my project leader falls asleep in our meetings, left out of the office Super Bowl pool, and more

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

1. My project leader falls asleep in our meetings

My project leader falls asleep in our meetings. He’ll nod off for a minute, then wake up, then nod off again, etc. on and off. This has happened pretty regularly in staff meetings, but I’ve now noticed it in our project meetings, which have been for a couple hours each day lately. Our project team is just 3 people, so it’s very strange – one minute we’ll all be talking, and then my team member and I will only be talking, and we’ll notice our project leader has dozed off again.

It’s crossed my mind that he may have a health condition, but I genuinely don’t think so since he shares about other health issues openly (none of which is narcolepsy).

People definitely notice him sleeping because about 25 people attend our staff meetings, but it seems like something people just deal with. I should mention I work for a local government, and I’m thinking this might have something to do with it. My friends who work in the private sector say this definitely wouldn’t fly.

I should also mention I’m 6 months into my entry-level position, and my project leader is in a supervisor role with 15+ years of experience. I don’t feel comfortable confronting him about this, but I do want him to be awake during our meetings. Any suggestions?

I wouldn’t assume it’s not a medical condition just because he shares medical stuff openly; he may not even know about this condition, or might have some things that he doesn’t share. In fact, I’d be more likely to assume this is medical than not — although either way, it doesn’t really impact how you should handle it.

Is there someone in a position of authority who you or someone else on your team trust and and have good rapport with? If so, I’d go to that person and say that you’re concerned about this and aren’t sure how to handle it delicately. That person should know the politics of your office and the dynamics with this project leader enough to be able to figure out where to go from there.

2. Being left out of the office’s Super Bowl pool

Every year around this time, someone in my company will start the office betting pool for the Super Bowl. The host only invites some people to participate but not all, mainly I’d guess because we have 130 employees but only 100 squares in the betting pool. Even it is illegal, owners of the company also participate. It is considered the biggest illegal event to happen publicly in company. I know there is no way to ask the host to invite everyone, but while 77% of the coworkers laugh and have fun about it, another 23% are totally left out. Is there anyway to change it? Of course, one way to end this is to report to the authorities for illegal gambling, which I am surprised no one has done so far.

If you want to participate and/or want to see others given a chance to participate, why not just bring it up to the organizers by saying something like, “Hey, it sucks to see three-quarters of the company having fun with this while the rest of us can’t. Next year, can we set it up so that anyone who wants to participate can?”

Obviously, I’m saying say this as someone who doesn’t see a problem with this kind of informal betting pool (or any betting pool, actually, other than those run by the government, since that’s a business I don’t think they should be in). If you had a moral objection to it, that would be different — but it sounds like you don’t and instead want to be part of it. So raise the issue, and see what happens. And hey, if they don’t expand it, the rest of you can always do your own if you want to.

3. Avoiding working full-time hours at part-time pay

My wife is currently interviewing for an exempt, management position in the healthcare field. She will be treating patients as a speech therapist, while managing a team as well. Her pay would be salary based on a 30-hour week. So let’s say her rate is $30 an hour x 30 hours; that would be $900 a week or $46,800 yearly. What happens when she works more than 30 hours in a week? (She will at times.) How does this work with the whole exempt/nonexempt status? I don’t think the company is acting in bad faith, the work week should be close to the 30-hour mark, but I know that she will end up working more. That is her nature and the nature of the business.

If she’s exempt, there’s no legal entitlement to overtime. However, if she’s being paid a wage that’s pegged to the role being part-time, she doesn’t obviously doesn’t want to end up working full-time hours at part-time pay. I’d advise her to address this up-front now before it becomes an issue, saying something like: “While the role is part-time, do you expect there to be weeks when I end up working more than 30 hours? If so, is there a mechanism for revisiting the role’s salary, since the pay anticipates part-time hours?”

4. Fraternity membership on a resume.

I’m hoping you can settle a dispute between my boyfriend and myself about his resume! (Did you ever think you would settle so many domestic disputes when you started this blog?)

He is putting together his resume and I gave it a look over and recommended he remove from his education section that he remove that he was a member of his fraternity. My argument is that he runs the risk of someone seeing his resume he REALLY doesn’t like fraternities. That it was 10 years ago that he left college, so his professional accomplishments should speak for his strength as a candidate. And that generally speaking ever a fraternity doesn’t belong on a resume (except I guess recent grads who held leadership positions, but that doesn’t apply in either vein here).

He is adamant that it should remain. He says he doesn’t want to work for anyone who would REALLY hate fraternities. That it is correctly included in the education section, so that it’s okay there. And that there is always the possibility it’s a benefit if such a person sees it.

I wasn’t a member of a Greek organization so I might not have a full perspective. Do you think there is a harm in putting it on there? Or does it not really matter?

If he were only a few years out of school, I’d say it was fine to include it, since fraternity connections can really work in your favor (even though I personally find it odd).

But 10 years out? It’s really not relevant at this point, and even though he might run into the occasional hiring manager who responds favorably to it, I think enough of the others are going to wonder why the hell it’s on there 10 years after he graduated that I’d leave it off. (And to be clear, that’s not about hating fraternities; it’s about it being an odd amount of weight to give something 10 years later, just like it would be weird if his resume included his Society for Creative Anachronism membership from college too.)

5. My employer won’t let me leave my bible on the break room table

Is it legal for my boss to tell me I can’t leave my bible on the break room table? It doesn’t fit in my locker, and it hardly even looks like a bible unless you open it and read it for yourself. I work in retail, if that changes things.

I actually don’t know for sure; you’d need to talk to a lawyer to be positive. In general, if your employer bans all other personal reading material from being left in the break room, they can probably ban your bible from being left there too. (The key is that they need to treat all of the personal reading material the same; they can’t single out religious material to treat it differently … unless you’re using it to proselytize to coworkers, in which case they probably could ban it, in order to protect those coworkers from religious harassment.)

However, if you have a bona fide religious need to keep a bible with you at work, and there’s no other place to store it, then it’s possible you’d be entitled to that accommodation. (I don’t know of any such religious need, but I suppose it’s possible it exists.) In any case, though, you’d need to talk to a lawyer to look at the details of the situation and tell you for sure.

{ 393 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    The sleeping thing got my attention as I had a similar problem. Not quite that bad, but I would have trouble not nodding off in meetings and often fell asleep in my office and certainly at home on the couch in the evening. I just thought I was getting old but it turned out on blood test at a routine physical that I had almost no thyroid hormone. As soon as I was put on thyroid medication, I felt almost immediately more energetic and after a couple of weeks was just as I had been. I simply had no idea it was a symptom.

    I think this guy needs to be confronted with the behavior by his manager and asked to investigate possible medical causes. A co-worker could also show concern and suggest this.

    1. Colleen*

      My company had a contractor who would fall asleep in meetings, even 1:1 meetings, all the time. We spoke with him in a nonconfrontation way about our concerns. He went in for a test and found he had sleep apnea that he never knew about.

      You may save his live by mentioning this to him, but, being so new, I can see why you might want someone else to do the mentioning. If it comes from a place of concern, it should be well received by him.

        1. Oryx*

          Yes, I had a supervisor who would constantly fall asleep and eventually found out it was sleep apnea.

        2. Clover*

          Yeah, me too. A friend of mine has sleep apnea and before he was diagnosed would nod off all the time. He didn’t necessarily even realize he was falling asleep sometimes – he thought he was just zoning out in meetings, on his commute, etc.

          1. Anonsie*

            I just recently had a marathon sleep study after I realized, after doing it my entire life, that I was nodding off when I thought I was just zoning out. I still felt like I was aware of what was going on so I didn’t even know. Then I kinda figured it couldn’t be that unusual and didn’t even look into it for a long time. You should’ve seen the look the sleep medicine specialist gave me when I explained it and then asked if that was normal or not.

      1. Ann without an e*

        I had a co-worker that did that as well, it was due to a side effect of medication. A lot of heart and blood pressure medications cause drowsiness. Our solution was to put a tiny sofa in the boss’ office, co-worker would take meds and then take a nap while everyone else was out to lunch and would wake up when we all came back in. It really worked out.

        1. Rebecca*

          I was coming here to make the same comment, I had a coworker who was nodding off. I brought it to his manager’s attention, it turned out to be a side effect of a blood pressure medication he was taking. Once he got the dosage tweaked, he stopped falling asleep.

    2. Knitting Cat Lady*

      Other possibilities include insomnia. I had it pretty bad (~3h/night) and had trouble staying awake during the day. And despite being bone tired just couldn’t sleep at night. That’s depression for ya!

      Another thing I had: Low vitamin d in winter. In northerly regions like I live in people often don’t get enough sun to produce enough vitamin d. Especially if it’s constantly overcast like where I live. This winter I could sleep 14 hours a night and still fall asleep in the 9am meeting. At the recommendation of my psychiatrist I had my vitamin d tested. Turned out it was very low.

      And +1 on the thyroid! I don’t have much of a thyroid anymore due to autoimmune disease. It is very common.

      1. the_scientist*

        I don’t like to participate in armchair diagnosing as a rule but I will reply to your comment with a PSA about vitamin D. I live in Southern Ontario and I also really, really struggle in the winter with fatigue and just feeling exhausted no matter how much sleep I’m getting. My friend experienced the same things last winter so we did some research and found that there’s some primary literature to suggest that ALL women who live in regions with shortened days in the winter should be supplementing with vitamin D regardless of whether or not they’re experiencing symptoms of deficiency. I’ve been using D drops and a “happy light” this winter and have noticed a difference in my energy levels! And, somewhat ironically, I’m an avid skier, so I spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter getting what little sunlight exists, but when it’s frequently overcast with a sunrise of 7:30/8:00 and sunset at 5/5:30….that’s not a lot of sunlight.

        1. Helka*

          Seconding all of this, and adding in! Even if you’re out getting sunlight during the winter, the sunlight is quite simply less intense — standing in winter sunlight for 20 minutes will get you less total exposure than standing in summer sunlight for 20 minutes. The further north you go, the weaker the sunlight is. Vitamin D is your friend!

        2. Anon369*

          In fact, as far south as the mid-Atlantic (where I am; maybe further!) it’s just not possible to get Vit D from the sun during the winter. The sun is too low in the sky.

    3. JAL*

      Iron deficiency can cause fatigue too…and it can also cause insomnia so often times you’re hit with a double whammy. It’s isn’t pleasent.

    4. Calliope*

      I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out medical reasons — it took a dear friend of mine a couple of years to get her narcolepsy diagnosed.

      1. Meg Murry*

        I was also coming to suggest medical reasons related to diabetes or blood sugar. I worked with a man who did not have his diabetes under good control, and if his blood sugar got too low (or maybe high as well, not sure) he would nod off. We were instructed to gently tap him on the shoulder if we saw him nodded off, and inform our boss. He was in a 6 month countdown to retirement when it got much much worse, or I suspect there would have been more action taken.

        Separately – meetings lasting several hours? Ugh. Could you at least schedule a time to stand up and get a quick drink or bathroom break every hour or so? Perhaps make a pot of coffee before the meeting and bring it into the conference room?

        1. Silva*

          Yes, I think taking some steps to improve the meetings could be part of the solution. Make sure they are interactive, useful, and have breaks. Or do standing/walking meetings. EVERYONE has the potential to fall asleep in a long, slow, seated meeting once in awhile.

    5. N*

      Agreed 100%. I had a similar medical condition when I was in college (but wasn’t diagnosed until after I’d graduated), and an internship supervisor I had approached the performance issues that stemmed from it by yelling at me publicly, calling me names, threatening to destroy my career before it even started, etc. (Obviously it wasn’t great that my exhaustion was causing performance issues, but at 20 I didn’t feel empowered to initiate a more rational and reasonable discussion about it and lacked the resources to seek medical treatment.) I hope the OP is able to initiate a compassionate response to this problem.

      1. I'm a Little Teapot*

        That’s horrible. An intern’s poor performance is never an excuse for behavior like your supervisor’s.

        *internet hugs*

    6. Michele*

      There are so many possible medical causes, including a hormone imbalance. I don’t know if men’s hormones can get out of whack this much, but I have known pregnant and nursing women who developed temporary narcolepsy. It is just a difficult conversation to have, especially if you are the new person and are following the lead of more senior employees.

    7. Anon for this*

      Narcoleptic here. It’s an underdiagnosed condition and I wonder whether OP’s coworker has it and doesn’t know it. It takes some fairly extensive testing to be diagnosed — I had to do a full-day study at a sleep lab — and my doctor said quite a few people are running around unaware that they have the condition. I believe him. It’s really easy to just write it off as laziness or a lack of self-control over boredom, but it’s real and when an attack happens, you truly can’t fight it.

      That being said, if coworker is narcoleptic (or has some other condition that causes him to nod off), he needs to make a good-faith effort to get that condition diagnosed and under control. I admit I didn’t do this until I had had multiple warnings from my boss and upper management. At the time I was upset and angry that they were pushing me so hard to do something about something that didn’t seem like it was under my control at all, but I’m glad they did. Now I have medication and a plan: my coworkers know about my condition, and I take meds in the event that I have a meeting that I can’t afford to doze off in (such as when customers are present; I prefer not to take the meds continuously because they have addiction potential). I would not have gotten diagnosed if I hadn’t been told that I was on the verge of being fired for falling asleep in meetings.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        One of the owners of a company I worked at a long time ago was diagnosed with narcolepsy. Somehow (I can’t remember how) the information was spread throughout the company so that no one would be offended by the behaviour and would just see it as “Croesus has this medical condition, so if you notice he does this, that’s why.” Until he got it sorted out with medication, he wasn’t allowed to drive and might have had his licence revoked for a period of time (it was over a decade ago, so the details are fuzzy). Anyway, if your boss is falling asleep like that constantly, someone must speak up about it through the proper channels. Right now it may just be an embarrassment for him or uncomfortable for his staff, but if he’s driving, has an episode and Bad Things happen as a result… I know I couldn’t live with myself if that was me who did that.

