I’m not the go-to person for my team, coworker’s nude photos, and more

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

1. Should I worry about not being the go-to person for my team?

I have one employee reporting to me who is working in one of our remote offices. I have found that on many occasions when other teams in the remote office need any information, they directly approach her instead of coming to me. I understand that it is easier for them to get together with her since she is working in the same office but as the manager of this team, I would like to be kept in the loop as well. I am concerned that if I let this continue, it would end up undermining my position. Is there anything I can do to loop myself into these meetings?

I don’t think you need to worry that having a competent and helpful employee will undermine you; as a manager, you want to have competent and helpful employees, and you want them to field as much as they can so that you’re freed up for higher level work. That actually makes you look good; after all, it reflects poorly on managers when they have people on their team who don’t excel.

If your concern is that you’ll get out of the loop, that’s legitimate, but you could address that by asking her to keep you informed about certain types of queries or information and/or looping you in on particularly challenging or sensitive situations. Beyond that, though, if you’re concerned that people won’t see your value, you could look for ways to give your work higher visibility if that’s appropriate — but in general, assuming that you’re producing at a high level yourself, people aren’t going to wonder what your worth is just because they interact more frequently with one of your staff members.

2. My coworker’s website has nude photos alongside photos of her in her work uniform

I recently stumbled arose one of my coworker’s public blogs and decided to scroll through it since she is always going on about it at work. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. While scrolling, I saw that she had multiple nude pictures of her (not full nude, like partial nudes) on this site, including a full view of her lady parts. It isn’t any of my business if she wants to share this with the entire internet. However, these pictures are right next to other pictures of her in her work uniform and some of these photos clearly have the company name on them.

I’ve thought about going to her personally and saying that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to have those photos right next to the company’s name, but given the fact that she is extremely hostile towards me at work, I have decided this is not the best course of action. (I talked with two of my managers about the hostility issue, and their response was “Not my problem.” So, I have tried to reach a resolution with that to no success.)

I’m trying to decide if I should report this to HR or not. My concern is her finding out that I reported the blog and thus creating a worse and more hostile work environment for me. The only reason I’m bothering to concern myself with the photos is because I feel like the photos would portray the company in extremely bad light should they somehow come up with a Google search of the company name.

I don’t think a photo of a company uniform is likely to come with in a Google search of the company name (assuming she doesn’t have text on the site that names the company), but that doesn’t mean your company wouldn’t rightfully be concerned about the photos; most companies wouldn’t be pleased by that.

If you’re in a management role, you have more of a responsibility to mention what you saw. If you’re not, I think it’s really up to you. But the fact that you’re working somewhere where your managers actually said “not my problem” when you tried to talk with them about a work issue means you’d be pretty justified in deciding that this this is not your problem. (To be clear, I wouldn’t say that if it were something more clear cut, like if you’d learned that an employee was embezzling. But I don’t think that it would be an unreasonable stance here.)

3. Why is this interview process being coordinated by such junior staff?

I recently applied for a job at a firm that employs about 50 people. I looked at their website and LinkedIn presence before applying, and I thought everything looked great: their company culture seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, and they had an awesome roster of clients.

Today I received an email from someone who introduced herself as an intern at the firm. She asked if I would be available to interview with another person at the firm who’s at the same level as the job I’m applying for — one that requires about 2 years of experience and a college degree. I’m very confused about why the interview would be coordinated by an intern and conducted by an entry-level employee, when both of these roles are traditionally the responsibilities of a hiring manager. Have you heard of this being done before, and is this a normal (though perhaps unusual) practice?

Not weird! It’s reasonable to delegate coordinating interview logistics to a junior person (including an intern), so that part isn’t strange. And it’s not crazy to have a peer talk with candidates at some stage of the process. I’d usually do that later in the process, but it’s definitely possible that the peer is well-equipped to do the early screening stage. The hiring manager should get involved at some point, of course, but I wouldn’t take this as a red flag.

4. Is my employer reimbursing enough for mileage?

I am currently working on salary, and it is my first job paying me like this so am new to it. I do a lot of traveling, and although for big trips I usually rent a car, I still do a lot of local meetings where I take my own car. My mileage report has a set rate of 35 cents. Is this correct? I have a company credit card that I use to tank up rental cars, but the company does not want me using it on my car; their explanation is that they pay me the mileage rate for the usage of my car. I was just reading another post of yours where you stated that the mileage reimbursement is 56 cents. I want to talk to my boss about it but am not sure if this is the law (California), or is he allowed to give me what he sees fit?

The IRS allows people to deduct a mileage rate of 56 cents per mile, and many employers use the IRS’s rate. Some, though, use a lower one. The purpose of the IRS rate isn’t to impose the rate on employers, but rather to tell people what they can deduct at tax time. An employer can pay any mileage rate they want, but if it’s lower than the IRS rate, you can deduct the difference on your taxes (although that only helps you if you’re already itemizing deductions).

However, California does require employers to reimburse all business expenses, so if you could show that the mileage rate they’re paying doesn’t do that, it’s possible there could be a legal thing here — although that’s outside my own scope of expertise.

It does makes sense, though, that they’re not reimbursing you for both gas and mileage for the same trip, since the mileage rate is intended to cover gas, as well as wear and tear on your car.

5. Skype interview advice

Something happened in a Skype interview that I thought your readers could learn from: my interviewer’s computer monitor was too low. You mentioned this in a previous list about Skype tips but I think this example will help drive home the point.

Not only does this create an unflattering double chin, but it also looked like he was spending the majority of the conversation with his eyes locked on my chest. My chest wasn’t even in frame, so the interviewer wasn’t actually doing anything inappropriate, but I still felt somewhat uncomfortable. I have also seen it appear that someone has their eyes closed or is avoiding eye contact. Nearly every webcam has software to take a picture with the webcam, which is a great way to check that everything you’ve noted in previous lists is good and Skype has a number to call to test sound.

Excellent tips. Thank you!

{ 247 comments… read them below }

  1. KarenT*

    Note to self: Don’t skim AAM headlines because you will read “I am the go-to person for my co-worker’s nude photos”

    1. businesslady*

      I read “I’m not the go-to person for nude photos on my team,” & I was like “I’m really not sure how that’s a problem…?”

  2. Leah*

    The URL does say “I’m not the go-to person for my team coworkers nude photos and…(cut off by browser). I was curious as to what was after the and… It seemed like a protest that coworkers were coming to an LW with requests to take/touch up/remove nude photos.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Given that the url words are one of the key pieces of info you send google for keyword searches, this is going to produce interesting visitor results.

      [giggles] <— I don't often giggle

      1. LBK*

        This is totally OT, but do you read The Bloggess? Sometimes she posts lists of the most ridiculous things people searched for that led them to her blog and they’re hilarious.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: For the life of me, I will never understand why people post nude pictures of themselves on the internet. Has any good ever come from doing that?

    As far as the question goes, OP, you’ve already brought it to the attention of 2 managers who blew you off. So you’ve done all you can do. In your shoes, I’d let it go. If the co-worker was someone I was good friends with, I’d advise her to rethink what she has on her blog. But since you said she’s hostile towards you, that would probably backfire. I think the pictures show that your co-worker (at best) has questionable judgment more than they make your company look bad.

    1. Amanda not Mandy*

      OP brought the coworker’s hostility towards them to the attention of the 2 managers, not the nude photo issue.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Oops, you’re right. I misread the question. I still think the OP should stay out of it though.

      2. Artemesia*

        The attitude of the boss though suggests a workplace where reporting on co-workers would not be welcomed. The OP is in for a world of trouble if she becomes the office busybody about what is posted on employees facebook. It doesn’t matter that she is right about this; reporting on it will do her no good.

    2. Ezri*

      I’m inclined to agree. If your coworker is already hostile towards you and you aren’t in a management position over her, I’d say this is somebody else’s problem. If you haven’t told anyone about the photos, then you won’t be on the hook if they are found at a future date. Whereas if you report it and your coworker finds out, it could escalate the issues you are already having with her.

      Does your company have an anonymous tipline of some sort? If so, that might be the way to go, since it brings the company’s attention to something that *could* be affecting their reputation without bringing your name into it. And it puts the ball in their court and out of yours.

      1. Ezri*

        After reading other folks comments, I want to rephrase my suggestion – if you think that the photos could be honestly and realistically affecting the company reputation (she mentions the blog in front of clients or stakeholders, it’s easy to find on google when searching your company’s name, etc.), then you might be doing the right thing by reporting.

        If, however, the blog is difficult to find / obscure and you would be reporting primarily to retaliate against her hostility, please don’t. It sucks that this person is distressing you in the workplace, but reporting her is unlikely to help the situation at all.

        One last thing to consider – your managers don’t know about the photos, but you’ve already reported problems getting along with this coworker. If you now report her blog photos, those managers might wonder if you are reporting her because you don’t get along. Even if your reasoning is sound, that could hurt your reputation at the company.

        1. LJL*

          Precisely. If you can do it anonymously, that would be great, as it may seem that this is a way you’re trying to get back at the woman, even if that isn’t your intention.

          1. Joey*

            I’m not aiming this at you, but anonymous complaints might seem ideal since you get to hide your identity, but they actually cause more problems.

            I’ve had anonymous complaints. When I’ve recieved them I generally have a pretty good idea of who it came from. And you can bet I’ll address it with the team and tell people I don’t appreciate cowards and that if they’re not comfortable owning their words this isn’t the place for them.

            1. Jamie*

              You tell your people that those who complain anonymously are cowards? Wow.

              We have our whistle blower policy clearly posted in each department and in the lunch room, bulletin boards, etc. It has the phone number of an outside party. Yes, it’s easier if people are willing to go on record from the start, but if they aren’t we’d still rather know there is a problem to be investigated than not.

              Some people do not feel safe or comfortable for whatever reason reporting others, especially management. Some people absolutely fear for their jobs and retaliation. If you make them all feel like cowards all you’re going to do is assure that they don’t bother reporting anything.

              In a case like this where the incident is trivial and no harm to the OP, I would advice saying nothing. And trivial complaints that get reported tend to be treated as such anyway. But I’d rather have 1000x trivial complaints than one serious issue of intimidation, harassment, or theft go unreported because people were discouraged from coming forward anonymously.

              (and that doesn’t mean an anonymous report of a serious offense is treated like gospel, it means we investigate by other methods to determine if there is validity.)

              1. Joey*

                Absolutely. If someone don’t trust us despite all of the things we do to show them that they have every reason to trust us that’s a sign that this isn’t the right place for them. I don’t use the word coward, but that’s essentially what I say- that if you don’t trust us enough to stand behind your complaints then how are we supposed to trust that you’ll bring other tough work issues forward and help us resolve them.

                1. Jamie*

                  I work in manufacturing and if half of what I’m told is true about what happens at other factories I don’t blame some people on bit for being afraid to come forward. Trust is great, but it can take time – and even if they are here for years if it’s an issue with their immediate manager I totally get how people would be afraid to speak up. They may not have dealt with other managers enough to gauge trust, there could be a language barrier, all kinds of issues.

