how can I get a job description, what heels are too high for work, and more

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

1. Should I believe my contact’s warning about his horrible organization?

I’m currently employed as a nonprofit consultant and am looking for a new position within a nonprofit organization. I just left an informational interview that made me a bit heartbroken.

A friend put me in touch with a director at an organization with a great mission where I’d love to work, and the director was happy to meet me in his office. I was eager to hear about the structure of the organization, some of the challenges they might face, what their priorities are, etc. What I got when I first sat down was: “You don’t want to work here.” And, “In fact, I won’t let you work here because you seem nice and I don’t want you to make a mistake by coming here.”

He continued to talk about how miserable he was coming to work each day, how he wishes he could quit but that he’s too old for a another job, and how he wished his life had taken a completely different path entirely. From there, we talked about his house, garden, and pet cemetery. He said he wanted to help me in any way possible and hopes we stay in touch. I tried to steer back to the issues, but all he could offer was that the CEO and the Number 2 were horrible people who don’t care about their employees. Wow! Now what? Do I take his word for it? Or do I seek out another opinion? This organization is not currently hiring for my skill set, but when they do, I want to be considered!

I wouldn’t discard an organization on the word of one person whose judgment you don’t know anything about. It’s entirely possible that the person you met with is the one guy in the organization who feels that way. Or that he’s one of a small disgruntled contingent. Or that the stuff that bothers him wouldn’t bother you at all. (You’ve probably had coworkers before who hated things that didn’t bother you, or whose whole perspective you found remarkably off-base. This guy could be in that category.) It’s also entirely possible that this is a horrible organization that he’s right to warn you against. You have no way of knowing at this point. Take it as one data point and search out others before drawing any conclusions.

For what it’s worth, though, the way he approached the conversation with you (sweeping negative statements without being willing to explain to you why he felt that way) isn’t exactly a credibility booster. He’d be more credible if he instead had talked to you about what he saw as the actual issues.

2. How can I get a job description from my boss?

I started at an entry-level position at a small, 15-person company 6 years ago. I have now earned my way up to a mid-upper level position, and our company has grown to 30 people and were bought by a larger company, so we are now one of 4 business units making up a total of 250 people.

When I started and we were a much smaller company, things were very informal, and I never had an official job description or title. In the years since, I have had several raises and 3 promotions. However, I was never told on those promotions what my title or description was. It’s just been a typical advancement of responsibilities and assignments. From talking with other employees, as well as recent new hires, this is still the norm with everyone, so it’s not just because I’m not asking. Most of us only know our title because we can log on to our HR portal and see it in our employee information.

How do I communicate to our boss that we care about this? Without knowing what my responsibilities officially are, it is very hard to gauge my own performance or get “ammo” to use for salary negotiations. I have asked before in the comments submitted along with my annual review, but I never heard anything about it.

Well, it sounds like you do have titles, since you’re finding them in your HR system. Any chance there’s a job description there too? Wouldn’t hurt to ask.

But if not, it’s reasonable to say to your boss: “In order to make sure that we’re both on the same page about what my role should be accomplishing, I’ve taken a stab at writing up a proposed job description for my role, along with my understanding of the most important things for me to achieve this year. Does this look right to you?”

In other words, the fact that your boss isn’t doing this on her own doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Salary negotiation ammo aside, it’s in your best interest to make sure that you and your boss are both aligned about core expectations for how you’ll spend your time and what you’ll accomplish.

3. What height is too high for high heels at work?

I treated myself to the cutest pair of Miu Miu suede high heels. I tried them on and I love them, but the only problem is that they’re about 4.5 inches high (they’re platform heels, too), and I’m worried that they’ll look unprofessional at work. The dress code at work is casual, but even so, I feel these shoes might be too “night on the town” for the office. What are your thoughts? Are certain heel types/heights unprofessional?

Here’s a link to the shoes, for a clearer idea.

I think anything over 4 inches or with a noticeable platform is probably not quite as professional as you’d ideally be. I went searching to see what workplace fashion bloggers had to say about this and discovered general agreement.

4. Is this immoral?

Is it immoral for an employee who works in a resort that has a hotel facility to after her job as a waitress in the restaurant end up fraternizing with a customer who she met a week ago? She went to his room and stayed overnight and got ready the following day at the resort as waitress. How does it affect her coworkers?

It appears not to affect her coworkers at all. Why do they care? This is no one’s business.

5. A recruiter wanted to talk and then went AWOL

I was applying for jobs last week, and I had to fly back to my home state for a family emergency. I got an email from a recruiter yesterday, asking if I am available today for a phone interview, and I explained that I’ve had a family emergency and that I’m unavailable this week. I thanked him for his consideration and stated that I look forward to speaking with him on early next week, provided 3 dates and decent time range for his schedule, and asked him to advise me with the best date and time as per his schedule. I am so worried as I didn’t hear from him.

Yeah, sometimes this happens. In theory, any employer or recruiter who wants to speak with you this week should be willing to wait until next week if needed, but in practice sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Hell, asking to delay by a single day sometimes means you don’t end up speaking at all. Usually this is because (a) they’re disorganized and if you don’t talk to them when you’re on their mind, they’ll forget about you, (b) in the interim, they’ve talked to other good candidates and have decided they don’t need to talk to any more, or (c) they’re on a really tight timeline for some reason.

There’s not really much you can do about this. I mean, sure, you could decide that you’re going to prioritize their calls above all else in your life, but that’s probably a questionable decision and it won’t solve the problem anyway — because even if you make yourself 100% available to recruiters, some will set up a phone appointment and still not call. There’s a certain amount of chaos in the system, and you’re better off simply accepting that sometimes it just won’t work out.

{ 277 comments… read them below }

  1. Purple Dragon*

    # 3 – Shoes
    It can also depend on the office you’re working in. Some won’t allow high heels due to safety and evacuation concerns. This became a thing after September 11. They found that some stair wells contained so many high heels that had been discarded that they became a hazard.

    Some companies will only allow high heels if the person keeps flat shoes at their desk to evacuate in.

    Maybe have a look and see if your company has any policies around this. I know it isn’t what you asked but I thought it might be something that might help your decision.

    Those shoes are gorgeous though – I’m jelous !

    1. Ed*

      My feeling has always been if you have to question whether a clothing item is appropriate, the answer is no. The more you think about it, the better the chance that you will talk yourself into thinking it is OK.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I would say it depends on her workplace. These might be fine if she works in a fashion or entertainment field where it’s more accepted to be “cutting-edge.”

  2. Sara M*

    The shoes are cute, but I agree with Alison that they don’t look professional. (Just offering another datapoint for you.)

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      Agree. I’ve never seen a pair of heels over 4″ with a platform that I would consider work appropriate. A good rule of thumb I’ve always used – if you have to ask if something is appropriate, it most likely isn’t.

      But those shoes were so much cuter than I was expecting when I read the OP’s description!

      1. Elysian*

        I’m gonna disagree with your rule of thumb – some people just don’t have a good sense of what is and isn’t ok in clothes. The “if you ask the question” rule requires having at least a decent sense of the borderline to know when you’re getting close. Lots of people don’t have that with clothes. Women especially get really mixed messages in the media about work-appropriate clothing, and if you don’t have a good role-model whose fashion sense you trust it can be really difficult to navigate. If I followed your rule, I would have just had to stay in my house and never work.

        If it works for you – awesome! But for others – ask away!!!

        1. Koko*

          “Women especially get really mixed messages in the media about work-appropriate clothing…”

          For the love of the gods, why are the models dressed as business women in office settings always wearing SHORTS?

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I think they are adorable and just fine for professional attire, depending on what the norm is around.

      Me, I haven’t worn heels in 20 years, but I’m also 5′ 10″, so for me heels aren’t my thing.

      All of the women in the office under 30ish wear amazing shoes. That shoe is on the conservative end for what they wear. Most of the women who come from the outside (vendor visits, etc.) are wearing shoes like this also. I think there’s an inverse relationship between height of the wearer and height of the shoe.

      It might be our industry or our region (suburbs of east coast city), but that’s just a normal looking, beautiful shoe to me.

      1. Tasha*

        The shoes looks fine to me as well, but only because they’re black with a relatively simple, classic style. If they were a bright color, I don’t think the look would be so professional. (Of course, my background is in academia, and other places are likely more conservative.)

        And I feel your pain–I’m 5’9″, and even though I like heels, I generally keep them below 3″ because anything more would make me look like a giant :)

        1. Juli G.*

          This is where I fall. They are fairly classic other than height so as long as your workplace isn’t particularly conservative, I think you’re okay

        2. KJR*

          I think they are OK too. The thicker heel (vs. a pointy stiletto style) makes it look more professional, as does the strap.

        3. Arjay*

          I agree with this too. The shoes look more conservative than what I was picturing before I clicked the link.

          The other piece of it of course is what the whole outfit looks like. If you’re wearing a tweed trouser or a dark wash jean, that’s going to be a more conservative and appropriate look than if you’re wearing a miniskirt.

          1. LibrarianJ*

            Yes — I’m by no means an expert on what’s appropriate to wear for work, and I don’t know if these would qualify (the style looks neutral enough to me, but I’m not sure about the height). But I would be very aware of what you wear with them. I don’t feel that I buy very short skirts (certainly not miniskirts) and my heels are all pretty conservative height, but I still find there are some skirts I prefer to wear with flats because the heels make my legs look longer and exposed.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          I like them too. But I couldn’t wear them because I’m 5’11” and would tower over everyone, and also my back is messed up and anything higher than kitten heels kills me.

          I would be inclined to let them slide because of the style/color. But then, I’m not a formal person.

      2. eemmzz*

        I’m just a fraction under 6ft tall so I also tend to not wear heels. I think I have wore heals only twice in my life no joke. The first time was for the UK version of “prom” and the other time was my sister’s wedding).

        I’m lucky us folks in software development live in flat shoes like pumps, sandals and trainers (I think these are called “sneakers” in the US?)

        OP: I personally think those shoes are inappropriate but seeming as you know I live in pumps and trainers I am not exactly a fashionista.

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          What are “pumps” in the UK? In North America, pumps are high heels of a variety of heights.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            Pumps are flat, closed-toe shoes such as Audrey Hepburn style ballerina shoes. (“Ballet Pumps”)

            Closed-toe shoes with a heel are court shoes. Or just (high) heels.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              Closed-toed shoes with a heel are court shoes?

