Language is never going to be logical, and American English isn’t the only one that gets complex and contradictory on the subject of racial/group identification.

            2. Flynn*

              If I look around my local community (not in the US, which is obviously an important factor), African American people are relatively rare. Black hair usually indicates Maori, Chinese, Indians or Pacific Islanders, with a good sprinkling of other Asian people and black haired caucasians.

              If I was thinking of the US, I’d assume a lot of the same ethnic groups would be found there, as well as Native American and African American.

          2. Chinook*

            And when describe “black hair” do you mean hair of a quality that is usually found on someone of African descent or do you mean hair that is the colour black (like that which is usually found on someone who is Japanese)?

            1. Judy*

              In the context of hair styles, I assumed this discussion was about the textured hair quality found on someone with an African descent, that use hair products that are sold in the “ethnic hair care aisle” of a store. It has nothing to do with the color of the hair, although that hair is generally black in color. My daughter has a friend who has “black hair” that is lighter in color than my brown hair.

  11. EnnVeeEl*

    #5: What I took away from this letter – this person had a major red-flag during an interview and missed it. The hiring manager bad mouthing all their employees, current and former? Not “everyone” is incompetent. The unfortunate situation the OP is in now is why AAM stresses careful interviewing and vetting the company and hiring manager. Bad managers can mess your career up. Here’s proof.

    1. Legal Eagle*

      Paying attention to red flags in interviews is one of the most important lessons of this blog!

  12. danr*

    #2… Clean out your inbox. You should only have current emails waiting to be looked at there. Use the filters to presort your usual emails and get them out of the inbox. And your default sort should be reverse chronological.

  13. Rob Aught*

    #4 – Manager requiring too much help

    The more I think about this one, the more it bothers me.

    If everything the OP says is true, then there probably isn’t much they can do. The management culture may believe this is entirely appropriate even though it is a level of delegation I balk at.

    However, there is a level of knowledge a supervisor is not entirely expected to have depending on their specific job. Asking for help and relying on the expertise of their team members is usually a sign of good management rather than the managers who refuse to ever imply there is something they don’t know. The example given here is taking it a bit to the extreme.

    Regardless, one of the teams under me has some VERY specific domain knowledge. Thanks to my technology background I understand the technology side pretty well even though it is ridiculously (needlessly?) complex. The business rules might as well be in Latin though.

    I pull in the lead for that team into every meeting I need them for. That’s most of them. That can be a huge drain on their time, but I do the company or the team who supports the application any favors by faking knowledge where there is none. Due to the nature of my job and level in the company I am not required to be an expert, and as it is one of several systems in my portfolio I couldn’t dedicate the time to become an expert if I wanted to. In fact, I’d get flagged on a performance review and accused of thinking too small.

    You have to pick one. Will you complain your boss knows nothing and causes you endless headaches because they act like an expert when they clearly are not or will you complain that they rely on your expertise?

    1. anonz*

      There’s highly technical expertise — for example, my boss supervises three of us who are skilled at a particular software package. He CAN use it, but we are much faster at it than he is — since he’s a manager and not an analyst like us! If a project comes in requiring the use of that package, he quickly delegates it to us, as he should.

      The OP is talking about BASIC computer knowledge. Cutting and pasting is something grade school children learn. Being the go-to on the very basic tasks like that is not normal and it’s not efficient.

      1. Rob Aught*

        I addressed that. It is a ridiculous level of delegation but if it is not a technical role then the upper management may not have a problem with it.

        In this day and age though it is a little surprising. I know some little old ladies with some fairly strong computer skills. The technology is not “new” by any means.

        I would have a problem if I found one of my managers delegating that much of their work. Not the cut-and-paste thing, we’re all technical. Just the overall level of delegation seems like it’s too much. However, that’s me. There are offices where they expect managers to essentially delegate away as much as they can.

        If the OP is in that culture, and it sounds like they might be, it is not going to get better. It may just get more onerous.

