I think I witnessed a drug deal at work, job offers with no mention of salary, and more

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

1. My coworkers stole another coworker’s car keys

This is not a situation I currently have to deal with, just one that I know about involving a group where I will be applying for a supervisory position. Would like to know how you would handle this.

One employee laid her keys down on a shelf as she went to the bathroom. When she came out she couldn’t find them, and looked everywhere. She was about to call her husband to bring her extra set of keys to her and another employee overheard her. The other employee admitted that she took the keys, and along with another employee, had devised a plan to get in the other employee’s car (Brand new Cadillac Escalade – not that it matters but still) and move it into another parking space where she couldn’t find it. Luckily, they did not do that.

How would you deal with this? Let it die, or talk to them about it and set expectations? I don’t know how to handle it (if I need to).

Are they all friendly and this was an affectionate prank that would have been well received? If so, I don’t see why a manager would need to intervene, unless the pranking got out of hand. But if they’re not all friendly and/or this wasn’t intended warmly, that’s not okay, and the manager should make it clear that people can’t take other people’s property, even in jest.

2. I think I witnessed a drug deal at work

Earlier this month, my roommate and coworker “Christina” invited several other coworkers for a party at our apartment. People smoked marijuana, which is something I am strongly against (I didn’t have a say in it at the time). Today, one of the newer coworkers, “Max,” with whom Christina is friends, stopped by “Jessica’s” cube. Jessica attended the party and smoked. While Jessica does float in several different departments, Max is new enough that he doesn’t have much reason to speak to Jessica yet. The main connection would be through Christina. Max and Jessica were talking in extremely hushed tones (Max is normally very loud), they left the area for a couple of minutes, and Max walked away with his hands in his pockets. Based on their behavior, I’m fairly certain I overheard a drug deal or the set-up for a later meeting. I privately messaged another coworker after Max left and she said she had the impression that I did, that either a deal took place or was planned to.

Our company policy expressly prohibits the possession, trafficking, use or influence of intoxicants and other behavior-affecting substances while at work. Is this situation something I should bring to HR or management? I did not witness an exchange of money or anything, but it was rather uncomfortable and distracting to overhear/see such out of the ordinary conversation and actions.

If I’m reading this correctly, you saw a hushed conversation and Max had his hands in his pockets. That … isn’t really evidence of anything. Many people walk around with their hands in their pockets and speak quietly on occasion. There’s nothing to report here.

I wonder if what’s happening is that you’re disturbed by what happened in your apartment and you’re now interpreting people’s behavior through that lens. Not wanting marijuana use in your apartment is absolutely legitimate and you should talk to your roommate about it so that she knows that it’s not okay to do that again. But other than that … well, you now know that some people you work with use marijuana in their non-work hours (which was probably true of previous coworkers you’ve had; the difference is that now you know about it). But I’d handle this by establishing some house rules with your roommate, not by putting your coworkers under a cloud of suspicion (unless you see real proof that you should).

(In the interest of full disclosure, I strongly oppose imprisoning adults for using marijuana in the privacy of their own homes … but it’s not okay to conduct drug deals at work, and it would be reasonable for your employer to take action if that were happening. The issue here is that there’s no compelling evidence that it is.)

Read an update to this letter here.

3. Asked to work all weekend after I resigned

I have a question about where it is acceptable to say I cannot work overtime. I recently gave 3 weeks + notice to my employer and will be leaving this job for various reasons, but mostly because I feel they completely take advantage of their employees. I gave so much notice because there is a deadline I would like to finish out and didn’t want to completely screw them.

Today (Thursday) we got notice that a consultant wants some work to them by Christmas day (today is Dec. 19, this is not in our contract with them, and their office will closed for the next 2 weeks) and my boss said OK, then told me I would be working the entire weekend. I said I didn’t think I could as I have plans this weekend that I have had for months. I’m an exempt employee, live in California, and I typically work 45-50 hours a week and am very underpaid. 

Is it acceptable to say hey I have plans this weekend I can’t work? Or am I required to work the overtime?

Totally acceptable. What are they going to do, fire you? You’ve already resigned. I suppose it’s possible that it could affect the reference they give you, but if they’re the type to do that, I question how reliable they would have been for a good reference anyway.

Say, “I’m sorry, I’ll help as much as I can in my time remaining, and in fact I pushed back my start date at my new job by a week to give you extra notice, but I have another commitment this weekend that I can’t break.”

4. Is my boss engaging in sex discrimination?

I work as a recruiter for a small company in the staffing industry. The company consists of about 75 people and the executive staff and upper management is male dominated. The one woman in place as an executive also makes up what “HR” we have, and she is very tight with the rest of management.

I have been in line for a promotion and am hoping to receive it soon, which often requires that I put in extra hours at the office (for which I am not paid overtime, and I am an hourly employee, but that’s a separate issue). One evening recently around 6 p.m. I started to pack up and my manager asked why I was leaving “so soon” and mentioned the other people (men) in the office staying late. Now, not only do I commute but I also take much longer than a man to make myself presentable for a professional environment. My response was “Unfortunately I have about an hour a day less than male coworker A and male coworker B (who I was being compared to) because I have to get ready and make sure I’m presentable in this professional environment. This probably applies to any female — she will take more time to get ready.” The real reason I was leaving “early” was because I had to wash my hair, etc. His response was “Well, maybe I will just hire guys then.” He said it with a joking tone, but there have been other comments in the past that make me feel as if he thinks of women as less capable. I should probably also tell you that he is Mormon and has a stay at home wife and 9 children, which could add to his negative opinion of women in the workplace.

What should I do in this situation? These types of comments make me want to tell him what an idiot he is (he is for other reasons, too many to explain here) and without any type of HR it’s hard to report him. I firmly believe the woman executive I mentioned wouldn’t support me if I told her this was happening. Sometimes I feel that even though I have earned a promotion, he’s withholding it and I may not receive it even though I worked harder than anyone in my department for it and he regularly dangled in front of me. If I do receive my promotion, I will be responsible for managing junior employees and it’s possible he could make my future team so uncomfortable that they continue to leave (we as a company have very high turnover). Thought, suggestions, advice?

I don’t know if this guy shows gender bias or not, but you saying that you need to leave work earlier than men because you have more grooming needs than they do is not exactly conducive to a bias-free workplace. And a joking comment in reply to your assertion isn’t evidence of discrimination on his part.

Frankly, you’re lucky that’s all he said — plenty of managers, me included, would have told you that citing grooming needs in this context was ridiculous, as well as a really damaging (and inaccurate) way to portray women as a group.

5. Job offers with no mention of salary

Is it normal practice for companies to make offers without knowing what the salary is?

No, not at all — but like every bad practice, it does happen sometimes. If someone offers you a job and doesn’t mention the salary, you should say, “Thank you so much for the offer. I’m very interested in the work. What salary are you offering?”

{ 422 comments… read them below }

  1. fposte*

    “Unfortunately I have about an hour a day less than male coworker A and male coworker B (who I was being compared to) because I have to get ready and make sure I’m presentable in this professional environment. This probably applies to any female — she will take more time to get ready.”

    Ouch. I just head-desked on my laptop. OP, I’m an atheist feminist female, and I would never promote anybody who used gender-based grooming as a justification for doing less work than anybody else. You aren’t facing gender bias, you’re requesting it.

    By the way, being hourly doesn’t necessarily mean you’re entitled to overtime; it’s being non-exempt that matters. However, if you are actually non-exempt, you’re right, you’re legally required to be paid overtime. But for the love of Susan B. Anthony, please don’t bring hair-washing into it any more.

    1. Saturn9*

      Or any justification for doing less work than anybody else? We all get 24 hours in the day and that means making hard choices. If someone can’t find a way to do the work I expect them to get done, I can’t think of any excuse that would convince me they deserved a promotion.

      In situations like these, one-off explanations are far less damning than anything that sounds habitual. Something along the lines of “You have to expect any woman you employ to spend less time working because we have to spend so much time reapplying our lipstick,” is basically the OP shooting herself (and any other woman who has the misfortune to work with her) in the face.

      1. KellyK*

        Absolutely. The only way it would be reasonable to bring up differences between male and female grooming standards is if you’re being held to a different standard *by your employer.* Like if you have some ridiculous dress code that actually stipulates make-up and nail polish. Or if guys show up in khakis and a polo shirt, but when you do the same, you’re told to go home and change. (And even then, it’s something to bring up all by itself, not something to toss out when asked why you’re leaving early.)

        It is true that women are held to different standards about appearance, and it does suck, but unless your employer is actually enforcing those standards, it’s not relevant to your work hours.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit*

        Absolutely agree.

        There is an interesting feminist conversation to be had about differing expectations for women’s appearance. I could imagine a interesting protest action (along the lines of working to rule) if a company were blatantly requiring different standards of appearance from men and women (like, men can wear jeans and t-shirts but women must wear suits and hose, full makeup and styled hair). But one-on-one? When no such discrimination is evident? That’s just going to encourage such discriminatory thinking.

    2. A Bug!*

      All of this! This letter broke my brain.

      No, OP4, it does not apply to any female. Perhaps you should look into less time-intensive grooming methods, because I can assure you, it does not have to take over an hour.

      1. Anne 3*

        Personally, my “grooming” does take me an hour – but that’s why I get up at 5:30 to get it done before work. And I’d never, ever talk to my boss about it.

        1. Confused*

          It’s a good thing Lady Gaga is a pop star, she would be up all night getting ready for the work day ;)

            1. Chinook*

              If you are in warmer climates, I would hope a meat dress would be against the dress code, but I can’t see it being a problem when it is -15 like it is where I am as long as you don’t complain about freezer burn.

              1. Windchime*

                Those of us who are bothered by noise would be so distracted by all those frozen steaks clanking together.

        2. en pointe*

          This. I will admit to taking an hour and a half to get ready in the mornings – which is my choice. I’d never mention it at work, ESPECIALLY not to try and justify differences in work product between myself and coworkers, male or female.

          Obviously, different women make different choices, as reflected in the various comments from women here, so OP please stop making those kind of generalisations about females as a group. As fposte noted above, expecting concessions based on your gender means that the one perpetuating gender bias is you.

          1. Bean*

            I cannot even believe that somebody would say this! Especially as a reason for why they cannot work late!! On most days it does take me a bit to get ready, but that’s to be expected when you are styling your hair and makeup to look professional and presentable. I have come into the office looking “different” (hair in a high bun, minimal makeup) due to working overtime because projects need to go out and they need my help. I would never say “Sorry guys, I know this multi-million dollar project needs to go out, but I need to go home now so I can make sure I have enough time to style my hair tomorrow” …that’s basically erasing all of the progress women have made in the working world.

            1. Marcy*

              I can believe it. My husband once sat in on an interview with his boss and the female candidate made it clear that she would not work past 5pm. When his boss asked why not (since the office doesn’t even close until 5:30pm and they usually work even later than that), she pointed at herself and said “See this? This takes work. I go to the gym at 5”. Needless to say, she didn’t get the job. But I bet she looks good!

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yeah, I really don’t get how that applies to the time she needs to leave, unless she’s requesting time off so she can re-primp for a night out? WTF.

            1. A Bug!*

              I just kind of assumed it was because she has to go to bed at an earlier time to accommodate her having to get up “earlier”.

              (By the way, I don’t have anything against long morning preparation times! I didn’t mean to imply that it shouldn’t take over an hour, just that it doesn’t have to, and if OP resents the time she’s spending, then she should look into alternate grooming routines instead of asking her boss to make exceptions for her.)

            2. Mints*

              I was confused too! I was like, did I miss the part about the holiday party happening after work, and actually reread it because I thought I must have missed something.
              Also, more broadly, what does OP think feminism / antisexism is aiming towards? A society where women work, but only in jobs that are flexible enough to allow hours of make up time?

              1. MentalEngineer*

                No, even better! Feminism is clearly aimed at establishing a society where women are so judged by their appearance that they have to take extra time to get theirs in line with the patriarchy’s norms AND where this is so normal that everyone makes allowances for the time involved. Wait a minute…I think there’s a show about this on AMC.

            3. Rose*

              I was really confused about this too. It seems like she forgot to mention that everyone was expected to meet at 7:30 looking great for a big client dinner. Otherwise, she just said “sorry, i have to leave and take a shower, unlike these MALES!” What the actual f***???

              Also, what the heck does “I commute,” mean?? Do your coworkers live at the office? Perhaps they have pull out cots? I think everyone commutes to work, and Allison has made it pretty darn clear on this blog that your commute is not an excuse to come late/leave early.

        3. Mimi*

          Yeah, i didn’t understand that comment. Don’t you get ready *before* work? You’re not taking an hour out of your work day to apply makeup and do your hair, right?

          1. Bea W*

            Some people wash their hair and/shower at night before bed to save time in the morning. The hair will really depend on your hair type. Also, not a good idea if you sweat a lot at night.

          2. Marcy*

            Most of us do but I but we have a couple of women at my work who come to work on time and then spend at least a half an hour in the restroom applying makeup and doing their hair. I’ve walked in on them many times so it is obviously a regular thing.

      2. Catzie*

        Exactly. I’m female, and it takes me about 40 minutes in the morning to get ready, from the time I get up to when I walk out the door. And I would never assume that because of that I have the right to work 40 minutes less than any of my coworkers.

    3. Anne*

      Yes. Oh my (lack of) god. What the…?

      OP #4, I am one of the most strident feminists you will ever meet. But what the crap? How on Earth did you think telling him that would be helpful, much less VALID? What makes you think that the appropriate reaction to perceived sexism is “I’m a lady and therefore need way more time than you do to apply my eyeshadow and crimp my hair, don’t discriminate!”

      Good lord. And no, not all women take that long to get ready in the morning. Way to stereotype and shoot us all in the foot.

      1. MrsKDD*

        Yes, this. Thank God. My mouth fell open when I read what OP said to her boss. A piece of apple fell on my desk. What. The. Actual. Hell. Please OP, in the future, tell your boss you have prior commitments or your commute does not allow for additional time or anything other than what you said. As a woman working in a professional setting dominated by men, I beg you.

        1. Jessa*

          This seriously. I had to read it twice because I really thought I had to have been reading it wrong. But no the OP really wrote that. Just NO.

      2. AdminAnon*

        Seriously! My morning grooming takes maybe 30 minutes, tops. Granted, I shower at night so that my hair has time to dry on its own, but even still. I could blow dry, straighten, and re-curl my hair and then put on makeup and still only take 35 minutes. I know that everyone has different needs and routines, but holy hell. I would NEVER use my primping time to justify leaving work early. WTF.

      1. WM*

        +1 I also don’t really even understand how the “I need longer to get ready” justifies leaving earlier at the end of the day. Unless I misread the letter… but if I was leaving earlier than my coworkers and my boss questioned me, and I’m not going to reference the fact that my work is done; why would “I take more time to get ready” even make sense? If I had been the manager I would have said, “You do realize it 6pm, right? Are you not done ‘getting ready’ for the day yet?” Cringe worthy, at best.

        1. Rose*

          Yes. I read this three times, because… what?? Not that it would be a valid excuse to come late either, but I don’t even get this logic.

        2. amaranth16*

          The only thing I can imagine is that she’s considering her time getting ready in the morning as being “on the clock”, so she’s thinking “bah, I started early this morning so really it’s 7 for me, I can leave.” I don’t know how she can begin to justify this to herself, but it’s the only idea I have.

        3. tcookson*

          I can’t really imagine why OP 4 feels entitled to special primping accommodations, but it reminds me of a coworker who was ill as a child and uses that as an excuse for all the special acommodations that she now expects as an (ostensibly-healthy) adult professional.

          1. ella*

            This might be legit. My cousin had leukemia when he was a kid and has had long-term effects, physical and emotional, both from the cancer itself and the drugs used to fight it (which were much rougher back then, this was the late 1980s). Some of the effects could be fairly debilitating.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      My head exploded. Bits of brain and coffee all over my laptop screen.

      I can’t comment until I gorilla glue myself back together again.

    5. Ethyl*

      “I just head-desked on my laptop. ”

      GAHH yeah me too. Also an atheist, feminist lady, and OMG LW4, what on EARTH were you thinking?!?!?!

      1. Marcy*

        You don’t need to be an atheist or a feminist or even female to know that LW4 is completely unreasonable!

    6. Bea W*

      You hit the nail on the head that her comments are a request for gender bias. Had I been the manager I’d have had to bite my tongue pretty hard to refrain from making the same sarcastic reply.