              AAAHHH, the confusion. In my neck of the woods, “court shoes” are basketball or tennis shoes. : )

            2. Valar M.*

              Do you know what the reasoning is behind calling them pumps then? I always thought we called them pumps here because they “pumped up your height” – though that’s an assumption on my part. I’m curious now!

              1. sunny-dee*

                Back in the day (like, 1940s and earlier), men’s dress shoes — the shiny patent leather shoes like you wear with a tux — were also called “pumps.”

                I have no idea why.

          2. eemmzz*

            I didn’t realise pumps had a different meaning too. It’s always fun to see how the language is so different despite both countries speaking English

      3. Catherine*

        Cute! I wouldn’t wear them with a short skirt or a pair of skinny pants. But let them peek out from a longer skirt, or wear them with a pair of trousers with some flare in the leg? They’re fine for that.

        1. KTM*

          This is my general rule of thumb. The higher the heel, the more conservative the leg wear. I would probably still wear those heels to work (so cute!) but it would be with boot cut/flared pants or maybe a conservative skirt like a black pencil that comes well below the knees.

        2. Antomea*

          I saw that actually the opposite applies often, you rarely see high heels work with maxi dresses or calf skirts, the shorter the skirt or dress, the higher the heel. Of course the heels should not be too high or stiletto like, stilettos only work with relatively low heels, hence knee skirts. The actual “rule” is that you should renounce showing at least one of these three things and never all at once, breast cleavage, thigh, and upper arms.

      4. Sunflower*

        I agree that the shoes are just fine. They’re black, not complicated, pretty simple. My sister works at a big 4 accounting form, with a lot of conservative bank clients, and wears high heels all the time(shes about 5’4) as do her coworkers.

      5. LQ*

        I’m 6’2″ and I wear heels fairly often. At some point in my life I decided I’m already so tall in flats that another inch or two doesn’t make any real difference so if I like them I go for it.

        I would agree about looking around to see what the norm is. That would be totally fine at my work place.

        1. Jessica (the celt)*

          I’m way late on this commenting, but this is the way I feel about flats even though I’m 5’1″. I don’t really like heels due to some foot problems I’ve had for several years, and the extra two or three inches really don’t do much for me anyway. In the end, I think it just comes down to personal preference, no matter what your height.

      6. Persephone Mulberry*

        Agreed with Wakeen. The Mary Jane strap and the chunky heel take this waaaaaay out of “too sexy for the office” territory (which admit it, is really what people mean when they say “unprofessional”). Would I wear them to my banking/finance/law job? Maybe not – they aren’t conservative the way those industries expect you to be. But just about anywhere else, I think they’re great.

      7. Jaimie*

        I think they are fine for work, provided that the rest of the outfit is reasonably professional. With a short skirt, no. With wide-leg trousers or even jeans, then sure. But I work for a technology company and we are pretty casual.

      8. LondonI*

        Shoes look fine to me (for context: I work in London’s financial district where these shoes would fit right in.)

    3. Kelly O*

      I tend to agree too.

      I’m not saying there are not outliers – those unique souls who can wear a 4″ platform and look perfectly fine – but for the majority of us, a shoe like that is a “going out” shoe, and probably shouldn’t be worn in the office.

      Most dress codes I’ve seen don’t specify heel height, although I have seen plenty address slingbacks, peep toes or open toes, and that kind of thing. I tend to err on the side of caution with dress code issues though, so I’d personally leave them for evenings and weekends.

      (And I’d love to introduce you to some darling oxfords I’ve seen and currently covet for the office, because I am nothing if not a preppy nerd who rarely meets a shoe I do not fall in love with.)

      1. AnotherAlison*

        For me, it’s not the height of the heel that determines whether the shoe looks inappropriate or not (excluding 5″ Lucite heels). It’s how the person carries herself.

        I’ve seen professional women pull off very high heels, but at least half the women I see in 4″+ shoes are clomping and shuffling. To me, the rule of thumb should be if you can’t keep up with a brisk walking coworker or your walking loudly in your shoes, you shouldn’t wear them.

        1. Waiting Patiently*

          Agreeing. If I can’t walk in them, I won’t buy them. Those shoes wouldn’t work in my work environment but I can see them working for some offices. I like the idea about wearing them with a pair of wide leg pants. I have a pair of ankle boots with a stacked heel. I loved wearing them to interviews with a pair wide legged dressed pants to make myself appear taller.

        2. Valar M.*

          See on one hand I agree with this – the clomping and shuffling bit, because I do find it distracting (and worrisome in the event of an emergency). On the other hand, I don’t know many people that just “take” to high heels. There’s a learning curve there. It took me a year or so of wearing heels before I could run around in them.

          1. Waiting Patiently*

            I think it also depends on how well the shoe is made. Of course, the thinner the heel the harder to walk around in–at least for me. I like shoes that have a little platform at the toe, a chunkier or stacked heel. Wedges are fun and easy to balance. I also like shoes with straps that fit my foot nicely. OK, I really like shoes… I have a really narrow foot but I can never seem to find a narrow width shoe. And since my foot is narrow my ankles are tiny so if I go up a size my foot drowns in the shoe and if I go down a size sometimes the shoe is a tad bit too tight. I usually go up a size, and use inserts so my foot doesn’t slip around and cause my shoes to flop.

            1. Abhorsen327*

              You might like Fluevogs – most of their styles are designed with narrow feet in mind!

              1. Catherine in Canada*

                I’ll second the Fluevogs recommendation for narrower feet (and just flat out gorgeous shoes too!)

                1. Mints*

                  I was excited about narrow feet shoes, but woah $300 is way our of my comfort zone for shoes. Any recommendations for things more in the <$100 range?

        3. SevenSixOne*

          Yes! Wear whatever shoes you want as long as you can walk with a smooth stride at a brisk pace. Any illusion of graceful professionalism goes up in smoke if you wobble around like a baby giraffe on roller skates.

          1. Anon.*

            I think even it depends on which department you work, and maybe what part of the U.S. BTW, love those shoes!

            Creative depts. wouldn’t blanch at those shoes. IT departments (at least the ones I’ve worked in) wouldn’t care. But, yep, a lot of times those 4″ shoes are the domain of the 20-somethings, and you need to be able to wear less conservative clothes at work to pull them off. With the wider heel and Mary Jane stap they are safe from looking like ‘f-ck me pumps’, which do look completely inappropriate and send the wrong message (though I don’t think a lot of men particularly mind).

      2. Kelly O*

        To clarify, I just saw the picture, and they are actually much more conservative than I was picturing. They’d be fine for most offices, except very conservative ones.

        As others have said, I would make sure any skirt was knee-length or longer, or trousers have a wider leg to make it look less “going out” and more “office.”

        In the spirit of full disclosure, I do not care for suede heels personally, so I may be a bit biased when it comes to whether or not I’d wear them to the office. They tend to spot so easily and are harder to keep looking nice. I feel the same way about patent leather. It looks nice but it can look scuffed a lot quicker than a regular leather and is a bit harder to maintain.

    4. smilingswan*

      I’m going to say it depends on the industry. If you work in fashion, for example, these might be appropriate. At a fortune 500, probably not.

    5. Victoria, Please*

      Depends what you’re wearing them with. They have the potential either to look nifty — or slutty schoolgirl. Steer carefully.

      1. Kelly O*

        Yeah, no fishnets or patterned hose with this pair (unless it’s those teeny-tiny ones that look opaque.)

    6. AndersonDarling*

      I think it all depends on where you work and the current style. When I worked in fashion, ANYTHING was fine as long as it had a designer label. A red patent leather 2″ toe platform with a 6″ stiletto heal was fine. But they would get you sent home in my current office.
      I think there is some leeway with the tall wedges because they are still in style. Even if they are 5″ tall, they are a bit common place and don’t catch my attention.

      It also has to do with the rest of the outfit. If you have 4″ stilettos and an above the knee skirt, it looks a lot different than the same heals in long pants.

  3. Gloria*

    Man … I’m a feminine woman and I just don’t get high heels. Asking in a completely non-adversarial way, can anyone explain the appeal? They just make my feet hurt. Sorry if this is too off-topic. And I really don’t mean to be adversarial, I’m open to having it explained to me.

    1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

      As a tiny (4’11”) woman, I got sick of being literally overlooked.

      Also, I dated a guy for three years who was 6’3″, so I kinda got used to wearing them.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Off-topic, but I would love to know why tall guys date tiny women and blow off us tall women completely. Soooo annoying.

        I guess if you were really short, that would be a good reason to wear heels if you can (if the office is fine with it and you can walk in them). I don’t usually notice if someone is wearing them unless they are really cute shoes or the person falls off them.

        1. Jennifer*

          My ex who was 6’7 just didn’t care one way or the other about the heights of who he dated–he didn’t specialize in shorties particularly. Actually, the other exes didn’t really care either. I tended to date guys who weren’t remotely picky about anything.

        2. Joe*

          As a tall guy, I can say that I’ve dated some short women, but I’ve also dated some tall women. I don’t care about how tall you are, just about how awesome you are.

      2. Otilly*

        As a tiny (4’11″) woman, I got sick of being literally overlooked.

        This, 100 times. Actually, and the part about the tall boyfriends, too. But really, being “literally overlooked” is just insanely annoying. You know I’m short, look down! It ranks just below being told how short I am (“OMG! You are SO short!!”) when I’m not wearing heels :/

    2. L McD*

      They look fantastic, and they’re very flattering for your legs. I don’t wear them either because I have plantar issues and my feet are very difficult to fit, and heels just add yet another element of complication and potential issues. I opt for flats to avoid losing my mind (and those elastic ballet style flats are a godsend for feet like mine). I’m tall, so it’s fine. But I always wish I could wear heels easily.

    3. Chris*

      There are a number of factors in the comfort of a shoe. To me, a high quality leather, appropriate sole, and good arch support or way more of a factor than the heel. I find a high quality heel much more comfortable than flats.

      These heels look pretty modest to me, but I’d stay away from anything platform at work.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        Agree. Before I could afford nice shoes I didn’t understand why anyone would torture themselves all day. Now I invest in shoes that are really comfortable and are a classic style so I can keep wearing them year after year. I had to get rid of a pair of Nine West heals last year… they were so comfy that it broke my heart an itty bitty bit too see them go.

