will martial arts hurt my boyfriend’s career in child care, I sent money to an employer who has disappeared, and more

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

1. Will martial arts hurt my boyfriend’s career in child care?

My boyfriend is looking for a job in child care, but he doesn’t have much experience working with children. He has done the state training in childcare (not a full degree, just an online 40-hour certification) and completed first aid training, as many of the job announcements ask for those. On one version of his resume, he’s included volunteer time with a martial art he participated in for over a decade, because he helped train new members–including children. I thought the martial arts training was a great addition, since he has no work experience he could talk about, but the martial arts trainings did regularly include children and teenagers, and he could talk about how he helped with them. He drove vehicles with them to meets all over the state, checked in with parents about scheduling, and sparred with them. He wasn’t a master of his art, but for years a respected and looked-up-to member of their local chapter, and helped many members advance in the art.

A friend, however, thought that the martial arts experience didn’t belong on his resume, since it makes him sound “like not the kind of guy you’d want around your kids!” … which… completely depends on what individuals think about the various martial arts! When he talks about martial arts, he’s talking about health and perseverance–things which should be great things to share with kids, and would be appropriate in a childcare setting– but our friend said most people just think punching and violence on TV. Most of the online childcare/babysitting fora seem to agree to not mention any martial arts training, but it’s by far the most “official” time he’s spent with unrelated children, and I think it’s important to have something on there that says, “adults other than my relatives trust me with their children.” Do you (or your readers) have any opinions on this?

And how can men ensure they don’t appear creepy when applying for work with children? We’ve debated all this quite a bit and would love to hear other ideas on it!

I can’t imagine why include his martial arts work would be a negative. As you point out, it demonstrates work with children and a track record of being responsible for them. And someone who’s worried about a man being in charge of kids isn’t going to be more worried because he’s a martial artist; if he can’t be trusted with kids, he can’t be trusted — it doesn’t make the situation worse that he could karate chop them.

Some people do still have a bias against men in child care, which is rooted in incredibly sexist and insulting assumptions. I’m not sure there’s much your boyfriend can do about that other than be squeaky clean and responsible, but I’m interested to hear other people’s thoughts on it.

2. My company hires new managers without giving anyone internal the chance to apply

Last year, I (a senior-level, non-management staff member) assisted in interviewing a person I thought would be a new colleague just under me in rank. Instead, he was hired as a manager in the department I work in, and a second person was hired for the job actually posted. None of us had been told there was even a plan in place to hire another manager, and even though several of us had repeatedly expressed interest in moving up in the company, nobody had an opportunity to apply for this managerial position – because it was never even posted, publicly or within the company. After this, two staff members quit.

Now this has happened again, in a different department. Can you suggest any leverage we might have in fighting these “invisible” management hires from outside at the expense of employee growth in the company? I suspect it is technically legal, just crappy practice. It has been very demoralizing; I have heard from several coworkers that they feel like their jobs are total dead-ends. I don’t think anyone feels they are “owed” a management position; we just want a chance to throw our hats in the ring!

It’s perfectly legal, but you’re right that it’s demoralizing; it sends a message to people that they don’t have much of a future in your company if they want to grow, because they’ll never be given the opportunity to even apply for higher-level roles. To be clear, the problem is mostly about the pattern; something like this happening once can be understandable (plans change, the new manager might have been clearly perfect for what they wanted, the potential internal candidates might have been clearly not as strong), but (a) they should have given you all more of an explanation than they did, and (b) it happening a second time is understandably troubling.

The thing to do here is to speak up. Talk to whoever is in a position to have influence on this process, explain why what they’re doing is discouraging, and ask for more openness and transparency in the process in the future.

3. Asking applicants why they’re interested in part-time work

I am an employer who is very careful not to cross the line with inappropriate interview questions. Is it inappropriate or illegal to ask this: “When responding [to this job posting], please explain why you currently prefer to work part-time hours.” We have a part-time job available and are finding what appears to be numerous full-time workers applying. Naturally, I don’t want to hire someone who will leave when their a full-time job opens up for them.

Nope, it’s not illegal to ask the question and it’s a sensible thing to ask. However, you run the risk of inviting answers explaining that some applicants are women with kids, which potentially makes it easier for someone to later claim that you’re discriminating against women. It’s pretty unlikely though, and it’s a totally reasonable question to ask. You might, however, ask it as part of your early-stage phone screening, rather than making it such a focal point of the initial application.

4. I sent money to a company that wanted to hire me and now they’ve disappeared

So I recently applied to a job in a pharmaceutical facility on kijiji. A few days later, I received a reply from a manager for a company, telling me he would like to offer me a tentative position and that I would just need to e-transfer them a $40 fee for a criminal record check, but I would be reimbursed on my first paycheck and once that was passed I could go to their employment offices to fill out paperwork and have the position. There is no information surrounding the company name he had under his name in the email signature. I thought, okay, maybe it’s a private hiring contract or something and also it’s based in Ottawa (I am located in Windsor, Ontario). So, no interview, just a criminal record check. I’ve also called the phone number listed in the email, no answer, and no answer from my email that was replied to 2 days ago as well as this morning. This job pays $15/hour and I’m really hoping it’s just not too good to be true.

You were told you were being hired without even an interview and you just needed to transfer money to them to make it happen? That sounds like a scam, and I think you’re probably out that $40. I’m sorry.

I don’t know that there’s much you can do, but at a minimum you should report it to the site where you applied for the job.

5. I have to wait two years for a salary review

I joined the staff of a small nonprofit in spring 2013. I had a 90-day review in summer 2013 and was told my first opportunity for a raise would be summer 2014. In January 2014, my supervisor confirmed that I had completed 2/3 of my goals for the year and would receive at least a 2% raise at my review.

Sometime during the first half of the year, HR changed policy on reviews: instead of doing all staff reviews at the end of the fiscal year, they would be done on hire date anniversaries. I waited a couple of months past my hire date anniversary and finally asked my boss when I would be getting my review. He told me because the policy had been passed the week before my hire date, I wouldn’t have a review until my *next* hire date (in 2015).

Most of the rest of the staff has anniversaries in the fall so their reviews were only postponed by a couple of months. I am not sure what to do with the fact that my first opportunity for a raise will now be Spring 2015 after starting Spring 2013. Is this normal procedure with a policy change? I did express some frustration and was told it was just luck of the draw.

It sounds like your boss misinterpreted the policy. This is exactly the kind of thing HR is useful for. Go talk to them.

{ 195 comments… read them below }

  1. Stephanie*

    #1 – I’d leave it. I go to a martial arts gym and it definitely takes skill to get a bunch of kids calm and focused enough to do that.

    #4 – Oof, yeah, that’s a common job hunt scam. Sorry you got swindled. I’d be sure to monitor your credit card/PayPal/bank account for any suspicious charges.

      1. Felicia*

        I’ve seen this scam on Craigslist too a few times. If you think something is too good to be true then put the text of in google and you’ll see if it comes up a few times as a scam (a lot of scams use the exact same words and just change the location.

        Also good rule, if someone asks you to pay them money to be interviewed or to be hired, it’s a scam.

      2. Chinook*

        OP #4, this was absolutely a scam because criminal background checks in Canada are either done by the individual. (I.e you have to show up with id to the local copy shop) and that report is then submitted by you to the employer or are done by third party who requires a form with your signature giving them permission to do the search and they then charge the employer (if working for the government, they do something similar but with internal resources).

        In short, the only people you should be paying for a criminal background check is the local police who are doing the check and give you the report (and the charge goes to cover the cost and is usually $25-$40).

      3. Toaster*

        #4 – Most sites let you flag a scam, and oftentimes you can post a free ‘ad’ in the same category (or whatever you call the postings) where you explain about the scam to warn others also browsing. Other commenters are correct that only you can request a police check and that is direct from the police.

        You should be sure to report it here (http://www.antifraudcentre.ca/english/reportit_howtoreportfraud.html) and send along any pertinent emails and wire information as the more tracks they can collect the more likely they can build a case in the future. Doubtful your 40$ will ever be returned, but you can help others.

        If you paid via credit card, also alert your card company and check all statements closely. Hopefully it wasn’t via Interac Debit online which is treacherous as it is linked to your bank account.

        Make sure you run a good virus and malware scan of your computer and keep your definitions up to date – sometimes emails can come with images containing viruses – not just attachments.

        Sorry this happened, and best of luck.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I so agree. You’re already in a difficult position. I cannot even imagine how crappy it feels to lose your money and your hope of a job.

    1. en pointe*

      I agree. I think OP #1’s friend is wrong that “most people” conflate martial arts with the punching and violence they see on TV. I would think the opposite; that most people know the difference between martial arts, which takes focus and discipline, and for the OP’s boyfriend involved volunteering with children, and some drunk guy king-hitting someone at the Cross.

      I think he should put it on there, as it’ll demonstrate experience and responsibility with children, and if they do think the latter, then he’ll dodge a bullet.