      The fact that he’s Mormon with 9 children and a wife who stays home to working to care for 9 children is irrelevant and doesn’t automatically mean he’s biased against women or would show bias in the workplace. Mentioning that and implying it is proof of bias just makes the OP sound like the person with a bias.

      1. bearing*

        I caught that too! Not only is she mistaking apparently equal expectations as discrimination against women, but she’s expressing some pretty serious gender- and religion-based bias herself. If the manager was a Mormon woman would she say the same thing? How about a man with a large family but a different religion? Sheesh.

      2. Jess*

        I had the exact same thoughts! I could see myself making a similar comment in jest if I were the manager…despite the fact that I’m female. And despite the fact that I sympathize with her point regarding the time and effort. If nothing else, the response should have served to highlight the ridiculousness of her statement.

        I was also pretty taken aback by the comments regarding her manager’s religion and family. That’s pretty prejudicial toward both the religious and women who stay at home with their kids (and their husbands). And incredibly close-minded.

    7. Katie the Fed*

      My fiance manages to take longer than me to get ready in the morning, and I’m not sure how/why. I’m pretty low-maintenance on grooming though. Hair pulled back, 2-minute makeup routine, teeth brushed – not that hard.

    8. Ruffingit*

      No kidding. GAH!! I just wanted to scream when I read that. And honestly I can argue that it shouldn’t be taking anyone that long to get ready. If it does, you need to get up an hour earlier than you normally would and deal with that. It’s a personal problem to be dealt with, not one the company needs to know about. It’s like saying “Well, I need to leave earlier because I have to get up earlier due to the hour commute I have to make here…” UH no. Your hour commute is your problem, not the company’s.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        It takes me about 30 minutes to actually get ready (including a shower), but another hour before that to sit and drink coffee and try to wake up. I HATE being rushed in the morning. But my bosses, male or female, have never cared about that (unless I’m late), or especially about what I do to get ready.

        1. Marcy*

          I’m the exact same way- I need about 30-45 minutes for breakfast, coffee and trying to wake up. If I rush myself in the morning, I’m all stressed out the entire day. I look forward to my relaxing morning routine. And I would never feel the need to leave work early because I got up early.

      2. Rose*

        I’m a professional female with 2 small children, and I get myself and both of them dressed, hair brushed, fed, dressed in snowpants, hats, mittens and scarves and in the car in 45-50 minutes. This even includes temper tantrum days.
        Some women just bring this crap on themselves. I couldn’t even imagine using putting lipstick on and curling my hair as an excuse to work less (be late), than others.

        1. Elizabeth*

          I marvel at you. I have a pretty brief grooming routine (maybe three minutes to work some mousse through my hair, and a little longer than my boyfriend to try to pick out an outfit) but I’m so bleary in the morning that getting ready takes me a long time anyway. I am so glad that I’m not responsible for getting anyone else out of the house along with me! (I do want kids, so know it will happen someday… but it’s one of the few parts of having kids that I am not looking forward to At All.)

    9. JuliB*

      I can get ready in 5-10 minutes – I put my hair in a pony tail, wash my face, thrown on moisturizer and bring my make-up with me if I want to duck into the restroom and put some on.

      I’m not a feminist, but I would have a HUGE issue with your statement. Look into streamlining your grooming.

    10. JH*

      Why do you feel the need to identify yourself as an atheist feminist? How about just, “I’m a feminist.” Would you not promote someone who said they need to leave work for a religious function either?

      1. fposte*

        The OP raised the level of faith being an issue in her manager’s response to her utterance. I was pointing out that I am not Mormon and I too thought her utterance was bizarre.

        If you thought that my identifying as atheist meant I’d religiously discriminate, why aren’t you concerned that my identifying as a woman means that I’d discriminate based on gender?

        1. JH*

          You didn’t demonstrate your any logical connection between your belief system and the rest of your post, so I was confused as to why you felt the need to identify yourself as atheist. But now I get it. Based solely on the fact that you are an atheist, you think that people will make a logical leap and assume that you are more likely than the average person to believe Mormon men with stay at home wives disapprove of women in the workplace. But the latter does not follow from the former.

          To point out this logical error, I threw in an out of the blue unfounded assumption about you. And no, I don’t assume you would religiously discriminate.

          1. fposte*

            Wow, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but no, you’ve not captured my thinking with this comment either. The OP brought up religion as an issue and I indicated where it was relevant to me, just as other people on this thread have done. As far as I know, there is no official atheist position on female labor or Mormonism, but then I’m never at the meetings.

    11. glennis*

      Agreed that using gender-based issues like grooming is not a justification, but I’d like to broaden that to include most routine personal issues. The fact that one employee has a longer commute, say, or has to cook dinner for a family, or has to get home in time to feed their horse does not provide a justification for doing less work than anyone else.

      These are choices you made when you took the job; ever employee has to balance their personal life with their work obligations, and no one employee’s issues should trump another’s.

  2. Ann Furthermore*

    #4: OP, you don’t require more time to get ready than your male counterparts. You choose to take more time. I do too. I could choose not to style my hair and apply makeup each morning, but I don’t.

    I often grumble about how my husband can roll out of bed, throw on jeans, a t-shirt, and ball cap and be out the door in 5 minutesbut that’s just the way it is. I don’t seriously expect anyone to give me any kind of special treatment because I need to blend my eyeshadow or apply mascara. If your grooming habits are impacting your work, you need to change them.

    And I’ve also known plenty of guys who could give most women I know a serious run for their money in the primping department.

    1. Jamie*

      I give my husband a hard time about his wash and go style too, because it takes me longer…but he doesn’t get how perfectly applied mascara can make your whole day better.

      Seriously though, when women say these kinds of things it hurts all of us. Just like when people with longer commutes or kids ask for special accommodations – it hurts everyone else in the same boat who wouldn’t.

          1. Ann Furthermore*

            You know, I tried that once. It worked great on the upper lashes, but I couldn’t get the lower ones done because the fumes from the dye made my eyes water too much. Or something. I was volunteering to be a model for my friend who was in cosmetology school.

      1. Judy*

        My husband generally has a longer morning routine than I do, but I shower at night, don’t wear makeup, have long hair I just pull into a low ponytail or high barrette, pick out my clothes the night before because I can’t make decisions in the morning, and make my lunch the night before because I can’t make decisions in the morning. With breakfast the kids and I can be out the door in 45 minutes, if we’ve prepped the night before. He even has a longer routine than I do with me also herding 2 kids around in the mornings. And don’t get me started on the mornings he takes his electric razor and sits in front of the computer for 30-40 minutes.

      2. Zillah*

        I’d actually disagree with the kids/long commutes thing – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with *asking* for certain accommodations, as long as it’s truly a question and not a demand and it’s in a setting in which that’s possible. IIRC, we’ve had a few letters/updates from people who have kids/long commutes who’ve worked out an arrangement to come in a little earlier and leave a little earlier, and it’s typically seemed pretty reasonable.

        Which is completely different from the OP, of course. *Telling* your boss you have to leave early because you need to primp is absolutely absurd. That’s not your boss’s problem, any more than it would be your boss’s problem if you had to get up early for a baby or for dietary reasons or because the garbage truck always wakes you up. Um, no.

        1. doreen*

          I don’t think anyone has any objections to prearranged schedules which accomodate kids or a long commute. There are two situations I’ve seen that cause problems
          1) A person is scheduled 9-5, gets in at 9:30 , still leaves at 5 and expects “kid” or “commute” to excuse them from any consequences whatsoever. ( including not being paid for that half-hour or being required to charge leave for it)
          2) Office coverage requires that not everyone can be on the same flextime schedule and some people think that kids or long commutes entitle them to first choice.

        2. Jessa*

          Yes but asking for accommodation to get the kids to school could also be something a guy needs to do. Making it because the OP is female no. IF it’s something the job can do then great, if not, no. But as you said, certainly not for something like getting ready for work (unless the OP were disabled and because of said disability it took way longer than an average person, and they wanted to start later in the day and then leave later to make up for it.)

    2. Steve*

      I have a wash and go style too. I shave my face while I’m in the shower and my hair is buzzed short enough that towel during is all it needs – I don’t even need a comb. I can be showered and groomed in 15 minutes.

      BUT – there’s no way I can be up and off to work in that time. I’m SO not a morning person. Generally I allow myself an additional hour to do things to get myself awake and ready to face the day. Often I have to iron a shirt, perhaps press the crease into some slacks, but other mornings it’s just about checking out the weather and traffic, maybe catching up on some emails or even paying an online bill. Just general stuff to get me going before I sit in traffic for another hour and begin facing people – maybe that’s some of the same mental preparation others do while they’re applying makeup, doing hair, etc.

      Getting ready for work isn’t just about grooming, so no one can say they need more time because of their beauty routine when they have no idea what others might be doing to get themselves ready.

      1. Bwmn*

        This is an excellent point in that there are all sorts of things that different people do to prepare themselves for work. For some it is a beauty regime. For others cooking/preparing a balanced breakfast. For another, carving out time to exercise. Another, commuting an additional hour or two based on housing choices. For an individual, any of these factors (and I’m sure others) may be critical to be prepared for work.

        And most of them are reasons that our employers just aren’t going to be terribly interested in.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Generally I allow myself an additional hour to do things to get myself awake and ready to face the day.

        THIS A THOUSAND TIMES THIS. I must internet and dose myself with a giant cup of coffee (even in hot weather) before I can even think in the morning.

    1. Kara*

      I read that mouth agape. I shower and wash my hair at night. It takes a while, as I have a lot of curly hair (African-American with shoulder-length natural hair), but leaving work early to wash it? Just … what? And not only admitting it but thinking it’s a legitimate reason to do less work? That is insane. I leave the house about 45-50 minutes after my feet hit the floor, including breakfast; I shower and pack lunch the night before and my makeup and hair routine is pretty short. There is so much “WTF” in this letter that I don’t know what to do.

      1. Ellie H.*

        Yeah, me too. It also takes me a long time to wash my hair and get it into an appearance that I am happy with, but like you that is why I shower and wash my hair at night!
        It does aggravate me that it takes a long time but I definitely do not think of this as a feminist concern. Maybe if I were a guy I would look good with super short hair and therefore wouldn’t have to worry about it getting it to lie flat, but that’s about it.

  3. KarenT*

    There are so many issues with this letter I don’t know where to start. OP, intentionally or not you’ve used a lot if loaded language. “Woman executive,” “Mormon with nine children,” and so on.

    I’m hoping this letter is a gag!

    1. The Editor*

      I do, too. I’m more than a little bothered about the implied “Mormon = doesn’t get women/discriminatory” vibe. There are plenty of people Mormon or otherwise who don’t get women, and the generalization is quite unfair to a religion who maintains both one of the largest and oldest female organizations in the world (Relief Society, see lds.org for more).

      As a Mormon, LDS, and male who manages an entirely female team, I can honestly say that the women I work with are talented, intelligent, and capable women (the qualities I want in an employee). Some are mothers, some married, some not. I treat all of them the same. And yes, for the record, my wife is a stay at home mom raising four kids.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        Yeah, I’d bet my .50 on the letter being a prank from a misogynist Redditer with an anti-Mormon bias.

        1. fposte*

          Could be, but in my experience every troll is uttering in jest what’s true to somebody else (hence leasthelpful.com), so there’s some merit in truthful responses anyway.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

            Agree completely re the merit in responses as if true. Fortunately your early on post in the comment thread covered all the words I couldn’t find while I’m still sputtering.

            I’m a woman who started in a nearly exclusively male industry in 1980 and who did all of the things that hopefully young women don’t have to do today – worked twice as hard for half the success, had to be exceptional to be taken seriously, etc.

            I accept that the next generation will never understand what it was like for the previous generation. That’s how it works when things get better.

            But GOOD GOD, saying your grooming time is a reason that you can’t perform as well or work as long, that is a male Mad Men myth, exactly what we all had to fight when we showed up in the ’70s an 80’s. Could this possibly come from a woman of this generation?

            If this is a real letter, please hold my hand.

          2. Ellie H.*

            Oh my god – I have never seen that site before! Thank you so much for the link. I actually really enjoyed the final line on the “Home Alone” review.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        Thanks for the reminder that discrimination crosses religious lines. I once left a company owned by the LDS church because I got a very strong vibe that my new boss thought I should be home with kids, not in the workplace. But I need to remember that before he was my boss, I loved that job and co-workers and wanted to retire from there; our former CEO hired the best people for the jobs, LDS or not, male or female. (I am female and not LDS.)

  4. Anonymous*

    #4 you told your boss you had to leave earlier than everyone else to get prettied up? For realz???!!

    I had a roommate in college who took 4 hours to do her hair and makeup for class, are you her?

    1. Saturn9*

      Did the college roommate ever walk into class late and blame it on her mascara?

      (There’s a special circle in Hell for people who make these choices while failing to understand that they are making choices.)

    2. Lillie Lane*

      Totally unrelated, but this reminds me of some girls on my college dorm floor. They would only acknowledge people who spent a minimum of 30 minutes doing hair, makeup, etc. At this time in my life, I did primp, but my other friends did not. When my friends and I would pass these girls in the hallway, they would sweetly say hi to me but would pointedly ignore my other friends.

      I only hope that these girls eventually grew up.

      1. Sara*

        I remember spending a lot of time primping and preening in college–BUT for some reason I always felt like an airhead for being more interested in getting my eyeshadow just right rather than my assignments.

    3. Jamie*

      I know some women have hours long routines, but (and I know this is a stupid question) but what are they doing.

      Besides showering, my hair routine is blow drying and hot rollers or flat iron, make up is mineral foundation, little blush, lipstick, eye base, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara…the make up is 5 minutes tops and my hair maybe a half hour due to drying time.

      So it’s not like I don’t do anything – I just don’t know how is stretches to hours and hours. Is there some kind of foundation makeup that has to be applied in layers and dry between coats?

      This has always baffled me.

      1. Anne*

        It really confuses me too. I mean granted, I’m 25 and still not sure how to put on eyeliner, but…

        I guess if I’m taking a nice long shower, doing a face mask, various kinds of lotion, tidying up my nails, really pampering myself… that could take 2 hours? But every day, really?

        1. Jamie*

          Oh totally, and I was starting the timer after the shower and toning, moisturizing, etc. And I do get if you’re talking about deep conditioning, masks, brow tweezing…that’s just not stuff I do right before work.

          So if you add in shower and face care, moisturizing, getting dressed…I’m 1.5 hours from my alarm clock to out the door.

          It’s the hair and makeup taking hours I don’t get. I just wonder what they DO …because if it’s something that really works maybe I want to do it, too. But most of the people I know who claim to spend this kind of time don’t look substantially better than anyone else.

          1. Colette*

            Yeah, I don’t get it either. It takes me an hour from waking up to leaving (if I don’t get distracted on the internet), and that includes breakfast.

            (Of course, I rarely wear make up or do anything other than dry my hair – I’d rather sleep.)

          2. TheSnarkyB*

            I think most other people in the thread were starting the clock from the beginning of the shower or even from the alarm clock. From anecdata I’ve heard, it’s the shower time that plays a major factor and then it depends on other morning things.
            For instance, I have a much “simpler” makeup routine than you do but it takes me a really long time bc I haven’t figured it all out yet. Like… every day I mess with my foundation and blend it too much so I end up having to put on more to cover acne scars which I should really just go get a peel for and oh yeah whatever happened to that concealer that worked but oh crap I just missed my bus [for example].
            So, for instance, my routine is shower (which can’t be less than 20-25 minutes), and lotion and then foundation, setting powder, hair in a bun (must be semi-dried so it doesn’t try to mildew in that bun all day), clothes – and that means me changing my mind 3 times, and then repacking my bag everyday because I don’t do it at night and I need different stuff every day (screw grad school + work).

            The shower thing – my hair will never look right if I don’t get it wet in the morning, but it’s down to my waist and I’m black (& mixed), so that’s a HUGE combing/brushing project, which is what contributes to the 25 minutes.

            tl;dr: I guess what I’m saying is the timing variation could be due to starting the clock at different times, lots of variation in hair texture and length; and simply not having it all figured out yet.