    4. Nina*

      I think high heels got a resurgence due to shows like Sex and the City, particularly the Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks. I don’t remember women going as crazy over them before that. I do think they look good and add height if you’re short. Plus, if your pant hems drag on the ground like mine do, flat shoes only emphasize that and can make you look stumpy. I’m going to try some kitten heels, thanks to the last open thread. :)

      That said, I don’t think the OP’s shoes would be appropriate for work, cute as they are. Those definitely look like party shoes, not a pair for the office.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have seen some women wearing similar shoes in work environments, but they often wore them with trousers, or were in the type of role where there isn’t a dress code..

      2. Valar M.*

        High heels have gone in and out of fashion a lot I think. I remember my mother being very into them in the 1980s too (though I can’t think of a cultural reason besides maybe something to do with women’s rise in the work force during that period).

      3. Gloria*

        Re: the TV show thing – I’ve wondered about that, like if maybe heels are considered an attractive thing because we always see beautiful glamorous women wearing them, actresses and models and such. Like, conditioned, in a way. Whereas if you presented a heeled shoe to someone who existed in a culture vacuum maybe they’d be totally weirded out by a shoe that basically inhibits movement.

        1. Kelly O*

          I don’t think we can reasonably take our working fashion cues from most television. (Please note, I say “most” not “all.”)

          Most of the time the suits are a bit too tight, the shirts a bit too unbuttoned, the skirts a bit too short, the heel a bit too high. I know television is fictional, but y’all seriously I have seen too many new hires come tottering in wearing stilettos and an Express suit one size too small. Because someone totally wore it on Sex and the City or Ally McBeal or whatever. (And I think I just aged myself…)

        2. Lynn I*

          Funny you mention the “inhibits movement” part, Gloria. I’m from St. Louis and recently our history museum had an exhibit called “Underneath It All”, an exhibit regarding the history of women’s undergarments. For a lot of nobility, women’s undergarments were designed to restrict mobility because it meant that you were a well respected woman who did not have to work. For instance those large hoop skirts a la Marie Antoinette–women wearing those could not walk straight through a doorway and often were required to turn sideways to fit through the doorway. Plus they were so heavy they required you to sit a lot further preventing work.

          Now heels have a long history for both women and men with various fashions and conventions going in and out over the years, and I can’t be certain as to how that history ties into today’s convention for women. It is interesting to think about it on a social level though!

    5. Luxe in Canada*

      The idea is that it makes you taller (and also slimmer for your height). Some people think it makes the legs look better, but I always wore them just for a couple extra inches.

      If you wear them only for weddings and the occasional party, then yes they will make your feet hurt so very much. But if you wear them all day every day, then you walk differently enough to avoid some of the pain and you get so used to it that you can ignore the rest — I wore heels for 40 hours a week at a job where I was on my feet all the time, and it wasn’t until hour nine that I’d even notice the ache. So my (long-winded) point is that for some women the aesthetic justifies the pain, but for other women it’s stopped hurting so you might as well wear heels and look a bit taller.

      1. azvlr*

        I disagree that all high heels make your legs look longer and slimmer. Certain heels such as a basic pump, particularly in a neutral color will elongate the look of your leg and still end with a nice foot-shape at the bottom. The heels ladies wear in my office look more like club shoes – as in, their feet look like clubs at the end of a stick. So, the thinking that “higher is better” is just off.

        1. Luxe in Canada*

          LOL, I conceed that some heels really make the legs look worse. What I was aiming for was kind of that if a 5’5 person puts on 3″ heels, now she looks 5’8 but she’s still the same size around. She’ll look slimmer, not just her legs but overall. I worded it clumsily the first time, sorry. Like, the height-to-width ratio has changed because height has changed but width hasn’t.

          Terrible way to look slimmer, though. Wrecks your knees and feet.

          1. GrumpyBoss*

            My knees can’t handle the pain from heels anymore. I look slimmer now by eating less and moving more. It almost makes too much sense.

            1. Luxe in Canada*

              I wore them for height, not an optical illusion of being thinner. But now that I’m not wearing them all the time, it’s no longer exaggerating the curve of my spine — so I have a flat belly instead of a curved tummy. If I’d known this would happen I would have burned my heels years ago! Thank you, crappy knee ligaments, for your unspoken wisdom in forcing me to accept 5’5 as my real height.

              1. GrumpyBoss*

                I married a short guy. Went a long way to helping me accept that my 5’6″ wasn’t that bad :)

                1. Perpetua*

                  Where is 5’6″ considered “short” for a woman? I’m 5’7″ and I’ve always thought of myself as of average height, although I’ve even been told I’m “tall for a woman”. :P

                2. Kelly L.*

                  Well, in my experience the Midwest is full of very tall people (I chalk it up to the Nordic folks here), plus you can end up with a short-person insecurity if your whole family is tall. I’m also 5’6″ but felt short growing up because that’s short for my family. Out in the larger world I realized it was about average, and that’s in the Midwest; I think in a wider geographical sample it might even be slightly tall.

                3. Niki*

                  5’6″ is not short at all. Average height for women is 5’5″. I am 5’8″ and although I do not think I am a giant, I am without doubt tall for a woman. If I am still as tall or taller than many men and still have length issues when buying clothes then I am tall.

                4. Cucumber*

                  Indeed, I understand, I thought I was short growing up in the Midwest (almost 5’5″) and so did my brother (5’11”).

                  Average height for an American woman is 5’4″. 5’5″ and 5’6″ are, believe it or not, actually taller than average.

        2. Kelly O*

          I have a very, very comfortable pair of peep-toe “shoe-ty” (shoe-bootie) that I wear whenever possible. I try to keep them paired with pants because they do give me a bit of a club-foot look, but dang… they are comfy.

          My personal pet peeve is “hoof-foot” wherein your platform is so high your foot appears to look like a hoof. I know the platform can make an otherwise unwearable heel more bearable, and it’s absolutely just my own personal opinion.

      2. plain jane*

        My mother used to wear heels a lot (she’s just over 5 foot). Apparently she wore them so much that she shortened her tendons, and now that she’s wearing flats, they need a noticeable downward angle or she’s in pain.

        Which I guess is a long-winded way of saying that sometimes the eventual absence of an ache is actually a bad sign.

        1. Libby*

          I used to work in a shoe store, and, yeah, we regularly had older women coming in who needed something soft and comfortable (and casual) but they had to have at least a 1.5 or 2 in heel because of shortened tendons. That put me off everyday heels completely.

      3. Lynn I*

        I’m not against heels. I like the way they look and wear them a lot. It’s important to consider that the reason why it may stop hurting after wearing them so often is that excessive heel-wearing shortens the Achilles tendon over time! (Here’s one source but I have seen several others:

        I think it’s fascinating that we look at the 19th C. and how corsets would shift around women’s organs and think how could anyone wear something that would physically change their body permanently? 200 years later, we may be potentially doing the same thing in a different way! And yet, even knowing all that, I do still really think heels are attractive and enjoy wearing them. Funny how social conventions work.

        1. Phoebe*

          Just a thought, but, women didn’t live as long back then, so perhaps the pain they endured wasn’t as much of a problem since they didn’t have to be 80 yrs old and have a permanently corseted waist.

          That said, think about the Asian societies that revered small feet back in the day…and would change their feet via foot binding.

    6. Jen RO*

      I think they lift your butt and make your legs look better. I don’t give a damn personally – comfort before nice butt for me!

      OP’s heels would be too much for my office too. I work in a software company and the few women who wear high, dressy heels look out of place. We’re more of a sandals and sneakers place…

      1. De (Germany)*

        Which is why I really hate when people say places like ours don’t have a dress code or that they wish they could go to work in jeans and sneakers. I usually enjoy that, yes, but I also really like wearing dresses and skirts and yes, occasionally, heels. Which is impossible to do without drawing even more attention to the “hey, you are different!”effect of being a woman in a male-dominated workplace.

        1. Stephanie*

          “No dress code” usually ends up being “everyone will ask why you’re wearing a dress instead of jeans like everyone else.” This has been me in past jobs. My preference is toward skirts/dresses because of my body shape. I’ll put on a dress/skirt like “Hrm, this has a low hemline and would look better with a heel.” And then you’re at work explaining why you’re so “dressed up.”

          1. De (Germany)*

            Oh yes, that, too! I have so many dresses and skirts and never seem to wear them to work because then I’d often love to wear my heels with them and then I look in the mirror and thing “Hmmmm, that looks like too much”…

            1. Stephanie*

              I’m possibly in a weird minority on this, but I would have preferred business casual dress. A casual dress code almost provided too much freedom. I knew pajamas were no-nos, but it was kind of guesswork outside of that. Most of the time, I was on the mark, but every once in a while I’d wear something like a hot pink skirt (true) and think “Ok, I stick out in a bad way.” I also worked in mostly male offices, where casual usually implied jeans and a t-shirt.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                I agree with you. I *am* in a business casual office, but the women in my department push the limits so that business casual means anything that isn’t blue jeans (colored jeans, leggings, floor length strapless dresses, and flip flops all make an appearance). I rather just wear actual business clothes, like slacks and skirts from the work wear section of a store, but I stick out from my coworkers, too.

                1. Kelly O*

                  I will just plant the flag for banning flip-flops or any shoe that smacks against your foot when you walk right here.

                  If I can hear you coming by the sound of your shoes, let’s reconsider our choices.

                  /end superficial judging of others shoe choices

          2. Carrie*

            Stephanie, this is so true! I hated this at my last job…. the one day you want to wear a skirt or a dress or heels, and all of a sudden it’s why are you so dressed up, where are you going tonight, do you have a hot date, do you have an interview at another company….ridiculous, invasive questions!!!! Sometimes, I just want to feel nice….I’m tired of buying things and just waiting for a special occasion to wear them!

        2. Jen RO*

          It’s not that bad here – I’m wearing a dress and sandals (without heels) right now, and I’d say about half the women on my floor are also in dresses/skirts. But there are a few women who dress *too* professionally for their job, if that makes any sense – stilettos (similar to these: and suits/dresses like these: Not even managers dress like that here, so it is definitely noticed when the junior QA analysts do it.

          I am very happy working in a casual environment, because I am one of those people who are happiest in jeans… but I do get what you’re saying, because my previous job was even more casual and I did have days when I wanted to be girlier! (I am sure no one would have thought less of me for that, but I would have felt a bit out of place.)

        3. Jamie*

          This. Not only do I work in a casual environment but it’s manufacturing; no skirts, dresses, heels, or opened toed shoes due to safety reasons.

          I’m so tired of business casual pants and sweaters/knit tops. I want to wear fun dresses and heels again. Although at 5’7″ I never went that high as too self conscious about height – but if I were shorter I’d be all over the OPs shoes.

