how long can I stay home with my kids, invasive questionnaire for job candidates, and more

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

1. Employer asks job candidates how much they spend on makeup, charity, and credit card bills

This question is for my sister. She recently went on an interview and thinks it went fairly well. They sent her some personality test type things and also a budget to fill out. When she told me about it, I thought it was an exercise in job skills because the job is accounting based. However, apparently, it is a personal budget that asks things like how much she spends on makeup, toiletries, how much she budgets for tithing and charity, as well as how much she has in credit card bills.

I don’t think it’s illegal to ask, but I do find it to be a huge violation of privacy. What would be the best way for her to push back and make it clear that she doesn’t want to share that information without giving up her chance at the job? It is a very small organization (she would be the third employee, including the boss).

Whoa, what? That’s not normal, and it’s not okay. Frankly, I’d take it as such a terribly revealing sign of dysfunction at the organization that I’d withdraw from the hiring process, but if for some reason she still thinks she might want to work there, I’d push back by saying, “Can you tell me more about what you’re looking for with this information?”

2. How long can I stay home with my kids before it affects my job search?

I just left my job of 2 years in a community college business office because my husband got another job out of state. We have two small children and have never made a move of this magnitude before so I’m choosing to spend some time at home while they adjust. I’m very ambitious and being a recent graduate (2012), I’m anxious to start my job search and get to work. I know the cardinal rule about not quitting a job without another, so how should I approach this? Will my decision to take some time off hurt my job hunt? How long is too long to go between jobs? If it’s any help at all, I have several strong references from my last employer.

There’s no precise formula, but in general, the longer you’re out, the harder it gets. A few months isn’t going to be a big deal, though, so if you’re talking about something short like that, I wouldn’t worry at all. This may help too.

3. Extending interview travel to fit in an interview with a different company

My family is moving across the country in a month for my career. My husband is in tech and looking for a new job. He’s had a lot of success scoring phone interviews, and has been asked to do some on site interviews as well. This is obviously great!

But scheduling has been somewhat of a nightmare because these are full-day interviews and it takes five hours to fly from point A to point B. What’s the protocol if he’s flying out on Sunday, has an interview Monday, and has a ticket to fly out on Tuesday, but would like to schedule a different on site interview for that week? Does he have to bite the bullet and take the ticket home only to fly back the next day? Or is there some way to gracefully reschedule his flight so that he can fit two or more interviews in during the same trip? His ticket is being paid for by the company interviewing him.

It’s totally reasonable for him to say to the company, “Would it be okay if I moved the return flight back a few days? I’ll cover the hotel for the extra nights, of course, but would like the chance to check out the area.”

4. When job postings are vague about the company

I’m on the job market for the first time in a while and I’ve noticed a weird trend of employers posting job advertisements without identifying themselves or their companies beyond a vague descriptor like “printing company” or “insurance broker.” It made writing cover letters and the research phase of interview prep difficult. What is the best way and time to ask “Who are you?”

Your cover letter is nearly always going to be more effective if it focuses on why you’d be awesome at the job; stuff about the company is secondary. So I wouldn’t get too throw off by that.

But certainly once you’re contacted for an interview, it’s absolutely reasonable to ask for the name of the company if you don’t already have it — and then if you’re not able to find info on your own from there, it’s reasonable to say something like, “I wasn’t able to find much about XZY Company online and I’d love to learn more. Do you have materials about the company you could share with me?”

5. Announcing a pregnancy at work

I am about 12 weeks pregnant with my first child and am trying to decide how to tell my coworkers. I have already had a conversation with my direct manager, which went really well. It’s getting harder to hide the pregnancy because I’m starting to show, so I want to go ahead and get it out in the open. We’re a small nonprofit with 14 employees located in 4 locations. It’s a very friendly environment, and I’m sure everyone will react favorably. However, I want to be sure that my announcement seems professional (especially since I want everyone to be clear that I’m still committed to doing a good job, etc).

We have a weekly staff meeting where everyone is in attendance. We usually give updates on our work at the end. Would it be appropriate for me to give an update on this, including when I will likely be out of the office, etc? If so, should I approach my manager’s managers first? I don’t want my executive director or deputy director to feel slighted that they’re finding out about something that affects next year’s work schedule at the same time as everyone else (but they are extremely hard to schedule time with and I also don’t want to schedule a needless meeting with them). What are your thoughts about the best way to proceed?

You’re stressing out about this too much. You’ve told your manager, and it’s fine to just tell everyone else at the same time; no need to be strategic about telling your manager’s managers first or anything like that. Mentioning it at your staff meeting is perfectly appropriate, and a very normal way to do this. And congratulations!

{ 363 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    A very small company that wants detailed budget information including ‘tithing’ sounds like a total nightmare. I would assume from the question alone that they are highly judgmentally religious and consider micromanaging their employees spiritual lives to be their prerogative. Needing to know how much the employee spends on makeup? Another judgy religious vibe. Hard to imagine a bigger red flag.

    1. ZSD*

      The tithing question was what threw me as well. Granted, this might be an organization with clear and advertised ties to a certain religion, in which case that particular question isn’t so off-the-wall…except that the entire exercise is off-the-wall.
      And also, wouldn’t the person’s budget change once they had this new job anyway? If I got a significant raise, the amount I spent on makeup would probably increase.

        1. the gold digger*

          That tithing is a concept in current use? Yes, it is. It’s not appropriate to ask a job seeker about it, but it is still a very strong concept in most Christian denominations.

          1. KarenT*

            Interesting, thanks. I’m a born and raised Christian who went to Sunday school every week and we were taught that it was a thing of the past, but I guess that’s just true for my particular religion.

            1. Melissa*

              Yeah, my in-laws run a church and it is totally not a thing of the past. Southern churches especially – particularly the ones that adhere to the whole “prosperity gospel,” that God wants you to be financially secure and wealthy and that serving God and giving him his 10% will lead to benefits in your financial life – still stick to the idea that you are supposed to tithe. Their old church even used to remind people “we tithe on the gross, not on the net!”

            2. ThursdaysGeek*

              The legalism of giving exactly 10% (tithe) is a thing of the past in some churches, but I don’t think the idea of regular giving has gone away anywhere. Giving by the congregants is how churches pay their electric bills (and other expenses).

              1. Judy*

                Yes, as we are fast approaching the Sunday in which the pledge cards need to be turned in so that the budget for next year can be finalized.

          2. Collarbone High*

            My parents are Southern Baptist, and they make all sorts of judgmental remarks about people who “only” tithe 10 percent. “Well, I guess if you only love God enough to give the bare minimum that he asks …”

            They give 25 percent of their income to their church. Percent saved for retirement? Zero. My level of frustration over this situation? Through the roof.

          3. Megan*

            Also in non-religious life. I don’t tithe, but it’s very important that we donate a set amount of our income regularly.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, but a lot of it is honor system. You figure out on your own what you make and you give a percent to the church. No one checks on you. Frankly, if a church checked on me, I’d leave, pronto. It’s supposed to be driven by your conscience.
          The fact that this employer is asking how much OP’s sister spends on tithing boggles my mind- churches won’t ask.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            Well, my church doesn’t ask, but that’s not true of all religious groups.

            In my church, only one person knows what people give, and that is not a pastor. The financial secretary deposits the money coming in, makes up the tax giving receipts, and doesn’t tell anyone who gives what.

          2. Facilities&more*

            My husband has a coworker that shared a story with him about why he switched to his current church. His old church had called him up and asked him why he wasn’t giving a full 10%. When he asked how the church would know he WASN’T giving that, the church rep recited his annual salary and some other very personal information that he definitely never gave to them. When he asked them how on earth they were able to get that information, they deflected the question and started in on how he wasn’t serving God unless he was tithing a full 10% from gross.

            1. Evan Þ.*

              Wow. I do tithe, but I’d fail that “test” too because not all of my tithe goes to any one group. No one knows the overall total except God, me, and the IRS… and that’s no fewer parties than it should be.

              1. the gold digger*

                Yep. I have a target in my mind, but it goes to various groups, not just the church.

                I do have friends who showed their tax statements at their church, though – the tuition at the school (a Catholic school) is needs-based, so they could get a break based on their income, which was very low at the time as they had just moved back to the US from doing contract work abroad. I think they didn’t pay any tuition at all that first year.

    2. nep*

      Yes — it was that word ‘tithing’ that got me. First thing I thought of is a bunch of religious zealots who weigh candidates’ religious practices in hiring decisions. Yikes.

    3. BRR*

      Also count me in for thinking tithing sticks out. The entire thing is very WTF Wednesday and if I was in the position to be able to do so I would like to withdraw my candidacy and push back just so they know it’s wrong. Asking about tithing feels very similar to asking what religion people are and while I know it’s not illegal (thanks Alison!) it sounds like a stupid thing to ask because it could open you up to a discrimination suit.

    4. NoPantsFridays*

      Yes, I’m religious and still wouldn’t be comfortable revealing to my employer (a) what religion I am and (b) how much I give. I volunteer through my religious community, but I don’t give monetary donations. I donate clothes, blankets, non-perishable food, etc. that people can use — but not money. I only donate money to a select few charities, all of which happen to be secular, and some tend to be controversial….so even though the company didn’t ask for the names of the charities or the name of the religion to which one is “tithing”, I’d still be uncomfortable.

      Also, I think “tithing” might be specific to Christianity or possibly some other faiths; in my faith, we don’t call it tithing, but there’s a similar concept of course. Still, people of my faith aren’t considered to be tithing, so if one said “I don’t tithe” or entered a 0 on the budget, that would reveal to the employer that one is not Christian. (And yes, I would be willing to work for a company that wouldn’t hire me if they knew my religious affiliation! That said, if this happened to me, I would love to be in a position to withdraw from consideration.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Like you are saying, I put in time. To judge me just on how much money I put in, wildly under values my contribution. BUT, all this is beside the point. Because it is no one’s dog-gone business but mine.

    5. soitgoes*

      I’m with you on that one. The charity thing threw me as well. Not all religions place the same emphasis on charity (or at least on the types of charity that allow one to make a public show of proving they’re a good person). A lot of charities are run by religious groups. And what if a candidate is on the receiving end of some need-based charity?

          1. Artemesia*

            As is faux prayer to show off which is also specifically condemned by Jesus Christ although he had nothing to say about abortion or homosexuality.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Agreed, soitgoes. So sad. True giving is a type of joy that cannot be found anywhere else. People giving for show are soooo missing the point. Here’s the real deal- I have friends that are atheists and they get a lot of joy from their quiet good deeds/gifts. That joy is there to be found and it has no bearing on faith or absence of faith.

    6. Cat H*

      Hilariously, I’ve never heard of ‘tithing’ before – I assumed that the letter writer made a huge typo when trying to spell ‘thrifting’!

    7. HR Manager*

      Asking about religion is a big no-no, so unless the applicant is looking at an accounting job at a religious organization where this would be kosher, having tithing as a category for a budget could be construed as illegal and discriminatory.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s a two-person organization though (about to become three), so federal discrimination laws wouldn’t apply. I don’t think most (any?) states’s discrimination laws cover companies that small either.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            My guess would be, the litigation that followed would sink our country. Our courts would be so bogged down that we would never get out from under. But the reason that I have heard is that this is to encourage small independent businesses by not bogging them down in what could be just red tape- depending on the business, of course. (Ex: The business is actually in compliance but someone has decided to cause a lot of problems for the person running the biz.)

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I think at least part of it is that the legislature recognized that small businesses generally have lower revenues and didn’t want to subject them to the pretty significant burden (financial and otherwise) of defending against legal claims.

          3. HR Manager*

            I’m with you. I don’t like small companies that use this as an excuse to skirt acceptable, professional, decent behavior.

            I checked online and some states do offer protection for those as little as 1 employee, so state law may help. Interesting link with the different state thresholds here.
            [add www]

          4. Elizabeth West*

            Ah, okay; these reasons make sense. But there should be a provision to keep employers from causing those kinds of problems (what that would be I have no idea). Though I suppose the legislative body thinks you could just leave if it’s an issue, that’s not always so easy for people.

    8. NoPantsFridays*

      Some religions (AFAIK, not Christianity) forbid the use of credit cards and the budget required credit card bills according to the OP. They forbid lenders from charging interest on loans and borrowers from borrowing money from lenders who require interest on the repayments. Only loans on which no interest is charged are permitted, where the lender is not compensated for the time value of the loaned money. I know a Muslim couple who bought a house in cash for this reason. If the employer’s religion forbids borrowing with interest, that’s a potential point of hiring discrimination. I think some religions forbid debt altogether, but I’m not familiar with any off the top of my head. And again, this has nothing to do with Christianity.

      1. Natalie*

        There’s a bank in my area that created a sharia-compliant lending system for exactly this reason. I think they buy the house or equipment or whatever and then sell it through installments (at a marked up price) to the “borrower”.

        1. Helka*

          Interesting; I knew there were sharia-compliant ways to deal with big purchases that would normally involve lending at interest, but I didn’t know how they worked. Thanks!

    9. AdAgencyChick*

      I wonder whether the hiring organization is a religious nonprofit? If and only if this is so, I can see why a hiring manager might care to know whether a candidate’s personal habits, as demonstrated by spending, are in line with the organization’s mission — although I still think that asking how much is spent on stuff like grooming seems excessive. But asking about charitable giving would, I think, be no different from, say, Greenpeace wanting to know whether a candidate donates money to environmental organizations.

      Asking the question is still kind of a blunt instrument — what if you’ve got a candidate who would love to tithe, but is caring for a sick parent and believes that charity begins at home? So I think it would be silly to decide whether or not to move forward in the hiring process with a candidate based on that information alone — and I think you can get at that information in the interview process without having to go after so many details. (Couldn’t the hiring manager just ask, “Tell me about your charitable giving — what charities do you give your time and money to and why?” and get a lot more useful information that way?)