            I can’t imagine what my AM would be like if I had kids to get ready, an actual “hairstyle” to try and combobulate, business-formal wear, etc…

            But yeah beyond that I don’t know what they’re doing in the morning.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              my hair will never look right if I don’t get it wet in the morning

              Mine doesn’t either. My mother has curly hair, and I got the texture but not the curl. If I just brush it and go, it looks like crap. Unless I have nowhere to go that day, and then it always looks fabulous. :P

            2. Zillah*

              Yeahhhh, hair can be A Problem.

              My hair has always been wild and curly, and it’s absolutely impossible to comb or brush if it’s not wet and coated with conditioner – and even then, it often isn’t easy (though it’s been much more so since I started paying for the pricy conditioner). These days, sleeping on it actually makes it look better (somehow), but for awhile, I had to shower in the morning… and it’s long and blow-drying it just cannot happen, so I would be up very very early so it would have time to dry. Which sucked.

              But I’ve never spent all that time getting ready. The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done is spend 45 minutes deciding on outfits because I wanted to impress a guy I was taking grad classes with. (We have ended up dating, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because I wore the grey skirt rather than the black one one day, or the blue shirt over the green or purple shirt another. *rolls eyes at self*)

            3. ThursdaysGeek*

              Your hair sounds amazing! Mine is down to my waist too, but it’s caucasian hair that is lank and very thin. I braid it wet the night before, so it’s a bit wavy and looks like there is something there.

              1. TheSnarkyB*

                Thank you! It’s pretty sweet when it’s doing it’s “tamed mane” lioness thing, but it’s hard to get it that way.
                That’s funny you said that because I’ve been thinkin about putting it in 3-5 big braids to smooth it out (the length of the braid and the tightness would straighten/stretch out my curls a bit)- funny how the same tools/ideas can have opposite effects.

          3. the_scientist*

            I don’t know, I have a pretty minimalist morning routine because I’m lazy and I’m lucky enough to have nice curly hair that I can air-dry. BUT my hair is ridiculously thick and generally unruly, so blowing it dry takes about 45 minutes, even with an extremely expensive and high-quality hair dryer. If I’m straightening it, that’s an additional 20 minutes (and yes, I must blow dry, then straighten to make it work). And then if I was curling it with a curling iron? Probably an additional 30- so that’s nearly an hour and a half right there. And then applying makeup to cover up acne scars and adult cystic acne (hooray!) is also time-consuming to do correctly (although I am too lazy and don’t like wearing makeup on my face, so generally don’t bother). So yeah, I can see how it can take a long time, especially if you’re packing bags, eating breakfast, packing lunch in addition.

              1. Bea W*

                In the case of unruly curls it’s easier to straighten and then add some curl if you don’t want a totally straight look.

              2. the_scientist*

                No, I usually leave it natural. But if I’m going somewhere fancy I might straighten and re-curl to get the look I want. I’d much rather sleep or go to the gym in the morning than spend 90 minutes on my hair!

            1. Observer*

              Thanks for posting this. I was getting a bit annoyed at the “Well, what’s taking so long.” Different people have different routines. And not every long routine is the product of vain air-headedness. (And, no, I don’t take CLOSE to an hour more than my husband to get ready for work.)

              But, it has NOTHING to do with female vs male. And in a workplace situation, it’s utterly irrelevant.

            2. Mme Marie*

              Hint on the adult acne (since you brought it up) – I finally sought out new treatment from my dermatologist and now take spironolactone and use a gell called Aczone and all that crap has cleared up off my face for the first time since college.

              1. the_scientist*

                I’ve heard lots of good stuff about spironolactone for adult acne sufferers. I’ve unfortunately had bad acne since my pre-teen days that is controlled but not cured with hormonal birth control so I’m hold out for the big guns (Accutane) once I have benefits.

                1. TheSnarkyB*

                  Thanks for the acne tips/consideration everyone! Didn’t expect that!
                  Yeah some of it’s definitely cystic but it’s springing up for the first time in years so I really need to re-evaluate what I’m eating, drinking, and when (once again, screw grad school). I’ll definitely ask a dermatologist about that medication- thanks!

          4. Bea W*

            I’m about 2 hours from the first alarm going off to the door. 30 minutes of that is shower, dress, primp. About 15 is eating breakfast. The rest is waking up.

            1. Laura*

              “The rest is waking up.”

              Yeah, my whole morning takes about an hour from waking up to leaving because my brain doesn’t work well in the morning.

              1. AVP*

                I almost cried this morning when I realized that I put my sock on backwards, so a hole showed through my shoe, and I needed to take off one pant leg in order to fix the sock. I feel you.

                1. Marcy*

                  If it makes you feel better, my husband recently wore two different shoes to work and didn’t notice until it was too late to return home to fix it. He hid behind his desk as much as possible that day.

          5. Anna*

            Same here. I can get out the door in 35 minutes and complete all the same things in an emergency, but usually it takes me 45 minutes to an hour from getting up and that’s with feeding the cats, forgetting what I’m doing a couple of times, etc.

      2. en pointe*

        I also spend an hour and a half from waking to leaving but probably about 25 minutes of that is spent on makeup.

        You can really do all that in five minutes? This is enigmatic to me. Like the woman who regularly applies makeup, including eyeliner, on my morning bus – she has to have noticed my creepy stares of admiration by now.

        1. Bea W*

          I can barely apply eyeliner in the bathroom without near poking my eye out. I don’t know how people manage this while commuting, especially on a bus. It’s an admirable talent.

          1. en pointe*

            Not to mention the risk of making a mistake and having to try and fix it on a moving bus. Talk about living life on the edge.

      3. Anonymous*

        If I am going “out-out” my routine can stretch up to two hours. It’s ridiculous. I have long, curly hair. Once it’s washed, I must detangle & section, apply products, blow dry, flat iron, re-curl, and apply more products. This can take 45min-1hr.
        Check for facial hair and remove it. Then I apply lotion, primer, concealer, foundation, translucent powder, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and pencil in my eyebrows. Weirdly, I don’t look like I’m wearing a lot of makeup after all of this. Change lipstick and put on more eyeliner to make it look like I am… to justify how long it’s taking me to get ready.
        Now that I have all this makeup on and my hair done… I have to dress up to match, otherwise it’s weird. Crap. I hate dressing up. I throw all my clothes on my bed, try them on, throw them on the floor, ask my boyfriend if every outfit looks stupid. Take a food break. Find a shirt and pants. These pants are too short for heels. Where are my heels pants? Uhg. Why do I have 2 pairs of the same pants in different lengths? Whatever. F it.
        That’s about 2 hours of my life gone.

        1. Anne*

          I’m sure you look amazing, and I am in awe. But that blows my mind. People have time to DO all that? How did you even learn it? I mean, I’m the nerdy child of a Berkeley feminist, I never got advice on ANYTHING girly but my period. So I’m sure my view is skewed. But where do people learn all this stuff?

          In the morning, I shower, put lotion on my face, then use concealer, foundation, and MAYBE blush and tinted lip balm. What’s primer? How is foundation different from translucent powder? Teach me your ways!

          1. Anonymous*

            I’ve learned everything from YouTube and Pinterest. I went from no makeup to liquid eyeliner in just a few months. You just need to realize your’re not going to watch a video, pick up some eyeliner, and be able to rock a cat-eye that same day. It takes practise.

          2. cecilhungry*

            I don’t know about anyone else, but I learned it in college. My mother had no interest in fashion or makeup, and never understood why anyone else is. I had a very girly, fashionable BFF in high school, and I learned a bit from her, but everything else I got from my roommates and sorority sisters.

          3. en pointe*

            I learned in high school. My friends and I did a lot of experimenting with makeup, fake tan etc. Regrettably, most photos of my 16 year old self look like a cross between a raccoon and an oompa-loompa, as a result.

          4. Sparrow*

            When I was in high school (in the 90s) I learned about makeup mostly from teen magazines (like Seventeen). I also just tried stuff on my own.

            Nowdays, there a tons of beauty blogs, YouTube and Pinterest with product reviews, tutorials, etc. I enjoy wearing and trying new types of makeup. I’m in my mid-30s and I still watch tutorials and read blogs to learn about the latest products.

        2. Karyn*

          “Find a shirt and pants. These pants are too short for heels. Where are my heels pants? Uhg. Why do I have 2 pairs of the same pants in different lengths?”


        3. Ellie H.*

          Yeah, it can take a really long time to do this stuff. I would absolutely love it if I could either: blow dry my hair and have it look perfect; sleep on it and have it look perfect (or just require touching up for a few minutes with a flat iron); let it air dry and have it look perfect. Basically, if I could have magically straight hair for the entire rest of my life I would pay at least a couple thousand dollars and more than recoup it in time, money spent on hair products and mental energy. Argh. Also shaving your legs can be really time consuming. And the worst part is that you have to do these things all over again the next time!!
          The thing is that I actually do enjoy these things to some measure, or I probably wouldn’t do them. I like the effect and I also sometimes like the ritual of it. It might be nicer to look the way I want with less effort, but even though I know that appearances aren’t the most important thing in life (far from it) there is some personal satisfaction in how we present ourselves to the world.

            1. Ellie H.*

              I’ve never come across one that I am confident would work the way I want it to. If I could pay for a treatment that would enable me to have smooth, sleek hair (it wouldn’t have to be stick straight, it would just have to all be smooth and to be able to air dry smooth without any parts drying into peaks off of my head) and cost less than $300 a year, I would probably do it. However, I think you have to do it every six months and it’s like $300 per.

        4. TheSnarkyB*

          Yeah, my “out out” routine is almost exactly the same. I also love with my bf of 3+yrs, so if I’m gonna go through the whole effort of dressing up and going out, I should probably shave (like shave shave) too because lord knows I’m not gonna feel this sexy again between Sunday and Thursday…
          And then there’s the whole battle of the bad vision (-7/-7.5), so I have to go looking for contacts because I may need to work on my self-confidence but yeah I still need to SEE if I’m taking a razor the the nethers. So finding the contacts and the solution that I never use- that’s an extra 20 minutes.

          Have we discussed the mini-panic attack that occurs when that 1 dress that always looks good on you is actually clean (YES!) but for the first time ever, it doesn’t fit (WHAT?!?).
          Yeah how long do those take?

      4. Bea W*

        Baffles me too. My mother took a minimum of 90 minutes to primp, and that did not include blow drying and styling her hair. I remember sharing a hotel room with her and needing to make sure I peed before she took her turn in the bathroom, because it was going to be a very long wait. I have no idea what she was doing, but she had a whole facial care and makeup routine. I could expect to be locked out if the bathroom for an hour at night while she undid all her makeup and whatever. My night routine is like 5 min tops.

        I don’t know all the technical aspects of what was going on in those 90 minutes, but it seemed like time she enjoyed. It could have been that maybe it didn’t have to take so long, but because she just liked having that time pampering herself so she milked ever possible second out of it. I really don’t like spending a lot of time on primping so I just don’t. I want it to be as short and simole as possible.

        If I’m going full make-up I need about 30 minutes from the time I step in the shower, maybe up to 40 if there is shaving involved or it’s a bad hair day. I’m a slow mover. Makeup itself doesn’t take me more than 5 min. The hair is the most time consuming.

      5. Ruffingit*

        It’s always confused me as well. I am totally low maintenance when it comes to my morning get-ready routine. I can understand it for some people who have, for example, super frizzy/curly hair that needs special gels and such to get it manageable. I’ve personally known people with that issue. But even there, it’s not an hours-long process so this whole tons of time to get ready thing just leaves me stumped.

      6. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t even blow dry. Makeup takes me five or six minutes on average, unless I mess up and have to start over (see Not a Morning Person, Part 2). It takes me WAY longer to get ready for an ice show or a date, but that is built into my schedule and I do not have to tell my boss about it.

        1. LCL*

          Let the dog out, feed the dog, give the dog a carrot. Empty the garbage because the dog can smell good smells through the closed cupboard and won’t stop whining. Sit on the couch with the dog and watch the TV news while surfing using the i-pad. Spend 10 minutes on shower, brushing teeth and etc, 5 minutes getting dressed. If I have to wash my hair I start 10 minutes earlier. Put the wet laundry which I forgot from last night in the dryer, or wash it again. All this in 45 minutes, who has time for makeup?

        2. Bea W*

          I only blow dry in winter and only because it’s too cold to go out in wet hair, and I take public transit. It’s not like I can sit in a nice warm car while my hair dries. I might blow dry if I have somewhere fancy to be, it depends on the weather and how I want my hair styled.

      7. Zelos*

        I am utterly incompetent at anything to do with hair that isn’t a ponytail, a half-ponytail, a bun, or a basic updo (and I have a special updo pin for that). I can easily see myself taking at least an hour JUST doing the hot rollers alone (flat iron? Make that 1.5 hours).

        I’m pretty incompetent with makeup too, but even I can get most of that done in 15 minutes. Although that’s usually just foundation, pencil eyeliner, mascara, and maybe a teensy bit of eyeshadow. Lip I do on my way out the door.

        So…maybe they’re totally incompetent like me? Although if they look fabulously put together, maybe not.

      8. Collarbone High*

        I once got a professional makeup lesson, and the guy told me that to put on foundation properly should take 20 minutes. I can’t even fathom how that would work. Do I use an entire container every day?

        (I will admit that after he spent 20 minutes applying and blending foundation, and an hour doing smoky eyes and false lashes, I looked AMAZING, but no way am I spending that much time grooming.)

        1. Kara*

          20 minutes to apply foundation? What? Really? I guess there’s a lot of blending and contouring involved that … virtually no one I know is doing. I use under-eye concealer and BB cream; application takes one minute.

  5. Elise*

    #4 – (generalizing, and no offense meant to anyone). Have you never lived with or been close friends with men who work in a professional environment? They need just as much time to primp as we do. Yes, women tend to do more to their skin but men’s clothing is more time consuming. Women tend to wear loose blouses and skirts. Neither needs ironing. Men’s shirts and pants must both be ironed and their shoes polished. Hair I will call a draw. Women may shave legs, but not every day. Male facial hair needs daily attention. Men also need haircuts more often and many use gel or mousse to style each day.

    If you work with men who are don’t put any effort into their appearance, then I wonder why you think that you must do so.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit*

      Um, I live with a white – collar professional man. His routine is probably 15 minutes: shower , hair gel, shave, dressed. Shoes are shined on the weekend. Clothes come back from the dry cleaner pressed.

      1. fposte*

        And I’m faster than that, and I’m a fairly well-turned out woman. But I also know men who take an hour and a half. So I’m with Elise in that there’s no automatic correlation of gender with readying time.

          1. Victoria Nonprofit*

            Whoops, hit return too soon. I meant to say: “People are individuals. What struck me as weird were the examples she gave, and her suggestion that men (in general) take longer than women (in general). I have yet to meet a person who shines their shoes every day.”

            1. Elise*

              I didn’t mean that. Only that it isn’t automatically quick and easy for a male to prep for work. Either gender can put as much or as little time into the process as the other.

        1. TheSnarkyB*

          Lol what do you mean by well-turned out? In my vocab, that means something totally different that I’m guessing you did not mean. :)

      2. hamster*

        The thing is, i don’t shave , i wax/use an epilator. I tweeze my brows and do my nails at a salon. In the morning , the only thing left is foundation if acne has made an appearance, blush , eye-liner and lipstick and mascarra. I wash my hair at night . If i braid it there are additional 15-20 minutes there ( i do a crown braid on unwashed haid , he he :) ). It takes me maybe half an hour. But then i look for my clothes . i eat breakfast, i check facebook. If not in a hurry , i need about 45 -to 1 hour alarm to door. If i hurry and do a ponytail, eyeliner gamine thing it’s only 15 mins. Whatever, both are my choices.

    2. Joey*

      C’mon now. It’s pretty common knowledge that women generally take more time to get ready. And for the record I have never met any man that polishes his shoes daily. Once or twice a week is a lot. I take about 30 minutes or so from shower to being ready to walk out the door in a professional job. And most of my friends think I’m high maintenance. Most women I know take a minimum of 45 min, but usually closer to an hour or an hour and a half.

        1. Anne*

          It’s almost like there are variations between different people that don’t correlate with their gender! C’mon now Joey…

          1. Joey*

            What!? I don’t really care how long it takes anyone to get ready, but don’t pretend that the average professional man and woman take the same amount of time to get ready. Most professional men I know don’t use makeup, a flat iron, rollers, fingernail polish, etc. Its perfectly logical that using those things will add time.

            Yeah, I know that there are women who can be ready in 10-15 minutes, but that’s more the exception.