      2. Anonsie*

        That being said, if coworker is narcoleptic (or has some other condition that causes him to nod off), he needs to make a good-faith effort to get that condition diagnosed and under control.

        In all fairness, though, a good-faith effort isn’t always going to get it caught. I’ve been complaining to a bushel of doctors for a good ten years about this type of thing and no one ever suggested a sleep disorder could be the culprit or recommended I see a sleep specialist to rule it out. I have other health issues so it always got pegged onto that even though they always noted my fatigue was “unusually excessive” even for my diagnosis, and I was typically told it was a lifestyle issue I had to fix myself. I just self-referred over to a sleep medicine clinic (since I can do that with my insurance) when I started gasping awake and got concerned I had sleep apnea. I wouldn’t blame someone for trusting their GP or whoever for sort of brushing it off as a personal lifestyle problem, as you say.

        1. Curly Sue*

          I have been diagnosed with both narcolepsy and sleep apnea. If I sat in a two hour meeting without any kind of interaction other than sitting there, the odds are pretty good that I would nod off, or have great trouble NOT nodding off. This would happen when I was in college all the time– the large auditorium classes, even if I found the topic interesting, could rarely keep me awake. It took forever to get both of my diagnoses and I still struggle with having the right doses of my medications. I’m so glad to see here that so many of you realize narcolepsy isn’t a joke!

  2. The IT Manager*

    I would not assume a medical condition. I would just assume he’s not getting enough sleep. I also think he must realize it, but yes try to get someone to talk to him about it.

    1. Artemesia*

      Even if this is true, it is inappropriate professional behavior that should be handled by his manager. It is more graceful to assume a problem and encourage him to check it out than just scold him for the behavior. Presumably if it is not a medical condition at least it has been made clear that it is unacceptable and he needs to do whatever he needs to do to turn it around.

    2. Mike*

      Heck, I wouldn’t even assume lack of sleep. I’d first look at whether or not the meetings are boring and unproductive. A couple of hours each day is quite a lot of time (at least 25%).

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have found myself nodding off at work before when the room has been too warm and stuffy. This is related to the Office Thermostat wars, which have featured on the blog before.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          A co-worker of mine was so bad for falling a sleep in meetings in the smaller rooms that get warm and stuffy.
          It’s a bit of a running joke but it looks so bad when there are four of us round a table and he’s napping.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            The place where I did my PhD had seminars every Monday at noon, and everyone would bring a lunch to eat. In the dark. In a warm room. With comfy chairs. Everyone who worked there fell asleep at least once or twice, sometimes even during a really interesting talk; some people were known to sleep through literally every single talk. One of these chronic offenders had the nerve to come up to me after my first ever institute-wide presentation and say “great talk, Cath!” even though I’d seen him head back, mouth open, in the front row for all but the first and last couple of slides. (I asked him which of my two projects he found more interesting, and he blustered for a little while before wandering off).

      2. Just Visiting*

        +1. It sounds like torture to have meetings of several hours every single day. I bet he’s not the only one nodding off, he’s just the one who’s worst at hiding it.

        1. Koko*

          But there are just three people in the meeting, and he’s running it! That’s what makes me think medical issue. In the 25-person staff meetings, maybe he’s just bored/tired. But in a 3-person meeting with two of his subordinates, surely he’d be more engaged than that.

          1. Silva*

            Good point, Koko. I wonder if he wakes back up quickly when the conversation returns to him. Is it possible he’s just resting his eyes and not actually sleeping? If you have bad eyesight, it can be exhausting to stare at other people across a small table for hours. Sometimes closing one’s eyes for a bit is the only solution.

            1. Loose Seal*

              I had an employee with extremely dry eyes and if he were in a meeting where he couldn’t put in his eyedrops, he would close his eyes for a while until he could get some natural tears started. I can’t tell you how many times people from other departments came to me and reported that this employee was “sleeping” during meetings.

    3. Not Here or There*

      My old boss used to fall asleep in meetings all the time. It was not a health issue (yes, I do know it because I did a lot of personal assistant work for my boss and talking to his Dr.’s and organizing his appointments was part of my job). He fell asleep because he was a classic workaholic. He would start work at 6am every morning, and would be emailing me until the wee hours of the morning (no, I was not working at that time, but he would email me whenever so he wouldn’t forget). He also traveled internationally all the time. In a two week period, he might be in California, New York, France and China.

      It was somewhat of a joke that he only ever slept in meetings. But I really did feel sorry for the people he was meeting, esp during the big quarterly project review meetings. Those meetings were long (usually 6 hours), but they were really important. It was an opportunity for project leads to report out and was how resources and funding was decided for projects. They would always jockey for position because after the first hour he would spend the rest of the meeting nodding off, and he was the final say on projects, resources and budgets.

    4. Green*

      OP mentioned the meetings lasting several hours in the afternoon. I’m a lawyer and love to hear myself talk, but no meeting should go longer than about an hour without a 10 or 15 minute break. It gives EVERYONE a chance to walk around, check emails, run to the bathroom or get a snack and then come back able to concentrate on the task at hand. So OP could pipe up and say, “My/our energy is flagging a bit. Do you think we could have a short break?”

      Separately, telling coworker that you are concerned about them and want to make sure they talk to their doctor is a kind thing to do. But if OP’s coworker has a medical reason for the nodding off, then the coworker has the responsibility to ask for reasonable accommodations and to share that they have a disability (although not what the disability is). If not, OP could be fired for behavior related to the disability and can’t bring it up after the fact.

  3. The IT Manager*

    #2, sour grapes much? And who would you report this illegal gambling to? Seriously? I know it is illegal, but the police are not going to show up and arrest anyone over an office football pool.

    If you want to participate ask the host to include you or host it yourself? Do you really think people are having that much fun with a football pool? It sucks to be left out, but it sound like you’re making a mountain over a mole hill.

    1. Artemesia*

      I was sort of shocked that someone would go from, ‘I don’t get to do it’ to ‘I want to get the people who are having fun and I’m not into trouble.’ I’d be working to enlarge the pool; has to be some way to do that.

      1. Canuck*

        There is a simple way to enlarge the pool – just add another set of squares/board. Most people want to buy more than one square on superbowl boards so I’m sure they could fill the 200 spots easily. This way they can allow everyone who wants to play a chance to participate, and then fill the remaining squares by those who like to play more.

        1. Another Lauren*

          This was my immediate thought and I admit I was a little surprised that the thought of reporting the illegal activity came up (by OP) before this idea. Seems like a simple straight-forward solution to me.

          1. Gene*

            Mine too. Here in WA, so long as no one is taking a cut and all wagers are paid out, it’s not illegal.

            I can think of at least 6 or 7 pools around here in which I could have participated.

        2. Formica Dinette*

          True enough about adding another board, but the people who organize mine added another board one year due to popular demand and found it was enough extra work that it wasn’t fun for them anymore. That said, I think OP should approach the organizers next year about getting in on the action and/or see if there’s enough interest to start another board and then help out with it. The second board could be cheaper than the first one, e.g., $1/square instead of $5/square to encourage participation.

    2. PEBCAK*

      Are we sure it’s illegal? I think if the person running it is NOT taking a cut, it doesn’t *actually* run afoul of the laws in most states.

      1. doreen*

        Yep, that’s true in at least some states – it only becomes illegal when one or more people is guaranteed to make money.

        About adding a board -that might not work even if all 130 people are interested and you’ll never find a place where every single person is interested in anything.

        1. Juli G.*

          That’s why I found this a little strange – 77% might be the best participation rate in an optional office activity I’ve ever seen.

    3. Meg Murry*

      Yes – what would have happened if you had walked up to the host with $1 or $5 or whatever the squares were going for? At a minimum, ask if you can buy a square if there is one left after the main group buys them – what can it hurt?

    4. danr*

      In my state, betting pools like the Super Bowl pools are not illegal as long as all of the money taken in is distributed. It becomes illegal when the person running the pool takes a cut ” for administrative purposes”. And, why rely on a set of sqares? A more sophisticated way to do this is to have a spreadsheet set up. That way any number can participate.

      1. LBK*

        My understanding of how squares work is admittedly vague, but I don’t think setting up a spreadsheet changes how many people can play – each combo of numbers can still only be owned by one person.

        1. danr*

          No… the way it was done, was that each person who wanted to play kicked in. Each person did their brackets and turned them in. A point system tied to the tiers was used. As you advanced, so did the number of points that you had. It was also weighted so picking the winner guaranteed a win. If no one picked the winner (NCAA basketball), then the points determined the paybacks. If two people picked the winner, the top money was split. Despite some misgivings by folks used to the squares method, it worked quite well.

          1. danr*

            Oops.. I read further and I see that I misunderstood the game. Shows you how out of touch my old office was.

      2. The IT Manager*

        There are only hundred squares because there are ten numbers (0-9) that the score can end with. 10 x 10 =100.

      3. The IT Manager*

        FYI: If this is what I am thinking of this is not traditional gambling where one predicts the score. People select a square from 100 possible options. After the fact numbers 0 though 9 are filled in for column and row headers meaning that people can’t pick likely scores. At the end of each quarter, you use the last digit of the score (for example 10 becomes 0, 21 becomes 1, etc) to find the square/person who has won that quarter where both teams scores intersect.

        It can be as low or high stakes as you want depending on how much you charge for squares, but the major advantage is it is inclusive because players don’t have to know anything about football to play (just pick a square) and it’s entirely luck. The more knoweledgable person has no advantage over the clueless one because the numbers are only assigned to squares after the names are filled in.

        FYI: I did this in elemetary school for the whole football season. No money change hands and I think its purpose was educational (charts, numbers, intersecting squares) and I can’t recall if the winner got anything or not. Maybe some classroom privledge.

        This is where I also note, it’s not THAT fun (for me anyway). It adds a bit of excitement as you watch the game hoping for your numbers to come up, but that’s it.

    5. MK*

      I agree, but I think some people would be bound to feel excluded if the host gets to choose who participates; the OP can be excused for being miffed. It would be best if there was a “first come, first served” system.

    6. Where late the sweet birds sang*

      But IT Manager, I assume that if upper management asked OP if there was gambling occurring at work, you’d advise him to tell the truth, correct?

    7. jhhj*

      Or you can say you’d like to join in, too, and ask them what they suggest to do. It could well be that people feel obliged to join in to make 100, etc.

  4. Sam*

    Dont jump to the conclusion that your office football pool is illegal. Many (not all) states have exceptions for “social gambling” – where everyone knows each other and there’s no bookie (I.e., all the money goes into the pot). Friendly/office pools and the weekly poker game fall into these sorts of exceptions. And even in states that don’t have this sort of exception, the authorities are not going to waste their time on something like this unless serious money is involved.

    If the issue is actually that not everyone gets to participate because there aren’t enough boxes,why don’t you just suggest that they run a second set of boxes? That would actually solve the problem you claim you have without turning you into the office pariah.

    1. Dan*

      There was an article in the Washington Post not too long ago about a local high stakes poker game getting busted up by a SWAT team. These guys were playing for like a $20k buy-in or something ridiculous. (For comparison, the BFD tournament “World Series of Poker” is only a $10k buy in.)

      Apparently they ran afoul of the “bookie” rule for having professional dealers that they paid to deal the game.

      I think they got the charges dropped with a plea bargain in exchange for staying clean for two years or something, and they also had to fork over like 60% of the cash under civil asset forfeiture rules.

      1. Artemesia*

        We sadly now live in a country where police departments use swat teams to deal with such very low risk and ordinary issues. This is just grotesque.

        1. Sourire*

          Just a thought (though I admittedly know nothing about this case in particular), I’d imagine it’s not out of the question, or even unlikely for a game with that much money in the room to have a couple people with weapons on the premises for let’s say, asset protection purposes. I’m not sure you could necessarily call it low risk. Not sure it needs a SWAT response either…

          1. Artemesia*

            Swat teams are used most of the time because it is fun for police. They are used to deliver court orders for trivial offenses in some cases. They have been used on elderly people with no record of violence.

            1. Kate*

              There was a fairly funny quote in the article about this, where one of the participants said “They could have gotten the same result by sending a retired detective with a clipboard.” (paraphrased.)

      2. esra*

        they also had to fork over like 60% of the cash under civil asset forfeiture rules.

        That just seems hopelessly corrupt to me. Did you see the John Oliver segment on civil forfeitures?

        1. MK*

          I have no idea what this is, but in my country many nonviolent crimes have monetary punishment and, if the crime was committed to obtain money, the product is always seized. I think that’s not a bad idea; what good does it do to give people who break the law in this way a jail sentence? Losing the money seems a much more appropriate penalty, and probably more effective.

          What do you mean by corrupt? Where does the money go to?

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Tangentially: People are not able to get back stolen items that were recovered for them for reasons that are vague and sketchy.

          1. esra*

            Corrupt as in, even when there is no crime the police can just take money and goods.

            The money goes to the police budget, which is a huge invitation to corruption. In one case Oliver highlighted, the police bought a margarita machine with money seized.

            1. MK*

              I see. In my legislation the seizure takes affect after the accused has been convicted and lost their appeal and the money goes to the state.

    2. Mockingjay*

      #2: I worked for a company that (unofficially) ran a season-long football pool with a unique twist. Each week, half the proceeds went to a winner; the other half went to a “Hearts and Flowers” fund. It was nice having a small pot of money readily available to provide flowers or cards for ill colleagues, new moms, and so on. Pretty much the entire department participated (even non-sports fans); the guy that ran the pool did a really good job. I would ask whoever runs yours to expand it, and maybe consider doing something like we did.

      1. Kat A.*

        The “Hearts and Flowers” fund sounds like a great idea. I’m going to pass this along. Thanks, Mockingjay.

  5. JAL*

    #1 – This resonated with me, as I am on a boatload of medicines for my back problems that I take in the morning and make me zone out, especially if I can’t sleep at night (luckily in my case, if I know this will happen, I can work from home and hide the issue for that day).

    Other than that, I completely agree with Alison’s advice. Definitely talk to a manager or someone trusted.

