my coworker is showing lingerie photos of me to guys at work, I missed a great candidate’s application, and more

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

1. My coworker is showing photos of me in lingerie to guys at work

I had a small relationship with a coworker. I apparently sent him some pictures of me in lingerie. He showed most of the guys at work. I didn’t know this. I cut it off with him. I ended up dating someone else from work and we got married. Now the pics have gone viral and he still has them and is showing them. Is this illegal?

This guy is an ass.

If he still works with you, it’s sexual harassment and you should report it to your company immediately and they’ll have a legal obligation to stop it and deal with the dude. Whether there are laws that protect you aside from that will depend on what state you live in; a couple of states have laws against “revenge porn” that prohibit this kind of thing. (Although those laws might be specific to nude photos; I’m not sure if lingerie would be covered or not.)

2. A great candidate applied for a job, but I never saw her application

Recently, a senior person outside our organization that I respect and sometimes work with inquired about a position for which I was the hiring manager. I answered her and encouraged her to apply for the job before a certain date if she was interested. She never replied to my email, nor did I get an application from HR, so I assumed she wasn’t interested in the position because the salary range for the position wasn’t aligned with her interests (totally reasonable given her seniority).

I hired a great person, but as our HR manager and I were going through the applicants so that we might send out rejection notes (he is the gateway through which all applicants pass), I learned that this senior person did apply through normal challenges but her application was never forwarded to me due to a HR administrative oversight! HR was very apologetic to me, but I feel terrible, as this person and I move in the same circles, and we may want to engage her for a consultancy in the future (not to mention she would have been a great candidate and deserved to be fairly and fully considered). Any advice on how I can give the candidate a fair response that also preserves our professional relationship?

I would be straight with her: “Jane, I never saw an application from you so assumed you had decided not to apply — and then was horrified this week to learn from our HR manager that you did in fact apply and due to an HR oversight never made it to me. I’m absolutely mortified by this. If I had known you applied, I would have been thrilled, and you would have heard from me right away! We’ve already hired for the role so I unfortunately can’t undo the error now, but I wanted you to know what happened (and that I’m making sure there are no such errors in the future). If we have future openings, I’ll be sure to reach out to you personally.”

And then really delve into how this happened and how HR is ensuring it won’t happen again. You only learned about it this time because you happened to know the candidate, which makes me wonder if other great candidates aren’t being sent to you too. Sure, occasional mistakes do happen; people are human. But I’d look into this enough to determine if it truly was a one-time error or evidence of a more systemic problem with how they’re screening resumes.

3. Responding when your boss corrects your grammar

What is the correct way to respond when your boss stops you mid-sentence to correct your grammar? I said “irregardless” today instead of “regardless,” and she held her hand up to my mouth and told me never to say it again.

“Thanks for the correction.”

She’s your manager and she’s allowed to correct your grammar, even mid-sentence. But putting her hand over your mouth might have been over the line, depending on your relationship with her; in some relationships it would be friendly/affectionate/silly, and others it would be disrespectful and rude. If you found it unwelcome — I think I would have — you could add on, “Just the verbal correction is plenty.”

4. Logistical complications when interviewing for the job of someone who doesn’t know she’s about to be replaced

Recently I had a job interview for an executive assistant position at a fairly small company. The person currently in the position does not know she is about to be replaced. I would like to send a thank-you note or email to the interviewer, but am concerned that this assistant receives all incoming mail and perhaps also checks emails and voice mails. Would you suggest a phone call to the interviewer, hanging up if voice mail picks up? Should I just leave it and hope for the best?

Don’t call — calling just to say thanks for the interview (instead of sending a note) will seem a little off. It’s good that you’re being sensitive to the confidentiality of the hiring process, but I’d just go ahead and email your note, as long as you can use her direct email address (as opposed to a general company one). It’s unlikely that someone engaged in a confidential hiring process would have the very person who’s she’s secretly trying to replace checking her email.

For what it’s worth … I’m not a fan of interviewing for someone’s replacement when they don’t know that they’re about to be fired. It’s shady, it’s not especially fair or kind, and it says the employer doesn’t don’t put a high premium on integrity or transparency. Why aren’t they just being honest with her that it’s not working out?

I’d do a lot of probing into culture and management style as you’re considering working there, because it’s possible that this is a sign of a somewhat messed up management team there.

5. Will getting a GED hurt me later in life?

I am a high school student planning on getting my GED at 16 and heading straight to college. I should graduate with a bachelors at the age of 20, but I don’t want the fact that I have a GED to be a limiting factor later in my career. Would my GED hinder my progress in life? Even if I got one simply to get into college faster? Any and all advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

It will not matter one bit. The delightful discovery that you are about to make is that no one cares about anything that happened in high school once you are out of it. High school will never go on your resume once you’re in college, so not only will no one care that you got a GED once you’ve graduated from college, but no one will even know about it!

{ 502 comments… read them below }

  1. Jake*


    There are a ton of states looking into making laws against that right now. The list of states that currently have them on the books is pretty short though. I know California has one, not sure about any others.


    Wow, that is scary. If I had any control over that department at all this would be the entire departments one warning that if it happens again heads will roll. This is not acceptable.


    While I agree with AaM in principle, there is no way I could be that polite. If somebody touches my face, they should expect to be bitten.

        1. Anonymous*

          It’s not clear there was any touching except in AAM’s response. The OP wrote “she held her hand up to my mouth” which might mean in front of the mouth.

    1. Elise*

      That concerned me too. There may be laws regarding taking pictures of people without their knowledge when they are in a state of undress.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        I think she knows she did a stupid thing (not that the guy isn’t an ass) and is using clever wordplay to lessen her own responsibility. Lesson learned: never send risque photos of yourself to a coworker.

        1. Jazzy Red*

          Yes. That’s the first thing I thought of, too.

          However, water under the bridge now.

          I agree with Alison’s advice IF they are still working for the same employer. Otherwise, let it go. As long as your husband isn’t bothered by it, you should put it behind you as best you can.

          1. Inksmith*

            She’s bothered by it, though, from the sounds of her message, so why should she only do something about it if it also bothers her husband? Or, come to that, why should she only do something about it if it ONLY bothers her husband? She didn’t do anything to husband, didn’t do anything wrong herself, I’m pretty sure that means she should be the final arbiter on whether to let it go or not, not her husband’s feelings on the matter.

            1. Jazzy Red*

              I suggested that she let it go because the jerk would undoubtedly be thrilled that she’s upset, and make it more of an issue than it already is. He possibly would never let it die, and just keep poking her with it to keep upsetting her.

              I know she didn’t do anything to her husband. If she’s a halfway decent person, she cares about his feelings (and vice versa). If they both can let it go, there’s no need to keep the issue alive.

              Thanks for asking.

        2. Meg*

          To be honest, it sounded more to me like she just forgot she did it, either because it was so long ago or she was intoxicated (I’d be lying if I said I never did anything dumb while under the influence). Either way, this is still 100% the guy’s fault. I don’t care what her reason was for doing it, or how much you disapprove of sending lingerie pictures. The guy responsible for harassing her is 100% responsible for his terrible behavior – not her.

    2. LondonI*

      I think that this all happened a while ago (she broke up with the guy and has met and married someone else since). It sounds to me as though she thinks she may have sent him some pics but can’t remember whether she did or not. Whether the pics were obtained overtly or covertly, they are in his possession and he is using them disgracefully.

      1. en pointe*

        That’s what it sounds like to me too.

        It also sounds like she’s since seen the pictures so she probably would have said if they looked covert rather than posed.

      2. Kelly L.*

        That’s how I read it too–it was long enough ago that she didn’t remember till the pics surfaced, just because it hadn’t been on her mind in the meantime.

    3. Anony1234*

      I just was going to write that too.

      Either the OP…
      1. Didn’t know that those photos were being taken. The ex-beau might have taken them while she was asleep, unknowingly in the bathroom, or whatever.
      2. Hasn’t seen the pictures and they can be completely photoshopped (think of the movie “A Walk to Remember” where the kids did the same thing to Mandy Moore’s character).
      3. For some strange reason doesn’t remember or is trying to block out that memory. While it’s not the victim’s fault for situations like this, people really just shouldn’t take those sorts of photos of themselves or let their current bf (or in some cases gf) take photos of them (unless the situation is like my #1 when it is being done unknowingly).

      1. Calla*

        #3 just doesn’t make sense though. I mean, if you’re only three days into a relationship and don’t really know the person, okay, probably best not to send them sensitive photos. But say you’ve been together years — is your SO really never supposed to have a picture they could potentially use against you?

        1. De*

          Yeah, I don’t get that. My husband and also my ex-partners has/had a lot of things that could potentially be used against me (starting from my phone number to my bank account number, keys to my apartment, medical information, etc.). At some point you just have to start trusting a partner to not do shitty things when the relationship ends, and if they do it isn’t always your fault for giving them this info/items in the first place.

          1. Bea W*

            If you can’t trust your SO with sexy photos and other sensitive information, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.

        2. Anony1234*

          We don’t know how long the OP was seeing the guy. She said it was “small” which I take to it being short. Then if hat’ she case it does make sense. Let’s leave it to the OP’s case.

          1. Calla*

            People here are saying *no one* should ever do this so how long her particular relationship lasted is really irrelevant to the judgement happening.

            1. TychaBrahe*

              In the days of print photography, especially Polaroid cameras, which didn’t require sending the film out to be developed, it was quite common for people to have these photographs of each other. The thing was, at the end of the relationship, you could demand the photos back. Relationships that ended amicably often ended with the Mutual Exchange of Property and Embarrassing Photographs. These days, that isn’t possible. I would think long and hard about allowing myself to be photographed naked. Even if you take the photo yourself and give your paramour a printed copy, s/he can still take a picture with a camera phone and distribute it hither and yon.

              If you are going to do this, I would recommend only from the neck down.

      1. Anonymous*

        Would her taking responsibility for her “poor judgment” make you more sympathetic? If so, you should think about that impulse a little bit. Otherwise, I’m not seeing how her wording here is relevant to the real issue at hand (i.e., his blatant sexual harassment.)

        1. Anonymous*

          Actually, not even otherwise. Even if you want to dismiss concern for her because she isn’t falling all over herself apologizing to online strangers for sending photos of herself to an ex-boyfriend, it’s STILL not relevant to the real issue at hand.

      2. myswtghst*

        Pretty sure the person exhibiting “poor judgement” is the jerk sharing the pictures, not the person who trusted their significant other not to do something completely awful and potentially illegal.

    4. Anonymous*

      I’ll voice the unpopular opinion that while this guy IS A COMPLETE AND TOTAL ASS, OP has to take personal responsibility for her choices. She says a “small” relationship – Idon’t knwo what that means but in this day and age, if you just can’t live without sending racy photos of yourself to someone, make sure thatsomeone is someone you trust completely — there’s no guarentee even someone you have the utmost faith in won’t screw you over, but at least minimize your risk by limiting this type of stuf fto people you have a “big” relationship with. And quadruple your caution in these matetrs when the other person is someone you work with.

      1. Calla*

        What exactly does OP “taking responsibility” here mean? Because even if we all agree that it wasn’t wise of her to send them, he still needs to face repercussions. So what is the point of talking about her responsibility other than to make her feel bad?

        1. VintageLydia*


          This man needs to take responsibility for HIS actions. No one put a gun to his head and forced him to pass around the photo. He is far from blameless and possibly guilty of an actual crime depending on his state.

        2. Anony1234*

          She said “apparently.” I would think if she would know if she did or didn’t. There are avenues of him being able to get photos of her like that as a sleaze. If the latter is the case, then it was an unfortunate word choice.

          1. Calla*

            So basically you’re complaining about her not taking responsibility because she used the word “apparently” (when we don’t know why she used it). Obviously, that’s just as important as a man taking responsibility for violating someone’s privacy…

          2. VintageLydia*

            There are half a dozen interpretations of “apparently” in these comments alone and at least half of them involve her not actually knowing/remembering doing it (she was drunk, it was ages ago so she forgot, she had the pictures on the phone and he got a hold of it and sent them to himself, etc.)

            The word “apparently” doesn’t mean a damn thing and furthermore the man STILL needs to take responsibility for betraying her trust. Why is the only person who has to take responsibility for her actions the OP when the person who is doing the greater crime is her ex?

            The OP committed a social faux pas that hurt no one. The man is being a vindictive asshole and trying to actually cause harm to another person at BEST and committing an actual crime at worse (again, depending on the state.)

        3. Anonymous*

          AS I SAID CLEARLY THIS GUY IS AN ASS. There are asses in life – that is a fact that no one can change EVER. There are bad people in the world. Yes it would be lovely if there weren’t. That doesn’t change that fact there there ARE.

          All we have control over is what we do. So the point of talking about her responsibility is that maybe it will make someone think twice before sending a potentially harmful picture to someone they may not know well enough to trust. oh the horror, what a monster I am for suggesting that she may have made an error in judgement and trusted someone too soon in a relationship. You’re so right, she shouldn’t think about herself at all or learn anything from this – she should take comfort that he’s an ass, she’s got the moral high ground and everythign is just black and white. He’s wrong, she’s right, end of story.

          1. VintageLydia*

            But you seem to still be excusing him. So great, she learned she shouldn’t be sending him sexy pictures. Most people here would agree that that wasn’t the wisest decision. But beyond that, how else should she be taking responsibility here? After all, as unwise as her decision was, the ex boyfriends decision was WORSE. He ALSO needs to take responsibility for his actions and they should be harsher than her consequences. Her mistake was trusting someone she shouldn’t have (and since she’s no psychic I can understandably see how she made that mistake) whereas his “mistake” was revenge porn. He didn’t do it on accident. He wasn’t forced to do it. And unlike some men on here, I don’t assume that just because he had male genitalia that his actions weren’t inevitable. So HE needs to take responsibility for HIS actions.

            1. Anonymous*

              If you read what I wrote and still feel I am excusing him, it’s not productive to keep typing at each other, you’re not open to hearing what I am saying and I am sick of being hammered.

              1. VintageLydia*

                I just don’t understand what you expect her to do now. She can still accept responsibility and report his ass.

                1. fposte*

                  Yes, I’m puzzled too, and Anonymous, I’m starting to think that you believe her accepting responsibility means she’s not allowed to complain about his actions.

                2. VintageLydia*


                  It does anger me, though. I’ve dated some grade-A douchebags but I’m willing to bet almost none of them would do something this OPs ex did. I heard recently “No one hates men more than a misogynist” and it’s true. Every single time some rape apologist or MRA or even just the seriously misguided comes into these debates their arguements are always along the lines of “Well of COURSE this terrible thing happened because boys are nothing but horny animals who have no morals!” And I’m just like really? How insulting to the awesome men in my life.

          2. LPBB*

            But people can’t read about the fallout of this situation and come to the same conclusion?? The only way that they can come to that conclusion is if she is properly shamed and expresses herself with the proper amount of contrition?

            If you ask me, this is a sufficient cautionary tale with or without her accepting as much responsibility as you seem to think she should accept.

          3. Anonymous*

            Why does she owe you, an online stranger, a deep exploration into her judgment, process, and motivations? She is asking for help from a managerial blog to deal with a work problem that is explicitly sexual harassment. She could have said, “I sent this dude a picture of myself the first time I met him and I’d do it again” and you know what? It STILL wouldn’t be her fault that he is passing around the pictures of her. He’s the one who is breaking social mores. Sure, it makes it more likely that she will send pictures to an ass, but she would STILL be within her rights to tell him (the ass in question) to cut it the hell out.

            It’s analogous to telling women that they should learn self-defense to prevent rape or not go out drinking with strange men. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t matter if a woman gets blackout drunk with strange men with a broken ankle and no sense of self-defense, and then decides to streak through a dark alleyway. If the guy rapes her, it is STILL his fault. Likewise, this guy is an ass who has NO right to pass around her picture.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              That is what this blog is for- asking questions. And if people ask difficult/challenging questions that is a compliment. “I think you will give me a workable answer.”

              I bet there is at least ten people reading right now that have a similar problem as our OP and are contemplating what to do. Yet, these ten people would never write in.

              What the OP should or shouldn’t have done is moot. Can’t unring a bell. People have been giving each other sexy pictures of each other since cameras were invented. This is nothing new. (In WW II- many GIs had pictures of their SOs.) What is relatively new is the ability to distribute the picture to everyone.

              I think the OP asked a question that will help other people, not just the OP. Sharing information helps people to stand up for themselves and not have to put up with abuse, like this dude is dishing out, in OP’s story.

          4. Calla*

            I think it’s safe to say that she has probably learned something from this *without* people going on about it.

          5. LondonI*

            Yeah, this is a cautionary tale for some people who may be reading this. It does not excuse the guy’s behaviour, but it it may help someone else to avoid being in this situation in future. It’s not to dump on the OP.

            1. fposte*

              I think the story is cautionary enough in its own right without people saying what she did wrong, though, so the dumping on the OP is much more the result than any helpful guidance.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        Plus, any pictures you send via cell phone could be picked up by the NSA and anyone else snooping at the right time and in the right place. Cell phones aren’t all that secure.

        1. TychaBrahe*

          The NSA doesn’t give a crap about your nude photos.

          How about your partner leaving his cell phone on the table at the bar when he’s out with his friends and one of the friends snooping, finding the photo, and texting it to himself? Hell, what about the partner doing it accidentally? I still remember the day about ten years ago when someone at our company sent a photo describing her new sexy red lingerie and what she intended to do to the recipient while she wore it. The only problem was that the Notes server hiccuped and not only sent it to everyone on her domain but sent it repeatedly, every ten seconds, for the next 20 minutes, until someone from IT could figure out what the heck was going on and stop it.