            1. SLA*

              Yes, and most professional women don’t use all of those, especially not at the same time, each and every morning.

              Most men I know shave, use aftershave, gel their hair, iron their shirts, dry clean their suits, etc. Its perfectly logical that using those things will add time.

              Yeah, I know that there are men who can be ready in 10-15 minutes, but that’s more the exception.

              1. SLA*

                And yes, that was really snarky. I’m a little sorry, but only a little. I also couldn’t resist. We love you Joey, but saying categorically that women need 1.5 hours to get ready in the morning is going to attract unfavorable attention.

            2. fposte*

              Most professional women I know don’t use most of those either, though, certainly not daily. I think this is a serious YMMV situation.

              But I also hope we can avoid making this into some kind of “who takes the least amount of time to get ready” contest. People come to presentation different ways, have different goals and tasks, and different kinds of enjoyment, and that’s fine. It’s just nothing work needs to accommodate.

              1. Jamie*

                It’s just nothing work needs to accommodate.

                The rest is interesting to me, from a sociological perspective because I’m weird and I find information about people’s mundane routines kind of fascinating, but the above is what really matters.

                It doesn’t matter if it’s grooming, commute, unreliable transportation, kids…whatever…it’s not work’s problem.

            3. Jamie*

              I don’t think the time it takes is an indictment on anyone – I get what Joey is saying. Statistically I’m sure women spend more time on pre-work grooming than men – over all. Not that there aren’t tons of exceptions.

              My dad wore suits to work every day of his career. He didn’t iron in the mornings nor shine his shoes. He’d get dressed from his closet where things were hung from the cleaners perfectly pressed. Shower, shave, comb hair, brush teeth – done.

              My husband and two sons – we had to go to a memorial service recently and they showered, shaved, combed hair, brushed teeth. Done. My daughter and I showered, blow dry, curled, make-up, hair spray, changed purses, touched up nails…then we were done.

              It’s all anecdata, but I’m pretty sure that scene is more common than the women waiting around for the men to be finished primping (which I’m sure also happens for some.)

              1. Anonymous*

                I’m sure you’re correct that a woman waiting on a man is less common but I just have to say that after having most of my adult life in a long-term relationship with a woman, I am perpetually and disproportionately annoyed that it takes my current partner (a man) much longer than me to get ready. (and I can’t really figure out why. He just seems to be milling around to make me crazy as far as I can tell.)

            4. Cat*

              Women may well take more time on average to get ready. But most professional women I know don’t flat iron their hair in the morning (certainly not every morning) or put it in rollers (is this 1955?) or touch up their nail polish in the morning (that is reserved for hanging out on the couch on weekends). Most of the professional women I personally work with don’t wear makeup on a daily basis either, though I know that varies depending on the work environment.

              So yeah, maybe you can say that women as a group take longer to get ready than men as a group. But the variation within those groups is huge and you can’t take any given individual and make any kind of reasonable guess about how long it takes them to get ready based on their gender. Which makes it a completely useless data point.

              1. Zillah*

                Especially given that the OP said:

                “This probably applies to any female — she will take more time to get ready.”

            5. Bea W*

              It’s individual not gender based. There really are men who fuss over themselves that they take just as long as any woman. There are women that are very efficient and quick or more “wash and go”. I don’t find these things to be exceptions, at least not in my experience. I haven’t conducted a study or anything. Not all women are using all of those things you mention every morning. Women do not have to shave everyday although some do. Many don’t.

              BTW – women do not generally use morning routine time to polish their nails. This is a time consuming activity that does not have to be done everyday. They either go to a salon or pick another time when they can sit uninterrupted and do their nails.

      1. TL*

        7 minutes in college (I was damn good then) and 15-20 minutes now that I’m graduated. 30 if I’m really trying to impress. (Without sacrificing hygiene or picking out my clothes the night before, though I shower at night.)

        And I’m a woman.

        1. BeenThere*

          OP4# you chose to spend your time grooming rather than learning more about you industry. Your loss. Your boss has made it clear that time at work is valued over being window dressing. I’d listen to that and spend less time with the GHD and more time on your profession.

          I am a women and I go from from from bed to door in 15 minutes including a shower. My husband takes longer because he has to shave, that’s the only difference in our morning routines. We are not morning people so we prefer to spend the least time possible in it. We’d both be very happy if the machine from the Jetson’s that gets you ready in the morning machine was built and worked!

          I’m a software engineer and was a process engineer in the beginning of my career. I’ve always been a practical person so spending that much time on a daily basis on something superficial is something I cannot fathom. I could be spending that time doing something interesting or important or looking at cat pictures on the internet. As a result my morning grooming routine is based entirely around what takes me the least effort to look professional and make me feel awesome. Before I started my new job I decided to risk a pixie cut. This decision has been the best yet in the morning routine and has made me so happy (it helps that I’ve received tonnes of compliments ..guess no one was a fan of the pony tail/ bun :P). I also dye my eyebrows and eyelashes (they are blond naturally) and I mean I do the process of dyeing them once a month. I was too lazy to book appointments to get eyelashes and eyebrows done so I taught myself. Again saves me time, money and fits my routine better. If my skin is little patchy I throw on some tinted cream but I find I look much better and my skin is happier when I’m not wearing make up to the office every day. Maybe this is a perception illusions because I see myself in the mirror daily rather than the version with make up.

          The whole discussion on societies perception of what women should look like based on airbrushed magazine is another discussion

          I eat breakfast at work, I generally don’t get hungry until 9:30-10am. It’s a habit I developed working in Australia as to was common have all the items for breakfast provided in the office. I wake up on my drive to the office and eating breakfast over the emails and my to do list for the day.

    3. Jess*

      I disagree regarding women’s professional clothing being less time consuming. Neither skirts nor blouses need ironing? Most skirts do… unless you’re dry-cleaning between every single wear. But that seems like overkill. Most blouses will require either steaming or ironing as well. Showing up to work in a wrinkled skirt or top kind of detracts from the professional image wearing the skirt and blouse is supposed to connote.

  6. Lillie Lane*

    I thought that the “I have to wash my hair” excuse was mainly used as a soft rejection for a would-be suitor. Now someone is using it to reinstate gender inequality in the workplace. Yikes. I don’t know how you could expect to be taken seriously after this.

    1. some1*

      And an outdated one, at that. It comes from the days before electric hair dryers and styling tools were common so women wash their hair and set it sometimes as little as once a week.

      1. bearing*

        This is a dumb question, but I have always wondered what is meant by “setting” one’s hair. Is that some 1950s thing or do people still do it? What does it mean?

        1. fposte*

          It’s what we did before blow dryers and curling irons and straighteners. Put your hair in curlers for the shape you’re looking to get, dry it, brush it out with the appropriate goop and spray; you’ve had a “set” and you’re not going to touch it again for a week.

          1. Jen in RO*

            I am fascinated! And disgusted! I’m glad I live in the 21st century because I have a thing about hair products – I hate the feel of *stuff* in my hair so I only use mousse/etc 2-3 times a year. Setting my hair would probably drive me nuts.

        2. Kelly L.*

          I’m pretty sure it means styling it and putting in enough gunk that it holds the same style for about a week, and then you have to treat it really gingerly so you don’t smush it in your sleep, get it wet, etc.

          Shampoos were also much harsher at the time, so you’d wreck your hair if you washed it every day.

  7. Sandrine*

    OP 4… wait, what ?

    I can’t even understand how you thought you are not asking for discrimination in this letter.

    I am 30 years old. Typical attire is tee shirt, jeans, red or pink Converse. No make up. Sure, I work in a call center, but I still need to dress properly and stuff in case the bigwigs come but yeah.

    Do not use grooming EVER as an excuse. 20 minutes is plenty enough for essential grooming.

    My head hurts now.

    1. Anne 3*

      I disagree there – 20 minutes isn’t enough for me and plenty of other people (women AND men). But whether you’re wearing chucks & a tee to work or going full on business formal, I do agree that your prep time never should be brought up to your boss.

      1. en pointe*

        I think that how long people want / need for grooming is their business – it doesn’t need to matter to anybody else, (coworkers, managers or internet commenters), whether Jane takes 20 minutes or two hours.

        So, in keeping with that assertion, OP #4 realllllly shouldn’t be mentioning grooming time to her boss, least of all to gain work concessions on the basis that she’s female.

        1. Sandrine*

          Exactly en pointe. To be honest it’s not the time itself that rubs me the wrong way, but the “gotta leave early cause I’m a woman and I need more time to get ready” thing.

          1. fposte*

            Exactly. If you need three hours every morning because you can’t face the day without cartoons and getting your teeth polished at the hygienist, that’s your jam and that’s fine. But it’s not something work needs to know about or that you’re entitled to cut work hours for for gender or any other reason.

  8. Amber*

    4) “Now, not only do I commute but I also take much longer than a man to make myself presentable for a professional environment.” This truly made me laugh out loud. Obviously you don’t realize how ridiculous this sounds and you lost so much credibility by saying it.

    If your manager asked you why you are leaving so soon, this means you aren’t working long enough hours for the expectations of that job. This has nothing to do with gender. This sounds like you are the one with gender issues and not your company. If I were you I would talk to my manager. Request a short private meeting and fix this problem or your comment can hold you back from a promotion. (I sure wouldn’t promote someone that made that kind of comment). Say something like “I’m sorry about the other day, I was had a lot going on and said something I shouldn’t have. I’d like to address the issue about my work hours, you commented that I was leaving work too soon. I want to make sure we’re on the same page, what are the expected work hours for this role?”

    Notice that I focused on fixing an issue and not about comparing myself to others or using commute or grooming as an issue. If traffic is an issue for you then move but it is NOT your company’s problem and you should NOT get special treatment because you made the mistake of living far from work.

    Now to the subject of male vs female grooming. As a professional never, NEVER repeat what you said again. It was so ridiculous and out of touch with reality that I don’t even know how to address it.

    1. alfie*

      The OP said that if she gets promoted she will be supervising a number of junior staff. Would she then let all the female reports leave earlier than the males?

  9. anon*

    #4 ouch… Sorry, OP, but this comes across so badly… It’s like saying to your boss, “Oh, I’m an hour late everyday but that’s because I have to take the bus in/ drop my kids off at school/ etc”. It’s not your boss’s problem that your current routine requires an hour each day.

    Not to mention it feeds into the sexist old stereotype that women make bad workers because they spend too much time “primping” and care more about lipstick than deadlines. I understand what you mean in the sense that women often face societal pressure about things such as wearing make-up, but putting it to your boss like this just makes it sound like you care more about your appearance than your job, or even like you’re making bad excuses.

    1. Jamie*

      I remember being a kid and not understanding why this was an excuse because in my world people washed their hair before going out all the time.

      Then my mom told me tales of the olden days when after washing ones hair they had to sit under weird dryers with caps or sleep on hard plastic rollers. So washing hair literally took you out of commission for a while. It was in many ways a more complicated age.

      1. Tina*

        On our wedding RSVP cards, we went with a fun, mad libs type of situation. The options were a)be there with bells on or b) washing my hair. A few people didn’t understand the reference at all. Instead of asking me what it meant, my 24 year old sister checked “washing my hair” even though she actually intended to come. I had to laugh.

      2. Bea W*

        My mother actually had one of of these weird dryer contraptions when I was a kid. I remember the hard rollers too.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Mine did too–a suitcase thing with a hose and a shower cap thing. We used to think it was so weird.

          I do remember the big plastic rollers, and I had hot rollers as a teenager. I actually have a container of perm rods and I use them to curl my hair sometimes.

          1. AnonAdmin*

            I still have one! I bought it at a flea market in hopes that it would fulfill my dream of a hands-free hairdryer a la Blade Runner that I could use while brushing my teeth, putting on lotion and makeup, etc. Alas, it didn’t and so I still take 35 minutes from bed to door (including shower and breakfast). But I’m always on the lookout for ways to sleep in more…

        1. Judy*

          My mother-in-law sleeps with the foam rollers now, I guess. She has the short curled hair. No other way my 7 year old would know to point them out in the store and ask for them. I only will curl the hair on Saturday nights. Any other night, she’s going to have to learn to do that herself.

          1. Al Lo*

            I slept in the foam rollers on Saturday nights, after my bath, to get ready for church on Sunday.

            I think I may still have a set around somewhere — although these days, I’m way more likely to use hot rollers.

      3. AVP*

        My mom (who was a teenager in the ’60’s) always horrified me with stories about how she would sleep with her hair rolled around giant tin cans to flatten it out.

        1. fposte*

          It’s a case of what you’re used to, though–as opposed to burning fossil fuels to generate enough electricity to heat something up to 400 freaking degrees and subject our hair to it :-)?

  10. Anne 3*

    #2 To each their own and I totally understand why you’d be uncomfortable with your coworkers smoking weed at your house, but IA that you’re jumping to conclusions here! Two people talking quietly =/= a drug deal.

    (Whatever you do, don’t resort to hiding a caprese salad in their desk to get them arrested ;) )

    1. Chinook*

      As someone who had a coworker fired for offering drugs to another coworker, let me echo AAM that you don’t have any evidence. Talking quietly to someone else you only met at a party? The guy could have been asking her out. The hands in pockets could have been trying to cover a reaction to her response (think embarrased teenage boy). Or it could mean nothing. A false accusation could ruin their careers-or yours.

      Now, if one of them approaches you about drugs, feel free to accuse. And talk to your roommate. I should think that drug use in a home should be something all occupants should agree on.

      1. Elise*

        I thought he was probably asking her out too. It is good to think of happy intentions for secret meetings.

    2. Mints*

      Haha Toby!
      Related to #2, one time I asked a coworker if he had any ibuprofen, and he did, and pulled out a baggie with like a dozen assorted pills. I kind of laughed nervously and said “Oh man why do you you have it in a baggie? This looks really weird” He said “no just be cool were not doing anything wrong.” He gave me Advil and I basically ran away. (explanation: he had been sick, and raided the family medicine cabinet, and put everything in a baggie that was handy”

    3. Anonymous*

      I do think that letter-writer should’ve been much more assertive with the room mate’s party offense. That’s completely not okay. The letter-writer is entitled to a drug-free life moreso than the room mate and office mates are their (most likely illegal) drug party. I thought Alison came down way too hard on this letter writer.

      Granted, the “drug deal” does sound like the letter-writer blew it out of proportion and is potentially imagining things. However, Alison’s pro-pot stance clearly colored her advice in a deleterious way on this one. It’s one thing to be pro-drug-users. It’s another thing to completely stomp over someone who doesn’t want to be exposed to drug culture. Especially since the law is on the side of the letter-writer in most states, and the letter-writer would’ve been well within her legal rights to call the cops on the room mate.

      OP, this is a discussion you should have with every room mate prior to moving in. All sensible adults should. You should establish some parameters for all sorts of major acceptable and unacceptable behavior and expect them to be followed, or opt not to move in together. Your room mate should be living with someone who feels the same about drugs if he/she will be throwing drug parties! You should be living with someone else who is not interested in doing drugs.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        How so? I said pretty clearly that the OP needs to talk to her roommate so this doesn’t happen again, and I also said clearly that it’s not okay to conduct drug deals at work, and it would be reasonable for the employer to take action if that were happening.

        I’m not sure where you’re seeing me coming down hard on the letter-writer or “stomping over” someone who isn’t interested in being around drugs.

        Also, I’m not “pro-pot.” I don’t advocate that people use marijuana. I advocate changing our laws so that we’re no longer sending people to jail for using marijuana. Those are two very different things.

  11. UK HR Bod*

    There’s not much to add really is there, but I just have to because your ‘excuse’ and the way you talk about other colleagues (as Karen T mentioned) is so much more offensive than what you report your colleagues as saying. Your comment about your colleague’s attitude to women in work has no justification (that you have provided anyway). Maybe he earns more and therefore it’s better for him to work – someone has to support those kids! And yes, the fact that men are likely to earn more is symptomatic of the fact that we have left the patriarchy behind yet, but it’s not all his fault. And the fact that you think it’s reasonable not to work late because you need extra time for grooming? Now, notice that the grooming isn’t the issue. I’m watching the clock carefully as I put my make-up on, as an hour baffles me, but still, looking presentable is required (note, presentable, not primped, groomed, tweaked to perfection). However, using the fact that AS A WOMAN you need more time to primp has basically said you want special treatment as a woman. If your colleagues do hold stereotypes, you’ve just reinforced them. You’ve made yourself look daft and made life harder for other women.
    And just to check – this isn’t you is it?