    10. Juni*

      Is it weird that my first instinct would have been to come up with a budget with totally unrealistic inflated numbers, just to show off my accounting skills? Like, sure, I do give $4,000 to charity every month!

    11. INTP*

      I’m also getting a sexist vibe with the emphasis on makeup and toiletries. I’m picturing someone with a really weird anger against women who spend more on their grooming than their tithing and charity. (Never mind that women’s grooming costs more and a lot of it isn’t really an option if you want to appear professional in most work environments.)

  2. Tinker*

    The budget thing smells of Dave Ramsey’s work — I think he recommends that sort of thing in his book to small business owners, or practices it himself. Plus the tithing thing is characteristic. Personally I’d still consider being that into Ramsey a big ol’ nope, but at least it might not be an idea that the owners got all on their own from translating the simple yet profound speech of the squirrels that live in their own heads.

        1. Liz in a Library*

          I used to listen to his radio show regularly (had to stop because of his horrific attitude), and he would regularly advise business owners to find out personal details of their employees’ finances.

          1. Megan*

            I only ever read one of his books and I liked it, but I’m curious – what’s with his attitude? I’ve never even heard his radio station.

    1. BRR*

      Just quickly reading wikipedia about him (so take it with a grain of salt) and it said, “pulled a gun out of a gift bag to teach employees a lesson.” That might top anything I’ve read here.

        1. Ted*

          More Christian bashing on AAM. I am so sick of reading of how crazy these Christian organizations are as if these companies aren’t just CRAZY. Nope, it has to be because they’re Christian. Same as saying the boss must be a bitch b/c she’s a woman…… Maybe those who equate crazy with Christian, might want to look at all of the good Christians do all over the world. Catholics in particular give regardless of the recipients faith or lack thereof. This post is not as flagrant as others, I have just had it. And thought folks might want to know Christians are not deaf and we may be your co-worker, friend or even boss.

            1. Ted*

              Thank you for you for your thoughtful reply. :) I admit the post above, Ramsay, was the wrong spot to reply- though he is a known Christian. I should have posted above where someone posted “religious zealot.” My post is more a FYI for AAM and posters- I think I was just struck once again by the obliviousness of posters regarding the fact we all don’t walk lock step with secular beliefs. Of course, this blog may only be for one segment of society. Some posters remind me of a line in a Woody Allen film” I don’t know how (fill in candidate) was not elected all of my friends voted for him.” Meaning: there are others out there different then you. You may go back to reading about crazy bosses.

              1. Kelly L.*

                Of course not everybody is secular–it’s more to do with boundaries. I know many of my co-workers/supervisors are strongly religious, but never once have they pried into how much I hypothetically give to my hypothetical church, because that’s none of their business.

              2. Natalie*

                Random, non-specific rants that are clearly about something other than the discussion actually happening here don’t require much more as a reply.

                At the time you posted your rant, there was ONE comment that mentioned Christianity specifically, and it’s an incredibly mild statement on tithing as a Christian comment. If you see “religious zealots” or “Dave Ramsey” and immediately assume the speaker is trying to bash all Christians, that sounds like a problem with you.

                1. Jade*

                  Uh, no, I looked at 5 am and the first series of responses (most of the responses, really) were negative about “tithing” and supposed zealots etc.

                2. Natalie*

                  @ Jade, as I said, if you see “zealots” and assume someone is talking about all Christians you are making an enormous leap.

              3. Artemesia*

                A boss who is applying religious tests to employees is a zealot and it is and should be illegal in the US. Because Ramsey is in the business of selling budget books, I can see he could argue that his employees need to demonstrate their skills at budgeting. But the religious bit? I don’t care what religion the boss is, s/he has no business inflicting that on employees.

                Would you be good with a Muslim business owner asking you to detail your daily prayer history?

              4. Xay*

                In that case, let me add that all Christians don’t walk lock step with the same beliefs either. I’m Christian and I haven’t been offended by the comments on AAM about Christian employers. My relationship with God is between myself and God, not my employer and I would be offended if an employer asked how much I tithe, wanted me to participate in workplace prayer or required any other demonstration of my faith if the organization did not have an obviously religious mission. For that reason, I wouldn’t work for an employer that asked me to write a budget that includes how much I tithe – it is none of their business. What makes this behavior out of the ordinary is not because the employers are Christian – it is that they believe that they are entitled to that information. I’ve never even heard of overtly Christian organizations asking candidates how much they tithe.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’d be glad to address Christian-bashing if I saw it, but where exactly is it in this comment thread? People are assuming the employer in question might be discriminating against non-Christians because of the term tithing (which I actually don’t think is specific to Christian faiths, but maybe it is?) but I haven’t seen anyone saying anything equating craziness with Christianity. What specifically are you reacting to?

          2. Kelly L.*

            Noooope, this specific thread is about a specific individual who did something weird and happens to be Christian. Unless pulling guns out of gift bags is intrinsic to your religion, nobody’s criticizing your religion. Not every criticism of a Christian is a criticism of Christianity.

            And like Alison said, the discussion as a whole is about a boss with major boundary issues.

            1. MsM*

              Yeah, if that’s a representative example of Ramsey’s advice, I wouldn’t be jumping to claim the guy as one of the flock if I were Christian.

            2. Ted*

              I have read on this site many veiled and not so veiled anti-Christian comments. That’s life, I hear such comments about other groups. It’s life and normally I do not react, I guess I just felt the need to let folks know we, Christians, may turn the other cheek, ignore and repress but that does not make what is said right. And like a woman sexually harassed by
              “looks” struggling to prove her abuse, I refuse to spend my day searching the archives for examples to defend my position. Take my comments as you will.

              1. Diet Coke Addict*

                This is a strange tack to take on this comment, since no one here is bashing the concept of tithing in general. People are criticizing A) the interviewer in question for using an unusual tactic to determine someone’s personal budget, and B) Dave Ramsey for pulling a gun out of a gift bag on one of his employees.

                There is no Christian-bashing in this thread and there is no need to drag sexual harassment into it, which seems like a strange and unclear derailing. There are many, many Christians and members of other faiths here as well.

                1. Ted*

                  The sexual harassment example was an analogy. Victim being forced to prove their claim, but they have been gaslighted by looks so there’s not much hope to prove their point. Again, I should have posted under a more flagrant post.

                2. Melissa*

                  But it’s a bad analogy. Victims of sexual harassment absolutely have to provide evidence that they were sexually harassed, if they want to make a claim. It follows that people who claim that they are a victim of harassment because of their religious faith must also provide some evidence of that.

              2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I’m not asking you to search the archives; I’m asking what concerned you in this particular discussion, because I haven’t seen anything like what you describe in it.

              3. loxthebox*

                Unless you are a woman named Ted, I don’t particularly appreciate you equating the struggle that Christians face with the one that women face. The two are very different.

              4. Alien vs Predator*

                I’ve been reading this blog for years, and I have never seen a single instance of “christian bashing”. So you want to come on here, make a bunch of bombastic statements and accusations that are way outside of the the scope of what is being discussed here, and then refuse to provide any back up information about why you feel this way? Absolute nonsense.

                Just so you know, there are many, many instances of abuses of power by so-called “christians” in workplaces every single day. To point them out and discuss them, is in no way “bashing” your religion. People from all religions, creeds and walks of life abuse their power. Enough with the persecution complex.

                1. Ted*

                  I appreciate being told I have a persecution complex. I believe two posters have noted that- from one post. Hmm…

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Hi Ted, site owner here. The one who addressed you earlier and twice asked you to explain specifically what you were objecting to in this thread. You haven’t answered me, but have continued to engage with others on the topic here. If you want to continue the conversation, can you please first address my request to you, either here or privately? Thank you.

                  And I’m going to ask others to move on from this meanwhile too, so that the thread doesn’t get derailed by this.

              5. C Average*

                Ted, I am also a Christian, though as a proud member of the Christian left and a member of the Friends (Quaker) denomination, I’m probably politically different from many others who fall under the general heading of Christianity.

                I think it’s very important for Christians NOT to conflate criticism of political and socioeconomic characteristics that often appear along religious lines with criticism of that religion itself or of those who follow it in general.

                This blog’s readership, in my opinion, leans to the left and has a high concentration of people in larger cities. I’m probably more keenly attuned to this than most because, although I lean to the left and live in a city, I grew up in an area that was conservative and rural . . . and very, very Christian. I sometimes see comments that feel judgmental (or, more often, just dismissive) of conservative people in rural areas . . . who happen, among other things, to be very vocally Christian. This is NOT the same as being judgmental or dismissive of Christianity.

                I think it’s also important to keep in mind that wanting one’s workplace to be free of religious influence ≠ being anti-religion. There’s a time and place for religion. The workplace isn’t it. I think you’ll find that most of the comments here reflect that belief, not a belief that religion (including any specific religion) is inherently bad.

              6. Anx*

                Comparing judgments about women and Christians is pretty weak logically. At least in the US, women have less social power than men and Christians have more social power than non-Christians.

                I’m sure it’s frustrating to see Christianity receive more criticism than other religions, but that happens because they are the dominant religion in the US. I don’t know anyone that I work with who is afraid to be found out to be Christian, but my atheist and Muslim coworkers keep their faith and beliefs on the down low for fear of repercussions.

            3. NoPantsFridays*

              “Not every criticism of a Christian is a criticism of Christianity.”

              Yes, this. Not least because Christians criticize each other and each other’s behavior all the time (at least the ones I’ve known, who have been of various denominations). I don’t agree with everything everyone of my faith does, either — and I think that’s perfectly fine, regardless of your faith.

              1. Kelly L.*

                I mean, I suppose I could decide my mom was bashing Pagans the other day when she made fun of my laundry backlog. ;) Or not, because the two things aren’t really related.

              2. Natalie*

                Indeed, my impression of the commentariat here is that many are Christian, and just as willing (maybe more willing) to call out bad behavior undertaken in the name of their religion.

          3. Cat*

            The comment you replied to didn’t even mention that he’s Christian – it was in a thread about how he pulled a gun out of a gift bag which, last I checked, is not actually related to religion.

          4. CAA*

            Tithing is part of Orthodox Judaism and Islam. Very few Christian sects practice it, with Mormons as probably the largest group that does.

            Asking your employees what charities they give to, or how much they give, during the hiring process is not normal in the U.S, and if the answers lead you to discriminate based on the candidate’s religion then you are breaking the law.

            1. Laufey*

              Tithing is also practiced by Catholics.

              Add to all of your comment is that even if it weren’t illegal, it’s none of the employer’s business how I choose to spend my money. If I want to hide it all under my mattress, that’s my business. If I want to blow it all on a home shopping network channel shopping spree, that’s my business. If I want to live on bread and water and send the rest to charity of my choice, that’s my business. I really couldn’t imagine asking a job candidate this because, frankly, who care how their income is spent (baring illegal activities)?

              1. B*

                I was brought up catholic (in the uk if that’s relevant) and never heard of tithing except as something that people used to do. None of my family tithes.

              2. CAA*

                Re Catholics tithing: no, we don’t.

                Here’s a quote from “” for you, which you can find if you google catholicism tithing:

                Although the Church teaches that offering some form of material support to the Church is obligatory for all Catholic adults who are able to do so, it doesn’t specify what percent of one’s income should be given. Remember, tithing was an Old Testament obligation that was incumbent on the Jews under the Law of Moses. Christians are dispensed from the obligation of tithing ten percent of their incomes, but not from the obligation to help the Church.

            2. vox de causa*

              Yes, the Mormons were who sprang to mind for me. For the LDS, it is a commandment to tithe and they have to do a “tithing settlement” every year to prove that they paid their 10%. At least, this used to be the case – I am not close to anyone in the church anymore so maybe that has changed.

          5. Ludo*

            I don’t feel that is true. Yes, this was called out as not just normal crazy but special Christian crazy. Just like there is special Muslim crazy, special Jewish crazy, special any other religion crazy and special atheist crazy all of which are “special” because their brand of crazy correlates to their faith. And then there is secular crazy which is just plain crazy.

            You see more special Christian crazy than other religion’s special crazy because….in the countries AAM is most prominent….so are Christians.

            You aren’t persecuted.

          6. The IT Manager*

            Yo, Ted. I wasn’t bashing Christians and I am Catholic. Your response is therefore off-base entirely.

          7. JustPickANameAlready*

            Maybe because for a lot of us, a large percentage of our life’s misery has come through the works of “decent” God fearing Christians and their church.

            Many of are also sick of the blatant religious majority in this country squealing like a stuck pig about how their rights are being violated every time THEY are stoppped from violating the rights of others.

      1. Lyssa*

        I used to listen to his show all the time, and I’d be really, really skeptical about a story like that (from Wikipedia, no less). That doesn’t sound ANYthing like the sort of advice he gives or personality he presents on his program. He’s definitely highly religious, but he was always accepting of different people that called in.

          1. BRR*

            This was basically where my interest lied. We tend to love odd stories here and I just imagine one of his employees writing in about the situations described in that article (namely the gun).

            The budget thing is also weird but my mind was mostly on someone writing in about their boss pulling a loaded firearm on them to teach them a lesson.

          2. Mike C.*

            Yeah, after reading that, his “no gossip” rule sounds a whole lot like it goes against the FLSA – the section about workers discussing working conditions amongst themselves. I can understand not wanting to deal with petty drama, but he seems to be going over the line.

      2. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)*

        There’s a great analysis of Dave Ramsey, the man and the brand in the Nov-Dec 2013 Pacific Standard by Helene Olean. And the story about him threatening employees this year for disloyalty.

        I can’t listen to him due to the smug and inability to engage in creative thinking.

    2. OP1*

      I looked closer at the budget form and it is a Dave Ramsey thing. I didn’t realize it until after I submitted the question. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I think it may be that this is a very small company and she wants to make sure that she doesn’t hire people that end up undercutting themselves and then leave 6 months later for something that pays more. I don’t think she realizes how intrusive it is.