                  For new employees the first couple of audits I need to spend a lot of time reassuring them that it’s just a routine procedure, we’re not looking to get them in trouble, and the people with clipboards aren’t deciding who to let go.

                  People come in with scars and conditioning from other workplaces and I’m not going to take it personally if they have a different level of trust than is warranted by our actions.

                  If a 3rd shift operator was being harassed by her direct manager I can’t imagine how we could expect her to necessarily feel comfortable coming in while the office was open and trusting us to take care of it openly. If so, great, but I totally get why not – I’m a stranger to her except for an occasional audit. And many people do tend to assume that if a manager is behaving badly and still working there that there is tacit approval from the organization – they assume upper management knows everything and just doesn’t care. For some people no matter how well you try to communicate that it’s not the case their fear is too strong.

                  If someone is stealing and it’s reported anonymously we can review the tapes, check the inventory counts, investigate the situation. It’s the thief who doesn’t belong here, not the person who may have been too afraid to tie their name to the report.

                  Personally I wouldn’t report anonymously – anything I felt strongly enough about to address I’ll slap my name on. But I work closely with the ultimate ptb every day – I know it’s safe to do so. To assume everyone who doesn’t have that same sense of security isn’t in the right company seems horribly unfair to me.

                2. Dan*


                  It depends on the industry, the company, the structure, all of that. In industries where physical safety is a big concern, yes, you need to nip safety issues in the bud and fast. (I worked blue collar for 7 years, before being in the office the last 6. For the sake of brevity, trust me when I saw that the environments are vastly different.) Those kinds of things that you can catch on tape are objective and easy to verify.

                  The stuff we would complain about in the office is much less objective, much harder to verify, and much easier to pin back on the whistle blower.

                  And you are right, that we assume poor managers have tacit approval from management. Because we frequently they do, and AAM’s advice pretty much always recognizes that — short of breaking the law, if your manager sucks, your best option is to frequently leave.

                  If my manager sucks, and his management doesn’t know it, that says a lot more about his management than it does him or me.

                3. annie*

                  I agree with you that anonymous complaints are pretty useless because it is hard to really do much with them if you can’t ask follow up questions, try to get evidence, or provide specific questions to the person accused of wrongdoing. It is really hard, with the exception of something that is glaringly obvious in black and white evidence, to really do anything about anonymous complaints other than keep a closer eye on the person who is accused of wrongdoing.

                  That said, I think you should think about your philosophy anyway, because trust is something that is earned over time. Someone who is new to your organization is not going to trust you right away, especially if they come from a company where there was a lot of retaliation for bringing issues to management. Your position also assumes that all of your employees are perfectly managing at all times, which we know is not true as we are all human. It is possible that the overall culture is one that can be trusted but you may have a bad apple in there somewhere that can’t be. And if this is a small organization, it can be hard to figure out an alternate manager to go to on things like this.

                4. A Teacher*

                  And when I worked in corporate, I worked with managers that back stabbed everyone and their brother to get ahead. It was from the top level down. You couldn’t “complain” or even really raise major issues because then you became the target. So it stayed a dysfunctional hot mess as the high school students I now teach say.

            2. John*

              While I agree that there are situations where people should feel comfortable escalating them through their managers, that’s not always realistic. Managers need to create an environment where people feel comfortable raising concerns — and if those concerns are ones that, for whatever reason, a person might not be comfortable attaching their name to — there should be channels that allow for anonymous reporting.

              1. Joey*

                Nope. Anonymous complaints mean that someone doesn’t trust someone. That’s not the type of relationship we want. Besides, it is extremely difficult to give credibility to anonymous complaints when you have no idea of the credibility of the complainer.

                1. Natalie*

                  This seems backwards to me – you don’t have channels for anonymous complaints because anonymous complaints indicate trust is lacking… so how can you actually check that trust isn’t lacking? If you have that trust, it shouldn’t be any problem to allow a channel for anonymous complaints because none will ever get made. And on the offchance you’ve misjudged, now you have a way to find out.

                2. Ezri*

                  I agree, company hierarchy should foster a relationship of trust, and some do. But there are plenty that don’t, as Jamie mentioned above, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to blame employees for not trusting their employers. We’ve seen enough stories on this blog to know that a seemingly nice manager can go completely cray-cray over a little thing like a report.

                3. Dan*

                  Yes. To piggy back on Jamie’s comment, if these “anonymous” complaints are things that you can’t easily go to a security tape and verify, then you’re stuck with the complaint that you have. When two people have a disagreement, there’s always three sides to the story — your side, my side, and the truth. So you get this anonymous complaint, you can’t back it up independently, so what do you do? Do you take it to the alleged perpetrator and ask him his side of the story? You’re certainly going to want to follow up with the original reporter for verification, and you can’t do it. Do you take disciplinary action against the accused when you don’t have a complete understanding of what happened?

                  Anonymous reports do suck, unless they’re easily independently validated.

                4. Jamie*

                  @Dan – absolutely they make things much harder unless they are “check the tape on dock4 doors between 3:00 – 3:30 am”…but it’s made clear to people that if it’s not something that can be independently checked without speaking to people they need to either come forward (in which case their statements will be kept as confidential as possible, but will be shared in the course of the investigation) or not much can be done.

                  And I would never advocate disciplinary action on an unverified complaint.

                  But you’d be surprised what can be learned by paying more targeted attention to a particular person or area. Sometimes the complaints are specious (and it’s not like we get a lot – hardly ever, actually) but as you mentioned in another post it’s a really different environment when you’re dealing with people who may not have much contact with their bosses boss – so they need a recourse for reporting in case they wish to do so anonymously.

                  Not all reports are created equal though. Yes, if someone I worked in the office who had every reason to trust things would be handled properly went the anonymous route I’d likely be annoyed – because it complicates things. But it’s their right as much as anyone’s – with the understanding that it may go no where if it’s not proven without statements and you won’t give one. Good management won’t start a witch hunt over these.

                  But in an environment where a large part of the workforce would be far less likely to come forward openly a company owes those people a way to report anonymously. Because otherwise you can tell them to report it to the office until the cows come home, many will be effectively silenced.

                5. Joey*


                  It all boils down to this: I’d rather have people on my team that tend to want to give people the benefit of the doubt. If you’re going to assume people don’t have good intentions (ie you don’t trust anyone) I don’t want you on my team. I know that’s a luxury that not everyone can screen for, but to me it makes for a more productive team and a happier place to work.

                6. Joey*

                  I measure something called discretionary effort. That is, the extra effort that people give that’s not required. The more effort people give above and beyond the more likely they’re doing it because they like where they work, who they work for, and what they do. That’s how I know people trust us, by the amount of people that put forth more effort than what we ask for and by how few people leave voluntarily on bad terms.

                7. Ezri*

                  That just seems like you’re taking something generally impersonal and making it personal. Sure, working with someone who refuses to trust anyone at all would be frustrating, but using an anonymous reporting system doesn’t indicate that is the case. As several comments have already made good points for, there are circumstances where normal people with normal trust boundaries would use an anonymous reporting system.

              2. Joey*

                Think about it for a second. I understand that there might be occasions that you don’t trust your manager, but is there no one in the company that you trust? Another manager, your chain of command, the CEO? If you don’t trust anyone that says tons.

                1. Mints*

                  My office is less than ten people, and while there are people above my manager in the hierarchy, I’ve never met any of them in person, and don’t have a good gauge of what the relationships are with/between management.
                  We don’t have an anonymous tip line, so the point is moot, but if we did, I would have considered reporting some of the more egregious “jokes” the manager has made. I don’t know for sure if I would, but I would have been appreciative of the option

                2. Joey*


                  I totally get it, but if they haven’t given you reason not to trust them then why carry the baggage of past bad experiences with you into your current situation. That’s sort of ex

                3. Joey*


                  I totally get it, but if they haven’t given you reason not to trust them then why carry the baggage of past bad experiences with you into your current situation. That’s like expecting that all jobs will suck because you had some bad ones?

                4. Decimus*

                  The problem is that if you don’t know anyone above your manager, you’re gambling if you guess wrong about reporting a problem. And what you are gambling with is your career. That’s a BIG downside.

                  I’ve also worked in several offices where the person above my manager worked in a different office in a different city, and who I’d meet maybe once a year at the company Christmas party or when Important Clients were touring the office. Neither situation gives me any idea about the upper-management person’s views on things. So if – in theory – I wanted to report that my manager was making a lot of racist/anti-women/etc remarks, I’d be gambling that the manager’s manager wouldn’t feel the same and then >I< become the troublemaker.

                5. Mints*

                  Exactly, Decimus. Maybe it’s about being more risk averse, but if I don’t have a relationship, at all, with the person I’d potentially be talking to, the upside exists, but the downside is huge (they could tell me to suck it up, and tell everyone including my manager what I complained about). So I’ve said nothing to upper management, even though they might actually care about sexist and racist jokes. With an anonymous tip, the potential upside is reduced since it’s less credible, but there’s not as much risk, if any

    3. Jubilance*

      Well that’s judgy. Some people enjoy putting pictures of themselves up and having other people see them. Just because it’s not YOUR thing, doesn’t make it inherently wrong. It’s probably not wise to have photos with your company info or personal info included if your goal is to remain anonymous, but overall, the idea of posting pics isn’t some kind of “OMG your going to hell” situation.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I agree that that’s true (and certainly good has come from posting one’s own nude photos online for some people — like serious amounts of money in some cases, and I suppose simple joy for others), but I also think Ann Furthermore’s viewpoint is a pretty mainstream one and not judgy so much as perhaps just not considering all the possible angles?

        I do think “no good will come of posting nude photos online” is a common reaction when most of the stories people hear are along the lines of “people saw them who I didn’t want to see them” or “I experienced unforeseen consequences.” It’s good to point out other sides of this to broaden people’s understanding, but I didn’t read it as judgy.

        1. fposte*

          I also think posting online on a blog is different from sharing nude pictures privately, even if you’re using the internet to do that sharing and those pictures end up elsewhere. There’s a basic awareness and intent to posting online on your apparently happily shared blog that there isn’t to a picture sent to a honey that then gets out of control.

        2. Sasha LeTour*

          I think you can have your fun, but when you start mixing work and play, you can wind up burdening yourself with problems that would normally be easy to avoid. I know two women whose hobbies involve risque pictures and the way each treats those pictures have everything to do with the disparate levels of professional success they’ve attained.

          The first, a woman I know from my college years down south, is a senior/manager-level staffer at a non-profit helping people with a specific type of mental disability find jobs and become self-sufficient with basic tasks. She is also the founder and lead choreographer of a burlesque troupe that travels the country on weekends. Because her clients and their families must trust her and have faith in her organization, she would never dream of posting the burlesque pictures under her real name. On the burlesque website, all photos show her in-costume and heavily made up, with her performer pseudonym in each caption. Only very close friends know she is the same person as the woman pictured on the non-profit’s site, clad in a conservative suit and pearls. Her weekend affairs have never gotten intertwined with her job and she’s done both happily for a half-dozen years.