      1. Karowen*

        I was coming to say just this – I have never been involved in martial arts, but when someone says they practice it I think of discipline and knowing when it’s appropriate to use your strength, etc. – not karate chops and reckless violence. I’d also argue that the martial arts seen on TV is normally a good guy who has to be goaded and attacked before he starts to fight, while it’s only the truly evil people who use it indiscriminately.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Elementary school teacher here. I definitely agree. If he’s looking for work with kids, anything that shows previous experience with kids should be front and center on his resume. I have a lot of students who do martial arts – heck, we have an after-school hapkido class at my school – and don’t in any way think of it as a violent, negative thing. Maybe if he’d been teaching kids how to handle assault rifles or something… but martial arts seems positively wholesome IMO.

    3. Felicia*

      Martial arts classes for kids are also extremely popular, and many of the parents may have taken or been exposed to martial arts classes when they were kids. I don’t think so many people would sign their kids up for martial arts classes if there was a negative stereotype.

      The Karate Kid is a 30 year old movie – the idea that kids can take martial arts classes as a positive thing isn’t even new.

    4. Traveler*

      Agreed. I see no reason to be worried about it if its karate or something, and it definitely shows his work with kids which is important.

      The only thing I can think is that this might be MMA. If that was the case, that might be different. I know that there are people out there that have a negative association with that.

      As far as men working with children without being “creepy” – there’s still a big stigma out there unfortunately.

      1. Adam*

        The MMA/UFC angle was the one way I could see this posing a problem, but I think most people can tell the difference. Whenever I see classes advertised with an emphasis on MMA style it’s usually referred to as such and not regular martial arts, at least in my limited experience.

      2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        “As far as men working with children without being “creepy” – there’s still a big stigma out there unfortunately.”

        I agree, BUT I actually think that people who work with kids (teachers, etc.) hold this stigma less than the average person. I’ve seen first-hand some excellent male teachers and also appreciate how great it can be for kids to have both male and female role models in their lives. My school is always excited to get male applicants, especially for elementary positions.

        I think to counter this, the best thing is, like Alison said, to be responsible and have a good track record. He should talk professionally and enthusiastically about why he enjoys working with children – this would be good advice for anyone applying to jobs involving kids, of course, but for a man it has the added benefit of demonstrating that his reasons for wanting the job are non-creepy.

    5. Leah*

      Agreed. Unless he lists Cobra Kai as the employer, I would have a hard time seeing that as a negative. The only thing I can think of to help him out is to find a volunteer gig involving kids: local school activities, boys and girls club/YMCA, religious school activities (if applicable), etc. There are websites like Idealist, Volunteermatch, and United Way that should also have some options.

      Another way he can is to have a really great response to the interview question, “Why do you want to work in childcare?” He can start by writing as long of a personal essay as he can and then trimming it down and make the answer sound natural when spoke. This means he’ll also have wording to work from for cover letters.

      I included the second suggestion because AAM is correct that there is a ridiculous bias against men in childcare. These are the same troglodytes (both male and female) who assume young women aren’t worth hiring because they’re just going to push out babies and ditch their jobs (http://www.dailydot.com/technology/sexist-ibm-execs-overheard-at-lunch-in-tweets/) while young men are more dependable employees if they’re married.

      1. Jeanne*

        I get so frustrated by the automatic men will molest children thing. My church began a program to protect children. The first part was that automatically no men could work in the nursery. I protested. One part of the program was that people had to attend the church for a year before working with kids so we knew them. I asked why we wouldn’t know the men as well as the women? Fifteen years later they are changing the rule.

        I don’t know what to tell this guy. Getting interviews may be tough. If you can get one, be smiling and relaxed.

    6. Labratnomore*

      I agree with leaving it on. My daughter was in a martial arts class for a couple of years, and it was great for her self-esteem and thought her discipline and focus that I don’t think she would have gotten any other way. I think the key is to focus on the positives the kids gained from the experience in an interview. I had a lot of respect for the teachers, both in their mastery of the art as well as their mastery of a class full of rambunctious kids. If they don’t like it and he doesn’t get an interview I agree with the other person on here who said he dodged a bullet!

    7. Anonathon*

      Agree. Plus it’s a such common after-school activity, even for young kids. (I just looked up the studio near my office, and they take kids as young as 4 and do birthday parties.) I don’t think anyone conflates that with movie-type martial arts, except in a joking way.

    8. LD*

      I agree. Leave it on. I believe the old impression of associating the martial arts with those who have a propensity for violence is changing. It’s now more mainstream. I know a few kids, including a 6 year-old girl, who have taken martial arts classes and their parents are all very enthusiastic about the self-discipline and self-control aspects of this training for their children. They have spoken very highly of the instructors, too.

    9. OhNo*

      Absolutely leave it on there! As a martial artist myself, I can say it all depends on how you phrase it. If you go around telling people that you taught kids how to punch people in the face, it will look bad. If you tell people that you taught kids self-defense and discipline (which is what he probably did), it sounds like a good thing!

      If I was ever in a hiring position, I would be very impressed by that kind of qualification. Not only is keeping kids active and interested really hard, but keeping them from injuring themselves while doing “dangerous” stuff shows a lot of responsibility. Make sure he has a couple of good examples from this experience to share in interviews!

    10. Office Mercenary*

      If the OP’s boyfriend’s martial arts school is anything like mine, the children’s classes likely emphasize character development: integrity, focus, discipline, humility, respect for elders, etc. I think discussing that could make for a great cover letter!

  2. Variation*

    #3, while I’m sympathetic to your needs, this is a hard economy, and a lot of people are willing to take what they can get. There’s always going to be a better opportunity for everyone- that’s the nature of part-time employment.

    Are the hours for the position flexible? Could this job be used to supplement a full-time income? Is this position advertised as part-time?

    1. kel*

      Yes, it is advertised as part time and is also listed as a mix of both fixed and flexible hours.

      Our experience has not been “that’s the nature of part-time employment”, as you suggested. This position has been an excellent fit for college students in the past, however it’s a different economy now and we are finding far more full time job seekers applying.

  3. hayling*

    #3 I think it’s definitely good to ask why people are interested in part-time work. We recently tried to hire for a part-time position and I did find that most applicants were actually hoping for a full-time position. Better to try to weed that out ahead of time.

    1. Vicki*

      I’m on the opposite end. I’m looking for “contract” work (W2 contract, tech sector) and would love to find something part time rather than 40 hours/week. Why? Because most of these companies are outside what I would really prefer for a commute zone, would require me to spend a lot of time on a train and shuttle, don’t have good telecommute policies, and have noisy office plans. At least a part time job would be officially not in the office 5 days a week.

    2. kel*

      Thank you for confirming my judgement on this. It’s my belief that in the hiring process the overwhelming majority of applicants and employers genuinely want to make a lasting match. Consequently, I feel it is my obligation to find the best fit for each position, being entirely up front about the details of the job to ensure the best fit.

  4. Any Mouse*

    Kids and martial arts is a pretty big thing. In the town I previously lived in the biggest martial arts center was HUGE because their clientele was almost all families and they had tons of kids programs. Not just for learning martial arts, but they had after school programs with tutors. So kids could go after school, get a lessons in karate or tae kwan do (or whatever) and also get help with their homework. And they had family sessions where parents and kids could go together. I think they even provided transporation to and from certain schools.

    But it wasn’t just this one place doing that, almost every dojo/martial arts center had something for kids and talked about how the lessons were geared towards kids and help kids be active and also improve concentration and whatever. The places that didn’t offer that were more geared towards adults who wanted to be competitive fighters on some level or MMA stuff.

    Where I live now, I’d like to get into martial arts (again) but I’m having trouble finding a place where the hours that work with mine don’t have classes with the words “family” attached to them. Not that I’m against kids, it seems like it’s an all ages thing and being a single 40ish woman, I know that any time in the past I’ve gone to something with “family” attached to it I’ve been the lone single person even if the whatever event wasn’t geared only to families.

    So, after all that long rambly stuff to say that kids and martial arts totally go together and there are a lot of programs out there kids towards kids. I think having it on your boyfriend’s resume demonstrates that he has a track record of not only being responsible for kids but also for teaching them and helping with life skills.

    I would challenge anyone who thinks martial arts and kids are a bad thing to google “martial arts kids their home town” and see how many programs pop up that are for kids and teenagers.

  5. Lillie Lane*

    #1: FWIW, I’d actually assume that someone with an interest in martial arts was really interested in working with kids. This is totally my bias, but I see so many kids (and know kids) taking those classes that I mentally tie the two together.

    1. Bea W*

      I’m really curious why the friend has such a negative view of people who are involved in martial arts. What does she imagine people will think? Violent criminal? Perv? I just found that response kind of bizarre.

      1. Mints*

        Maybe the friend works with one of those guys who open carries and wears a hunting knife and talks about most effective ways to kill someone completely unprompted and “prepping,” and that’s the only person she knows who does marital arts.

        But I’m just speculating. Definitely list the experience, it’s super relevant.