      1. BadPlanning*

        Maybe they had a really bad hire money-wise (like always asking for a paycheck advance, getting called by collectors, etc) and they think this will avoid another bad hire?

      2. Poohbear McGriddles*

        When I saw the part about makeup I thought maybe the employer wanted to see if she had room in the budget for some Mary Kay.
        Knowing it’s a Dave Ramsey thing, one could always say they need extra $$$ for their “total money makeover” (and then define that however they choose to do so).

        1. Heather*

          If I were the OP’s sister, I’d be so tempted to write “I put $50 a month on my credit cards at Sephora. I use the makeup I buy to give George, Abe, Andrew & Co. a new look. I consider this to be a charitable contribution because it gives happiness to people who see it.”

          Voila! Total money makeover, complete with credit card, makeup & donation info. :)

    3. No to Stella and Dot*

      That was my first thought, too. Dave Ramsey requires potential employees to submit household budgets once they get far enough in the interview process. They do this because they want to know how much salary you’ll “need,” as well as wanting to get a better idea of your spending habits. OP #1’s potential boss sounds like he’s a Ramsey follower.

      Don’t get me wrong – I love DR’s message about getting out of debt. I’m debt-free myself and tithe to my church. But I would have a real issue with an employer/anyone that’s not my spouse or financial advisor checking out my budget and making judgements.

      1. Brenda*

        The concept of an employer paying “how much salary you ‘need'” seems as ridiculous as basing your offer on the person’s previous salary. How much salary I need is up to me to decide, by either accepting or not accepting a job. And if I don’t spend anything and save it all, or don’t anything and spend a lot, that’s my business and it has no bearing on the job and its market value.

        I highly doubt if you put in inflated numbers that they would say, “oh, it seems like this person really needs $20k more than we’re offering! Let’s give them that then.” More likely you’d get a lecture about spending so much money on makeup and a lowball offer.

        1. Fabulously Anonymous*

          “The concept of an employer paying “how much salary you ‘need’” seems as ridiculous as basing your offer on the person’s previous salary. ”

          Agreed. This just seems like it could lead down a dangerous path. A century ago job ads specified that the applicant must be male or female and there were different pay scales because employers believed that single women did not need as much money as family men.

    4. Artemesia*

      I’ve listened to his radio show in the car and his general advice on budgeting is excellent although the religious focus is annoying to those not in his fundamentalist camp — but I have never heard him recommend that businesses insist on looking at the budgets of their employees.

      I can imagine a business providing the seminar to employees, or giving them the book and suggesting following his precepts — but that is a far cry from looking over their shoulder to monitor their budgets which is crazy intrusive. And make up? Come on.

      1. KJR*

        Agreed. Our EAP offers confidential financial counseling, and that’s as far as we’ll ever get into our employees’ finances!

      2. Heather*

        I read it as being something he does it to his own employees, not that he recommends it to his followers.

        1. the gold digger*

          I would see it as a valid thing for Ramsey to do to make sure that anyone he hires fits into the culture. As in, if you are someone who does not think about how you spend money and you don’t have a rudimentary budget and have no financial planning, he might not want you representing a business that is all about responsible financial management.

          1. Heather*

            No to Stella & Dot said it’s so he can see how much you “need” to make, though. That’s just nuts.

          2. Melissa*

            But he could assess that through asking some well-written interview questions, not requiring people to fill out a budget.

  3. KRC*

    This was my interview requirement, my interviewer told me she wanted the information to be sure she would be paying enough. So my response to the budget was that i was not comfortable sharing the detailed information but i did share the bottom line number. I am not sure why she did not just ask for salary requirements, which she did ask for when submitting your resume, and I provided. I also think this is a very odd request for a part time position.
    The budget form was pulled from Dave Ramsey.

    1. Just Visiting*

      As someone who follows the Mr. Money Mustache plan, I wouldn’t feel comfortable detailing my expenses in this way because they might take it as a sign that they can pay me significantly LESS than other people. If I were forced to do this, I’d probably have to make up a normal-people budget.

      1. KRC*

        I did add a healthy amount to add to savings, I like to try to save, and the line item had a recommend %.

      2. Kelly L.*

        I would worry they’d be looking for things in my expenses to criticize. “You shouldn’t be spending this much money on $thing. You shouldn’t have debt. You should be saving exactly X amount.” Yuck.

    2. Mike C.*

      I would have added payments for a new Porsche to my budget, but that’s just me. A shiny blue Targa sounds just about right…

        1. Heather*

          I’m worried about college tuition for my imaginary child. I’m reasonable, though…I’d be willing to accept it as a monthly installment for four years.

            1. Natalie*

              Hell, what about my future grandchildren? They are all going to need college educations, too! And cars. And very expensive horseback riding camp. Gotta start saving now.

    3. AnonAnalyst*

      This is weird and invasive enough that I would probably just withdraw from the hiring process, but I guess if I were extremely interested in the role and the hiring manager would just take a bottom line number I might be okay with giving a ballpark number.

      At least it sounds like your interviewer was reasonable when you said that you weren’t comfortable filling out the budget template she provided, but I do have to question what it will be like working for someone long-term who thinks it’s reasonable to ask candidates to provide that information. Even if the goal were something they thought would be in the employee’s best interest (like making sure they were paying enough), it would definitely send up red flags for me that they would think it appropriate to collect that type of information from a potential employee — I would be really concerned that this were indicative of a relationship where there would be more boundary/privacy issues.

      1. KRC*

        I have not with drawn from the hiring process yet.. I am waiting to see if I make it to the next round of the interview process, which is a dinner with her and her husband, and I could bring my significant other if I have one or want to. But if I am offered a position I am not sure I will take it because this whole budget thing is very concerning, I want to keep my private life private.

        1. Clever Name*

          I can’t really come up with a coherent thought on this other than the owner of this company sounds like they’d be all up in your business if you get hired. Decide if that’s something that you would be okay with.

          1. In progress*

            Yes, the dinner interview with spouses involved also points them being waaayyy involved in your personal life. I’ve had enough bad experiences with dysfunctional small businesses, where there are no checks or balances for toxic, sometimes illegal behavior, that I would be wary.

    4. Zahra*

      What the…? The only way to make sure you’re paying enough is to look at the market rate for the position. You don’t pay people according to their needs, you pay them according to the market rate. Otherwise, it’s really easy to fall into the pattern of “well, he (employee A) has a family to provide for and she (employee B) only works for extra money” or “her (employee C’s) children are all grown up (but the manager doesn’t know she’s paying for home care for her elderly mother) but his (employee D’s) children still need to go through college”. That’s the easiest way to breed resentment over compensation.

    5. Artemesia*

      Since when do employers pay you what you need? That is beyond weird. They pay what they pay and what the market will bear and then you decide if that is enough — would they pay some people more because they need more? That rings a bell from the era where ‘family men’ were paid more than women because, families. (which women of course are not supporting.)

      1. esra*

        And how so they judge ‘need’? I don’t need a new pair of black leather boots, but I’m talented and, at my level of experience in my career, can command a wage that allows me to buy said boots.

        To me this would just open up a can of worms critiquing my personal financial decisions in the office.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        So if someone comes in for an interview and says, “I need $1M per year, because my budget calls for donating $950,ooo per year to my church and my charity” , then they should be good with that, right? [head shaking…]

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I would not do this ever. It’s NONE of their business. It would be an automatic withdrawal for me. Nope. Just nope. It’s unlikely I would really care where it came from.

  4. A Kate*

    This would only work in certain office cultures, but my coworker sent out an email announcing the good news (after telling her manager obviously) and left pickles and chocolate in the break room for everyone to enjoy. People still talk about it (in a good way).

    1. Jax*

      The best pregnancy announcement: we all came to the office one morning and found little bags of blue and pink M&M’s on our keyboards with a poem that someone in our office was pregnant. For 20 minutes we all had fun trying to guess who it was before our coworker admitted it.

      That’s definitely a know your office thing, though. I can see a stiff office really hating that type of announcement.

      1. Cat*

        I don’t think I’m in a stiff office but I would have hated this – among other things, think of all the non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the office who maybe didn’t want people speculating about whether they had gained weight recently and whether it was pregnancy-related if so.

          1. Anx*

            Same. The last thing I need my boss to be thinking about is the fact that I’m a woman in a long-term relationship of prime childbearing age.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          I wouldn’t like the guessing part (for the reasons you mention) but I would have liked to find M&Ms on my desk announcing “I’m having a baby! – Jane” or something like that.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, the problem with that approach is that she ended up involving all the other women in the office in speculation about them without their consent.

        3. Celeste*

          Just a really insensitive idea. There may be staff who are dealing with infertility. A regular announcement is enough on their plate without having even a moment of speculation on them. It’s such a painful experience, and quite often invisible. It pays to tread lightly.

          1. Us, Too*

            Also… Lots of women have miscarriages. And if one of your colleagues happened to be in the midst of that personal tragedy, being the subject of such an announcement would be really an unhappy presumption.

            1. Anonymous Lawyer*

              My office has this as a tradition: a mysterious bag of M&Ms (why M&Ms?) on the boss’s chair meant someone was pregnant and the guessing game begins. The first time it happened 9 different people asked if it was me, and I was really, really angry. The second time it happened I had just miscarried and left the office crying. I told management why I was leaving, so I am hopeful that the next time someone tries to initiate the “game” it will be shut down before it starts. It is the #1 most insensitive thing I have ever experienced at work and if I didn’t love this job I would have started looking for a new one.

              I beg anyone who thinks this is a good idea (to institute a guessing game)… please don’t!

              1. Saro*

                Ugh, I’m so sorry. What a terrible experience. I had an acquaintance email me out of the blue and ask me if I was pregnant yet…I was having a miscarriage at the time. The one good thing was that I was at home and not at work.

      2. Artemesia*

        It would never have occurred to me to ‘announce’ my pregnancies and this sort of thing seems kind of icky to me. I just told people who needed to know when I was about 4 mos along and other people knew via grapevine or when it was obvious. Why is an ‘announcement’ needed. Do people also announce their engagements and marriages and such?

        1. Jubilance*

          My team announced engagements, but in that situation it was more of a situation where folks noticed a ring & then the announcement went from there.

        2. NK*

          Yes, I think engagement and marriage announcements are pretty normal, unless you have an environment where you know absolutely nothing about your coworkers personally, which is rare in my experience. With women it’s a little harder to hide if you have an engagement ring, but even my very private male co-worker told us all he had an announcement to make and announced his engagement.

        3. Melissa*

          I was wondering if I was the only one thinking this! I don’t get the need for an announcement; discuss with supervisors and the others will find out eventually, as you begin to show.

          But yes indeed people DO announce engagements and marriages and such.

          1. Megan*

            This just brings about another type of awkwardness – I could not imagine commenting on a co-worker’s pregnancy based on how her body appeared. That’s just insane, and asking to be a jerk.

        4. Lynn Whitehat*

          This may be just a question of semantics, where some people are calling it “announcing” even though it’s pretty low-key and what you would call “telling people who need to know”.

          1. Cassie*

            Yeah, this is how it goes in our office, which I am glad – I personally don’t need to know about various life milestones in my coworkers’ lives. I don’t think anyone has ever announced an engagement/marriage. Pregnancies aren’t either, although obviously the staff member will discuss with their supervisor and/or HR. It’s pretty obvious once the person starts showing anyway.

        5. attornaut*

          In my office, both engagements and pregnancies have been announced by the person in question mentioning it to people individually as they saw them, and eventually the whole office knew. We are a smaller office though.

        6. ECH*

          If I were in a serious relationship I would want my department’s approval of him, like I would want my family’s.

    2. Rebecca*

      My coworker announced it in a staff meeting, and gave us cupcakes with pink filling (she was having a girl). It went over really well, and like A Kate’s comment, people still talk about it. BTW – the baby is 5 months old now and totally adorable.

      1. Saro*

        Yeah, people can bring all the candy/sweets/treats they want – that would never bother me (even though I went through many years of infertility)

    3. Cherry Scary*

      We had a coworker recently announce his wife’s pregnancy (she also works here, different department) by photoshopping their heads on the Knocked Up poster, and sticking it onto a slide for our staff meeting.

    4. Hous*

      Last week, I found out my boss’s wife was pregnant because he came in with a cake, told me and my coworkers we had to help him eat it, and to save him the piece with the baby on it. The cake was from a baby shower his own managers had had for him, so clearly other people knew, but he’s pretty work focused and I’d had no idea up until this point. And then he was out the next day because his wife was in (somewhat early) labor. The entire family is doing well, but it was kind of a hilarious whirlwind of revelations for me personally.

    5. Natalie*

      I found out my boss was pregnant because she made appointments for her first trimester ultrasound in our open plan office… Cupcakes would have been nice!

      1. jordanjay29*

        This is one of the reasons I dislike open plan offices (the other being the noise, as I’m a work-in-relative-quiet person). The lack of privacy really stings when you attempt to make a personal phone call. Places like this should always have small rooms for private calls (ideally located next to windows, since cell quality can drop off significantly deep inside buildings).

        1. loxthebox*

          Haha I started reading this before I looked at your username and was thinking ‘Oh, jordanjay29 would like to weigh in on this!’

        2. Natalie*

          We actually do have a conference room (I use it all the time to make calls); she is just spectacularly nonchalant about letting everyone know her business. I found it a little uncomfortable because I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to acknowledge that we knew she was pregnant or not. (And then it got extra uncomfortable when it turned out the pregnancy wasn’t viable and she had to terminate.)

          1. jordanjay29*

            The privacy rooms exist for the same reason those concerned with privacy want to use them, because the rest of us don’t want to hear about your personal life.

            1. Laufey*

              Can we please tell this to one of my coworkers? She’s an immigrant and generally speaks her native language when talking to her family. Loudly. At her desk. Three feet from me. “Oh, I don’t bother getting up to use those rooms – I’m talking in Italian, so I figure no one knows what I’m saying anyway.”