          The second, a woman I worked with at my current agency in NYC (she quit this past summer) also does burlesque, and while her performance style and manner of dress is actually WAY more conservative than my old Southern friend’s, she refuses to separate work and play. When you Google her name, pictures of her clad in bustiers yielding the “sky high cleavage” effect and mini-skirts with garters peeping out make up the first 5-6 results with her professional website and online resume listed only after that. It detracts from her professional credibility terribly. While working with her, she frequently complained about a “conspiracy” within the agency to hold her back and refuse her promotions she felt she was rightfully owed. (We are in the same college class, and although I’m a year younger due to skipping a grade, I’m two levels higher than she was in our department.) Several execs and our boss tried tactfully pointing out that how she comes across online is a large part of why she has not gotten to the same level as others, but she wasn’t having it. She has moved on to a less prestigious agency where she holds a position at the same level as her last, and I predict she will enter her 40s struggling with the same frustrations that gave her grief throughout her 30s.

      2. sunny-dee*

        The idea of posting pictures, no. But if you want to be perceived as a professional, then posting any kind of questionable photograph is unwise. That very much includes nude pictures, but also pictures of binge drinking or doing something crazy or borderline illegal ({insert general frat party stuff here}).

        I would not want an accountant who posted nude pictures of herself online. I wouldn’t want to find out my stepson’s teacher had nude pictures online. If I were interviewing someone for a writing job and found out they had nude pictures on their personal blog, I would recommend not hiring that person. It exhibits such faulty judgment and a lack of understanding of social mores, that I wouldn’t trust that person in a professional capacity, even if the picture themselves didn’t relate directly to their professional position.

        That is a judgment, but it is a judgment based on the image that that person has chosen to project.

        1. LBK*

          Could I ask why? Some people are just less concerned with nudity or don’t see it as being so improper. I’m personally pretty liberal on that scale – I just don’t see being naked as really that big of a deal, whether in pictures or in person. I think the US in particular has a very conservative culture when it comes to bodies so it’s certainly not an uncommon perspective to consider any publicly viewable nudity as inappropriate and unprofessional. However, that doesn’t apply to everyone.

          I’ve been considering this a lot with the recent celeb photo leaks, and I think my reaction if I were a famous person whose photos were leaked would be something along the lines of “Okay? Yes, I do have a body under my clothes…and the drama is…?” It just doesn’t seem that shocking or wrong to me to be okay with nudity or with taking nude pictures.

          1. LisaLisa*

            Dan Savage has a great take on this on his podcast recently. I don’t always agree with him but he was talking about the nude celeb photo leak and how we have to stop shaming everyone for online photos. He got into more details that you’d do a better job hearing from him than me rehashing but I thought it was pretty well thought out.

            1. Liz in a Library*

              I really liked this particular rant of his, too. It’s Tuesday’s episode (9/9). Hits a bunch of important points.

          2. LBK*

            Oh – and also I get that there’s probably less than 1% of the population who wouldn’t have an issue with it, and therefore you should absolutely err on the side of the current cultural standard of professionalism. I’m speaking more about that culture at large and why it’s still heavily considered so inappropriate and wrong to have taken a nude photo of yourself.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              Oh, I think you’re dramatically underestimating the number of people that are fine with naked pics. I suspect it’s a lot like marijuana… the majority of people, nation-wide, are in favor of legalization, but they aren’t PUBLICLY, because public opinion hasn’t yet caught up with … public opinion. We’ve gotten to a stupid place where the majority is hedging it’s bets to please the minority, because everyone is still somehow convinced that minority is the majority.

              I don’t know that a majority of people would be cool with their accountant having nude pics of themselves online, but I certainly wouldn’t care, and I suspect there are a lot of people who, in their hearts, don’t care, but act like they care because they think they’re supposed to care.

              Aaaaand that’s the rub of conservatism (I mean as an ideological concept, not as any particular political ideology).

              1. Jamie*

                That’s what I was trying to say, but you said it better.

                I don’t personally care about nudity. Wear clothes at work please, other than that whatever makes you happy.

                But because it IS such an obstacle at this point, and reasonable people know this, posting them publicly would cause judgement concerns of doing something that you know will most likely be an issue many places – a what were you thinking about having it so publicly available, not the nudity itself.

                Liken it to interview wear. It’s a custom to wear something nice and professional for the interview, even though you have the same skills and attributes in comfy jammies. Bucking the custom of what’s professional is what’s at issue – not the pics themselves.

                Because if pics were posted for revenge porn or stolen and posted against someone’s will I think most people would be sympathetic and not hold it against them. Just like sex – most adults have a sex life no one holds that against you…but if you’re too open about it it will weird out the people you work with because they don’t want to hear about it.

                1. Natalie*

                  “Because if pics were posted for revenge porn or stolen and posted against someone’s will I think most people would be sympathetic and not hold it against them. ”

                  Eh, I think we’re only just turning the corner on that one – revenge porn isn’t actually illegal in most jurisdictions, for one thing. You still hear an awful lot of “well, that’s what you get for taking naked pictures of yourself!” when someone’s photos are stolen or distributed in a way they never okayed. People have been fired for being revenge-porned (yep, I’m making it a word) not terribly long ago.

                  Given all of this, if Jane Hiring Manager came across a naked pic of Joe Applicant online (no idea how, just go with me) I wouldn’t trust Jane Hiring Manager to necessarily assume “revenge porn” or “hack” and not hold it against him.

                2. LBK*

                  I do actually think the recent leaks are helping turn the corner on some of these perceptions. Maybe it’s because Jennifer Lawrence is a generally well-liked celeb with a non-scandalous public image, but I’m seeing WAY more articles focusing on the thieves and not the people who got hacked.

              2. Dan*

                Yes, we have this weird thing in this society, where we all present one way because it’s the “norm” yet many people feel differently. How many people have to feel differently before the norm changes?

              3. LBK*

                I love this comment. I suspect the same – people say they’re not okay with something because they think everyone else isn’t okay with it, and it just perpetuates this weird shared misrepresentation of opinions.

          3. Ann Furthermore*

            I’ll admit that I fall into the conservative camp on this issue, but not because I’m particularly prudish about anything, but because I feel that in the internet age, the concept of privacy is slowly eroding. Not every little thing needs to be shared with the whole world, but that’s what’s happening more and more. It’s unfortunate because as I said below, just one lapse in judgement can now follow you for the rest of your life. If some of the idiotic things I did in high school and my 20’s were documented for all time and eternity….OMG. I would be horrified.

            1. Jamie*

              I thought that back in the day when I watched the Real World – I can’t imagine every wild or shocking thing I did at that time in my life being broadcast and viewed by my family…not to mention the outrageous stuff being played on clip shows for eternity.

              With the internet no one needs Bunim-Murray to broadcast things forever that you may regret putting out there at some point.

          4. Jamie*

            I see your point, but that comes back to the ideal world vs the one we’ve got.

            One can say that publicly available naked pics shouldn’t be matter or be held against you in the workplace. One could say the same for neck tattoos, one won’t diminish kick ass accounting skills for example so why should those things matter? Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. And actions come with consequences – so since we know both naked pics and neck tattoos can make one less hire-able and cause issues in some workplaces then that risk is inherent with those activities.

            I don’t think nudity is shocking or wrong either, if people are adults and comfortable with that – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to doing that and since it’s not universally accepted it’s logical to take questionable judgement into account.

            1. Ezri*

              “Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do.”

              I want to get this on a stamp. There’s so many ‘workplace / societal norms’ issues out there that this applies to. I wouldn’t be bothered by nude images on the internet either, but I’d be the first to point out that it’s a potential risk to your professional image. It’s not prescribing, it’s describing.

            2. Dan*

              Yes, I found the conversation about facial and septum piercings the other day fascinating. There are ardent supporters of the notion that what you do to your face shouldn’t matter. Yet the same people would admit that showing too much cleavage in the workplace is a no-no. Which one is it? Either how you present your body in a professional environment matters, or it doesn’t. And once you decide it does, the real question is where to draw the line, and that’s not a line that any single person can draw. It’s a cultural thing.

              1. Sasha LeTour*

                Maybe it’s my industry but I see septum piercings differently than revealing dress. Ad agencies in big cities are notorious for hiring people covered in tattoos and/or with facial piercings – some even seek them out specifically because they feel it makes the atmosphere more “creative.” As long as those employees understand that they will be limiting their chances for advancement and will likely not be invited to speak to many types of clients in person (banking and pharma clients come to mind), there usually isn’t an issue.

                But employees who show up in shirts that let cleavage hang out – or, as I’ve seen recently, young guys waltzing into the office on the first hot day of the year with shorts so short that one wrong move will expose their genitals, or jeans with holes atop the “boxer area” – are universally laughed at.

                Granted, ad agencies in New York are weird places, and I do think tattoos/piercings are being accepted in the workplace much faster than skimpy dress. But still, there are lines you don’t cross, and, fair or unfair, showing up to work with one part of your body nearly naked is one of them.

          5. HeyNonnyNonny*

            Well, I think the issue with the photo leaks is more that stealing someone’s naked pictures is pretty terrible. No matter how comfortable you are with your own nakedness, having your personal stuff stolen and shared with the world has got to be awful. Just like I don’t want anyone reading my middle school diary out loud or releasing my medical records, it’s not shocking that they exist, it’s just private.

            1. LBK*

              I totally agree there. Breaking into an account to steal something that wasn’t meant for you is messed up regardless of the context, but as for the existence of the actual pictures themselves I don’t see why anyone is surprised.

          6. Mints*

            I’m conflicted about this in general because, as a tumblr user, there are a lot more people who are comfortable posting nude pictures than I would have expected. And if someone had a personal blog that had nude pictures that was mostly anonymous, but I
            found it somehow, it depends on a lot of factors whether I thought it was poor judgment. Does the person work somewhere that explicitly values conservatism? Implicitly? Do they have religious ties? Do they have children? Does their partner know? Are the pictures just implied nudity? Breasts showing? Behind? Genitalia? Pornographic? Were they hacked? That’s a lot of questions, but I definitely have different reactions depending on these things

            (This is tangential and feel free to ignore me, but some people, especially black women or other WOC, and gender queen folk, feel that nude pictures [and pictures in general] are an act of controlling the media they consume, and do it not just for themselves or exhibitionism, but to attempt to change the idea of what’s normal and attractive)

            Annnnyway, my point is I guess that nude pictures are creeping into mainstream, and while there are still lots of questionable situations around them, they’re not inherently a bad thing. If you’re unsure, definitely err on the side of conservative.
            And I don’t think the OP owes it to the company to speak up, and shouldn’t do it as retaliation, either.

      3. Ann Furthermore*

        I suppose my answer could read as judgy, although that’s not what I meant. It’s just that the internet is *forever* and many times I don’t think people who post questionable stuff (not just nude photos) really think it through, and it’s quite possible the OP’s coworker falls into this group.