    1. fposte*

      I was thinking the same thing–that it’s a medication he’s on for one of the health conditions he’s been so open about.

      1. JAL*

        Also, (as I’m experiencing now) a lot of health problems cause insomnia in relation to them.

        Yeah tomorrow is definitely going to be a work at home day. That is if there is actually any work for me to do…

      2. themmases*

        Me too. I was thinking that if the project manager has been open about his health problems, he may think he’s been clear that this is related to them.

  6. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: I can’t really get on board with calling a Super Bowl betting pool “illegal,” even though I guess it technically is. Why does there just have to be one pool?

    #4: I have to agree with Alison here. Keeping fraternity stuff on a resume so long after graduating kind of gives off the same vibe as someone who peaks in high school. At least it does to me, anyway. Full disclosure — I had zero interest in joining a sorority in college. I know there’s a networking aspect to fraternities and sororities after college, but I always thought that was done in more informal/social settings.

    1. Duschamp*

      I was in a sorority in college, and I have to agree that fraternity/sorority membership has no place on a resume (with the aforementioned caveats of the 1st resume out of college and then really only if you held a leadership position). Frankly, it doesn’t belong there because membership in a club is not an accomplishment.

      Greek letter organizations do make a very big deal about the networking opportunities, but I have never heard anyone suggest that you should pursue that by sticking it on your resume. Rather, if he wants to usefully take advantage of his fraternity membership, he should really make contact with his alumni association, or look into joining his fraternity’s LinkedIn group.

      1. Elysian*

        I enthusiastically agree with both of these recommendations. If he wants to leverage his fraternity membership into a job, he should be networking with other alums. LinkedIn would also be an appropriate place to list it. Get it off the resume though.

  7. Amanda J*

    I just want to speak up regarding the football pool. Sometimes the organizers of the pool are afraid to approach those that haven’t participated in the past. I would bet that if you speak up, they’ll add you to the list. This is what happened to me so when I joined my present company I started asking around if anyone organizes a Superbowl pool in January and found the right guy to speak to.

    Now is a good time to mention if you are interested in doing a March Madness bracket ;)

    1. JB*

      Or sometimes they aren’t afraid to approach but they assume you aren’t interested. I didn’t participate in our Sweet Sixteen pool the first year I was at my job, and then the next year the organizers didn’t ask me because they assumed I wasn’t a sports pool person. They weren’t being exclusionary, they were trying to be considerate.

  8. ella*

    OP #5–Your bible must be fairly sizable (or the other things in your locker quite large) to not fit in your locker, even the small 12″x12″x12″ cubes that I’ve seen at most employers. It might be worth it to just pay for a smaller version that can fit in your purse or jacket pocket, that way you don’t have to worry about leaving it out.

    It may not have anything to do with the fact that it’s a bible; your manager may feel that the lockers are for personal belongings and doesn’t want those belongings to start spilling over into what is technically communal space. We have a really small breakroom, so if people start storing their books or jackets on the tables and chairs, pretty soon there’s no space for anyone to eat. I’d feel annoyed by any book taking up space regardless of its personal faith or lack thereof. And finally, even if you know and trust your coworkers, I’d still recommend keeping your personal possessions somewhere safer than a breakroom table. Everyone I know has had something stolen from the employee breakroom at least once in their lives.

    tl;dr: Get a smaller bible that will fit in your locker.

    1. JAL*


      This isn’t the professional world, but when I was in high school, someone stole my library card out of my purse when I got up to throw my garbage away in the cafeteria. They ended up getting me $80 in late fees on Barney DVDs (Yes, that Barney). I don’t trust leaving anything (not even food) in common areas now because I don’t want someone taking it.

      1. I'm a Little Teapot*

        WTF? Who steals library cards? I’ve worked in libraries for several years and never heard of that happening.

        Though it doesn’t really surprise me that it does. Reading AAM means a lot of things no longer surprise me.

        1. KT*

          Really? What kind of library do you work in? I work in a public library and we see people dealing with this kind of issue all the time…huge fines because someone used their library card without their knowledge or permission. At least a couple per week at my location alone… I assumed this happened in all/most libraries!

          1. Cath in Canada*

            Happened to a friend of mine – someone was taking out vast numbers of DVDs and never returning them, back when DVDs were still worth something. She’d cancelled all her other cards when her wallet got stolen, but just never even considered the library card to be a risk.

        2. Ella*

          I work in a library and we’ve had to work with a few kids because their parent (sometime noncustodial parent) runs up so many fines on their cards that they get blocked, so they steal their kid’s card and use that until that got blocked too. And then the kid can’t check anything out or use the computer. It’s incredibly lame.

    2. Artemesia*


      My first thought if a colleague left a Bible sitting out in the break room would be that it was inappropriate proselytizing. And people shouldn’t be using public space to store personal items quite apart from the religious overtones here. I don’t want someone’s sneakers in the corner, bicycle etc etc

      1. Zillah*

        I think that can depend somewhat on the culture – there are certainly places where it wouldn’t be really weird to leave something small in the break room.

        However, if the OP has a locker, it seems like this may not be one of them. And regardless, I would be uncomfortable finding a bible in the break room – honestly, I might take it as a tacit approval of Christianity (like, maybe the owners put it there?) and worry about revealing non Christian sentiments.

        1. Kelly L.*

          To me, it kind of comes off as a “hint.” The LW mentions that you’d have to read it for yourself to know what it is. It feels like she hopes people will get curious, read it for themselves, and have a religious epiphany on the spot. :) Sort of a…passive proselytizing maybe?

          1. Zillah*

            Yeah, exactly. OP, that may not be the case – but I think enough of us are expressing discomfort with the situation as you’ve explained it to us that you should consider the possibility that some of your coworkers may feel the same way. It’s not just about whether you are proselytizing or trying to promote Christianity – it’s also about whether the people around you feel like you are, whatever your intentions are.

          2. fposte*

            I didn’t read it that way–it just seemed a pretty natural way of describing why it doesn’t immediately read to passersby as a Bible.

            For me, it’s a question of the reading material in the break room. If there’s various reading materials left in the break room, whatever the OP reads can be left there too–presuming she’s willing to take the chance of its being considered communal property and walking away, which is the natural fate of break room materials. But if people aren’t leaving reading material in the break room, it’s reasonable not to start here.

            (It’s possible the concern was the walking away, too; if this is a particular Bible that has meaning to you, I wouldn’t leave it in the break room, and if I knew that it was as a supervisor, that might be enough for me to say no as well.)

          3. Goldie*

            It’s happened to me recently, so yes, I think it might come across as a hint of that nature. In my case, I was at a furniture store and saw a stack of flyers on a table in their show room, advertising “Eternal life insurance”. It’s been so long since I left church that I’d forgotten what the words “eternal life” mean, and picked it up, thinking it was an ad for a local life insurance company. Very quickly realized my mistake and put it back. Next thing I know, the store owner walks up to me saying “I saw you were interested in this flyer; I can tell you more”. Very awkward. I tried my best to give my nicest negative answer to this sweet old guy, that a close friend of mine had to buy furniture from. But yes, he put the flyers there as bait. And if I saw someone’s personal belongings, of a religious nature, being left day after day in a spot where personal belongings shouldn’t be stored, I’d assume the same thing.

            1. Jill*

              I have to say, I, too, thought this question was the OP’s way of finding a “legal” way to get her boss to let her promote reading the Bible. If so, there is a place to promote your religion and the workplace is not it. I am a Christian who studies the Bible and I would find it off-putting to see religious literature at work.
              If it really is a size issue, buy a pocket/purse sized Bible – they are super cheap used on Amazon. I mean, if your Bible is that important to you that you read it on your lunch/break why risk someone damaging it or stealing it? But, OP, if you’re trying to win converts here, this is not the way to do it.

      2. nona*

        I was wondering about that and the potential for something that’s important to LW to be lost or stolen.

        1. Zahra*

          And if a coworker was particularly bothered by the Bible (or any proselytizing happening at work), they may take the Bible home just to spite you (and do it repeatedly). Yes, if they are caught stealing, it doesn’t reflect very well on them, but if the manager wants to manage leaving the Bible in the break room by letting someone steal it, they probably won’t be caught stealing it.

          1. Jazzy Red*

            I once had a book on office ethics that I lent to a few people who asked for it. The last one kept it. I figured she needed it more than we did.

            I would think the same thing if someone stole a Bible.

            1. Loose Seal*

              But might someone legitimately think that a Bible lying around might be for them to take home? I feel as though the Gideon Bibles are so prevalent (I am in the Bible Belt, so that might color my interpretation) that any unattended Bible might be fair game for anyone to pick up.

    3. Nina*

      This. I wouldn’t leave anything personal out in the open in the break room because I would be scared that someone would steal it, whether it’s a Bible, my favorite book, sweater, etc. Personal belongings belong in your locker.

    4. Mary*

      Agree 100% There are many small versions and I would think it best that you obtain a bible that fits your locker. If you did not take this step I think your employer would be right in thinking that you were attempting to proselytize to your co-workers.

    5. Bunny*

      Very much this.

      1- If you take your bible with you to work, an this SPECIFIC bible that is large and apparently not replaceable by a smaller, more practical one, presumably it means a lot to you. I highly doubt your boss wants to be liable for an important personal item being lost, stolen or damaged – all risks in a room like that. You wouldn’t leave your purse, your wedding ring or your lunch in a shared space like that.
      2- And not even maliciously – I’ve known break-rooms where it was common for people to have a shelf of books that anyone could take home in return for a small donation in an honesty box, with proceeds going to charity, for example.
      3- Most workplace break-rooms tend to be small spaces compared to the number of people using them. Your co-workers need to use the space too, and no one wants to eat their lunch right next to someone else’s stuff. People get annoyed at others leaving their coats on the back of break-room chairs, about taking up too much space with their lunch, people are definitely going to look askance at you leaving a massive book there all the time.
      4- It’s possible I’m over-sensitive to this stuff due to my getting proselytised at a lot at various points in my life, but if I were working in a supposedly secular space and found myself staring at an apparently massive bible every time I popped into the break-room, I’d feel uncomfortable. I’d likely misinterpret it as an item left by someone with authority at work, on purpose, not as the personal belongings of one staff member. It’d make me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, as someone who isn’t Christian. I imagine that’s also something your employer is keen to avoid, if they employ people of various faiths.

      TL;DR, don’t leave your bible in a shared work space. How big is this bible?! Even the smallest locker I’ve had access to had space for my handbag, a rolled-up cardigan and a bag of knitting. If your bible is too large to fit into that space, I imagine it must be something of an inconvenience for you to cart around outside of work, too. Smaller bibles, bibles about the size of regular books and even smaller still, are widely available. You can even get smaller texts of specific devotionals and stuff. You can even find them small enough to fit in a pocket, and you could keep it close to your heart at all times. Invest in a portable bible for out-and-about and keep this large, special book somewhere at home.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        OP, this is a very impressive explanation of many different angles to your question. I go to church and I read the bible and, yet, I think that there is a lot of merit to what Bunny has said here. I have gone through stuff in my life where I have felt the need to read the bible several times a day so I do understand that this can be important to people.
        If you cannot make the bible fit in your locker, you can get a cheap tote bag and hang the tote bag up where you hang your coat. Actually, this works in your favor. I could just see me tripping over my own two feet and dumping coffee all over your bible because it was right in front of me when I started to fall. This is probably a good idea for any book, because books get banged up very easily.

      2. Cat*

        It’s possible I’m over-sensitive to this stuff due to my getting proselytised at a lot at various points in my life, but if I were working in a supposedly secular space and found myself staring at an apparently massive bible every time I popped into the break-room, I’d feel uncomfortable. I’d likely misinterpret it as an item left by someone with authority at work, on purpose, not as the personal belongings of one staff member.

        I’d have the same response. I don’t know how that factors into the legality of asking the OP not to leave it out, but on an individual level, I think it’s worth thinking that hey, maybe your boss is trying to make sure all of your co-workers are comfortable in the break room.

        1. fposte*

          I think that there’s a real risk of going in a bad direction there, though, if that’s what the supervisor is doing; that’s a rationale that could justify a lot of things that I really wouldn’t want to get behind. For instance, sorry, no reading materials in Arabic script in the break room; they make people uncomfortable.

          1. Theo*

            I don’t think anyone said don’t read the Bible in there. Leaving it there at all times though, even in LW’s absence, might give an implication that it is THE sanctioned breakroom Bible for common use, which makes it seem like it is the preferred religion of someone in authority.

            I am Christian, and if I saw this, I’d assume the business had a Christian culture, not a secular one. However, if I saw someone reading the Bible in the breakroom, I’d assume that religion was important to that one person (which is not a bad thing).

            1. fposte*

              And I’m an atheist, and I’d be against banning a Bible because it might make people uncomfortable–I guess we’re both freethinkers among our people :-).

              My concern is that there are multiple factors to be considered here, and that while I understand that people might misread the situation of a Bible’s in the break room, and I understand it might make some people uncomfortable, I’m not sure those are the paramount factors in this situation. (I also suspect that law isn’t sure of that either.)

              1. Cat*

                I’m just talking about the employee’s perspective here – one thing to think about is the impression that other employees are going to get from a huge (presumably?) Bible on the break room table at all times. I think most of can have some sympathy for why our employer wouldn’t want employees to think that we, the employer, had done that.

                1. fposte*

                  Oh, I definitely understand that, especially if it does turn out to be a huge Bible. (Though I don’t think we can be sure that’s the case–once you’ve stuffed a coat and purse into a cubicle locker, there’s not much room left.) I just think this is an area where catering too much to some people’s possible discomfort is going to set some dicey precedents. I wouldn’t, if I were the manager, make a rule based on it.

              2. Green*

                The law just wants you to treat everyone the same.