  12. Elkay*

    #4 Did you miss out “On the day of the Christmas party”? Because that’s the only excuse I can think of why your preparation and grooming time would ever be applicable as an explanation of why you were leaving earlier than your male co-workers.

    1. Shannon*

      Ha, yesterday was my Christmas party and I snuck out of the office at 2:45 to go over to Sephora and have my makeup done. It took 45 minutes, although that included the makeup artist discussing the look with me and going around the store to collect the products she was going to use on me.

      That’s a once a year thing though.

    2. Loose Seal*

      That’s what I thought too — that OP had to be back at the office holiday party that evening. (Otherwise, why would they need extra time to groom in the evening rather than in the morning?) But the instant my boss expressed dismay that I was leaving early, I’d instantly decide that my office could see me at the party in my all-day look and stay a bit longer.

  13. Louise*

    As one of only 2 women in our office. I think my (female) manager would be shocked if i said i had to leave early or could not get my work in on time as i had to wash my hair. It takes me two hours to get to the office and 2 hours back…. what do i do… Get up earlier …

    I dont think your boss is sexist. I think your boss is more bothered about the quality of your work rather then how your hair looks

  14. Confused*

    First, I’d like to know, is this your first job?
    I ask because your question/comments hint at a certain naiveté. I’ll try to be as gentle as I can.

    Your boss should not have responded, even jokingly, the way he did because it implies a bias …but your comments were inappropriate as well. Citing something personal and so trivial reflects very poorly on you. You have to get to work on time and look presentable. Different people get to that point in different ways. You could shave your head, tattoo your makeup on, buy 5x the same outfit, and live across the street from the office. Should your commuting coworkers get to leave 2 hours before you are allowed to?

    I’m also disturbed by your comment, “…because I have to get ready and make sure I’m presentable in this professional environment. This probably applies to any female — she will take more time to get ready.” You said your boss has made other comments about women in the past. How does your comment improve or alter his, alleged, sexist notions? In fact, it does the opposite. Including all women in your statement is just as harmful as your boss excluding all women from working at his company/getting promotion etc.

    We are individuals. There are millions of women who make themselves presentable, arrive on time, do their job, and leave at the appropriate time.

    I am a female and I work in a male dominated industry where appearance is very important. I need to wash my long hair every day, I must put on make up (scar), I have to put a lunch together (diet), and usually have a long drive in lots of traffic. But if I’m called to work from 9-5, I am there from 9-5.
    ***The preparation and travel are part of MY personal work day, not the company’s. ***

    I hope you take these comments into consideration and look at this as a learning experience. We all make mistakes, more so when first starting out, but “when you know better you do better” -Maya Angelou-

    Good luck!

    1. Elkay*

      Me too, so I’ll add a few comments

      #1 I think this is a know your audience type of thing. If the owner of the car seemed upset after the incident then I think it needs to be dealt with, otherwise let it lie.

      #2 If you think they’re intoxicated on site and it’s affecting your work then raise it, if not leave it be. It’s annoying (the smell of weed makes me feel sick so I get where you’re coming from) but in a work context you’ve really got nothing to go on unless it’s affecting their performance/your work.

      #3 Personally it would depend on the relationship I had with my boss and how they asked. In my last job I had to go to a conference the week before I left but I made it clear to my boss I couldn’t go if he couldn’t guarantee that I’d be able to honor the weekend plans I’d made before the conference came up. He said if need be they’d get me to where I needed to be at the end of the conference (conference ended Friday I had to be 8 hours from home on Saturday). Although in your case you’re required to work during the weekend, I’d be actively offering alternatives based on the fact you cannot work this weekend.

      #5 Seems bizarre and throws up some red flags. It may just be a breakdown in communication somewhere but you’re certainly not going to accept a job offer without salary information.

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      Ha, me too!

      #3, I was about to ask a similar question, not because I plan on resigning any time soon, but because I’ve encountered both types of attitudes in my career and I was curious which one was considered “right.” I have yet to witness an employee who has resigned being asked to work the weekend, but I have definitely seen managers try to figure out how to manage work that needs to be done after 5 PM with an employee who has resigned. Some of them don’t even bother trying to get the departing employee to stay — they just go to the rest of the team and say, “Wakeen’s checked out, so which one of you can cover?” But I’ve also seen others who react with, “Well, if Jane wants to get paid for her last two weeks, she’ll damn well stay!”

      I’m not really sure where the line of reasonableness is exactly, but I *definitely* think working a weekend is on the other side of it. Stick to your guns, OP! The worst that can happen (well, besides being fired immediately, if you need those last couple of weeks of pay) is when someone calls them for a reference, your boss will rant and rave about how you left them high and dry…but any smart reference checker will ask what s/he means by that and the answer will make her think poorly of your boss, not you!

    3. Cat*

      Heh, when I was reading through I thought “question #2 is going to be a huge lightning rod for comment” then I got to #4 and forgot the other letter had ever existed.

      1. AmyNYC*

        Resigned or not, I think working weekends is a sign of bad management – they’ve over-committed and now the staff has to suffer. I work 10+ hours a day 5 days a week, the weekends are my time and I ‘m not coming to work.

  15. Rayner*

    Did I somehow sleep through Christmas and wake up on April 1st? What…the… I have no idea.

    OP #4 – I suggest you wake up and engage the real world. You can choose to spend so long on your appearance, or you can choose to get to work on time. Same with going home. That’s how the world works – it doesn’t stop because you need extra time to put mascara on.

    OP #2 – Stop. Just stop. Breathe, have a drink of water, stop leaping to conclusions. If you’re unhappy, set guidelines abotu your own apartment, but unless you saw something definitive, do not tell your boss/react. You’ll look weird and paranoid, not a bastion of moral authority.

    1. en pointe*

      Agreed. What would OP #2 even say to HR or management? Attempting to report quiet talking and hands in pockets is likely to reflect much worse on the OP than the coworkers in question.

    2. Ethyl*

      #2 — seriously — you are coming across as totally weird and paranoid here, definitely do NOT raise this with anyone else. Maybe they were planning a birthday surprise for their mutual friend, or maybe they hit it off at the party and are secretly dating, or maybe they were just keeping their voices low so that other people in the cubicle farm don’t have to listen to their conversation. That has been pretty common in cubicle work environments, in my experience, so maybe take a chill pill and just focus on your own work instead of trying to find ways to get your roommate’s friends in trouble because you disapprove of the way they spend their adult, non-working time.

      1. Michele*

        +1. MYOB letter writer 2. You have no idea what the conversation was about and spreading gossip just makes you look like the jerk.

        1. Jaimie*

          +1 You have no idea what they were talking about, and gossiping with a co-worker makes it worse. Unless it’s interfering with work, let it go.

    3. Yup*

      #2 I’ll go one further and suggest that OP #2, I think you should considera different living situation. Based on your strong negative reaction to what could be a benign workplace chat, having this information about your roommate (and other coworkers that she socializes with in your shared home) is maybe going to create problems for everyone involved. I think you should consider changing up the roommate part so that the coworker part doesn’t become more difficult for both of you (and other coworker bystanders).

      1. ella*

        Yeah, this. Every roommate situation I’ve ever had, we’ve sat down and shared what we do/don’t like in our living situations, from how much it bothers us if dishes aren’t done, to whether or not drugs or alcohol are okay, to bringing sexual partners home (ie, is it okay to bring home somebody you just met two hours ago at a bar that you don’t know very well). I’m not sure if she didn’t have this discussion with her roommates, or if her roommates are just crappy people who don’t care about her needs for a secure home environment (which is not to say that drugs definitely equals insecure, but it sounds like for her, it does), or if her roommates thought it’d be an okay thing to do once a year. Regardless, the conversation she needs to be having is with her roommates, in their role as her roommates, not in their role as her coworker(s).

  16. Jamie*

    #2 – if speaking quietly and hands in pockets are signs of a drug deal I’m resigning today because I can live off all my drug dealing money…I do this all the time. It’s called keeping your voice down as not to disturb others who are trying to work.

    And does your company policy specifically speak to trafficking? Because I’ve worked in lots of “drug free workplaces” but I’ve never seen such specific language.

    And I’m more disturbed that you privately messaged another coworker to discuss your suspicions. This is the most damaging and destructive kind of gossip – spreading rumors and speculation about drug deals at work based on nothing. That’s a horrible thing to do, especially to the new coworker who has yet to build his reputation.

    1. Bea W*

      I admit to having (early in my career) shared some bud with people I have also worked with off the clock in the privacy of their own homes. If that plus speaking quietly and having my hands in my pockets is a sign of drug dealing, I’ll have to plead no contest. I offend on a daily basis, many times over.

      Just because someone uses marijuana in their own home, does not mean they are engaging in drug dealing, buying or trafficking at work. Speaking in hushed tones and having your hands in your pockets is normal human behavior. Should the OP’s gossip reach the wrong people, it could be a lot of trouble for people who may have been doing nothing of the sort, and that’s just wrong.

    2. Anon Accountant*

      If keeping your hands in your pockets and speaking softly is a sign you may be dealing drugs at work, then I’d better prepare to have my office raided.

      I’m naturally soft-spoken and often have my hands in my pockets because otherwise I have a tendency to play with my rings and watch while talking and not realizing what I’m doing.

      Even my coworkers who are usually more loud speak in hushed tones at times. Especially if they needed to discuss work matter of a sensitive nature.

    3. Lora*

      I work in pharma. For a very, very brief time, there was a “MegaPharma is a drug-free workplace!” notice up on the tackboard. It was almost as awesome as the motivational poster entitled “Innovative Ideas!” with a picture of a goldfish jumping out of its bowl, presumably to its death.

      OP2, you have probably worked with people on all kinds of drugs, illicit or legitimate, and not known it. Chances are good that if you complain, “Jessica is dealing drugs!” there’ll be several people who perk up their ears and wonder, “really? can you hook me up?”

      In your own home is different, and I agree that you and your roommate should have a serious talk about that. But at work…this particular thing is a bit like talking about politics or religion, it’s really unlikely to end well for anyone.

    4. annie*

      If I saw this, I would probably most immediately think that the guy has a crush on her and was going over there to chat with her even though they don’t have much reason to, work-wise. Even the body language description, to me, seems like a Jim and Pam situation!

  17. Jamie*

    #1 – can you clarify that this intended? Meant to be funny or mean spirited?

    Either way it’s ridiculous and I’d be beyond furious if someone dared take my keys much less drive my car, no matter how this was meant.

    But if you’re not their manager yet, do you know how their current manager handled this?

    1. Joe Schmoe*

      I am the one that submitted #1. To give a little background, this group has had horrible management in the past – their current manager was terminated two weeks ago after a year long investigation into sexism, racism, among many other things.

      The two employees in question have sort of formed an “alliance” I suppose you could say. And the prank was not well received by the owner of the vehicle. She told them if they would have done it she would have “knocked them into next week” (She wouldn’t have literally lol)

      I want to know how to handle ridiculous things like this because that manager’s postion will be posted next month and I will be applying for it and like to be prepared. Their current “manager” – not formally – they don’t have a formal manager right now – is not aware of the situation so nothing was done.

      1. Joe Schmoe*

        I should say – the two employees that devised this prank – they not only know better than to act this juvenile (both have grown kids and one is a grandmother), but with all the turmoil over the past year, I suppose maybe they finally feel free from the intimidation their previous manager was directing their way?

      2. AVP*

        Oh gosh, this just sounds like a bad management situation all around. Hopefully you can come in and get everyone to work for real, and then there won’t be time for crap like this.

      3. fposte*

        Might be best to start out identifying what you *do* expect from your employees and setting the example yourself; then if something problematic happens you correct early and remind them of the standards you’re expecting. I think that generally works better than telling people what not to do, especially if you’re going back to a time before you were in charge. And that can get into kid-like rules-lawyering (“You said not to kick the table. I’m *tapping* the table”) that you want to avoid.

    2. Cassie*

      I just witnessed a similar “prank” by some coworkers, but the item was worth much less than a car (the cost of the item was $10 or so). I was bothered by it because the coworkers were mean-spirited about it – when the owner asked where the item went, the coworkers feigned ignorance and kept laughing.

      It made me super uncomfortable just sitting nearby and having to overhear this. I felt like I was in kindergarten or something.

  18. Jamie*

    I should probably also tell you that he is Mormon and has a stay at home wife and 9 children, which could add to his negative opinion of women in the workplace.

    I missed this on first read. What on earth does this have to do with anything? Fwiw I was a SAHM for 15 years and no one who ever knew me, much less my husband, would have thought I was less than a man for doing so. He and his wife are likely making choices they feel are best for their family – like we all do – and you can’t read anything about his views of women based on that.

    If I quit my job tomorrow to stay home and take care of my family my husband would miss the money (and miss me having something outside the house to focus my obsessive need to fix stuff) but it wouldn’t change how he feels about me or women in the workplace. Huge leaps all over the place in this post.

    1. Anonymous*

      There are several research studies to back up the assertion that bosses with stay-at-home wives tend to have a more negative view of women in the workplace than bosses with wives that work. Also, bosses with daughters tend to be more supportive of women in the workplace.

      That’s not a reason to accuse someone of sexism, though.

      1. BeenThere*

        Yes I have seen that research too. I agree it’s no excuse for the OP to jump to conclusions.

        I sadly find the research backed up by my own experience though (disclaimer:I am not a statistically significant sample size ;)). I have found that hetrosexual male bosses with a spouse that has a professional career far more supportive of my career that those with the spouse that stays at home with or without children.

  19. Jamie*

    #5 I don’t this, but I even know someone who accepted a job without knowing salary. It was a first job (retail) so the assumption was min wage, but still…the hiring manager didn’t mention it and they felt it would be rude to bring it up.

    It’s so ingrained in some of us socially to not discuss salary or money because it’s gauche, but that does not apply in job offers. Just like it’s a social faux pas to take pants off when you meet a stranger, but it’s okay if they’re your doctor. All in the context.

    Ain’t nothing rude about asking about the money, people. As important as other things are, it’s the reason we show up every morning.

      1. Tina*

        +1 for the pants!

        It may not be the only important thing when considering a job offer, but it’s a necessity to know it before you accept. It’s necessary for your overall financial/life planning, and other decisions may be contingent on that information. You owe it to yourself to know, even if it’s uncomfortable to initiate the conversation yourself.

    1. LOLwhut*

      The first and only time I accepted a job without knowing the salary, I was a junior in college studying journalism, and I was offered a job at a real newspaper. They could have paid me in M&Ms and I would have taken it. I think they knew this, so I was literally paid Wal-Mart money. But companies dealing with older, experienced folks really should know better.

    2. Eric*

      I’m wondering if this is a very inexperienced hiring manager who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about salary. Or assumes HR takes care of it. Or just forgot.

    3. OP #5*

      well, I’m actually working right now. I had interviewed at a few places in a few weeks time, luckily the company I wanted offered me first…I hadn’t heard back from this place, and moved on. When the HR person called me, I said I would be interested but I’d like to know the salary first….that’s when they said htey would find out and let me know. but there were a few coral* flags throughout the whole process so I’m not very gutted about it.

      *coral because they weren’t exactly big huge red flags….just…little oddities I think.

  20. just laura*

    #2– If I were in your shoes, I would prefer to have a roommate who was more in line with my personal values/choices, and also not a coworker. It’s hard to separate the personal and professional when you are living together, as we see here.

  21. Bea W*

    Hard to tell if #1 was some co-workers playing a prank or something else, but the fact that they fessed up indicates to me at the least the key taker did not want to end up doing something malicious. Maybe initially they thought it would be funny, but then on thinking about it more, realized it probably wasn’t such a great idea? I agree with Alison here. Your response would depend on the relationships these employees have with each other, the intention, if the owner of the keys was bothered by it, and the general office culture – is pranking something co-workers occasionally do and mutually find fun or if it’s unusual and not very welcome or disruptive to the work environment.

    1. Anonymous*

      Even if it was a prank its not ok. I dont want one of my coworkers jokingly hiding my car and accidentally crashing it on the way.

      1. Bea W*

        This is exactly why you’d need to have more information about the relationship and the way these co-workers generally interact. I didn’t mean to imply that prank = okay. It’s not always okay, and some of what determines that is what people are doing and their feelings about it.