              They’re not there just for you, my friend. They’re there for us, too.

              1. JuniorMinion*

                Just want to pile on here and say the ultrasound thing is benign in my experience… I’ve been working on trading floors (and later in open plan corp finance offices) for five years – and my worst story is a VP in my first job after college booked a bikini wax sitting on the trading floor… like went over how she wanted it styled and all…. a guy down the row from me emailed me at the time and said “did she just do what I think she did?”

                I’ve also worked for people who would fight with their spouse / child(ren) on the trading floor which was pretty TMI as well… its made me super conscious of making all personal calls beyond “hey can you grab some lemons at the grocery store?” in a conference room or off the floor

                1. Kelly L.*

                  I used to work in an office that was over a small art gallery, in sort of an open-plan design. People from all over the building would go to the art gallery to have cell phone conversations, figuring it was quiet and private, but the acoustics actually blared everything they said right to my desk. I learned way more than I wanted to about some people…

      2. Artemesia*

        I taught school for a while about 50 years ago and one of the things I hated about that job is that there was no place at all that one could make a private phone call. If you needed to call the gynecologist about some issue — no place to do it without students, staff or other teachers. And this was before cell phones, so I couldn’t even walk out to the car or find a private corner. Open plan offices were created by the devil.

        And why are things going into ‘moderation’ when to my eyes at least they contain nothing that should trigger such a warning.

        1. VintageLydia USA*

          Sometimes the spam/moderation filter can get a little overzealous. And sometimes when one if talking about certain biological processes and use certain words, though perfectly fine and totally in context and not at all vulgar, can trigger it, too. Plus links. Links will always trigger moderation, but AAM is good about making sure the benign ones are sent through.

  5. Kate*

    I hope I’m not opening a big can of worms here, but…

    Why, if you’re only 12 weeks pregnant, would you be announcing it to your manager and colleagues anyways? It seems like with 25-28 weeks left in your pregnancy, you’re potentially opening up the opportunity to those in your office to put you on the short list for layoffs, sideline you for projects, etc. way earlier than you realistically need to be.

    Since I knew my boss got a bit crazy about pregnant employees, I held off telling her (and wore baggy, but dressy, shirts at the office) until week 25 or so. Admittedly that’s a bit extreme, but it short-circuited a lot of issues.

    1. Sarahnova*

      Well, you’re past the stage of significant miscarriage risk so maybe you just want to not be able to hide/stress about whether you’re showing/people are speculating, and perhaps it even makes your life significantly easier if people understand why you’re fatigued/nauseous/etc. No-one’s going to force you to reveal it earlier than you wish to, but the OP knows her own office; why would you question her judgement of what’s right for her? I realise protections for the pregnant suck-diddly-uck in the US, but your organisation can sideline or fire you at 25 weeks as easily as they can at 12. And just to state the obvious, if your company does that, they are horrible.

      1. Sarahnova*

        PS. Depending on the laws that cover you, if you want time for your prenatal appointments/reasonable adjustments to your work, you must tell your manager you are pregnant, although you can keep it confidential from everyone else. In the UK it is routine to tell ASAP because most employers are required to perform a risk assessment on your role and alter it if it presents a risk to you or your baby.

      2. Ann without an e*

        I announced my pregnancy at about 8 weeks because I was getting sick three or more times a day at work. When people asked if I was feeling OK or if I was sick I just told them I was experiencing morning sickness. As soon as I began feeling ill I made the announcement to avoid the drama of hiding it and worrying if people were going to find me out and to keep my name out of speculation.

        The circumventing dram came to a swift end when a male co-worker joked about being the daddy…..still hate that guy. In my defense I never saw that coming or would have attempted to avoid that as well, but you can’t predict crazy and you can’t fix stupid.

          1. Ann without an e*

            We were working late, it had been a 12 hour day on my feet, they guys on the production floor were saying funny things like planning my man card ceremony type stuff when one guy from the office said, “So who do you think the dad is…..” I was trying to think up something witty to say when THE production manager said, “Oh I know I am.” One of the 10 men in the room dropped a tool, another said, “Waaaayyyy too far.” It all came to another WTF after I switched departments upon returning from maternity leave. Someone asked why, so I told them to get away from “baby daddy” and told the above story. One of his female friends in the office reported me to HR for saying inappropriate things behind his back and i was told that if I continued to tell people about it and act unprofessionally I would get put on a PIP and was sent home for three days without pay. All this in a small gossipy town….I hate that guy.

            1. catsAreCool*

              You got in trouble for telling the truth about something obnoxious this guy said? Is he related to someone important?

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      In the US this probably totally depends on the culture and how the employer has handled it in the past. If they are good with these things, there might be upsides to telling everyone early on. Maybe you would have more time to say “I really still want to be involved with X project, so what can I do now to make sure I can still be as involved in that work as possible?” Obviously if the employer has shown in the past that they start finding ways to get rid of someone, or leave them out of the loop, etc., then OP should reconsider.

      But- it can actually go well for both employee and employer if the environment is such that the employer works with the pregnant employee rather than against them. This is one of the reasons that in Scandinavia they can have long maternity leaves without huge job repercussions. It is highly unlikely that you will lose your job, and it is a given that the parents will be off work for a significant period of time. So employees usually tell their boss as soon as possible. When the boss and employee know early they can plan ahead- take that time to discuss what projects can be shifted to someone else, what can be put off, what needs to be done right away, etc. The parent still might have to give up being involved in some projects that just can’t wait, but at least it’s all out in the open.

    3. straws*

      It sounds like you knew your culture well and made the right decision, but coming from a very different culture this sounds so negative to me! I waited until around 12 weeks, for the reasons Sarahnova mentioned, but I know people who announced even earlier than that. However, you do bring up valid points and the OP should think about how her company handles similar situations. It sounds like she may be in a supportive environment, due to her boss’s reaction, which would be great. It could also be helpful to find out about the company’s maternity leave policy. If there’s a comprehensive policy, they likely have a habit of treating pregnancies well. If there’s nothing and there are raised eyebrow’s when asking, well… that could be a red flag!

      To address the OP’s question on how to announce, I’m also in a small work environment and if there are any similarities, you can probably be very informal about letting everyone know. In my case, I told a small group of people and the news spread very quickly. I didn’t have to tell everyone, because they were coming to me.

      1. Jen RO*

        I’m a country where the norm is to take a 1-year long maternity leave, during which time the company has to keep your position. One of my coworkers told everyone (including the boss) about her pregnancy very early, basically as soon as she found out (2 months along tops). Another coworker is currently 7 months along. I and a few other close coworkers found out the day when she confirmed the pregnancy; she told the rest of the team and the boss as soon as she entered her second trimester. In both cases, this made it much easier to plan, and much easier for the women in question, who did not need to explain anything if they felt sick or tired.

    4. Beezus*

      I announced at eight weeks because I was excited. I told my manager in a quick one on one meeting, and announced to the team in a daily meeting the same day. It was fine!

    5. jag*

      “you’re potentially opening up the opportunity to those in your office to put you on the short list for layoffs, sideline you for projects, etc. way earlier than you realistically need to be.”

      My organization has never done that, at least in the main office in which I work (I’m not aware of the situation in other office). Doing that is a sign of bad management. If she works somewhere bad, then your advice makes sense.

      Ditto to what Monodon monoceros said.

      1. loxthebox*

        Yeah, it definitely shouldn’t happen, but it does…

        When I was pregnant I was in charge of a big project that was ending and everyone was aware of that for at least 2 months prior. After it ended I pretty much sat on my butt for 6 weeks waiting to have the baby because my bosses couldn’t find anything significant for me to work on (even though everyone constantly talked about how busy we were). I would occasionally get a procedure to review or something, but I’m an engineer, I wasn’t hired to review technical documents. It was extremely frustrating. I went to my boss numerous times to ask for work too, so I’m not sure what else I could have done. I was also implicitly discouraged from taking my full maternity leave. They told me that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to be on the bigger projects since I’d be out for so long, that 3 months was ‘a long time,’ and if I used up all my FMLA on maternity leave, I wouldn’t be able to use it for anything else (because staying home with my first child isn’t a good reason to use it??)

        Up until then, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, especially because the person discouraging me from taking full maternity leave had just had a baby herself 1.5 years before.

    6. Diet Coke Addict*

      Not all women can hide it until week 25 or so. Some women are starting to show by then as well, and would rather not have the office openly speculating on the contents of their uterus.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        One of my employees waited until long after she stated showing to say sonething, and I had a constant stream of people asking me if she was pregnant. Um, ask her. Even if she had told me it’s not sonething for me to share!

    7. some1*

      The LW said she’s starting to show already. And she may not have baggy work clothes or the money to buy them.

      1. Kelly L.*

        And it’s not the fifties; we’re not required to completely hide our pregnancies with clothing if we don’t want to. It sounds like Kate had a shitty boss, and protected herself accordingly, but it’s not a necessity for everyone.

    8. Bend & Snap*

      I announced at 12 weeks because I was starting to show and because I didn’t want to take a redeye for some upcoming travel.

      PS business travel while pregnant is horrible even without the redeye

    9. the_scientist*

      First, the LW says she’s beginning to show. In a small office of 14, a sudden change to wearing baggy, shapeless clothing and potentially noticeable weight gain is going to attract notice, speculation and potentially gossip. Everyone obviously gains weight and starts to show at different stages, but for some people it becomes very difficult to hide a pregnant belly very quickly.

      Secondly, if my boss was a crazy person who discriminated against pregnant employees, I’d actually kind of want to know that information, rather than pretending I wasn’t pregnant for as long as possible. That way I could start looking for a new job ASAP. But, I also live in a place with one-year maternity leaves and recognize that’s a luxury that a lot of people don’t have.

      Thirdly, depending on your work environment, sometimes you must disclose your pregnancy very early, even if you’re aren’t showing. I used to work in labs that used teratogenic or very infectious agents that pregnant women weren’t supposed to handle or in some cases even be exposed to. In those situations, you have to tell someone very early so they can adjust your job duties accordingly.

    10. Lynn Whitehat*

      I wanted to give my boss and me a lot of time to plan how to cover my absence. Plus once I was out of the miscarriage danger zone and starting to show, it seemed like game-playing not to mention it. Some people work for terrible people and need to play these games, but I didn’t.

  6. Rebecca*

    #1 – I can’t understand why it’s important that a job candidate reveal such personal information to be considered in the hiring process. Makeup, toiletries, tithing, charitable donations? What I spend on things is my own business, and I have no idea how that could influence anything I do at work, unless I’m spending way more than I earn, don’t check prices, and you’re hiring me to order supplies and other things for a large company that requires price shopping and frugality.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Eh, I kind of am in the middle on this one. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t see where we found out what the job is that Sis is applying for. There are some things that I would expect with some jobs. For example: If I go to apply for work at an organic food store, I would expect to be asked questions such as “what did you have for breakfast this morning?” There are some jobs that you just cannot do unless you are walking the talk. If she is applying at a place that helps people with their finances, then probably she will be expected to work at her own financial situation.
      A sane company would realize that we all make financial missteps and would be mostly interested in what we are doing to remedy things.

      With all this in mind, would I want to work at this place? Heck NO. They are demanding information prematurely (I am not their employee yet), they are not explaining why they want the info, how it will be kept secure and so on. Just NO.

      To OP’s Sis, please proceed with caution. I am hoping there is something here that really draws you to this business and this work. I think this is one of those jobs that is not a just a job, it is also a lifestyle. If you are good with that, then go for it. If you are seeing yellow caution lights, then slow down and collect up more information before deciding.

      1. Natalie*

        Even in the scenario you outline, I don’t think requesting an employee’s budget is appropriate or helpful.

        Appropriateness: There are many potential line items in a budget that aren’t my employers business in any way. I budget around $200/mo for copays for my therapist. Even if I call that “medical”, it’s still giving them information on my medical spending, which I don’t think should factor into hiring decisions.

        Helpfulness: As I said elsewhere, unless you’re auditing this prospective employee’s finances, the only thing you’re learning by asking for it is that they are able to put numbers on a form and add them up. I might spend $600/mo on food even though my piece of paper says $400.

        1. catsAreCool*

          I don’t drink coffee. I’ve never liked the taste. I worked in a coffee house for a while in college. I did OK. I don’t mind making coffee for people who like it or washing dishes. I don’t think you have to love health food to do well at a health food store (although it does seem like it would help).

          1. Kat M*

            Yeah, I think a more relevant example would be working at a place that promotes vegan lifestyles or something like that.

      2. K*

        The breakfast question isn’t so helpful when it comes to hiring. Just because you eat organic food doesn’t mean you know how to stock shelves or ring up customers or take inventory or any one of the many tasks that make up working at a food store.

  7. Kasia*

    #4- I have found that usually (not always) when a job posting is very vague about the company it’s usually been posted by an outside recruiter. They don’t usually give up the company name until that company agrees to meet with you.

    1. Eliza Jane*

      Seconded, and adding: a lot of times, those jobs aren’t even real. They’re fishhooks, to get you to give your info to the recruiter, at which point that “job” will evaporate and they’ll start trying to convince you to do other things, that you aren’t qualified for or remotely interested in.

      1. Natalie*

        Or just plain scams, to get you to pay for a worthless credit/background check. IME most blind ads on Craigslist are these.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Which is why I tried to stay away from them. Though I did respond to one that ended up calling me, and it turned out to be a company I was fired from. They would have noticed they were on my resume if they had turned to the second page!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am surprised to see how many jobs are not real. Some places just continuously run ads. Sometimes they are hiring and sometimes they aren’t.

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      I’d be tempted to apply without my name and an anonymized email. I’ll give them my name when they agree to meet with me.