        Would she be OK with her kids seeing those pictures someday? Her kids’ friends and their parents? Potential employers? Her grandkids, eventually? I suppose that might sound a little bit melodramatic, but really, just because you remove something from your own blog doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. Anyone who has run across her blog has seen those pictures and therefore has had the opportunity to download them and do who knows what with them.

        I admit that I’m an extremely private person in general, which certainly is shaping my opinion on this. And maybe the OP’s coworker has thought about all this and decided to do it anyway. And if that’s what happened, then it’s her prerogative to do what she wishes. But all to often a momentary lapse in judgment can have lasting consequences these days.

        1. Malissa*

          I honestly think that as the next generations get into the work force there will be a more understanding nature about inappropriate pictures on the internet. Actually I think things like nude photos will actually become more common place and lose their shock value all together.
          In 10 years I don’t think this will be the problem that it is today.

          1. LBK*

            I agree completely – I think there will become a point where people really won’t care about their kids knowing or seeing pictures like that, because it’s normal. You’ll probably expect that your kids will do the same thing at some point. Kristen Bell had a great quote about a similar subject regarding her daughter seeing her in sex scenes – basically along the lines of “She will probably have sex at some point in her life, too, so why would I care if she knows it exists and sees me simulating it?”

            1. Jamie*

              I don’t know…people are a lot more open about sex than a couple of generations ago but few people want to think about their parents doing. I have no issues with sex but I’d prefer to go blind rather than find old naked pics of my parents.

              The movie industry is different, it’s simulation and parents can tell the kids it was acting. Real naked pics of parents? I’m not sure that’s ever going to become matter of fact for society as a whole.

              1. LBK*

                Oh, seeing them is a totally different thing – I don’t think that will ever change, nor do I necessarily think it should (no naked parent photos for me, thanks). But learning that they exist is becoming progressively less scandalous. I suppose finding out by stumbling on them could be particularly traumatic, but just having it out there that they exist doesn’t seem weird to me – just like everyone just kind of accepts that their parents have sex, but that doesn’t mean I’d be okay with seeing that either.

                What’s really weird is that I think we’re more okay with the acknowledgment of sex than of nude photos. Somehow taking a naked photo is more scandalous than…y’know…actually doin’ it.

                1. Ann Furthermore*

                  Your kids could stumble across them, or even worse, your teenage son’s friend could stumble across them and then share them with everyone at school, someone could show them to your grandmother, perhaps they’d make the rounds at your church…the possibilities are endless.

        2. B-*

          I do agree with you. I hardly hold conservative opinions, and maybe it’s because I grew up pre-social media, but I think that the nude photos will come back haunt OP’s co-worker…maybe not now, but someday. Sorry kids. The white collar work world, for the most part, is conservative, and you need to play the part.

          My suggestion, is the same as what other’s suggested to the OP. It’s just best to stay out of it, since it’s not directly affecting you. Someone else will find them, sit back with a bowl of popcorn, and enjoy the show.

      4. Student*

        One of the potential consequences of posting nude pictures of yourself on a blog that you mention frequently at work is that your co-workers will likely take you less seriously. It could have a serious negative impact on your job, ranging from subtle consequences you may never know about (less raises, less respect, less impact) to outright unpleasantness (having said photo passed around work and made fun of, being fired).

        You may not think that is fair; nevertheless, it is a realistic assessment of possible consequences. People tend to view women who post naked photos of themselves on the internet publicly very much the same way they view hookers on street corners or naked women in commercial pornography. They don’t think about those women’s careers, their personalities, their blog posts, or their brains – they think about the woman’s body and regard her as an object to be bought.

  4. Artemesia*

    The day my boss tells me a workplace problem is ‘not his problem’ is the day possibly embarrassing material I witness on the internet is ‘not my problem.’ I can’t imagine why the OP thinks she should be making her life more difficult by hassling the co-worker about these photos or reporting her to HR. What is in it for her? What bad can come of it for her? This is a no win for her — she should keep her head down and avoid drama.

    1. The Earl Marshal*

      I agree with Artemesia, in fact, I would start to question whether I would like to continue working there if my managers are routinely unsupportive when serious issues arise.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      I wonder if it was literally “not my problem” or “I expect you two to behave like adults and work this out among yourselves” or something similar.

      I will tell you that as a manager, nothing annoys me more than having to get involved in a personality war and the he-said, she-said of accusations. I had to deal with something like that a couple days ago and it annoyed the crap out of me. I don’t want to be mediating because someone is being mean and someone else has hurt feelings. I WILL mediate if it’s that bad, but it’s not going to make either party look particularly good to me.

      1. illini02*

        Exactly. Some people want their managers to play mediator instead of figuring things out like adults. I’m not sure if it was a verbatim “not my problem” or something along the lines of what you said

      2. OfficePrincess*

        This. I personally don’t care if Bob got busy and went to lunch 15 minutes later than normal which means Susie has to wait an extra 15 minutes to go even if Susie ALWAYS goes at X time (but really it’s more like within 10-20 minutes of X most days). I’d rather not even know as long as everything is covered. But if you really need me to dismiss you to lunch at a set time, I can set an alarm on my phone and think of you as less mature than I need you to be.

        1. Artemesia*

          I agree and as a manager I also didn’t want to referee this crap. BUT that can also lead to a bully running things. If an employee generally handles such issues but runs up against someone who basically abuses the latitude they have e.g. always takes long lunches that make it impossible for another to go to lunch at a reasonable time, or always shirks a responsibility that is shared etc and their efforts are not successful in working it out, then the manager needs to step in. That is why it is important to approach the manager with ‘This is a long running situation and I have already tried XY and Z but it continues; what do you suggest I do to resolve this.’ Ultimately though even petty worker conflicts can sometimes only be resolved by management because one of the players refuses to compromise.

          1. neverjaunty*

            +1 to all of this.

            Part of the fine art of management is steering your employees to resolving things between themselves that can and should be resolved – like Bob and Sue negotiating about lunch times – while making it clear that you are open and available for resolving problems where negotiation has failed, or that are serious and warrant a manager’s intervening.

            Otherwise, if your employees perceive your attitude as “don’t bother me”, you’re going to be one of those sad managers we read about a lot here – where problems that hurt your business don’t get solved, employees simply ignore them and find new jobs ASAP because they believe you don’t care about and won’t respond to serious problems.

          2. Katie the Fed*

            Yes – absolutely agree. I’ve been a victim of workplace bullying in the past and I don’t want to let that go on unabated. So you’re right – it’s in the approach. Anything someone brings to me I’ll take seriously – I just prefer not to referee if I can help it.

    3. The Real Ash*

      What I also find interesting is that she somehow “stumbled” across this co-worker’s blog. I don’t think it was an accident, especially considering that the co-worker is hostile towards her. I think it would be a fair thing to posit that the OP specifically was looking for information about the co-worker as a possible way to get management to go against the co-worker.

      1. Oryx*

        Agreed, especially since the OP mentions the co-worker talks about it at work. That suggests the OP was well aware it was out there and didn’t so much “stumble” on it but “found it” after deliberately looking for it.

    4. hayling*

      I agree. If the boss won’t deal with the coworker being rude to the OP, then the OP shouldn’t care about this.

    5. Gene*

      As I have said in the past, don’t take any of my ideas as advice.

      Personally, since the coworker has been hostile in the past, I wouldn’t talk with her; and since it sounds like management is disfunctional, I wouldn’t talk with them either.

      I see three courses of action here:
      1) Do nothing. Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy
      2) If friendly with a client, have them raise a stink with management. The more histrionic the better; I’m thinking yelling and waving printouts with associated flying spittle
      3) Print out the photos and put them on a prominent bulliten board.

  5. Chocolate Teapot*

    1. If the letter writer and the remote employee have regular catch-up meetings, then this would be a good opportunity to find out what the teams in the remote office are working on, which may require support.

    1. sunny-dee*

      This — regular meetings will be critical.

      I have two coworkers who are colocated with an engineering group, while everyone else on their teams (including the team lead) is in a different country. They both constantly field requests from engineering, last-minute changes, emergencies, even random meeting invites because they are there and easily accessible. One team has totally empowered my coworker to do whatever she needs to do. She emails or instant messages the team lead daily, so he’s in the loop, but she can use her best judgment to approach what needs to be done. The other team… does not do that. The team lead is very jealous of his authority and will not let his team member do ANYTHING on his own initiative; everything has to be run by the lead first, which creates pointless 1-2 day delays in responses. That engineering team has serious issues with my department’s group (and the beleaguered coworker has contemplated quitting because of it).

      I am not directly involved in either of those groups, but by observation — if your person in the remote office is a good and competent worker and you trust her judgment, let them go to her. Stay in really close contact with her, but don’t prevent her from acting. You’ll preserve a lot of good will from both the office and your employee. If you try to hold on too tightly, you’ll alienate everyone.

  6. Dan*


    Two years of experience isn’t exactly “entry level” anymore. Granted, it’s not a whole lot of experience, but “entry level” typically means a job you get fresh out of undergrad.

    Particularly for more technical roles, the boss is likely to have your peers interview you at some point, because your peers are likely to be the best judge of your technical chops. The boss is job is to *manage* not actually get the work done, so if good technical skills are the first thing on his list, they’re the first thing that he’s going to cross off.

    Your post kinda comes off as if you think you’re being insulted, devalued, or otherwise talked down because your first contacts are with not-senior people. One thing that’s important in the workplace is to get along with everybody, no matter what rank. Yes, as a younger person, we want to “progress” up the food chain, but that comes with time… not with two years of experience and a BS. Give it time, and show a willingness to work with people no matter what the experience level.

    P.S. Another litmus test people use is how a job candidate treats the secretary. They want people who are nice to everybody, not just ones that they “have” to be nice to.

    1. Jen RO*

      I did screening for my team when I had been working in this company for two years. I screened for language knowledge (I’m in a non-English speaking country and we need employees with perfect English skills – if candidates’ English was not satisfactory, there was no point in the boss meeting them), team fit, and transferable skills (we didn’t require any previous experience). After that, the screener (me or another coworker) and the HR recruiter would send a summary to the boss, and he would decide if he would continue interviewing the person or not. Considering that the boss had not done the actual job in 10+ years since he moved to management, us peers were actually the best people to asses the candidates transferable skills and tell them what the job entailed.

      1. Sasha LeTour*

        We do the same for technical roles in my field. My boss wouldn’t screen the front-end dev candidates first, since he held those sorts of roles back in the Dark Ages when CSS wasn’t even a thing and he needs to be hiring people who are jQuery and CSS3 whizzes. Instead he has the people who’ve been in the industry for 3-5 years do it.

        Likewise, I’m also getting past the point where I’d interview people at that level. As I’ve gone up the ladder, my work has become more managerial and less task-driven, so my teammates closer to the beginning of their careers, who are out in the trenches using those skills daily while staying on top of the current languages/scripting/techniques being used, often make the best screeners.