        I’d have gotten a laugh out of it, but if you came to me as your manager and said someone played a prank on you and you didn’t find it funny and were not okay with it, it wouldn’t matter what I personally thought, I’d be having a chat with your co-workers.

    2. Anonymous*

      It may not have been intended as a prank. I would rather have a coworker joke about moving my car than a stranger stealing my car. We have had many key adventures at my workplace since several of us leave our keys everywhere!

        1. Anonymous*

          We don’t do it to each other as a prank – we pick up the keys so they don’t get stolen! The joking that goes on when the keys get back to their owner help to lighten the situation. I mean, it is idiotic to leave your keys on the counter in a public space. I know this. I’ve still done it! I’m thankful my coworkers joke about my car and not that I was a maroon.

          Now that the OP has spoken up, it’s clear that this was not the case in their situation.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            That’s a good call, to grab them so someone else doesn’t. I meant if the OP’s coworker was playing a prank then it’s not funny.

            Don’t leave your keys lying out, though; if you have any workplace keys on them, you could get in big trouble if someone gets them.

    3. fposte*

      It also sounded in this case like the OP wasn’t currently their manager but was going to be soon. I don’t think I’d refer retroactively to an event like this if I were starting as a manager. However, unless they’re related or partners or something, I would quash such a plan if it came up in front of me no matter how good-spirited the prank. Once scraped fender and that’s a workplace drama I don’t need.

      1. Joe Schmoe*

        I am OP#1 and yes, I would not deal with this retroactively, but I have a feeling situations like this will come up again in the future – in the possibility that I do get that position.

  22. Anonie*

    #4- Not ALL women take an hour to get ready in the morning ( I certainly don’t!) and, believe it or not, some men actually take a long time to get ready. I’m sorry to say but the comment that OP made was very bone-headed

    1. Majigail*

      It took me a really long time to get out the door today because I had to read all these comments! I hope my boss understands!

      1. Anon Accountant*

        If he doesn’t, tell him you had to wash your hair.

        /my attempt at being funny before coffee

  23. Sabrina*

    #5 Oddly, I’ve gotten 2 job offers where they didn’t mention salary. I asked about it, but I kind of felt weird doing it because every other offer I’ve ever gotten has included salary when they offered it to me.

  24. Sophia*

    What I also don’t understand about #4 (aside from the ridiculousness of it) is what are you doing that you have to leave early? It would be just as bad to use it as an excuse why you came in late in the am but I’m not understanding how it would affect leaving

  25. Chinook*

    OP #4, your boss may be sexist but the remarks you made make you look sexist too. Women need an extra hour to look professional? Since it takes me less than an hour to get out the door, I can only think about what you must think of me (as I am female).

    Also, having a stay-at-home wife doesn’t automatically mean he forced her to stay home, barefoot and pregnant. She probably hd a say in the matter. If your boss was female with a stay-at-home husband, would you think the husband didn’t have a choice? In facvt, my mother was a housewife for 20 years while we grew up and then she started her own business, my dad retired and then he was the househusband. Sexism had nothing to do with it, just a couple deciding how to divide labour. But, according to your standardn my dad went from sexist to enlightened when the reality he was honouring my mother’s wishes.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      I agree completely. His wife may have always wanted to stay home with her kids and childcare costs can be more than a 2nd working parent’s paycheck.

      1. Chinook*

        And if you have 9 kids, I don’t think that there are many jobs out there that pay enough for childcare. It is better to have someone a home who can have time to do money saving tasks (ie homecooking from scratch is time consuming because you can’t leave the house with things cooking on the stove, comparison shopping and coupon clipping also take time).

        1. Rayner*

          Not to mention, just doing day to day chores like laundry or food shopping for eleven people in a family – that is a full time job and then some just by itself.

          Being a stay at home mother is nothing to be ashamed or shaming about – some people have no choice, others do but still pick it. Being spiteful about it is gross. And immature.

          1. Anon Accountant*

            Exactly. If a parent chooses to stay home and raise kids, that’s a choice just as it’s a choice if they have a career plus raise their kids.

            Maybe it’s just me but I read that part of the OP’s letter with a tone of judgment against her boss and his family’s choices.

  26. BCW*

    I was going to comment on #4, but everything and more that I would have said has already been said.

    As for #2. Thats another WOW for me. They were whispering and his hands were in his pockets, so she must have sold drugs? Thats an incredible leap to make.

    Aside from that, even if they did set up a meet up later that day to buy or smoke some weed, why do you really care? If they aren’t doing it at work, or coming to work high, its none of your concern. It almost seems like you are looking for reasons to tattle to HR that certain people are smoking weed. You need to chill out. Maybe smoke some yourself lol

      1. Jamie*

        If it had no impact on the job and they weren’t showing up under the influence?

        We don’t even know if a little bit is legal where the OP is – if so it’s no different than drinking. Would you tattle if you saw co-workers in a bar having a few?

        Even if not, I wouldn’t tell my boss I saw my co-workers jaywalking or speeding or that their lawns are overgrown past the village ordinance.

        1. TK*

          I agree with the principle here, but want to point out that no amount of marijuana is legal anywhere in the United States. Regardless of laws in individual states, it’s still all against federal law. And the federal government does indeed enforce these laws, even sometimes in cases when they say they won’t, or when many wouldn’t expect them to.

          People on all sides of debates about drug policy often tend to forget this, I think.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I want to reinforce the point that the federal government absolutely does arrest people for marijuana use, including in states where it is legal under state law. This is part of the reason that marijuana laws need to change on the federal level.

              1. Jamie*

                As one of those people who were confused in my case it’s because the sound bites on the news saying where it’s now legal, etc. and I wasn’t thinking about the federal law.

        2. Anonymous*

          It’s illegal in the vast majority of states. If you want to change the world, go get the votes for it. Don’t be shocked when someone else insists you follow the law.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I don’t think anyone is shocked. But now that the majority of Americans do support ending marijuana prohibition, it’s hardly surprising that people are annoyed that the law hasn’t caught up.

            1. Rayner*

              I don’t understand how something could be legal in a state, and yet not at the same time.

              That’s like saying on Wednesday we wear pink, but on the third day of the week, we wear black, and we’ll throw spam at you if you wear pink. WHICH ONE IS IT?!

              1. doreen*

                It’s not legal and illegal at the same time. It’s illegal in every state under Federal law, and some states also prohibit it under state law. The state laws don’t matter until and unless the Federal law is changed. It’s as if some mothers had a rule that you must wear pink on Wednesday, but others did not. It doesn’t matter what your mother’s rule is if there’s a school rule that says you must wear pink on Wednesdays.

              2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                If it’s legal in a state, you won’t be arrested by local or state police. You’re not violating a state law.

                However, you can still be arrested by federal agents and tried at the federal level.

      2. BCW*

        I’m curious why though. Again, if its not at all interfering with their job. And assuming they aren’t like a cop, judge, or religious leader, then why does it matter.

        Also, I know this could be a whole different conversation, but I guess I could see it if they were like cooking and dealing meth. But selling some weed? Even the term dealer is kind of misleading. If someone has some extra and they sell it to their friends, I wouldn’t consider that dealing. If they had like pounds of it in their car or a pot farm in their house, thats different.

        1. Jamie*

          Yeah – to be clear my response was with the assumption it’s a small amount of weed for personal use….not selling crack in front of a grade school.

        2. Cat*

          Yeah, I’m with you. If you work with Walter White, by all means report him to the authorities. Otherwise, maybe accept that it is not your job to be the moral police of your employees and co-workers. (Likewise, I wouldn’t suggest calling your boss because you saw your office mate speeding or because he mentioned pirating Season 3 of Game of Thrones.)

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            I’d also argue that it’s very different to have a brief conversation with someone to set up a drug sale later than it is to actually buy or sell drugs in the office.

            Both are inappropriate, sure. But one is dramatically more inappropriate. And one is just talking, with no crime having actually taken place. As Duck Dynasty has taught us, that’s obviously enough for an employer to act on if they wanted. But I would say that getting your co-workers into trouble for MAYBE TALKING about something illegal is a bit of a dick move.

            1. fposte*

              Wow. 2013 is ending on a weird note where somebody can seriously say “As Duck Dynasty has taught us…”

        3. Joey*

          Why is selling crack or meth not okay and weed is when they’re all illegal?

          And why is selling a joint okay, but a pound not?

          1. Cat*

            Because life isn’t black and white; not all laws are or should be enforced equally; legality does not equal morality; and not all laws are just.

            Would you report your co-worker for speeding, Joey? Why not? That’s as illegal as selling a joint.

            1. Joey*

              Not where I’m at. Speeding is a minor traffic violation punishable by a fine and selling illegal drugs is a serious misdemeanor or felony punishable by jail.

              1. Cat*

                So? It’s still illegal behavior – the fact that the penalty is different (it’s also different for smoking a joint vs. selling a pound vs. murdering someone) doesn’t mean it’s not a violation. If the employer should know about everything that is illegal and then make their own decision, why shouldn’t they know about speeding?

                What if you found out a co-worker downloaded the Breaking Bad finale from a piracy site?

                1. Joey*

                  I never said everything illegal. I could care less about little stuff. But I would definitely want to know if one of my employees was engaging in an activity that had potential jail time.

                2. Cat*

                  Well, I guess we just fundamentally disagree about the extent to which employers should attempt to assert themselves into the lives of their employees.

            2. Rayner*

              If they were driving a work van, on the company’s dime, sure, I’d do them for speeding (significantly. Not 2mph over). It’s dangerous – because excessive speed a primary cause in most car accidents on the road. It’s also expensive for the company because of insurance. I’ve lost family members to speeding, and my mother has life long injuries from an idiot driver colliding with her. It kills. Speeding =/= a good example for a innocuous crime. I’d go with littering, or maybe drawing on walls.

              If these coworkers want to give/sell drugs, fine. Whatever. I don’t make the laws, and my opinions do not make laws (although, if they did, life would be very different XD) However, it is illegal in many places to sell or to buy many substances including weed.

              If they want to do it, whatever. Go to a car park, or behind some garages, or somewhere else, and do whatever. But not on company time, not on company property, and not in front of other people from the company.


              1. Cat*

                We’re not talking about illegal behavior at the workplace, though. Nobody is disputing that if the OP had actual evidence that a drug deal was being conducted at the workplace, she should report it (the issue is that she doesn’t). Joey, however, is saying he’d report his co-workers for smoking weed outside the office.

                1. Rayner*

                  *face palm*

                  I swear to God, that reply absolutely made sense to me at the time of posting. *braindead*

                  I would think that would be subjective too, and it would depend for me both what line of work I was in, what I believed I saw being dealt, whether I felt that I could be sure… It would definitely be one of those situations that would have to be weighed up carefully.

                2. Jamie*

                  Actually, Joey said dealing – but I read it as smoking at first, too.

                  I think it all comes down to how serious an offense you find it to be. I personally think it’s it’s a small amount for personal use it’s on par with speeding…imo.

                  I doubt very much people are going to jail in my area for a joint or two. Court, maybe a fine, but not jail.

                  I think we’re all agreed though that if an actual deal was going on at work it’s an entirely different story.

          2. BCW*

            To answer your first question, they just are different. In the same way that something like public urination in an alley is different than public urination in a public park. One gets you on the sex offender registry, even though its the same action. As for the drugs though, even some laws treat them differently. For example, in Chicago now they have decriminalized marijuana. So if you are caught with less than a certain amount (whatever the amount is that is considered intent to distribute) all you get is a ticket and pay a fine.

            But yeah, do you feel the need to police all of the behaviors by your co-workers. If you found out they were illegally downloading movies would you tattle? Speeding? What if they were just smoking pot in their home? Where do you draw the line on what laws you will tattle on and which ones you won’t?

          3. TL*

            Weed is not nearly as harmful as crack or meth in terms of addiction and side effects and I feel confident in saying that probably 50% of the population or more has smoked a joint at some point.

            Selling a joint is like posting a couch on craigslist; small time, unlikely to be repeated or pushed on others. Selling a pound? It’s a lot closer to opening your own furniture shop.

            I guess if you hold the view that all laws are laws and breaking any law is bad (and btw, speeding is much more harmful than weed) than maybe you don’t see the difference.
            But the general perception in America is a joint or two now and again isn’t going to hurt anyone (as long as you’re not high at work/while responsible for babies/ect…) and that selling an extra joint every now and again isn’t the same as becoming a drug dealer.

            1. Joey*

              I could care less about perceptions and the actual smoking of weed. What I have a problem with is you being irresponsible enough to engage in anything that can send you to jail. Because if you’re doing it now I have to worry about when/if you’ll be in jail for an extended period of time.

              1. Kerry*

                So you’ll turn them in, and then they WILL be in jail. Leave your employees alone when they’re on their own time.

                1. Joey*

                  That’s nice. Who cares if they’re a major coke distributor or rape somebody as long as its not on work time, right?

                2. Kerry*

                  If you don’t see a difference between raping a person, and using cannabis, then there isn’t much use in taking this conversation any further. Have fun on your high horse there, brother.

                3. Joey*

                  For work purposes theyre not a whole lot different- both may land you in jail which is what would affect me.

                4. Jamie*

                  For work purposes theyre not a whole lot different

                  Really? A rapist presents a very real danger to the women with whom you work, not to mention if you know someone is a rapist there is a moral obligation to inform the authorities to try to stop him.

                  You really don’t think there isn’t much difference between that and someone selling pot?

                5. Joey*

                  Of course I do. Kerry is arguing I should stay out of my employees personal lives. I don’t think that’s always right.

                  My point about them being similar was only that if you’re sent to jail the outcome is the same- you can’t come to work.

              2. Random*

                The thing is you CAN go to jail for piracy. You CAN go to jail for a lot of “little things”. In fact, in most places, the chances of you going to jail for selling someone a joint is extremely small. Thats why there are possession laws and possession with intent to distribute laws. I get that you are worrying about jail time, but you are really just making a judgement about what laws are ok for someone to break and what laws arent’.

              3. TL*

                Would you report an employee for being drunk at a bar and stepping outside because they could get jailed for public intoxication? And you can be jailed for speeding, if you’re going fast enough.

                Do you have a forgetful employee? Would you report them if you ran into them at the grocery and they told you they forgot their wallet? Because some places will put you in jail for driving without a license.

                If someone’s doing something so blaringly obvious – like advertising their weed business in the newspaper -that they can’t help but be caught, then I’d worry about it. But for the most part – it’s none of your business.

                And from a business perspective: It’s much more likely you’ll lose an employee’s time due to their being in a car accident involving speeding than you will because they got caught with pot. So, by your logic, speeding should be a bigger concern.

                1. Joey*

                  And how exactly would I know employees are speeding recklessly? I rarely if ever see co workers in anything but heavy traffic.

                2. TL*

                  How likely are you to see your coworkers smoking pot outside of work?!

                  But seriously, would you report them for any of the above – or if they told you they had illegally downloads music/movies – or just for the pot?

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  But would you really report your coworkers for doing anything in their personal lives that had the risk of jail time? Like not paying traffic tickets? Letting their kids drink at a party? Gambling? Ticket scalping? Illegally downloading tons of music?

                  (And in most of these, don’t you think reporting it would reflect more oddly on you than on the employee?)

                4. Joey*

                  I think this is where a lot of people aren’t clear. Id report any credible information I had that might land someone in jail to my company, whether that’s HR or the persons manager. Because if that person has the potential to be in jail for an extended time that’s definitely something I would want to know if that person reported to me.

                5. Cat*

                  I wondering how far you take this, Joey. If you see a co-worker leaving an OB’s office, do you report that to your manager? Wouldn’t they want to know that the co-worker might be pregnant and out of the office for an extended period of time?

                6. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Most of the crimes we’ve been talking about you could technically give notice for — you’d be out awaiting trial and would have plenty of time before your conviction and sentencing. (Not that I think employers would generally hold the person’s job for them in that case, but I don’t think the “giving notice” argument holds up here.)

                7. Joey*

                  Ive probably seen more than a hundred cases of people losing their jobs because they were in jail. Not once did they provide advance notice.

                  Besides pregnancy is protected by law, being in jail is not.

                8. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Again, I don’t think this comparison holds up for a variety of reasons, but if you’re out awaiting trial or sentencing, there’s no reason you couldn’t give notice.

                  But I really don’t think it’s an apt comparison.