      (It’s a good thing I have a job already :) )

    3. De Minimis*

      I’ve said this before, but just know your local market and how they tend to use Craigslist [if they do.] I’ve looked for work in places where most smaller businesses tended to post anonymous ads [I assume to prevent calls/walk-ins from disrupting business] and I would have not had most of the interviews I had if I’d decided not to consider blind ads. The odd thing was, the recruiter ads were some of the few that did give contact info, at least for the recruiting company.

      1. beerice1311*

        Agreed. Know your market. I’ve posted blind ads to a) keep a current employee from knowing that we were looking to replace them and b) prevent people from calling/emailing/stopping by to see if we’d made a decision yet. I realize that it can be shifty, but it really was the best practice for my company at the time.

  8. Meghan*

    I work for a local government and we have a policy in place about reporting pregnancy,” An employee must report a pregnancy to the Occupational Health Clinic before the end of the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy for assessment of whether any occupational hazards need to be considered. “

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I hope not! “Before” the end of the first trimester??? No way. I can see so many situations in which that would be horrible. Many pregnancies are not considered fully viable until 12 weeks. I have no problem if a woman wants to announce early, that’s her choice, but please don’t “must” me. Also, while it may sound silly, I come from a line of superstitious Eastern European Jews, and we don’t make early pregnancy announcements out of superstition, and that’s oddly important to me.

        1. Sarahnova*

          This typically means that you inform your boss, and they keep it entirely confidential. I understand your balking at the word “must”, and it’s not one I favour, but the policy is generally designed to protect the pregnant woman, and/or is in place because the environment may present risks to the pregnant woman or her pregnancy. It’s not about forcing the woman to disclose so much as it is ensuring that she feels safe to do so and is swiftly accommodated in whatever way she needs. I seriously doubt that a woman who disclosed later would be punished – and, anyway, how would they prove you *knew* earlier?

          I would definitely not announce a pregnancy generally before I’d hit 13 weeks AND had my dating scan, but I would probably tell my boss in confidence before this, because if God forbid I had a miscarriage or had to terminate, the company would be better placed to support me.

        2. B*

          I found out my baby had died at 17 weeks. I was actually relieved that i’d told everyone, as i knew everyone knew so they didn’t have to speculate about what was going on. Ymmv obviously.

          Sucked for my line manager having to write an email saying what had happened though to go round my building. I read it much later and she did a lovely job of it :-/

            1. B*

              Thank you. Nearly five years ago now but it still hurts like hell in the run up to the anniversary (… week after next).

      2. B*

        I suspect that’s for a specific line of work. I’m in the uk and it looks uk-ish to me, but i’m pretty sure you aren’t forced to tell your employer until i think 25 or 26 weeks, when there is a form you need to submit to get your mat pay.

      3. Nerdling*

        My guess would be that it’s done for safety considerations for the fetus/mother (kind of like the previous poster who mentioned working with teratogenics).

      4. Alchemy*

        FWIW, even when there is a legitimate safety/liability need, companies can’t require pregnancy disclosure as far as I’m aware.

        Radiation worker training given by the Department of Energy (pretty much the standard model for civilian rad workers) will strongly advise that to help ensure the safety of the fetus, women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should notify their supervisors as soon as possible so they may be temporarily assigned tasks with much lower radiation dosage risk. However, the DOE will also make clear a worker can choose to disclose at any time, or not disclose at all. So it’s up to the worker to weigh the risk.

    1. Anonymous This Time Only*

      Over my dead body would I ever tell an employer in the first trimester unless I absolutely HAD to due to a legitimate health concern or danger.

      I have a history of early miscarriage. In fact, right now I have been waiting for 3 weeks for my body to naturally expel my (no heartbeat since 8 +/- weeks) embryo.

      I don’t want to talk about this with my boss. Or anyone else at work for that matter even if they DO keep it private. It’s a private matter between my husband and I and my physician.

      I’m assuming that this is some non-US requirement, but I wouldn’t accept a job with this sort of intrusive policy.

      1. Sarahnova*

        I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I hope the physical side goes OK and you are able to get the emotional support that you want/need. All the best.

  9. Amanda*

    I find it odd to stand up and announce a pregnancy at a staff meeting. I work with a larger staff of over 100 and no one has ever stood up at a meeting to announce a pregnancy. The way it’s usually handled is that the boss is told first. Then, people that you work closely with on staff might be told– maybe telling your direct teammates. After that, news kind of trickles out to everyone else. But, maybe things are different for a small staff of 14.

    1. Betty*

      This is how I did it – told my manager and my close work friends and eventually the news spread around the office. My pregnancy announced itself to those I didn’t know very well when I was obviously showing. If I was super comfortable with all or most of the 14 people, I could see doing an announcement. Some offices have a friendly, tight-knit culture.

    2. Sascha*

      OP #5 – congrats! As for your higher level supervisors, there’s a good chance your manager will inform them before the meeting even if you don’t – my manager did that, mostly just to let him know we’d need to plan for FMLA and doctor visits. You could also ask him to email them ahead of the staff meeting. My director is extremely hard to schedule as well so I asked my manager to email him in case I didn’t see him anytime soon.

    3. OhNo*

      Yeah, I think it is very different in a small staff versus a large staff. Some of the places I’ve worked with smaller staff would have viewed it as exclusionary or clique-y to only inform certain people of a big event, whether it be a pregnancy, marriage, move, whatever. In those places, you might tell your team or closest coworkers first, but then soon after you would make some kind of general announcement.

      Telling only close coworkers does make sense in a big office, though. I wouldn’t want a staff meeting interrupted to hear about the pregnancy of some coworker I barely knew and never worked with.

      1. Birthy Bertha*

        That’s so weird. Especially with a move where you’re not leaving the company or a marriage that affects no one but yourself. Why does anyone feel the need to announce these things at work? Even if we’re very friendly at work, if you’re not a close friend I spend time with outside of work, I don’t care about your personal life and don’t want to involve you in mine. Pregnancy announcements are for close friends and family. Anyone else just feels like congrats-whoring. But that’s just me!

        1. JC*

          I’m really surprised that people feel this way (and I’m someone who doesn’t have children, hides every pregnancy announcement I see on facebook, and generally loathes oversharing). Maybe it’s just related to the culture of where you work? Where I work, it is totally normal to announce pregnancies (and engagements, and other big life events) to at least the immediate group you work with after telling your manager. A staff meeting would be a totally appropriate place to announce it in my office. It would be considered odd to keep it a secret.

          Another thing that might help where I work, though, is that it’s a fairly family-friendly place and I doubt anyone feels that they will be slighted when they are pregnant/out on maternity leave. I could certainly see it being different in another environment. And that makes me sad.

          1. JC*

            Birthy Bertha, btw, I don’t mean to attack you for not wanting to hear coworkers’ pregnancy/wedding announcements! I’m also aware that it’s fine to have whatever preference you have. Maybe some people where I work secretly feel just like you do.

          2. Heather*

            Totally this (right down to the no kids & loathing of oversharing). Plus, letting people figure it out for themselves opens up the “pregnant or just fat?” can of worms, which will NOT end well if the answer turns out to be “just fat.”

          3. Birthy Bertha*

            I work from home. I don’t have children, nor will I. I dislike oversharing as much as you do. I’ve kept my marriage a secret from everyone but the few friends (no family) who were there for a year and a half. I have very little desire to share personal details with most people, so I just find it really weird when others do. Especially at work. I would never discuss a pregnancy with anyone but a manager who has a need to know to shuffle work around. If there are issues with my being gone, she can be the one to explain that it’s a medical thing. Speculation about pregnancy as a woman is going to happen whether you’re hiding one or not. Have a pizza and beer binge the night before and come in a little fat and bloated and it’ll happen. There’s no getting away from it, so why let it bother you? Seriously, so many people in the comments have mentioned not wanting to be the subject of gossip and speculation like it isn’t happening every day anyway.

            I know I’m an anomaly. Seems like OP is intent on announcing it, though, so even if I don’t understand or empathize with the nuances of such an event, I guess a staff meeting is fine. Or email. Or a note card on everyone’s desk with a candy. Does it matter? They’ll know eventually. And then they’ll talk about how fat you are *because* you’re pregnant. It’s a two-fer!

          4. Nerdling*

            Yeah, at our last staff meeting, we had one pregnancy announcement and one announcement that someone was putting in an application for a different position. Definitely not as weird as the email announcement that we got when one of the guy’s baby was born — none of us even knew his wife was pregnant!

            1. Cassie*

              I don’t think it’s that odd. None of the male professors announce when their spouses are pregnant – we just may get an email announcing the birth of the baby. Which makes sense because (for the most part) we don’t know the spouses.

              For the female professors, obviously they start to show after a few months. But they don’t make announcements about getting pregnant either.

        2. OhNo*

          Well, all the places I’ve worked have been very collegial and friendly. We weren’t all necessarily friends, but if you spend long enough chatting with people around the water cooler or what have you, you generally do tend to have some vague interest in their lives.

          You can be excited about something and want to share it with the people you spend every day with, without being congrats-whoring (never heard that one before), or trying to show off or one-up your colleagues. When I’m excited about something, I want to talk about it, and my coworkers are nice enough to listen and sometimes even express interest or congratulations. Then when they are excited about something and want to talk about it, I give them the same courtesy.

        3. Colette*

          To me, pregnancy is something you need to share in the workplace for the same reasons you need to share scheduled surgery – you’re not going to be there, and your manager (and possibly coworkers) need to know that you’ll be gone. You don’t have to do a big announcement, but you do need to let people know because not being there will affect your ability to do the job.

          You don’t have to share it at 12 weeks, but waiting too long would be odd and unprofessional, just like it would be unprofessional to tell your manager the week before a surgery you’ve had planned for 3 months.

          1. Amanda2*

            I waited until I was 20 weeks to tell my boss (and then others) about my pregnancy. I had 3 previous miscarriages and it was very difficult for me to take that step and actually “announce” it to people. So, I waited until my 20 week ultrasound and then I felt confident and safe enough to begin to share with people. So, I guess while some might view it as “odd” to wait so long, it was really a very challenging and emotional step for me to take and it took me until 20 weeks to feel ready to do that.

        4. Kai*

          Because it might significantly disrupt the woman’s work style. Being sick, going for regular check-ups, and becoming noticeably larger and maybe unable to perform some of her regular duties–not to mention being out for however long after the baby is born–is something the rest of the office needs to know about.

          Similarly, I’m not terribly close with my office, but I did tell them when I was getting married because I was going to be out on my honeymoon for two weeks, and they needed to prepare for coverage.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Right– pregnancy is a practical consideration too. If a woman runs out of every meeting at an inopportune time without a word for 9 months, you’d look askance at her unless you knew she was pregnant and having a tough time. There are certain medical considerations for which I think it’s good to have an office “buddy”; let’s say you’re severely allergic to something, or you have seizures. In those cases, having someone else around who knows what’s up can be extremely helpful. Same with pregnancy– I had my co-worker’s husband’s cell number, her sister’s cell number, and her preferred hospital just in case something happened towards the end of her pregnancy.

        5. jag*

          “Why does anyone feel the need to announce these things at work?”
          Because having a kid is a great thing and because having a kid will affect work schedules.

          ” I don’t care about your personal life and don’t want to involve you in mine”
          Someone telling you they’re pregnant when they’re not your friends annoys you? Or someone knowing you’re going to have child is their getting involved in your personal life?

          ” Pregnancy announcements are for close friends and family. Anyone else just feels like congrats-whoring. ” Whoa.

          1. Birthy Bertha*

            “Because having a kid is a great thing and because having a kid will affect work schedules.”
            Perhaps great for the parents (if they can afford it?) Not always for the rest of us.

            “Someone telling you they’re pregnant when they’re not your friends annoys you?”

            “Or someone knowing you’re going to have child is their getting involved in your personal life?”

            Eh, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

        6. Cleopatra Jones*

          I have children of my own but at this point in my life, I’m NOT interested in any kids younger than my own (I have teens). If you announced that to me in a staff meeting, I would give you some major side eye because that feels like treading into special snowflake territory.

          Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is special and amazing but it’s been done a billion times before by women all over the world. If you are birthing the next Messiah, by all means make the announcement but if not, stick to telling the manager and a few personal work friends, the rest of us will figure it out. :-)

            1. jag*

              So the following is asking to be viewed as a special snowflake:

              “I wanted to let everyone know that I’m pregnant. My husband [name] and I are super-excited. The due date is in [month] and [manager’s name] and I have a good plan in place for coverage when I’ll be out. We’ll share more details as the time gets nearer. Thanks!”

              That really seems someone is fishing for congratulations or special-ness? Wow.

              1. Birthy Bertha*

                “Just a heads up that I will be out of the office beginning roughly [due date] until [date planned to come back]. [Manager] and I have a good plan in place for coverage during that time. More details will be discussed as necessary as the date approaches. Thanks!”

                Same message, no need to mention a pregnancy. People may ask, and then you say something vague like “I have a medical condition” or “I’ll just be on a temporary leave of absence.” Most reasonable people won’t press, and they’ll figure out the actual reason why in a month or two. When they realize why you were vague, they’ll understand you want to keep private about it.

                As I said in my response to OP, treat it low-key and others will treat it low-key. She seems to want to do that.

                1. C Average*

                  And you can tell the nosy ones, “Tests have detected a growth. We don’t know yet whether it’s one of the bad kind; in cases like mine, it can take a while for that kind of characteristic to manifest itself. In any case, it’ll be removed in about nine months.” Or maybe, “Actually, I’ve picked up a parasite. I’d rather not talk about it, if you don’t mind.”

                  I’m kidding, of course. Lots of women in my office have had babies, and I don’t recall there ever being any kind of announcement. They just . . . got bigger. And made offhand remarks about their upcoming maternity leave, which I assume they’d discussed with their managers before their condition became self-evident. I like this approach.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I’ve never worked anywhere where that wouldn’t be taken as a very strange way to go. And “I have a medical condition” when people ask? Maybe there are some offices that are that standoffish, but I think what you’re describing is wildly outside the norm.