        1. Iain Clarke (UK, no, SE, erm...)*

          marital arts
          Like doing the dishes without being asked?

          (Not really being picky. Just amused at the thought. I just know there’s a typo in my comment too!)

      2. Office Mercenary*

        In some places, and some generations, martial arts communities are/were literally a matter of survival so some of the more old school martial artists can be, shall we say, a little rough around the edges. I live in Brooklyn, and the masters of a lot of NYC martial arts schools grew up in rough neighborhoods in the 70s and 80s, so they have some truly terrifying stories about how violent it used to be. Some of my ex-boyfriend’s senseis used to be in gangs and my school’s master is always telling us about friends of his who died in horrible ways because they didn’t practice their knife defense well enough. These days martial arts in New York is mostly about kids programs, weight loss and self-defense, but sometimes there’s still a reputation for tattooed, hard partying macho types.

  6. Squidward*

    #4 – You got scammed. When you get a real background check you go to the police station and pay them directly.

      1. Glor*

        Yeah, I was gonna say that I’ve done three online and paid that way, and I’ve also had full background checks done by the police as well. Both are available and it just depends on the reason you’re getting it.

    1. LBK*

      Huh? I’ve had a few background checks done for employment and none of them involved me going to a police station…and why would the candidate do it themselves? The employer is the one that would run it.

      1. Karowen*

        Background screening marketing professional here: This totally depends on the country, sometimes even depends on the state. Some countries have laws in place that require the subject of the report (you as the applicant) to go request the records themselves. In some places you have to go to the police station to get the fingerprinting done. In some places you just have to sign a release. It all depends.

        1. LBK*

          Wow! I had no idea. I’ve going through hiring in 3 states (in the US) and the companies always did the background check for me, I just had to sign a release authorizing it. The one company that required fingerprinting had an internal department that handled it. Learn something new every day.

          1. Rebecca Too*

            In Ireland there is a special type of clearance you have to get if you are going to be working with or come into contact with children or vulnerable adults that requires you to fill out a form yourself and bring it to a police station. The company can’t do it for you.

            1. Diet Coke Addict*

              Canada has this as well–the Vulnerable Sector check. Again done by authorities, not by the company themselves.

                1. Karowen*

                  Yeah, it’s being passed on a state-by-state basis, but it drives me nuts that they’re focusing on writing laws that reflect what employers tend to do anyway (e.g. only do credit checks on people in financial positions – more than 80% operated as such anyway, and EEO guidance pretty much demands it) instead of saying “Hey, these people are really super vulnerable. Maybe we should protect them!”

                2. Felicia*

                  It is very useful! At least I’d be more confident in anyone working in a nursing home, with children or with people with disabilities because I know they will have gotten a background check done by the police. There is a small cost, but you pay it to the authorities not the company

                3. TheSnarkyB*

                  We already have this in the US, it just isn’t used across the board as much as it should be. And isn’t used for all job levels.

          2. Anonathon*

            Huh! Interesting. Due to education-related jobs and volunteering, I’ve probably been background checked 3-4 times in the past 5 years, and every time I just signed a thing and that was that. I’ve also been part of the process of running checks, and it was all done online and the company paid.

        2. Stephanie*

          I had to do fingerprinting for my first job (federal government in the US). I was still in college and was able to get it done at the campus police station either for free or a nominal charge.

          In my current state, you sometimes have to get a fingerprint clearance for positions involving children. It is not free to get the prints done.

          1. Chinook*

            In Canada, you will get fingerprinted for a background check of your date of birth and gender matches someone in the system. The fingerprinting is done at the police station, costs nothing extra but can delay the report if the local detachment doesn’t have the tech to fingerprint electronically.

      2. Jen RO*

        In Romania, “background checks” as such don’t exist as far as I know, but some companies do require your criminal record, which you need to get in person from the police station, and your credit record, which again needs to be requested in person from somewhere. It’s pretty rare though.

        1. Chinook*

          Wren, actually I am glad that in Canada you go to the local cop shop to get your criminal background check because only law enforcement personell have access to CPIC which is the same database they use and contains the original records. It also means that the only civilian who can access my criminal background is me (and I have to prove I am me when I make the request).

          Of course, these recors don’t predict what you will do the next day, but it is the best we have.

        2. Nusy*

          It depends by the level of background check required, the position, and the employer. When I started interning at the DA, their own investigator had to do my background, including interviewing my neighbors and canvassing my area. He also walked me over to the county jail to get a fingerprint LiveScan for me, so they can run me through both FBI and California systems. The county paid for it in that case.

          When I got commissioned as a notary public, I had to go and do it myself – I could either go to a private business doing LS, the Sheriff’s Dept/Jail, or City Hall. The price was the same – I did City Hall, because they were closest.

          When I worked for a private, national corporation, they just had me sign a release that they will pull my criminal record and credit, and they made me take a drug test. That, on the other hand, was less than cool – they called me in on Friday at 11 to sign hiring paperwork, and told me that I need to do the drug test within 40 hours. The lab closed on Fridays at 12.30, and was closed Sat/Sun – essentially, I had to rush there immediately. I was glad I drove and didn’t take mass transit; with our crappy bus system, I wouldn’t have made it to the clinic in time, and would not only have lost the position, but had been considered not rehirable for “failing” the drug test!

    2. JMegan*

      In Canada, criminal reference checks are done through the Canadian Police Identification Service (CPIC). There is a processing fee, but it’s $25 (not $40), and if your organization is going to reimburse you for it, they would ask you to pay CPIC directly, not them.

      I’m sorry you got scammed, and I hope you find an actual job soon.

      1. Variation*

        In Ontario, the fees range from $15 to $60, depending on the municipality. I thought the fee was absurd, too, until reading this in the IPC FAQ- this is a different system than the RCMP.

        1. Canadamber*

          Yep. I’ve had to do background checks before, and each time you go to do it yourself at a police station. Also, you have to wait like 6-8 weeks for the thing to come back.

    3. Bea W*

      Not to mention that legit companies don’t just offer people jobs without interviewing them first. That was the #1 red flag.

      I’ve never had to pay for my own background check. The employer usually pays, at least in the US this is customary. I’ve never had to go to a police station. I have just had to sign forms authorizing the company to conduct the check. In MA there is no need to go to the police station for a criminal background check. The request is submitted to a state agency (all online now, but previously it was a hard copy paper form) that specifically handles all in-state criminal background checks.

      The only thing I was ever asked to do myself is get a copy of my driving record, because it had to be done at the RMV in person (back in the 90s). The CORI and arranging for drug testing were still handled and paid by that employer directly. I just had to show up at the designated clinic and pee in the cup.

    4. Annie*

      Not always true… I when I signed up for a freelancing site I had to pay for my background check but it was a super basic one and cost like $15.

    1. en pointe*

      Yes! I love how the right-hand sidebar is at the bottom on my phone now. Makes it so much easier, as now everything is readable, without needing to zoom in and out.

  7. FX-ensis*

    I must say concerning #1…er…lolwut?

    I think the recruitment and selection people are the prospective firm are either out of touch or misinformed. People who do martial arts don’t partake in it because they’re ruffians or badarses. This wasn’t how they developed in China, Korea and Japan, and they often are used as a means to centre practitioners. This may seem weird to say, but then martial arts is more Mr. Miyagi in the traditional sense than Steven Segal.

    Would your husband really want to work there, if they’re that stereotypical or judgmental? If anything, the skills he learnt in martial arts can help them control anger, boisterousness, or restlessness common to young children.

    1. en pointe*

      Just to clarify, nobody from this prospective workplace has yet suggested that martial arts experience would imply violence or aggression, so we can’t label them as stereotypical / judgemental. That was just the reasoning of one of the OP’s friends as to why he should leave it off his resume, (although I was surprised that the OP found people on online babysitting / childcare forums to be in agreement).

      I don’t think leaving it on there would be a negative, and I do agree with you that if they do turn out to be stereotypical / judgemental over his experience volunteering with children’s martial arts, then that could be a good way to screen out some pretty small-minded people, (if he’s in a position to want to do that).

      1. CC*

        Given how many moms don’t trust their husbands to “properly” take care of their own kids, it wouldn’t surprise me if the actual objection was to a man in childcare, and the thing with martial arts meaning “violent man” was a rationalization they came up with to explain their objection.

        I haven’t noticed that any of my friends-with-kids hold that attitude, but sometimes I will read the parenting articles they link to, and I have seen “men can’t take care of kids” expressed directly or indirectly, seriously or jokingly… but distressingly common, at least among the people who comment. That may or may not be a majority opinion among mothers or the non-commenting readership at those sites.

        1. aebhel*

          It seems to be pretty depressingly common to me, at least to the point where people will do a double-take if my husband’s holding the baby when I’m not obviously doing anything else. Like it’s bizarre for him to want to hang out with his own kid, you know?