          Those are SO cute. I’m jealous.

        4. FarFromBreton*

          This is the issue I’ve run into at my new job. I’m one of very few women and also as tall or taller than most of the men. The most formally dressed men here wear non-jeans pants and casual button-down shirts. I wear skirts/dresses most of the time (shorts are too short on me and it’s hard to find pants that fit), and wearing flats every day makes my flat feet sore. But wearing dresses and heels to an office full of guys in t-shirts feels like “Hey! Look at the giant woman!”

    7. Stephanie*

      They (purportedly) make your butt and legs look better. In practice, I think that varies a lot depending on the heel relative to your leg. It’s also nice sometimes to be taller. I’m 5’5″, so too tall of a heel and suddenly I’m towering over everyone.

    8. FD*

      If you think about the way that many legs look, they tuck in at the knee, curve out at the calf, and then come back in towards the heel. High heels extend that line down, making the back curve of the leg look longer and (in many cases) thinner, because the width of the leg looks proportionally smaller, when compared to the longer leg line. It also tends to be an aesthetically pleasing curve–similar to the reason for pointe shoes in ballet. It basically does the same for your rear, though IMO, the effect is more noticeable on your legs.

      However, as someone who wears heels every day, you do have to break in a pair. I always carry bandaids in my purse to cover blisters up until my feet have calloused up to new shoes, and until the new shoes have shaped to my feet. And I’ll definitely grant you that they just aren’t as comfortable as sneakers or loafers, whatever you do.

      But I personally love the way they look, so I wear them anyway.

      1. Waiting Patiently*

        Never got a blister from heels just poorly designed shoes. Like this pair of Nike that has a some sort of rough stitching too close to the pinky toe. Should have known that was why they were in the outlet. I’ve had them for at least 3 years never wore. just decided to wear them to walk in and got the nastiest blisters…

      2. Lady Sybil*

        Try bodyglide on your feet to prevent blisters. I use it when I run, but now I carry the smaller size in my purse in case I get a hot spot. It’s not greasy like Vaseline and I don’t get blisters anymore. I buy mine at running stores. Bit of a dodgy name, I know.

    9. Felicia*

      They make me taller (i’m 4’11) and they make my legs look awesome. They hurt my feet too though so I rarely wear them

    10. Elysian*

      I have better posture and feel more confident in heels. I don’t know why, but they make me feel more like a professional and like I have more “presence.” It’s all in my head, but it works for me. I also can’t frequently find flats that I like – they all end up looking too casual to me, or are crazy expensive (way more than I pay for my heels).

      1. LibrarianJ*

        It’s the same way for me — I don’t know if it’s the added height or what, but they help a lot with my confidence especially since I look pretty young for my age and am often mistaken for a student. Since my workplace is not especially dressy, I try not to wear them everyday, but I *always* wear them if I’m giving a presentation, teaching a class, or attending any kind of meetings where I want to emphasize ‘I’m a professional, not the student intern.’

        Of course, right now I have a seriously broken toe and am strictly forbidden from heels so there will be no heel-driven confidence boosts anytime soon :)

    11. Sunflower*

      I’m 5’1 and flats, for me, can make me look like a little kid. It’s REALLY hard to wear skirts with flats and not look like a little school girl. I also have short legs and have a pair of nude patent leather heels- man they make me look thinner and like my legs go on for days. You do need to break heels in and once you do, they are much more comfortable. Overall though, I think heels make a woman look more professional and sharper. It’s harder to look sharp wearing a flat IMO

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Same here. At 5′, I’m often overlooked, so heels at least put me in people’s peripherals. Either that, or I wear really noisy shoes so people hear me even if they don’t see me right away. :)

    12. Calla*

      I’m not a high heel devotee, but wear them sometimes, favoring wedges. For me, one of the main things is there’s more surface area for cuteness! I like colorblocking and patterns and obnoxious heels like Irregular Choice and Poetic License, and adding height gives more area to do that than just plain flats do (which I wear plenty of too).

      I’m not super tall (5’6”) but I actually don’t like the height they give me, and I’m a fan of being comfortable, so I tend to stay 3″ or under with thicker heels. I do also like the line they give me with skirts and dresses, though.

    13. the_scientist*

      The higher the heel, the closer to God! I’m little (about 5 feet) so I love wearing heels to put myself at eye level with the majority of the population. Also, because my boyfriend is 6 foot 2, I can wear four-inch platform heels and barely reach his shoulder. I have a few beautiful and fairly expensive pairs of shoes that unfortunately rarely see daylight because I work in a small, casual office and would be absolutely overdressed if I wore heels, so I like to wear them outside of work as often as possible.

      As for those particular shoes, I think in a fairly fashion-forward office, with a midi-length skirt, they’d be fine. Other than the heel height, they are fairly classic.

      1. Gloria*

        “The higher the heel, the closer to God!” that made me chuckle. In a good way, I mean, sounds like you have a good sense of humor.

    14. The IT Manager*

      I agree. I don’t wear skirts in large part because I do not want to wear heels and skirts practically demand heels.

      I do love my variety of cute flats which can be worn with jeans or slacks for work. Turns out I love Clarks brand shoes. I see something I like in the store and sure enough it’s Clarks.

      I do not wear any kind of sandals or open-toed shoes at work because I do not want cold feet all day long.

          1. Kelly O*

            Me too Gloria.

            I also wear pencil skirts with shorter heels with no issue at all. Heel doesn’t necessarily mean 4″ – I wear plenty of 2″-3″ heels that look just fine. Plus, I am a huge advocate for kitten heels. It’s a bit girlier, but doesn’t make me wobble like a higher heel tends to.

            Wedges can also look good with a pencil skirt. You get the height with an easier walkability score.

    15. Office Mercenary*

      Pros: I have extremely high arches and flats give me plantar fasciitis. The higher the heel, the more comfortable it is for my arches. I also find my posture is better when I wear high heels.

      Cons: High heels put a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot, and for some reason heels never have cushioning built in, even in platforms where it could be invisible. Also, after a while my knees start to hurt.

    16. Mimmy*

      I’m only 5 feet tall, so one would think I’d be all for wearing heels. Nope! My balance isn’t great, so I never really learned to wear them for fear of falling. Plus, my feet are small (size 5) and VERY narrow, so finding cute shoes is next to impossible. I can handle flats or low-heeled pumps, however.

      I do understand the appeal of heels, though. With the right style and height, they can actually look really nice. Not sure about the workplace, as with the OP’s question, which I’ll answer later.

    17. M. in Austin!*

      I’m barely 5ft tall, so it’s nice to be taller sometimes, but I don’t get the appeal either. They’re pretty and fun, but they make my feet HURT! I never wear heals anymore because my company has a very casual dress code. I wear shorts everyday :)

    18. JoAnna*

      I agree. Having my feet scream in pain after a few hours just isn’t worth it, and it’s hard to walk in them, too.

    19. Brett*

      I’m a 5’0″ man… and ironically while there are some good arguments for me using some sort of heel to look taller… it is considered worse than a business fashion sin to do so. (And people immediately notice if I have even a 1/2″ taller heel on my shoes than usual.)

    20. Anonylicious*

      I have high arches, so they’re actually more comfortable for me. I gave myself Achilles tendinitis running around in ballet flats last year. :(

      Also, I mostly work with men, so without heels I’m quite a bit shorter than them.

    21. Eden*

      I think the appeal is part rational and part irrational. Rational = feeling taller and more proportional. Irrational = something about the actual shoe is appealing. Some heels are really works of art. That part is hard to explain, and probably a bit different for each woman who loves high-heeled shoes.

      I enjoyed the ‘Feet of Engineering’ article Stephanie posted, but disagree a little bit with the premise that high heels are the only fashion trend that persists in popularity despite being physically painful, as tattoos/piercings don’t seem to be going anywhere, either.

      I have some long swoopy wide-leg pants that must be worn with something high because otherwise I am a stumpy person tripping over the ridiculous hems. With heels on though, I feel like Katherine Hepburn in those pants.

      I disagree that all heels must be painful. I’m too old for painful heels. I have almost exclusively wedges with a platform, so the actual heel height is less than 2″. Having said that, I would totally wear the shoes OP posted to work, but my office has a vague and widely-interpreted dress code.

    22. FarFromBreton*

      My answer is kind of unusual–I’m already 5’10” and don’t need or necessarily want the extra height, and my legs are pretty good on their own. But I have big, extremely flat feet. Low heels (2-3″) keep my feet from pronating and are much more comfortable than many flat shoes (even supportive flats and some sneakers). I walk a lot, so I need shoes that can support my feet/knees for miles. They also put all that foot length to use and keep me from looking as duck-footed, but those aren’t major factors. I own plenty of flats, but I reach for low wedges or booties the most.

    23. kris*

      I’m 5’7″, so maybe that’s why I don’t get high heels either. To me, those shoes look like a backache/footache/leg ache waiting to happen. I think they’d look cute with a short heel.

  4. PizzaSquared*

    #1 – Don’t put too much weight into one person’s opinion, but PLEASE don’t dismiss it either. Do more research and try to get more perspectives. I took a job with my dream company, despite the warnings of several people who said it was a horrible idea. They were all correct, and I regretted taking the job from about one week in. It was a terrible situation, and I let my dreams of working for them cloud my judgement so much that I ignored all the red flags.

    1. Number 1 escapee*


      I’m just leaving a job that is in exactly this situation. I wouldn’t counsel anyone starting out not to work there because I think it’s a great org doing great work and can be a good stepping stone. But anything above manager I’d encourage strongly to think carefully because the upper management is so dysfunctional.

    2. majigail*

      Also, consider where this person would be on the org chart in relation to you. Do you want someone gloomily waiting for retirement in your chain of command?

    3. Ruffingit*

      Agreed. Weight should be given to what this guy has to say, but more investigation is warranted. Talking to other people who have/are working there, doing some general online research, etc. I wouldn’t accept or dismiss the company on this one opinion, but I do think it should be taken into consideration. Also, wouldn’t hurt to go back to this guy and ask him to be very specific about his complaints/concerns too. That might give more insight into the situation. Does he just not get along with people or is it a tangible thing like not receiving raises for years after being promised them, upper management yelling and screaming at people and so forth.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This. I think of it the same way I’d look at a negative review on Glassdoor. Is the person saying, “Oh this company sucks,” or are they actually giving reasons for their opinion? In my experience, if there is a genuine problem, most people aren’t vague about it. They usually get right to the point.