    2. tt*

      I’ve seen numerous jobs referred to as “entry level” in their own descriptions, but ask for multiple years of work experience. It’s one of the things that most frustrates the college students I work with.

      I agree with already mentioned points about who might coordinate logistics and interview. I wouldn’t take it to mean much.

    3. Jam Wheel*

      My partner just interviewed with a company where he was supposed to be talking to the Head of Analytics and instead got interviewed by two guys at the level he would be working at. No problem, right? Always good to learn from the folks you will be working with, to learn about the role and they can tell if you will be a good fit. Unfortunately, as it was a smaller start up, these two yahoos had never had the experience or background or mentor to show them the rights and wrongs of being interviewers. They shared private jokes together between themselves, tossed off his small talk comments about how well the company was doing and awards won, and just more or less made him feel uncomfortable and that it was not a place he wanted to work.

      Peer review is fine, but the peers need to have a clue about professionalism too and how to conduct a proper interview. And that lack of professionalism in this case may have prevented the company from securing someone with the background they needed, because the Head of Analytics took the word of these guys, who didn’t actually do any deep probing into partner’s skills and background, but were more interested in joking around than taking it seriously.

      1. QK*

        I hear what you’re saying, though plenty of people have had lame interviews run by hiring managers themselves, too.

        As for your partner’s particular experience: if the Head of Analytics trusted those two jokers to begin with, that’s not a place I’d want to work anyway. Sounds like a situation with a frustratingly clueless boss and frustratingly clueless peers.

      2. Dan*

        I took the job I have in part because of my peer interviewers isn’t, um, refined. And neither am I, so if they’re comfortable having him be the face of the company at that moment, then I know it’s a culture that I’d be ok with.

    4. Meg Murry*

      I would take this as a possible good sign that in a small company you would have the opportunities to learn and do things (like interviewing) that would be done only by people with more years of experience in a larger company. When I worked for a smaller company, by my 3rd year there, I was managing (with my boss/mentor’s oversight) the kind of projects that our competitors had 10-15 year veterans managing while people with my seniority were only doing the grunt work on. There were all kinds of other issues with the company, but those 5 years spent at TinyCo were great for my resume in terms of my responsibilities.

      Its also possible that the intern is an MBA HR intern, and/or that there is someone higher in HR watching over them while they learn to coordinate interviews, etc.

    5. Lily in NYC*

      Yes! I am an admin and often do the initial screening for high level roles. People might assume I am entry level by my title, but internally I am considered an AVP. I agree that the post came off insulted by having to deal someone as “low” as me. But I have been here for years, am a trusted employee and know exactly what we are looking for with our open roles. Only once have I gotten the “you are beneath me” vibe from a candidate (it was more than a vibe, his thinly veiled comments made his feelings clear) and it wasn’t even for a high level position. I didn’t put him on the list for an interview with my boss (we had better candidates anyway).

      1. Dan*

        One thing that *is* hard in a technical role is having initial discussions with people who don’t know/don’t do the work. I mean, a recruiter isn’t likely to know if you guys are using spring, scrum, agile, or whatever other buzzword that I can come up with. So if they have the HR person trying to ask technical work related questions, it can get old and fast. But I try not to take on a “you are beneath me” attitude, because they’re not — they just work in a different role and don’t understand the nuances of what I do.

        1. Jamie*

          Exactly. Let the technical people assess if the standards are met and this will also let the candidate get a feel for fit early enough not to waste time.

          Then let HR do their thing with the money, benefits, who gets reserved parking, etc.

        2. LBK*

          And on the flipside, a good hiring manager with a good relationship with HR should prep whoever will be doing the screening with a really brief idea of what they’re looking for when it comes to asking technical questions – it should be a really simple question with a simple answer, just to gauge the most basic confirmation of “Does this person at least have enough of an idea what they’re talking about that it’s worth my time to engage them in a more technical conversation?”

          1. Jamie*

            Depends on the depth. Anything which can be vetted by a non-technical person is easy enough to BS with the right words.

            You need someone to have a real conversation with follow up questions, not just question/answers at the level of the non-technical.

            Guarantee you I can pass most screenings like that with just reading about most software and never having seen it, much less used it. A lot of people in IT are very good test takers and this applies here – you need someone who knows their stuff to be able to sniff out the posers most of the time.

            1. LBK*

              Oh, I’m just talking about the very first HR screening. Obviously someone who knows the technical side should be doing the actual interview and having an in-depth conversation about it, but Dan seemed to be talking about recruiters who try to discuss really technical positions and don’t have any idea what they’re talking about, so it’s difficult to competently get past them to the hiring manager.

        3. Lily in NYC*

          Oh, only our IT people screen for tech people! I wouldn’t know what the heck to ask and would completely embarrass myself. I only screen for my own division because I know it inside and out.

  7. Dan*


    The IRS rate is really an average rate for all vehicles, including gas guzzling SUVs. If you’re driving a small sedan, the IRS rate is most certainly higher than what covers your expenses.

    1. BRR*

      I got reimbursed the IRS rate for driving to my interview which was about 400 miles each way. I have an Accord so I made a pretty good chunk of money (I’m not factoring wear and tear) by driving.

    2. Meg Murry*

      Also, $.35 was an IRS rate from years ago, have you talked to your finance office about whether you have the most up-to-date expense report form? I know in my office there are people still using the 10 year and 5 revisions ago forms (and training new people on them), despite efforts to drag them up to date. It makes the former ISO auditor in me cry a little inside every time one crosses my desk – but as long as it has the info I need I’m supposed to just process it, sigh.

    3. MT*

      I do a lot of traveling for work along with many of my co-workers. My company also does the $0.35 a mile and I have seen lots of companies use this rate. Luckily my boss never tells me to do miles, but to always rent a car. I am on first names basis with the rental company near my house. I rent a car almost every week.

      Even at $4 a gallon and 20 miles per gallon, that equates to $.20, that leaves $.15 for wear and tear on the gar. An oil change at $20 every 3000 miles, thats less than $.01 per mile on the oil change. If you spend $500 on tires that go 50,000 miles, that equates to $.01 per mile. The actual expense per mile driven is well under $0.30.

        1. TL*

          My car is 7 yrs old, 112,000 miles, and I don’t think I spent $8000+ a year on it when I was driving to work and back every day, which is what the calculator gave me. Even with insurance and random repairs/maintenance. (Though, I’m very good about keeping up with maintenance, which tends to reduce more costly repairs, but still…)

          1. Zahra*

            Depreciation, that’s the piece you’re missing. The cost of owning a car is also the depreciation, because you will get a lot less for a used car than the cost of a new car.

            If you replace your car next month, chances are that if you distribute the cost of your new car over the ownership of the old car, you will add a few thousands to your cost of owning a car.

            1. MT*

              First, if you drive you don’t drive your car for work, it will still depreciate at mostly the same rate. The 1 or 2% extra miles you put on it driving to meetings during the week won’t have much of an effect on depreciation. A one year old car with 10,000 miles is worth roughly the same price as a one year old car with 11,000. According to KBB.com a one year old toyota with 11,000 miles is worth 13037 and the same car with 10,000 miles is 13086. that is $0.05 a mile depreciation.

          1. danr*

            I had less wear on the brakes when I was commuting by car than after I changed to mass transit. Most of my driving was on the highway and I usually didn’t need to use the brakes. You also learn how to roll at low speed like the good truck drivers do. I did have more frequent oil changes, but they paid off with longer engine life.

          2. Cautionary tail*

            I had a coworker that liked using their own car because they were comfortable in it. The company even reimbursed at the IRS rate. On one day-trip in his car, on company property, he drove over debris and popped two tires. When he tried to get reimbursement the company said that the costs of all car maintenance was inlcuded in the rate so they would not give him anything towards it. So it’s not just depreciation, maintenance and items the need to be replaced after time and after a certain number of miles. I assume the same “milage rate covers everything” would happen if the car was involved in an accident and totaled.

            In my current company I use a company car for eveything. I won’t rehash old-toxic-job where they said you had to use your own personal car for company business and reimbursement was already included in the base annual salary. Needless to say I never went anywhere and just did remote business over the phone.

        2. Judy*

          If you’re in the US, check your car insurance. Most insurance is written for something like commuting and personal use, if you use your car a lot for business, you have to change the policy, or claims made for incidents when using your car for non-commuting business purposes.

          1. Natalie*

            The last time I had car insurance, there were also different brackets for different annual mileage totals. If you drive a lot for work, it may push you into a higher and thus more expensive bracket.

            1. Judy*

              I’m not sure all policies are written that way. Several links from google seem to state that it involves commuting to your primary place of business. And if you are delivering “light goods” or going to places that are not part of your company, that is not commuting.

              1. Judy*

                One specifically stated that taking a mailing to the post office or picking up things at an office supply store was not commuting, and should require business auto insurance, rather than personal (pleasure + commuting) insurance.

                1. MT*

                  Both of those involve transporting goods as the primary reason for the trip. Driving to a business meeting would not involve transporting goods.

              2. MT*

                Some insurance sites are stating that if you are being reimbursed by your company, an accident can be claimed on their insurance.

  8. Jane*

    OP#2, it sounds a little convenient that you just “stumbled across” your co-worker’s blog. Are you sure you didn’t deliberately seek it out as a way of trying to find dirt on her?

    Yes, the co-worker obviously has questionable judgement to post these photos online, but the fact that you went looking for the blog and now want to go behind your co-worker’s back to report the photos… that’s kind of creepy if you ask me.

    OP#2, since there is already animosity between you and your co-worker, I don’t think your motives in reporting the photos are as pure as you might believe. I would stay well out of it if I was you.

    1. Raine*

      OP should stay out of it. That doesn’t mean no one in the company is going to find the photos by casually surfing the Internet, especially if the employee is “always going on about it at work,” or that the company wouldn’t take action upon discovery the woman has posted photos of her in uniform and with the company logo right next to photos of her exposed. None of us know why she is hostile to OP — it could be because of what you’re accusing, it could be because she posts nudes and thinks the OP is a prude who would want to report it, it could be for reasons unrelated to anything other than her already demonstrated bad judgment.

    2. BRR*

      The letter says her coworker is always going on about it. Remember we’re supposed to assume good faith on the part of the OP.

      1. Illini02*

        Its kind of hard sometimes to do that. Put it like this, if one of my co-workers was always “hostile” toward me, why would I spend my time away from them trying to read MORE about their personal life? To me it definitely seems suspect. She didn’t happen upon this by accident, she sought it out. And now she wants to get her in trouble. I’ll give you that maybe the “hostile” co-worker shouldn’t be advertising this blog at work with nude pix, but still I find it a bit hard to believe OP went just causally looking

        1. Brittany*

          Agreed. To me it sounds like the OP deliberately went looking for something to either gossip or potentially tattle about. Nude photos are never great to find, but I have first hand experience with this so it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Someone from OldJob found out about my blog even though I never mentioned it to anyone there and never went on it/logged in while I was working. My company had a “no-photos-unless-approved” policy because we dealt with secure stuff, meaning we explicitly couldn’t post things to social media. I had taken a photo on the subway one day and someone reported it to the boss because the background looked similar to our walls. I got canned for violating the company policy, even though I hadn’t, and I always felt like it was this one specific, younger girl who very gossipy, cliquey, and never nice to me. To me, it seemed like I got sought out and targeted. So, #2, I would just stay out of it. If your coworker talks about the blog enough, someone in management will take interest and likely find and deal with it themselves.