          1. Jenna*

            I have a friend who is taking care of his kids while his wife works for the family income. This has caused problems with arranging play dates for the littles. It isn’t as accepted to have a dad stay home with the kids in many places.

  8. Seal*

    #2 – I’ve been on both sides of this. At my previous position, the unspoken rule was that lower-level staff members were never, ever, under any circumstances to be considered for upper-level positions. Didn’t matter if they were far and away the most qualified for a particular position, if the external applicants were under qualified, or even if there were no other applicants at all for a particular position – internal candidates simply were not eligible to move up in the organization, period. Needless to say, morale amongst the lower ranks was practically non-existent, and turnover was ridiculously high. Upper management never saw the correlation.

    On the other hand, my current organization does too many internal promotions. Far too often they pass up a far superior external candidate in favor of a marginally qualified internal candidate. And then they have the balls to act surprised when the internal candidate proves incapable of getting the job done. Needless to say, morale is pretty low here, too.

    1. Lizzy*

      Regarding your first example, what was their reasoning behind that decision? Were they truly that incompetent?

      1. Seal*

        During the 90s, they promoted a few internal candidates who absolutely tanked in their new positions. Rather than assume these were isolated incidents or reevaluate their screening process, it was decided the problem was with that class of employee. Never mind that a number of people who started as lower-level employees there – myself included – have gone on to very successful careers in the same field elsewhere. Management has stated that they don’t want the lower-level employees to assume they’re “entitled” to move up in the organization, so they won’t consider internal candidates at all. As a result, there’s little continuity, spotty institutional memory, and poor to non-existent morale. Ironically enough, they generally hire very good people with huge potential for their lower-level positions. Too bad they consider them disposable.

        1. A Dispatcher*

          And where do they think these external candidates got to the level they are at? Did they just magically enter the workforce at management level had above? How silly and shortsighted of them. Everyone (or nearly everyone) starts at the bottom, external hires just started there somewhere else. Somewhere else that clearly did see that lower level employees can and should move up when applicable.

          1. Seal*

            Exactly. While I do agree that no one is “entitled” to move up in an organization, I think their policy is asinine. After being told to not bother applying for a higher-level position for which I was well-qualified, I wound up moving halfway across the country to take essentially the exact same position at another institution. The person who got the job I wanted bullied the staff, fired her assistant on trumped-up charges and left in disgrace after 2 years; the department never recovered. Meanwhile, I worked my butt off at my new job, regularly receive glowing reviews and have been promoted several times. Good thing they never hired me!

            On the other hand, running into members of that organization’s upper management at conferences and other industry events is vastly amusing – no eye contact and lots of awkward pauses.

            1. AVP*

              The fact that they can’t just be happy for you and proud to see one of their former staff members doing really well says a lot about them, too.

    2. Labratnomore*

      We have it both ways at my company, oddly enough it usually ends up in them making the wrong decision then regretting it later. Sometimes they get into this kick that they need more experienced people because “too many of the people here started just out of college”, then they focus their efforts on external candidates for every single open role, regardless of where the internal candidates came from and how good they would be at the job. They typically interview internal applicants if they can’t come up with a solid reason to eliminate them based on the resumes they receive, but they go in with the bias that they need to bring in new people so the internal candidates are not even considered. Then the next thing you know they are handing out promotions to people who haven’t even been successful in their current positions instead of opening up the job for other candidates, internal or external. There have been several instances of people being promoted to supervisory positions and then a few months later their title changes to “Senior XYZ”, kind of under the radar, and their reports are gradually moved away from them. It amazes me that after so many years they just don’t understand that they need to be looking for the best person for the job.

  9. FX-ensis*

    #2 – I’m not sure if a law exists stating a balance between how jobs are advertised (,i.e. internally or externally).

    I do think though, in this case, your firm hasn’t proven themselves to be honest. However, it could be they specifically wanted competences only external people had. They may have wanted a shake-up in culture, and this formed part of a well-intentioned and benign plan.

    I’d say as a rule of thumb when seeking promotions, you should gauge how senior management feels about that. You can broach the issue by asking them about the scope of advancement. If they’re shifty, give vague answers, or patently say no, then you know they’re not interested and you may need to go elsewhere for advancement.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      Why do you feel the firm hasn’t been honest? The OP didn’t say anything to indicate that their company stated these jobs would be made available internally. A good company will provide career paths for promotion and will communicate why they are going externally. When a company doesn’t do this, it may be demoralizing and a short-sighted decision. But not dishonest.

  10. Gene*

    For #1, just be sure that his resume includes that he was working with, and training, children. The info here wasn’t clear if it was there.

    1. De (Germany)*

      Yep, definetely. Even so, it#s probably going to take quite a bit of explanation why the OP’s boyfriend wants to suddenly go into child care. Does he really have no other experience with child care? Even lots of child watching / baby sitting with family would probably help with getting a foot into the door in that sector, I’d expect.

      1. Anonsie*

        I might be misinterpreting it, but it sounded to me like the OP’s boyfriend is relatively young, so this is less of a sudden career change than him trying to break into it now that he’s finishing with school.

        I’d suggest the same thing, but of course that’s going to depend on the family. My entire extended family has exactly one child in it, who was born recently, and lives in another state from most of it anyway.

    2. en pointe*

      Yeah, this is important. I think the OP did a great job here of convincing us that this would strengthen her boyfriend’s candidacy (by noting that he trained and interacted with children, was responsible for children, and liaised with parents), and that her boyfriend should take a similar approach for his application materials.

      1. S*

        OP here! (finally, sorry i hadn’t responded yet!)

        He does have experience babysitting relatives (both his and mine) and friends’ children, but we weren’t sure how many hours minimum of that would be relevant to put on a resume. It seems silly to list babysitting time, since a lot for relatives was irregular / informal, and none of it approaches the hours he’s spend at work, school, or volunteer activities.

        1. teclatwig*

          I think the general response here should guide you: without mention that he’d done babysitting, we were left thinking “but hasn’t he done any babysitting?!” So, it should be on his resume.

          I don’t know what AAM or the rest of the commentariat think, but I believe there should be a “relevant childcare experience” section in which babysitting and martial arts volunteering are highlighted. Sure, Aunt Flo isn’t going to serve as a professional reference and the hours spent watching the cousins won’t add up professionally, but it helps complete the portrait of a young man who’s been drawn to work with children since he himself was a kid.

  11. Just Visiting*

    Along with #3, is there a way from the job-seeker’s side to convince potential employers that yes, you really really do want a part-time job and aren’t just using it as a stopgap position? I have had mostly full-time low-level professional-type jobs, but am ready to step down into PT work for personal reasons. Preferably retail, but I would also be happy with PT admin work. I had what I thought was a very successful interview at a print shop but the interviewer just wasn’t convinced that I really did want the job and wouldn’t leave. I have no kids and am not in school, which makes it extra perplexing, I think. In my cover letters I always say “I am specifically looking for part time work.” I don’t want to go into the reasons why I’m seeking PT work because they’re partially for mental health reasons and yeah… not going there. I’ve thought about leaving my last job off my resume/application since it was at a law firm and I think that’s a strike against me, but then I’d have a 2.5 year gap which would be even worse!

    #4: You got scammed. Sorry. Live and learn. :(

    1. hayling*

      Definitely continue to mention in your cover letter that you’re looking for a part-time position.

    2. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      I would advise to not mention full-time at all. I hear daily “I’m ok with PT or FT” or “PT is ok but I really want FT” … those almost immediately turn me off. But I have also had cases where the person WAS really wanting PT, but mentions FT to appear flexible. They get tangled up with the other “will take PT, but want FT” people very easily. Just be very direct and say “PT works the best with my schedule and what I am looking for, I’m not currently interested in FT hours”. I am also pleased when people throw in “I am leaving (or left) my previous job because I specifically wanted to step down into PT hours”. This makes the person seem more committed to PT work (which definitely has high turnover due to so many accepting PT jobs when they really want FT. ….I totally get the OPs frustration with this!

      1. Just Visiting*

        But I have also had cases where the person WAS really wanting PT, but mentions FT to appear flexible.

        I’m guilty of this, particularly with temp agencies. I’ve since fixed my mistake by emailing each of them individually and saying “I will take short-term FT jobs, but for temp to hire I only want PT, please do not consider me for FT temp to hire.” Which might still be confusing! I did have one of the recruiters get very aggro with me about this, though.

    3. kel*

      To Just Visiting…

      Good for you that you specifically state a desire for part time in your cover letters. Do you also mention it on your resume. Sometimes cover letters get detached from resumes and are otherwise overlooked when the recruiters are sorting throughout the top applicants.

      Is it possible that the prospective employer you mentioned sensed something was amiss because of your unwillingness to discuss your desire to reduce to part time hours. All a prospective employer wants to know is that the two of you make a good fit that has the most potential to be lasting. If you think part time work will be better overall for your health, whether mental or physical, you should be able to say with a straight face that you have reviewed your circumstances and know that part time provides the best fit for you right now. Also, a bonus of part time is that it is the most flexible for you and your employer.