        4. Anonymous*

          Why does it matter?! Are you really that ignorant of how the drug market works?

          It matters because one of my friends died while he was in high school so that drug-users could get their fix. A child died so that people could feel good for a few minutes.

          The drug cartels are so absolutely, horrifically evil that I cannot fathom how people say things like this. I lived in a drug war neighborhood. This was not the “police vs drug dealers” drug war that AAM opposes (so do I, for the record). This was the “one cartel vs. another cartel”, real drug war. They kill each other. They enslave children as prostitutes (I knew more than one personally). They sell people. They enslave workers in their farms. They kill others. They suck in starving children to do their dirty work and discard them when they are no longer useful. They use grade-schoolers as drug mules! How can anyone support this industry? Why do we not denounce drug-users for funding this?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That type of activity is actually a function of prohibition. If you have a legal, regulated market, you’re not going to see that type of thing. When you drive it underground so that it’s run by criminals, you do. One of the best ways to end violence related to the drug trade is to end prohibition and have a safe and legal market.

            Look at alcohol prohibition for an illustration of the same thing. There was plenty of violence during alcohol prohibition, but now that it’s legal, you don’t see liquor stores having shoot-outs with each other.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Well, some people have a deeply held belief that we have the right to do what we want with our own bodies and brains in the privacy of our own homes.

                And I can think of a lot of laws from the past (that have since changed) that I would have willfully violated and would have felt good about doing so.

                1. Joey*

                  See that’s the problem I have. I have no problem with changing laws and if weed becomes legal great. What I have a problem with is people cherry picking which major laws they want to follow when its merely for self indulgence. If it were in the name of equality or basic human rights that would be different. But this is breaking the law for fun.

                2. Joey*

                  So doing anything under that pretense is okay? Do kids under 21 have a fundamental right to drink or smoke crack? Do adults have a right to fund drug cartels or become addicts that are a drain on society?

                3. Joey*

                  And yes I know not everyone is an addict and that people become addicted to legal stuff too( which is also problematic).

    1. Ruffingit*

      Sadly, I can. There are many people who do not recognize the line between personal/professional issue. They truly do believe that because they have a grooming routine/commute/kids/outside activity, that should qualify them for special treatment at work.

  27. Graciosa*

    I think most of what I would want to say was well covered in the first responses to #4, so I will pick my jaw up off the floor and not repeat the other posters.

    I will add that I am a woman executive who grew up with a SAHM and a strongly feminist father who told me I could do whatever I wanted to do. Both my parents were very clear that my father was working because he happened at that moment to be able to bring in a better income, and my parents jointly decided that one of them would stay home to raise us. Everyone in the family knew that my father would happily have taken the SAH role and their choices had nothing to do with gender.

    I’ve been trying to picture anyone forcing my mother to do anything she didn’t wish to, and my mind boggles at the thought. Please don’t assume that SAHMs are downtrodden victims or that their spouses are their oppressors. This is incredibly offensive.

    Your assumptions about Mormons are equally troubling. One of my fellow managers is male – and Mormon – and has been working hard to develop two of his female subordinates for leadership positions. Gender has never come up in discussions around personnel development and succession planning, and I would be stunned if it did.

    OP#4, if you are indeed promoted to a management role – and I have to say after reading your letter that I really don’t think you should be – please try to treat members of your team as individuals, and assess them based on workplace performance rather than attributed stereotypes.

    1. some1*

      “Your assumptions about Mormons are equally troubling. One of my fellow managers is male – and Mormon – and has been working hard to develop two of his female subordinates for leadership positions. Gender has never come up in discussions around personnel development and succession planning, and I would be stunned if it did.”

      Yes, some people are sexist. Some Mormons are, some Catholics are, and Jews and Baptists and Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Please don’t chalk it up to someone’s faith.

  28. Ruffingit*


    I’m thinking all OP’s 1-3 and 5 need to have their letters reprinted in their own post. Seriously because those people are being completely ignored due to the head-desk banging going on around #4 (and rightfully so, #4 has major issues to discuss on a number of fronts).

      1. Rayner*

        Maybe if there are sensational letters that you think will inspire a lot of talk, stick them in one by one as standard, rather than as part of a set? Otherwise, everything gets drowned out. D:

  29. Joey*

    #4. What really pains me is that you’re a recruiter. I have a hard time believing that your sexist beliefs aren’t bleeding into how you treat candidates.

      1. fposte*

        Made me think of the comment yesterday by the woman with kids who said she discriminates against pregnant women in hiring.

  30. Karyn*

    Boy, I must not be a serious professional woman, since my grooming takes all of 20 minutes in the morning, most of which I do on the train on my way in.

    (Ah, the beauty of the pixie cut – easily flattened under a knit cap and tousled in five minutes when the hat comes off!)

    Also, OP #4, I’d like to point out that it’s kind of crappy to point to your boss’s Mormon faith as “evidence” that he’s opposed to women in the workplace. I know plenty of Mormon men who are very much in favor of women in the workplace, and plenty of non-Mormon men who are real jerks about it. Pinning your assumptions on his faith speaks more about you than it does him.

  31. Ann O'Nemity*

    OP #4

    Since everyone has already jumped all over the grooming issues, I’d like to bring up the OP’s comment about being hourly but working extra unpaid hours. If the OP is non-exempt, she absolutely should be paid for overtime hours. It sounds like the boss knows about the extra time – and expects it – so this is probably the issue to tackle.

    1. Jamie*

      I know that hourly =/= non exempt – but it’s usually short hand because it’s such a common practice that non-exempts are hourly and exempt are salary.

      I know they don’t have to be tied, but I am wracking my brain and I can’t remember even hearing about an instance of non-exempt salary. I’ve heard of exempt hourly in IT (and wouldn’t that be sweet) but not the other way around.

      Just wondering if anyone else has ever seen the non-exempt salary combo in action?

      1. fposte*

        I asked that a year or so ago here and I think somebody volunteered themselves as an example. I know several people have said they’re non-exempt hourly (and get overtime!).

        1. Lora*

          Contracting. I’m consulting right now, and while my actual employer (consulting firm) pays me a guaranteed base salary, I also get overtime as they charge the client extra for that. It’s supposed to encourage the client to plan better, in case the consulting firm needed me for another project and the client was demanding something outside of the project scope.

          Apparently we’re not charging enough, but that’s a different story…

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        I usually consider hourly to be synonymous with non-exempt, as it seems that this is almost always the case. Salaried can be either non-exempt or exempt. Pharmacy tech is one example of a non-exempt salary position.

      3. CollegeAdmin*

        I’m non-exempt salary. My pay is written as $xx,xxx per year in my annual compensation statement, how it was offered/negotiated when I started, etc. They then work backwards for the system and figure out that working 35 hours per week for 52 weeks, my pay will be $zz.zz per hour for the time sheet software. If I work overtime, the extra hours are paid at the $zz.zz per hour rate (unless I go over 40 hours, in which case it’s time and a half).

      4. athek*

        My institution does non-exempt salary. We are in public service and there is an opportunity for overtime on Sundays (Saturdays are handled differently and don’t produce overtime). Their salary is broken down into an hourly rate and they are given time and a half for Sunday time.
        It works out really well for Sundays, because there is usually enough interest from enough people that want the overtime to cover Sunday that the people that don’t want overtime don’t have to work Sundays (although it can be required if needed).

        I also used to technically be salary non-exempt at a law firm. My salary comprised 35 hours per week. If you worked extra, the first five hours were straight time, and then you got overtime on anything above 40.

      5. Eric*

        Non-exempt salary can save companies on overtime. Let’s say someone normally works 40 hours a week at $25/hour. That would be equivalent to a salary of $1000/week.
        If one week they worked 45 hours, they would have to be paid the $1000 for the first 40 hours plus $187.5 for the overtime ($125 for straight time plus $62.5 for the overtime-differential).
        If you pay them a salary of $1000 you only have to pay them the overtime differential part, which is calculated at half their implied hourly rate ($1000*0.5/45 hours=$11.11/hour of overtime, in this case) for a total of $55.55 overtime, or $1055.55 for the week, saving the company over $130.

      6. Finny*

        I know this post is ages old, but just wanted to chime in here. I’m both salary and non-exempt, as a shelver at a book wholesaler. However, I’m also in Canada, so that might change things up a bit, for all I know.

  32. Ruffingit*

    Kind of interesting that OP 4 thinks she’s being discriminated against, but she doesn’t mind discriminating against an entire religion based on assumptions that are totally without merit.

      1. Laufey*

        Really? I would. If you’re going to stereotype Mormons based on a few oddballs, why, then, every Muslim keeps a harem, every atheist is an anarchist, and every Christian disavows evolution. Since none of these is true, why are all Mormon stereotypes/rumors/inaccuracies true?

          1. Jamie*

            Joking aside, there is a real danger of assuming everyone who practices a faith is in complete lockstep with all official teachings…especially if you are unfamiliar with the faith and going off summarized websites.

            I’m just going to use my own because that’s the one with which I’m familiar…but the Catholic church has a lot of teachings which people have issues with. The fertility treatments being discussed in another thread is an example.

            So there are some who assume all Catholics are in agreement. Trust me, 1.18 billion of the world’s people who identify as Catholics aren’t going to agree on everything.

            What people don’t know is that there is a quiet little clause in there about following your conscience even when it goes against official teachings.

            It’s not a loophole – it’s an acknowledgement that with thoughtfulness and prayer you can follow your conscience and not the teachings because “man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows (in his heart) to be just and right.”

            The most common example is the stance on birth control – yes, the church has an official position on that but couples getting married are also counseled in precana (classes prior to marriage) to follow their conscience as it’s not God’s will to have children one cannot afford to support and care for properly.

            I’m absolutely not proselytizing – I’ve never cared how or what anyone else believes and I’m not starting now – just using this one example which illustrates how it’s dangerous and wrong to assume that because someone belongs to a particular faith that you can assume to know how they feel about everything covered in the manual.

            People need to be careful with labels. Knowing my religion and nothing else will tell you which clergy to call if I’m on my deathbed – but little else.

            1. Ethyl*

              Jamie, I don’t comment here often and I haven’t commented here long, but you are awesome and I love reading your thoughts here.

  33. Just a Reader*

    #4…I just…

    I’m a new, working mother and I am KILLING myself to make sure that my new life doesn’t impact my work. This includes traveling, showing up on time groomed appropriately without baby spit up anywhere on my clothes and having our caregiver handle things like doctor’s appointments. I don’t tell my boss any of this. It isn’t something I want her thinking about. I want her focused on my performance and the value of my presence.

    Crap like you just pulled at your office is why women have to work extra hard to get something resembling equal treatment in the workplace.

    Please don’t presume to speak for the entire gender. What you did is wrong, it’s dumb, it’s offensive, it’s inappropriate and it may very well put one more layer on top of the glass ceiling for other women in your company.

    It almost certainly impacted your chances for a promotion.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Oh, thank you for that comment! I seriously doubt that the leaving “early” would have been that bad for her… but the sexist comments very likely did real damage to her chances of promotion! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

  34. some1*

    I don’t understand why you’d move in with someone who smokes pot if you are so against it, or why you didn’t tell the people at your party to go smoke outside if that’s the first time it came up.

    I smoke cigarettes and live in an extremely cold climate (therefore I smoke inside). Back in my roommate days, I never would have considered moving in with a non-smoker, and I never had an issue finding a safe, affordable place to live (and I live in a pretty large metro area where the cost of living is above-average).

    And I totally agree with AAM that you are letting your anger over the party cover that interaction you witnessed. Stop spreading potentially false rumors about people and get back to work.

    1. TL*

      Eh, I know a fair amount of people who only indulge once a year or so, so if you ask them if they smoke pot, they’ll say “no.”

      I hate smoke (pot, cigarettes, cigars) but I can understand walking into a room where everyone’s already lit up, in the middle of a party, and just not wanting to have that discussion.

    2. Emily K*

      Smoking outside brings more risk of attracting police than smoking indoors when it comes to marijuana. I’ve seen households deal with this by designating one room near the back/upstairs of the house to be the smoking room, so that folks who don’t want to be around the smoke don’t have to deal with it, but folks who want to smoke aren’t outside attracting the attention of busybodies.

  35. Chloe*

    Re: No. 3 – Invest in Klorane dry shampoo, and stop complaining. Problem solved. Seriously, I can’t fathom why you would EVER bring that up in general, but especially if you’re gunning for a promotion. FWIW it takes me a half hour to get ready in the morning, including a shower. What, do you think that once you’re promoted, you’ll be granted extra time to look “more professional” in your new role? Sigh.

    I just got the image of Marcia Brady brushing her hair 100x every night. I shudder.

        1. Just a Reader*

          I have a hot brush too that gives me a little lift. Tools are amazing.

          My dry shampoo is CVS brand though.

          1. Ellie H.*

            WHERE IS THE DRY SHAMPOO IN CVS? What does it look like? What is it called? What aisle is it in? I have seriously wanted to buy dry shampoo for years and have never been able to understand what it’s called or where to find it. I am an expert CVS customer too.

            1. Just a Reader*

              It’s with the hair care stuff–looks like hair spray. Black can, bright yellow cap. It’s around $6. And it’s magical.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                How does it work? I’ve always wondered.

                And does it work on all hair colors? I remember seeing some from Bumble & Bumble that was specific to certain hair colors, and then just being confused.

                1. Chloe*

                  I love that my comment has a sub-thread. I’ve never bought CVS brands of it, but they carry Klorane in Sephora ($16 but WORTH IT). THe bumble and Bumble ones come in different colors but are pricier. I have dark hair and I have to be careful because if I don’t brush it out properly it can leave a white residue (ew), but just spray it on the roots of your hair, let it sit for 5 minutes while you do your makeup (or you know, 30 minutes as in the case of the OP) and then brush it out and fluff your hair. It’s seriously amazing for days when I just want that extra 20 mins of sleep. It absorbs oil and yes it doesn’t make your hair silky smooth, but it looks that way, and that’s what matters…

                2. Loose Seal*

                  I got one called Beyond the Zone at Sally Beauty Supply for less than $7.00. They have one for lighter hair and one for darker; that way, you don’t have to fool with the white stuff if your hair is darker. It has practically no smell and is fabulous! Magic in a can!

                  You spray it along your roots and fluff or brush, then style your hair. I’ve been using it since I had surgery last week and can’t shower or lean over to wash my hair for another few days. On day seven, I can tell that my hair hasn’t been washed. But this is an out of the ordinary test; usually I wouldn’t go 10 days without washing my hair so this is really putting it to the test. However, I can see using it on periodic mornings (after I go back to work) when I don’t have the time or desire to wash my hair.

                3. Brigitte*

                  I make my own dry shampoo — it’s easy!

                  You can use cornstarch or arrowroot — plain.

                  Or, if you have dark or red hair, mix in cocoa powder. I also like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil, because it smells nice.

                  Sprinkle it into your roots.

                  Brush it out, preferably with a natural bristle brush.

                  And you’re done.

              2. Ellie H.*

                It looks like hair spray? That must be why I have been missing it. I always thought it was a powder (you know, literally “dry”).

                1. Jamie*

                  No – it sprays on. I used it when I was recovering from surgery.

                  I have really straight, fine hair so for me it makes the texture weird…my hair is usually soft and this makes it feel much dryer and I don’t have the shine as normal…but it does work as far as absorbing the oil.

                  I think it’s alcohol based – so use sparingly if you have naturally dry hair. It also dulls the color in mine.

                  And I’ve never seen it for different colors like Alison mentioned. You spray it on and it’s like a white powder residue which you then brush through your hair.

                2. Ellie H.*

                  Thanks for the review – hmm. I do have fairly dry hair (dark hair, too, which sounds nonideal) so I will keep that in mind!

                3. Jamie*

                  It doesn’t matter if it’s dark – it’s only white for a second until you comb it through and then it’s invisible. You can’t see it at all – it just (for my hair) dulls the shine. You know how when you’re in light if your hair is straight and down light reflects back off your hair? It dulls it enough to stop it from doing that, but not like people would notice.

                  And with that sentence I just realized I am a very weird and specific person.

                4. Loose Seal*

                  I think some brands do come in powder form. But the convenience of the spray is well worth it so look around.

    1. E.B.*

      My mother introduced me to PSST while I was in college. It is beyond a godsend. We obviously can’t speculate too much on what the OP’s routine is, but any extra special stuff (like face masks, body scrubs, nail painting etc) should be done on the weekend or spread out over the course of the week. If you try to do too much, you’ll get overwhelmed quick, or at least I do. I can’t take more than an hour of primping before I get antsy.