          1. Meg*

            That story is completely irrelevant to the OP’s post. There was no malicious intent, no social faux pas. It was an honest, unfortunately embarrassing mistake. A guy sending sexy pictures of a girl he used to date to all his buddies without her consent is absolutely malicious and against what is considered socially acceptable.

      3. Nichole*

        She was (apparently) responsible when HE saw the photos. Everyone else was his responsibility. It’s implied that one be discreet with racy pictures of their lovers. Forever, not just for the length of the relationship.

    5. Nichole*

      This jumped at me, too. The guy’s wrong either way, but it adds another (kind of scary) layer if it’s possible he obtained the photos in some way other than a gesture from a then-lover. I took ‘apparently’ to mean either “I sent them, don’t want to justify it” or “it’s possible I sent them, but I don’t remember it.” How he got them doesn’t seem to be the area up for discussion, but if you think he may have obtained him without your permission, take that seriously, OP.

      1. Anna*

        Him getting them through nefarious ways seems about as likely to me as she forgot (unless you send thousands of sexy photos to your lovers it’s not something you’re likelty to forget). It is not her fault this guy is an ass and is clearly harrassing her after their relationship is long over. However, if he did steal them from her phone OR take them while she was sleeping, she would have stated it pretty clearly because she would not have any action in it at all. Own it! The OP didn’t “apparently” send him photos, she did send him photos because you thought she could trust him and unfortunately that turned out to be wrong. Because he is a douche, obviously.

    6. Anna*

      That is EXACTLY what I thought! Uh, at least take responsibility for sending the photos even though this guy is a class A douche for showing them around.

      1. VintageLydia*

        What do you mean by “take responsibility?” If you mean omit the word “apparently” from the original letter, I guess I can see where you’re coming from though I don’t agree with you. But other than that, what does “take responsibility” mean to you?

        1. Nameless*

          “Take responsibility” means admitting to the action without qualifying it. To me, it sounds like the letter writer was afraid of being attacked for sending hawt pics (rightfully so, if the responses here are anything to go by) and used “apparently” as an attempt to distance herself from it.

          This shouldn’t be necessary as there’s no serious moral failing here on her part but it sounds like she believes there is and wanted to lessen the impact of it.

          1. VintageLydia*

            But it still doesn’t change the advice Alison is giving her. Something tells me that if the word “apparently” was omitted from the original letter she’d probably still be getting “Well what did you expect?” comments from a few here. It’s a derail, and that’s my point. All these pixels wasted because some people didn’t approve of the word choice and still not contributing anything of substance.

    7. A cita*

      The overwhelming focus on the use of “apparently” sounds an awful lot like tone argument.

      It’s purpose is to distract and deflect from the real issue.

  2. CoffeeLover*

    5. I have no advice to offer, but I do have a personal inquiry, and I’d like to hear from anyone that has gone through university at a younger than typical age. Basically, what was it like? Did you feel ‘different’ than your peers? Are you happy with your decision to start early? What motivated you to do this?

    I don’t really understand the appeal of finishing school so early. If I could be a full-time student for the rest of my life, I’m pretty sure I would be.

    Oh, in case something got lost in translation: this isn’t an attack of the decision, it’s just plain curiosity.

    1. Anony Mouse*

      I skipped grades when I was really little, so I was 16 when I went off to college. I wish I had taken a gap year and done something else. As much as I thought I was mature, and though I was with the same peer group I’d been with since second grade, the bottom line is that, developmentally, a 16-year-old is not ready to live on her own away from home. I made a lot of bad decisions, and I think a year of work or something would have matured me in a good way.

      1. LisaLyn*

        I had the same experience. I was barely 16 when I went to college and if I had to do it over again, I do not know if I would have done it. At least, maybe I should have gone to a local college for a year or two. Not that I failed at college, but it was a really hard time emotionally for me.

      2. Aimee*

        I think this depends on the person though. I went to community college and lived at home for the first two years, but only because my parents wouldn’t let me go away to school at 16. I can say, I would have been perfectly ready for it – they were the ones who weren’t.

    2. Elise*

      I had a college classmate who started at 15. It was very awkward for her as people always reacted to the age and even dating a fellow student could be illegal in many states. She actually lied at first and told everyone she was 16, but then her birthday came and the truth got out.

      She still made many friends, had fun, and learned a lot but the age always came up and she was often treated more like a little sister than a peer.

    3. Ivy*

      My husband’s niece started college at 16 and when she found an internship after the first year at college they wouldn’t hire her because she was not 18 yet (she had an offer, accepted it and then they learned her age). Now, this happened in Europe, so possibly things are more flexible here, but you may be prevented from other things

      1. en pointe*

        Good point.

        Also, at my university (in Australia) a lot of the programs involve field placements for which you need to be 18.

    4. MF*

      I also skipped grades when I was young, and started college 3 hours from home when I was 16 (after graduating from high school on a normal timeline). For me, it was an overwhelmingly good experience. Sure, it totally sucked when I graduated from college before I could legally drink, which definitely affected my social life to some extent. But I made some great friends in college, was really involved on campus, and thrived academically.

      I was definitely mature for my age (nobody ever knew how old I was unless I told them), and honestly found the transition to college much easier than a lot of my 18 year old peers. Honestly, it was much harder emotionally when I was younger – after I had just skipped grades and the boys in my class teased me relentlessly. College was a breeze compared to that.

      I think it really depends a lot on the person. Plenty of 16 and 17 year olds (and even 18 year olds) are not necessarily ready for college, or will feel out of step with their peers, etc… I know that if I had been a different kid, who had skipped grades but wasn’t necessarily as responsible or emotionally mature, then my parents likely would have encouraged me to wait, or live at home while going to a local school, or take a gap year.

      Overall, I can’t imagine not having gone to college at 16. Plus, now that I’m 2 1/2 years out (I just turned 23 last week), I feel like I got some bonus years on my career.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Chiming in to agree that while some 16 year olds are ready for college intellectually, socially they may not be. Everyone’s an individual, of course, so YMMV.

        One thing I have found to be almost universally the case is that students who do a gap year before college tend to be more focused and mature than their peers who do not. Now, 16 year olds who are ready to go to college may already be more mature than the average college-bound bear, but the internship/gap year/work experience (assuming you can find a program to take a 16-17 year old) will give you some worldly experience that will be valuable as you enter college.

      2. TL*

        I had a friend who went to college at (a very mature) 16 and while academically she did very well and was ready for it, socially she missed out on a lot. Not because she couldn’t party/date (that’s not her preference, anyway) but because she was still in the high school mindset of “friends are people who hold are exactly like you,” rather than the more typical experience of meeting completely different people and learning to respect, like, and disagree with someone. Or, heck, trying on new values and personalities – she wasn’t ready to do that either.

        I don’t think she regrets it, but I also don’t think she realizes how restricted her social experience was either. In her mind, there were the good Christians and the sex-crazed partiers and she just wasn’t interested in sex-crazed parties.

    5. Ariana*

      I both skipped grades and left high school early in order to go to college. It was an excellent decision for me and I’d do it again every time. I went to Simon’s Rock though, which is specifically for younger college students, so the administration was more geared towards supporting students my age, and there were a lot of other students my age as well.

    6. inkstainedpages*

      I also skipped a grade when I was young. I graduated high school at 17 and then graduated from college early at 20. The biggest issue I had in college was that there was a presidential election during my first semester when I was 17, and I got really tired of people urging me to vote when I actually could not (and voting was part of credit in some classes, so I had to make up with extra work). It was also pretty weird graduating college before being able to legally drink.

      Overall, not a bad decision, and nothing I could have really changed because it was not my decision to skip the grade early on. But now I am, at age 22, the director of a small non-profit and having to navigate being a very young, pretty inexperienced boss (due to a freak accident – previous director where I was working was injured in a fall and I became his replacement).

      Overall, I don’t really regret being “young” through my entire education and career. I do sometimes feel overwhelmed by how fast it all happened and how young I am trying to manage something so important. This blog has helped a lot :)

    7. Anonymous*

      I finished early which was fine for me but I didn’t get all the social stuff out of college most people got. For me it was about education and learning. I always feel like people who say they want to go to school forever just want to party and not enter the “real world” because for me the learning didn’t stop. I just get to have a full time job now and make money to pay for it. (I do lots of classes online for free and things like lectures and other educational stuff. But college was not “fun”.)

      1. VintageLydia*

        I have a few friends that were not partiers that absolutely would go to school for the rest of their life if they could. Some people really love the academic environment.

      2. Anonymous*

        I was 17 when I started college (didn’t skip grades; youngest in my high school class, I believe) and did fine, but it did suck being underage longer than my peers (just as it did to be a late driver).

      3. Trillian*

        Same for me: started University before I was 17. I missed out on the social aspect, since I couldn’t drink, and if I’d been older I would have moved away from home and gone to a more prestigious University – I had the marks for it – but the only alternative offered me was another year of high school, ugh! University certainly beat getting pelted with garbage in the lunch room.

    8. Aimee*

      I started college at 16 and graduated about a month before I turned 20. In my case, I was homeschooled and worked ahead, and continuing another 2 years would have just been busy work.

      By the time most of my peers were graduating, I’d held a couple full time jobs, wasted a year in grad school, and ended up slightly ahead of them career-wise. There are things I know now that would have probably impacted choices I made as far as what classes I took, but other than wishing I’d taken more math and science, I have no regrets. Almost 15 yeasrs later, I have a career I love (that has nothing to do with my major except the fact that Political Science and Marketing both require the ability to get creative with messaging) and I’d say that slight edge I had earlier in my career has evened out as I’ve held more jobs, gotten more experience, and worked through multiple departmental reorgs.

    9. Lynn Whitehat*

      My husband did this in order to escape dysfunction at home and at school. It worked, and he says it was basically OK being a little younger than the other students, aside from some minor social weirdness. He says he would do it the same way over again.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        I forgot to mention, for the OP: the fact that he didn’t graduate high school seriously never ever ever comes up. Really, if you have a bachelor’s, nobody cares about high school.

    10. TrainerGirl*

      I went to college early, and my nickname was “Felony” for the whole of my freshman year. I felt very out of place, not only because I was younger, but also because my parents had been so strict, and I had very little social experience as was very shy and timid at first. That was more of a hindrance than my age though.

  3. Piggle*

    Regarding getting the GED. A lot of the school districts in my area have a relationship with the local community college. I know many, many students who are unhappy with the traditional college environment, and take their classes at the community college level. Their classes count count for both high school and for college credit. One friend knocked off a year of college, while still living at home, and just this year (two years early) was accepted at the major vet school in the are. Just something to look into.

    Congratulations if have already been accepted into college!

    1. Jubilance*

      Yes a lot of areas have that. Here in the Twin Cities it’s known as PSEO & I had college friends who already had a year or 2 of college completed thanks to the program. It can be a good alternative to get an educational challenge, experience some of college life, but still be among your HS peer group.

      1. Natalie*

        PSEO is awesome, and honestly probably the only reason I didn’t drop out. I was a smart enough kid but I hated high school so very much and just couldn’t stay engaged. Community college classes were different and I really enjoyed them. Got straight As for the first time since elementary school, too!

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, we have this in Washington and it’s called Running Start. Juniors and Seniors in high school can take college classes during those years (in my hometown, they actually attend at the college instead of the high school). It’s not uncommon for students to graduate high school and earn their AA at the same time. I wish this had been available when I went to high school back in the late 70’s!

    2. NylaW*

      I ended up graduating high school a year early and instead of going away to college I took classes at our local community college to sort of ease into the whole university thing. I got some gen-ed requirements done, got some easy credits, and was more prepared for going to a bigger school hours away from home. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have CCs in your area that have established relationships with state schools or schools you are looking to transfer to. Not having all the gen-ed requirements and diving into coursework for my major was nice.

      1. Nydia*

        I did something similar, I took the California Proficiency Exam (not a GED, only allows you to legally not be in school) then began classes at my local CC.

        It was a great experience and was a good transition between high school and college.

        Plus, my local CC has a transfer program to a local university where if you take certain Gen-Ed classes and maintain certain GPA you are guaranteed acceptance to the university.

    3. Meg*

      My high school did that as well with the local community college. I really wish I had taken advantage of it – plenty of my peers were able to take either really cool college-level classes (for free!) that played to their interests, or they got to knock out some of their gen-ed requirements and save thousands of dollars in tuition. Either way, it’s a fantastic plan.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      Our state system is called Running Start, and we often see teens graduating with a high school diploma and an AA degree at the same time.

    5. TychaBrahe*

      In California the GED is only for people who are old enough to have graduated high school but haven’t. However, anyone who has completed at least one semester of the sophomore year and is, I think 15, can take the California High School Proficiency Exam. Some kids take it to go to college early, but a lot of the kids in Hollywood take it because while you are in school the studio must provide a tutor and studying time. Once you’ve taken the CHSPE, that is no longer required.

  4. Jennifer*

    Having a GED isn’t a problem if you have a college degree–that sort of thing seems to only be focused on if you have no academic anything after your teen years. If you have no college and no high school, that’s where the problems kick in.

    1. Lacey S*

      I agree. I think it does matter if you don’t graduate from college. So be as sure as possible that you are going to graduate from college.

    2. Sascha*

      Agreed. I actually do not have a GED or a high school diploma, but I have a college degree and solid work experience, and I’m doing pretty well. I was just asked this week if I’d like to move into management. Scary! :)

      1. the gold digger*

        Wait! College degree but no high school diploma? Do you have the nightmares that they tell you that you have to return to high school and finish? And you protest that you have graduated from college so high school shouldn’t matter?

        I have that nightmare and I did graduate from high school. No, I have no idea why I have it.

        1. MS*

          I have a bachelor’s degree and also a masters, but don’t technically have a high school diploma (I was homeschooled). I have a high school “diploma” that my mom printed off on the computer but I don’t think that really counts. This has literally never come up.

          1. Evan*

            At least in the state where I grew up, homeschooling parents can issue real diplomas if the student’s met various academic requirements. Some of my homeschooling friends did get fancy pieces of paper and some didn’t, but they all counted. Of course, it could’ve been different when you graduated.

            1. Aimee*

              In the state where I grew up, most homeschooled students (at least the ones I knew) took the GED. My mom found a school in the neighboring state that had a program where we could send my grades, and as long as I took the required courses, met the minimum grade point average, and scored high enough on the ACT, I could graduate from that school. So I have an actual high school diploma from a state where I’ve never lived (and having learned more about that school in recent years, I’m not sure how legit it is. But I’m not giving it back! Heh).

        2. Bea W*

          I got my GED over 20 years ago and completed my BA in 2002, and I still have nightmares that I have to return to high school!

      2. Bea W*

        How did you manage this? No college near me would accept a student without either a high school diploma or a GED, not even the community colleges that accepted everyone.

    3. Treece*

      I have a GED. It is not on my résumé and never comes up in interviews. I do disclose it on the job application and I’ve not been asked about it. I’ve gotten lots of jobs this way so nothing to worry about in my opinion.

  5. en pointe*

    #3 – My boss corrects my pronunciation mid-sentence sometimes but I don’t explicitly thank her. I just nod and repeat myself according to her correction.

    The hand to the mouth thing does sound strange though.

    Also, not that it really matters but I think you were mistakenly conflating the words “irrespective” and “regardless”.

    1. Sophia*

      I do the same thing – nod, repeat the correct word, and more forward in the conversation. But I have never had someone out their hand over my mouth, which would be a problem for me if someone did.

  6. Jen in RO*

    It’s not relevant to the OP, but if someone could explain the GED question to a non-American audience, it would be great.

    Where I live and in a couple other European countries I know of, there is only one path of education – high school degree (baccalaureate, matura etc) is required to apply to university, then you finish university with a bachelor’s, then you can do a master’s. You can’t skip grades and there’s only one type of degree you can get per education stage.

    1. WIncredible*

      In America, at least my state, you can get your GED (general education diploma), HSED (high school equivalency diploma), or traditional high school diploma (by staying in and finishing high school.) We gave brick and mortar high schools and online schools. Then you can go on to college, university and beyond.

      1. Jen in RO*

        What’s the difference between these diplomas? Can you get some of them after fewer years of high school or fewer classes?

        1. Amtelope*

          You get your GED by passing a series of exams; there’s no requirement for a certain number of years in high school or classes. In states that offer the HSED, it requires passing the GED plus exams in several additional courses (or passing one exam, the CHSPE, in California.)

          1. Anonymous*

            Anyone planning to take the GED test at an early age should check state requirements. The minimum age to take the GED test in Illinois is 17, unless you’re enrolled in a special program.

            1. Anony1234*

              Furthermore, at least in my state, you cannot drop out of high school until you’re at least 16.

              I do not know if that is with or without parental consent.

    2. KireinaHito*

      I was about to ask exactly the same question. In all the countries I’ve lived in, is actually illegal to study the university before finishing high school. And there are very few schools that will let someone in before the age of 17, even with a High School diploma.

        1. KireinaHito*

          No. You don’t go to jail. But if you’re found doing it, the university deletes all you earned credits. Even if you get the high school diploma afterwards, your credits are lost forever and you have to start again.

          1. KireinaHito*

            To the general public there is often a general misconception about legality. Doing something illegal doesn’t necessarily mean that you will go to jail.

            1. Nameless*

              Yes. “Illegal” means there is a law against it with civil or criminal penalties for breaking that law.