    4. The Maple Teacup*

      Workplace warnings. Now this is interesting. I just warned a coworker against working at Oldjob. Why? Because I’m
      Genuinely worried about the job security of everyone there. For reasons such as 1) they have way more openings than there ought to be for an organization that size. People quit because of management frustrations and low pay 2) the organization has a pattern of terminating good people without warning 3) the place goes through directors like they’re paper napkins. If someone is warning you with specific examples, I think that’s more weighty data than sweeping general negativity. But don’t accept or reject a place entirely based on one datapoint.

      1. Harper*

        It sounds like you have actual reasons for your concerns that you shared with your coworker, which is great. That’s what I would be looking for. The warning LW got seemed very vague, just “Oh this place SUCKS” than actual “It sucks for these reasons”. So, I’d say you totally went about it the right way.

    5. kd*

      #1 this guy could be my co-worker, a director in a non-profit organization that is trying to pull its head from it’s XX, but still not getting there. I would heed his warnings and do further research, as much as you can. Interview with others and watch for the warning signs. If you go for it, keep your recruiting contacts current.
      We look great from the outside, rotten to the core inside. In fact, I wonder if it’s here, for the description of the top brass is spot on.
      We hired a couple of golden kids a couple of years ago to assist in turning us around. I feel very bad for them, for one by one, they are seeing the real picture. All talk, no action. It’s just a matter of time till they move on. Be wary.

  5. HarryV*

    #5. Be careful how you thanked him for his consideration. He may have thought you were thanking him for the opportunity and that this was not a good time for you and stopped reading the rest of your e-mail! That’s certainly how I interpreted your message to AAM until I read through the whole thing.

    1. TheSnarkyB*

      Yeah- also I’m shocked that Alison didn’t mention that it’s only been a day since sending that email. But maybe she knows something about recruiter response times specifically that I don’t. OP, the recruiter now knows you’re not super available, so the pressure’s off for him to get back to you, don’t you think? I wouldn’t assume he’s not going to get back to you at all but since you’re talking about the week after next instead, maybe he’s not prioritizing responding to you bc he’d rather do it closer to the time of the interview, etc. give this one at least another day before you jump to conclusions, I’d say.

      1. Robin*

        I agree! There’s even a chance that the recruiter would like to be back in touch, but doesn’t want to bug the OP too much while she’s dealing with a family emergency. I would wait until at least next week before I give this one up for lost entirely.

    2. Mimmy*

      Oooh good catch! Yeah, I probably would’ve instead asked if next week (or whenever you were back from home) was available and reiterate your interest in the position.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      LOL! I had to reread it a couple of times myself because at first it didn’t make sense, and then, I couldn’t believe someone was asking this.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If it’s not in the company rules, then ignore, ignore, ignore.
      Even if it is against company rules, I wouldn’t be the one to run to the bosses. There’s hills to die on, and this isn’t one.

      Bosses do notice who runs into the office with every single thing and who just does their job.

    3. LBK*

      Yeah…unless she’s doing it during her shift and/or charging him for it, I can’t imagine what the problem is here.

    4. Various Assumed Names*

      Being a waitress isn’t like being a doctor, where it would be an ethical violation to fraternize with patients. On the contrary, I imagine this is quite common. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if some resorts had rules against it.

      If I’m being honest though, it sounds like OP is looking for permission to slut shame and did not find it here. Mind ya bizness.

      1. Anonymous*

        “On the contrary, I imagine this is quite common.”

        Having worked in a resort, I can tell you that you’re right. It’s very common. In fact, I would go further and say it’s safe to assume that it happens at every resort, every season, more than once.

        As long as everybody is showing up for work on time, and not spreading STDs all over the place, it’s really nobody else’s business.

        1. Weasel007*

          There are a lot of places that restrict this. My Brother was a manager of a restaurant. Employees were absolutely NOT allowed to hang out after their shift on site. It caused major problems.

        1. annie*

          Ha, for fun Alison should do a whole date that is just questions from characters in Dirty Dancing!

      2. AndersonDarling*

        Agree. If they aren’t a doctor, or another profession that has an ethical code against dating patients/clients, then who cares. Resort/hospitality jobs are a great place for single folks to meet friends and sometimes find relationships.

        I met my fiancé at the bar where he worked. We talked after his shift, we’ve been together for 3 years, and we are getting married in 5 months. I didn’t know I was so “scandalous” by dating him. :)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Agreed, especially if the people involved are being discreet. If they’re not, I can imagine it might cause some consternation, as would any behavior that guests might question (like if she’s hanging all over customers in public areas, etc.). That kind of stuff can be irritating to coworkers.

          I’m reminded of someone I worked with long ago who flirted like crazy with customers, bragged on her security guard fiance but then talked about how all his cop friends were panting after her and she shagged this one and that one, etc. We were all sick of her.

      3. Brett*

        I actually thought the opposite… that the OP is friends with the person or maybe actually is the person. The last two lines imply that the OP thinks there is nothing wrong and someone else is the one calling the actions “immoral”.

        1. Various Assumed Names*

          Because of the inclusion of details like “met a week ago”, “stayed overnight in his room”, and “got ready at resort”, I just thought this is a nosy person. Could be either, I suppose. I would love to know more details if her coworkers are hassling her.

      4. arctic fox*

        “If I’m being honest though, it sounds like OP is looking for permission to slut shame and did not find it here. Mind ya bizness.”

        Yes! I love AAM commenters.

    5. Audiophile*

      My exact thought was “wait, what??”
      Who cares? I never understand why people get so wrapped up in other’s personal lives.

  6. Jennifer M.*

    #3 – I have to admit that I do occasionally wear heels with platforms to work. I am 4’9″ so these shoes only have about a 3″-3.5″ heel and the platform makes it feel like I am wearing flats (thus why I love them). Because I am so short, it is a lot less noticeable than with my more average-height colleagues.

  7. Luxe in Canada*

    #4: I’m not condoning her actions, but I hope OP can cut her some slack. It’s not professional, yes, of course. But let’s be clear here: the letter writer wasn’t writing to ask whether it’s also unethical for a customer at a resort to take his waitress up to his room for the night. Sounds like a lot of emotions that have nothing to do with a coworker’s free time activities.

    1. MK*

      I don’t think it’s odd that the OP is concerned with her co-worker’s actions and not the customer’s. But, unless the hotel forbids workers to date customers, it’s not unethical. I am not even sure I would call it unprofessional, if it’s a one-time thing; it would be different if the worker habitually found dates on her job.

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      I think what was really troubling was the use of the word “immoral” – the OP did not ask if it was unethical. Immoral and unethical are not synonyms. Morals are a personal belief whereas ethics tend to be more societal or group behaviors. By questioning someone’s morals rather than their ethics, you are calling into question that person’s character.

      OP gets no benefit of the doubt from me.

      1. Josh S*

        If OP wants to know if it’s immoral, she should consult with her priest/pastor/guru/spiritual advisor.

        I suspect she is asking whether it is ethical or professional.

        The ethics are questionable, particularly if the customer was a customer of the waitress. Or at least the optics of it are questionable (was she propositioned? Given an extra large tip? We have no basis to know, but it doesn’t really reflect well, and it may raise such questions with coworkers or managers, and I’d imagine most resorts want to avoid any appearance of being that kind of hotel…)

        It is almost certainly not professional. If it’s a one-time thing, I’d put it in the ‘none of my business’ file. But if there were even a hint that it was a pattern, I’d put the kibosh on it ASAP.

        1. TL*

          Eh – for a waitress, I actually would have a hard time believing it was unethical. Unless she works at a very, very, very upscale restaurant, an extra-large tip is going to be, what, $10-$20 depending on the meal and the size of the party. And waitresses tend to get a lot of unwanted attention, so I have a hard time believing she didn’t know how to divert attention and get him away (to deal with the propositioning angle.)

          There are certainly some professions where this would be completely unethical – doctors, lawyers, counselors, things like that – but for a waitress to slip away with a customer after her shift – I can’t see that being any big deal. Even if s/he did leave her an extra-large tip, it’s very unlikely that it’s a large amount of money to really seem coercive.

          1. TL*

            Ah! “have a hard time believing that she didn’t know how to divert attention…” -I don’t think that came out right, but what I meant was, all of my server friends tended to have strategies to deal with overly friendly customers after a month or so on the job.

          2. Josh S*

            What if it was a $50 tip on a $10 meal?

            The implications of that are…well, either unprofessional, or very professional if you catch my meaning. And that’s the kind of thing that a hotel would DEFINITELY not want to have going on, if they seek to maintain an upstanding reputation.

        2. TheSnarkyB*

          I don’t think we should assume the OP meant something other than what they said (unprofessional/unethical vs. immoral) usually people who use words like “immoral” know exactly what they’re doing.
          And it’s not the OP’s place to put the kibosh on anything because it’s none of her damn business and she’s not the person’a manager. Can you image how a peer (likely not a “friend”) could appropriately handle that conversation without being way too far up in the waitress’s business? I can’t.

    3. De (Germany)*

      It’s a waitress and a customer – I don’t even see the potential for something unethical or immoral there.

      1. plain jane*

        I could see if there was concern about customers starting to _expect_ the waitresses to join them in the rooms. I wouldn’t want to be in that environment at all. (as a guest or a staff member)

          1. Artemesia*

            It would become a problem for THIS server OP though who now is in a place where waitresses have this reputation and thus has to deal with the way others think of her and also fend off aggressive customers.

            Still not her business but I can see how it would impact her.

            1. some1*

              Then the problem is male customers who feel they are owed sex from ANY woman, much less their waitress. If the woman who had my job before chose to hook up with the FedEx guy, that’s her choice and has no bearing on whether or not I’d hook up with him.

      2. Sarah*

        I can see why an employer might be wary of it. However, I don’t think it’s unethical unless the employee is breaking rules she has agreed to follow.

        Since it’s a resort and the customers stay for awhile, a lot of employee-customer hookups could result in drama when someone on either side develops expectations that aren’t met. You don’t want a situation where customers are avoiding the restaurant or servers won’t serve certain tables because a hookup hasn’t gone well. Or if several of the waitresses do this on a regular basis, word may get around and create a situation where customers are much more aggressive with servers than they otherwise would be. But these are just reasons that the business may legitimately decide to set rules against it and breaking them would be unethical. If there are none, nothing unethical was done.

    4. Perpetua*

      I think even the POV of #4 is unclear. Sure, it could be a co-worker complaining about a colleague, but it could also be the OP writing about herself (e.g. after being reprimanded about it), the boss writing about an employee, etc.