          1. TL*

            I tend to google people’s blogs if they talk about them often enough. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a person I like, just a person I have some interest in. I don’t gossip about it, either – it’s like Facebook stalking. Sometimes you get bored and you’re like, “eh, why not?” and it never goes anywhere from there.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Really? If someone I worked with who was horrid to me was always talking about their blog, I could totally imagine idly looking at it. I don’t think that’s far-fetched. Regardless, though, I don’t think we need to speculate on the OP’s motives in order to answer her question — but if people feel it’s important to do so, there are kinder and unkinder ways to do that. I hope people will pick the former.

          1. sunny-dee*

            I totally would, too. The evil part of me would want to find a way to feel superior, but the angel in me would actually be trying to look for some common ground or a better understanding of who she was.

            1. Laufey*

              This is more the angle I was thinking – if there is someone I don’t get along with and genuinely want to make amends/heal wounds/get along with, I’d try to find some common ground. And since people generally love talking about stuff they’re passionate about, I’d look to see if maybe the blog offered opportunities to talk about things other than our mutual dislike.

              That does assume I want to make nice with them, and there have definitely been relationships I didn’t want to mend or care to mend, but I don’t think we rule out a non-malicious intent.

            1. NavyLT*

              Sure, but the motives behind reporting it don’t change the blog itself. It’s either inappropriate or it isn’t. That said, if the coworker has talked about the blog at work, management may have already seen it.

        3. Taz*

          I’m uncomfortable with the piling on of the OP. I wish the OP (who we can’t tell is male or female) had simply written that a coworker has posted nudes next to photos of the company’s uniform and logo — but OP has already been rebuffed by management when trying to bring an issue to their attention. Because the letter can be read several ways, and the fact is that OP has experienced hostility from this coworker to a degree that he/she attempted to have it addressed by management. OP definitely needs to stay out, but the projection of all sorts of weird things onto the OP is unsettling.

      2. some1*

        Sure, but I’m not interested in seeking out blogs of coworkers who are hostile enough to me to report it to management.

        If you’re a dick to me, when I don’t have to be around you I will pretend you don’t exist. I don’t want to see your blog, your Facebook page, etc.

      3. Anon132*

        Ditto. Not every one has evil intentions and (unfortunately) I’m a very nosey person and if a coworker was always talking about their blog,I would check it out to see what the fuss was about even if I didn’t like them. Why? Because I’m nosey.

        I just don’t like making assumptions about people’s motives because not all people operate the same way.

        1. Cat*

          Yeah, seriously. No matter what I felt about the coworker, if they were always talking about their blog, I’d check it out. I don’t even think that’s nosiness – it’s natural human curiosity leading you to look for something that is publicly accessible to millions of people and which you’ve been specifically told about.

        2. LBK*

          Agreed completely. I wouldn’t necessarily be looking for something damning but I would probably look just out of curiosity.

          1. Bea W*

            Same. I have no interest in getting anyone in trouble or digging up dirt, but I would probably check it out because if a co-worker was talking about her blog a lot I’d be really curious and probably check it out.

            1. LBK*

              Yeah, I don’t know if it would cross my mind to take action on it unless I saw evidence of something truly damaging to the company – like if she were saying how she got away with stealing cash from the register or something. At most, maybe it would make a funny story to a close coworker. “You will NEVER believe what I found on Jane’s blog!”

        3. Ezri*

          We also don’t know *how* the coworker was discussing the blog and the context that led to OP viewing it. It sounds like OP didn’t know the nude photos were there until she actually visited the site. Maybe coworker said, ‘oh, I posted cute pictures of my cat sitting in boxes on my blog’ (or something equally off-topic but interesting), and OP decided to check it out and just kept scrolling. I’d go see cat-in-boxes pictures even if the writer was my mortal nemesis. :3

          1. annie*

            Yeah, we don’t even know what the coworker’s blog is about so its entirely possible she really did stumble upon it while searching for something related to the blog’s topics. One of my friends is online dating and told me about a girl he felt was promising – he happened to mention that she had her own business making non-leather laptop bags for women (details changed but you get the idea), which I thought was an interesting product. I was on Etsy a few days later and searched for a similar product, and wouldn’t you know that this woman’s site was the first thing that came up, and I did stumble upon her blog. I did feel a little weird about it, but hey, its a small world.

      4. HeyNonnyNonny*

        I read that it doesn’t sound like the coworker mentions that the blog has NSFW content…just that she goes on about it. I think that makes OP a lot less sketchy, if they thought they were just checking out a regular ol’ blog and then– surprise!– naked bits.

    3. The Real Ash*

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought this! Not that I wouldn’t do something similar (I think anyone with a social media account of some kind has looked up exes, both friends, lovers, and coworkers), but I would definitely own up to it from the get go.

      Also if the OP is honestly worried about this affecting the company (not in a disingenuous way, like, “Oh, what will people think of our company if they see this Mr./Ms. HR Manager? The shame it would bring!”), she could always anonymously submit it to the company’s website through their complaint / webmaster form (if it exists). Otherwise I would drop it.

    4. The Wall of Creativity*

      OP#2 Please could you post the link. I just want to check whether it’s photos of me, which would make you one of my coworkers.

      1. The Real Ash*

        Do you have nude photos of yourself on a public blog that you talk about at work???

        (Also I think it would be really non-kosher to post that link here.)

        1. The Wall of Creativity*

          I’ve worked out who you are Ash! I’ll drop you off the website address on Monday. I think there’s a meeting in our diaries in the afternoon…?

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Whoa. Can we please cut this shit out? I’ve been really explicit about it and don’t understand why it’s continuing. If you don’t like someone’s comment, don’t engage.

              1. The Wall of Creativity*

                Well, I’ve tried over the last few months to inject some humour onto these boards but, more often than not, the reaction of your regular posters is to tear into me. If people make snarky comments about me I will always bite back. If you want civil conversations on these boards, Alison, I’d recommend that you focus your attention on those that start fights rather than those who treat others the way that others treat them.

                But I’m done here. This is my last posting. There are too many hostile and closed minded people here for my liking. Bye.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I was taking issue with / replying to Ash’s “your gimmick is boring” post. Humor here is fine. If someone doesn’t find it amusing, the best thing to do is to not engage around it.

                  I’m really not interested in policing this kind of thing, y’all, and I don’t want to clutter up the comment section with me nagging people about it, so if it continues I’ll just switch to putting offenders on permanent moderation.

                2. The Wall of Creativity*

                  Sorry Alison. I see now that you were pointing at Ash and not me. But I’m still going to take an indefinite break from participating on these boards. This is about the community of posters here, not about you. Another one bites the dust.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  For what it’s worth, 99% of the comments here are helpful and lovely (and I think it’s impossible to bring this many people together and not have bumps, especially on the Internet). But I think switching people violating the comment policy over to moderation is the answer, rather than continue to nag people about it. That’s the plan from here on out…

  9. Just Visiting*

    #2: No. No, no, no. C’mon, you’re not really concerned about your company’s “brand,” you just want to get your disliked coworker in trouble. This will absolutely cause friction with your remaining coworkers; I would not feel comfortable working around someone who ran to management because she didn’t like the content of my blog. They’ll find it when they find it, and deal with it as they see fit. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

    #3: I would think that someone who performs exactly the same job you will be doing would be the BEST person to conduct the interview. She can tell you what it’s really like to work there in that position, what the responsibilities are, etc. Most managers don’t have day-to-day knowledge of positions in their companies, unless they were promoted from those positions. This is also an opportunity to ask her about the job and get a more accurate feel for the position.

  10. AnonyMouse*

    #2: If you had a better relationship with this coworker, I’d say it could be appropriate to mention it to her (not to HR) in a watching-your-back kind of way. Like “hey, I was curious about this blog you’ve mentioned a few times, so I checked it out. You’ve got some cool stuff on there, but as I’m sure you know, you also have some pretty exposed photos! Since you do mention it at work pretty regularly, I wanted to give you a heads up that coworkers could come across these pictures and react negatively.” But since you say you have an adversarial relationship with her already, I’d let it go.

    #3: For entry/lower-level positions I’ve applied for in the past, it’s actually been really common to have someone at that level coordinating the logistics and conducting initial interviews, at least. Not exactly sure why, but my guess is that in big or busy companies, managers often don’t have the time/it doesn’t make sense for them to spend their time running interviews for entry-level jobs. Back when I was an intern, before I left for bigger and better things (so to speak), one of my final responsibilities was managing the application process to replace me and conducting the first round of interviews. And when I applied for a fairly junior position a while back, the person who had previously held the job (and just been promoted to one level up) handled the majority of the process. I wouldn’t worry about it or take it personally unless you never get the chance to meet with anyone higher-up!

    1. AnonyMouse*

      Oh, and #1: the only ways I could see this being a problem are if 1) she’s giving incorrect information, or 2) it’s a situation like another post I remember from AAM…there was a boss with a team reporting to him in another location, and one of the team members had taken it upon himself to adopt a managerial role on that team, when everyone was supposed to be at the same level. But in that case, if I remember correctly, he was clearly overstepping his bounds by doing stuff like taking disciplinary action, giving instructions to his same-level coworkers, leaving their actual manager out of decisions, etc. As long as the employee in this situation is just being helpful and not intentionally taking on some of her actual manager’s responsibilities, I’d ask to be kept in the loop, and then be thankful you have a competent employee!

  11. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    #1 you’re the boss. You can be involved in whatever you want to be involved in so, no need to feel threatened, you’re already the boss.

    Now, don’t go all ham fisted about this. What you have is a very good thing, someone competent working with you who handles things independently whom other people trust. Yays! Take some time to identify the actual problem and address the actual problem(s) only. It would be dumb to do something that would interfere with processes that are working (and to your advantage).

    If the problem is that you feel out of the loop on the overall, you could ask for a weekly summary, that doesn’t take more than 20 minutes, of meetings/issues/progress.

    If the problem is that you think some things are being decided that you would have done differently or issues that you could have helped with are going unsolved, you can approach it like this. You tell your report she’s doing a terrific job and you appreciate that she handles so much on her own but, in the case of XYZ and ABC, you’d like to be looped into working on those things with her so you can help.

    Basically, don’t kill the goose that’s laying those golden eggs for you. Just figure out how to harvest the eggs efficiently.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      This. Being the “go to person” and being kept in the loop are completely different issues. One is important to get in front of as a boss. The other, you need to learn how to embrace.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        As long as the person you are working with is emotionally normal and not all weird and paranoid, I find it’s very easy to get people to begin to involve me when I take the approach that I want to help.