              A college taking your credits away is not a sign that something is illegal, it’s an example of policy within the college.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Thanks for not letting this slide, Nameless. This kind of conflation of the policies of organizations with civil or criminal law is what leads retail employees to call the police on customers who violate store policy, when all they can legally do is ask them to leave. (It’s only if they refuse to leave that they can be charged with trespassing.) This is especially important to photographers, since picture-taking can’t really be “banned”, the employee can only ask people to leave if they don’t like what they’re doing.

                This is part of a larger trend of delusional thinking where what used to be “there oughta be a law” is morphing into “that’s illegal”!

            1. Anonymous*

              Admissions fraud. If a HS diploma is a requirement, then clearly the student had falsified records to get in.

                1. Anonymous*

                  Oh I see what you mean. I wonder if it’s “illegal” in the sense that there is an actual law against it, or just that universities, by convention, do not admit people who did not graduate from high school.

                2. Anonymous*

                  (to add): I say that because, as we’ve often seen on here, people can confuse laws with policies, especially in institutions under the government (as most reputable universities are, worldwide. The private schools in the US are really an interesting phenomenon)

                3. Jen in RO*

                  I don’t know if anyone is reading, but it might be a “lost in translation” thing. Here it’s not *illegal*, but it’s… well, impossible to go to university without a high school degree because you need the degree when you enroll. I checked the Education Law and it’s not very clear to me whether it’s this is written in the law or can be decided upon by the university. In the high school section of the law, it says that “the degree allows access to higher education”, but the higher education section doesn’t touch on degrees. Either way, high school diplomas are 100% mandatory here if you want to go to university.

      1. FiveNine*

        In the United States, high school students can earn college credits by taking Advanced Placement classes at their high school and passing exams. I tested out of my college freshmen math entirely, and had college credits toward my English lit requirements, too.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          I heart AP. It’s the only reason I graduated college in 4 years instead of having to take an extra term or year!

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        We occasionally read stories about kids starting college at ages 11 or 12, and graduating college, sometimes with a master’s degree at 16 or 17. It’s uncommon, but it happens.

    3. Anonymous*

      While technically all of the degrees should be considered equivalencies, GED’s tend to be obtained by adults who were unable or uninterested in finishing high school within the normal timelines. (The stereotype is someone who parties so hard they flunk out of school and has to go back as an adult to finish.) There is also a perception that GED’s are “easier” to get than HS diplomas. Those two factors mean that many people view GED’s as “lesser” degrees to HS diplomas.

      1. LMW*

        This stereotype drives me crazy (and I’m not saying you’re saying it’s true — I agree with you that it’s out there). My dad got a GED at 17 so he could join the Navy. I know several other people who have gone this route — using the exam to finish school early. Most of them actually had decent grades (my dad is pretty dang clever). I also tutor adults who are trying to pass the test now – they cover a range of ages (from around 18 to 60s); most of them came from disadvantaged backgrounds had to drop out to get jobs to support their families — or their public school was so bad they never learned to read well enough to pass classes. The exams are not easy! In fact, I had to study pretty hard to pass them (a qualification to tutor) and I was a high-achiever student all the way through college.

        1. TychaBrahe*

          The GED tests basic math and English skills and the ability the read, analyze, and comprehend information. It’s the last that is the major difference between actual high school and the GED.

          This page has some sample test questions of the type offered on the R/A/C portion of the GED:

          In school, we were expected to spend a period of time covering migration to the US. We would then be expected to answer questions like these without having the explanatory paragraphs above. We would be expected to KNOW why immigrants came to the US rather than to figure out on the fly from the provided text.

          Math and English/Language arts are fairly straightforward. Every study who completes high school or an equivalency exam should know how to multiply and divide and whether to use “there” or “their” in a particular sentence. But you can’t just ask, “Which came first, the Olmec or Toltec civilizations?” because some students will have studied North American cultures and some will have studied African or Asian or European cultures.

        2. Bea W*

          Same, as I wrote earlier further down. I was an A student in college and always scored high on standardized tests all through my schooling (even while simultaneously achieving all Fs and Ds). I was also fresh out of high school when I took the GED. It was not easy.

          It has changed now in MA with the MCAS, but when I was in high school, there was no requirement to graduate other than completing the required number of credits. No one was tested to see if they could actually read or write at even a basic level or learned anything before handing you a diploma. Some students would actually graduate from high school barely able to read or write or do simple math.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          I totally agree with you LMW. Dear Family Member dropped out of high school at the start of her third year. Lots of reasons, but the heaviest reason was the introduction of gangs in the school. She knew this was not an environment that would be positive and productive for her.
          She went on to work two or three jobs at the same time while getting her GED. This was 35 years ago. Her decision was radical at that time. But looking back on it- she made the exact correct decision for her life. Although she never went on to college, it does not matter that she has a GED instead of a diploma. The whole thing worked into a non-issue. And it did give her a jump start on her venture into the working world.


      If you are in UK high school diploma = “O” levels. If you cannot attain the “O” levels by the age of 16-18 or if you drop out of regular high school you can go to private/night/ schools then take the same “O” Level exams. If you pass there is no distinction that you dropped out or what not because you will get the same diploma. In U.S. after a certain age or if you drop out of high school, you are no-longer eligible for high school diploma your option is it’s equivalence GED.

      The reason for the question is it becomes apparent when filling applications for employment that you obtained GED (meaning you were troubled /dropped out or something that you could’t finish high school).

          1. Anne*

            They were changed to GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) by the time I took them in the very early 2000’s; A-levels were still called the same thing though. I don’t know if that’s changed in the last decade, though.

      1. LondonI*

        I believe that O-levels changed to GCSEs in 1989, but I haven’t double-checked that. Soon the exam system here is going to change again…

      2. Bea W*

        That’s not really the meaning of the question in the US. It’s there on applications because most jobs in the US require a high school diploma or equivalent (GED or other). I have not encountered an employer who made that distinction between traditional high school graduate vs. GED. They just want to see you have a high school level education. It’s really not a screening tool in any other way.

    5. KireinaHito*

      Now I feel like I’ve thrown 3 years of my life to the garbage :(
      No, I’m kidding! But would be nice to be able to enter the university at the age of 16, by the time when you’re 20, you’re done with it.

      1. TL*

        Oh, I don’t know. I really enjoyed university and a lot of that had to do with being emotionally ready for it at 18 and being ready to leave at 22.

    6. De*

      “You can’t skip grades”

      There’s really countries where this is totally impossible? In mine (Germany) it’s not used that often, but it happens. Then again, we also have quite a few different “school paths” :)

      1. Jen in RO*

        Here (Romania) I’ve never heard of anyone doing it… but I don’t know if it’s illegal or just very, very uncommon.

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          My brother didn’t skip a grade but he did get put on a path where instead of 2 years to pass Higher English and Higher Maths (Scottish equivalent of A-Levels I think – if they are still using A-Levels!) he did a condensed 1 year version. He went to Uni at 17.

      2. LCL*

        In the US, the state government makes the majority of laws governing education requirements, and the federal government makes some laws, and it is up to the local school districts to implement them. So any kind of structure you can think of is in place, somewhere.
        In my case, my school district wouldn’t allow students to skip grades. Which was frustrating to me, because I begged to skip a grade as I was reading, writing, and doing math far above grade level, and I was bigger than most of the other kids. I was always perceived as being a year or two older than I actually was.

      3. Lils*

        idk about the other Americans here, but we had loads of kids skipping grades in the 80s and 90s when I was in school. Now I hear parents are holding their kids back so they can out-compete their peers–a crop of 7 year olds entering kindergarten, apparently

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I’m so happy with our local school district (Montgomery County, MD). My daughter is in the 6th grade, but she’s in a Math 7 class with other 6th graders. (She’s still bored, so the teacher is giving her slightly more advanced work than the rest of the class.) And the whole school system is set up that way. We were told when she started 1st grade with an excellent vocabulary for her age that whenever she showed that she mastered the 1st grade word list, they’d start her on the 2nd grade word list, and so on.

          1. Judy*

            Our school is doing something I’ve never heard of… My second grade daughter brought home a letter for “challenge math”. I guess they pre-test each math unit, and if they pass it, they get to go to another math class during math time for those 3 weeks. So she’s not going to spend 3 weeks in math bored doing 4 digit place values, she’s going to challenge math and doing something different. I hope it’s differential equations.

            I think it’s something new, because my son didn’t do that. Of course, even though he’s great at math, he’s quite sloppy, so tests can be an issue.

            1. Bea W*

              My school system growing up had none of these things in place. There were no advanced opportunities for kids until sophomore year of high school when you could enroll in some “Advanced Placement” classes. There were 3 tiers offered from 7th grade up – Basic, Standard, and Honors. Most students fell into the middle. Honors classes were for college-bound students. Basic level was for students who needed more remedial teaching, and they were very very basic, not what you would consider high school level at all.

              When my younger sister was still grade school, they had a new “Gifted-Talented” program for kids who tested at a certain level, but it was just an extra weekly session that offered some additional learning. Those kids spent the rest of the time learning the same level material as everyone else. There were some teachers who were with it enough to offer some kids more challenging work to do on their own, like more advance spelling words or reading material, but mostly there were no resources for it, and students weren’t skipped ahead ever.

        2. Nydia*

          It was very popular for awhile, but there seems to be a push back to keep the kids with their peers for social reasons. It makes more sense to leave a 10 year old in Elementary school, but give them some extra tutoring or opportunities to do higher level work than to move them up to Middle School where they would be fine academically but would struggle socially.

          I haven’t heard of the holding kids back so they can out-compete their peers but I would believe it! Sometimes parents do crazy things!

          1. fposte*

            Yup. Taking a leaf from the athletic world, it’s called “redshirting”–if you do a search on “redshirting” and “kindergarten” you’ll see some discussion about it.

            1. Judy*

              My son is pretty smart, but based on birthdays, he’s certainly one of the youngest in his class. If he were 3 weeks younger he would have started school a year later. We did discuss keeping him back, because he just didn’t have the maturity level that the teachers wanted.

              The date to start school is very arbitrary. I have a nephew who is 13 months older than my son, but because they were in different school districts, he’s in the same grade.

              I think we made the right decision in not holding him back, in fourth grade he’s really finding himself. But we had a lot of struggles during the maturing process.

              1. Windchime*

                One of my kids turned 5 just two weeks before school was to start. I felt that he didn’t have the maturity to start Kindergarten, so we kept him out for another year. As a result, he was 6 when he started school and was one of the oldest kids in his class, but I am happy that we did it that way. Socially and maturity-wise, he just wasn’t ready.

            2. Vicki*

              Better that it comes from the sports world and not Star Trek.

              When I sarted school, you had to be 5 by the end of January during the year of kindergarten. My birthday is Jan 29, so I started kindergarten at 4 yrs, 9 months. My cousin, whose birthday is in early Feb, was a year behind me in school.

              Occasionally it mattered (Math took me longer to “get”), other times it didn’t (English and Science) and by HS I was all caught up.

              I also heart AP classes. I tested out of Freshman English, Bio, and Chemistry.

      4. MaryMary*

        Skipping grades has fallen out of favor in some academic circles as well. My mother taught first grade for over thirty years. It used to be common practice to have a bright student skip a grade (or even two), but now teachers and parents worry more about the socialization issues and are more likely to find a way to keep the child academically challenged (supplemental programs, accelerated tracks, etc) but on the same grade level as their peers.

  7. The Plaid Cow*

    #2 really underscores the importance of follow-up in the job hunting process. The applicant just threw the resume over the wall and never let the person who told them about the job know the application was even sent in? It is not the best way to conduct a job search.

    1. BCW*

      Maybe. If the person specifically said “apply through our online system and I’ll be in touch” then the applicant did exactly as she was told. I know some companies won’t even let a person be interviewed unless they apply through their (often stupid and time wasting) online system. Plus, we have all seen how long it takes to get interviews sometime, and we don’t know how fast this moved.

      1. The Plaid Cow*

        A quick reply email would have been helpful (even in that case) and unlikely to annoy the sender. “Thanks for the tip on the job listing. I put in an application and look forward to hearing from you soon.”

        1. Amanda*

          In this case, it would’ve been appropriate for the candidate to send a quick email to her contact at the company. But what about situation where candidates are applying for an online listing and they have no contact within the company? AAM says don’t do a follow-up email in that case (and I can see why, if all 300 or so applicants did a follow-up email it would really clog up the screening process). But if you don’t follow up, your resume could fall between the cracks. You can’t win either way.


    1. My coworker is showing photos of me…

    Isn’t reporting to company an overkill? I would ask him to stop first. As AAM said, this guy is an ass and yes most guys are if not all guys. Guys like to brag especially to co-workers. I am tempted to say this guy has been showing the photos from day one.

    Suggestion to women; don’t ever send photos or videos to boyfriend or fiancé, when things go south we like to keep those photos or “home made video” as bragging rights whether legal or illegal. I know it’s tempting.

    1. Anne 3*

      You’re not speaking for all guys, here. If you’re tempted to do a shitty thing like this, that’s entirely on you, not on the person who sent you pictures in confidence & not on men as a whole.

      1. Jean*

        total agreement–but instead of piling on with more invective (I think that “sh*tty thing” says it all; any other description would be excessive) I encourage to find other ways to
        a) bolster personal self-esteem (besides broadcasting pictures of someone else in a rather vulnerable position)
        b) celebrate the fact of having formed an interpersonal connection so close that the other person felt comfortable in sending lingerie photos (because if you were able to form a connection once, you can do it again…and if you can form a romantic connection you can also forge a friendship or create a comfortable relationship with a coworker…we need all kinds of relationships in our lives)
        c) process the feelings elicited by the less-than-celebratory experience of having the relationship end, especially if the decision to end it was made by the other party

        1. Is.It.Legal*

          In an ideal world that will hold, but you know as with “some” relationships they go south. You can’t control what the other person can do, you would except them to behave.

          Why not focus on the main idea of the comment instead of trying to personally attach someone you don’t know. What’s the problem with having differing views?

          1. Mike C.*

            The problem isn’t with “differing views”, the problem is a view that does nothing but blame the victim. It’s harmful behavior and by normalizing it you’re making it more acceptable.

            Instead of policing the actions of a victim, why not police the actions of the person causing harm?

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Just wanted to add my voice as another guy who thinks it’s creepy and sleazy to share details of your sexual activity, especially details that could embarrass another person.

            2. Amber*

              EXACTLY! +1!

              Maybe they shouldn’t have sent those pictures, but it’s not their fault if the person starts showing them around; that’s entirely on the person who decided to reveal them!

          2. Victoria Nonprofit*

            Ok, I’ll respond to the main idea: No, it’s not overkill to report to the company. Sexual harassment isn’t something you should feel obligated to try to tackle on your own (like, say, having a talk with a coworker who listens to music too loudly for your taste or something like that). This is explicitly attacking the LW, doing something that is almost certainly addressed under the company’s sexual harts ament policy and possibly illegal. If a coworker stole your car, you wouldn’t hesitate to call the police; this is the same principle.

            As for attacking you: No one has . Disagreeing, objecting to an offensive comment you’ve made, and making suggestions for changing your behavior isn’t an attack.

          3. Kelly L.*

            You are the one who says that “we,” which includes you, like to keep old girlfriends’ naughty photos for bragging rights i.e. to show around. I think your character is fair game, as you’re revealing it with your own words.

            1. Jamie*

              Good point, Kelly. And for the record I have husband, 2 sons, a brother, and even an ex-husband who won’t be voted my favorite person any time soon…but even he wouldn’t consider victimizing someone in that way.

              I either got extraordinarily lucky with the men in my life, or (what i truly believe) most people including men are decent and not out to sexually humiliate people. The scumbags are out there and you have to be wary, but they aren’t the majority.

        2. Jean*

          Sheesh. I tried to make my point as gently as possible. Never expected to set off a discussion spanning the next three-plus-and-counting hours!

          To tie this in with AAM’s previous post of a really effective cover letter–I hope I can funnel all of this energy into my ongoing (and going and going) job search so that my own cover letters generate a similar level of interest (but hopefully a lower level of irritability)!

          Writing an effective cover letter seems to be as mysterious a process as finding the wall panel that springs open to reveal the hidden door, or finding true love (minus the collateral damage of shared lingerie photos), or transforming the back of the wardrobe into a forest of pine trees on the border of Narnia.Maybe this is similar to what happens when the inert body of Frankenstein’s cobbled-together monster gets zapped with electricity? SHAZAM! And amid shrieks of “It’s ALIVE!!!” the being sits up and says “Hello…”
          Whatever the process, one needs to learn the art of infusing one’s prose with that certain something / subtle aroma of personality / je-ne-sais-quoi /or whatever will make a hiring manager sit up and take positive notice…hopefully without also being scared out of his or her wits.

      2. Saoirse*

        And you’re not speaking for all women. There are ways intimate photos can be seen by others that don’t involve the guy showing them off or posting them places. Don’t take photos you wouldn’t want seen by the public in the first place, and no one has to worry about it.

        1. Calla*

          I wouldn’t want anyone at work to see me in a bikini, does that mean that if I ever go on vacation, I had when pictures are being taken because someone theoretically might betray my privacy?

        2. Mike C.*

          This is like saying I should never buy a nice car because someone might steal it. How about blaming the people who cause harm instead?

          1. LondonI*

            But would your car insurance pay out if you’d left the car unlocked? Or would they have expected you to take reasonable steps to secure the vehicle?

            The police would still hunt for the car and arrest the thief, but I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect the car owner to accept some level of responsibility for their own actions.