                3. Cat*

                  My experience is also that this would be looked on as so outside the norm as to be bizarre. Most people don’t actually understand people wanting to be private about having babies, at least where I am – the details of the pregnancy and birth, sure, but not the actual fact of the baby.

                4. jag*

                  “Same message, no need to mention a pregnancy. ”

                  Why? What bothers you so much about someone actually saying they’re pregnant?

                  Avoiding saying something that will be common knowledge is a couple months seems more drama-prone to me.

                5. jag*

                  ” the details of the pregnancy and birth, sure, but not the actual fact of the baby.”


                  I’ll add that in work environment, approximate due date is detail that it’s appropriate to share at some point.

                6. Birthy Bertha*

                  The lovely thing about something as personal as a pregnancy being forced into public view whether you like it or not is that you can be as wildly and bizarrely outside the norm about talking about it or not as you want to be, regardless of your office culture. I mean, I tried to think of an appropriate response to that concern, but all that came to me was “So?” If I am friendly and pleasant and professional and responsible and in every other way not standoffish, but I’m private about my personal life, even when it’s busting my buttons and making itself known despite how I might wish it otherwise, is that really a problem? Is this one lifetime event going to sour everyone to me because I didn’t share when every other interaction they’ve had with me has been great?

                7. Fabulously Anonymous*

                  “If I am friendly and pleasant and professional and responsible and in every other way not standoffish, but I’m private about my personal life”

                  I think part of being friendly, pleasant, professional and responsible is understanding societal norms, and saying “I have a medical condition” when you are pregnant is, as AAM says, wildly outside the norm.

                  I agree with you that a formal announcement is unnecessary; however, some type of notification to those that would be impacted is required. Not all of us work jobs where our manager can swoop in and save us. Some of us need to be professional and inform co-workers and clients that we will be on leave, and abiding by societal norms is the least dramatic way to go about it.

                8. Us, Too*

                  Gosh, I don’t know. This would definitely not be the normal way to announce something like this at any place I have ever worked.

                  For one thing, a pregnancy likely will have more impact on the workplace than just the due date until return date. For example, doctors’ appointments, puking, what have you.

                  Also, due dates aren’t rocket science. When you say “roughly” you should think VERY roughly. I was a FULL MONTH early with my son. I don’t think the average person would necessarily think that a “medical condition” is quite that unpredictable, but most people get that a baby can come much earlier (or later) than predicted. So that information is pretty relevant, believe it or not, to planning. I guess you could say something like “sometime between now and 6 months from now I will be out for at least 12 weeks due to a medical condition”. But, gosh, that’s going to be VERY odd in most work places. And less helpful than providing more context like “I’m pregnant. Baby is due in 6 months, but these critters tend to operate under their own timeline.”

                  I am against sharing too much, but I don’t see anything strange about telling the people who I work with regularly (and that is the only people who would be at a staff meeting), that I am knocked up and am enacting plan x, y and z to mitigate the effect on my work and projects.

              2. Cleopatra Jones*

                I guess the question for me is why would she need to announce that she is pregnant?
                If someone in my department, whose job responsibilities do not impact me makes your above announcement at a staff meeting, it would seem like they are fishing for compliments or at the very least a baby shower.

                To me, it’s the equivalent of my neighbor down the street (whom I barely speak to) knocking on my door to announce her pregnancy. Um, congratulations? *cue puzzled look*

                I think the problem of this situation is that not everyone will care that the OP is pregnant. Plain and simple. I think she is well within her responsibilities to let her manager and necessary co-workers know but everyone does NOT need an announcement or constant pregnancy updates? That’s just overkill.

                Just tell the necessary people and move on, constant updates and talking about your pregnancy is definitely asking to be considered as a special snowflake. It smacks of ‘No one-has-ever-been pregnant-in-the-history-of-humanity-like-I-have…*sigh, sigh and doe-eyes*’ syndrome. She shouldn’t do that to herself if she wants to come back because she will be considered high maintenance.

                Also, I find it kinda sexist that some people assume that because I am a woman, I want to talk about babies and pregnancy. No, I really don’t.

                1. jag*

                  I’d find it bizarre for a guy at my job to not mention his wife is about to have a baby. The news might come later – since it will not be known by the guy’s body changing. But avoiding letting anyone know (apart from close colleagues/managers/hr) would seem bizarre.

                2. Birthy Bertha*

                  jag: I find it bizarre that you think you deserve to know about these things. Why does it concern you that someone else has personal things going on they’re not telling you? Do you need to know when your buddy’s grandma died? When his dog went to the vet? When his kid made orange belt?

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Look, this stuff varies by office. In many offices, especially smaller ones, it’s very normal to share this kind of news and would be a little weird if someone didn’t. In bigger offices, you might only tell your immediate team. Can we stop slamming people as if they’re crazy over-sharers simply because they work in a culture different than ones you’ve been in?

                4. jag*

                  It’s extremely common for people at work to share basic personal information, particularly of the generally happy kind (such as having a child) with work acquaintances, even ones they are not close to.

                  It’s not about “deserving” to know something. I’m simply describing what is in fact very common – people have a happy, life-changing event so they generally mention it.

                  The fact that you call it bizarre is actually bizarre, insofar as your opinion is out of the norm.

                  Please note, I’m not saying your opinion is wrong, only that it is bizarre. You have basically acknowledged that yourself by saying “I know I’m an anomaly” about this stuff.

                5. Us, Too*

                  “If someone in my department, whose job responsibilities do not impact me….”

                  This may be a notable difference/assumption in this situation. There is NOBODY in my department who would be unimpacted by me having a baby. In fact, my pregnancy would impact people OUTSIDE my department because in a given week, I work with probably 50+ people.

                  Maybe OP finds herself in a similar circumstance.

      2. Cat*

        My only thing is that I find it irritating when people tell a few people at work and ask them to keep it secret from other people. Trying to remember which of my co-workers knows or doesn’t know about another co-worker’s pregnancy takes an undue amount of attention and makes me worry about slipping up.

    4. Jen*

      Yep, with baby #1, I told my office roommate first (because she had to understand why I might occasionally be vomiting) and then after the 12 week point, I told my boss. She let me announce it at our next team meeting so my team of 7 people knew. They were then able to tell others and gossip about it. As one of my male co-workers told me “Oh good, I can tell Jason what’s up. The other day he asked me if you were pregnant or just getting fat.” Gotta love people.

      With baby #2, I told my boss and then the other two people on our team. We had a giant departmental meeting a few days later and when she was introducing the team she told everyone in the room that our team was going to get bigger by one person – then she announced that I was pregnant. To be honest, it was a little annoying to have everyone in the room be told like this. But at least everyone found out at once.

      Generally though I like for the news to go Boss –> Team –> team blabbers to everyone else.

    5. Cath in Canada*

      This is the standard method in my department – people tell their immediate supervisor first (and usually a couple of other people know too), and then make an announcement to the whole group at our weekly team meeting. We have a “team news / announcements” standing agenda item that’s used to inform everyone if there’s any change in where people are sitting, who reports to whom, who’s working on which projects etc., and that’s the time for any pregnancy announcements. We’ve had a lot of them over the last few years, so it’s just normal now.

      1. Kat M*

        To reply to the comments above about whether to talk about pregnancy at all, I can see the point. We are given privacy for all sorts of medical conditions-I definitely think it’s fair to put pregnancy in that box. People can become highly invasive when you announce that you’re pregnant and I think it’s legitimate to want to keep the details to just “medical”. Also, I think people forget that a variety of things can go wrong and it’s fair that someone might not want to add their co-workers to the list of people to tell.

        I know Alison’s advice is about how the world is, not as it should be, and sadly, in the US, people think it’s odd to not tell everyone, but it really should be the woman’s choice. Yes, her manager and HR need to know but, like any other medical event, I think all concerned only need to know the details as they impact her work.

  10. Illini02*

    For #1, while I get that its a bit more extreme, how is that really different than a company pulling your credit report and using that for hiring decisions? I mean, at least with the credit report, that could just have been a product of poor spending when you are in your 20s. This is a more accurate descriptor of fiscal responsibility, in my opinion, because its current. Personally I think BOTH of these are too inquisitive and I think they have no bearing on you as a candidate.

    1. Bea W*

      Your credit report doesn’t give a breakdown of your personal spending, just your total debt, credit, and payment history for consumer cards and loans. I don’t think credit checks should be used in most cases either, but it not near as invasive as having to submit a detailed personal budget.

    2. Natalie*

      Well, for starters a lot of people here are opposed to credit checks for most positions. Secondly, what kind of credt report are you running that included a person’s makeup budget?

      1. Kelly L.*

        Oh! Is there any chance the “job” is really a makeup MLM? Some of them have weird boundary issues around religion too.

      2. Illini02*

        Where did I say a credit report had something about a makeup budget? My point was that if its ok to use a credit report for hiring (which many companies do) why is a personal budget off limits? I think (and you are free to disagree) that a current personal budget could tell you much more about a person than their credit history because its current and not based on who knows what in the past. Thats all.

        1. Natalie*

          You asked “how is that really different than a company pulling your credit report”. That is my reply – a credit report doesn’t include your personal budget in any way, much less specific and odd things like makeup and tithing.

          Aside from being intrusive, unless that personal budget is audited I don’t see how it’s more helpful. It could be completely made up.

        2. HR Manager*

          Others have already chimed in, but budgets are what are typically planned spends and go into great levels of details that are not appropriate for an interview (possibly revealing things like medical expenses, marriage/single related expenses…these are all out of bounds for an interview legally). By the way, a budget also doesn’t show if I stick to it or if I’m a good planner. I could write a budget that has 20k in expenses, but my job only nets me about 21k. Then it’s really not a good budget. I’m not sure what a budget can really tell people except how good they are at writing a budget.

          A credit report doesn’t have that level of detail that could reveal personal, inappropriate information. It also shows me a historical view of how this person’s finance’s were managed. Credit reports don’t tell the whole story of course (divorce, medical bills can be killers) but it can give you a general sense of financial responsibility and security. We’ve only required credit reports for senior financial roles or senior sales roles – roles or areas where financial fraud may be more likely.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            “By the way, a budget also doesn’t show if I stick to it or if I’m a good planner.”

            This. Someone tells you to write your budget out for them, they are assuming you are willing to tell the truth and they are assuming you will think of every single expense you have. The question hits me as funny, actually. Budgets are not something you write in one day or even one month.

        3. Helka*

          A credit report gives zero information on what you are spending money on — to my knowledge, the credit bureaus even censor the names of lenders if they’re considered revealing (this applies particularly to medical lenders; they’re not going to slap “Springfield Cancer Clinic Loans For Incredibly Rare And Specific Cancers” on your report).

          1. Natalie*

            Are credit checks that businesses run different than the ones consumers can run through annualcreditreport? I ask because the ones I’ve pulled for myself do say the same of the lender (my student loan, my CC) and account standing. I can’t remember if they mention the total debt/credit line.

            1. HR Manager*

              In my experience, yes. The ones I’ve seen are more of a summary report, but I can’t say this for all businesses.

    3. Anx*

      I don’t see it as being that much more invasive either. Sure, a credit report goes into less detail, but there’s also no opportunity to reign in speculation. You can go into debt to buy food, go to the dentist, or expand a shoe collection. Your potential employer is making a judgment regardless.

      I’m in my 20s and my credit is not great. But that has more to do with never finding a long-term full-time job and not my spending habits.

  11. Bea W*

    #1 is it possible your sister misread or misunderstood the exercise and it was meant to be a fake budget? I got nothing else here. That’s so far out in left field you need a telescope to locate it.

    1. NoPantsFridays*

      That was my first thought as I was reading the question — that it was an exercise for the candidate. Now, I’m hoping that’s what it is…

    2. KRC*

      It was not a fake budget, if it was I think I would have gotten a starting number. I thought it would be more like an exercise too, but after I saw it I realized I was very wrong.

  12. A.*

    #1: Sounds like a terribly executed exercise in seeing if an applicant is good at managing expenses. The company probably thinks this is a good idea–but it’s not.

    #4: In my experience, most job postings that are vague about the company turn out to be scams, unless the jobs were posted by a staffing or recruiting agency.

  13. Birthy Bertha*

    I feel like the only way to professionally announce something as personal as a pregnancy (I mean really, it involves your genitals, how much more personal does it get?) is to not. Wait long enough and people will figure it out. Why does it need to be announced? Your manager is really the only one who has a real need to know, and by the time you’ll be needing time off (when it will affect others’ work/projects), it will have been more than obvious for months. If you have actual friends in the office and not just friendly co-workers, tell them separately.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      Because lots of women will end up needing particular accomodations during their pregnancy–maybe they have particularly bad morning sickness and are frequently in the washroom and don’t want people thinking they’re going to infect the whole office. Or they don’t want people to be openly wondering why they’re going to the doctor every month. And managers aren’t always the only people who have to know–if a woman works closely with a collaborative team and is suddenly taking an unusual amount of time off or needs to not be around certain items, it would behoove her to let others know. And it makes good sense to plan well in advance for taking a substantial amount of time off as well.

    2. OhNo*

      I respectfully disagree. Pregnancy can have a big impact on the rest of the office, either because the pregnant coworker can’t or shouldn’t do certain tasks anymore, or just because they will need to take a certain amount of parental leave for the birth and maybe after. Announcing it in advance is just like giving a heads-up about vacation days or a medical issue. You’re just saying, “hey, this is going on, so I’ll be gone on X days” or “sorry, I can’t do Y task anymore, but I can switch with Jane for Z task”.

      Also, not everyone has an obvious pregnancy. Some people prefer baggy clothes that hide weight gain, pregnancy-related or otherwise. If someone is on the heavier to begin with, pregnancy can be a pretty subtle change. Not everyone gains huge amounts of weight during pregnancy – and those that do might decide to take their leave before additional weight becomes obvious to others. Plus I would REALLY hate to encourage an environment where people are paying attention to others’ weight gains and playing the is-she-just-fat-or-is-she-pregnant game.