      That doesn’t change the answer, of course. :)

      1. Fuchsia*

        My reading is that the OP is writing about herself and coworkers are now saying things.

      2. Contessa*

        I thought OP #4 was the waitress. Perhaps her coworkers are making comments, and she can’t figure out why they care. Otherwise, if the OP were a coworker, the OP wouldn’t need to ask how it affected coworkers (because as a coworker, s/he would already know).

        1. TheSnarkyB*

          I read it as a coworker looking for AAM’s wording/take on it for ammo against the waitress.

      3. Cucumber*

        Had the same idea: that OP is actually writing in for positive feedback after getting slagged at work.

    5. My 2 Cents*

      I think that as a society we are too obsessed with what others do with their private parts. OP #4 focus on your private parts and let others focus on their’s, problem solved!

      1. Graciosa*

        I decline to make any assumptions about other people’s behavior that involve private parts.

        I assume that they spent the night playing gin rummy. ;-)

      2. some1*

        “I think that as a society we are too obsessed with what others do with their private parts. OP #4 focus on your private parts”

        Other *women* specifically. Would anyone have an issue with a male waiter or bartender hooking up with a customer?

        1. LBK*

          To be fair, I do think there are a number of people who would find it equally objectionable for a man to do this (assuming they found it objectionable for a woman to do this as well). While I agree that there are many instances where women are criticized for sexual activities that a man would receive a pass for, I think employee/client relationship standards tend to be viewed pretty consistently regardless of gender – the issue for most people isn’t that a woman shouldn’t be having casual sex, it’s that an employee shouldn’t be having a non-platonic relationship with a customer.

          I see this applied pretty similarly for manager/employee relationships – the woman and the man are equally stigmatized in my experience, regardless of who’s in which role.

          1. some1*

            Maybe, but the people who would fond it “equally objectionable” would probably have used the gender-neutral term “server”. The gender was mentioned on purpose.

        2. Artemesia*

          There is a difference between dating/hooking up with a customer and repairing to a room on the job premises to get it on. I can’t imagine a hotel that would not have a rule against their employees having sex with customers ON THE PREMISES. This does not constitute ‘what you do in your off time’ — this constitutes ‘what you are doing at the workplace.’

          1. Observer*

            True. But I also can’t imagine a hotel that would look at it from the pov of “moral” or not.

      3. Sadsack*

        Yeah, quit it with the slut-shaming, If the male bartender or waiter left with a customer that he got to know over the course of the customer’s week-long stay at the resort, would anyone care?

    6. Kelly L.*

      I didn’t read it that way at all–I was thinking the LW was the “she” of the letter and that someone had given her flak for it.

  8. GrumpyBoss*

    #1: while I wouldn’t judge an entire organization by this guy’s comments, I certainly would not want to work anywhere he is at. His comments were inappropriate for someone he just met. If you worked with him daily, I’m sure you’d be subjected to oversharing about his emotions and what he thinks is wrong. The chronic whiner is no better for workplace morale than a bad CEO and #2.

    1. Sigrid*


      OP, if you end up applying to this company in the future, please be sure to find out if you will be working with this guy. Even if he’s the only one who thinks the org is horrible and it turns out to be a great place to work (for you), working with someone so relentlessly negative *will* affect your enjoyment of the job.

      The entire thing just struck me as horribly inappropriate for an informational interview.

    2. Artemesia*

      My first big job after getting my last degree was at a place that crashed and burned a couple of years in. EVERYONE knew there were serious problems but no one told m. I asked the right questions and noone told me. It was pre-internet and not easy to research the financial stability and this was a place that had been there forever. I never dreamed it could disappear, but I did ask the right questions about the stability of the job I was taking. Noone gave me honest answers. Later a couple of people told me they felt guilty that they all put such a positive face on things they knew were problematic. There are worse things than an oversharing interviewer. (I uprooted my husband’s career and moved my family for this job that disappeared overnight)

  9. robot chick*

    If I were #1, I’d probably slowly back out to never return (at least while this director is there, possibly ever), because what kind of company lets this kind of thinly veiled resentment go unchecked? I mean, if he’s like that with a virtual stranger, then something, at some point, must’ve surely gotten back to the rest of management, and they what? Decided to sit it out because he’s close to retirement anyways? Ngl, this whole thing boggles my mind.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I have worked for companies with very obvious resentment steaming off the employees. My knee-jerk reaction was this guy is telling OP where it is at.
      My bias is based on a couple of things. In short this is the worst of the worst:
      Decades ago I worked for a place where a coworker said “You don’t fit in here for A REASON. You need to get out now,while you can.”
      That was a job that I cried all the way into work and cried all the way home.
      About 15 years later I was working for another place that would have been okay if I just did it for a few years and then left. But nooo. So it was my own fault that I did not leave. I remember saying to someone that she was nice and she had ethics therefore she would not last. She lasted a short while after I left.

      My punchline is sometimes people end up in a bad spot and all they can do is try to protect others from going down the same road. I think OP has been warned.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Well, if the company is as bad as he’s saying it is, then they won’t care about thinly veiled resentment and that sort of speaks to the problem itself. There are many companies who don’t care at all that employees are unhappy.

  10. KayDay*

    #3 Shooooooeeesss!!!: Those are really cute. I don’t think they are very professional in the sense of being business-formal appropriate (both because of the height and because they are a bit out-on-the-town-dressy), but if you have a smart-casual dress code, (and assuming you can walk well in them) I think they would be fine with pants, particularly slacks that cover them partially. Really high heels draw attention to your legs, so wearing them with pants might help negate that. But I wouldn’t wear them to a big meeting or anything like that.

    1. Lady Sybil*

      Shoes make me happy too. There is no such thing as a bad shoe day. I have way more shoes than clothes to wear them with for this reason. The OP’s shoes looked fine to me.

  11. Stephanie*

    #1 – People would ask me about FirstJob (which I hated). The economy was really tanking and there was some appeal to that job (since it was at the federal government and always hiring). I would then launch into this polemic about FirstJob. After doing that once or twice, I realized I just sounded crazy and most people weren’t taking my views on the job that seriously. So I toned it down to a more balanced “These are the pluses, these are the minuses. I didn’t particularly like it for X, Y, and Z reasons, but those who do like it like it for A, B, C reasons and have D, E, and F traits or interests.”

    #3 – My friend is pretty short (around 5’0″) and will wear 5″ heels to work (she’s an attorney). I was like “Erm…aren’t those kind of high for the office?” “Oh no, because with these, I’m now average height.” I guess it’s probably nice to not have everyone towering over you, but 5″ seems crazy to me, especially at a law firm.

    #5 – Unfortunately, this has been my experience with recruiters. I get an enthusiastic email or phone call, reply, and then nothing. (I’m sure there are fantastic ones out there, somewhere.) I just had to really take to heart that they’re there to fill jobs for companies.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


      When I had jury duty a couple years back, I spent time looking at the women lawyer’s shoes, ’cause jury duty needed something to occupy my mind. My informal survey on breaks concluded that the overwhelming number of women attorneys in the courthouse had shoes 4″ and above.

      In my day, heels were thought to be dis-empowering to women but I think the newer generations find them empowering.

      More power = good to me.

      1. KayDay*

        I think it’s common for lawyers (as well as PR and marketing people) to follow the logic of: if heigh equals power, then high heals.

        One day at a rather boring panel discussion, I noticed that one of the panelists–a male PR guy–was actually wearing what could only be described as high heals, although they were clearly men’s shoes. I didn’t know such a thing existed until then.

        1. Josh S*

          Like men’s flamenco shoes? I don’t even know what men’s heels would be other than that?

          1. LBK*

            I’ve seen split sole men’s shoes with a particularly pronounced split and a thick platform that could look kind of like very low high heels.

          2. Valar M.*

            Lots of mens dress shoes and boots have heels. I know men that are at least 2 inches taller in them. I don’t know if thats what KayDay meant – but 2 inches is still a heel. Not to mention guys like Tom Cruise who wear “lifts”

          3. KayDay*

            Yes! Like men’s flamenco shoes (never had seen those before, but yeah, quite similar). The heel was a bit taller and a bit more narrow than any men’s shoes I had seen before, although they were still clearly men’s shoes.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        It boggles my mind how some women can stand on their feet all day in high heels. I could do it up until about age 30. Now, my right foot toes have a lot of pain and I am just trying to preserve my feet. Talk to any women who have had bunion surgery, and you won’t want to mess with high heels. (the collective you, not WTL)

        1. Cucumber*

          Plantar fascitis and torn ankles by age 18 due to poor shoes. I have never worn high heels (beyond childhood “dressup”) and just shake my head at the limited options available for those of us who can’t.

      3. M. in Austin!*

        I definitely don’t find heels empowering (I don’t find them dis-empowering either…). I’m 5ft but I don’t want to have wear heels for people to take me seriously. I have to change my appearance and have achy feet before you’ll take me seriously? How about no!

        (this isn’t an attack on Wakeen… just a ramble going through my head right now. )

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Hey, I wear Birkies or the equivalent comfort wear. To me, not having to wear fancy shoes is powerful, but, as I said up thread, I’m also 5’10” and another generation.

          I’ve thought about this a bit because I have a bunch of young women who work for me. I confess to being a bit “tsk tsk” internally re some of those heel heights or extravagant shoes but then I watched the women and the shoes seem to give them a serious charge.

          I wear what I like to make me feel powerful, they wear what they like.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I always felt that Doc Martens were the most empowering shoe. Unfortunately, it’s not a look that works for my current job or current style. (I do occasionally go to the field and wear steel toes. That’s pretty empowering, too.)

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              I bought a pair of red Doc Martens once and I was SO going to do it with long skirts and a business jacket but…. I chickened out and returned them to Zappos.

              I still miss them.

            2. Cath in Canada*

              I used to have a pair of very dark metallic silver Docs. From a distance they looked black, and I’d wear them with jeans or black dress pants, but up close their full awesomeness was revealed. I miss those boots, and also my green suede Docs that I was stupid enough to wear to a music festival in Scotland.

            3. AnotherAlison*

              I had the Mary Jane style ones and a couple pairs of lace up shoes and a pair of sandals ( which didn’t make sense because they were practically shoes). In all seriousness, those were much better shoes for everything. They lasted for years, and you could wear them to work, school, on a ski trip, to a concert. You could wear them with dresses, shorts, pants, jeans. . .okay, it might not have looked as great as I thought & it probably looked better on me 20 years ago than now, but I feel like I haven’t had anything substantial on me feet ever since. . .