        People do leave me out of things that I’d rather know about because they don’t want to bother me. Yeah, I’m busy but there are things I want to know like, all inventory and production issues at our suppliers. (We are mostly 3rd party ship so that means that the success of our business depends on hundreds of suppliers operating efficiently, no stress there.) I am *thrilled* that I have an amazing team who solves up our issues without me having to pick up the bat phone, but I want a cc on every issue (not every communication but every issue) so when the day comes that a supplier is in tatters and I do have to pick up the bat phone, I’m not caught off guard.

        Point is, I identified the actual problem (needing to know issues exist as they happen), determined the amount of communication I wanted, and asked for a loop in that didn’t take the folks any extra time (initial cc) and then let the problem resolution team know what I wanted and why. why. why. why. People don’t need to wonder if you’re checking up on them or don’t trust them or what not. And this is all so I can help when the time comes it gets to my level or I identify patterns with a certain supplier and move it up the chain there to sort out.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      Agreed. I have a couple rock stars on my team. It took some getting used to, because before I was a manager, I was the rockstar. But my approach to management is that I don’t need to be out in front all the time – in fact I want my team to be able to function really well if I’m not there. That’s not to say I don’t provide value – I do, but my rockstars can rock on as far as I care.

      1. LQ*

        One of the things that makes you a rock star manager is having rock star staff. Agreed about it can take some getting used to. But a good manager has a staff full of rock stars. Managers don’t usually need to be great at the work their team does (I get super frustrated when my boss starts doing my job because he’s so bad at it) they need to be great at what they do which is managing, which means hiring and cultivating rock stars and getting rid of low performers.

        “Rock star” has now lost all meaning to me.

        1. Thomas*

          I’m now picturing an entire office building of people on electric guitars, drums, vocals etc.–everyone from the CEO down to the interns and temps.

      2. Graciosa*

        Yes, yes, yes to making sure that the team can perform well without you.

        One of my favorite moments as a manager was when I was about 30 seconds late to a regular virtual meeting (this matters, it’s only ten minutes long) and found that a junior employee was starting it – and ran it beautifully! I was sitting there beaming like mad, and I still do whenever I think of it.

        Great management is when everyone can count on the work being done consistently and well – the manager does not have to be the one doing it.

        1. QK*

          Indeed! I love moments when I am either sick/dealing with something urgent/etc and my team functions beautifully without me. I take it as a sign that I’ve built the team with the right people and the right mentality.

          1. cuppa*

            Yes! I took on a team that fell apart every time I left the building. It was awful and stressful, and it took forever to overcome that.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Bingo. At one job, I was good at doing X. My team noticed and they watched how I did that. Time passed. One day it happened. I went to figure out X and they disagreed with me. “No, no, NSNR, this time X is this not that!” Damn. Now they were better at X than I was.

            This was a task that was critical for our survival as a group. I was not willing to relinquish control over the task for this reason. But the day they became better at it than me, I was very proud of them. I used their judgement rather than my own. I saw nothing that indicated they thought less of me for it. Matter of fact, some of them would say, “There is no way I would want your job nor would I be able to do your job.”

    3. LBK*

      Agreed completely. You don’t actually want to or need to be in the loop for everything – if my coworkers asked our manager every question they had instead of one of their peers, he would never get anything done. Being in the loop about issues is good; being the go-to person for everything that happens in your department will ruin your productivity.

      1. J.B.*

        Yes! When managers need to be involved in every single little thing, they then are the roadblock for things they really should be approving. Giving your staff person guidelines about what you need to know when, then allowing her to do it, then perhaps delegating some meaningful things down the line lets her grow and lets you run things most efficiently.

    4. What the*

      My boss is remote, I am in the main office. As a result, I am a go-to person for many things. I do a weekly review to make sure he’s in the loop on what I am doing in addition to my 1:1. My feedback has always been fantastic. If he started acting resentful for what I do, or if he tried to micromanage me to get control, I wouldn’t take kindly to that. He’s always there for help, but he trusts me to get things done. Any sign that the trust was broken would really frustrate me and make it harder for me to get things done.

    5. OP#1*

      Thank you all for your replies. Super helpful! The employee fielding questions for me is a rockstar. In fact, I feel that is what is making me feel threatened here and makes me want to be part of every decision. I totally agree with Alison’s suggestion on working towards gaining more visibility for my role and I know I can do that by tackling more strategic issues.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


        Everything I’ve learned how to do, I learned it the hard way, like over involving myself in things I didn’t have to be involved in and then wondering why I’d created a big mess around myself and then having to desconstruct things and reconstruct them functionally.

        This blog could have cut 10 years off my learning curve. Seriously.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        You got it. Rock star is pulling weight off of you, so that you can tackle even higher issues. Rock star can keep on shining and so will you.

  12. Jen RO*

    #1, I kinda get your point. I am in the same office as my team and I sometimes do feel left out of the loop! (I’m sort of team lead, but not officially.) Are your employees competent, or do they give people the wrong answers? If they are competent, I think the approach suggested in the comments would work – ask them to keep you in the loop (through e-mail CCs, weekly meetings, etC) and be happy that you don’t have people bugging you all day. If they are *not* competent… no advice, just commiseration. I’m trying to get my guys to always involve me in all discussions because they are very new and sometimes don’t realize when they are giving out wrong information.

  13. Katie the Fed*

    #2 – it kind of feels like you’re trying to stir up something with the coworker. You guys obviously don’t get along, she’s hostile, you’ve had no luck getting that resolved – so why are you digging around her blog? Just leave her alone and try to figure out a way to work together. I can’t think of anything good coming from this.

  14. ano n*

    #5 could be using a laptop. But cmon! “My chest wasn’t even in frame, so the interviewer wasn’t actually doing anything inappropriate,”

    Come on! Really??

    1. LBK*

      Even if he obviously couldn’t see her chest, it’s still unsettling to have human eyes pointed at an intimate area like that for extended periods of time, especially in an interview. What’re you getting at?

      1. ano n*

        OP said her chest area wasn’t visible. Thus there are two possibilities

        1) he was looking at the monitor. The angle his monitor/laptop were set at *gave the impression* of whatever you think was happening that couldn’t even physically happen.
        2) he wasn’t looking at the monitor. Then what was he looking at? The keyboard? His desk? His notes?

        You simply cannot take “do not look at intimate areas” to “do not look at intimates where they would be had they been there even though the person looking at them is looking at something on his own desk that he has every right to look at”

        1. tt*

          Whether the interviewer *was* looking at her chest or not is irrelevant to the post, especially since it doesn’t sound like she was accusing him of doing it intentionally/maliciously. It was about how the OP perceived it and that it made her feel awkward during the Skype interviewer, and thoughts on how to alleviate that in the future.

          1. ano n*

            perception is not reality. there are 10 times more legitimate reasons for the interviewer to be doing what he was doing, not the least of which is that what OP is uncomfortable with is physically impossible as she admitted.

            But lets ignore that. You have a camera mounted above a monitor. You are a couple feet away from the monitor/camera. Draw out the angles. Very very difficult to avoid.

            I think I have an idea for a patent to sell to apple …

            1. tt*

              If the OP perceives it that way, then it IS her reality, and she’s certainly entitled to feel however she feels.

            2. Elsajeni*

              It really isn’t “very difficult to avoid” if you give it a little thought beforehand, which was the OP’s point. Her interviewer could have done a trial-run video chat with someone else, or taken a test photo of himself with his webcam and looked at it (Skype has this function built in); that would have given him the feedback “Huh, this camera angle is unflattering and I look like I’m looking past the bottom of the screen,” and he could have raised his monitor/webcam or lowered his chair until it looked better.

        2. LBK*

          I think you’re completely missing the point of the OP’s post. She specifically says she was aware he wasn’t trying to stare at her chest, but it was still uncomfortable because it LOOKED like he was, and therefore people should make note of how their webcam is set up and the angle of their eyes before they get on a call.

          To be totally honest, it feels like you’re deliberately trying to misunderstand/ignore the rest of the context of the letter to start an argument. I’ve noticed your comments over the last few days have been pretty combative.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I agree. The OP was perfectly clear in stating that she knew the interviewer wasn’t doing that, but it was uncomfortable for her anyway. How about we take her word for that, and if it doesn’t resonate for you, accept that other people have different experiences than you?

        3. Natalie*

          “You simply cannot take “do not look at intimate areas” to “do not look at intimates where they would be had they been there even though the person looking at them is looking at something on his own desk that he has every right to look at””

          I don’t think that was what the OP was suggesting at all. They’re giving tips to people using Skype for interviews, and one of those tips is “make sure your monitor isn’t set too low or it may look like your not paying attention”.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          Another thing people don’t think about when they use Skype is that when you look at the monitor, you’re typically looking BELOW the camera, not directly at the person. It’s natural to look at the person’s picture on the monitor, but then you don’t appear to be making eye contact. If you want to make so-called eye contact that way, you have to look into the webcam. That is really awkward for most people, especially if they’re holding their laptops lower than usual.

    2. OP5*

      Even if you haven’t had to deal with people* trying to hold conversations with your chest from the age of 12, it is still off-putting to have a conversation with someone who never makes eye contact once.

      *It was bad enough with peers but this included adults.

      1. ano n*

        *sigh*. Until apples makes an iCam that has a camera directly behind the screen, that will be physically impossible with current desktop/laptop video capability.

        1. LBK*

          That’s why you adjust the height of your camera/monitor so that your eyes are angled up to look at the screen, not down.

          Please read the entire post and the context, and maybe the linked post. C’mon. You’re trying to infer a point she’s clearly not making.

        2. OP5*

          Not true in the least. I have done other Skype interviews and use it to chat with friends and family all the time. I’ve never had this problem before. Looking down occasionally is normal, the way it is in face-to-face conversations, but it should not comprise the majority of the conversation, which I described in the letter.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yo — an on — please pick a user name. The system is now specifically set up to avoid “anon,” which you’ve apparently intentionally gotten around by adding a space. I’ve already asked you this twice this week; I’m putting you on moderation until you do because you’re ignoring multiple direct requests. Thank you.

      1. Jake*

        I’m probably missing the point, but I’m intensely curious on this.

        If his or her chosen name is an on, and he or she has a photo, why does he or she need a new name? It seems pretty easy to identify this individual, is there another reason?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          There’s no photo, so it’s not easy for other readers to identify the person. I’ve removed the ability to use anon/anonymous/etc. as a user name because multiple people (especially newer visitors, but not only new visitors) choose it, which makes it harder to engage in discussion and track who is saying what. This site has a highly robust comment section, which means that kind of thing matters more than if it didn’t.

          In this case, I’ve asked the commenter twice this week to pick a user name and it seems pretty clear that they just added a space in it to avoid doing that. That’s not in the spirit of the site (an impression that’s amplified when their comments here seemed designed to provoke), and during a week when I’m specifically trying to lower the recent uptick in snarkiness here, I’m not cool with that. It shouldn’t be that onerous to choose a user name when asked by the person running the site directly on several occasions.