                If people can leave Twilight and 50 Shades on the breakroom table, then OP can leave the Bible. If people can’t leave personal property in the breakroom (or personal property of only a specific type — meals, lunch items, etc.), then employer can tell OP she can’t leave the Bible in there. Employer cannot tell OP that she can’t read the Bible during break (if everyone is allowed to bring reading material during break). The employer could certainly set neutral rules (no personal items in the break room, you cannot bring anything to work that won’t fit in your locker, etc.) and (in this situation) OP is not unlikely to be entitled to an accommodation.

                From the other perspective, a colleague of a different faith (or no faith) could certainly view the “leaving-the-giant-Bible-on-the-common-table” as harassment. I would interpret it as passive aggressive proselytizing if someone knew I didn’t share their faith but left out their (apparently very large) religious material in the common space. So the employer may believe that’s the greater liability here.

                1. ella*

                  The law just wants you to treat everyone the same.

                  This. And this is another interpretation that may not be getting enough attention–if people ARE leaving novels and magazines and what have you around, then I think the OP can push back and point out that other people are leaving their reading materials in the breakroom, and that it’s not fair (and potentially not lawful) to ONLY ban bibles or religious material. But the manager’s most likely response, in that scenario, is going to be to remove all the other reading material. I don’t know if the ownership of the reading material matters (ie, we’ve got half a dozen books/magazines that are “homeless” that people are welcome to help themselves to, and this one bible that belongs to a specific person, or if there’s a bookshelf in the break room where people store their books until lunchtime and it’s understood that all those books are private property. I…can’t imagine the second scenario).

                  That still doesn’t change the danger to the OP’s bible if there’s a food spill or if it wanders away, of course, so even if she’s legally allowed to store her bible in the break room, I don’t think she should.

              3. Theo*

                I absolutely think the LW should be able to read his/her Bible during breaks, whenever and wherever they may be. As should anyone of any religion. Leaving the book there at all times makes it seem more of a company promoted belief system rather than an individual’s though, and I think that’s where people above are drawing the line.

                I don’t think anyone is advocating banning the Bible from the breakroom period. I’m certainly not and wouldn’t want to give that impression. I agree that whether it makes people uncomfortable is not the paramount factor (maybe people don’t want clutter in the breakroom?). It is A factor though if the LW wants to be empathetic to what others may feel.

              4. Bunny*

                Oh aye, I definitely wouldn’t want to comment on the legality of the matter being impacted on by other people’s personal comfort. But I just thought it might be something for OP to keep in mind. I mean, I don’t bring in delicious leftover curry or blue cheese sandwiches for my work lunch because I am mindful that the smell might bother co-workers.

                In Christian-dominated societies, there is a History between the Christian people in said society and those who don’t share their faith that creates pressures. I’ve never had people of any other faith try to convert me, or condemn me to my face for not being the same faith as them, or rant loudly about a “War on” their faith any time literally any other faith gets even a second of public recognition or accommodation. I can’t get legally married in the eyes of my gods where I live, and newspapers wrote mocking and wildly inaccurate articles decrying it when it became known that our police force, which allowed Christian officers the right to ask for – but not automatically receive – religious days off, extended the same courtesy to pagans and other faiths.

                That doesn’t make OPs choice any more or less moral or any more or less legal. But if the comfort of their colleagues is important to them and they aren’t actually trying to subtly convert people, it just might be something they’d want to be aware of.

                1. Bunny*

                  *EDIT* I’m talking specifically about leaving the bible in the break room here, not about them personally reading it during their break. I’ve no problem with anyone reading their preferred material on their own time (although reading it aloud might be another matter entirely! But I’d feel that way about 50SOG too!)

            2. INTP*

              I think it depends on the placement of the Bible in the breakroom. Putting something (magazines, food, coupons, or whatever else) in a highly visible part of the break room, like on a table or the middle of the counter, is a pretty universal way of saying “This is for sharing.” So if the bible is sitting in the middle of the table, that could be interpreted as an attempt at getting other people to read the bible, and it would be reasonable to want the OP to keep it somewhere else imo. If the Bible were hidden away in a cabinet or corner, I would see it as someone storing it for their personal use and not wanting others to use it, and it would not bother me at all. I’m not saying that the bible needs to be hidden away because the very sight of a religious book might offend people but because the “body language” of its placement might give a more aggressive message than intended.

            3. Juni*

              As a non-Christian, I would have no problem with people READING their bible in the break room. I just wouldn’t want to see one left there. Also, as a supervisor, if I were supervising a young, transient group of retail employees, I would want to avoid any drama that could unfold by someone seeing it and deciding to also leave a copy of Satanic Verses in there, or whatever. “Don’t leave your personal belongings somewhere other than your locker” is a good solid policy.

      3. JMegan*

        Re Bunny’s third point, the space being small and other coworkers needing to use it as well.

        OP, have you considered what would happen if somebody accidentally spilled their coffee on your bible? I don’t think anybody would do it on purpose, but accidents do happen, and things do get spilled. Especially on tables in busy breakrooms – it’s just not a risk I would be willing to take.

        1. JB*

          This, for real. I am a spiller, and a number of my coworkers are spillers. People sometimes leave reading materials for others in our breakroom, and I think 90% of them have had something spilled on them.

    6. snuck*

      All of the above… and…

      Professionally… is this the hill you want to die on? Pick your battles etc…

      I’d let this one go through personally, if your biggest issue at your job is that your boss won’t let you leave your bible on the table (but wants it in the provided locker) then it must be a great workplace! If it’s not the biggest issue and there’s something more pressing… then put your cookies and glasses of milk into that issue instead and don’t waste your reputation on this one.

    7. Leah*

      Also, if LW has a smartphone there’s an app for that no matter what language you want to read in or version you want to read with all the bells and whistles. A number of my friends used to carry around a siddur (Jewish prayer book, usually thick paperback) and some also carried a volume of Talmud (hardcover the size of an encyclopedia volume) so they were thrilled when they could get a digital version on their phones.

      As much as I strongly prefer to read hardcopy, this seems like a pretty easy solution to this specific problem.

      1. Observer*

        You can probably find just about any sacred book you can think of for your phone or e-reader. (KJV Bibles for sure.) A lot of them are free, and most of the ones that aren’t are not too expensive. And, you don;t need to pay an arm and leg for the gadgets, either.

        Oh, and by the way, you can get Talmud volumes that are fairly small, but the standard size is actually larger than a typical encyclopedia – they are folio sized. If y0ur eyes can handle it, and e-reader is WAY easier to deal with.

    8. Blue_eyes*

      A smaller bible was my first thought too. There are plenty of pocket-sized ones available.

      Even if you’re just leaving the bible on the table as a place to store it, you run the risk of looking like you are trying to proselytize to coworkers by leaving a large religious text in a shared area.

      1. ella*

        If she is trying to subtly proselytize, I think the comments on this question so far could convince her that that’s not an effective strategy to employ.

      2. Calliope*

        If I knew one of my coworkers tended to leave a large religious text lying about in the breakroom, I’d be under the impression that they were trying to show off how pious they were.

    9. Zahra*

      Alison, what about if all religious materials should be left out of the break room? Or all reading materials not linked to work or provided by the employer (i.e. security pamphlets, the odd magazine, etc.)? Would that run afoul of discrimination laws?

      1. Kelly L.*

        I definitely wouldn’t want to ban reading books while in the break room–when I eat alone, I read, and if I’m on break from work I’m likely going to be reading. But that’s actively reading the book while you’re there. I think a rule against leaving your personal belongings on the table when you’re not there is a better way to go. It’s so not secure anyway. This Bible is obviously very important to this LW, and I certainly wouldn’t want to leave such a beloved object out where anyone could take it, deface it for kicks, or even just accidentally spill their soda on it.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        They can ban all reading material in the break room, religious and otherwise. They can’t ban only religious material if they’re allowing other personal material.

        However, if they banned all reading materials and someone had a bona fide religious need to keep religious material with them at work (and I don’t know if such a bona fide need exists or not), they’d probably need to find a way to accommodate that. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be by keeping it in the break room though; they might have a different solution that worked better.

        1. Joey*

          They could get away with it by banning all personal items being left in the break room and just allow company purchased stuff to remain there.

          Im not sure that keeping reading material with you needs to be accommodated by allowing an oversized item in the break room. The manager could very well say no personal items of any kind can be left in the break room, but yes you can keep any personal items that fit in your locker. They probably don’t have to provide a secure location for personal religious items that are too large if its not easily done and they don’t do it for anyone else.

          1. Cat*

            That seems like the logical solution here, with side benefits of not cluttering up the break room tables and limiting potential problems re lost and stolen items.

        2. bridget*

          Right, but they only have to provide a “reasonable” accommodation, which is actually a pretty low bar. It’s much lower than other accommodation requirements (such as ADA accommodation). I think the conversation above suggests that perhaps the accommodation that the OP is suggesting feels a little unreasonable, because it’s not clear why she needs to have such a large bible with her at work. They may have to accommodate some way for her to keep a bible with her, but it would be quite an unusual bona fide religious requirement to specifically need a bible too large to fit in a locker, which in my experience usually fit most reasonably-sized books.

          Furthermore, the reasonable accommodation analysis is pretty sensitive to the convenience and comfort of nonadherent coworkers. If there is a good chance they will feel like it is either passive proselyting on the part of the OP, or left there by someone in authority at the company, it could change from reasonable to unreasonable pretty quickly.

          Two caselaw examples spring to mind: a court held that an employer was not required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious requirement to express his feelings about his LGBT coworkers by passively leaving quotations from Leviticus around, because it made his coworkers uncomfortable and was contrary to the inclusive and secular work culture his employers wanted to promote. In another case, a court held that an employer had to accommodate an employee who felt he could not sign a workplace diversity statement saying that he “valued” all differences between people, including sexual orientation, even though he was happy to sign something saying he would treat all coworkers with respect, because it really made no difference to everyone around him whether he internally “valued” the fact that his coworkers were diverse.

          In my estimation, leaving a bible around seems more like the first one, especially if the OP doesn’t want to get a smaller bible to keep in her locker, because it at least looks like passive proselyting to others (even if that isn’t her subjective intent).

          1. bridget*

            I suppose this comment is in kind of a weird place; not disagreeing with Alison, just expanding on what Title VII religious accommodation might look like (or not look like) in a situation like this.

          2. fposte*

            But wouldn’t deliberately chosen and placed quotations be a different thing than a big ol’ piece of reading material included along with other reading material? (Of course, we don’t know if there is other reading material here, but its existence makes a huge difference to how I think of the situation, so I’m wondering.)

            1. Zillah*

              I think it’s somewhere between the two – but yes, I agree that it might be different if everyone else is leaving reading material on the table but the OP has been told that she specifically can’t.

            2. Green*

              The relevant question is whether the colleagues feel that the Bible is there for her benefit (to read during breaks) or for theirs (proselytizing). While the Bible includes lots of lovely wisdom and verses, it also includes many passages that others would view as offensive and objectionable as related to their protected status (towards LGBT people, women, non-Christians, etc.), as well as some graphic violence and sexual content. It doesn’t matter whether or not the OP specifically highlights them.

              1. fposte*

                I don’t think that’s necessarily the relevant question, though; it’s not up to her co-workers to vote on the acceptability of her bible, and it’s certainly not up to them to vote on the legality.

                1. bridget*

                  It is a very relevant question legally, because the discomfort/inconvenience of her co-workers is a big factor when it comes to whether her requested accommodation is a reasonable one or not. Their subjective experience will probably override her subjective intent, unless it’s somehow made very clear to her coworkers that 1) it’s not the company that’s putting the bible there, it’s the OP and 2) she does not intend to be passively proselyting when she leaves (what sounds like) a giant bible in the breakroom.

                2. Evan Þ*

                  If coworkers’ discomfort is not universally applied as a standard, though, applying it only to religious books could in itself be religious discrimination. If Bob can forbid me from leaving my Bible in the breakroom because it makes him uncomfortable, I should be able to forbid him from leaving his Fifty Shades of Too Much Information there because it makes me uncomfortable.

              2. Green*

                I basically restated the legal standard. They don’t get to vote on it. In fact, only one of them has to feel that it’s objectionable as related to their protected status and it has to be reasonable. 50 Shades of TMI could also very easily create a hostile work environment if it relates to someone’s protected status (gender, religion, etc.). So could leaving out a Victoria’s Secret magazine (or ESPN’s The Body issue) or even a discussion of Grey’s Anatomy every week. The issue is whether it (1) relates to a protected status and (2) whether someone mentions to management that they find it unwelcome and offensive or if management themselves see it.

              3. catsAreCool*

                If the OP was reading the Bible out loud, that would be one thing. Leaving the Bible somewhere where other people can leaf through it doesn’t seem all that passive aggressive to me.

                But I think the OP should put it somewhere safe. Leaving something out like that might get it stolen.

            3. Not So NewReader*

              Certain quotes come loaded with inferences and when directed at a particular person that can be really unnerving.

              Leviticus, by it’s subject nature, lends itself well for this type of tactic.
              Yeah, if someone left Leviticus quotes in my work area, I might start feeling very uncomfortable and it would not be because of my so-called big sin. I would feel very uncomfortable that a person took the time to find these quotes and pick them out just for me.

              1. bridget*

                Right; it’s a lot more targeted and potentially offensive than leaving a bible around and potentially hoping someone will read it. But I think it’s similar in kind, even if it’s lesser in magnitude.

          3. Evan Þ*

            There are many concerns here aside from passive proselytizing, though. A footbath for Muslim prayers could also look like passive proselytizing to some people, but it’s been not just allowed but required as an accommodation. Personally reading the Bible on break could also look like passive proselytizing, but an employer must allow it if he allows people to read nonreligious books. Employees are not required to leave their faith in private due to other people’s fears of proselytizing.

            1. bridget*

              No, but if there’s a way for them to still perform the requirements of their faith and also eliminate the inconvenience/discomfort to others in the workplace, the inconvenient version of practicing religion isn’t a “reasonable accommodation” under Title VII and the employer doesn’t have to make the accommodation. Basically, if a smaller bible is an option, they can refuse to accommodate the larger bible.