      4. VintageLydia USA*

        My aunt was a prosecutor and her high heels are pretty legendary. I think when she was actually at a trial she’d tone it down a bit but for every other function she wore pretty much whatever she wanted on her feet.

  12. Chris*

    #1. While you shouldn’t completely dismiss his concerns… yeah. The way you describe it seems rather bizarre. Even at jobs I hated, I tried to have a rational approach to telling people I hate my job. “The CEO doesn’t care about their employees”? Haha, yeah, I’m completely stunned. That’s very different from every single other corporation or even slightly large bureaucracy…

    #3. I think those shoes look reasonably professional for some offices. But I’m a fat male nerd, so YMMV

    #4. “Fraternizing”. Is this resort actually San Quentin? Is she a military officer, and he’s an enlisted man under her command? No? Then it’s not even unethical, let alone “immoral”(!). She’s a waitress who banged a guy she met at work. Who gives a damn? Butt out, and mind your own business.

  13. CartoonCharacter*

    #1- I don’t know maybe he fears competition- you. OR, and I have done this myself, was vague hoping you’d get it. I trust someone who doesn’t get all into it rather than someone who is dying to gossip. He could have lied, and made up a lot juicy details instead he emphasized over and over to avoid the place.

    Some places it matters most who your manager is versus the big boss, others the CEO makes life miserable for all. Check glassdoor, look on Linkedin for others who worked there and email them. *I do fear reverse reference checks (potential employee calling old employeee) b/c many employers are hypocrites who have no problem asking for your tax return and calling a neighbor, but question any examination of themselves.

    1. Harper*

      See, I kind of went with the “fears competition” thing. The guy could have legitimate concerns, but the way the conversation seemed to have gone, I’m less likely to feel that he did. Or he’s just really bad at issuing warnings.

      1. OP 1*

        To clear up the competition idea – we’d actually be in different departments (and buildings) so I don’t think there’s fear of competition unless he’s generally afraid of a younger generation. He’s close to 65, and I’m almost 30.

  14. Dang*

    #1… Yikes… This would be your boss, if I’m reading correctly? I think that changes things a bit, at least for me. It’s one thing to have a miserable coworker but it (can be) another challenge entirely to have a miserable boss.

    1. OP 1*

      He wouldn’t be my boss but is a department head. I’d likely interact with him on occasion but not on a daily basis.

  15. TotesMaGoats*

    I routinely wear at least a 4 inch heel. I’m also 4’11”. I think part of it, regardless of dress code, is that wearing heels in my thing. A brand, if you will. People so rarely see me in flats that they comment on my height then not when I’m in heels. I think high heels/platforms can be done in the work place if they look right. It also helps if you don’t look like a newborn calf when walking in heels. People ask me all the time how I walk in my heels. YEARS of wearing them.

    If your office is casual and paired with the right outfit, I’d say those shoes are fine. Get a cute mod/color block dress and rock a 60’s look.

  16. Relosa*

    #3 – in my office, that shoe would be acceptable. However, I work in entertainment and it goes along with our branding. For this reason I am also permitted to wear more than neutral shades/daytime makeup – pretty much as long as I don’t go into drag territory my boss is more than happy with it. My clothes can also be a bit flashier, as long as the cuts are decent. I’m a manager, FWIW. What I wear is absolutely not okay for most of our hourly staff. Our sales staff is permitted more leeway because we are the first thing they see, and my boss wants them to be memorable. Not sure how much I agree with it, but it works.

    For example, my sales staff can wear heels and jeans, as long as they are in good repair and are essentially designer (or have a specific cut and fit). I’ve been known to wear a couple of structured designer tees before wit a blazer and skirt. All totally okay – but only in my office.

    I’m addicted to Steve Madden shoes, one pair of which are 5″ blue suede Mary Janes not unlike the Miu Mius – my boss loves them but I know I could only ever get away with that at my particular office. (I’m 5’7, haha) most of my time is spent seated so hardly anyone sees anyway).

    However for the jobs I seek and I am currently applying to, I know that none of this would ever be okay. I have a decent collection of truly work appropriate heels.

    TL;DR they’d be okay here but are definitely not okay in a regular work environment.

  17. Anon55*

    #1 Run far and run fast. At best this is a lone individual who has been allowed to fester and badmouth the company with no repercussions for a while. At worst they’re telling the truth and have run out of cares to give if they get fired (or can’t be fired because they know where the bodies are), so they’re doing what they can to harm the company from the inside. Neither is a good situation.

    We’ve all been in situations where at an interview we ask what the best things are about the company and our potential coworkers play with their phones, stare at the floor or mention something about the coffee machine. That’s usually the most someone will do to tell you the company sucks because they don’t want to be fired. This person has told you the company and specific high-up people suck. The fact that he has no fear and apparently no fallout for voicing this opinion gives credence to it being a terrible company.

  18. Relosa*

    #1 – also, why would someone grant an informational interview if he wouldn’t actually intend to provide any information about the position or company other than garbage?

      1. OP 1*


        There wasn’t a specific position open, but I was hoping to learn more about the structure of the company in general. I believe he met with me because of a mutual friend who asked if he’d do this favor.

  19. The Other Dawn*


    “…how he wished his life had taken a completely different path entirely.”

    I think this is a telling statement. Not about the company, but about the person saying it. Someone who feels this way about their career, or their life, isn’t someone who should be influencing an applicant. He has much deeper issues that are coloring how he feels and what he says. I wouldn’t give this guy much thought. Instead, see if you can find other people to talk to about the organization, if possible.

    1. Office Mercenary*

      +1. During my first internship out of college, my supervisor quit 3 days after I started. He outright told me that he only hired me because he liked me and wanted the chance to warn me that I should get out of the field ASAP. He was burnt out from 20+ years of trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was especially disheartening because he’s Palestinian. He decided to go to a post-baccalaureate pre-med program and become a medical doctor. I was switched from the project to which had been assigned, which was relevant to my degree and career goals, and placed in another department that didn’t know what to do with me. I went two weeks without a single assignment and ended up working on administrative tasks instead of programming. There are a lot of things wrong with this field, but tt was incredibly demoralizing and didn’t give me a chance to explore the field myself and make my own decisions. Some advice about what to do and what not to do would have been much more helpful.

  20. Vanilla*

    #3 – At my old job (a fairly conservative hospital), we were sent home if we wore heels higher than 3 inches. (This was a couple of years ago when those plaform Striperella shoes were first all the rage.) I used to think the rule was stupid but now I totally understand their reasoning for the rule. They viewed really high heels as a safety hazard, especially in a hospital/clinical environment.

    1. Vanilla*

      FWIW, I’m on the shorter side (5’3″), early 30s and used to LOVE to wear high heels. But a couple of years ago my feet started to hurt really badly because of the shoes I wore (!) and sports injuries, so I pretty much exclusively wear flat shoes, comfortable wedges, or kitten heels. My feet are much happier. :)

  21. Angora998*

    3. What height is too high for high heels at work?

    Forget it. I used to love the 3″ inch spike heels, but had an accident at work. Combination of my heels and a spilt drink on the floor(someone kindly didn’t clean-up after themselves). I went down hard … butt bounced off my ankle and lower leg. Ankle totally twisted around, just hanging there. My leg now has a metal plate and a rod and throbbs in the cold weather. The surgeries and rehab cost over $210,000. I had to sue to get the 2nd surgery and follow-up physical and occupational therapy.

    Think real hard … does looking sexy & good that important? So not worth it after the fact in this situation.

    1. smilingswan*

      Ouch! That’s my biggest fear when wearing heels. The last time I wore them to work was the day the fire alarms went off three times in one afternoon. After trekking up and down stairs and all the way across the parking lots and back I decided Never Again!

      1. smilingswan*

        Although I do wear them for job interviews. But only the thicker heeled two inch pumps, I’m not coordinated enough for anything taller or narrower.

        1. Angora998*

          I have a couple of 2 inch chunky heels for when I have interviews, etc. But I stay away from them .. and I was a regular at the Nine West store near my apartment.

          Sometimes I go into a department store and just stare and them, but I’m scared of them now.

    2. Natalie*

      That sounds awful, but for whatever it’s worth I’ve slipped in flat-soled shoes plenty of times. Just because something is flat doesn’t mean it has any traction.

      After getting burned a couple of times, I’m really happy Zappo’s shows you a picture of the sole of the shoe.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        I’ve slipped in flat-soled shoes, too, but never broken my ankle or twisted it badly. Just landed hard on my arse and was only slightly sore afterward. I think the potential for ankle damage goes up, the higher the heel.

        There’s this from WebMD (first thing that came up in a Google search): “An ankle injury occurs when the ankle joint is twisted too far out of its normal position. Most ankle injuries occur either during sports activities or while walking on an uneven surface that forces the foot and ankle into an unnatural position. *The unnatural position of the ankle in high-heeled shoes* or walking in unstable, loose-fitting clogs or sandals is also a factor that may contribute to ankle injuries.”

  22. some1*

    #4 I agree with Chris above. Unless the coworker or customer is in a relationship with one of the other coworkers, than this isn’t any of the coworkers business. I’m sure plenty of my coworkers do stuff I consider immoral off the clock and I don’t spend time worrying about it.

  23. CollegeAdmin*

    #3 – I’m a firm believer in your outfit affecting the view of the shoes. If you wear something understated, I think the shoes would be fine, but if you wore something boldly colored and/or patterned, it would be too much.

    I am known around my office for my heels – I’m 5’6″ and wear 4-5″ heels every day. While I work in a business casual kind of place, I wear more professional-looking clothing to get away with some more ridiculous shoes, like red suede stilettos or black knee-high boots. For example, today I’m wearing a tie-neck black blouse and gray pencil skirt (very clean & classic) with 5″ dark pink and snake-print platform wedges (very bold). It’s a balance of professionalism and personality.

    Other things to keep in mind:
    1. Your age. Someone in their twenties might be able to get away with a crazy shoe that someone in their fifties might just look crazy in.
    2. Your reputation. If you are known for being on top of your work and being professional, a less-than-professional shoe might be a conversation piece. But if you’re generally unprofessional, an unprofessional shoe will only compound the issue.
    3. Your balance. As Alison and other commenters said – if you can’t walk in them, don’t do it. Even a one-inch black kitten heel can look unprofessional if you are tripping (or stomping, as a former coworker did in her heels) all day.