        1. Jamie*

          I think it’s a question of efficiency and not delegation, at least for me.

          Even in places where managers are encouraged to delegate as much as possible it should be because it’s more efficient to free their time to do other things. I can’t imagine a scenario in which it’s more efficient to go through another for cutting and pasting, or changing a font, than just doing it yourself.

          1. Lindsay J*

            Yes. IMO delegation is to free up the higher level people to enable them to do work that their expertise is needed for. A manager having a qualified employee write a sales letter (or format an already written sales letter) so the manager can deal with department level reporting is delegating a task.

            A manager having to have an employee stand over them to help them change a font or cut-and-paste then it is being overly reliant on an employee to cover up their own incompetence.

            It’s hard to tell which this one is without further details.

    2. glennisw*

      I had a boss once who had very limited computer skills, and although teaching her to cut-and-paste was frustrating, that wasn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem was that without that knowledge, and other computer skills, she couldn’t really follow modern practices for doing business. Imagine trying to work with someone on something like an inventory, when they don’t “get” what a data base is. I reported to her while I was tasked with redesigning the department webpage to be compatible with the rest of our organization’s webpages – she could not review it on the screen, she had me print the pages out for her to review, which of course made the conversation about navigation completely surreal.

  14. VictoriaHR*

    #1 – I feel your pain. I was in a toxic work environment like that for several years. Supes would dangle the promotion/raise carrot in front of me if only I would get along with people more, if only I would smile more, if only I would have nicer body language, etc. ad nauseum. Other people would tattle on me for the stupidest stuff, such as not verbally returning a “good morning” and instead making eye contact and smiling. Or if someone misread an email and went off on me about it, I was supposed to apologize in-person to them, rather than the other way around. It was exhausting and I cried almost every morning before going to work. I finally quit without another job lined up because I was trying to get pregnant and the stress was torpedoing that plan. It all worked out for the best, but that company is on my blacklist to eternity.

    1. Ruffingit*


      That is really ridiculous. I can’t blame you for quitting without something else lined up. It was either that or risk whatever small amount of sanity you had left.

      Glad to hear it worked out. Toxic work environments take so much from you. I had one extremely toxic environment that I quit without another job lined up as well and I literally had to take a couple of months to recover from the craziness I experienced there. So I hear you on the toxicity. It’s rough.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Augh! That sounds awful.

      I had a job where if you had a problem with another employee, you were supposed to go to MANAGEMENT first. Not talk to the other employee like two adults. It was completely nuts.

  15. anonz*

    on #4, I had a manager like that. Refused to learn extremely basic computer tasks and it added substantially to the workload of those underneath her to accommodate her inability to sort a list, find a file, or format a document. I “covered” for her for a while, and then started just sending the files as-is, instead of 8 different files each sorted a different way since she couldn’t manage a sort on her own, just to save myself some time. She complained but the highers-up fortunately saw it my way and expected her to be able to handle something anyone in an office job should be able to do.

    I think the point that a manager who is incompetent in this regard cannot understand or evaluate the competence of an employee in computer skills is VERY important. If a large part of your job is software use and your manager is ignorant of it, it can make evaluation rough, especially if upper management doesn’t know about it. There’s always the “cc upper management person” with the file YOU did that boss might try and take credit for trick.

  16. Jamie*

    I agree that it’s part of the job to assist the manager how she sees fit…but it’s also the OP’s choice to look for a more challenging position.

    IMO the boss not being able to do basic computer skills (and I mean basic – create a word document, sort a list, etc.) then it’s not all that different from having an assistant whose job it is to help the boss who is functionally illiterate. You will only have so much time to do interesting work if you’re busy sorting columns or reading aloud to someone…and that level of hand holding isn’t for everyone.