              1. Evan Þ*

                But they also can’t single out religious books over nonreligious books. If an 8×12 copy of Moby Dick is allowed, an 8×12 copy of the Bible must also be allowed. If no 8×12 books are allowed at all, then you’re right, but OP hasn’t specified, and your first post didn’t mention this distinction at all.

                1. bridget*

                  I disagree. Employers have interests in maintaining secular work environments if that’s what they prefer, and absent having to make “reasonable accommodations” as required under Title VII, they can do so. So, as long as religious employees are accommodated to the extent it’s reasonable (again, a low bar), an employer CAN say “reading material is okay, but keep it non-religious.” In that context, the OP could ask for a religious accommodation because she believes she needs to have the bible with her at work. An accommodation to keep it in her locker might be reasonable, where an accommodation to bring a large one that must be left on the table might not be.

                  Private employers don’t have to protect the constitutional free exercise rights of individuals; they aren’t the government and so the Free Exercise clause doesn’t apply to them. Their only standard (federally) to protect religious activity in the workplace is Title VII, and the standard for that is “reasonable accommodation,” not “equal standards for religious and nonreligious stuff.”

                2. Zillah*

                  @ bridget – Yeah, you’re not wrong, I don’t think. We can argue all day about whether the employer should do that, but while IANAL, I can’t imagine that telling the OP they can’t keep their large bible on the break room table (and it seems like there’s only one, since the OP said “the” rather than “a”) outside their lunch break would qualify as unreasonable unless there’s a lot of information we’re missing.

    10. Elder Dog*

      I wonder if the problem here isn’t proselytizing so much as just bringing too much stuff to work. Or perhaps the OP is trying to secure and defend a “home” for herself in the breakroom.

      The employer probably feels the locker has all the room people need to store personal things at work. Since it’s retail, the employer might prefer people not bring larger items back and forth to work as an anti-theft measure. There’ve been large books with hidden compartments in them before.

      I agree with most others, the OP might be better served bringing a pocket-sized book to work or get an app where she can digitize notes.

      1. Loose Seal*

        Lots of people have said this but does it change the picture if the OP needs a large print book due to vision issues? Does their right to read something in a font they can clearly see trump the allowing only books that can be contained in the locker? (OP never mentioned vision issues or even said whether the book is larger than normal but I got a little fascinated by the topic and just wondered where the accommodation line falls.)

        1. LBK*

          You’d have to prove that there was a bona fide need to have the Bible at work in the first place before proving you also had a vision provide that required a large print copy. Unless there are some particularly devout sects I’m not aware of, no denomination of Christianity requires daily prayer at set times (like Muslim does, for instance).

          1. Zillah*

            The ADA might kick in in that case, and I’m not sure how that would change things, but yeah, I agree. IANAL, but I think it’s kind of similar to an employer banning all jewelry in the workplace for safety reasons – it’s not as simple as saying, “But I’m Christian, I want to wear my cross!” Not all religious inclinations or shows of faith have to be accommodated as a matter of course.

            1. Preston*

              If there was a vision issue it probably would have been disclosed at time of hiring since the employee might need larger print on manuals and other paperwork. At least that would be my guess.

              I worked at a bank where a person left religious materials in the break room, one day someone left some “anti religious” materials. After that there was a policy about no stuff being left in the break room .

              I think reading the bible is fine but leaving it out in a public space is stretch. Get a pocket version or a smaller large print version if you need big print.

        2. Observer*

          Well, in most cases, an ebook works well for that kind of issue, as you can generally blow up the page.

    11. Elysian*

      What about leaving the Bible in your car, if its too big for your locker (assuming that you drive to work)? Then you can go get it on your breaks. Just another option I guess.

  9. Dan*


    Honestly, just run your own square next year. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really dislike people who complain at work without offering a viable solution. 100 squares is a typical way of running these things. Suggesting that the facilitator “try and find a way to include everybody” is quite a non-starter here. There’s ways to run 50-square and 25-square brackets, but then you’ll get people who complain that they wanted to play on 100 squares but had to do the 50-square one.

    Even if he runs two 100-square brackets, now he’s gotta try and keep people happy because some are going to get two squares and others only one.

    If you run your own dang pool, then you won’t be making extra headaches for someone else.

    The legalities of this may or may not be questionable; certainly your employee handbook prohibits this activity. If it doesn’t, I betcha if you complain, it soon will. But then you’ll be the office pariah for tattling.

  10. Jules103*

    #5, May I suggest that you get a smaller bible? One that fits in a purse or coat pocket. Personally, if someone left their bible on the break room table, I’d be reluctant to use the table for its purpose (eating or drinking on break) because I might spill something. Also it would very likely make others uncomfortable thinking you were going to proselytize even if you didn’t intend to. So leaving it around is basically rude to your coworkers.
    #4, definitely leave the frat off the resume. The person hiring or sorting applications may not be the same person managing the position so it might not do what he intends, i.e. select for bosses who don’t hate frats, and, 10 years out of school, would make him seem (to me, anyway), rather immature. Unless maybe it was a subject area frat? (I seem to recall one that was all chemistry students, for example.) But regular frats just seem like drunken party organizations to most people, either unfamiliar with them, or only familiar with that type.

    1. Kathryn*

      The frat should be pulled off the resume at this point. I don’t hate frats, I’m ten years out of college so they have no impact on my life at this point, but I would assume someone who is still putting that much stock in their Greek life from a decade ago hasn’t found anything they deem important since. I don’t want to work with people who haven’t grown since college.

      Leadership positions or honors fraternities/ sororities might get a pass, depending on the position, but resume space is precious and that line should be used to show something valuable he brings to the job.

      1. Dot Warner*

        +1. Unless he’s been active in the organization after graduation (adviser to a college chapter? national officer?) , it shouldn’t take up resume space.

        OP, if your boyfriend is really interested in letting people know he was in Delta Tau Chi, he could wear his fraternity pin to the job interview. Fellow members will notice it right away, and anybody else probably won’t notice or care. And as your BF pointed out, anybody who refuses to hire him just because he was in a fraternity probably isn’t someone he wants to work for anyway.

        1. Barefoot Librarian*

          This is a great point, Dot. I’m still active in my honors society in various roles (officer, advisor, committee member) years after my graduation. I DO list those positions on my resume, but only because of current involvement and the fact that membership was merit based. I also work in academia so it actually is still very relevant. If I wear my little gold pin to interviews, it is often noticed because many people in leadership roles at universities are or have been affiliated. I don’t, however, list any of the other societies/ sororities that I was affiliated with in college. It does seem to suggest, as someone mentioned, that you’ve not done anything of merit since.

          1. Artemesia*

            An honors fraternity maybe; a social fraternity which is what I am assuming, no. The odds of people finding this jejune at this point in his life are so much higher than those finding it appropriate.

        2. nycredhead*

          I assume he wants to keep it on there in case a decisionmaker was also a member of the same fraternity. If he can do some research and see if that is indeed the case (national alumni directory, I suppose), he could mention that in his cover letter. I think keeping it on his resume all the time runs the risk of offending those who soon’t like fraternities, but also those who are prejudiced against his fraternity because of negative experiences on their campus with it.

          1. fposte*

            And those who think “It was ten years ago–why are you thinking this makes you a better candidate for me now?”

          2. Green*

            This is another really important point. Your fraternity–as represented on your campus–could be entirely different than “your” fraternity as represented on another campus or during a different era. The upstanding gentleman of Three Greek Letters in California may be the “gentlemanly frat” of visiting sick people at hospitals and raising money for their care but at a campus in Mississippi could be “The Racist Frat” or “The Date Rape Frat” (actual shorthands used for various frats on campus when I was in school). It would be really unfortunate for someone from the Upstanding Gentlemen to evoke Racist Frat from 20 years ago in an interviewers’ mind…

            1. I'm a Little Teapot*

              My brother’s campus had the Date Rape Frat too. He lived across the street from it.

      2. Allison*

        Makes sense, I’m definitely of the mind that at a certain point, the only mention of college should be your school and degree, at the end of your resume. After a couple of years of working experience, very few hiring managers will care what classes you took or what organizations you were in. You could mention them on your LinkedIn, or mention them in interviews, but they’re a waste of space in application materials.

        1. Sans*

          Great compromise – tell him to put it on LinkedIn, because hiring managers often check there! But not on the resume.

          1. Miss Chanandler Bong*

            Also, Greek organizations often have groups on linked in that you can join, which post jobs, etc. So it’s actively networking and also out there for people to see, if it matters to them (I had my sorority membership & offices on my resume last time I was job searching ~4 years out of college, but I also had only held temp/part-time jobs in my field. now that I’ve had a steady job for a while, I’ll take it off next time around. But I am a member of my org’s group on LinkedIn, which has been useful to me and also serves the same purpose as listing it on the resume)

      3. Sans*

        Exactly what I was thinking. I don’t care about frats one way or another, but someone 10 years out of college with a frat listed on their resume gives the appearance of someone who is still a “bro”, someone who still hasn’t grown beyond their identity as a frat member.

        I’m not saying he has to deny he was in a frat, or not enjoy whatever alumni activities that are associated with it. But it’s not a work accomplishment at all and it just looks like weird judgement putting it on a resume at this point.

        I have a lot of friends who were quite active in their sororities and fraternities. I don’t think any of them put it on their resumes.

      4. Graciosa*

        Very much agreed.

        I’m actually hiring for entry level positions at the moment, and I don’t see fraternity mentions adding anything to a resume unless it’s to show leadership or project management experience.

        The OP’s boyfriend needs to recognize that the purpose of a resume is to get an interview and a job. If he wants an opportunity to tell people all about the great times he had ten years ago with his fraternity, he needs to use a scrapbook rather than a resume and keep it separate from his job search.

      5. La munieca*

        It’s possible, too, that in trying to understand why the fraternity was included, hiring managers will ask in the interview about his accomplishments or his continuing involvement with the group. Unless that line of questioning will give him a chance to showcase something relevant to the job, it’s time wasted in the interview, too.

        I remember getting a resume from an accomplished mid-late 20’s professional who had worked for some big name employers and was finishing up her 2nd masters degree (both degrees relevant to the work) who included her top 10-15%ile SAT score from when she was 17. She ended up being a great hire and we’re even friends now, but I walked into our first meeting with an eye out for insecurities, arrogance, or other red flags, wondering why she was holding on to this score a decade later.

        1. fposte*

          I think that’s a great example that demonstrates it can be about more than cultural baggage associated with particular groups. Your SAT score from ten years ago does not translate to anything useful for me as a hiring manager. It would make me wary that a candidate would think it should.

      6. Ann without an e*

        Agreed, the only reason to leave a fraternity on a resume is if it was an honor society.

        1. cuppa*

          But I would specify that it is an honor society on your resume as well — most people wouldn’t know the difference if it’s just two or three Greek letters on your resume.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Frats. I don’t know- I think it’s hard enough to get a job without adding in that the boss should not hate fraternities. If he ends up with a boss who does, just avoid the subject. I have worked with bosses that hate a lot of stuff that I like, so we just found other things to talk about. And, honestly, if you think about it, we do the same thing with coworkers. We find our areas of agreement/similarity and focus on those things.

      If he stays in touch with his frat, he can still do that in personal time. The boss’ like or dislike should not have any impact on how your bf runs his personal life.

      1. Graciosa*

        I think another issue is that the boyfriend is using a “test” that may deliver inaccurate results. There have been a number of posters who would have made negative inferences about the boyfriend’s judgment in including dated and irrelevant information on his resume without having any issue at all with fraternity membership.

        This reminds me a little of the guy who always showed up late to an interview because he thought it was testing something about the company (I can’t remember what). Also ineffective.

        1. fposte*

          Ah, yes, lateness person–that was crazy.

          In general, I think hidden “tests” aren’t a good idea, whether it be interviewers that are deliberately horrible to see how applicants react or putting stuff on your resume that you don’t think is representing you as a job candidate just to weed out people who don’t like it.

        2. Elysian*

          Agreed. The “test” might not weed out what you think it will. By and large I am a fan of Greek life, but there was one fraternity at my University with an extremely bad reputation. If I was looking at your boyfriend’s resume, I would have to get past my initial “ugh” if I was seeing that he was a member of a group I found really distasteful. I know that not all chapters are the same (my own sorority certainly has chapters I wouldn’t want to be associated with!!) but when it isn’t contributing anything at all to his resume, why create an unnecessary obstacle?

  11. Risa*

    #1 – It could definitely be a medical problem, and your managers may already be aware of it. I have a coworker who is dealing with a medical condition that leaves him fatigued. He’s confided in our management, and a few of the rest of us, about his condition and some of the side effects. When he nods off in a meeting, we give a little nudge and move on. We know he’s trying his best to deal with a really crappy situation – so, until you know more, try to approach it with some empathy and an open-mind.

    1. Cheesecake*

      Thats a good point about “manager may already be aware”. At first i found strange no one else from in the meeting even mentioned this. So probably they do know something? Anyway, i agree about being open minded. We all felt a bit too sleepy from time to time, but doing this on every meeting seems like a medical condition to me. OP should talk to someone with more authority who knows the guy and address it as a concern rather than complaint.

  12. Rayner*


    I would query why you need such a large bible that it won’t fit in your locker at work. You’re there to work, not to read, and I seem to recall that most retail lunch hours are not particularly generous, from my own experiences. Might be an idea for you to purchase smaller copies, perhaps with old/new testaments as separate volumes, or even iBook/kindle copies of them to read on your phone if that’s your thing. It’s not so bad, especially if you have a phablet phone (big screen). You could even bring in scans of individual passages if you were so inclined. Fiddly, but not impossible.

    Also, it’s not a good idea to leave things in the break room, even if it doesn’t look like a bible. Other people may spill things on it, damage it on purpose to accidentally, or just outright steal it from under you. It might also make others feel uncomfortable or worry that they might be having to listen to sermons from you. (Not that you are/would, OP, but some people automatically assume.)A bible is a thorny item to a lot of people and could even make other people think it’s from the company if it’s left out in public when you’re not there.