            1. fposte*

              The insurance will still pay even if your car is unlocked. Even in multi-car traffic accidents, insurance generally goes to bat for the owner and tries to get the payout from the other side, even if the police have considered the insured driver to be at fault.

            2. Bea W*

              Yes actually they would. While locking your car may deter some theft, leaving your car unlocked does not give anyone the right or permission to steal it. Taking something that is not yours is stealing. It doesn’t matter if it is locked and booby-trapped against thieves or unlocked with the keys inside. Taking someone else’s property without their permission is stealing, and the onus is on the person who willfully commits the crime, not on the owner.

          2. Amber*

            Yes, exactly! And I hate to say it but I don’t think there would be as many people telling a guy not to send the photos, if it was a girl showing private photos of a guy around. :$

    2. Natalie*

      I believe the LW has to tell her company because sexual harassment/EEO laws are in play here – she can only pursue a claim if she reports it and they don’t act.

      1. BCW*

        Lets be clear, women do this too. They may not be “d” pics that they are showing, but trust me, I know women who have shown their friends sexy pictures that guys have sent too. So lets not start male bashing ok

        1. Calla*

          The discussion here is about a man who did it and my comment is a response to someone who says that we should expect men to do it (and as a result, women are the ones who need to change). So how, exactly, is it male bashing to tell those men to not be jerks and take responsibility for their own behavior?

        2. TL*

          Right but the price for your sexuality going public is MUCH higher for a woman than for a man. Not to say it’s okay if someone does it to a man – it’s not – but unless that man was into some rather non-mainstream activities, it’s not going to damage his public image.

        3. some1*

          Let’s be clear: whether “women do this, too” is irrelevant to the point. Is It Legal posted his little “Suggestion To Women” so Calla has every right to respond to that misogyny.

          Don’t be the guy who calls “male-bashing” when someone is responding to blatant female bashing.

        4. Calla*

          BTW, quoting you: “I know I’m one to usually defend guys on here, but this one should really just be a lesson to women in general. Unless you are married or in a very serious relationship, if you send a sexy picture of yourself to a guy, MOST of them will show them to their buddies.” I love how it’s the woman saying men should be responsible who is “male bashing” and not the men saying men can’t control themselves and women need to change their behavior to accommodate (which, you know, is also very typical in discussions about rape/assault).

          1. BCW*

            You didn’t use the term “be responsible” you said “stop being jerks” BIG difference there. But now that the word rape has come up in this conversation, I know that next there will be “The Gift of Fear” and “Schrodingers Rspis”, and I know that despite my best intentions, I will be labelled misogyistic, despite the fact that I never said the guys actions were ok, just giving suggestions on what MAY happen if you choose to do certain things. So I’m done responding at this point.

            1. Calla*

              Yeah, because, um, sending private photos out to everyone is jerky? God forbid men actually get called on poor behavior (that Is.It.Legal AND YOU say most men will do, so nope, I did not bother kowtowing with “oh, of course not all men do this”). And I said “Your behavior is our responsibility, not ours,” so yes, I did talk about them taking responsibility instead of expecting women to be the gatekeepers.

              Rape culture was brought up because this is an extremely common thread in how women are held responsible and blamed for men’s actions. But keep on keepin on being dismissive of that.

              1. Bea W*

                Maybe I’m living in a bubble, but “most” men don’t go around showing off intimate pics of either current or ex girlfriends. It’s not common among women either. Even in bad breakups most adults somehow manage to control any urge to rise to this level of jerkitude. What this guy is doing is not normal behavior or even socially acceptable to the general population.

                1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  You know, we all live in our own little bubbles to some extent by self-selecting the people who reinforce our existing worldview. (See, and they said that sociology degree would never do me any good in the real world!)

                  The big difference is, I know there are jerks like the OP’s ex who think slut-shaming and victim-blaming are OK, and I know he has a circle of jerks who reinforce that with approval. But those jerks dismiss the opinions of anyone who differs with them, which IMO is an essential part of their jerkitude.

            2. Forrest*

              I find it kind of troubling that you’re jumping over Calla for telling guys to stop being jerks and feel the need to be all “women do this too!” but are ok with starting off a post with “a lesson for women.”

              You don’t have to condone someone’s actions to have views from a misogynistic perspective you know.

            3. Victoria Nonprofit*

              BCW, at the risk of further derailing this thread – Alison, feel free to call me and others off! – here’s what I struggle with with you: It seems as though you wait around for an opportunity to defend men who are behaving badly toward women and/or point out that women do these things too. Why is that? I suspect most people would take these comments with more understanding and thoughtfulness if it appeared that you were engaged in the larger questions, and not just seizing an opportunity to try to discredit a woman’s objection to male behavior.

            4. Starling's sister*

              Stop whining. Calla found a quote where you pretty clearly state that you consider the guy’s actions to be the norm and blame women for guy’s actions that are both jerkish and irresponsible. If that’s acting with best intentions, then, yeah, we’re going to be pretty judgemental. The ‘wo is me’ attitude isn’t fooling me.

              To address your point, ladies who do that to guys are also jerkish and irresponsible. If the OP were a guy complaining about an ex girlfrind showing off sexy pictures of him at work, I would absolutely tell him to report it. Sexual harrassment goes both ways.

              Also, I like that people are still bringing up my sister’s essay. That makes me happy.

              1. VintageLydia*

                Your sister wrote that? I think people will be referencing that essay for decades it’s so good. People still miss the point ENTIRELY but most women, at least, get it.

              2. amaranth16*

                I used the word “pantheon” just yesterday to describe where that essay belongs. Please send along greetings to your awesome sister! (And your comments make me think you’re pretty awesome, too. :-) )

            5. Laura*

              Sigh. Who else read the OP’s question and immediately thought, “and now it’s time for BCW et al to start the ‘WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?’ derail…” ?

              BCW, you *always* complain when people tell you how your comments about women make them feel. You complain about being labelled a misogynist “despite your best intentions.” Dude. Your intentions don’t matter. The second you grasp that it doesn’t matter what your intention was, what matters is the outcome of what you said, you may actually start to understand why, for some reason, you are constantly getting called out for sexism by people here. Hint: it’s not because we’re all too sensitive or PC. Another hint: it’s not a coincidence that this happens frequently with you – what’s the common denominator here?

              I know this sounds like an attack and it kind of is, I guess, but it does come from a place of respect, honest. I read your comments on posts not about women and they’re pretty thoughtful and you seem like a reasonable guy, but you *seriously* need to consider whether you have a blind spot when it comes to women’s issues, dude.

              Sorry, Alison. Call me off if I’m out of line.

              1. Anon*

                This is totally reasonable. I literally cringe when I see him commenting on women’s issues because I know what’s coming. The level of obliviousness, derailing, and gaslighting that he engages in is difficult to watch.

              2. Meg*

                As soon as I read the lingerie post I KNEW I was going to read BCW’s comments all over the comment section. And you phrased this in a really nice way – far nicer than I would have been.

          2. some1*

            Ntm, women get violated by men they married to or in “a very serious relationship” with way, way, more than strangers. So the condescending speech is actually totally misleading, anyway.

        5. Forrest*

          Except we’re not talking about how everyone can be jerks, Calla is specifically addressing a comment that implies that all men are jerks.

          Not every discussion about gender has to involve “well, the other gender does this too!” We know that. No one is saying otherwise.

        6. De*

          ” So lets not start male bashing ok”

          How is this male bashing, but you saying that most guys would exhibit this behavior that you yourself say isn’t okay does not count as male bashing?

    3. fposte*

      It may be natural to keep things for bragging rights, but it’s also natural to suffer consequences if you illegally try to exercise those “rights” in your workplace.

      What he doesn’t have is the right to be protected from those consequences; if he wanted that, he shouldn’t have been a jackass.

      1. Jen in RO*

        I think fposte hit the nail on the head. I would expect a guy to keep my pics (and maybe show them to people), but he would also have to suffer the consequences.

        Personally, I agree with Saoirse above and I just don’t take any pictures that I would be mortified about if seen by others. Not even for my long-term boyfriend. The risk is too high even though I trust him – stolen phone, hacked email and so on.

    4. Mike C.*

      Stop speaking for all guys, because this guy here finds that sort of behavior misogynistic and unacceptable.

  9. Anne 3*

    #3 I agree with Allison’s answer here and I also think your manager’s holding her hand to your mouth was a bit much.
    I speak a mix of Dutch/French/English at work (the last two not being my native language) so I make a LOT of mistakes.

  10. Chocolate Teapot*

    Yes, that seemed a bit odd.

    Mind you, I don’t like being touched unexpectedly, so had the same thing happened to me, it would have been accompanied by a large bellowing “GET OFF ME!!”

    1. hamster*

      This does enforce the stereotype of the “loud american”. Although touching somebody like this doesn’t look so good either.

      1. en pointe*

        I think Chocolate Teapot was being facetious.

        Though I do want to point out that the OP says that her manager held a hand up TO her mouth not against it. I think it’s possible, even probable, that she didn’t touch her but just held a finger up in front of her face or something. Which would still be a bit much but not as egregious as actually touching her.

          1. hamster*

            I am sorry for generalizing. But from my humble interactions with clients both from Europe and us, i find the Americans more casual in manners and sometimes on average louder . Not a bad thing per se. Anyway , obviously not everyone is the same and depending on industry/person, it was very insensitive thing for me to say

            1. Victoria Nonprofit*

              No, that’s not what I meant – I’m not one to be sensitive about “attacks on America.” (I’m American, and I “attack” my country’s beliefs/systems/political structures/etc. on the regular. I’m especially prone to attacking the “America-can-do-no-wrong” mentality that too many of us have.)

              So: I just didn’t understand your comment in context here. I don’t even know if Chocolate Teapot is American, and if she is, I doubt her nationality would cross the mind of someone who observed her objecting to her boss’ hands in her face (unless she was the only American at an international office? or something like that).

              1. Judy*

                I thought Chocolate Teapot was in the UK. Wasn’t she the one that brought up that it’s a common idiom used there. “As useful as a chocolate teapot”

  11. Ann Furthermore*

    #3 I am a complete grammar snob and I would never correct someone in that manner. It’s condescending, weird, and completely inappropriate.

    Why not wait until after the meeting to say something? Much more tactful and professional.

    1. en pointe*

      I think it depends on the situation. My boss does it to me sometimes but not in formal meetings with others where I would probably be embarrassed and find it inappropriate.

      In a one-on-one meeting or just in conversation I don’t mind it that much. It can be helpful to be able to take on board the correction in the moment rather than afterwards when I might not even remember saying the specific word.

      It also seems like more of a big deal to specifically bring it up after the fact instead of just a quick correction at the time.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        My mother would have done more than that if I ever said “irregardless” in front of her. This was one her boiling, searing, white-hot buttons. Of course, she had every right to touch me, but bad grammar affects me this way too, so it wasn’t ever an issue with us.

        Obviously this is also a hot button for this manager. I’ll bet she (the manager) would like everyone who works for her to project a professional, educated image. This is very important to some people, and if you work for them, you either do it or work for someone else.

        1. Meg*

          Well your relationship with your mother is probably much different then your relationship with your manager. I hug my mother every time I see her, but I certainly wouldn’t do that with my manager. I do understand that grammar is a hot button for some people, but so is personal boundaries. I think a lot of people are reacting strongly to the (IMO, severe) social faux pas of touching a direct report without explicit permission.

          1. fposte*

            And I think if it were touching on the arm we’d probably not be that bothered, though we’d allow for individuals to request it not recur. But if it’s actually putting a hand on her mouth–that’s really invasive.

          2. Jazzy Red*

            Gosh, Meg, when I said “…she (my mother) had every right to touch me…”, I figured it was implied that I felt the manager should not have touched the OP.

            I’m a big supporter of personal boundaries. All people have the right to decide who gets close to them, or not.

        2. Jamie*

          Yep, the statue of limitations on a mom’s right to correct grammatical pet peeves never runs out. Totally different relationship.

          IMO the correction was fine, by put the mouth touching? I’d have reflexively jumped back as far as possible if someone at work tried to touch my mouth. It’s a pretty clear boundary violation to most, I would think.

          1. Anonymous*

            I’m having trouble following all the comments, but “she held her hand up to my mouth” that the OP wrote does not mean the manager touched the OP.

    2. tcookson*

      I wouldn’t even correct my own children’s grammar in that way. I correct their grammar when necessary, but putting your finger up to someone’s mouth is a little to space-invade-y.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        And degrading.

        A slightly younger relative did this to me once at a family gathering. I was telling a story and my voice had gotten a bit louder, although I certainly wasn’t yelling–people were laughing at the story and I was talking over them. She put her hand over my mouth, as though I was a small child.

        I immediately stopped talking and didn’t finish my story. I didn’t say anything to her then (I was gobsmacked, frankly, and furious), but if she EVER does it again, I’m going to finish my story and then later, when we are alone, say “Relative, I don’t appreciate what you did when I was telling my story. I felt very disrespected and degraded by that. Please do not ever do that again.”

        Obviously, that wouldn’t be a good thing to say to the boss, I guess.

        1. Woodward*

          I had a date cover my mouth when I laughed too loud in a movie theater. I like the phrase you used; “gobsmacked” perfectly describes my feelings at that moment. Seriously? I asked him about it on the way home and his excuse was his dad does that all the time to people who are too loud. I said I’m a naturally loud person and if that embarrasses him, then we shouldn’t date anymore. And we didn’t.

    3. Anonymous*

      I am also a complete grammar snob and cringe when I hear people say “irregardless” or “less students” or anything like that, but I agree that the manager’s reaction seemed a bit over the top. I generally don’t correct people in public unless I know them pretty well. Even then, I will just say something like “actually, you know I hear people say irregardless all the time but the word is actually regardless”.

    4. themmases*

      I would never correct someone in that way either. If I know the person well, I respond to their comment (so we’re not derailing the whole conversation to be about their mispronunciation), then add something like “Don’t you mean to-may-to, though?” or “I always thought it was ‘po-tay-to’ before– or did you mean something else?” If I don’t know the person well or we’re in a group, I just let it go.

      I get disproportionately mortified when I mispronounce things, and that’s how I’d want someone to tell me.

    1. Anonymous*

      “Covering”? Where did that come from. The OP wrote “she held her hand up to my mouth.” That could possibly mean “covering” but that’s a big assumption.

  12. Anon*

    #5 I would suggest finding some alternative paths. Not knocking the GED or it’s purpose but there is certainly a stigma in some circles. It’s entirely possible that getting a GED will hamper you if applying to very selective schools. (To be clear, before the flames erupt, I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying it’s possible that it could happen.)

    If you are that determined, then skip some grades to finish early. Or, even better, consider dual enrollment at your local community college. If speed is of the issue, you can finish up high school while working on college and it’s WAY CHEAPER. There is also the advantage, if your HS offers, of taking AP/IB exams as a junior or senior which will also speed up the college process.

    You should really sit down with a guidance counselor at your HS and at your local community college or the college you want to attend to discuss the different options you have. Since money is almost always a part of the equation, getting a GED may screw you out of some scholarships.

    1. Is.It.Legal*

      The sad part is some people/employers look at community college in a negative way, the same way they might look at GED.

      1. AnonHR*

        I’d have to disagree. While hearing that someone has a GED can lead to some assumptions, I’ve never once considered the high school experience of anyone I’ve hired as relevant (or known anyone who does). No one should notice you have your GED instead of a diploma in the work world after school unless you point it out, and framing it as completing your education early to attend a university would be more than enough explanation.

        I would agree though, that looking at dual enrollment options sounds like a great idea.

        1. Anon*

          I completely agree that no one should. As I said, it’s wrong. But I’m entirely sure that it could happen. Just because we’ve never seen it, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

      2. Anon*

        Some might but I think that might be a regional US thing. I’m in the mid-atlantic and I can say with some pretty good confidence that in the mid and north east, no one looks one way or the other at community college experience. But I agree it could totally happen.

      3. fposte*

        Yeah, there’s no stigma to community college around here, especially if somebody took courses there when they were a minor. It’s not considered the equivalent of a four-year college, but it’s a perfectly reasonable way to start a college path, get certified, or pursue additional study in something.

        And even the GED is only an obstacle if it’s your terminal degree. As long as the colleges the OP is looking at are fine with it (and she *definitely* needs to make sure that they are, because not all colleges would be), the next time her credentials come up her high school won’t even figure. It’s the people who end up with a GED instead of a completed high school education who can find that limits them.

      4. Xay*

        I disagree on community college. In Florida, the college system is set up such that if you complete two years of community college, you are guaranteed admission to a four year college. As a result, many people complete the much cheaper two year degree before transferring to a four year school.

        1. VintageLydia*

          Same thing in Virginia. I got into a much better school than I would have straight out of high school. I had a C average there, but maintained a very high B in community college so I was able to prove myself a bit.

        2. Windchime*

          My son did this. He earned his AA at the local community college, and then was able to transfer directly to the 4-year State university. Sometimes individual credits might not transfer, but once he had the AA, the degree transferred. It was a very cost-effective way for him to earn his undergrad degree, not to mention it gave him a couple more years to mature before going away to school.

      5. A cita*

        I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for those who have gone to community college and would look favorably upon an applicant that had, and then went on to finish at a 4 year (because we hire folks with higher degrees). There’s a huge diversity in the community college student population of course, but a large slice of them are folks who needed to work full-time while going to school, or support families, or returning adults who couldn’t go to college earlier, or were coming from a lower economic resource setting and probably the first in their family to go to college. Basically, they had the whole plate of full adult responsibilities, but few helping hands or legs up, and going to community college showed a tremendous dedication and willingness to work hard, remain focused, and successfully juggle competing priorities.