          1. Oryx*

            There’s no photo per se but there is an avatar that (now) “ano n” has used consistently so those of us who have been reading for awhile know who they are. That being said, the fact that they continue to ignore your request to pick something more specific is not cool.

            1. LBK*

              Especially since there’s literally nothing required to choose a name aside from typing it into the “Name” box. Not like you have to register with a password and email address and all.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              That’s actually the avatar that shows up when anyone on the Internet uses anon@anon.com as their email address (as this commenter does, like many people who want to put something generic in that field). More here: http://danieru.com/2012/11/15/who-is-anonanon-com/

              (I just learned this! I’d actually totally missed the gravatar until you pointed it out, but then was curious about it, given that it’s such a common email address used by people who want to be anonymous, and gravatars are generated via email address. Kind of interesting.)

              1. NoPantsFridays*

                Wow, that is so interesting! But given that this blog does not require an email address, I’m surprised the anonymous posters don’t leave it blank.

            3. De Minimis*

              I can’t see any of the Gravitars here at work due to our browser settings, so for me the user names are the only way to identify people.

          2. Jake*

            I understand, and I appreciate that you maintain civility here. My question was not meant to imply that you shouldn’t be requiring this, or anything like that. In fact, I’m glad that we no longer have a bunch of anonymouses commenting because it clears up confusion.

            I was simply curious because with the avatar (I suppose picture was an imprecise word to use) and the space in the user name, it seems that he or she has met the intent of the “pick a user name” rule, however, I understand that it is your blog and you have the right to require a different name.

            Part of my curiosity stems from not being around this blog much since early last week, so I don’t think I’ve seen the discussions that warranted the reemphasis on comment guidelines.

        2. Jamie*

          I didn’t know you could pull up a generic avitar that way, I love learning new stuff. Hope they never get rights from sanrio because if they start making HK avitars anonymous I’m going to be lost in a sea of anonymity.

    4. AnonyMouse*

      I see what you’re saying, but I think the OP was trying to share a helpful hint for Skype interviews in general, not call her interviewer out for bad behaviour. It’s good for people doing Skype interviews (on either end) to know that something as simple as the placement of their monitor can create an awkward vibe, especially we already know that people risk unfairly coming across as less likeable in Skype or phone interviews than in person. Ideally stuff like this would never influence hiring decisions, but in practice we know that it can!

      1. Kelly L.*

        This. The OP doesn’t think the interviewer actually did anything morally wrong, or anything predatory; she is sharing advice on a technical issue that can create an unpleasant psychological effect on the person on the other end. It’s the kind of thing that could subconsciously influence either an interviewer or an intervieweee.

    5. Tinker*

      This is pretty standard videoconferencing advice. Actually one of the first things folks usually mention when they’re advising folks, as the OP is doing, and there’s been some work in the field (particularly for things like telepresence rooms, because executives who are negotiating a deal really don’t want to look shifty to one another).

      Aside from the obvious but unflattering reason, I’m not sure why this would be at all controversial.

      1. Tinker*

        Actually, kind of a fun little thing (maybe only to me): the issue of shifty eye contact is intrinsic to having a camera that’s not located at the apparent eye location of the other participant. You can minimize it with a good layout, though, and one of the other bits of advice that is commonly given is to try and make eye contact with the camera periodically. That only works so well, though, because humans want to make eye contact with eyes. So, particularly for the really high-end systems that are being used for Serious Business, there have been some interesting solutions proposed — things like using some sort of mirror system to put the camera behind the screen, or even (I found this particularly cool) correcting the image based on a known camera position so that the person looks like they’re looking directly at the camera when they’re looking at the other participant’s face on the screen.

        1. fposte*

          And, of course, the less-satisfying but pretty effective and much cheaper behavioral kludge of taping googly eyes on either side of the camera.

          1. Jamie*

            Now I’m picturing interviewing while talking to my favorite Sesame Street character. Afterwards the interviewers talking about that silly look on my face and why on earth did I keep referencing coooookiiiieeeesss?

          2. LBK*

            fposte, you need to tag your funny comments with a warning so that I can swallow my water before I read them. My poor keyboard is going to be ruined.

            1. fposte*

              The worst part is that it’s actually a genuine, helpful, circulating tip! That involves googly eyes. More tips should involve googly eyes.

        2. Gene*

          It doesn’t take anything more complicated than using something like the Logitech Orbit, which is pretty much a camera on a stick and setting it right in front of your monitor at eye level of the person with whom you are talking. That’s the setup I have at home, I don’t Skype at work.

  15. HRC in NJ*

    I’m not sure if you meant to write “But I do think” or “But I don’t think” here. :=)

    “But I do don’t think that it would be an unreasonable stance here.)”

  16. Bea W*

    I’m confused by the wording if #1. Does the OP manage only one person in the remote office she writes about or the entire team in the remote office? If she’s not the manager for the other people on the remote team, it makes even more sense they’d default to someone in their office.

    Proximity makes a big difference. It’s much easier to talk something over with people who are right there than someone remote or even on another floor or even down the hall in an office vs. sitting in the same cluster of cubes.

  17. rek*

    #3 – It makes sense in some situations to have a peer conduct the first round of interviews, especially if there is a basic skillset you have to have just to do the job. In a previous job (technical field) the first interview was solely concerned with that skillset. “In what temperature range should chocolate be held to create simple teapot handles? How about more elaborate ones? Does the darkness of the chocolate affect the temperature range?” If the person couldn’t show enough nuts-and-bolts knowledge, there was no point in wasting the hiring manager’s time. (To be clear, this were not trainee or intern positions. You were expected to be able to take assignments and work fairly independently pretty quickly.)

    1. AnonyMouse*

      Definitely a good idea for technical fields/skillsets, and it could also be important to get a sense for soft skills and things that aren’t in the official job description too. For instance, if people on a certain level in Company Z know that getting the necessary info/materials from Department A means you need a lot of persistence/charm/can-do attitude/what have you, they may be in a better position to judge this in an interview than a manager who can get the same thing just by asking because of their status. Especially if the reason you need a particular personality trait in the position is to deal with a challenging manager!

    2. MT*

      I have always had my first round interviews done by peers. Mostly because our managers are not technical people. My on paper manager doesn’t know how to do what I do.

      1. Jamie*

        That’s what I was thinking – a lot of tech people have managers who can’t vet new employees for the tech side of things – makes perfect sense to me.

        Also makes sense in a broader sense in cases where they have enough confidence in the peer to let them be the initial screen. Actually sounds like a good sign to me that the office lets people do what they can do without getting hung up on rank.

  18. grasshopper*

    #3. Having an intern schedule the interviews could be the best use of staff time. Presumably the hiring manager or HR was screening the applications and making the judgement about who should be scheduled. Doing the actual calls /emails to set up the interviews doesn’t require that much experience or expertise and is a good way to use an intern so that they get experience and allows their manager to focus on higher level activities.

    As mentioned above, be nice to the person that you are talking to no matter what you perceive their position to be. In my office we once didn’t hire someone who was straight out rude to the receptionist but then good in the interview. (Also, in general admin folks know the most about what is going on in an office. They are also the ones that can make the office environment and your life as easy or as hard as they want, ie making sure that you get the nice pens when the stationary order comes in!) The hiring manager will be making the final decision, but I’m sure that they will ask the intern about how your interactions went.

    1. HR Manager*

      #3 – One of the banes in my days as a recruiter was the scheduling portion. It took up an inordinate amount of time to align 5 interviewers who had constantly shifting schedules. Multiply this times 3 for the # of candidates, and then again by about 15-20 for the number of openings jobs. Yeah..

      Not to come across as snippy, but 2 years is on the cusp of entry-level IMO. I often see resumes of recent grads who spend the first 1-3 years of testing out jobs they thought they might like. I also define entry level broader to include the first step into a career ladder for a certain type of role. It doesn’t necessarily mean fresh grad with no experience, but maybe general corporate experience, not necessarily in this discipline.

      When I’ve interviewed peers for my team, I am known as the picky-one. Probably because I know I will be the one spending time training him/her, and also the one to pick up any slack if the employee isn’t carrying his/her weight. I don’t impede a good hire, but as others have said, I have a perspective the hiring manager may not. Plus, candidates get to ask subtle questions about the manager’s style that may help them with their decision.

    2. cuppa*

      I actually temped at a large financial firm for about six months, and 80% of my job was scheduling interviews.

      1. De Minimis*

        I’ve seen this before at employers of that type—mid-size client service firms. They’ll often have junior staff involved in some stage of the interview process because those people will eventually be taking the reins at some point, and also they will be the ones who will be working directly with the applicant.

    3. Mouse*

      I completely agree! A good admin can make or break you whether you’re an existing employee or an applicant – be nice to them!

      Whenever I was interviewing people, I always checked with either our admin or our security guard and sometimes both (depending on what time the interview was scheduled) to see what they thought. They were almost always good observers of people and gave good advice. (Once I interviewed someone who stalked me even after getting the “thanks, but no” letter. He would call, send letters and even showed back up at the office a few times. The security guard had warned me as soon as the guy left the building after the interview that there was something wrong with him and to be careful about hiring him. He was right!)

  19. Jamie*

    Am I the only one who is now really grateful they haven’t had to see any of their co-workers naked?

    Everything else has been covered, but that’s what struck me – how odd it is to yammer on and on about a blog at work where if your co-workers find it they’ll see you naked.

    To paraphrase Pam Beesley don’t picture your co-workers naked. If anything, picture them with more clothes on. And maybe a funny coat, or hat.

    1. NoPantsFridays*

      Haha, yes, and relatedly, I don’t understand why picturing the audience naked is supposed to help! I am fine just seeing them fully clothed, thanks!

  20. Joey*

    #2 If you came to me with the complaint my first question to you would be:

    So, if she’s “extremely hostile” to you why are you interested in her enough to “stumble” on and peruse her blog?

    1. Tomato Frog*

      I’m a little surprised by the number of comments going ‘gotcha’ on this point. OP probably shouldn’t have used that coy wording, but many of us are morbidly curious about people we dislike. If that’s not how you roll, good for you, but it’s not exactly mysterious behavior.

  21. FX-ensis*

    #1 – I think this should be a serious concern.

    If she’s your subordinate, then you should really insist (not in a threatening way) that she informs you.

    Is the information work only you are authorised to comment on? Or did you give her leeway to use her best judgment in doing so? if the former…well I think setting some clear guidelines regarding this.

  22. soitgoes*

    For #2, I think the OP needs to be honest with herself and think about whether she really cares all that much about her company’s reputation. She doesn’t like her coworker, but she visited her blog anyway. She found something potentially incriminating and is now wondering if she can use it to get her coworker fired.

    The problems the OP is experiencing have to do with working under lousy management. Get out of that toxic environment without depriving someone else of her livelihood. I don’t care if she might actually deserve it. This is not the kind of person you want to be.

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