      1. the gold digger*

        Pregnancy can have a big impact on the rest of the office

        I was in an office of five people in Chile, with two women pregnant, one of whom announced that because she was pregnant, she could neither answer the phone nor answer the door. I never did get a straight answer from her about why being pregnant robbed her of her ability to answer a phone, but maybe it’s like the Jay Cutler joke -“Why can’t Jay Cutler use a phone? Because he can’t find the receiver.”

        They both took maternity leave at the same time – that couldn’t be helped – but they were both getting full pay for the three months they were out, so there was no money to hire temporary help. It was a huge hardship for the rest of the office.

      2. hcar86*

        I’m the OP and that’s kind of the attitude I have about it. I’m the only person who works on a certain grant in my office, so it will be necessary to have some of my coworkers cover while I’m gone. Also, I wanted to tell early because we usually host a training during the time I will most likely be out, and I wanted to talk with my team before we scheduled it (since I do all of the logistics for that training). It might be better to move the training than to burden someone else with all of the planning and logistics in addition to his/her regular job. Unfortunately, my maternity leave will probably line up with a really busy time of year in other ways too. As an office, we also plan really far ahead and work fairly closely as a team, so I just want it to be on people’s radars.

        The reason I was holding back on mentioning it at our staff meeting (which is very informal) is because I didn’t want to veer into “I’m so special b/c I’m pregnant territory.” At the same time, I’m starting to show, I’ve been running to the restroom for 2 months, and I’m out for doctor’s appointments regularly, and it feels like I need to mention it before it’s just so obvious and weird that I haven’t mentioned it (plus I don’t want people to think I’m slacking off – I just really do have to dash to the restroom constantly).

        Rather than mentioning my pregnancy and then waiting for the congrats to roll in, I really just want people to know that I’ll be out around this time, it will affect our work plan for the next year, and I will be following up with them over the next few months to be sure everything that absolutely has to happen while I’m gone is covered.

        Thanks for all of the comments – it makes me feel like I’m right that it does at least need to be mentioned. Since it’s something so personal, it just feels weird to have to bring it up!

        1. Birthy Bertha*

          Then why not a staff-wide email? I think someone else had it right that a grand meeting “announcement” makes it feel very formal and entreating special favor. If you treat it as low-key as you want it to be by letting people know in a low-key way, they’ll treat it that way, too, and everyone can move on to the logistics. I honestly don’t see why anyone would feel it was weird to *not* mention it. Some people are very private. Ain’t no thang.

          I’ve been snarky in these comments, but it wasn’t about your letter personally. Just the idea. I do completely understand how someone having a medical condition of any sort that puts them out of the office frequently can be disruptive and difficult to plan for, and it’s considerate of you to be thinking ahead.

          1. jag*

            I don’t think you really understand what the word “announcement” means. An announcement is the action of making something public. That’s it. It might or might not mean that you consider that thing important to everyone or even most people.

            If someone sent an email to all staff saying they were pregnant, one of many possible descriptions of that action would “Jane sent out a pregnancy announcement today by email.”

            That’s not particularly different than saying it in a staff meeting (depending on the size/agenda of the meeting.) It’s an announcement – sharing news that is important to at least a few people. It’s not necessarily “grand.”

            1. Birthy Bertha*

              I do in fact understand what the word “announcement” means, and I understand the nuance of using the word in the context of pregnancy. I know what people think of when they hear “pregnancy announcement”.

              What I don’t understand is why you’re so aghast that someone might want to keep something like this private and go out of their way to keep it so until it was no longer possible.

              1. jag*

                I’m not aghast at your wanting to keep it private if you were the one who was pregnant. And I have not said a single thing here about people needing to share that information beyond the extent to which they want to or will directly affect their co-workers. So people don’t put words into my mouth.

                What I’m aghast at is your continued statements that people sharing news that many, many, many people share naturally is their seeking attention or them somehow imposing their private life into yours.

                1. Birthy Bertha*

                  I have actually only touched on it potentially being viewed as attention-seeking twice (“congrats-whore” and “entreating special favor”). So you’re reading into things. Every other comment has been about privacy and the right to manage your personal business as you like regardless of office culture. Ultimately, I think, it isn’t even an office culture question. Individuals will all have their own ideas about how these sort of life event announcements “should” go. It varies by person and by family. Pregnancy is one of those life events that, if you’re a woman, can’t be concealed. Just because the subject is forced into view doesn’t mean I forfeit my right to make decisions about how I want to handle discussion about it. Just because some people may find it “bizarre” that I don’t want to discuss it with anyone but my closest friends and family doesn’t actually make it so. Different people will value different levels of openness. Pregnancy also happens to be a medical condition that will find a woman frequently out of the office, so naturally the work/office issues need to be dealt with the same way it would be if she really were taking a leave of absence or had some other personal business to attend to. But beyond that, once the work issues are managed, it’s still a personal decision to share or to not. I happen to be a very private person, and I know I’m not the only one. I’m sure there are many women who, if not for the beach ball they carry around in front of them, would also keep it a quiet event.

                2. Birthy Bertha*

                  Anyway, we are probably just talking in circles now and there are so many comments weighing in on this one question that I think everything that could be said has been said, so I’ll bow out. Peace!

                3. jag*

                  “Just because the subject is forced into view doesn’t mean I forfeit my right to make decisions about how”

                  I have never been talking about your right to share/not share information.

                  I’ve been talking about your judging people who choose to share that information.

        2. OhNo*

          “Rather than mentioning my pregnancy and then waiting for the congrats to roll in, I really just want people to know that I’ll be out around this time, it will affect our work plan for the next year, and I will be following up with them over the next few months to be sure everything that absolutely has to happen while I’m gone is covered. ”

          I think that’s a great attitude to have about the whole thing. And after all, you know your office best, so you would have a better idea about what format would be best for the announcement. It sounds like the staff meeting would be an optimal time to do it, based on what you’ve said.

          (Also, congratulations! Best wishes for a safe and happy pregnancy. :) )

          1. Dmented Kitty*

            I second this. You can also tell your manager first, then ask him/her on how to let the team know about the changes in schedule as you progress in your pregnancy, phrase it like you did, that I’d like to avoid making this all about my pregnancy, but rather making sure everything is covered over the course of the next several months.

            Personally, I’d just reach out to my immediate team first, the ones who will be mostly affected by the changes — you’ll get the standard congratulations, but then just gracefully move on to the “work” part of it.

            My current team is small and close-knit, and while I haven’t announced any pregnancy for myself, most of the people in my team recently had pregnancies, and those were just announced during one of our weekly team meetings.

            When I first read #5 I thought immediately you don’t need to overthink it — overthinking means you’re making a big deal out of it. Start from the manager, then ask how you can work your way from there, and I’m sure everything else will fall into place. Congrats!

    3. Fabulously Anonymous*

      “Wait long enough and people will figure it out.”
      I was always taught to never assume a woman is pregnant until she tells you she is. I would prefer my co-worker tell me that for her to expect me to figure it out.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I like the Dave Barry rule: never assume a woman is pregnant unless there is a baby emerging from her at this very moment.

      2. Colette*

        Absolutely. Not telling people and expecting them to figure it out would put them in a really awkward position and leave a lot of things up in the air. (“I think Jane is pregnant, but she hasn’t said anything, so I don’t know when she expects to be gone or for how long. Will she be here for the big event or should we get someone else to take that role?”)

        1. Windchime*

          I think that what some people are reacting to is the word “announce”. To me, making an announcement has an air of importance to it, such as when the manager gets everyone together to announce the new Teapot Quality Initiative.

          In our offices, it’s customary for people to just let their manager know plus a few close coworkers, and then the word spreads naturally. But all offices are different.

          1. Colette*

            The original comment said “I feel like the only way to professionally announce something as personal as a pregnancy (I mean really, it involves your genitals, how much more personal does it get?) is to not. Wait long enough and people will figure it out.”

            I agree there doesn’t need to be some big announcement involving food/decorations/etc., but you do need to tell the people who need to know. Not doing so affects not only you but the business and all women whose reproductive status will then be up for speculation.

            1. Birthy Bertha*

              As if gossip and speculation isn’t happening already anyway. It only gets worse once you become a parent. People love to talk behind parents’ backs about everything from how much your baby resembles a potato to which child-rearing philosphy you choose to whether or not your 10-year-old will become a drug-addled delinquent to which colleges they didn’t get into. People will gossip and speculate about anything.

              1. jag*

                “People love to talk behind parents’ backs about everything from how much your baby resembles a potato to which child-rearing philosphy you choose to whether or not your 10-year-old will become a drug-addled delinquent to which colleges they didn’t get into. People will gossip and speculate about anything.”


              2. Dmented Kitty*

                If people want to speculate and gossip, that is not my problem.

                If they have their own ideas on how to rear my child behind my back, that’s not my problem.

                If they try to impose it on my child behind my back, then that’s when it becomes my problem.

                Otherwise, they are not the parents of my child, so I don’t GAF. Let them talk.

                1. Birthy Bertha*

                  I was just responding to the many, many comments that suggested one of the benefits of revealing is to avoid the “Is she or isn’t she?” conversation that would go on among co-workers. “If she is, why hasn’t she told us? If she isn’t, why is she getting fat?” Like they’re not already gossiping about someone or something else. Eventually talk will come around to you regardless, it’s just how people work. God forbid a coworker think you’re getting fat. I’m with you. Let them talk. Who GAF?

      3. Brenda*

        Exactly. And it makes it super awkward if you’re pretty sure someone’s pregnant but they haven’t said anything and you don’t want to say anything in case they’re not.
        Not that I want to talk about people’s pregnancies a lot, but it’s nice to say congratulations, and to start thinking about how their leave affects things if you work closely with them. Also in my office we get people cards and presents, for fathers as well. There are six babies happening in my department of 30 people this year.

        1. loxthebox*

          Funny story – my manager was pregnant while interviewing me. She was small enough and far enough along that it was pretty obvious, but as a person interviewing for her first job, it threw me off. ‘Do I say something? Do I not say something?’ I chose to ignore it, but it definitely caught me off guard.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I would have just followed her cues. If she said nothing, then I would have said nothing. It would feel awkward to me, though. What did you end up doing?

    4. JBC*

      As an early 30’s married woman (who does not plan on having children), I would absolutely hate it if this was the norm because I would assume that everyone was always eyeing me up to try and guess if I am pregnant. At least if there is the expectation that women in your life will tell you, people will do less trying to guess. I’m already paranoid that everyone assumes I am pregnant whenever I choose to not eat deli meat or drink alcohol, or whenever I miss work for a doctor’s appointment (and occasionally someone has said something to me in those situations).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I hope you can find a way to frame it that works for you. When I was in my thirties, I could feel the looks and feel the question on people’s minds. I kind of chuckled, because after thinking about it for a while I concluded “Small minds. There are more important things in life to think about than if one person is pregnant or not.” So when I saw the look, I would think, “Get a life, you don’t have enough going on in yours.”

  14. Bailando!*

    I tend to disagree; I feel it’s a normal and natural part of life. Personally, I guess I’d rather be in control of what people know, and when, vs. being the subject of speculation. It’s funny, I had one woman tell me I was glowing, and asked if I was pregnant, before I had told anyone at work! It really threw me off, so much that I ended up telling her the truth. I was only about 8 weeks along at the time. She was a huge gossip, so I was very grateful when she kept the information completely to herself until I was ready to share the news with everyone.

    1. the gold digger*

      My cousin announced on facebook how excited she was that she was going to become an aunt – before her sister announced her pregnancy to everyone. Pregnant cousin/sister was livid and I don’t blame her. Your gossip did the right thing – it was not hers to tell.

  15. louise*

    #1 – Perhaps the budget exercise is just a ploy to determine if the candidate puts enough emphasis on makeup…you know, will this candidate be likely to buy one of the mascaras I just happen to ready to sell? Is this candidate spending so much that I’ll have an easy time convincing them to join my downline?

    I love it when a question appears to have some connection to an earlier one and I can build a convoluted story in my head.

  16. Alien vs Predator*

    #1 This is absurd. Though I have seen various stunts like this in my career. It is often hilarious to me when I am on the team that is doing the hiring and watching all of the managers and HR people become armchair psychologists, with extensive expertise on what every tiny little detail about the candidate “means”. I have worked with exactly two people over my career that were actually trained in IO psychology. Everyone else is just pissing up a rope.

    #4 OP, if you have any choice in the matter, I would steer clear of any job posting that does not identify the company that is doing the hiring. I’m speaking of regular, full-time positions here. The dynamics might be different for temp/contract positions. In my view, if it is a “real job” that the company is serious about filling, then they should want all candidates to know the company they are applying to. Anything else really suggests some shady dealings or possibly a bait-and-switch situation.

    1. Iro*

      Yes! The phenomenon of “I can tell everything about you from one irrevant question” is a particular pet peeve.

      A favorite question on a previous team for this very purpose was “Our admin is taking coffee orders for Starbucks what to you get?”
      One fellow answered “Well I don’t really like coffee so I would probably just order Tea.”

      They went on and on for weeks about how uptight and prudish this person must be …..

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes! The phenomenon of “I can tell everything about you from one irrevant question” is a particular pet peeve.

        I hate that too. I’m like, only if you’re Sherlock, moron.

      2. Alien vs Predator*

        Wow. That is really one of the most childish examples of this I’ve ever seen.

        It is really a very misguided mentality and I believe that many organizations lose the chance to hire a lot of great people because they get hung up on things like this, rather than focusing on the person’s ability to do the job.