      Good Luck in your search.

  12. Luxe in Canada*

    #1: I’ve watched my nephew’s tae kwan do tournaments, and anybody who can manage ten nervous, excited little five year olds has got a way with kids. It’s like herding cats!

    With that said, I would hire someone with your boyfriend’s experience as a babysitter, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to get hired for a permanent position with that level of training. Even with years of experience 40 hours of training just isn’t enough to be competitive with someone who’s gone through a full year or two of ECE (early childhood education) training. It’s not that I think he’d do a bad job, it’s just that many places will have stricter education requirements than he has (I think partly it has to do with insurance). If the search takes a long time, I don’t think it’s his gender or martial arts training holding him back, but the fact that his education might not be comprehensive enough to get considered.

    1. en pointe*

      Stricter education requirements could also be partly to do with marketing. For example, if they want to be able to promote themselves, or tell prospective parents, that all their staff have a certain level of qualification.

      A 40-hour online certification really isn’t much, and I think a lot of prospective parents would be interested in what qualifications the staff have when choosing a child care provider.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I agree. We take our daughter to a daycare run out of a private home, but the provider has a degree in ECE, and just started an online graduate school program. Plus she has to do a certain amount of training each year to keep her license with the state. Someone with that much training and education knows how to come up with activities for kids that are not only fun, but educational and help them develop fine motor skills, and so on. And she does this. Every day there is a new activity or craft, with lots of playing outside too.

      That being said, the OP’s boyfriend might be able to be hired on in an assistant/aide capacity, but may not advance much further than that. Clearly, he enjoys working with kids, and he must have a knack for it. Anyone who can get a bunch of 5 year olds to do anything in a somewhat organized, orderly fashion has a talent that many of us (including me) lack!

      1. Mints*

        I’d suggest applying for really big programs. So not a day care with just a couple teachers, but an after school program (at a school, probably) with huge enrollment. Those places need more regular staff members, even if he’s not qualified for leadership/management roles.

        (Also, when I worked childcare, there was a shortage of male staff members, which could become problematic for bathroom runs or swim days. He has good odds)

    1. LBK*

      I’m not sure what the question is, exactly? Are you saying that if someone is disabled, the company wouldn’t be able to ask why they wanted to work part-time?

      1. In progress*

        I’m just wondering a way that someone with disabilities could answer why they wanted to work part-time without opening the door for any discrimination concerns

    2. OhNo*

      This may not be what you meant, but encouraging PWD to apply might be an avenue for the OP to pursue (assuming, of course, that it is a job that can be performed by people with varying levels of disability).

      OP, I’m not sure if you are marketing this position or not, but if you are, it might be worth it to note in the ad that various people who might prefer to work part time (including people with disabilities, parents, students, etc.) are encouraged to apply. You could even share the posting with relevant groups in your area to pass around to their members.

      1. kel*

        Since the posting for the position specifically lists the rather physical demands of the job, I doubt anyone would mistake this job as being conducive to “varying levels of disability”.

        I’m new to this particular site, perhaps someone could define the acronyms; PWD and OP. While I could hazard a guess, I prefer not to assume. Thank you in advance.

        1. OhNo*

          PWD = person/people with a disability
          OP = original poster (equivalent to LW = letter writer)

          Also, varying levels of disability doesn’t just mean physical disabilities. It could be a job that is doable for people with mental/intellectual disabilities as well.

          1. kel*

            Agreed. I was just using the language the poster used. Thanks for the translation of acronyms.

  13. nep*

    #1 – Certainly agree with other commenters that it’s best to leave in the martial arts experience. I see no negative there whatsoever — only positive. I for one am always impressed by a martial arts background. Discipline, patience, perseverance, and more.

  14. Steve*

    The reason you get a bunch of apps for PT work is because…. companies like yours constantly offer PT work. In a tough economy, I find it a bit insulting that you think someone needs a reason to seek work. ANY work. I work in a field that is rife with PT positions. A FT person will leave, and management mysteriously decides that two PT people would work better, which I’m sure has nothing to do with not paying benefits. No siree.

    The point is, if you’re offering PT work, you should absolutely expect that the vast, VAST majority of people will absolutely move on if they find FT work. This is the nature of the beast when job hunters don’t have a choice. They’re trying to feed their kids, pay their credit cards, keep a roof over their heads. So either offer FT work, or deal with the fact that people will be moving on. When the economy is booming, perhaps you can expect to find the perfect retiree or stay-at-home mom or dad supplementing income. Until then? So it goes.

    1. Colette*

      People who want only part time work don’t go away because some people are willing to settle for part time. It’s absolutely reasonable for the OP to want to hire someone who wants this specific job, instead of someone who wants any job.

      1. LadyTL*

        It’s absolutely reasonable for them to expect 90% of their applications given the job market today to be people who need a job and will take any they can get and there is nothing wrong with that either.

        1. Colette*

          Sure, but that doesn’t mean they have to hire someone who just wants a job and will jump to a full time job as soon as they can.

          1. Zillah*

            Sure – but it does mean that they should accept it as a risk, especially when they’re advertising a lot of pt positions.

            1. Colette*

              The question was how to weed those people out, which is reasonable. The OP realizes others might apply, which is where the question came from.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Yeah, agreed. It sounds like some people are indignant that the OP would want to weed those people out or think there’s a feasible way to do it, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to do that (and I do think you often can do it effectively).

                1. teclatwig*

                  I read Steve’s comment, specifically, is expressing ire with the move by so many employers to make everything PT (mostly in an effort to control benefits costs?). And, I suppose, that employers should recognize that their desire to keep things PT is in conflict with the majority of job seekers’ needs for FT, and just accept the best person for the job, knowing that the insistence on FT will mean a shortened tenure. But maybe I am misreading.

                  (Personally, for mental health & stamina issues, I prefer PT work so long as I still have access to regular benefits.)

    2. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      I get your frustration with this, but sometimes its out of the recruiter or hiring manager’s hands. PT positions are really difficult to fill and have high turnover… I would LOVE to have mostly FT positions to offer. I don’t get to decide those things unfortunately. And while I also totally get that there are desperate people who will work any amount of hours, a vast majority of applicants are people hoping to talk their way into FT during the interview stage or within the first few months. I as the recruiter (or manager) can’t afford that… I need a PT employee who will be committed for at least 6 months to a year. So its frustrating on both sides, for sure.

    3. MJ*

      I am inclined toward a similar sentiment. People need work for personal reasons, and I am not sure they should have to convince you (OP) in an interview that the three part-time jobs they have cobbled together to feed their family means they really WANT part-time. While you won’t run afoul of EEOC, you are potentially discriminating against people who need a job and will do anything to prove themselves worthy of work. You are looking to hire people who can “afford” to work part-time and it discriminates (not illegally) against people who are less fortunate in favor of people who perhaps have a spouse making a good salary.

      Where I work, when we hire part-time or are interviewing someone who used to make a lot more money than we are offering, we simply ask if the schedule or salary is something that will reasonably work for them. If they say it is, then we proceed in evaluating on skills, experience, and characteristics. Asking people why they want to work part-time is very close to asking them how they can afford to work part-time, since the folks who really want full-time would probably be happy with part-time if they could afford it. That is a very personal question, and it could run afoul of EEOC if the person applying was also of a protected class.

      Steve, some companies may be avoiding paying benefits by hiring part-time, while others may need 50 hours of labor which they can’t hire for in one position, and sometimes they have particular scheduling needs, as in 2 people need to be working at the same time for a shorter period of time, so it’s not a job a single person can stretch over 40 hours. I do think it is unfair to make assumptions about companies that hire part-time workers, though certainly many probably think they are saving money by avoiding benefits.

      1. teclatwig*

        Great points about who can “afford” to work PT.

        And, yeah, the PT work I have done has always been the true maximum needed for the job, either because there wasn’t a full 40 hours’ worth of work weekly or because there was more than one job but less than 2, so the work load was split among two positions.

    4. kel*


      I am intrigued that without knowing anything about our company, you presume to know that we “constantly offer PT work.” We only have one PT job and have never before had to advertise to fill it.

      You seem to have had some negative experiences in the past and I can only presume that is what would cause you to be “insulted” by my desire to help someone find lasting, meaningful and mutually beneficial employment. Who wouldn’t want that?!

      Thankfully, we live in a community with an abundance of people who are perfectly happy with part time work. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

  15. GrumpyBoss*

    #2: are you speaking with your manager and expressing desire for advancement opportunities? You should be asking for direct feedback on areas to improve to be considered for one of these roles. A good manager should be volunteering this feedback when they decide to fill externally. But, when they don’t, you need to take point on asking for it. There is often a very valid reason why they are going externally. Sometimes there are very dumb reasons employers hire externally. Once you are told what you need to do, it should be clear if there is a legitimate gap in your skills or if this company is just weird about promoting from within.