        And I don’t know anyone who hires or considers college/grad applicants who frowns on community college, and I’m at an Ivy.

      6. Anonymous*

        What’s a community college? I’m in Canada and we don’t have those. Is it a college where you get a two year diploma?

        1. VintageLydia*

          Yup, you can get a two year associate’s degree, or get certified in certain careers that don’t require a degree necessarily but do require a bit of post-high school education (some nursing programs like getting your LPN or some trades like auto repair. What programs are offered vary from school to school.) They’re funded by the state which is why many programs offer automatic admission into 4-year state schools if you maintain a certain GPA and a few other requirements. Many people, like me, go there for the gen ed requirements (like the basic english and math classes) since they’re essentially the exact same classes (often taught by professors who also teach at local traditional colleges) at half or third of the cost. If you’re not eligible for a lot of free financial aid, it’s a good way to go. Many people pay out of pocket for a 2-year degree and just get loans for the last 2.

        2. TychaBrahe*

          A community college is a weird mix of classes designed to meet the general elective requirements of four year colleges (freshman composition, calc 1, introduction to conversational Spanish), Associate of Arts degrees (medical technology, medical assistant, paralegal, aircraft maintenance), post BA certificate training and professional development courses, and community education (motorcycle safety, swimming lessons, introductory guitar).

          Community colleges are frequently much less expensive than a four-year college. I got a certificate in Netware 3.0 at Mt. San Antonio College, one of the most prestigious community colleges, two decades ago. At the time, my course was $15/unit, compared to about $200/unit at the local UC/CSU colleges.

          1. TychaBrahe*

            Oh, and in California, you need a Ph.D. (or to be in the doctoral program) generally to teach at the university level, but only a Masters to teach at the community college level.

        3. Amber*

          Hi, Anon! I’m in Canada too and at least in Ontario, we tend to differ between university and college, right?

          Americans tend to just broadly say everything as “college”. So what’s a university for us here is a college for them, and what’s a college for us here is a community college for them. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, States people. :)

          1. Felicia*

            That’s right Amber! When Americans say college, they mean what we know as university, and when they say community college they say what we mean by college. So sometimes Americans ask where I went to college and it takes me a moment to answer since I went to university, not college, at least the way we say it.

            A lot of our colleges have similar programs to what they’re talking about at community colleges though. Like there are specific transfer programs where you do two years of college and then can transfer most of your credits to a particular university for a certain range of programs. Good option for someone who wants to do something that requires university but didn’t do well in highschool, or needs an extra two years to be ready to go to university away from home.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I don’t know if this applies any more but it used to be that universities had colleges nested inside them. So you could be going to X college at Y university.

            I tend to think of colleges as smaller than universities- but both will give you a four year degree. Near me, a community college is converting to a four year school. So this gets confusing.

            1. Anonymous*

              It really is confusing! I’m in Canada as well. There are Universities, University Colleges (the colleges inside universities), University-College partnerships (where you earn both a diploma and a degree at the same time), University-College articulation agreements (for transfer), and of course Colleges (US “community colleges”), which are starting to grant Bachelor’s degrees themselves… (under “ministerial consent” in Ontario… I understand it has to be renewed every few years, unlike the Universities which have their own enabling Acts)

              1. Anonymous*

                (same anon here) and let’s not forget private career colleges (think Everest), which really are a bit of a scam

      7. Elysian*

        I didn’t think that this was true anymore, but recently learned otherwise. I graduated from a (private, prestigious) undergradutate university, and also have community college credits in my file. I recently underwent a professional licensing process where my community college credits “stood out” as requiring further explaination. My explaination was adequate, I suppose, but the fact that I needed to explain at all shows that for some people, community college is something negative enough to warrant a question.

        1. Judy*

          That makes some sense to me. For example, the Professional Engineer license requirement in my state is a degree from an ABET accredited program, or “equivalent”. So if the CC is not accredited with them, and you took courses that are necessary within the accreditation, it would need some investigation to prove equivalency.

          (And I happen to know right now that ABET hasn’t accredited any 2 year programs in engineering, just technology.)

    2. Laufey*

      I agree with Anon @ 8:18 that the GED may affect scholarship eligibility, but disagree on the effect of a GED after college. While, yes, there is a stigma in some places, in some industries relating to GED-holders, in my experience, that’s been pretty limited to those with only high school level or equivalent education. When the OP goes job hunting after completing college, even at age 20, almost no one is going to ask about high school education. And even if it does come up, I think the impressiveness of graduating college at age 20 outweighs any potential stigma of a GED.

    3. Xay*

      I’m an alum admissions rep/interviewer for an extremely selective, highly ranked college and having a GED/community college background would not hurt an applicant by itself – assuming that they have the strong academic background, recommendations, and right intangibles, it could actually be an asset. The larger concern would be the young age and whether the applicant has the maturity to achieve in that environment – most of the applicants that I have seen with GEDs were older nontraditional students.

  13. Bluefish*

    Does anyone know why some people think “irregardless” and “supposably” are words? I’m genuinely curious since it seems to be a very common thing. I heard someone use “irregardless” at work yesterday. There has to be some sort of reason why…. For example, I know a lot of people who use “John and I” when they should be saying “John and me”. My theory on this one is that when I was in elementary school, teachers would always drill into our heads to say “John and I” (when appropriate), I think this just taught people they should jut use “I” all the time…. Anyways, kind of a stupid post by me, but I’ve always wondered if anyone has a theory as to why so many people think “irregardless” and “supposably” are actually words.

    1. en pointe*

      I hear them a lot also.

      As I said elsewhere on this post, I think that sometimes people conflate the words “irrespective” and “regardless”, which are often synonymous, into “irreregardless”.

      With “supposably” I think it has something to do with how similar it sounds to “supposedly”. So possibly people are mishearing others say “supposedly” and adopting that?

    2. pghadventurer*

      I had never heard of “irregardless” until all those Bushism blogs started listing every verbal mishap Dubya ever had.

      “Irregardless” sounds like a real world, and maybe people find it it fits better into their rhythym of speech than “regardless”. People like to use longer words to sounds smart at work (utilize vs. use) so perhaps that’s why they create words like irregardless. No idea where “suposably” comes from though!

      1. Windchime*

        Agreed. I think people also misuse the word “myself” to make themselves look smarter….or maybe because they have just heard it used incorrectly so frequently that it sounds correct to them? It’s one of my pet peeves. I don’t correct people when they do it because heaven knows I’m not a great writer either, but it still bugs me when I see it.

    3. RG*

      Because the “d” sound and the “b” sound are easily conflated, especially in the middle of a word, when you get get lazy about diction?Because “irregardless” starts the same as irrespective and sometimes you brain trips out on your and says the wrong last half of the word?

      People think they are words because they are words. Language is democratic, not autocratic. If enough people use a word to mean a thing, then it means that thing. If someone says “supposably”, you know they mean “supposedly”, right? If someone says irregardless, you probably know what they mean, right? If someone says buffalo when referring to American Bison, you get the general drift, right?

      1. Bluefish*

        I hear you. For some reason, to me, hearing “supposably” is similar to saying “occifer” instead of “officer”. It sounds a little like baby talk immitation. Also, I’ve seen people write it at times which sound equally bizarre to me. Your explanation for “irregardless” makes some sense. I have to admit, I’ve haven’t often heard people use the word “irrespective”, so maybe that’s why “irregardless” sounds so foreign to me. But yeah I agree, generally I adopt the, “if I know what they mean, it doesn’t make a difference to me” attitude. I’m sure I make plenty of blunders in speaking/grammar. These two words have just always sounded so foreign to me that it always trips me up when I hear/see people using them :)

      2. Mints*

        I agree with supposedly/supposably because those are pronunciation to me.
        But irregardless sounds plain wrong because the ir- prefix means opposite. Irrelevant is not relevant. So it sounds like “not regardless” to me which bugs me.
        That being said, I don’t usually interrupt people to correct grammar and would find hands in face rrally rude

        1. Bluefish*

          Ty, mints.. This is why the irregardless confuses me. I think of them combining Irrelevant and regardless, which does not make sense. I didn’t get the whole irrespective explanation because I just have never really heard people use that word often so it doesn’t come to mind

        2. TychaBrahe*

          What about flammable/inflammable, which look like they should be opposites, but aren’t.

          Also, explosive is not the same thing as flammable, even though it seems as if they should be.

          1. fposte*

            Ravel and unravel, which often mean the same thing. (I’ve also seen horse people come near to blows over calling the process worming vs. deworming.)

              1. fposte*

                That was actually my vote. (Do you de-shell peanuts or shell peanuts, after all?) Good to know that if it comes to blows there’ll be two of us.

          2. TychaBrahe*

            And how disgruntled means “even more gruntled” rather than the opposite of gruntled.

            Of course, no one says “gruntled” anymore.

            1. fposte*

              Obligatory Wodehouse quote:

              “I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.”

      3. Jamie*

        This. The same reason when I was super little I thought our living room was spelled the frawntroom (pronounced frahntroom – I still recall being shocked that it was two separate words) and that water was spelled wadder …a lot of people don’t articulate the t, b, and d in the middle of words.

        Or maybe I’m just from the Chicago area where we talk funny. (Kidding, kidding…i know all Illinoisans like me spend every evening working on diction and performing works of Shakespeare for our families. :))

    4. FiveNine*

      During the recession, I was underemployed and had a job at a one-hour photo lab. People were just really starting to use digital cameras and made hundreds of prints at once. During the holidays, we had people making tons of those long photo Christmas greetings that they could tailor themselves. One woman asked me whether there should be an apostrophe in the family name in the sign-off, “Merry Christmas from the Hamiltons!” I assured her there should not be. She put one in anyway, saying she’s seen other people do it and she was pretty sure I was wrong. (I’ve since returned to my professional job on the editorial staff of a national publisher.)

      1. Al Lo*

        Every year I swear I’m going to disown any family members that send their Christmas greetings from “The Lastname’s”. Instead, I content myself with a passive-aggressive Facebook status sometime in April, so that it’s not directly linked to that one particular relative’s family photo that was posted on Facebook 3 minutes before I happened to let loose with that rant.

        1. Celia*

          There’s a house in my neighborhood with a mailbox proudly stamped “The Allen’s”—I’ve seen it every day for two years, and it still makes me cringe. I like to think that the house is actually occupied by a single man named Allen who happens to be a big fan of Donald “The Donald” Trump.

    5. Omne*

      Actually irregardless is a word and appeared as early as 1795. It’s considered nonstandard but it’s a real word. Check the article on Wikipedia on it, I found it interesting.

      1. TychaBrahe*

        “Ain’t” is also a real word. It’s a contraction for “am I not.” But if you use it in formal writing or speech, people will question your intelligence and/or intellect.

  14. BCW*

    #1 I know I’m one to usually defend guys on here, but this one should really just be a lesson to women in general. Unless you are married or in a very serious relationship, if you send a sexy picture of yourself to a guy, MOST of them will show them to their buddies. I’m not saying its right, but I’m just being honest. Now to do when the girl works with you is definitely a different situation, but if the guy is very close with his coworkers, it shouldn’t be surprising. If you really want to do that, use snapchat. While that isn’t 100% secure, its a lot better than just an attachment to a text.

    And please don’t shoot the messenger here. I’m not defending this behavior, just letting you know how things are a lot of the time and trying to give advice for the future. Now as far as your situation. First off, I doubt they have really gone “viral”. They may have spread around the dudes in your office, but with all thats out there and easily accessible, I doubt they are like forwarding it to all their friends. You can’t make him delete them, but I’d just ask him to stop showing them to others in the work place first before going to HR. I’m a big believer in actually having a conversation before going to management. If after that conversation he doesn’t stop, then yeah, I’d talk to whoever you need to.

    1. MousyNon*

      *sigh* Look, I see where you’re coming from, and I don’t necessarily disagree with the perspective that NOBODY (male or female) should send risque photographs to another person. But the problem with your general advice (i.e. “women shouldn’t send photographs to men because men will probably show them to their buddies”) is this:

      Men shouldn’t be doing that, period (like you said!). If it’s something that’s ‘likely’ to happen (also like you said), then it’s clear men as a population need to be taught from the get-go that this kind of behavior is WRONG, and both unacceptable and punishable by society.

      1. BCW*

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I think since now sexting is a thing that isn’t going away, BOTH parties need to know some things. Yes, ideally women wouldn’t have to worry about a guy doing that because the guys have been taught not to, but we know the world isn’t an ideal place, so women should be prepared for what MAY happen if they choose to do this. Its similar to what I used to tell my students about posting things online. Once its out there, you can never take it back, so think about that before hitting send.

        1. MousyNon*

          I completely agree with most of what you’ve said. I just think a balanced perspective is often missing from conversations about things like this (like in conversations about rape culture, etc), so I thought I’d jump in. Absolutely, the world can be a crappy place so make sure to defend yourselves, but more importantly: let’s teach people not to be scummy.

          Where I really disagree is in your recommendation that the OP talk to him first. There’s nothing to discuss. What he did was wrong, and he needs to be punished for violating the social fabric–both for his own education, and as an example to others–and the best way for the OP to ensure that consequence is to go to management and report him for sexual harassment, of which she would be completely justified.

          But mostly, you and I agree. See, feminists can be reasonable! ;).

            1. Lily in NYC*

              I think she is starting the process to fire you! I get that ‘moderation’ note once in a while for no reason as well; I wouldn’t worry about it.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              If the spam filter has a hiccup and stops working for a minute or two, everything submitted during that time goes to moderation. No significance to it!

          1. BCW*

            I’m not saying she wouldn’t be justified in going straight to HR, but personally, I’m just a fan of speaking with the offender first. This comes from experience with co-workers who had an issue with me (nothing like this) and instead of just being an adult and talking to me, wen to management and it became a much bigger deal then it needed to be. I know everyone doesn’t think you need to talk to the person, so yes, she doesn’t have to do that, but thats just something I always suggest.

            1. some1*

              When you violate a former partner and present co-worker like this, you lose your right to decide that HR doesn’t need to know about it.

              And it’s not the fault of the LW for sending the pic. This guy should have been a decent and honorable man and not shown the pics to anyone.

            2. Mike C.*

              That may not be a safe or comfortable thing to do.

              When someone is making the workplace an unsafe place for someone, it becomes the company’s problem and responsibility to do something about it.

            3. en pointe*

              I think that certainly rings true when it’s a minor issue or offence but this IS a big deal and should be treated as such.

            4. Joey*

              I get your point I just think under the circumstances it doesn’t apply. It would be like telling a victim of theft he should have told the thief not to steal his stuff. Or telling the guy who got beat up he should have said “stop punching me.”

              Its a whole lot more appropriate to tell the person directly when they may not realize they’re doing something inappropriate.

            5. fposte*

              I think she could talk to him if she felt like it, but it’s totally up to her; he’s forfeited any right to be talked to first. Being openly mean in a legally problematic way is essentially saying “I am prepared to face management’s reaction to my behavior.”

            6. Zillah*

              In general,, I agree with talking to the person first. When it’s something that they conceivably might not know is a problem for you, it’s often enough to just say, “I’m not okay with this.” I’ve had people complain about me without talking to me first, and it actually really offended me.

              But “I think Zillah is a little bit of a control freak” is very different from showing risqué pictures of someone around the office. You know that you’re doing something wrong in the second example. You’re just doing it anyway. You shouldn’t get kid gloves for that.

        2. Mike C.*

          The focus should be on the jerks who abuse the trust of their partners, not the partners who trusted them in the first place. The former is the party causing harm, not the latter.

          1. BCW*

            Your point is valid, but it doesn’t negate what I’m saying. We can say that about any crime or injustice. It would be great to focus on getting people to stop stealing things, but in reality what I can do is focus on how to not get robbed myself. Thats what I’m going for.

            1. Anonymous*

              Except for crimes like stealing the focus actually is on stopping the wrongdoers, not blaming the poor person who got robbed.

              1. Victoria Nonprofit*

                Right. If the overwhelming cultural response to women being sexually harassed/assaulted/etc. then I could get behind BCW’s quest to bring balance to the conversation. Instead, what’s happening is that BCW is experiencing the tiny amount of cultural attention given to addressing the male behavior as unbalanced and feels the need to bring balance back to the conversation. Sigh.

                1. Victoria Nonprofit*

                  Uuuh, apparently I didn’t finish my thought:

                  If the overwhelming cultural response to women being sexually harassed and assaulted were to condemn the harasser/assaulter without acknowledging steps she could take to help prevent such an assault in the future, then I could get behind BCW’s quest… etc.

              2. Meganly*

                I’m reminded of the robbery rape analogy and how it shows how ridiculous victim-blaming looks when it is applied to other crimes… “You knowingly walked down Dundritch Street in your suit when everyone knows you like to give away money, and then you didn’t fight back. It sounds like you gave money to someone, but now you’re having after-donation regret. Tell me, do you really want to ruin his life because of your mistake? ” :P

                1. fposte*

                  Well, I’m somewhere in between the two points here, in that I’m not in agreement with what BCW said in this situation, but I’m a feminist who takes *serious* issue with some current discourse that reads any discussion with women about mitigating risk as victim-blaming. Mitigation of crime risk is always talked about first, loudest, and differently with the people with something to lose, whether it’s warnings not to leave your personal items unattended or warnings not to click on phishing emails. While our individual behaviors don’t make us at fault for crime and we can’t crime proof ourselves, we actually are not powerless to influence our safety levels, and one reason why the “it’s victim-blaming to address the victims” bothers me is that it means that we have no agency whatsoever and are simply at the mercy of the world. And that’s a horrible message, I think, as well as being untrue.