      3. Anx*

        What does it say about me that I’d think this question were super stressful. Would it be appropriate to order a pumpkin loaf? Because that’s what I want. Or is that a treat whereas coffee is a ‘boost.’ Caffeine makes me sleepy and nauseated sometimes. If I do get coffee, is it over the top to ask for a mocha frap? Because that sounds really good and may be worth any headaches and it makes me less sleepy.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        “They went on and on for weeks about how uptight and prudish this person must be …..”

        Isn’t it funny how people project their own characteristics on to other people????

      1. Heather*

        So true! You really need to know whether you’re hiring a Phoebe or Monica before you take the plunge.

    2. Lynn Whitehat*

      #4, this must be location- or field-dependent. I work in tech, and I find that easily the majority of job postings are “blind” because they’re using an external recruiter. If I apply and they call, the first thing they say is “the company is Apple” or whoever it is. I guess I’ll never know how many of them are fake to get my contact info for other jobs, but I’ve never had a follow-up call for something wildly inappropriate like commission-only insurance sales.

  17. RosebudJan*

    #5 I wanted a low key announcement when I was ready for everyone besides my manager to know about my pregnancy. Therefore, I told the chattiest person in my office and asked them to share the news with the others.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That’s really smart. I kind of hate pregnancy announcements, even though I know they’re sometimes necessary. I was in an elevator once and someone I worked with turned to me and said, “Did I tell you I’m expecting?” and I was all, “Uh, no, great… congratulations!” Very put on the spot. I would much rather hear it through the grapevine.

      1. jag*

        What’s the spot? Just say “Congratulations.” It’s very easy.

        The response requires near zero thought in most cases. Even in cases that might get you thinking (person saying it is 60 years old, or a guy, or something, or co-worker who pregnancy might affect you) you still can give the same response.


      2. Dmented Kitty*

        Frankly, I don’t mind the impromptu prenancy announcements as much as the oversharing of post-partum ordeals. :P

    2. cheesecake*

      thats how it used to work in my previous job (tell the boss, tell work-friends and the chattiest colleague) and it is a best way of doing it. i think pregnancy must be shared but not at departmental meetings or to:All email

  18. Robin*

    #2: Look, you’ve moved to a new place, you’re only 2 years into your career. You should probably be expecting to more or less start over anyways. Take the time your family needs. In the meantime, you can try to do what you can to network, volunteer, and otherwise start building up the connections you will need to hit the ground running.

  19. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

    I followed the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt, and I think I can kind of see where OP #1’s interviewer is coming from– she was probably thinking “I’m really glad that I was able to get a handle on my finances using Dave Ramsey. I want my employees to be able to get on top of their debt as well! Hey, I know– I’ll have them fill out a budget when I interview to see if I can give them any help!” It may not even have seemed weird to her– if you do the Financial Peace University class or hang out on the Total Money Makeover forums at all, it’s not unusual to have other people review your budget and see if there are places you might be able to cut. I can totally imagine this thinking going through the interviewer’s head.

    That said, unless the job is actually to work for Dave Ramsey (and it would make sense that he’d want people to work for him that reflect his company’s brand, and even then it’s not something that should happen at the early interview stage), it’s totally and completely out of line. You don’t just ask people for their personal financial information like that. A much better way to go about it, if what she really wanted was to help her employees get a handle on their finances, is to offer to pay for Financial Peace University, or offer the corporate version of it that’s not as religious as a benefit. Otherwise, that’s just ridiculous, and even though I personally like the Dave Ramsey baby step program, I’d be running for the hills.

    1. Artemesia*

      This. +1000. It is incredibly inappropriate for employers to root around in such personal business — heck I would not share that with my parents or my children. Yes, Ramsey has some useful ideas and it is not out of line for him to expect this exercise of his own employees who will be participating in teaching this stuff — but anyone else — h*&^ NO.

  20. MR*

    For #2, with your kids being so little (hell, kids at just about any age – especially these days), they will likely adjust to the move before you do. Don’t use that as an excuse to stay out of the workforce.

    Alison is right. The longer you are out of the work force, the more difficult it is to find a job. Once you have your kids set up with daycare/preschool/whatever, get started on your job search right away. I’d even start searching now, as getting stuff set up for the kids won’t take long to get taken care of. Good luck!

  21. AggrAV8ed Tech*

    My boss didn’t even find out that my wife had even given birth until our son was maybe about 5 months. And that was only because my old coworker (brown-nosing lapdog that he was) was nosing around my desk and saw a picture of my son. I deliberately give him as little information about my personal life as possible, because he has a tendency to use such knowledge against me. The only reason he knew about my daughter’s birth last August was because I needed to take a Thursday off for the actual birth (son was born on a weekend). And even then, he forgot and went into a tirade about me not being at work that day to my newer coworker (not the lapdog) and made no apology to me for it.

    So…uhm…I suppose it depends on the workplace, yes? :)

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      I think a bigger factor than the workplace would be that you were not the one giving birth and recovering.

      1. AggrAV8ed Tech*

        This is ultimately true, but what kind of manager gives a father grief over wanting to be present for the birth of his daughter? And it’s not like my manager doesn’t have kids too. He’s just selfish and self-involved.

  22. Mitchell*

    Is it possible that they’re asking for a sample budget, not your sister’s personal budget? This seems like a common school assignment. Even if that’s not the case, I might approach it that way. You could even write a little bio of your fictional household. Like, “This is a sample budget for a family of five where 1 child is in daycare and 2 children are in school. Both adults work.”

  23. Anx*


    I find the personality test to be much more problematic than the budget, but of course those are incredibly common. For most of the jobs I have applied for that were part of a large company or or a chain, I’ve had to take those personality tests. Now, I’d be kind of cool with talking about my Meyers Briggs, or what HP house I’d be in (and I don’t even know much about HP), but some of those questions are exactly the same as ones I’ve answered on questionnaire’s at my therapist’s office.

    I don’t see Alison or the commentariat address that aspect, though. Maybe I’m just bitter because I’ve lost so many opportunities because of my shitty personality, which was hard to get used to because prior employers always commended my agreeableness, friendliness, and my work as a real team player. But I still think those tests are unethical.

    But they are ubiquitous for those that don’t have very specialized skills yet. I’ve had family members offer to fill them out for me, and I’ve been tempted to do it.

    So I don’t think it’s really an issue of people still wanting to work at these places for some reason, but that these invasive hiring practices are getting more and more difficult to avoid if you want to survive. Maybe I was a chump for signing off on a credit check and a non-compete clause for a job with irregular and paltry hours and no benefits (that only lasted a few months) as the lowest level employee in the organization, but I was in no position to keep looking.

    1. Natalie*

      The only personality test I had to take was to cashier at Best Buy. It was blatantly transparent what they were looking for, so I just lied. Yes, Best Buy, I do think stealing a $0.50 pack of gum and murdering are equally immoral! Can I have a job now?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Is that the answer to that question? NOW, I know why I don’t do well on these tests.

        They call them personality tests or ethics tests but it’s the same thing in the end. I think there are two people in the entire world that can actually pass these tests and I am not one of them.

        I am almost to the point where I think I will withdraw my application the next time I encounter one of these things.

        1. Anx*

          I think they are an incredible barrier to the long-term unemployed. I cannot believe labor boards aren’t addressing this specific issue.

          The only time I ever ‘passed’ one was when I tried to be the laziest, crappiest employee possible.

          I am so nervous about my upcoming internship; the company I am slated to intern with just got bought out and they use personality tests for their hiring practices. I’m considering trying to switch my internship to a company that doesn’t use them.

  24. Darth Admin*

    OP#5, I told my (smallish) team at a staff meeting, after I’d told my manager, and at about the same stage of along-ness as you are. I simply said “I wanted to let the team know I’m pregnant. My due date is X, and I am working with Manager to arrange coverage.” And with that, everyone knew and I didn’t have to have 15 “are you/aren’t you” dance-y conversations. Keep it low key, and people will follow your lead.

  25. seesawyer*

    For #3, I’d hesitate to suggest this outside the tech area, but I’ve had some friends doing silicon valley software engineering interviews while finishing up their degree on the east coast, and several of them have scheduled interviews back-to-back, asking the first company for a ticket out and asking the second company for a ticket back, and being transparent with both companies about what’s going on. The big companies like google and apple are 100% used to people both looking long distance and shopping around, and I haven’t heard of anybody getting burned by doing that. If it’s not silicon valley, and for folks that aren’t in tech, though, I’d expect confusion or backbiting so I’d stick with AAM’s wording.

  26. Me*

    Talk about silly job ads that are all coy about the company–how about this one?

    Fortune 500 company located in Mehoopany, PA….

    There’s only 1 company located in Mehoopany, PA, Fortune 500 or no, and that’s P&G. Why on earth not just out and say P&G is hiring?? Jeez Louise!

  27. Suzanne*

    #1. I’ve not run into the one the OP mentions exactly, but I’ve encountered far too many ridiculous “personality” tests on applications. I had to take one before I could interview for a job at one company and was told if I didn’t pass, the interview was off. A good friend of my son applied for a job at a place where my sister-in-law is the assistant manager, but he didn’t pass the personality test. It didn’t matter that we had known him practically from birth & had brought him to family gatherings so my sister-in-law had been in contact with him numerous times; don’t pass the personality test, no interview.

    In talking to my nearly 80 year old mother, I find myself nostalgic for the old days of hiring. The last job she had, hired in the late 70’s, she said she never submitted a resume, no cover letter, no personality test. She walked in, said she wanted to apply for a job, they took her basic information, called her a few days later, interviewed and hired her. I can remember a few years ago spending 2 hours filling out an online app with its work history (repeated from the resume which was uploaded), personality test, essay questions, and Lord know what else. All for an entry level job that made barely above minimum wage. Does this make sense to anyone?

    1. cheesecake*

      Though i agree with you that employers went bananas making all these tests and “submit same stuff online 5 times”, i disagree on “he didnt pass personality test, so what???”. One thing is being a relative/great friend, another is working with the person. Assuming the personality test was a good one and important for company’s culture, not passing it was a big deal. If i recommend someone, i assume he passes whatever is necessary to pass and if he does not, i won’t camp outside manager’s office to vouch for my friend.

      It is crazy for employers with established names, the interest is enormous (also supported by internet and globalisation) and thus a “filter” is necessary. Again, we can argue about what sort of filter must be in place. But days when you can just enter office from the outside and ask for a job are gone (at least for big companies). Actually if we had this, our receptionist would jump out of the window by 9.30 am.

      1. Suzanne*

        The thing with personality tests is that some people simply don’t do well on any kind of psychological quiz, not because they have issues, but because they don’t test well. The young man I mentioned is intelligent, hard working, reliable, and honest. But those real world skills don’t always translate to a personality quiz. As someone stated above, those that do well often figure out how to lie their way through.

        I understand they are a way to screen applicants, but it just seems to me there must be a better way. I was working at a college library a few years ago and distinctly remember one young woman, great personality, good student, who was filling out a job application on the library computer for a minimum wage position at a local car wash. She read me several of the questions on the personality quiz section and they were ridiculous for the type of job she was applying for. She gave up after working on the app after 30+ minutes and I did not blame her. Too bad. The business would have been lucky to have her.

  28. Cassie*

    #5: I’d suggest telling your supervisor and discussing coverage while you are out (and any accommodations you need), which probably will lead to a meeting with other people in your unit so they can be informed of having to cover your work or whatever.

    As for everyone else in the office, maybe an email later on announcing that you will be out on maternity leave around such-and-such time and who to contact in your absence. People will congratulate you if they want.

  29. Shannon Terry*

    To Question #2, the stay at home mom … I work with clients just like you a lot. While it is true that being out of the work force can affect the ease with which you return to it, my personal and professional take is let your own needs and desires guide when you decide it’s right for you to go back to work.

    When you are ready, (vs feeling pressured by some external idea of when you “should” go back to work), things will flow much easier. Feeling pressured by external “shoulds” and fears about “waiting too long” (and therefore stressed, or hesitant, or resentful, or however you might feel if you start job searching before you’re really ready) will someone, potentially, come across to an employer – they won’t know what it is they are sensing, necessarily, but it could impact their decisions to interview or hire.

    While AAM & I can give lots of good overall advice, only you know which considerations are most important to you, most motivating to you (time with kids, money, getting back to an adult world a bit more, so many factors that mom’s & families weigh!)

    This may seem a bit different than the standard career professional advice, but I really believe that only when any candidate is clear, fully ready, and inspired to job search do they really find a good match, and have the easiest time with the search (I say the same sorts of things to candidates who are bitter about a layoff, for example)

    Many advocate a “make it happen” and “you HAVE to do XYZ or the job market will (kill you, leave you behind, etc. etc. whatever)”, which IMO just feeds unhelp fears & pressures (unless you are one that’s motivated by worse case scenarios – I am, & my clients are, not! Some are paralyzed by that “have to” mentality.)

    I encourage a dual approach – considering both the market & best practices for looking for work, preparing yourself for your search with an updated resume, addressing your job gap appropriately in your cover letter, polishing interview skills, etc., absolutely … and … doing all this in the right timing for you.

    The article AAM links to is excellent (no surprise there!) and suggests keeping in touch with your professional networks and building more… if you are gearing up to start your job search, warming back up to those if you’ve been away, or giving a heads up when you’re getting ready to search is a good idea. You mention strong references – great! I’d start with those when the time is right.

    Network connections are the best statistically to finding job leads. Other moms, as you likely know, are another great source of connections, support, referrals (their husbands/sisters/neighbors, etc. might know of good leads for you – once you get your casual “30 second commercial/elevator speech/intro opener” about what you do & work you are going to start pursuing when you’re ready (lots of blog posts on my site about how to talk in a casual, clear way about your work goals)

    Hope this helps (and that you’ve found this input in the middle of this long thread, Mom from Q#2, and others in similar situations!)

    Good luck, you’ll do great – the indicators are there with the great references, knowing about & reaching out to AAM & other resources, thinking about the time you want to stay home vs reenter the workforce, etc. – all very smart!

    My best –

    Shannon Terry
    Resume Confidence

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