  36. Laura*

    #4 – Thanks for making professional women look like idiots! I don’t think it’s your manager who’s the sexist one here.

    #2 – Mind your own damn business. I’d be a lot more bothered by a coworker who gossiped about other people’s alleged drug dealing than any drug dealing, real or imagined.

  37. Colorado*

    #2 – it sounds like you need to find a new living situation or roommate and that’s understandable. If it’s not something you’re comfortable with, that’s okay. But don’t jump to conclusions about your co-workers and jeopardize their careers.
    Slightly off topic, but once January 1 comes around in Colorado and mj is sold for recreational use (been medicinal for some time now), how does that affect drug testing? Every job I’ve had requires drug testing and though there are ways around that (synthetic urine), how can the employer discriminate for something that’s legal? It’d be like giving someone an alcohol test when they had a few drinks the night before. Alison – do you know?
    P.S. I’m not promoting mj use in the workplace but what you do after hours, is your prerogative.

    1. Jamie*

      I would think a prescription would cover you in a drug test – (assuming it was being used in accordance per instructions) because a lot of meds will make you test hot in a drug test and you just show them a valid prescription and you’re okay.

      And I would hope that where recreation use is legal it would be the same as alcohol – a huge problem if you’re under the influence at work and nothing if you partake on your own time.

      I would assume you can tell based on levels how current the use was – but maybe I’m wrong? And if not, they should be able to do performance based sobriety testing if there is a question…I’d think.

      I’m really curious as to the law on this also.

      1. Colorado*

        I think if you practice law, all these new mj regulations regarding medicinal vs. recreational, retail sales, employment, etc. would be fascinating to focus on. hhmmm…engineer to attorney ;-)

      2. Laufey*

        I think the complication here is that marijuana sale, production, and use is still illegal under federal law (whereas other drugs that would test positive are legal federally, at least with prescriptions). So even if you have a valid prescription from the state, I believe you could still be charged under federal laws. Do the feds normally have bigger fish to fry? Yes, but medical marijuana use in legalized states does not have a lot of legal precedence to protect you yet.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It’s also worth noting that the federal government can and does arrest people in states where marijuana use is legal — including arresting seriously ill medical marijuana patients who are buying state-legal medical marijuana at clinics that are operating legally under state law.

          If you don’t support the federal government handcuffing and arresting cancer patients for seeking relief that their doctors recommended, you should tell your members of Congress to put a stop to that. (Here’s a place to start: http://www.mpp.org/our-work/federal-policy/ ) As well as President Obama, who promised during his campaign to stop the arrests of medical marijuana patients, but then allowed them to continue under his administration.

          1. Jamie*

            That is excellent information – the whole premise is outrageous. It’s like Schroedinger’s Law – it’s both legal and illegal at the same time.

          2. Colorado*

            Yeah, can’t even begin to get started on this topic. Thank you for providing further info on this fascinating subject. I know you have some prior experience with this, I read it in a biography somewhere, oh yeah, your book!

      3. ella*

        Not necessarily–a friend of mine had a prescription for medical marijuana (I’m also in CO), and was smoking while pregnant (and please please please I don’t want to get into an argument about whether she should or shouldn’t have done this, all I know is she discussed smoking while pregnant with her ob-gyn and he okayed it, also, if she doesn’t smoke she’s basically in so much pain that she can’t walk). There were (non-pot-related) complications when her son was born, and so they ran tests on him, and because he came up positive for THC the hospital had to call DCFS and she had to go through a whole six month case study/probation thing of home visits and worrying about her kid being taken away. Even though she had a prescription and all of her doctors knew she was using.

        Just because it’ll be “legal” in CO, that doesn’t automatically invalidate workplace policies. Alcohol is legal, but we don’t have to let people come to work drunk. I don’t know what it’ll do for places that do testing, but as far as working while impaired, things will stay the same (ie, you’re fired).

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s still illegal under federal law, so it won’t change anything in the workplace unless an employer wants it to.

      Eventually federal law will need to change, but in order for that to happen, first there needs to be a critical mass of state laws changed (which is beginning to happen) and a vocal majority calling for an end to marijuana prohibition (which is also happening; as of this year, a majority of Americans now favor that change).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t smoke weed and don’t tolerate it around me (stinks, is the same as people constantly getting drunk, which I don’t want to be around either). But I really don’t give a shit what people do as long as they don’t get behind the wheel when they’re wasted.

        Even if we didn’t completely decriminalize weed, we could still grow industrial hemp (which you can’t smoke) and make some damn money. It’s because of the weed stigma that no one can farm hemp and it’s a very useful crop. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.

      2. Natalie*

        Even if marijuana is legalized at the federal level, couldn’t a company still refuse to hire marijuana users? It’s a behavior that’s not protected by labor law.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          And many do, especially companies that exist in multiple states, some where pot is legal and some where it is illegal. Also for companies that do work for the federal government in any way.

        1. Jaimie*

          I read thru the letters, and my first thought was

          Holy comments, Batman, this is going to be out of control.

          My second thought was

          Seriously, are people making these up just to get a rise out of the commenters?

        2. Joe Schmoe*

          bahaha pooping in the potted plant – please tell me you are not aware of that ever happening somewhere!

          1. Alysia*

            I think that was from a comment I left on a “worst workplace story” or something. I worked at a staffing firm where a guy realized halfway through his interview that things weren’t going well. When the recruiter came back to the room after leaving for a minute, there was poop in the potted plant that wasn’t there before!

      1. Anon Accountant*

        Oooh, now I’ll wear out the F5 key until more posts are posted.

        The suspense is hard on me, lol.

  38. L McD*

    Seriously, unless it’s the 1700s and you have to heat up a basin of water on the wood stove, there’s no reason why washing your hair should take such a significant amount of time that you need to leave work early to do it.

    Incidentally, not that it matters, but I’ve known a not-insignificant number of men who have an elaborate, time-consuming Patrick Bateman-esque morning ritual. The expectations for women are certainly out of whack, and a slightly-unkempt woman is more likely to draw negative attention than a slightly-unkempt man, but someone of any gender must put in a little effort to look professional in a professional environment. It comes along with the territory, and it’s one of the expectations of the job.

    In all seriousness, I think there’s a few possibilities here:

    – OP’s expectations for their own grooming are much higher than a workplace realistically expects. This is fine, and she should absolutely do what she wants to do – but don’t place the burden of that choice on the management. Like a lot of women in the comments have pointed out, sometimes applying perfectly-blended eyeshadow makes YOU feel great about yourself, and that confidence carries you far in work. That’s awesome, and you should do it. But again – that’s a choice, just like getting up early for the gym, or whatever else. Your workplace isn’t necessarily going to go out of its way to support or accommodate everything that you do for physical or mental health reasons, even if it makes your professional life better. That’s just not realistic.

    – OP has a normal grooming ritual, in theory, but needs to work on the time management and efficiency of it. Reasonable multi-tasking (don’t apply makeup while you drive!), trying new products, a different haircut, etc. are all things that could help, and there’s thousands more. Tons and tons of tips and ideas online.

    There are very real biases and obstacles faced by women in the workplace, and it sounds like there may be an actual problem at the core of this. (For instance, if she had to leave early for child care reasons because of the social/familial expectations of women as caretakers, would the boss find a way to work with that? Maybe not. Who knows.) The point is, by making this issue about hair and makeup, it’s become a trivial thing and the boss isn’t going to take this discussion seriously, even if there is a serious underlying issue.

    One final note – I’m picking up some underlying bitterness that the OP feels she should be able to leave by 6pm regardless, which is really a separate issue. If the hours weren’t made clear before hiring, that’s another discussion to have. It might be difficult now, unfortunately. It’s also worth clarifying the boss’s expectations for her work. Does he want her to stay late “just in case,” or is everyone working overtime on a big project, or…? I’ve never had a job without set hours, so I might just be showing my own ignorance, but it sounds like there is some confusion over expectations that needs clearing up. If it’s simply “workplace culture” that everyone stays until 8pm even if there’s no urgent work to be done, then the OP needs to figure out if that’s a deal breaker for her.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      OK, I will say that when I wash my hair (2-3 times a week), it’s a bit of an ordeal. I have VERY thick and wavy hair, enough that I get charged double or triple for highlights and other treatments.

      The washing/conditioning isn’t the problem, it’s the drying and styling. It can take a couple hours start to finish, but usually I just do it right after work, let it air dry, and then style it later.

      But I also often work 60 hour weeks and still find it’s not that hard to do.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          It’s really not though – it sounds good on paper but in reality it rarely looks good, which might be because I’m just not good at styling it, but it usually ends up frizzy or weird looking after a few hours. I know the grass is always greener and all, but I’ve always just wanted thin and straight hair that hangs nicely. I wear it pulled back most of the time, unless I get keratin and then it’s acceptable.

          1. SA*

            Definitely a grass is greener situation. I have thin straight hair that hangs nicely but that’s all it does. No body to it whatsoever.

          2. Ellie H.*

            Me too. I would practically kill for thin and straight hair that hangs nicely. Washing it and combining it out takes forever, blow drying it takes 20 minutes, and straightening it takes at least 10 minutes plus touching it up after sleeping on it or if I take another shower but don’t wash it or whatever.

          3. Kat*

            Satin Hair Serum by living proof! I have similar hair and ended up with a sample. Slightly expensive, seriously worth the expense. My hair has been amazingly smooth and frizz free, even during summer in Atlanta!

          4. The IT Manager*

            The grass is always greener … I do wish I had curly hair.

            I have fine, straight hair. It has zero body long. The longer it gets, the more the weight just pulls it down more. My solution is to have short hair all the time where I can manage to get a little body or just not too much weight.

            Actually, right at this time, I am trying to grow it out a bit for a change but mostly because for some reason in general men find long hair on women more attractive and I would like to eventually find a man to marry. Given my past experience, though, I only half expect this attempt to succeed. From the one time in my adult life I did have long hair, I did not think it looked very attractive. I lived in a windy place, and it was always in a pony tail or headbands to keep the hair out of my face. I broke up with my boyfriend who for some inexplicable reason liked it long and immediately cut it short after that.

      1. Anda T*

        I have similar hair, and I found DevaCurl to be an amazing transformation for my hair routine. The cut, the products, everything. My hair routine has been cut to 5 minutes plus natural drying time. It looks as amazing rolling out of bed as it did the day before. Highly, highly recommend it for thick, curly hair. For the first time in 30-some-odd years I love my hair.

  39. Deborah*

    “The real reason I was leaving “early” was because I had to wash my hair, etc.”
    Okay, come on we’ve been pranked – this cannot be for real.

    1. Jaimie*

      Agreed. I think it’s someone who has a light workload for the holidays and wanted to see what the response would look like.

  40. Elizabeth West*

    Um. Yeah. Okay.

    The weed-in-your-apartment thing is a separate issue. It’s personal and you need to have a talk with your roommate, or find another place to live. It seems to be coloring your work knowledge of these people, and while that’s understandable, it’s not enough by itself to say that what you saw was a drug deal. Even if it was, how would you prove it?

    I for one could not live with coworkers. Work and life are separate for me. I don’t even hang out with coworkers much at all. It was bad enough working with a friend, because when things didn’t work out at the office, it practically destroyed a friendship of many years. We’re cordial again, but it’s not like it was.

  41. IsItJustme?*

    Am I the only one who is kind of “eh, whatever” on OP #2? As in, I don’t actually care if these two were conducting a drug deal at work so long as they aren’t planning on using the drugs while AT work? Could just be me, I acknowledge that, but I just don’t care that much what activities people engage in so long as they aren’t taking major work time to do it. Go ahead and flame me, but if these two took five minutes from their day to do this, I don’t care. That’s less than the water cooler breaks most people take so…whatever. This doesn’t mean I think someone should open a side business of drug selling at work, just that one transaction between two co-workers? Not sure I would care that much. I’ve never used drugs in my life, but I don’t care if others do so long as they aren’t harming others in the process.

    1. Anon*

      Have to go Anon for this but I have to say I’ve seen a lot of drug deals go down at work, and I’m in the medical manufacturing industry at a fairly high level. I’ve heard the best place to buy your drugs is at work. Think about it, huge population, lots of interaction in general, safe, etc.. Hell, I’ve heard of Directors do this. Everyone knows who the dealers are too, I could go on and on…especially the day before payday..oh my!

    2. Bwmn*

      In general, I do agree. However, I think there are always situations where things become different. I used to live in a building where my upstairs neighbor dealt, and it meant that there was a lot of creepy traffic to the building at odd hours. So if I worked in a place where someone was dealing where I felt like overall safety in the workplace was truly threatened, then I might speak up.

      But I think a less “I fear for my safety” answer would be if I felt like I worked for an organization where there was a lot of public scrutiny. I used to work for a nonprofit that was under a lot of public and government scrutiny and not well supported by significant segments of the population (including law enforcement and the courts). (For example, let’s say it was an abortion clinic in a part of the US where there are lots of laws aiming to shut down clinics) If I knew of a coworker doing drug business at work, I might feel overly protective that as an organization already scrutinized we were the last place that could afford that kind of press.

      However, in general I agree with those sentiments.

    3. Buying Drugs at Work*

      Restaurants are the best place to buy drugs of any kind. You can pretty much go up to any kitchen and discreetly ask a few people and then walk out with any type of illegal substance you want.

      Also, hotels.

  42. pidgeonpenelope*

    #2. This falls into the “mind your own business” category. If you didn’t actually witness the transaction and just suspected it, telling on your coworkers will really put a damper on both your work and living situation once people figured out (or even suspected) you said something. Also, I really think that you need to rethink your living situation. This can’t work out well for you if your roommate is doing something your adamantly against. She really ought to have asked and cleared it with you in the beginning anyway.

  43. NewCommenter*

    I’ve never commented on this blog before although I’ve been reading in detail for a while.

    I totally agree with many of the points that are being made with respect to OP#4, and I do think the email to Allison was poorly constructed, and I do think the religious bias is a totally different conversation, but I can see how this misdirected email could have come about.

    It sounds like the OP is being expected to work more than 40 hours a week, and she just got fed up with this expectation. On this particular day, she was planning to leave early, but still after a full 8 hour day, to wash her hair (with my long curly hair I can understand this), and then when her boss confronted her, her resentment about the extra work time on top of her own self-designated grooming schedule came out.

    I’m not saying she is right in any way, or that this should be an excuse for working less than others, but it does sound like she’s already working more than she originally signed up for or anticipated. Leaving the grooming habits aside, she needs to talk to her boss about his expectations for her working hours. Then she needs to do what needs to be done to make that happen or start looking for a new job.

  44. JuliB*

    #3 – Although not addressed by Alison, as a consultant I may be working when my office is closed. So while that shouldn’t play into your decision, it isn’t that unusual.

  45. ella*

    I’m posting before reading 400+ comments, so apologies if this is repititous, but:

    #4: I worked in a male-dominated industry. Me, one other female, and 12 men. We worked in hotel A/V, so I often had to do fun things like taping microphone cables to the carpet while in women’s dress pants (and oh how I wished for looser-fitting men’s pants!). There was also plenty of inappropriate office banter, especially after I’d been on the team for awhile and the guys got the sense that I wasn’t documenting instances of hostility for my eventual lawsuit; and clueless clients of the “Wait, YOU’RE the one running sound?” variety.

    Also, my boss was a conservative Mormon who opposed gay marraige (which I found out on accident, after bringing up the subject myself; he clearly wanted the subject to drop as quickly as possible).

    My point is this: inappropriate chatting and boss’s politics aside, every single one of those guys respected me. All they wanted out of me was the ability to do my job. And every last one of them stuck up for me and the other female coworker when we had a client who wanted “a man who knows what he’s doing” to step in. And yeah, my boss was a conservative Mormon, but he also knew how to manage people and get work done. We all learned to work with each other, because we all knew that nobody was out to get anybody else.

    If your boss is engaging in gender discrimination, it’s not because he’s a Mormon, it’s because he’s a jackass. Do your job to the best of your ability, carry your weight, be part of the team. Maybe the boss’s “why are you leaving so early” comment is a hint that more work needed to be done? Unless you have your own performance completely squared away, I don’t think you can start looking for evidence of gender bias (unless it’s really, really blatant).

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