                2. Calla*

                  @fposte – the problem is that there are simple precautions you can take against things like robbery that are universally likely to decrease your risk, but the same can’t be said for assault. I lock my door, possibly install an alarm, and I have peace of mind that the chances of me being robbed are low and if I am, I’m not blamed. What can women do that’s the equivalent? Advice like don’t go out alone after dark, watch your drink, etc. are not universally likely to significantly lower the risk. You can take self-defense but there’s disagreement about whether fighting back actually hurts or helps. There’s no equivalent to “lock your doors” or “keep your personal items on you” that doesn’t require women to constantly watch their behavior.

                  In fact, maybe a better parallel would be that this would be like if I constantly clutched my purse close to me whenever someone came near me. Yeah, it might prevent me being robbed one day, but no one expects me to constantly do that.

                  FWIW, I don’t think it’s necessarily victim-blaming to share some tips that could theoretically mitigate risk. But when we talk about you should have done this, or maybe you shouldn’t have done that and it wouldn’t have happened to you, then yeah, we’re blaming the victim.

                3. TL*

                  @Calla – hmm. When I see someone telling people not to get blackout drunk and others saying that advice is victim-blaming, I think it’s gone to far.

                  If you purposely get blackout drunk, people should take care of you and not take advantage of you (and those who do are completely at fault for their actions). BUT getting blackout drunk is a dumb decision for people of any gender and you’re much more likely to do or have something bad happen to you in that state. I told my brothers all the time that to get as drunk as they did in college is just plain stupid.

                  The exception, obviously, is people and especially preteens/teenagers who don’t drink or have never been drunk before, especially if other people are knowingly giving them enough alcohol to make them drunk.

                4. fposte*

                  This is definitely a digression, but what the hell :-). Yes, there most certainly is something people can do that substantially mitigates their risk of being a victim of assault, but that point was read across much of the internet as victim-blaming, and I think that was both wrong and disempowering. (Roofies are virtually nonexistent, by the way–as Colorado’s Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center notes, “Alcohol is the number one date rape drug.” It’s not watching one’s drink but watching one’s drinking that makes people safer.)

                  I absolutely agree, though, that there’s a huge difference between speaking generally about risk mitigation to telling somebody what she should have done after the fact of her victimization, and that the latter is abhorrent.

                5. LPBB*

                  But the response wasn’t so much to the idea of telling people not to get drunk. There are all sorts of reasons why getting black out drunk is bad for both genders.

                  The response was to the idea that telling young women not to get drunk or even to drink is the only feasible policy response to certain high profile events. That if they don’t get drunk, the problem of rape will go away or at least not happen to them.

                  Yes, women put themselves in a very very vulnerable position by getting drunk (just as men do!), but someone else has to make the decision to sexually assault her (or him). So maybe, while we’re telling young women not to drink, we should ALSO be telling young men NOT TO RAPE!!

                6. TL*

                  @fposte: Yup, I have a friend who made some incredibly stupid choices one night and put herself in a really vulnerable position. The guy she was with – she didn’t know him at all – took advantage of that and raped her.

                  It does nobody any good to tell her what she could’ve done differently or even bring up the point that she didn’t make the wisest decisions that night. I never have and never will. But it’s not victim-blaming to acknowledge that sometimes it’s best not to trust near-strangers, especially when they come with warning signs.

                7. fposte*

                  LPBB–some responses may have been to that, and I’m glad to hear it, but that wasn’t the objection in the condemnations I read.

                  However, as TL says, once the crime/accident/whatever has happened to an individual, “Here’s what you’ve should have done or were a fool for doing” is a seriously crappy response. It’s one thing to say that people should wear seat belts; it’s another to visit your injured friend in the hospital and tell her that she should have had her seat belt on.

                8. fposte*

                  And, as I said, we across the board do address people engaging in risky behavior separately from people who endanger others, so I don’t agree that you’re required to address possible rapists any time you talk to possible victims.

                  However, I think Victoria HR above frames things in a way that really works for me, which is that the reason it’s such an issue is that it’s so, so hard to have a conversation just about the malfeasance of the offenders in sexual harassment/assault without somebody wanting to talk about what victims should have done differently. And the problem of people who disseminate naked photographs, date rape, etc., is a problem in its own right separate from the behavior of their victims.

                9. Not So NewReader*

                  The thought strikes me that the problem with saying “you could have done” or “you should have done”, is the implication that the speaker is the wiser, more savvy person.

                  And it also makes it sound like the person seeking advice needs a time machine.

                  Sadly, all of us will make our own set of missteps. At some point, a person saying these types of statements will find him/herself in a position where some one could say “WELL, you SHOULD have…”

                  At best it is a weak comment. In most cases, what will happen is people will move away from folks who make parental sounding statements. They will seek advice elsewhere as the comment really provides no solution. If this is a habit, the speaker has unwittingly pushed people away from him/her because people feel they have not found the information they were looking for.

                  The next problem I see, is where do we draw the line with this thinking? “Well, Bob should have known not to ride the train because trains derail. So, of course, he got in an accident.” It’s a slippery slope. To blame people for being “naive” fails to consider that we are all naive about something. This is part of being human.

                  I guess it boils down to we each have to determine our own goals in our interactions with other people.

        3. Gilby*

          People are responsible for their own actions only.

          If I send a pic of myself ( one that will get my into trouble like this post is about ) to anyone or post it on-line and so on….. I no longer have control over that pic. That is my fault. I let it go. I lost the control over that pic.

          This is about personal responsiblity.

          Yes you can fault the person for sending it and showing it to others as in what happen in this post. There are rotten people in the world and that is the point…….The only way to ensure jerky rotten people don’t get pics that you don’t want shown…. Don’t take them to start with……

          1. Gilby*

            Agreeing with BCW.

            If people just kept their life to themselves the jerks wouldn’t get ahold of the pics.

            1. Mike C.*

              Ok, so I just bought a new car a few months ago. It’s a highly desirable car. Am I opening myself up to jerks who want to ruin it or worse steal it just because I had the gall to have something nice?

              1. Mike C.*

                By they way, my wife has the spare key. Much like those pictures, should I be blamed if she decides to steal it?

                1. Meganly*

                  It’s definitely your fault! Women love cars and can’t really be expected to just ignore the temptation, even if it’s someone you love and trust! She’s probably going to share it with her friends, too. :P

          2. MousyNon*

            :/ The problem is that society as a whole is not doing enough to make the people DOING THE SHARING responsible for their bad behavior. Instead, there’s a wave of “it’s her own fault, she shouldn’t have shared it! PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!!!” when the emphasis should be on training people NOT to be assholes in the first place.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Sure, there’s an element of personal responsibility there, and it’s wise to point out to people that they lose control of these photos once they share them with someone else. But the behavior of the person who circulates them to an audience they weren’t intended for is far more troubling, and I think what people are reacting to here is when a commenter places a heavier focus on the woman sharing them with a partner than on the man who then breaks that trust and behaves like an asshole. Behaving like an asshole is a lot more problematic and deserving of condemnation than being overly trusting of a partner, no?

            1. Gilby*

              Agreed. And I think that is part of the issue here. I am not talking about my husband of 11 years and if I sent him a “pic” of me. I wouldn’t but that is just me. But I know he wouldn’t share.

              But I am wondering if people are not as careful in the first stages of a relationship where you don’t know the person as well. Are these casual relationships? Just asking.

              So yes I see your point completley. But I do wonder if many people are sharing way too early in a relationship and too freely as well.

              1. Mike C.*

                Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but the harm isn’t caused by trusting, the harm is caused by abusing said trust.

                Those pictures, like an unlocked car or the proverbial miniskirt aren’t doing harm by themselves.

                1. Anonymous*

                  I have the right to leave my car unlocked and expect it to be there the next day. However, I’d like to increase my odds of having it be there by locking the car.

                  Your arguments all make sense in theory. We do’t live in theory, we live in the real world. In the real world, people steal your stuff. That’s wrong of them to do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to lock my stuff up in a reasonable manner.

                  I’m not going to build a moat around my house, but I’m also not going out of town for a week and leave every door and window to my house open.

                2. fposte*

                  Sure, but the person who stole your car is still a criminal, has still broken the law, and will be treated accordingly. Your risk mitigation is unrelated to his culpability.

                3. Anonymous*

                  Exactly – my risk mitigation has nothing to do with the culpability of the thief who takes my car; my risk mitigation doesn’t absolove him of his responsibility and his responsibility doesn’t mean I don’t have tactics I can use to make it less likely he will pick my car to steal.

              2. myswtghst*

                Sometimes people are just really trusting. Sometimes people aren’t great judges of character. Sometimes people are really good at pretending to be genuine and trustworthy, when they really aren’t. Sometimes people change and become jerks.

                There is no test for your partner to pass before sharing pictures – you do it when you trust them to be a decent human being. Do we really need to lay down rules for when you trust / know someone “enough” that you’ll get sympathy if they break that trust and do something super sh*tty? Can’t we just judge the people who do the sh*tty thing instead?

              3. annie*

                Not to burst everyone’s bubble here, but isn’t it true that something like half of all American marriages end in divorce? So even if you wait until you are married to take some racy photos which you then only share with your beloved spouse that you could never imagine you’d ever be without, chances are still fairly high that person will end up being an ex in possession of some racy photos of you. People should just be nice.

                1. Judy*

                  That statistic isn’t true. I verified what I recalled on Snopes.

                  The statistic came from an analysis that in many years there are X divorces and 2*X marriages. So if there are 2 million marriages in a given year there are approximately 1 million divorces. So the statistic is that there are half as many divorces than marriages in a year.

                  The statistics seem to show that just less than 1/3 of first marriages end in divorce, while a larger percent of second marriages end in divorce. Also that about 60% of marriages that end in divorce happen within the first 10 years.

            2. myswtghst*

              Agreed. I also think / hope it’s pretty common knowledge now that once you send a picture / post it online, you no longer control it, so I don’t think there’s any need to keep beating that dead horse when we could be having a much-needed conversation about why so many men seem to think it’s normal / okay to share those pictures without the consent of the person in the photos.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I think that until men start telling other men “hey that is for losers, man!”, change is going to be slow.

                I have another dear family member (DFM) that is fond of saying “men always do x” (insert some raunchy behavior). Once in a while I will say to DFM “And what do you say when other men say/do this in front of you?”

                To remain in the conversation and be silent is to condone. All it takes is one sentence and some people get the drift. Sometimes just walking away without saying a word sends a message.

          4. some1*

            Posting a pic online vs sending a racy photo to a romantic partner is apples and oranges. I’m sure you have sent texts to a significant other you would never have as your FB status.

          5. Bea W*

            What about people who share said photos as the OP’s ex did. Do they also need to take personal responsibility for their own deliberately bad behavior? Isn’t it contrary to the belief of personal responsibility that soneone who shares an intimate photo with an SO is the one to blame for what the person does with it?

    2. Mike C.*

      Why not spend your time telling “most guys” to knock that garbage off instead? It’s clearly a harmful and disgusting activity, and the men who do it should stop.

      1. RG*

        This – not only is the guy circulating the photo in the wrong, the people he is showing it to, who don’t then tell him to stop are also in the wrong, and contributing to the normalization of the behavior.

    3. TL*

      Actually, I don’t believe most guys will show them to their buddies. None of my male friends or relatives would. (In fact, my middle brother deleted such a photo on his phone because people kept finding it accidentally.) People know that sharing intimate pictures without permission is awful, inappropriate behavior.

      But we have this narrative that it’s the woman’s fault for trusting the person she’s – gasp!-engaged in a relationship with, so when a guy does share pictures, other guys don’t call him out on it; they just blame the woman even if they would never share such pictures of an ex themselves and in fact know the behavior is reprehensible.

      What we have is a lot of guys who would never share pictures rationalizing the behavior of a few, because it’s socially easier and more accepted to blame your buddy’s ex than it is to tell your buddy he’s pulling a d*ck move.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The hidden message is that “guys are all stupid, and they do stupid stuff all the time. Women should know this.”

        I think that is an insult to men.

    4. Jen in RO*

      I agree with you (except the part about talking to the guy – he did a sucky thing so he doesn’t deserve to be treated better by OP). I see this situation as similar to yesterday’s name conversation. Should someone judge you based on a name? No, but they might, so you need to be aware of that and consider changing your name for job hunting purposes. Should a guy show your intimate pics to others? No, but they might, so you also need to be aware of that. This does *not* mean it’s OP’s fault this happened, but it could have been prevented. It’s not your fault if you forget your car unlocked and it gets stolen, but you don’t say “oh we should try to educate people not to rob”… you lock your car.

      1. some1*

        If your friend had a valet park her car and the valet stole it, would you tell she was an idiot for giving someone her car keys?

        1. Jen in RO*

          This is a good analogy, actually… no, I wouldn’t think she’s an idiot (I don’t think the OP is an idiot either). [I know this was not your point, but I do get anxious when I have to give someone my car keys (at the garage, for example). I guess I feel safer because I know they would be easy to catch and prosecute if they stole it?]

          I don’t know, intimate pics kinda have a separate category for me. I would be deeply embarrassed if my coworkers saw me half-naked. A car is just property – I would feel angry or sad, but not embarrassed, and I would deal with those feelings better.

          1. TL*

            They’re different because women’s sexuality tends to be punished.

            (There’s also a intimate component, but you know you’re likely to be slut-shamed if something like the pics happen, whereas getting a car stolen is completely the fault of Bob, the stealing valet.)

          2. some1*

            Right. My point is that when you hand over your keys to a valet or a mechanic, you know are much more likely to expect to get the car back than from a random stranger.

            Someone who sends a racy photo to a partner is going to have a much higher expectation of privacy than if they post it on Reddit.

      2. Natalie*

        IMO it’s fine to include this as general life advice, but it’s not actually helpful to hear this after the fact. How is the OP supposed to use the advice “well, you shouldn’t have done that in the first place?” Chances are, she is thinking that all on her own and doesn’t need a bunch of people piling on with nothing actually useful to add.

        1. Jen in RO*

          Oh, I didn’t mean this for the OP, just as a general discussion… or a PSA for people reading AAM, I guess. Sadly, the OP can’t do any more than report him to HR and hope that it stops his crappy behavior.

            1. Zillah*

              Yeah, that’s my feeling, too. I think the question illustrates the dangers in sending risqué pictures to an ex all by itself.

        2. Gilby*

          Hopfully this is useful for all the jerks out there thinking nothing of showing pics to his buddy and getting a clue that it is a jerky thing to do.

          And maybe it is useful for anyone who is thinking taking a pic of themselves and sending it on.

        1. Jen in RO*

          You probably didn’t mean to imply this, but your post could be interpreted as “no one tells men it’s a bad thing to share nude pics” – and that’s just not true. “All men are pigs” is just as bad as “all women are whores”.

          1. TL*

            There’s education, which men have, and then there’s social pressure not to do something, which men don’t generally have, in this arena everywhere.

            Look, if Bob the valet told his non-thieving buddies he stole a car, they’d probably react quite negatively and either say they can’t be friends or maybe that they feel like they should call the police.

            If Bob the valet shows his non-picture-sharing buddies pictures of his ex, they’ll probably laugh and socially reward him or hold an uncomfortable silence. He won’t be socially punished (mostly likely) even though he has been told it is wrong.

            That’s what people mean when they advocate for telling men they’re in the wrong. Not a legal education but a social enforcement.

            1. Jen in RO*

              Thanks for explaining, it makes more sense now. (But I’d still rather keep my lingerie to myself than have to rely on anyone’s sense of morality.)

              1. TL*

                Right, and I think it’s a matter of personal comfort. It’s like email passwords or bank or credit card information – some people don’t have a problem sharing; others never will, even after years of marriage. (For the record, I would be much more comfortable sharing pictures than bank information!)

                No one would blame you if your ex-husband cleared out your bank accounts and left you broke, yet bank account information can lend itself to much more long-term harm than pictures. Everyone would say it’s reasonable to share money and account information with a trusted partner, even though some people choose not to and don’t run the risk of being stolen from.

          2. Forrest*

            No, my comment is in direct response to this: “but you don’t say “oh we should try to educate people not to rob”… you lock your car.”

            We don’t have to say it because we teach people across the board not to steal. But this may be a cultural thing, but in America, teaching people to respect women doesn’t always get the same respect as teaching people to respect things.

            So in America, its really common to say “you shouldn’t steal” in response to a theft and just as common to say “she was asking for it” in response to a crime against a woman (that’s sexual in nature.)

      3. Mike C.*

        There are a few problems with the “it could have been prevented” idea.

        It gives the illusion of control. Many people (including other women!) will tell rape victims what they should have worn or where they should have been to avoid being raped. That is, if only they had done A, B and C rather than X, Y and Z, they wouldn’t have been raped.

        What this neglects to mention (other than the fact that most rapists are well known to the victim and that the random “attack rape” is actually quite rare) is that many times it’s out of the control of the victim. Bad things happen to good, smart people all of the time. It’s really an extension of the “Just World Fallacy”.

        It continues to put the responsibility of harm on the victim rather than the person causing harm in the first place. And in doing so, it makes it much more difficult for the victim to find support from their community because so many are simply interested in telling her what she did wrong.

        1. Omne*

          I’m with you up to a point but it almost sounds like you’re taking umbrage with the idea of even discussing things that might increase the risk of an assault. I agree, don’t blame the victim but I don’t see a problem with educating people on potential risk factors such as extreme intoxication.