    1. LBK*

      I’m a firm believer in your outfit affecting the view of the shoes. If you wear something understated, I think the shoes would be fine, but if you wore something boldly colored and/or patterned, it would be too much.


    2. Lady Sybil*

      Love this post. However, I have no plans to tone down my shoe flamboyance as I age. :)

  24. OP #3*

    Thank you, everyone, for all your feedback! Let me give you a little more context: I’m about 5’5″ without heels, so those shoes would make me just shy of 5’10”. The office I work in has a casual dress code (as I stated above), but my style is usually pretty modest and not very flashy anyways. I don’t wear heels to look sexy – believe it or not, I find them more comfortable to walk in than flats ;) I’m in my mid-20s, but I’m the only 20-something female in the office (the rest are males in their 20s-50s, and another woman in her 50s). I usually wear heels/wedges, but they’re definitely on the casual side, while I thought the Miu Miu heels were a tad more “dress up.”

    I agree with the comment that said the propriety of it depends on the outfit as a whole. I tried the shoes on with my skinny “boyfriend” jeans + tshirt + blazer, and thought it might be a little more sexy/attention-grabbing than what people at work were used to seeing me in (especially considering all the, ahem, energetic men I work with). So sadly I ended up returning them :(

    And to add an answer to my own original question, I think if those shoes, at that heel height, were stilettos (i.e. skinny/pointy heel), they would definitely be inappropriate for work. I think the thicker heel made them better, though ultimately not professional enough for me with the platform. If you’re really short (4’10” – 5’2″-ish) it’s probably more acceptable, but I still say no to high (4″+) stilettos in all cases.

    1. Mimmy*

      I was actually picturing stilettos when you were describing the shoes until I clicked on the link…that is a cute shoe! If you’re not sure about wearing them at work, I wouldn’t chance it; it’ll probably just make you feel more self-conscious. However, I think they’re fine in other settings.

  25. money lady*

    1) horrible organization-I once took a job at a manufacturing company in the accounting department. After about 3 months, I realized I had made a horrible mistake. It was toxic and the morale was awful. The woman in the office next to me told me that when I came in to interview for the job, she wanted to follow me to the parking lot and tell me not to work there. I wish she had.

    2) height of shoes-I personally do not like to wear heels and I work in a super casual office so sandals, sneakers, etc. Having said that, I think it totally depends on where you work and how you wear them (i.e. with a short skirt as opposed to slacks.)

  26. LizNYC*

    #3 I might be in the minority, but I think if you can walk in the shoes comfortably (and I mean take real steps, not short, mincing ones because your heels are impossible to walk in), then your heels are just fine. And this is coming from someone who wears flats only. If these were clear, lucite ones with light-up heels, that might be different, but these seem on the understated side and with dark tights and a sure step, might not be that noticeably tall on the right person.

  27. smilingswan*

    Building off the shoe height question- is it unprofessional to only wear flats? Especially to job interviews- would it be a mark against me? I just can’t do heels, and although I currently wear the two inch thicker heeled pumps to interviews, I do not feel confident or comfortable in them.

    1. Ellie H*

      I wonder this too. I like heels and have a couple pairs for fancy occasions, but am so out of practice in wearing them that I never feel like it anymore and my work appropriate heels are pretty worn out/gotten rid of. (I used to be pretty good at it, but my boyfriend is 2in taller than I am so I never wear them anymore – I know, it doesn’t matter, but I have a thing about it.) But for interviews or conference presentations or something, I often feel like I should be wearing heels.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      For interviews, I would only wear a more structured flat in a business-y style, not ballet flats or moccasins.

    3. OP #3*

      I don’t think flats are unprofessional, considering that they’re good quality and not too casual. It really depends on the context of the outfit. Flats are probably the easiest shoe to dress up or down, so just be sure the rest of your look is professional and you’ll be fine. Can’t go wrong with classic black leather flats!

      Have you tried wearing wedges? They have the same effect as heels but are usually 100x more comfortable/easy to walk in :)

    4. Natalie*

      Provided the flats in question are professional looking (structured, neutral color, etc) and your outfit is hemmed appropriately for your shoe height, I think you’re better off in a flat shoe that you can walk comfortably in than a heeled shoe that makes you feel awkward. That said, if you really want the extra height, perhaps short boots (with a pant suit)?

    5. Sabrina*

      I certainly hope not. No way my feet would allow me to wear heels. I have foot pain and swelling with flats, heels would leave me unable to walk. I didn’t even wear heels at my wedding.

    6. Vancouver Reader*

      I would think if your outfit is professional the height of your heel shouldn’t matter. Also, being able to walk into a room and convey confidence is huge, IMO, so you have to wear shoes that allow you to walk that way.

    7. Jen RO*

      I think heels would look better, but I prefer to be comfortable. Having to focus on not falling on my ass would not be a good start for an interview… I do have a couple of pairs of platforms sandals and a pair of boots with a 2 inch heel, but I also wore my simple black H&M flats.

      For some data points, I got my current job after walking through ankle-high snow in a pair of casual no-heel boots, and my previous one after interviewing in jeans. It’s also a matter of knowing your field – if I showed up in a suit for a job in a software company, I would be beyond overdressed; with jeans and a nice top I was just slightly better dressed than the interviewers.

    8. Sharm*

      I wonder about this too. I love the look of heels but absolutely hate wearing them. I stopped years ago. I do think a medium heel (3 inches) looks professional and most women in all the offices I’ve worked at have worn them. So, I wear heels to interviews, but then switch over to flats once I have the job. Ha! I’m not terribly short at 5’5″, so the feeling of being overlooked isn’t really one I feel.

    9. Kate*

      I wonder this too. My whole professional life has been in flats, and it doesn’t seem to have seriously hindered interviewing and getting job offers. But all my experience is in the nonprofit sector where people where jeans to work so I wonder if it’s different in like, finance.

  28. Audiophile*

    As a vertically challenged person (5’1), I don’t mind shoes with a bit of height. But my limit is usually 2″ – 2 1/2″. As much as I’d like to be able to go 4″ and be considered average height, I ddefinitely couldn’t walk UB a heel that high. I have no arch and mild CP, so if anything, I shouldn’t be wearing heels at all. But then I also can’t wear really flat shoes, because they don’t offer enough support.

    1. Nina*

      I agree, flats can be just as damaging as heels because they don’t offer any support. I have gel inserts in my shoes because my feet have no arch whatsoever, and wearing a flat without the insert makes them pronate. I miss having arches.

        1. Nina*

          Sorry to respond so late. And yes, they are comfortable. Mine are just a simple pair of Dr. Scholls, and you can find them at most dept. stores, although I got mine from Walgreens. The only thing about gel inserts is that they wear down quicker than plastic ones, which naturally cost more. But in the meantime, the gel ones are fine.

      1. Ellie H*

        Totally agreed – I have high arches and have been wearing either flats or worn-out sandals with no arch support for about a year. I just got Birkenstocks and feel about a million times better – my whole posture has improved.

  29. Mimmy*

    #1 – Warning about working at a company

    This is a tough one. You only have one person’s viewpoint and, as others have pointed out, he may very well be in the minority and just be a disgruntled employee. However, if you were ever going to report to him or work with his department via a different department, I’d think verrrry carefully about working at this organization.

    At any rate, this guy behaved very inappropriately on all levels. The part that jumped out at me was him saying, “I won’t even let you work here…”. Even if he was saying it half-jokingly, that is just not something you say, especially during an *informational* interview!!

    1. Jennifer*

      If the company is that horrible, you can probably find other confirmations of how bad it is online somewhere, I suspect.

  30. BookWorm*

    I was just going to say that this is by far the best work appropriate heel I have found:

    Amazing! I’m a librarian, and am on my feet basically the entire shift. I also have wide feet, so heels are hard to find for me. These are a godsend, and probably won’t give you any blisters (I have had my pairs for years, and they have yet to give me blisters). Multiple color and pattern options, too!

    1. Dorothy*

      I adore this shoe. I have it in 5 different colors. I get compliments on them all the time, I wear them 3-4 times a week. I have narrow feet, too, and the regular width fit me perfectly.

    2. KT*

      I am also a librarian! And also wear these shoes all the time! In a few different colours!

      In library land, I find you’re judged more if you don’t have flashy shoes than if you do…

    3. Elysian*

      Agreed. I wear these all the time. I’ve bought more expensive shoes, but I keep coming back to these because they’re so good and I get so many compliments.

  31. TBoT*

    #4: I agree that it’s not a coworker’s business what somebody is doing on their off hours, and with everyone who has pointed out that it’s really strange to be asking about whether it’s “immoral” to do that.

    However, I’ve worked at a number of resorts, and all of them had clear policies about staff behavior on the property when they were not at work. A staff member going to a guest’s room and spending the night there would have been grounds for disciplinary action at all of them. It brings up all kinds of liability issues for the property, plus the perception other guests will have of what that staff member is up to.

    That’s still a concern for the employee’s manager, though, and not a coworker.

  32. HEW*

    #4: I agree that it’s not a coworker’s business what someone is doing on their off hours, but in the hospitality industry, spending the night with a guest is Not Cool, and it’s something that management should have a problem with. It’s just Not Appropriate in so many ways…but again, this is an issue a manager should be attending to, not a coworker.

  33. Lady Sybil*

    Ah, shoes. My weakness. I’m a 5’3″ high-heel wearing lady and I definitely push the envelope. I work in a shoe supportive environment where we actively encourage awesomeness. As long as you can walk naturally, it’s a go. Everything else I wear is conservative, but there sure is a party going on when it comes to my shoes. I’ve had a lot of career success where I work (manager in a post-secondary educational environment), so I guess I’m pretty lucky that I can indulge myself wearing sassy shoes to work. So glad shoes came up!

      1. smilingswan*

        Letter Writer, otherwise known as the OP (Original Poster). It took me a while to figure that out too! :)

  34. Lynn I*

    #4–Umm, am I misunderstanding something? It doesn’t affect her coworkers or her employers at all. Unless he’s getting business favors from her from the resort? Compensations and the like? Otherwise I don’t even see the concern at all and frankly none of this should be shocking behavior coming from the hospitality industry. Since it’s a resort and he’s a customer, there’s a good chance he’ll be gone soon and then it won’t matter at all. I mean, is he or she married or something? I’m struggling to think why anyone would care about this at all. It’s not like it’s a supervisor/direct report having a secret non-disclosed relationship.

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