    1. De Minimis*

      My retail job had a longer lunch hour than my current one…it was an actual hour!

      I am another who doesn’t understand why you couldn’t just have a smaller bible.

      1. Rayner*

        Mine depended on which day I worked, but it could be as little as 30 minutes, or as much as an hour. But even so. With having to eat, bathroom breaks, making any phone calls or going to the bank etc, it wasn’t like I had enough time to crack open a large tome and get through any amount of it to make lugging it to work worthwhile.

        1. Zillah*

          Ehh – YMMV. I rarely have to make phone calls or run errands during lunch, so reading while I eat can break up the day nicely. It depends on the situation – I can certainly imagine jobs where that’s completely feasible, though.

        2. Karowen*

          But that’s how you like to spend your break – doing errands, eating and making calls. I like to spend my breaks reading. While I’m heating up my food, while I’m eating it, while I’m finishing out my break, while I’m drinking, etc., I’m reading. On the other hand, I never run errands or make phone calls on my break unless it’s an absolute necessity. I’d just rather spend that time relaxing than running to the bank and the post office, etc. So from my end, carrying around a book is sort of a necessity – in fact, I typically have a spare novel in my car and in my purse, in addition to a Kindle and a Kindle app on my phone. But that’s tangential to your point. I second the whole buying another Bible thing :)

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      Retail workers usually get little more than minimum wage, and Bibles (and Kindles) can be expensive. The size might be what she already has. Thrift stores might or might not have a smaller copy. When I bought my spouse a pocket Bible for work, I was surprised at how pricey it was!

    3. catsAreCool*

      When I eat (like at lunch break), I either want to watch TV or read. To just sit there eating and doing nothing else – painful. Maybe that’s why OP wants the Bible.

  13. nelly*

    I fall asleep in meetings all the time. If I’m not working or at the gym or otherwise actively doing something, I’m asleep, so as soon as I sit in a meeting, my brain says ‘she’s not doing anything, time to sleep!’ Sleep on public transport, sleep on the couch (can’t watch TV ever), sleep anywhere but in my own bed (dangit). It’s not a health thing, it’s just an inactivity thing. I’ve even been asleep while trying to present to a meeting! That was very confusing to everyone concerned (I was pointing to a memo only I could see floating through the air…)

    The only thing that works for me is to attend meetings standing up.

    I’ve tried note taking, sticking myself with pins, telling myself horror stories that I’ll be fired next time I doze off, but yeah, standing up is the only thing that stops me sleeping.

    1. Phyllis*

      (I was pointing to a memo only I could see floating through the air…)

      This indicates sleep deprivation–which is a health issue.

    2. LizB*

      You may not know about any underlying health reason, but I bet if you told your doctor what you’ve written in your comment here, they would want to check for a few things. That kind of sleep pattern isn’t typical (and sounds really annoying!), and you should be able to get help changing it.

    3. Us, Too*

      You should talk to your doctor about this. It is decidedly NOT normal and almost certainly due to an underlying health issue.

    4. I'm a Little Teapot*

      Joining the chorus of people saying it’s definitely a health issue. You mentioned having trouble sleeping in your own bed; maybe you have severe enough insomnia at night that you can’t stay awake during the day? Or it could be any number of other things. I can’t imagine living in such a way that it’s impossible to do anything sedentary; it sounds awful. Go to a doctor.

    5. Anonsie*

      These are really classic signs of narcolepsy, actually– becoming exhausted or falling asleep when inactive, being unable to stay awake through a TV show or movie, hallucinating when trying to fall asleep or stay awake. If you haven’t seen a sleep specialist and had it ruled out, I highly recommend it. The sleep study is annoying but it’s not invasive, and this sounds really disruptive to your everyday life.

      FWIW I felt the same way (I’m just tired! What’s the big deal??) until I saw a specialist and they went over it all with me and I realized people don’t usually have to put up with this crap.

  14. Lizabeth*

    Just as an FYI, I’ve had my SCA membership listed in hobbies in the past and that did generate some interesting conversation during interviews (disclosure: I’m a graphic designer YMMV)

    1. Sabrina*

      I could see listing it there. But you could be actively involved in it, it’s not a college only organization.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I agree– the “college only” part is the key here. I list volunteer work and membership in organizations because of the conversation factor and also because it shows that I am involved in things outside of work. It’s almost akin to listing that you were on the dean’s list when all that’s relevant is that you graduated with honors.

        1. Sabrina*

          Agreed. I had a very good conversation in the Best Interview Ever ™ about the SCA. I didn’t put it on my resume though, didn’t think it would really fit. Still didn’t get the job.

        2. Artemesia*

          Even college only, I wouldn’t find listing professional associations along with degrees and dates under the education part of the resume to be terribly off putting.. If I am hiring a journalist (is anyone?) then the fact that they were editor of the college paper will always be impressive; if I am hiring an HRD person then the fact that even in college they were active in professional associations linked to that would be at least not odd. But a college social fraternity immediately shouts ‘bro’ to me and is a turnoff.

  15. GreatLakesGal*

    First of all, if you are anywhere on the East Coast, she’s being grossly underpaid.

    Second ( and I speak from experience) for the type of position she’s in, and in this particular industry, 30 hours is full-time, and the expectation for managers is that as exempt employees, they will flex hours to meet fluctuating program needs.

    In this type of position, managers are expected to lead by example. Unless your wife is an exquisitely talented manager with exceptional soft skills, nothing breeds resentment in a hard-working team quite as much as a manager strolling out the door at 3:00 every day while her team grinds hard for several more hours.

    All go which is to say that I think a 30 hour week for a manager in the setting you describe is a pipe-dream. If she works a strict 30 hours a week in a position with split clinical and management duties, her team will be unhappy and likely her work will not be done to standard.

    I would advise her to negotiate this as a full-time position. Because that’s what it really is.

    1. GreatLakesGal*

      Argggh. Clarification:

      30 hour week classifies most hourly employees in the industry as qualifying for full-time benefits. Most manager who tries to work only 30 hours are doomed to failure, for the reasons above.

      I should not type before coffee.

    2. Cheesecake*

      I wanted to say this: 30 fixed hours a week for a managerial job with real team management? I have never seen this. It seems to me company is trying to save costs. But as i am not in the States i didn’t want to flag it. Anyways, the only case i know is a manager working 90% on paper. In reality, however, it is 120%.

      1. Jen RO*

        A manager in my department works Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (32 hours) and it seems to work for her! I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same if she tried to work 5 shorter days. She does check email intermittently during her day off, but she doesn’t do anything else.

  16. PEBCAK*

    I’m active with my sorority doing volunteer stuff, and I *still* don’t put it on my resume. I just don’t think it belongs there. On the flip side, if I saw a resume with my group listed, I wouldn’t give it any sort of personal preference. I consider NPC sororities to be pretty much social clubs, and I just don’t see any professional relevance.

    That said, I’m talking about an NPC (i.e. historically white) sorority. Things are different for NPHC (i.e. historically black) sororities and fraternities, in terms of both involvement post-college and prestige in the black community.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That is so interesting, because as a non-Greek, it is so true. Just never really thought about it! If I saw Alpha Kappa Alpha membership listed on a resume, I wouldn’t even blink because I know that involvement with that sorority goes well beyond graduation. Which might be why I know what AKA stands for and I have absolutely no clue about most of the other letters.

    2. Fizzbuzz*

      +1, for anyone looking at a resume and thinking that the mention of a frat or sorority is odd – it is very different for historically black Greek orgs. They’re service organizations that can last long after college, more like Rotary Club or Kiwanis. Anyone see photos of all those professional black women in red suits at Loretta Lynch’s Senate confirmation hearings last week? The Deltas came out to support her, and she’s long out of college.

      1. MsM*

        But if that’s the case, you would presumably emphasize the work you’ve been doing with the org under volunteer activities, not just list the affiliation and expect that to speak for itself.

    3. simonthegrey*

      I admit I read your comment at first as Non-Player-Character sororities and was pretty confused.

        1. PEBCAK*

          It’s confusing because NPC is the National Panhellenic Conference, which governs 26 large national sororities, and NPHC is the National Pan Hellenic Conference, which governs 9 large national sororities and fraternities, but they are very different in how they operate.

          1. Jen RO*

            My mind was blown and I googled – one of them is a “conference” and the other is a “council”, so they don’t have the exact same name with a different spelling, phew!
            (I’m not American, so this whole sorority/fraternity thing is foreign to me, but I learn new things every day!)

  17. BRR*

    It is considered the biggest illegal event to happen publicly in company.

    I just wanted to say this made me chuckle on this miserable weather Monday morning.

  18. BananaPants*

    #1 – I had this situation a number of years ago, except it was our manager who kept falling asleep in meetings. He’s extremely physically active but lives on diet soda and candy bars (no lie), and we think there may have been blood sugar instabilities. We brought it up to him out of concern for his health and he asserted that he would NEVER sleep in a meeting – he had no idea he did it. This was prior to the smart phone era so we had no way to record him without making a scene, and he had the nasty habit of retaliating against team members who he thought made him look bad, so his direct reports ignored it thereafter.

    #4 – No, you do not put a frat or sorority membership on your resume 10 years out of college. At this point any leadership experience in the Greek letter organization is well in the past and I’d certainly hope that the resume writer has more relevant, recent experience. Being 2003 Omega Theta Pi Rush Chair has ZERO to do with getting a job as a business analyst for Chocolate Teapots, Inc. in 2015. I expect to see frats and sororities listed on resumes of current students looking for internships – but for a 30-something it gives the impression that someone peaked at 19 or 20 or is trying to relive their youth. The only exception would be if it was an academic frat and the alum has continued an active leadership role with the chapter after graduation.

    #5 – Get a smaller Bible that will fit in your locker. If you can’t afford one I’m sure that the Gideons or a similar organization would be happy to provide you with a pocket-sized Bible, or if you have a smart phone you can just install a Bible app. Leaving personal reading materials on a break room table will make others less likely to use it; they may think the space is “taken” or worry about spilling on it, thus limiting your coworkers’ ability to utilize the shared space. Your manager may also be trying to avoid the appearance of the company or its management leaving the Bible on the table (and therefore encouraging a specific religious faith), or perhaps the manager has had complaints from coworkers who are uncomfortable with you leaving your Bible around for whatever reason.

    1. Sans*

      About #1 and blood sugar – yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. This was my problem. I drink a LOT of soda – a LOT of caffeine throughout the day. And since I was having trouble staying alert in meetings, I would be sure to have a soda with me in every meeting. Which worked, but it was ridiculous. A few months ago, I finally decided to cut down on the caffeine – I’m probably drinking about 25% of the amount I used to drink. And the first week, I walked around in a fog. But now I’m more awake and have no problem staying awake in meetings.

    2. SOVWAR Air Marshall Ann Kittenplan*

      I’m with Michele on this: I think OP5 is being disingenuous and wants to leave the Bible out because they wish to proselytize. In my experience, people don’t simply leave personal items lying about in the break room. I mean, there are some small businesses where you’d think everyone is tight – yet people still steal other people’s lunches.

      Still – it might be a nice gesture on the part of the employer to set up a bookshelf that could be devoted to religious literature. OP5 could place their Bible there alongside the writings of other religions like the Talmud, the Qur’an, the Bardo Thodol, the Book of Mormon, Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, Liber AL vel Legis by Aliester Crowley, and so on and so forth. And don’t forget to include both a Catholic and a Protestant version of the Bible.

  19. Tenley*

    I guess I’m the only one who thinks if the boyfriend wants the fraternity affiliation to stay, it should stay. I don’t think there is even a need to defend it (and I was never in the system), but if I must I’d point out it is often the first or only national networking — including job networking — organization an adult becomes part of, and invests years of life and money into developing.

    1. LBK*

      I think the issue is that many people don’t see it as a “networking organization” even if it functions that way at times. Frats are much more frequently associated with drinking, hazing, partying and general misconduct.

      1. Artemesia*

        But TEnley also makes a good point. It is not the job of the girlfriend to raise the boyfriend. If after one suggestion that he will make himself look foolish doing this, he pushes back then it is not her problem. She isn’t his manager or his Mommy. It would drive me nuts too if my husband did this, but grownups get to manage their own professional careers.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It depends on the conversation — if he’s like “I’m handling this, thanks for your input, but I’ve got it,” then yes, she shouldn’t make it her problem. But if they’re having a lively debate over it and they both find it interesting, I don’t think that’s her mommying him.

          1. PEBCAK*

            FTR, this comes up regularly on a Greekchat, and lots of alumni with active roles in their organizations come down on both sides of the issue. I think the divide is largely regional: Southerners are more likely to leave it on and consider it a solid networking angle post-graduation.

  20. Michele*

    #4–Fraternities/sororities should be left off of resumes unless they are honor societies. When I screen employees, I try to weed out people who seem like they are going to have a sense of entitlement and fraternities scream entitlement.
    #5–Stop prostletizing at work. No one cares if you sit it in the breakroom and read your bible, just like no one cares if you wear a cross necklace. However, you do not get to try to recruit coworkers into your religion while at work. That is clearly what you are doing. Like others have said, if it was simply a personal belief, you could find a pocket-size version to carry with you or you could store it in a locker or other personal area.

    1. Raine*

      Seriously? You screen out people who were in sororities or fraternities? And people of color — OMG I just can’t.

        1. Burlington*

          I assume Raine is referring to the fact that, in the traditional social order, sororities in particular have a HUGE role, especially in particular localities in the South, and particularly among women of color in said localities. White greek life and black greek life are often (though not always) two very different realms, and that depending on one’s localities and the types of candidates you’re looking at, screening out people who were members of greek organizations might well mean screening out most of your highest-qualified POC.

          (In general, I’d agree that Greek membership a stupid thing to screen out for. But it’s also a way that that person is possibly introducing a racial bais in their hiring that they don’t intend to.)

          1. LBK*

            Huh, I had no idea there were such strong racial ties to certain frats (I went to a very white college, and most of our minorities were international students who weren’t interested in Greek life). Good to know!