          I don’t think it’s a one way or the other proposition. I think you should be able to condemn rapists in all situations but also be able to discuss risk factors with those that haven’t been assaulted without it being considered blaming the victim.

          1. Forrest*

            “I don’t see a problem with educating people on potential risk factors such as extreme intoxication.”

            The problem is we don’t educate people, we educate women to avoid drinking. We don’t say “Son, don’t drink a lot or you may end up raping someone.” That would require us to consider that our own love ones could be rapists instead of the scary stranger who roams party.

            Until we teach men not to rape (and that includes what rape actually is, which we don’t teach) we can’t really teach women not to drink too much. Its a double standard.

            1. Jen in RO*

              So it’s better to say ‘oops, double standard, I’ll shut up’ than give advice that might save a woman from assault?

              1. Crip*

                And what advice would you give? The stuff that every person on the planet has already heard a million times? How helpful do you really think you’re being? Aren’t you really just repeating the same things? What we don’t hear (and need to) is this conversation centered on how one shouldn’t rape, no matter how vulnerable the situation of the other party.

              2. LPBB*

                It’s not that at all. We have been telling women for a very very long time what steps they can take to minimize their risks, avoid being raped, etc. We spend comparatively very little time talking to MEN about their responsibilities to minimize/prevent rape. This approach is clearly NOT WORKING because women are still being raped everyday.

                I’m going to highlight this particular blog post, but the whole blog is excellent. Obviously this post is responding to a specific article that was written about a specific event, but explains really well why only focusing on telling women what their responsibilities are is harmful and counterproductive. It might be a lot to wade through, but what he has to say about the Social License is especially appropos.


              3. Forrest*

                1) Why do you assume it would save a woman from assault?

                2) why is the option to only give advice to women? Why not to both people?

              4. Zillah*

                I hear this argument a lot, but it increasingly strikes me as very problematic for a couple reasons.

                First, as others have said, women already get bombarded with “advice” about how to prevent assault. Don’t walk home alone at night. Don’t get drunk. Don’t wear short skirts. Don’t be a tease.

                Et cetera.

                Most of this advice kind of sucks, and it completely disregards the fact that most assaults are committed by someone who is known to the victim. Sure, drinking less at parties will make you less likely to get assaulted at parties, but the effect of that on your overall risk isn’t hugely buffering, because there are so many other places that women get assaulted.

                I have yet to see advice that would truly diminish a woman’s risk of getting assaulted by a substantial degree, only advice that relies on smokescreens and false reassurances about what assault is.

                Second, as others have also said, the onus should not be on women to avoid situations where they might be assaulted, and that’s the form all of this advice takes.

                It does not generally aim to teach women how to be more confident and assertive in all areas of their lives, rather than falling into line. It does not generally validate women who stand up for themselves. It does not generally tell women that it’s not their fault.

                And that’s a problem, and makes me very dismissive of all of this so-called “good advice.”

                That is why educating people about not raping is important, despite the fact that almost no one does it. Teaching men not to rape is important, and does make a difference – there have been a couple campaigns in recent years that have supported that conclusion.

                Teaching people how to respond to friends who admit to raping can make a difference, because people will be less likely to rape if they’re forced to face consequences for doing so.

                Teaching people how to deal with victims in a sensitive and productive way is important, because it will make victims more likely to speak out.

                That’s what will really make a difference, far more than advice about how not to be a victim.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              I already yelled at the men on my blog. I’m not going to do it again here.

              Conversations about drinking too much belong in the pre-incident personal safety education that everyone should be getting (but don’t always) BEFORE they go out into the world. To cover that not-always, my music school required dorm residents to attend a talk about personal safety. I only attended the women’s one, so I can’t speak for what was said in the men’s dorm, but it did include advice about drinking. Even though we were underage, they knew it would happen. I hope the men talked about what to do when someone said no; the student who raped me in his apartment my junior year either didn’t attend that particular talk or didn’t pay attention.

              AFTER an assault, that sort of advice is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter at that point anyway, because the victim could have done everything he/she possibly could to ensure personal safety and still been assaulted. (And that goes for men as well as women.) What victims need is support, not Monday-morning quarterbacking. Believe me, they are probably doing enough of that to themselves.

              1. VintageLydia*

                + a million

                Not to mention there are those of us *ahem* who have been raped stone cold sober and wearing modest clothing so, you know, the advice like this that makes it seem like if you do everything right nothing wrong will happen rub me the wrong why. Good general advice? Sure, but it’s not a guarantee, and even women who don’t follow it for whatever reason is still not responsible for the actions of their harasser/assaulter/rapist.

            3. Jen in RO*

              @Forrest – your initial comment and your latest one seem to say two different things.
              First – if we don’t teach men not to rape, we shouldn’t teach women not to drink too much. Therefore, we shouldn’t say anything to anyone.
              Second – we should teach both men and women.

              I was arguing point no. 1 and I absolutely agree with point no. 2.

              1. Forrest*

                I don’t see the contradiction, since I specifically said until we teach men…so right in my first post I advocate teaching men.

                1. Jen in RO*

                  But “until” indicates something in the future. What about now? Between today and that unspecified moment when we will teach men… what happens then?

      4. myswtghst*

        but you don’t say “oh we should try to educate people not to rob”

        The thing is, society does a much better job of teaching people not to steal (and punishing them when they do) than it does of teaching people about consent and respect (especially in the context of women’s sexuality), both in terms of explicit lessons (in school and “the talk” from our parental figures) and in terms of social conditioning / implicit lessons (friends and pop culture condoning the behaviors).

        Even in this post, we’ve seen numerous examples of “well, if a man is in possession of sexy pictures of a woman, it’s completely normal to share those with his friends”. Even if some of us explicitly say “he’s a jerk”, it’s still being condoned as “normal dude behavior” by a lot of people, which encourages the behavior to continue. It’s much less common to see people condoning theft, and much more common to see thieves punished for their crimes.

    5. Meganly*

      Honestly, isn’t it a bit insulting to men to assume that almost all men are just going to be disrespectful to women?

    6. Jamie*

      I’m a big believer in actually having a conversation before going to management.

      I am too. In all normal work place situations – but this isn’t something that will be resolved by two reasonable people having a civilized discussion…this is one person trying to sexually humiliate another. He already took reason and civility off the table.

      I wouldn’t bother trying to work out a solution with someone trying to humiliate me any more than I’d have a discussion with someone who punched me in the face…I don’t owe it to anyone to hear their side of it when boundaries are so clearly and viciously crossed. I’d go to management and that discussion would be about the exit strategy for the perpetrator, period.

      And I say this even if it weren’t me. If someone came to me saying this was happening the only discussion would be to verify if he actually did it. If so there is nothing he could say to mitigate that – do the paperwork and get him out.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Way to go, Jamie. Sometimes we have to match people at the level they are coming at us. This example here is definitely one of those times.

  15. MousyNon*

    OP #3:
    Oy, linguistic snobbery is the worst. Irregardless may be a colloquialism, but it’s one that has existed (in PRINT, no less) as early as the late 1700s, so controversy or not, it IS a word. (

    And I don’t care if it was the CEO of the entire damned company, if they laid a hand on my face I’d be *furious*. If she ever touches your face again under the guise of ‘correcting you,’ you have every right to correct her–firmly and clearly–that she should not be laying hands on her subordinates in that way.

    WTF boundaries people.

  16. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I actually had a manager put her hands (loosely) on my neck and mock-throttle me while she and some co-workers and I were chatting. I thought about reporting it, because she was a horrible communicator and so not a good manager, and we didn’t get along, so it was definitely inappropriate….but ultimately I knew she was really a decent person who was just having trouble adapting to her management role. I only worked for her for a few months before she moved on (shortly before I did), so it was probably for the best, but that was almost 15 years ago and I still remember it clearly.

    1. Ethyl*

      I am, in my personal life, a pretty touchy-feely-huggy person. But at work I have very, very, VERY rarely hugged or even touched a co-worker. I would find it incredibly weird and off-putting to the extent that I might actually say something after the fact.

      One of my weirdest work-touching stories: I was temping at a local religious organization, temporarily replacing the long-time administrative assistant/front desk person, who was retiring. She trained me for two days, at the end of which, she hugged me. It was totally out of the blue and SO wildly inappropriate that it took me completely by surprise. I’m certain it was like hugging a rigid statue. But I guess she was feeling pretty emotional at leaving her long-time position where people really seemed fond of her, so I can kind of understand it? But it was way outside my personal boundaries of “ok touch.” ::shivers::

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I’m the same way! Except as a guy I don’t really get creeped out by over-touchiness, because I suffer much less inappropriate touching, and I have very little need to worry about it the way women unfortunately do. For casual acquaintances I just wait to see what the other person does and take that as their acceptable standard.

  17. Lily in NYC*

    #3 : My former boss was a total jerk and corrected my pronunciation of a French restaurant in front of 4 guests (they were on their way to the restaurant with him). I knew I was correct but kept my mouth shut like a good assistant. The best thing ever happened: the guests were from Montreal and weren’t that fond of my boss (no one was) and one of them said to him “No, actually, your assistant is correct and you are the one that mangled the pronunciation”. My boss turned purple and took his anger out on me later, but it was worth it!

  18. TL*

    for the correction one: If she touches your face again, step back from her, out of arm’s length, and then thank her for the correction. Most people understand that as you not wanting to be touched. If she does it again, step away and say, ‘thanks but please don’t touch my face.’
    I have huge issues with being touched without permission (especially unexpectedly, especially on my face!) and this would not be okay.

    1. Judy*

      I seem to have a sensory integration issue with touch, especially on my face. I don’t like anyone touching my face. I don’t wear bangs for that reason, they drive me crazy.

      My kids know that they shouldn’t touch my face.

  19. PoohBear McGriddles*

    #1 – It’s now the company’s concern because he’s showing them to their coworkers. If he were showing pics of someone else, it could still constitute sexual harassment because it’s creating a hostile environment. The employer can’t stop what he does outside the office, but they need to put a stop to it in the office.

    #2 – HR either intentionally or unintentionally screwed up. Any possibility they didn’t want you hiring your friend? Otherwise, their process probably needs some tweaking.

    #3 – It takes a huge amount of will power for me to hold back when someone makes such an egregious grammatical error, especially in email where I can “fix it” for them. But she crossed the line with the finger to the mouth. My impulse reaction would have been to swat her hand away. No telling where her hands had been previously.

    #5 – I would think earning a bachelor’s at 20 would be a significant accomplishment that would completely surpass any concerns about someone getting a GED at 16. Especially since your timeline would clearly show that you got the GED because you were ready for more advanced studies at an earlier age. Anyone who gets hung up on the GED is not seeing the big picture.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      #1 — I’d even add that in this case, the company can control what he does outside the office, or can at least discipline/fire him for it. Sexual harassment between coworkers can take place outside of work. If his picture-distribution is solely outside of work, it’s still harassment and the company can take action.

      1. Joey*

        Sure they can fire him for doing it outside of work but it’s very risky and most employers I know wouldn’t act on this type of behavior outside of work unless there’s a police report or a restraining order or something like that. It gets too messy and he said/she said .

        1. Anonymous*

          Really? Are you in an at-will state? Because I know tons of employers where this wouldn’t even be a question.

        2. Meg*

          Really? Plenty of places I’ve worked at (with one memorable exception) wouldn’t even hesitate to fire someone over this. After all, you can fire someone for any reason and you don’t need to even justify it. Employers that don’t do that are pretty shady IMO.

  20. Jubilance*

    #1 – I’m stuck on the “I apparently sent him lingerie pics” part. Apparently? Come on now, you know if you did it or not. Not victim blaming cause the guy is an ass & you should totally file a complaint…but you should also be adult enough to acknowledge that you did indeed send the pics yourself. Using “apparently” makes it seem like you don’t want to take responsibility for your own actions.

    #3 – Your boss can and should correct your grammar, but holding her hand to your mouth? Rude and unprofessional & that’s the part I’d be concerned about. She could have corrected you without the hand part.

    1. PPK*

      I see the apparently in several lights. Perhaps being annoyed with herself for sending photos. Or perhaps, she took some photos of herself on her phone and showed him and now suddenly he has them and she doesn’t recall actually sending them (maybe he took the liberty of sending to himself). Or perhaps she thinks it happened when drinking or something and doesn’t specifically remember hitting any send buttons.

      Or perhaps he took photos of her and she did not know.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        I agree with PPK. There are times I can’t remember if I sent stuff 3 hours ago, let alone the number of years it would have taken for me to meet someone else and marry them.

        Was it the brightest thing in the world to do? Probably not, but I did things several years ago that weren’t that bright either.

        Maybe I’m extra-sensitive to this right now because I’m dealing with a male co-worker who has been verbally abusing women and we’re getting told “I’ll talk to him, but you should really be doing X, Y & Z to prevent him screaming at you.”

        1. TL*

          Ew, I’m sorry.

          He just shouldn’t be screaming. I feel like that’s a pretty common workplace norm – don’t scream at people.

      2. VintageLydia*

        She has since dated and married another person so unless that was a whirlwind 6 month romance, it’s probably been some time. I’m betting that she forgot she ever did it.

      3. Stephanie*

        “I see the apparently in several lights. Perhaps being annoyed with herself for sending photos.”

        I use apparently this way in conversation sometimes to mean “look at this completely stupid thing I did that I thought was good plan at the time.”

        1. Kelly L.*

          Yeah, it could just be sarcasm or exasperation. I just realized I use the word that way sometimes too. Like if I say “the store is closed,” that’s just a factual statement, but if I say “So apparently, the store is closed,” I’m annoyed at it for being closed and/or at myself for going there without checking first.

          Ialso think we’re trying too hard to parse “apparently,” though; as someone said upthread, her responsibility for a possibly unclear word choice =/= his responsibility for breaking her trust.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Ok. So let’s pretend that OP wrote this: A while back I did this stupid thing- I sent my ex a pic of me in my “nightie”.

      This statement sounds like she is “taking responsibility”, right?
      But I fail to see what is gained here.
      So what is next? How does this change the question?

  21. Hand over mouth = foot in a$$*

    #3: The hand over the mouth thing is a bit disconcerting. OK, it’s more than that, it’s downright creepy and weird. I know, I know, some people might think this is no big deal depending on the relationship you have with someone, but even with my best friend of 19 years, I would never invade her personal space that way. Plus, putting your hand over someone’s mouth just speaks (pardon the pun) to all kinds of weird imagery in my head. It immediately makes me think you’re humiliating the person and/or it brings up images of criminal activity. Yeah, I know, it might just be me. But this seems an egregious invasion of personal space to me. Am I alone in this?

    1. Jen in RO*

      On the AAM commenter spectrum I fall more towards the “let’s all be friends at work!” camp, so I’m not weirded out by personal conversations and even hugging… but if someone at work, even my closest coworker, did this to me, I would be pissed off. It’s like the boss felt she was talking to a child!

  22. Jazzy Red*

    OP #4 – Don’t send an email to the executive! As an executive assistant, I routinely read all my bosses’ emails. And don’t send a thank you note in the mail, either. A lot of assistants will open every piece of mail, even those marked “Personal”.

    If the executive gave you a cell phone number, use that to thank him or her.

    You might want to give serious thought about working for people who will interview a replacement before firing an employee, and then telling job candidates that they’re going to fire the employee as soon as they hire a replacement.

    If they’ll do it to her, they’ll do it to you.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But if the executive is conducting a hidden job search, she’s presumably smart enough not to have the EA checking her email for her during that time. Also, calling to say “thanks” is going to be annoying to a lot of hiring managers in this contexts, particularly if you won’t leave voicemail and call until you get them on the line (as the OP proposed). Thank-yous in this context aren’t supposed to be interactive like that.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is what happened to me recently. Because it is a small department and limited resources everything was shared. EVERYTHING.

      If the original poster is still concerned my suggestion is to write a vague email saying “Thank you for taking time for our conversation yesterday… I was very pleased with the information you gave me and I hope we can have further conversation….’
      or something along that line.

      The way I handled my setting was by calling the personal cell phone number which I got from mutual acquaintances. The odd part was that I was running mostly on intuition. But my intuition was in high gear saying “Be careful here!”

      I do understand that hiding a new hire from a current employee can be bad. But in my case the employee was not happy, at all. The employee quit before my hiring process unfolded. Additionally, I had other people telling me that this boss is a good boss. And that turned out to be true.
      I also learned that the former employee was a disaster.

  23. Anonymous*

    #1. Help me, I don’t see how my sending my co-worker pics of me in my Victoria Secrets amounts to sexual harassment at work if the co-worker shares it with other colleagues? Did you not ‘apparently’ set the ball in motion? Are you not at fault? Should you not have to deal with the ramifications? You’re now married to yet another colleague; clearly, clearly you don’t mind having your victoria secrets on display at work.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Because a coworker creating an unwelcome sexualized atmosphere for you at work is harassment. Period.

      The fact that she dated two people at work has zero to do with this.

      1. Anonymous*

        That’s where we differ, how is it unwelcome under such circumstances? Her actions say otherwise. Dated one, married another?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I must not understand what you mean. Are you saying that because she dated two men at work, she should welcome revealing photos of herself being shown to all her coworkers? Please explain what you mean.