    1. Chinook*

      I think framing a boss without basic computer skills as illiterate is a good way to look at it. Just as it is unbelievable that it is possible for bosses to not be able to read, those who have made it the world without that ability have great coping skills (that show intelligence) and created work arounds in order to function. There are legit reasons for lacking these skills and deserve compassion because they would know first hand the handicap they have.

      I would offer to show the boss how to do something in case I wasn’t available but, if she refused that offer, then I would accept it as part of my job. Like Jamie said, this type of hand holding isn’t for everybody (or every personality) but it is still a legit part of the job description.

      1. Jessa*

        I think the issue there, then is how to compassionately cover this boss whilst simultaneously letting those above the chain know how much of the work product is yours. It’s not because OMG Boss is skill-illiterate, it’s because at some point when you yourself go up for promotion it’s important that they know that you’ve A: helped valuable boss employee compassionately, B: were able to do A, X, K tasks in the boss quiver yourself, and C: were not a whingey annoying person about A and B.

    2. A Bug!*

      Is it hand-holding, though? I mean, how different is it from having an assistant to answer your phones for you, or take dictation to type up a document? Sure, the skill involved is something that’s pretty common nowadays, but if delegating those tasks to the assistant frees up more of her time to do work on which the company places a high value, it seems like it’s a situation where the employee would need to decide whether or not to find a different job.

      Anecdotally, I’ve heard that Sir Paul McCartney can neither read nor write sheet music. I also know of a lawyer who works in a paperless office yet never learned how to use a computer. He bills at just shy of a thousand dollars an hour, and relies entirely upon his assistants to prepare his documents and even write his e-mails for him from dictation. The opportunity cost of him taking the time away from his billable work to learn computer skills to the required level would be just staggering.

      It’s one thing if this stuff is actually the majority of the manager’s job, and the manager’s just kind of sitting around and not producing any work and taking credit for the OP’s, but if the delegation is allowing the manager to do other valuable work then it may well just be that the OP’s job is to provide that support, even if the OP thinks the manager should be capable of doing it herself.

      1. FiveNine*

        Yes, it can be hand-holding. In my case, the editor in chief cannot insert links to earlier stories in the text she prepares for publication. It truly is a very basic skill and a scenario akin to an editor who did not know how to publish a headline for any of the articles he/she prepares, or publish a byline, and requiring every piece of such text to be done by someone else.

  17. 05girl*

    #6 – [Also, for the unpronounceable name, this might help (#2 at the link).]

    Anyone currently using the audioname in emails, etc? How does it work out? I just wonder if some receivers will think it’s weird….

  18. Yup*

    #4 – This would make me crazy too, but you can frame it differently if you feel like it could be a motivator. Instead of feeling like the boss is too lazy to learn and you’re doing someone else’s job, you can mentally approach it as an opportunity to do some work at a higher level than you’d normally have access to. For example, your boss can’t write the strategic plan without your help: this translates to you having direct input into the strategy and goals of your department, and also to gaining experience with a senior-level task. Which is something you can then add as an accomplishment to your performance review, resume, etc etc.

    I can totally appreciate that you may not want to go this route, and may decide to just look elsewhere for a job with a boss who’s more independent and better skilled. But I’m thinking of a former coworker I witnessed in your exact position — she decided to look at the boss’s sub-par skills as her own opportunity to step up to the plate and get things moving properly, and did such a great job of developing her own skills that she got promoted several times. She was careful to not do this as a way to throw the boss under the boss, and she was pretty diplomatic about sharing the credit. And in the end, she was able to wrangle a frustrating lack of guidance into a stepping stone.

  19. Short Hair Too*

    #3- I agree that a short or pixie haircut is appropriate for any office, but I am a little concerned about the statement about you get a haircut “once in the beginning of summer and let it grow back out throughout the year.” If you are only getting your hair cut once per year, it is probably going to look unkempt and unprofessional for several months. Maybe I am reading into this too much, but if you want to keep your hair short, I would recommend getting it trimmed periodically rather than one major haircut per year.