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, I only went to university for a short time (decades ago) and the Greek life was definitely perceived then as being exclusive clubs intended just for snooty, rich people who liked to party. I was actually very pleasantly surprised when a close friend’s daughter joined a sorority and my friend told me about all the charitable and community-minded activities that the young women were committed to. (My friend and her daughter are white, but I don’t know if that means her sorority is “white”).

      1. Michele*

        In what world do you relate the two?
        FWIW, I know people who don’t like to see anything non-work related on a resume, even things like current community organizations. It is considered unprofessional.

        1. LBK*

          That’s pretty silly. No volunteer work? No leadership positions in other organizations? Those would certainly be relevant to me as a hiring manager, and considering them “unprofessional” strikes me as odd.

      2. Squirrel!*

        When Michele said “I try to weed out people who seem like they are going to have a sense of entitlement”, did you automatically associate “entitlement” with racial minorities? Because if so, that says a lot more about you than it does her. Also, this isn’t Tumblr, we write in full sentences and go light on the meme-speak here.

        1. BethRA*

          I think Michele may have been referring to conversations up-thread where people discussed how members of historically black fraternities and sororities generally stay involved long after graduation, and thus might have reason to leave their membership on their resumes for years after graduation. So a blanket weeding of people who put that info on their resumes could have a disproportionate impact on candidates of color.

          1. Michele*

            No, I wasn’t refering to that at all. That was a later post. However, I will say that one of the reasons I don’t care for fraternities or sororities is that I saw how racially exclusive they were. There were some that did not have a single non-white person in them.

            1. BethRA*

              Sorry, I was referring to Raine’s response to you – but I got names mixed up. (I would edit if I knew how)

      3. grasshopper*

        One is a choice in both the lifestyle/being a member and in including it on a resume; the other isn’t a choice and isn’t generally included on a resume.

        Your disagreement is spurious.

      1. BRR*

        My thoughts exactly.

        I was never big on Greek life but to immediately classify them as entitled? Some people might go to a school where everybody join a a fraternity/sorority. Some people might do it because their parent did it so they just do it to appease their parent. Some people just do.

        The OP never said they were doing anything other than leaving their bible out. They’re not clearly trying to convert others. This isn’t how we behave on this website.

        1. Zillah*

          Ehh – I don’t agree with Michele, really, and I certainly wouldn’t write someone off on the basis of belonging to a frat – I know people who I like who joined Greek organizations – but I don’t think that giving frats a bit of a side-eye is totally unwarranted, particularly when it’s still included on your resume ten years later. I’m not saying there aren’t people who have good experiences, but I saw a lot of messed up stuff happening in frats when I was in college, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one.

          I also think that social frats have a reputation for drug/alcohol (ab)use, misogyny, racism, and sexual misconduct/assault. Whether or not that’s fair, I do think it’s a very real thing, and as with anything else, I think it’s worth considering whether making that one of the first things people know about you is really putting your best foot forward or appropriate for the workplace.

          1. BRR*

            I would side-eye somebody putting their frat on their resume ten years out of school. But Michele didn’t specify age. And that’s it, I would side-eye it, not discard it. Also I’ve learned different frats have different reputations at different schools. So Chocolate Teapot Gamma could be the racist drug one at State University but more laid back at City University.

            So I find it weird but wouldn’t have that be what rules someone out. In general I wouldn’t waste a line on my resume and if you wanted to use your fraternity network I imagine there are better ways than hoping the hiring manager was also a member.

            1. Ezri*

              I think the problem with having a frat on the resume is the stigma. Not all frats are problematic, and in fact some have very positive communities. But at my school the only time Greek life ended up in the news was when they did something outrageous and got in trouble with the school / police (which happened multiple times while I was there). If there were good, responsible frats, we never heard about them.

              I could see a hiring manager whose gut-reaction is ‘nooooope’ when they see a frat listing, particularly ten years after graduation. I’m not saying that’s appropriate, but when something has a negative media portrayal you have to be careful putting it on resumes. Especially since a frat membership doesn’t necessarily add anything to your candidacy.

              1. Zillah*

                Right, exactly. Between the negative media coverage (which frat members should be cognizant of) and the lack of relevance, I’d question the judgment of someone who included it. Enough to rule them out? Probably not, but it’d be a mental mark against them.

              2. Artemesia*

                There is a big difference between having belonged to a frat and thinking it is something to put on a resume 10 years later. I’d be inclined to screen someone like that out too unless he was amazing. I don’t care that he belonged, but the fact that he thinks it is something to brag around as a grown professional would make me wonder about his judgment and his maturity.

    2. nona*

      #5 – I’m really against proselytizing at work, or involving anything about religion in a workplace that isn’t a church, mosque, religious school, religious nonprofit, etc. But I’m actually not sure that LW is using this to proselytize at all.

      1. Michele*

        I think it is similar to a situation we had at work a few years ago. People will sometimes have small religious displays in their personal areas. No big deal. One of the people started trying to get others to go to his church, however, even after they had declined. It was a situation where he reported to someone else, but someone who reported to me complained about it, so I had to go to his boss. I am not sure what was said, but he definitely toned it down after that. I suspect that the LW’s boss is trying to prevent that sort of situation. People don’t leave religous materials in common areas unless they are trying to recruit other.

        1. LBK*

          I’m confused. Your story sounds like it was multiple religious articles in a personal space, not one item in a shared space. And regardless, I don’t think it’s fair to draw this kind of assumption about the OP’s intentions – we usually take people at their word when they make the effort to write in here.

          1. Michele*

            When the religion was kept personal (a few things in his cube), it was fine. However, when he started leaving flyers on people’s desks and having “come to my church” conversations, that became a problem.

            1. LBK*

              But the OP isn’t doing that, so I don’t see how this is relevant or how it merits such an extremely harsh comment from you.

            2. Ezri*

              Is that happening, though? I mean, OP said she leaves the Bible out because it doesn’t fit in her locker, and that it’s not obviously a Bible at first glance. I don’t think we can compare that to bugging her coworkers to attend church or leaving obvious flyers around.

        2. nona*

          I don’t think this is a religious display, though. And I would have a problem with a display. This is a book left on a table or shelf or whatever because it won’t fit in a locker. According to LW, you can’t tell what it is without opening it.

        3. Artemesia*

          I would assume the person was proselytizing because it is so entirely unnecessary to flaunt your Bible by stowing it in a space used by everyone else. Storage is an easy problem to solve as the many good suggestions here indicate. So making an issue of needing to leave the giant Bible in a publicly used space suggests a hidden agenda. No one can know for sure what is in someone’s head but action speak.

          1. INTP*

            Yeah, this is what I am thinking. If there is already a pile of books or other personal items on that table, then excluding the bible seems unnecessary and discriminatory. But if someone is leaving a bible on an empty table that others need to use, that screams “This bible is for public use” which might be intended just as sharing with other bible readers, but could be seen as proselytizing. Putting things on a break room table (i.e. boxes of donuts or stacks of old magazines) is a pretty universal way to say that those items are for everyone to partake of.

        4. catsAreCool*

          “People don’t leave religious materials in common areas unless they are trying to recruit other.” Never? Really? Sounds like you’ve had some bad experiences with this, but I don’t think we can judge the OP this harshly.

      2. Rita*

        I agree. Just because someone leaves a bible on the table doesn’t mean that others are required to pick it up and read it. I’m not a fan of Scientology, but if someone left a book or something about it on a common work table, I wouldn’t bat an eye.

        Also, it’s not fair to say that is what someone is “clearly doing” when you’re not there and you don’t know the person. I think it’s pretty rude.

    3. jag*

      “I try to weed out people who seem like they are going to have a sense of entitlement and fraternities scream entitlement.”

      The “scream entitlement” part of your comment is a massive generalization that’s surely wrong in a significant portion of cases. Bad criteria.

  21. Helen*

    #5. The boyfriend’s reasoning for including it on the resume (not wanting to work for a frat-hater) seems immature to me. Frats have received so much negative publicity lately (binge drinking, hazing, assault) that it’s just not something I’d want to be included in a hiring manager’s first impression of me, whether or not you think the stereotypes are deserved. I know plenty of good men who were in frats and don’t think any less of them for it, and if I happened to know someone was in a frat it definitely wouldn’t be a factor if I was in a position to hire them-but it would certainly give me pause if they made it a huge part of their professional identity ten years out. So basically, if he’s including it on his resume to weed out employers with huge anti-frat prejudices, he’s also making himself a poorer candidate for plenty of hiring managers with whom I’m sure he’d get along with just fine.

    1. Zillah*

      This. And, also, I don’t quite understand the idea of weeding out frat haters to begin with. Homophobia, racism, sexism, ableism – these things can come up in big ways regularly enough that I think it will often affect an employee’s work environment. However, how often do frats even come up in everyday workplace conversations? How will it even affect him?

    2. Michele*

      I agree. If he is trying to use his frat contacts to get a job, he should do it directly by contacting the frat and seeing if there is anyone working for the company that he is applying to who can act as a point of contact. Hiring managers see fraternities more as party/rape houses with all of the current press, and aren’t going to be positively influenced.

    3. Lisa*

      Why is being in frat part of this guys’ everyday conversations anymore? Its 10 years later. No one is going to hold it against him. Maybe if your interview is all talk about the frat days, which for a new grad might be. But not now, at least I can’t think of why this would be an issue anymore.

      1. Helen*

        Yeah, that’s why I find the whole thing immature. It’s like he considers his frat membership on par with race, sexual orientation, etc. in terms of his identity. It’s bizarre in my opinion.

        1. Michele*

          I would think it was weird if someone put race or sexual orientation on a resume. They have no place there. Professional stuff only, please.
          I do think that it is immature, though. After about 10 years, most people won’t even list academic honors any more.

          1. illini02*

            Yeah, but if in “other interests” or some other area, they put that they volunteer as a president of a local NAACP or GLAAD chapter, then its pretty logical that they belong to one of those groups, so there are ways to say it indirectly.

    4. BananaPants*

      I agree. Deserved or not, fraternities don’t exactly have a stellar reputation when it comes to things like alcohol and drug abuse, objectification and sexual assault of women, racism, and classism – not to mention hazing and abuse toward their own members (and prospective members). Why would someone who’s been out of college for so long want even the potential for those associations to go through a hiring manager or interviewer’s head when reviewing his resume?

      And even if the hiring manager is a “frat hater” (which they may have a legitimate reason for), how often is that epic Tappa Kegga Brew toga party in ’98 really going to come up in lunchroom discussions in a professional setting?

      1. illini02*

        I don’t think its necessarily about it coming up in conversation, but its about someone irrationally hating something you chose to do. To me its like if someone went around saying how they hate people who went to Harvard because some of them are arrogant (I’m not referring to a friendly football rivalry either). Well, if it turns out you went there, why would you want to work with someone how is so shallow that they are going to group ALL Harvard people together as a group worth hating because of their limited experiences. Or what if you were a college athlete, and a hiring manager said “All college athletes are dumb jocks”? That would be a pretty insulting thing, am I right? So to hate all fraternity guys because of a perceived characteristic just seems wrong. No its not on the same par as something you are born with, but at the same time, its pretty petty. As I said, I was not in a fraternity nor was I a college athlete, but I would think working with someone with that kind of attitude wouldn’t be a great experience because they are so judgmental.

  22. illini02*

    #1 Sleeping. Yeah, its annoying, but this doesn’t seem to be your issue. You have been there 6 months, he has been there 15 years. I’m not saying its good, but its never good for a subordinate to want to dictate how a superior acts (assuming its not something illegal). I don’t like that my bosses come and go as they please, but since they are the bosses, I have to deal.

    #2, I don’t mean to sound mean, but this just sounds like sour grapes that you aren’t invited to play. By your own admission (and by definition of how these squares work) its not feasible to have 130 people on one. If you want in so bad, why don’t you start your own for the other people who aren’t in on that one? Even the fact of how you are on one hand saying how illegal it is, but on the other pouting that you aren’t invited to participate in said illegal activity makes you seem a bit immature about the whole thing. This is work. Everyone doesn’t have to be invited to participate in every. single. thing.

    #4 I’m kind of torn on this one. While I do think 10 years is a long time to keep that, I don’t necessarily think its bad either. Maybe it should go under “other interests” or something as opposed to education. I know a TON of people who have gotten in to interviews because they are in a certain fraternity. Also, was it a social fraternity or a professional one? Either way, I don’t know that it would hurt. If someone is that shallow that their hatred of greek life would keep them from interviewing a good candidate, then I agree with the bf that he doesn’t want to work there.

    1. Burlington*

      I totally agree with you on #4, and yeah, I would say that if there’s an “other interests” or “professional associations and memberships” section, that’s better to include it under than “education.”

    2. Student*

      I have no idea how betting pool squares work. I do know some basic math and geometry.

      If it has to be configured in a square, instead of a rectangle, then the company could swap to a 11 x 11 square = 121 spots and include more people. If it’s okay to leave some spots blank, then they could use a 12 x 12 square = 144 spots and include everyone in the company (maybe some die-hard fans could take two spots for a double entry fee?).

      If the 10 x 10 square is sacrosanct, perhaps they could also offer a separate, lower-stakes betting square of ~4×4 or 5×5.

      This seems like a solvable problem.

      1. illini02*

        Without going into a long discussion on how the squares work, having these other combinations really don’t work the way its intended. However, if they wanted a separate, lower stakes one, they could still do it, but it still needs to be 10×10. Regardless, to me, this is more whining than an actual problem that needs to be solved.

      2. Sourire*

        The square is 10×10 because each side has digits 0-9 assigned to correspond to the last digit of the score of each team at the end of each quarter. It pretty much has to done exactly that way, unless you did 5×5 with 2 possible #s per square assigned. Then however that board would offer double the chance to win and wouldn’t be the same as the other 10×10 board which may upset people.

        1. Student*

          Gambling via group theory! Fascinating. I think those are rings, specifically, but I’m rusty on my abstract algebra.