          1. Anonymous*

            Yes, her actions tell me she’s not too bothered about colleagues responding sexually to her. She admitted to ‘dating’ one and marrying another. Were those the only two with whom she’s had some sort of sexual liaison? Plus, she used a curious word about the pics: apparently. I ‘apparently sent him some pictures’? Did you or did you not? You should be sure whether you did. For me there’s some suggestions she might’ve sent others pictures as well that they’ve all now gotten together to show each other. She’s obviously sexualized the workplace and now is uneasy about her handiwork NOW that she has what she wants: marriage.

              1. Anonymous*

                She never said it was just two with whom she’s had a liaison. All we know is that she ‘dated’ one and ‘married’ another.

                1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  So, how many men must a woman date in how short of a span of time in your book to be worthy of slut-shaming? (I don’t really care what your answer is, I’m just curious what your arbitrary measures are for being a halfway decent human being to others.)

            1. Bluefish*

              Just FYI. Most people don’t just have one relationship, get married, and live happily ever after. I’m not sure what your problem is here (but you clearly have some issue with women being sexual beings that, gasp, can have sex with more than one person in their lifetime, and for the purpose of pleasure no less!). Sure, dating men you work with may not be the norm, but it certainly does not mean you give up your rights, privacy and dignity to all the other men in the workplace. GEESH! I don’t if if I think you are an obnoxious troll, or if you actually believe what you are typing. You really have some dangerous views on women and sexuality. I would probably examine that instead of slut shaming others.

            2. Meg*

              Do you understand what the word “consent” means? Because I don’t think you do. She’s obviously okay with coworkers who she has entered into a consensual relationship with responding sexually to her. This is totally fine, by the way, in case you were thinking of passing judgement on that as well. That’s not even close to the same thing as allowing every guy in her office to see her lingerie photos. She didn’t consent to that.

              The rest of your comment is so horrifically judgemental and sexist that I don’t think I’ll be able to respond in a way that doesn’t involve insulting you in all capslock.

            3. The Clerk*

              She’s obviously sexualized the workplace and now is uneasy about her handiwork NOW that she has what she wants: marriage.

              Oh. Deer.

          2. Not the same anonymous*

            She’s a skanky skank who had sex with TWO men and clearly is ok with everyone seeing her naked.

            Only sweet little nuns could get upset about their photos being shared.

            Some of these comments are making my skin crawl, yuck.

            1. Calla*

              I’m not oblivious to think people actually don’t believe this kind of thing in the real world, but my jaw still dropped when I read that.

              1. Bea W*

                Sadly, people do believe this thing in the real world and say it out loud. I had to read the replies to understand it was sarcasm!

            2. De*

              From now on, everyone who writes in with a question that touches on sexual harassment should also submit a detailed sexual history. Number and gender of partners, whether they were co-workers, time spent in relationship,… Only with this information can we truly determine whether someone was harassed at work, because as we all know, people who have slept with more than 1 person in their lifetime cannot be sexually harassed.

              Yep, lots of comments here that are making my skin crawl, too.

            3. Kelly L.*

              And these hideous comments only come out when a woman is harassed by a man. Ugh, who lit up the MRA-Signal? *eyeroll*

            4. Goofy posture*

              At least here at AAM, there’s a chorus of rebuttals (or horror, where appropriate) to counteract the disturbing ones. Sadly, it’s a rare corner of the internet where that’s actually the case and it’s too easy to feel like those views are actually the norm.

              1. Jen in RO*

                I love the AAM comment section because it’s so balanced. I’ve seen way too many websites where the situation got out of hand – the ones I ran into were mostly based on badly-understood feminism (along the lines of “a woman is never wrong and if you don’t agree, we’ll ban you, roar”).

            5. TL*

              I like how ‘married’ and ‘dated’ are in quotes.

              Because, clearly, the relationships were all just a front for all the skanky skank-sex she was interested in having. It’s not a real marriage unless you’re a virgin at the wedding!

              1. Anon*

                This. As we all know, respectable women will only allow the use of their shameful secret place by the purifying force of her husband’s sacred pen*s. Any women who has a relationship in which she gets naked in front of a man who is not her husband might as well just put an advertisement on the office bulletin board.

                1. feminonymous*

                  On a serious note, wouldn’t it be frightening to be told it’s wrong to do anything with a man your entire life, and then on your wedding night suddenly be expected to be all about it?

              2. Meg*

                I mean let’s be real here. If she’s dating multiple people, let alone *coworkers*, she’s just a gold digger! Obvious answer right there.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Note to anonymous: The last two comments you attempted to submit (but which were held for moderation and will remain there) were so over the line gross that that’s going to be it for posting here. Thanks in advance for respecting that.

      1. Goofy posture*

        I’m morbidly curious as to their content but it’s definitely for the best that we don’t know.

        Thanks for your work in keeping this comments section such a wonderful and productive space.

        1. The Clerk*

          Eve clearly, clearly didn’t mind having her fig leaves on display in the Garden. She rocked them for every snake up in that place and sexualized the whole of Paradise until she got what she wanted: marriage.

          And who do we blame? The poor snake.

          1. Kelly L.*

            The snake didn’t even mean to share the photo on Facebook. I mean, have you tried to operate an iPhone with only a tail?

  24. cncx*

    Regarding #4, I have had not one but two jobs interview for my replacement without discussing my eventual departure from the company (in fact neither even so much as put me on a performance plan or warned me so I really had no idea) and in both cases I had access to the manager’s inbox and saw the thank you notes. Thanks, bosses!

    It does happen. Hopefully I just had two really bad employers and had some crappy luck, but it is one of the reasons I follow up only with HR and not the hiring manager when I thank for an interview.

  25. ChristineSW*

    #3 – I can be really OCD when it comes to proper grammar and spelling, but I could never correct someone–friend or coworker–unless they specifically ask for clarification. The hand to the mouth is definitely over the line. Sure, if I have a really good relationship with the person, it’s not a huge deal; but anyone else? Not Cool.

    #4 – I was in that situation about 15 years ago, back before email truly took off. I’d made it to a second interview for a job that I was pretty excited about. At some point, I learned that the position I was interviewing for was to replace someone who didn’t know they were about to be let go. I don’t remember all of the particulars, but when I didn’t hear from them for a week after they said they were checking my references, I was stuck on how to get in touch with them without tipping off the soon-to-be-fired employee. Well, I caved and called the office, and GOT HER! I didn’t say why I was calling, but later got a voice mail from the director whom I interviewed with saying that they were going to “keep interviewing”. Oopsie. (though I think one of my references might cost me the job too).

    1. TL*

      I’ll correct but only because a lot of my coworkers/colleagues/boss are not native English speakers and they’re open to friendly, cheerful corrections (if it’s an egregious mistake or one that really hampers understanding them.)

  26. Joey*

    #2. I have a problem with throwing HR under the bus for not sending the résumé. Because if I was looking for a specific person to apply I would ask the HR manager to make sure the person hasn’t applied or why it wasn’t forwarded. I would absolutely accept some of the blame.

    1. Jazzy Red*

      In my former company, you could check with HR every single day for that application, and they would still have lost it.

      It’s entirely plausable that HR lost that application, at least to everyone who ever worked for my former employer.

  27. KimmieSue*

    #2 – Any chance that HR not sending the application actually did you a favor? You would not have been in uncomfortable position of interviewing and potentially rejecting a candidate that was far more senior than the role required (and more expensive)? I know it’s easy for us to jump on the evil HR rant…but I see this one differently. If you ultimately found a great hire, what is the big deal? Would you have taken the time to interview someone that you knew out the gate that the company could/would not afford? Also, if hired, if the candidate was really that senior, how quickly would they become bored and unchallenged in the role?

    1. OP for #2*

      Joey and Kimmie, I’m the OP for #2. I absolutely think we made the right decision on the hire, but am extremely embarrassed that this candidate didn’t even hear back from us since we mix and mingle in the same circles. Since I did follow-up with HR during our search process, I have already escalated this to the executive level. I was just at a loss for how to respond to the candidate – but this is super helpful.

      1. KimmieSue*

        Thanks for responding OP2. Best wishes with your new hire. If you find yourself in an embarrassing situation with the applicant, might I suggest saying something like “KimmieSue, I recently learned that you had applied for the role on my team and were not invited to participate in the process. I’m terribly sorry to hear that happened and we really want all candidates to have a positive experience, even if they are not hired. In the spirit of honesty, I would have been concerned that this might not have been the right role. We were looking for an entry to mid level person and with your impressive background, your clearly more senior. I’m hoping that should another, more suitable opportunity arise, you’ll apply again? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me when you have applied and I’ll do my best to help you navigate the application process?”

      2. Rachel*

        I think it is very professional and classy of you to care and follow up with your contact. Many times on this blog job seekers have bemoaned not hearing back or being automatically rejected as over-qualified when they would have taken a lower position.

  28. MR*

    For No. 5, I strongly considered doing this when I was a freshman or sophomore (14 or 15 years-old).

    At the time, all the GED test was, was about an hour long test, that was really easy.

    The only thing that kept me from doing this was sports. I played three sports through high school and obviously needed to be a student to play. So, I did and graduated on time when I was 17.

    If you don’t have something like that keeping you in high school, and the GED is going to be pretty easy for you, I say do it and go to college.

    Since you also seem to be pretty smart and savvy, I’d recommend taking as many classes as you can during the semesters while you are in college, in order to graduate even quicker and to save money! I did that and with summer classes, graduated in three years instead of four. Good luck!

    1. Anonymous*

      When I took the GED it was over 2 days – one full evening (Friday) and one full day (Saturday) – upwards of more like 10+ hours.

  29. Verde*

    #5 – Here’s my two bits from personal experience, and what no one explained to me (in actual, explicit detail) when I took my GED. I left high school a year early as I was burnt out, bored, and frustrated. My intent was to go straight in to college early. However, after summer school in the program I thought I wanted to do, I changed my mind. Then, I drifted school-wise. I worked, went to community college sporadically, and took classes as needed but did not complete a degree of any sort. It’s a long story, but the result I would share with you: If you know what you want to do do, go for it and stay focused.

    If you don’t know what you want to do but for sure want to hit college early, keep at it and get a bachelor’s in something, anything, even if it takes you a while to get there. Better now than later, as once you have it you can do whatever you want from there school-wise. What I’ve learned later, as I wanted to prove certification in areas that I’m expert in due to work experience, there are certain certificates (master certifications) that I can’t get into without a bachelor’s. It hasn’t hindered me at my current position, but it possibly could if I tried to apply elsewhere, though I would hope that my work and other certifications would speak for themselves.

    Also, a plan B for if you’re not sure what you want to do – look into other options for your final years of high school. Can you do an exchange program domestically or internationally, things like that. There are early college programs through some high schools, as well, depending on where you are. When I said I wanted to take the GED and why, everyone around me pretty much shrugged and wrote me off, rather than offer alternative and constructive ideas as to how I could have a satisfactory final year in high school. Pre-internet days, and there were things I simply didn’t know were options. So explore your options! No matter what, best of luck to you. My road was bumpy and curvy, but I ended up in a great place and gained amazing experiences along the way. There were just a few things I could have done to take some of the bumps out of the road along the way.

    1. Bea W*

      Back when I did it, there was no internet AND no options, at least not for someone with a craptacular record and no money to even pay for any alternative that would have accepted me with a transcript of mostly Ds and Fs. :-/ My grades were a reflection of an environment that didn’t work for me rather than my ability to succeed in different and more challenging type of program, but that’s not what people see when you give them a page of Ds and Fs.

      If the OP is someone who is just accelerating through high school and has great grades, then an early college program or exchange or some other alternative might be feesible, but all of those things cost. If you have spend money, may as well go straight to the college degree if you already have the academic potential to succeed in college.

      1. Zillah*

        There actually are early college programs that don’t cost – my (public) high school had an early college program, and you didn’t have to pay extra to take the classes. I know of others that this was also true of, and as far as I know, the only cost for AP classes (which can be used as college credit) was paying to take the test.

        I would also argue that academic potential is all well and good, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to navigate college socially. Some people absolutely can, but others struggle a lot.

  30. Anonymous*

    On #4: heed AAM’s advice and be very careful with a company and a boss who would hire replacements before they’ve dealt with the incumbent.

    When I started my first job out of college I discovered to my horror that exactly that had happened…worse still: the incumbent was forced to train me.

    The manager I worked for (the person who orchestrated this nightmare) was a lying, horrible, manipulative person who was also stupid, because who expects good results from a newbie who was trained by an incompetent person?

    Worst job ever. Twenty-five years later and I’m still scarred.

    1. excruiter*

      Yes, my first professional job ended up being like this. I was too desperate to turn down full time work but I really wish I had. That company thought nothing of treating employees horrendously, the fact that they hired me before firing my predecessor should have been my red flag.

  31. Bluefish*

    I have to say, my inbox is a little bit of an emotional roller coaster today. Both the GED discussion and the lingerie photos discussion seem to have equal momentum, with much contrasting tones. Every time I go to open an email, I just don’t know what I’m going to get :p

  32. Smithee*

    I almost always agree 100% with your answers, but I found the answer to #3 very disconcerting.

    Yes, we want people to use proper grammar, but there is a proper way to do it. Interrupting someone mid-sentence to correct their grammar is extremely rude and boorish behavior. It speaks to a lack of proper breeding if you correct someone mid-sentence and hold your hand up to their mouth. That is unacceptable in a work setting. That boss/manager wasn’t raised or trained properly – that is NOT how you correct someone.

    Take them aside and speak to them in private or gently correct them after they have finished. At least pretend like you weren’t raised in a barn.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m sure if the manager had written Allison she would have let the manager know that. But the employee wrote in about their manager, and in most jobs you have very little to no influence over how your manager handles things. I believe Allison was telling the employee how to handle a slightly inappropriate and rude manager without putting their job in jeopardy, which is…you learn to live with it. It doesn’t even rise to the level of HR action at a company like mine, where HR will go to bat for employees at every level.

  33. Smithee*

    Also, with question #5, many states are doing away with the GED and relying on other high school equivalency tests. Here in New York we are dropping the GED in favor of TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) which is geared towards Common Core and is said to be different than the GED (and much more difficult).

    Several states have made the switch to either TASC or HiTest and several more are considering leaving GED because they have raised their prices and are computer-based only. So the person in question #5 should check their state education department website to see if they are still offering the GED or if they’ve switched to one of the other tests.

    They all measure high school equivalency, but they are all different tests and score sections differently.

  34. Bea W*

    #5 – Nope! Go for it. No one will ever know really, especially if you have gone to college, and if they find out, no one will care. High School does not belong on a resume. Employers who want college degrees are only interested in seeing that you have a college degree.

    I dropped out of high school and got my GED. I did not go to college immediately, and then it took 8 years to complete my 4 year degree although I did a two year degree in the 2 years. I went to community college, got an Associates degree then transferred to a 4 year school to complete the BA I would need to be competitive in the working world. No regrets! I have an awesome career and work on a level where most of my peers have a Masters degree. (Not me. No more school, kthxbye!).

    As an aside – people who mock the GED – it’s really not an easy test, and it is not an easy out of high school. I didn’t find PSATs hard and would have done well on SATs had I stuck it out, but the GED was long and covered 5 subjects plus had a lengthy essay portion in addition to the multiple choice portion of the English section. When I finished with it, I did not want to go near another standardized test again ever.

  35. Woodward*

    #5 – GED

    I got my GED during my junior year of high school to attend college early instead of going to my senior year. I worried about this same thing; that it would look bad later. I have NEVER been asked about it since in any job related capacity. It’s not on my resume and NO ONE CARES. “Finish high school” seems like a big deal when you’re in high school, but once you’ve left it behind, it’s not relevant.

  36. Another Job Seeker*

    OP #1, I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. As to whether you should report it, I’m not sure. It may be helpful for you to ask yourself a set of questions. 1. Does this person has a significant amount of power in the organization? 2. Are people likely to blame you and not focus on this person’s horrible invasion of your privacy? 3. Are you in a culture of “boys will be boys” and “no harm done thinking”? 4. Do the people he is showing the photos to seem to approve of his behavior? If the answer to any of those questions is yes – or if it’s difficult to tell – you may wish to think twice about reporting it. On the other hand, if you have a good relationship with your manager, if your manager has a fair amount of influence in the organization, and you are in a culture that respects women and does not blame them for the negative behavior of others, it might be in your best interest to report it.

    I’m not sure you have anything to gain by talking to this guy. If you talk to him, he might get even worse.

    I saw something that might be helpful for you – regardless of your decision. If you Google “Revenge porn’ victims press for new laws”, you’ll see several articles about revenge porn. According to one of the articles, revenge porn is legal in every state except New Jersey and California. Like AAM, I don’t know whether the laws apply to nude photos only. I would hope that the wording includes lingerie photos, bikini photos, and others that disrespect the sexuality of the person in the photo. Maybe you can find others in your area who have encountered similar situations. Perhaps you may find some resources that can help you – and answers to your questions about legality. Stay strong, and I do hope he stops showing the photos soon.

  37. Vicki*

    “She’s your manager and she’s allowed to correct your grammar, even mid-sentence.”

    See, this is why I have a boulder on my shoulder about managers…

    No one should be allowed to do something like this unless it’s your mother and you’re less than 8 years old. It’s rude.

    And the hand thing was so over the top I’m shuddering just reading about it.

  38. minuteye*

    I’m reading archives and I doubt anyone is still reading these, but this doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in the comments, so just in case:

    Depending on your state/country’s laws, if you took the racy photos you sent someone, and they do things with those photos without your permission, you might be able to stop them by making a good old-fashioned copyright claim. You own copyright on nude photos you take, so to some extent you can control their use (for instance, if it gets put up on a “revenge porn” site with ad revenue, they’re commercially benefiting from your intellectual property).

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