    1. Judy*

      I read it as “cut short” once a year, and then grow it out. For my son, we have “summer” and “winter” hair lengths. He’s ready for 3/16″ as soon as the first warm days are here, and I cut it that way through the end of summer. I start increasing the gauge of the cut, and by around Christmas, I’m just cutting around the edge to keep it looking neat. (Think “high and tight” but cutting with a 3/4″ fading out so the top is growing long.) Then the first day in May or so, he’s asking for fuzzy hair.

    2. Rana*

      It really depends on the cut and the nature of your hair, though. If you have a very simple cut, you can grow it out in an attractive way. I do this; I get a chin-length cut without bangs, and it grows out nicely and neatly for about six months (at which point I get it cut again).

    3. Lexy*

      meh… depending on the cut and the speed with which it grows… might not be a problem.

      I have a friend who has her hair cut in a short bob at the beginning of summer every year and grows it out to just past her shoulders by the next year. Her hair is healthy, she keeps it brushed and minimally styled. It’s not the best possible look for her, but it certainly isn’t “unprofessional” and she’s a busy mom of three, so it works for her.

    4. Anonymous*

      A simple cut, with all your hair one length, and with hair that grows slowly, 1 haircut a year might be all the necessary to have neat hair e.g. no split ends. I get my hair cut and dyed once every 3-4 months, and because it grows slowly, it looks no better or worse than people who do it every 3-4 weeks. People can maintain simple short cuts by themselves by trimming every couple weeks or months at home too. Also for me a hair “cut” is of significant length or different style usually done by a professional.

  20. Short haired lady*

    Just thought I’d chime in as a lady who has varying lengths of short hair all the time. I have had one instance when my very short (shaved) head nearly lost me a position ( a long time ago in a very small town). I don’t know if you go this short, but it sounds like you may. There is an assumption some people have that very short hair on a white girl is indication of either punk/anarchist/skinhead tendencies, or that you may have (or have had) cancer, and for some people, (right or wrong) this raises concern in their minds. I had this happen when I interviewed at a very small business ran by two older women. I was right out of college, had all the qualifications, did well in the interview. When I didn’t hear back after two weeks I called to follow up. They said they had given the position to someone else because they didn’t think I would be comfortable spending my days with two older ladies.

    Two weeks later, I got a call back because their first choice didn’t work out and they wanted to see if I’d still be interested in the position. I accepted and it became a very good job and a great start to my career. It was only after working there for some time that they told me they had had reservations because of my hairstyle.

    I have shaved my head off and on ever since high school. I am now a professional woman in her late 30’s. My hair is currently platinum blonde and goes from buzz cut to short pixie on a every few months basis. I get a lot of compliments on my hair, especially when it’s really short, and I feel it makes me more confident. And whether it’s the confidence that goes with it, or whether it’s the hair style, but I seem to get more respect at work when my hair is really short.

    I really doubt you would face any issue in an interview as long as you have a polished professional look and demeanor.

  21. Jamilah*

    #2 Thanks for posting my question and the great advice. I will certainly email back. And it is totally awesome that Jen in RO had a similar situation and got a great response. Here is to trying.

  22. Sarah*

    I can relate to issue #5 in regards to having difficult bosses. I’ve had supervisors that were unpleasant to deal with. At least one of them trained me at one job while the other one neglected to provide me with the tools and guidance to succeed at my job. I am talking about someone who would constantly come in late, take a 20 minute smoking/coffee break at every quarter of the hour, refused to explain anything to me, not give me clear instructions, and told me to use the internet/Google if I couldn’t understand certain tasks that my job entailed. Plus she didn’t speak English well which didn’t help matters. Whenever I would complain to my boss about her (which I did only once), he would wave it off and accuse me of not following instructions. I left that company and won’t use my previous employer and supervisor as a reference as they are inclined to speak ill of me.

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