  16. AMD*

    Re: #2 – my husband works in academia, where he’s said it’s a little unlikely to advance from professor to department chair because they’d prefer to hire from the outside (not that he minds, he wants to teach and not manage.) I think it’s one of very few situations where it makes sense not to promote from within. The same with changing college presidents – promoting from within could spark some major dissension.

    #4 – I’m so sorry that happened to you. When I was desperately job-searching, I went to one of those scammy group interviews to sell insurance just hoping it would turn out to be a potential job. I understand taking risks when job seeking, even when your internal alarms are going off. Hope you have more luck in the future!

    1. TK*

      This is surprising to me re:academia. Though I don’t work in academia currently, my field is academia-related and I was under the impression that promoting from within when it came to department chairs was a totally normal thing.

      Surely this is something that varies by school? I went to a medium-sized Midwestern public liberal arts school, and I’m reasonably certain that almost all the deans there (“department chair” was just a role rotated among faculty there, not a permanent position) were former professors who had been promoted. Many of the presidents over the past half-century or so were internal promotions as well. Maybe it varies with size/prestige/type of school? I can see that a large research university is probably less likely to promote a president from within.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, department chair is often from within, and I’ve seen it as a rotating position (a lot of people don’t want to do admin at the expense of their research). But deans are often outsiders, so maybe AMD’s school treats department chairs more like deans.

        1. Rye-Ann*

          Yeah, this sounds like how my school does it. Granted, I have a small department, but in my department it seems like the chair is just the faculty member who is least unwilling to do it. :P

      2. Davey1983*

        I tend to only have experience with the bigger research schools, but department heads can be internal or external (usually internal). Deans and school presidents, however, are almost always external. The idea seems to be that external candidates will bring a different set of ideas/views.

      3. Cassie*

        It really depends on the institution. Our dept chairs are short-term (3-5 yrs) rotating positions and the vast majority of the chairs are regular faculty within the dept. The exception is if a) they can’t find anyone in the dept to take the role (i.e. small dept with only a handful of uninterested faculty) or b) the dept has had some major issues and they need to bring in an outsider to fix things. But even in the latter case, they tend to appoint a professor from another dept (but still within the university) than go outside.

        As for deans and presidents, I believe our searches are usually open to both current professors and outsiders. In the division I’m in, the recent deans have all been insiders. I did hear about one outsider who was appointed, but was essentially an absent dean – his home was in another part of the state and would only be in our town Monday-Thursday and spend the rest of his time away. With that memory, I think many of our faculty would prefer an insider is appointed as the next dean.

  17. The Maple Teacup*

    4). You’ve been scammed. :(

    When I submit a criminal record check for new jobs, I go to a police station and pay for it there myself. I’ve never sent money to an employer. (In Alberta, Canada)

  18. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-Your BF’s biggest hurdle to getting a job in child care isn’t going to be the martial arts. It’s going to be that he’s a guy. And that crappy and wrong and sexist. You are right that his only work experience is in the martial arts field and he should list it and be proud of it. My DH got his black belt last year and part of that was working with kids. It’s hard! He might want to look for jobs in the mental health field working with children. He’d probably have to start on the lowest rung but they mental health aide/worker usually only requires a HS diploma. It would give him good experience. I live in MD and Sheppard Pratt is a great mental health facility/hospital/school that would give you an idea about jobs.

    I’d also suggest that he look into taking classes at the local community college in early childhood education or something like that. His competition will most likely have some of those classes already, so that will help. He could also look into teaching karate at the local YMCA or something like that.

    And…LOVE LOVE LOVE the new comment format!

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      That’s exactly what I was coming here to say. The biggest challenge will be that he’s a guy trying to get into child care.

    2. Tinker*

      He might also be able to get into a position somewhere where the martial arts experience is useful. As it happens, last weekend I was volunteering to play the bad guys for a kids’ live action roleplaying camp. They bill the camp as providing all sorts of growth opportunities and teaching about leadership and responsibility and stuff, by way of going on quests and killing evil ninjas (that last bit being where I came in).

      From the looks of it, a lot of the camp staff had martial arts experience and were billed as such on the company website — that sort of experience seems to be a thing they were looking for. Not sure how popular those sorts of programs are, but it seems like that or similar programs — ropes courses, outdoor adventure things, and such like — are probably around most places.

    3. Mephyle*

      You think? I think the biggest obstacle is likely to be, as Luxe mentioned above, that he’s a guy without an ECE degree.

    4. Behavioral Health Technician*

      I agree that the mental health field would be an excellent place to start. I work in a behavioral health hospital for children/adolescents, and men are in HIGH demand for direct care roles. As an average size woman, I am so thankful for the men that I work with, and have been assisted (read: saved) by men countless times when being attacked by larger/stronger patients. If your BF is at all interested in working with children with mental illness, working at a hospital or residential would be a great place to start, even if it’s not the field he wants to be in forever. If he can maintain a therapeutic milieu of hyperactive children who might explode and become aggressive toward staff or peers at any time, working with children in a school/after-school/day camp setting will feel like a piece of cake!

      We need men (due to size and strength), especially ones who actually care about children, and are willing to physically intervene when needed. For this type of job, he would be trained in non-violent crisis intervention which would be used for any sort of physical intervention, but the discipline and physical ability demonstrated by his martial arts involvement would be a huge plus in my mind. At my facility a bachelor’s degree is preferred, but many job postings only require high school, plus some experience. Titles/search terms are behavioral health tech, mental health tech, mental health counselor, direct support worker, direct care staff, etc.

      1. S*

        OP here!

        Mental health care is a brilliant idea!!! Thank you so much! This is exactly the kind of idea i was hoping someone would have for him–he’s very zen, helpful, and strong, and one of those jobs might be good.

        We do have friends working in paraeducation, and my boyfriend (the subject of my original question) was interested in that. He knows sign language, and has applied with the school district, but basically without the degree it’s a long shot. Maybe a few years down the road he’ll be able to do paraeducation, but in the mean time it’s good to know the other options out there!

  19. PucksMuse*

    1) Your friend is a ninny.

    If anything, martial arts teaches discipline, patience, and perseverance. Exactly the sort of traits you’d want in someone working with children. And someone who works with children’s martial arts classes is accustomed to herding large groups of kids while they are determined to live out their ninja fantasies, running around, attempting to kick each other, trying to prove how hard they can punch, etc. Anyone who can control those groups and teach them would be an excellent childcare employee.

  20. Ž*

    #1 While I think that martial arts is good experience with kids, I know that when I was a teenage girl without any anger management problems at all and I expressed interest in wanting to take martial arts classes with my mother, this got turned around into “Ž wants to beat her mother up” which was not what I said or what I wanted or anything along those lines — I had just thought maybe my mother and I could do sports together. So there is bias against martial arts and some people do only think it means that people are beating each other up.

  21. Allison*

    #2, I don’t mean to defend the company because I also think it’s crappy, not to mention a poor strategy, to refuse to let people advance. However, I definitely understand that not everyone’s cut out for management, just because someone’s good at their job doesn’t mean they’ll make a good manager. Promoting someone to a management role usually means some management training, whereas hiring someone who has management training and/or experience seems like the safer bet.

    That said, management training is an investment companies should make. Not only will they have better morale and lower turnover, by moving people up into higher roles they may still need to hire someone new, but it’ll be a lower level, and (in theory) an easier position to fill.

    1. krisl*

      Also, people who are promoted from within have a good view of what it was like to work in the lower level positions – personal experience can be very helpful, especially with management training.

  22. plain jane*

    #1 – another vote for keeping this info in. The only thing I’d make sure is that it isn’t just one line on the resume: “Volunteer experience – martial arts.” Instead, if this is a key part of his experience, he should write it up like he would for responsibilities/accomplishments of a relevant job. Also, think about how this can be woven into any cover letter on why he wants to go into child care.

  23. Starfishmommy*

    #1- I’d tell your boyfriend to leave the Martial Arts experience on there. Additionally, if he’s having issues finding positions in daycare, has he looked at summer camps/programs, after school programs, etc? My husband has been working with kids for well over a decade and he actually got into the field because he wanted to have a fun summer job after leaving a stressful job. He applied to be a counselor at a summer camp. From there he went to a pre-school where he worked his way up to lead teacher. Now he works with young men who are in a group home setting. Some of these young men (ages 11-21) have mental health issues, but a lot are kids who are in the “system” due to home life issues. It’s a field with a lot of turnover because while a lot of people can do it (in the sense that you don’t need a degree to start in the field), it’s not a job a lot of people can do (in the sense that a lot of people who do the job aren’t fully prepared for how mentally and physically demanding the job can be at times.)

    1. LizNYC*

      +1 to the afterschool programs.

      My brother (who’s great with kids…probably because he still acts like one :P) just got a job doing an after school program PT for the upcoming school year. His kid experience to date: he’s a professional drummer, so he’s taught students of all ages (5-55) for about 5 years. Plus, he was a Big Brother to a kid for about a year before the family moved away from the area. He made sure to put both of those experiences prominently on his resume and talk about them in his cover letter. As a bonus, most of the places who interviewed him were *thrilled* he was a guy interested in doing these programs, since they didn’t feel like they had a good gender balance of counselors (not that they were hiring solely for that, but for programs for K-12, they were having issues).

      The main reason he’s doing this? A steady paycheck. Drum lessons = last-minute cancellations = no guaranteed income = not good for paying rent.

      1. Starfishmommy*

        “As a bonus, most of the places who interviewed him were *thrilled* he was a guy interested in doing these programs, since they didn’t feel like they had a good gender balance of counselors (not that they were hiring solely for that, but for programs for K-12, they were having issues).”

        ABSOLUTELY! While working at the pre-school there was a wait list for the classroom my husband taught in because parents (specifically of boys) liked that he handled the kids in a different way than female teachers did. Not better, just different and sometimes different is just what we need, right?

      2. Mints*

        Oh yeah, I said this too, but for bathroom runs and swim days we needed a good number of male staff to balance out.

        Also, generally, respectable childcare centers have child abuse prevention policies where kids are in less danger than more casual situations. Our bathroom policy was like two pages long

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      That’s great advice. My nephew had his son in one of those group homes earlier this year, and it really sounded great. He moved heaven and earth to get my great-nephew into that place. I read a bunch of stuff on their website, including their career page. To their credit, they did make it very clear that the jobs there are incredibly challenging, and since it’s located in a rather remote area, shifts are 24/7 for 4 days (or something like that) because they also need people on duty at night. But they also made it clear that it’s an incredibly rewarding job for those that are able to do it.

      I was so enthusiastic about this place, because it seemed to be a very comprehensive approach: school, group and individual therapy, and then there were also some trade-school type programs for the boys, so they could learn a skill and be able to find a job when they graduated from the program. Unfortunately, my great-nephew was just not ready for the program; he and 2 other boys ran away, stole a car, and the police caught up with them in another state.

      This might be a great way for the OP’s boyfriend to get his foot in the door of the general field of working with kids, and then he’d be on his way.

      1. Starfishmommy*

        Yeah, it’s a job that’s not for everyone. My husband doesn’t get a lunch break. He eats meals with the kids. On the flip side…he’s gotten to do a lot more fun activities this summer than I have. He’s taken the boys to a water park, sees a movie at least twice a month, and does lots of fun activities like bowling, basketball, hanging out at the pool etc with the kids.

  24. Sarah*

    I would argue very hard that martial-arts instruction is an impressive example of childcare skills. As someone who does it myself, I think it’s the most difficult bits of teaching and parenting and coaching all rolled into one! Perhaps to defuse any worry that people who don’t know anything about martial arts might read it and think just of MMA-type fighting, he could be specific about the style of martial arts, the age groups he taught, etc.

  25. Sunflower*

    #4- Yeah you got scammed. Agree with commenters who suggested monitoring your bank account activity/credit cards. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference between a legit opportunity and a scam. From what I found, if it seems too good to be true- it probably is. I’ve seen a lot for entry-level grads who want to get into ‘cool industries’ like sports marketing and entertainment. I think the it all reverts back to selling phone plans door to door or something similar- not exactly a scam but definitely false advertising.

    I would recommend googling any company before you sink any time and effort into a job application. Or google the company name + scam. Also check rip off report . com where I find a lot. Also if you see 2 ads that look similar but are for different company’s- it’s probably by a company that has already been found out and changed their name

    1. smilingswan*

      I went on one of those “sports marketing and entertainment” job interviews years ago. It was an all day affair; we drove 50 miles from the office and walked around residential neighborhoods trying to sell coupons for restaurants. After a few hours of this, I said that the job was not for me, and they drove me to a local bar/cafe where I waited for several hours for them to complete their work so they could drive me back to the office. It was surreal.

  26. Kay*

    Sorry #4, that reeks of a scam. I’ve always been told that in an interview process you should never have to give anyone money. I know they said it would be reimbursed on your first paycheck, but (and I’m not saying it would) what if the background check came back with something and they decided they could not hire you? Then you’d be out the money anyway. Also, the fact that there was no interview, no one answered at the phone number are pretty clear clues that this is someone out to take your money and disappear. I’m sorry you lost $40, but things could always be worse. In the future, you’ll probably be a bit more cautious about sending money to people you don’t know well. Almost everyone has fallen for some type of scam during their lives. Think of it as a $40 life lesson…

    PS- Loving the new site Alison! We can collapse comments now! How cool is that?!?!

  27. Judy*

    #5 – I’d agree with Alison. I had a somewhat similar situation. I was on FMLA (maternity leave) on the date of the annual raises once. When I returned to work, my (worst ever) manager said “Since you were not an active employee on the date the raises were given, you don’t get a raise this year.” When I pressed him, he said to talk to HR about it.

    I headed down to HR right then, and discovered that since I wasn’t an active employee on that date, the system wouldn’t automatically populate my raise (from the spreadsheet that was generated in the review process). The manager was supposed to put in a HR action form on my first day back to give me my raise.

      1. Judy*

        I got my raise, and he got another job soon after. I’m sure this wasn’t the whole reason, but he was gone 6 months later.

    1. Bwmn*

      I agree that this is something to bring up with HR – however, for a small nonprofit, waiting two years for a raise is hardly unheard of. Where I currently work, raises used to be given on date of hire and then were changed annually – and only given organization wide when deemed appropriate (vs based on individual performance).

      While this may definitely be an HR confusion point, for a nonprofit specifically – I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear that the decision was made for other reasons.

      1. Mac*

        I am in the same position as #5. But we are so small we don’t have HR. My only options are to press the issue with my boss, or take it to our board, who are very enamored of my boss. If I pushed hard enough it would get sent to our external contracted HR agency who is pretty worthless, and getting them involved means a lot of time and paperwork I would be guilted endlessly for. I think it would be the end of good relations with my boss. I could understand if I were told it was a financial decision–and if it were for all staff across the board. But my boss and co-workers have already gotten raises. I am the only one being asked to wait an additional year, ostensibly bc of my hire date. At this point I’ve pretty much decided it isn’t worth it to me to pursue but it’s still pretty frustrating and feels shitty. And personal.

  28. Leah*

    #3 I recently applied to a part-time job after having left full-time work in a different sector. Before interviewing me, the company sent me a quick email asking me to elaborate on why I was applying for an entry-level part-time position. I actually appreciated this because there really wasn’t space in my cover letter to include much detail about that in addition to talking about my transferrable skills and interest in the sector. I’d suggest something similar to, “Chocolate Teapots Inc. is impressed with your application and would like to know more about your move from full-time to part-time work.”

    In my case, I would have had time to work on some personal projects, especially as I would be doing most of my work remotely.

    1. kel*

      Perfect example of a successful interview process – regardless of whether or not you were the successful candidate for the position. It’s open, honest communication like that which makes for winning hires – not only for the employer but also for the company. Good Luck with your personal projects. They often benefit the company immensely through the positive energy that they bring to the employee who in turn brings that same energy to their work for the company.

      I call that a Win Win.

  29. Cube Ninja*

    #4 – (US-based – other countries may be different) I have a rule about prospective employers. If they ask me to pay for anything before I’m on their payroll, I walk away. Background checks for candidates are 100% at the discretion of the employer as a risk mitigation measure. This is a basic cost of doing business and if they need the candidate to pay for it, I would seriously question their financial stability. I can think of some extremely limited circumstances where this might legitimately come up, but not many.

    Good rule of thumb in general – if anyone asks you to open your wallet as a condition of employment, you’re probably not dealing with a legitimate company.

    1. Adam*

      100% agreed. It’s not like you’re applying to college. Hiring people costs money and it’s the company’s responsibility to accept those costs.

  30. Mena*

    #1: Your friend’s thinking is quite flawed. Working in Martial Arts with children is a great area of experience for his resume (my brother-in-law is a children’s instructor). Success in this area demonstrates communiation skills with, patience with, interest in, and enthusiasm for CHILDREN!!! What a great differentiator has he enters the childcare field. He would be a fool to not leverage this great experience.

    #2: It seems that your employer isn’t interested in the advancement of the employees already in place – perhaps they don’t perceive the current pool as appropriate for management roles, or they are looking for managers that bring different skills sets than offered by the current team. Some companies like to bring folks in from ‘outside’ for a different view/style (and some companies don’t do enough of this!). Beyond clearly expressing your wish to advance into management to your manager and demonstrating the necessary skills and judgement to be successful in a management role, I’m unsure what else you can do.

  31. Allison*

    #4 is an excellent reason why you should research a company before accepting any offers with them. Even if you don’t need the research to ace an interview, it’s really important to know what you’re getting into. A quick Google search can reveal if a job is a scam, a pyramid scheme, a bait and switch (packaging a sales gig as a “marketing coordinator”), or just plain bad.

  32. Stephanie*

    “Some people do still have a bias against men in child care, which is rooted in incredibly sexist and insulting assumptions.”

    I think it’s rooted in reality. Between 96-99% of known sex offenders are men (http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-3286320/The-myth-of-innocence-sexual.html and many other sources).

    It may not be fair, but I will never leave my children with a man I don’t know and trust. (And despite what parents tell themselves, they don’t really know babysitters / daycare providers in the beginning.)

    The karate thing wouldn’t bother me at all, though.

    1. fposte*

      “Rooted in reality” would be if 96-98% of men were known sex offenders, though, not the other way around. The statistic you cite means nothing for probability.

      1. Mike B.*

        +1 Drives me crazy that people misinterpret statistics like that.

        What would the implications be of internalizing this statistic and thinking it’s meaningful? Sounds to me it would not just lead you to reject men unfairly, but also to be lulled into a false sense of security by women. For something as important as placing someone in charge of your child, you need to vet every candidate carefully and consider what the actual risks are.

    2. JMegan*

      Right, but it doesn’t follow that 96-99% of men are sex offenders. A 1996 New York Times article quotes the statistic as 1/20th of 1% of men are sex offenders. The chance of any one man being a sex offender as so low as to be almost non-existent.

      Of course, you can never tell which 1/20th of 1% of men that is going to be. But then again, you can never tell which car is going to drive over the sidewalk and hit you, or which time you’re cooking that you’re going to burn yourself on the stove. It’s simply not possible to protect yourself or your children from every possible harm.

      Free Range Kids has a really good article about men as babysitters here:

      1. Zillah*

        I’m actually not sure if that’s true. It may be true of convicted sex offenders, but there are plenty of people who get away with it without ever being charged.

        That said, I do agree with your overarching point, and I’d also like to note that while sex offenders and child molesters seem to be being conflated here, the two are not even remotely the same thing. There’s some overlap, but most sex offenders do not target children, and many child abusers do not sexually assault children. There’s some overlap, but the two aren’t even close to the same thing.

    3. Rayner*

      This is actually a result of a misoynistic society. A patriarchal society tells people that women are the child carers so we’ve become used to that. Men are ascribed aggressive, sexual identities which are in direct contradiction to what we expect from child carers, so we trust them less, regardless of statistics.

      In addition, although most sex offenders are male, it’s for the same reason as above. Women are not expected to behave like that, so for a long time, their crimes were ignored or hidden. It’s only recently that there’s been more of them being exposed in the media and social sphere.

      1. Just Visiting*

        A well-known female fantasy author was recently exposed as a molester and I don’t think she’d have gotten away with it (she’s deceased) if she wasn’t a woman. Kinda sad to hear “but she can’t have done that, she’s a woman!” in 2014. I remember similar agog reactions to Mary Kay LeTorneau.

        1. Zillah*

          If I know who you’re talking about and IIRC, her husband also got away with child molestation for years before finally being sent to jail. Not sure it’s all about gender.

      2. aebhel*


        We treat sexual aggression in men as something to be expected; we treat sexual aggression in women as something that never happens, which means that the former is excused and the latter ignored when they abuse someone.

        Mostly, I think it’s that we see childcare as something that women are naturally suited to and men are naturally uninterested in, which means that if a woman wants to take care of children it’s because of her nurturing feminine sensibilities, and if a man does it’s because he has ulterior motives. It’s kind of a lousy deal for both sexes, as pretty much anything to do with sexism is.

        /Speaking as a woman who actually has a kid and still thinks that working in childcare sounds like the seventh circle of Hell.

        1. Starfishmommy*

          “Speaking as a woman who actually has a kid and still thinks that working in childcare sounds like the seventh circle of Hell.”

          AMEN!!! I have two kids and people are always taken aback when I say I can count the amount of children I can actually stand to be around on one hand…and I can’t always guarantee that one of those fingers belong to one of my kids. I don’t understand how someone would want to do that for a living. LOL!

    4. Zillah*

      I mentioned this in a response to another comment in this thread, but it bears repeating:

      ‘Sex offender’ is not a synonym for ‘child molester.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sex crimes committed against adults are okay or that parents would be totally fine with their kids hanging around a rapist who only targeted women in their late 20s, but most sex offenders do not target children, and not all child abuse involves molestation. Equating those two things is really problematic, IMO.

    5. Mena*

      My brother-in-law is a children’s karate instructor … so would you leave your kids with him or not?

  33. JoAnna*

    My children’s daycare provider for the last three years was a husband-and-wife team. They were both excellent caregivers. If the husband had had martial arts training, especially with kids, that would have been icing on the cake. :)

  34. Maria*

    #1: I think having been a martial arts instructor for kids and teenagers is a great experience that your boyfriend should absolutely not leave out of his resume. Martial arts is not just kicking and beating each other up and learning techniques to be violent – it’s actually quite the opposite: respect for your sparring partner, fighting with clear rules, self-discipline and perseverance… If you think the “martial” part could be a disadvantage, why not putting it as “sports instructor” experience and only go into more detail in the descriptive paragraph of your CV?

    1. S*

      (OP here)

      Oh, “sports” or “training” instructor is a good idea! Part of the issue is that it’s a more uncommon martial art, and here in the hinterlands not everyone’s heard of it. If it was karate, it’d be pretty self-explanatory, but where we live most people couldn’t name other martial arts… much less distinguish between them. So yeah, maybe saying ‘sports’ and leaving it at that would help!

      His plan–for a future theoretical interview–is to talk VERY briefly about what the artform is, and then in more detail about how he helped to include new trainees of all ages.

  35. Nina*

    #4: In addition to keeping an eye on any suspicious credit card charges, notify Kajiji ASAP about this scammer. I’m sorry that this happened to you, but if the job board knows, they can remove the listing so this won’t happen again.

  36. Tinker*

    #1 — My theory with things like this — actually including this thing specifically, although in a different context as I don’t work with kids — is that there are a few things that are unquestionably negative (objective statements, neck tattoos, etc), but there’s rather a lot about a person that is a matter of individual taste. You tend to run into some folks who are very into a given item, and maybe a few who are very against, and probably for most things a vast undifferentiated middle, and you can’t really tell in advance who is who.

    The consequence of this is that for a great many things there is no ideal way to present even if you wanted to — you’re forced to take some position, put it out in the world, and see who it hits with. The thing is, you have to live thereafter with the person who liked the thing you presented, whatever that is. So if it’s not an accurate reflection of you, well darn.

    What line you draw on that subject depends on your preferences and your position in the market, but personally I go for congruence even on some things that may expose me to prejudice — I’m fairly sure that I come off as queer in interviews, for instance, and I have an “interests” section that roughly summarizes my hobbies inclusive of the martial arts — because I’d rather take a hit in probability of offer up front so that I have less risk of working with a bigot or a ninny later.

    In this case, the OP’s boyfriend is probably not going to end up working for a sexist person, and probably has their best chance of success with someone who reads the martial arts experience as a major positive, even if other people exist who view it negatively.

  37. Jill*

    #1 …. I’m a new mom with kids in daycare and I’d consider experience in martial arts to be a plus. If you know anything about martial arts, you know that most are taught with the mindset that “you learn it so that you never have to use it”. In other words, you learn to use your body for self defense…but you also learn the self-discipline to ideally never actually use yourself to harm someone.
    I’d love to have adults with that level of self discipline instructing or caring for my kids!

  38. BritCred*

    I’d be more concerned about #1 if it was, say, Boxing or Wrestling. Yes, they both teach when to do it and when not to but Martial Arts is far more well known for control where as the other two are viewed a lot more as the “anger” sports than MA.

    Not that I believe anyone listing those two should be treated as bad either – I don’t. I list Medieval Re-enactment and Swordsmanship Training on mine. I have yet to explain that to an employer. (Basically we bash our friends with swords etc. during the day for the amusement of the public. Then we drink in the beer tent with them at night knowing we will do the same tomorrow…. ;) )

  39. MMouse*

    Speaking of work-related scams, there have been a couple of times where I have been called and the caller immediately begins shooting questions at me. There is no introduction, no explanation on how they found my resume, no indication of what kind of job/company it is. And even if I answer their questions badly [“Do you have any sales experience?” “No, I do not.”], they will invite me to an interview. I always decline because I am quite sure it is a scam, but what kind of scam?

  40. Callie*

    I’ve never worked in child care per se, but I worked in elementary ed and now teach teachers-to-be. I encourage my preservice teachers to get as much experience as they can working with kids and/or teaching people to do things (which can include children or adults) even if they are not in the specific subject or age group they want to teach. Teaching martial arts falls into this category, as would any kind of summer camp/music lesson/swim lesson experience. It’s not going to hurt him.

  41. Colleen*

    #1. I have a five-year old who wants to be a ninja when he grows up. So martial arts experience would be cool.

  42. Jason*

    #1 – Definitely leave the martial arts training. Our company works with thousands of martial arts schools and overwhelmingly they focus on teaching life skills like focus, confidence, integrity, etc. I think we’ve grown up from the days where most martial arts for kids were viewed as just violent sports.

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