  23. Lisa*

    Superbowl Squares #2

    First of all, congrats to anyone that had 4/4.

    Second, in what world can’t there be 2 boards? You just make 2, and make sure everyone gets first squares, then open it up to seconds – for the highest bidders willing to pay more into it.

    1. Michele*

      I wondered why there couldn’t be two boards as well, maybe with different buy-ins. If the normal one is $20, get a second one going at $5 for the people who want the fun without risking as much. Or maybe there is a second type of game that people can do? Or, they could just speak up. It could be that you aren’t being approached because people think you don’t want to participate. Next year when the game gets going, approach the person organizing it and say you want in.

  24. Observer*

    #1 – Sleeping manager.

    As others have noted there are many, many reasons why your manager could be sleeping in meetings. And, he might not even be aware of it. On the other hand, his managers might know about it, and be dealing with it. The fact that he has not said anything about narcolepsy means nothing. If he’s not aware, he’s surely not going to talk about it. And, this could be a side effect of so many conditions that focusing on a diagnosis of narcolepsy is not useful in this context. It’s quite likely that this is a symptom of the other conditions he has, some of which he talks about.

  25. Iro*

    #1 – When are you scheduling these 2-hour meetings? How are the breaks structured? I don’t have a ton of health issues but can tell you that I would struggle to not nod off during a 2 hour meeting directly after lunch if I couldn’t get a stretch break or two in. Some people just have wider swings in blood sugar levels than others.

  26. illini02*

    I posted my comment before reading everyone else’s. Regarding the fraternity question, I think a lot of people are being RIDICULOUSLY judgmental about this guy. I get people have their own opinions of fraternities, often negative, but it still seems a bit much. Full disclosure, I was never in one, but people think I was. But man, the stuff I’m reading that all of you would assume is ridiculous. You think he peaked in college, has a sense of entitlement, all sorts of other things. I mean, maybe this IS a reason he shouldn’t do it, but man, I think a lot of you are being kind of harsh for no reason. Do people think the same if someone put “Graduate with honors” on their resume 10 years out? I mean, by your logic, you should judge them just as harshly, right? As I said earlier, I’m not certain it should be under education, but I don’t think he deserves the scorn he is getting either. Honestly though, with this group it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t mean that as an insult really, but there seems to be a certain herd mentality when it comes to how 20-30 something guys act or should act, and what makes it immature or whatever, despite how good of an employee they may be. Its like “You like to get drunk on the weekends, play sports, and play with nerf guns in the office, so you are bad”, but just about any other interests are ok.

    1. fposte*

      So you don’t like the notion that we judge people by generalizing, you say as you generalize :-).

      I don’t think it’s the end of the world for somebody to put on college stuff ten years later, but 1) there’s a difference between a scholarly achievement and a social membership and 2) if they use an extra line for the scholarly achievement, I’d raise an eyebrow at that too. You’re also talking about some fairly precious real estate there–what useful stuff is being left off that resume to tell me about ancient history?

      But basically, with a resume, you’re supposed to be including what’s going to be meaningful to me as a hiring manager. Who you did off-hours stuff with in 2000 just doesn’t make it to that category.

      1. illini02*

        I’m not generalizing, I’m basing a statement on my observations of what I’ve read here over time. I think its fine for everyone to have opinion, but when you let that affect hiring decisions, to me that becomes a problem. Generalizing would be me saying “all internet comment posters thing x,y,z.” What I’m saying is that what I’ve seen on THIS board is a certain attitude. And again, I’m not necessarily advocating that the guy should put it on, I just think peoples opinions of him if he does seem to be harsh. But honestly, depending on the job, I could see your fraternity standing, especially if it was a professional one, being more relevant than your GPA and whether you graduated with honors.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not one to think your GPA is particularly relevant 10 years out, but in what circumstances would your fraternity standing be more relevant than GPA and honors?

          1. illini02*

            I guess for me, neither is going to be a make or break moment, however if you graduated from a good school and seemed to have more of a balance than JUST studying and graduating with honors, that to me shows a that you may be more well rounded than someone who just studied all the time. Again, neither matter for me one way or another. I know some super smart, with honors people that if it was a sales job, would be lower on my priority list than people with an “average” GPA but I know could do the job. Thats all I’m saying.

            1. Ezri*

              I see what you’re saying. I think the problem with fraternities is the negative image they have in the media, as several other comments have pointed out. I don’t think most people here are saying that all fraternity members are bad or that pride in membership is inherently a problem. It’s not something that will *definitely* hurt this guy’s chances at a job, but it’s something that *could* be affected by the societal bias against fraternity life, especially since he’s so far past graduation.

              When someone doesn’t have much work experience, knowing their GPA or that they balanced school and club activities can be useful context. But if he’s got ten years of job experience what is it contributing? And it’s, generally speaking, not going to be something that directly impacts whether he can do the job he’s applying for. It’s a ‘why is this here’ concern, not a ‘frats are so bad’ issue.

          2. catsAreCool*

            I also don’t get how a fraternity could be more important than GPA and school honors. To get a good GPA, a person usually has to work hard and prioritize school. Most of us have to study, spend time on homework, and frequently give up fun things because we don’t have time. Someone who gets a good GPA may be someone who cares about getting the job done.

    2. Kate M*

      I mean I definitely don’t have a problem with frats in the abstract, but to me resumes are lists of accomplishments. Being a member of a frat isn’t exactly an accomplishment, especially in the same way graduating with honors is (and even then I wouldn’t leave that on there forever). I mean, sure, sometimes frats have volunteer work that’s required for them or something. But if you weren’t part of a frat, would you list volunteer work from college on your resume 10 years out? After 10 years, you should have more stuff to put on your resume. I could understand a new grad including it, especially to fill out their resume some. But to include something on your resume that isn’t an accomplishment from 10 years ago seems unnecessary. And like others have said, the way frats usually help you get jobs is through formal or informal networking. Reaching out to your contacts. The ROI you’d get for putting it on your resume probably doesn’t make up for the space it takes.

      1. Burlington*

        But a big part of the “selling point” of joining the Greek system in college is that it’s supposed to really open doors *after* college. And for a lot of people, it does. The purpose of a frat or sorority is rarely to party for four years and then abandon; you’re expected to maintain a lifetime membership. If you stop playing up your greek connections two years after you graduate, you’re *not* getting the ROI out of it that you could be.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          But the way you do that is through contacts and networking, not by including it as a line on your resume (where it will raise eyebrows in loads of other people who wonder about the relevance, as seen here).

          1. Jubilance*

            Gotta disagree here Alison. Yes networking is a good thing but I’d probably be more interested in a candidate that was a member of a fellow NPHC org, just like I’d be more interested in a candidate that graduated from either of my alma maters.

            1. JB*

              This is interesting. Ten years out from school, would you recommend that someone take up precious resume space by putting in a line about their membership rather than something that shows how they are qualified for the specific job they are applying for? It seems like it would be more useful, as Alison suggested, to use your contacts with the organization to get your foot in the door for consideration and then use your resume to show why you are qualified for this particular job. And would you maybe recommend having two resumes, one for giving to someone you know or believe would see why having that membership is resume-worthy? Because I don’t know much about NPC or NPHC orgs, and if I saw that listed on a resume it would tell me nothing about how that person was qualified for the job. I would just think, “Why is this person telling me about their membership in a social organization they were in 10 years ago?” So it seems like whether you should take up space listing it depends on who it’s going to, and you don’t always know ahead of time.

            2. Joey*

              Thats not rational justification though is it. That’s looking for someone “like me” which isn’t really the best way to go about hiring.

              1. illini02*

                True, but thats life. It happens all the time. Its why someone who went to the same school as the hiring manager may have a leg up in getting the interview. Or why the bosses friend’s neighbor may get in for an interview. Or even if you see that someone is from the same hometown. It happens in a lot of situations, so to me this one doesn’t seem any more “irrational” than the others.

                1. LBK*

                  I’d think that doing it knowingly and willfully is pretty bad. Just because “it happens” doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to do it if you know you are. I don’t see how that’s any more justified than any other bias – especially since this one brings along an inherent racial bias to it.

                2. illini02*

                  I’ll be honest though, I don’t think its THAT bad. If I have 2 resume’s that are pretty similar, and one person went to the same college I went to, if thats a reason to tip them to the interview stage, then so be it. This is especially true if I know that my school had a more rigorous curriculum than the other. There is always some kind of bias that goes into it. Networking is to help you get in the door. Its not a bad thing to do. If your networking is by your school, or your greek organization, or your volunteer board, or toastmasters, why does it matter?

                3. LBK*

                  I don’t consider putting a line a your resume to be networking. Networking would be actually talking to people you know through those organizations (your network) and seeing if they can connect you to decision makers who would be able to find you a job. Putting a line on your resume with the hopes that it will spark interest from the hiring manager is a pretty crappy version of networking, if it even counts at all.

                  I can sort of stomach the argument that if you went to the school, that might give you info about what kind of worker the person might be that could help you make a decision, assuming all other factors are truly equal. But doing it just because “Oh hey I went there!” isn’t a good hiring practice.

                4. jag*

                  “I’ll be honest though, I don’t think its THAT bad. If I have 2 resume’s that are pretty similar, and one person went to the same college I went to, if thats a reason to tip them to the interview stage, then so be it. ”

                  That’s a good path to less diversity in your organization (unless you were a real outlier at your college).

                5. Illini02*

                  I don’t think its reducing diversity. My alma mater has an annual enrollment of 30000+. So to say that someone who went there is going to be just like me isn’t really likely. I could see if it was some small, private school in the north east (like where I have friends who went), however, you go to a public state school, I think you are going to see a lot of diversity.

            3. Zillah*

              I think that NPHC organizations have a bit of a different reputation, though.

              It’s also worth pointing out that the negative impressions many people have toward fraternities these days do not necessarily extent to sororities. A hiring manager might be a little confused at its inclusion, but I don’t think they’d generally have such a strong or negative reaction to it. I’d certainly react to a question about sororities differently.

    3. Student*

      Perhaps the widespread profiling of fraternity members on this site is good anecdotal evidence that the OP’s boyfriend shouldn’t put it on his resume, because it’s more likely to harm him than to help him. Whether any of us personally feel that it should or shouldn’t be all right is irrelevant; it is unlikely to produce the desired results of getting the boyfriend a job interview.

      Perhaps more importantly, the answer to this question kind of missed the boat. The person asking for advice is the job applicant’s SO, not he job applicant. AAM usually does a good job shooting these things down when a meddling parent tries to get too involved in their offspring’s job hunt, but seems to have a blind spot for SOs. I think there’s some argument for weighing in on spousal disputes, since spousal income is joint (in the US, anyway). I really don’t see any reason to encourage meddling in a boyfriend/girlfriend’s job hunt, though. The advice AAM gave is just going to be used as a “point” in a relationship dispute, a dispute that is probably more about control and “being right” than about getting a job. The advice-asker has already needlessly polled numerous people for confirmation that she is “right” on an extremely minor point of resume-creation. This advice is unlikely to positively influence the actual job-seeker or the advice-asker.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Eh, I don’t know. I think lots of partners look to each other for resume help and discuss their resume-writing process. It’s absolutely true that sometimes people meddle inappropriately, but there’s no indication here that it’s anything more than a discussion among equals with a disagreement attached.

        I have more concerns about parents meddling, because that’s (often) not a relationship of equals.

        1. Artemesia*

          If he is asking for her advice, yes then appropriate. But trying to micromanage your partner’s career is IMHO a sort of third rail in a relationship — a good way to cause a lot of damage. If my husband asks, of course we discuss. If I notice something that I think he has missed, of course I point it out ONCE, but if he is arguing with me then I am overstepping my role in his career. The OP and her boyfriend are arguing about this so for me that suggests it is time for her to let go of it.

        2. Student*

          One of the advice columnists that I read a lot has a quote, “Unsolicited advice is always self-serving.” That always resonated a lot with me, because I have a natural tendency to be a busy-body and try to fix other people’s problems. Sometimes I need to step back to see that people who bring problems to me don’t always want me to fix their problems; sometimes they have a different agenda.

          I think partners talking about resumes is pretty reasonable, but when those partners turn to outsiders to try to get support for “their” side of an argument about something they thing their SO should or shouldn’t do, that seems like it’s falling into the unsolicited category to me, because you’re no longer giving advice to someone who actually wants advice. I understand why you answered the question, but I don’t really believe your advice will benefit the job-seeker or the advice-asker in this case.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I think I don’t entirely buy that unsolicited advice is always self-serving. If I see an intern at work who’s inadvertently annoying people or making herself look unprofessional by behavior X and I nicely point it out to her, I don’t think that’s self-serving. (In fact, the opposite, because if I were being self-serving, I’d avoid the awkward conversation.) I think there’s lots of stuff that falls in that category.

      2. Zillah*

        Ehh – I think it’s generally not a good idea to blindly apply the same rules to romantic relationships that you would to parent/child relationships. The dynamic is so radically different that IMO, the specific subject of conversation really matters. It’s not uncommon to want one’s partner’s input on a resume or cover letter, and I think you’re supposing a level of drama here that isn’t necessarily there. The conversation could have been simply:

        Boyfriend: OP, can you look this over?
        OP: Sure. *reads* Hmm. I’d probably remove the frat – a lot of people don’t like them, and at this point you have a lot of professional achievements.
        Boyfriend: No, I really want to keep it there. What if another alum sees it? It could help me.
        OP: Hmm. Maybe I don’t have a great perspective – maybe I should ask AAM to see what she has to say!

        That seems totally reasonable to me.

        And, for that matter, I don’t think it would necessarily be ridiculous for a parent to write in with the same question. It could be super meddley, but it could also just be a parent who’s been asked for input wondering about something. It’s not automatically weird for a parent to read over their adult child’s resume.

        1. Student*

          “He is adamant that it should remain. He says he doesn’t want to work for anyone who would REALLY hate fraternities. ” That seems pretty clear to me that the boyfriend considers the matter of *his* fraternity inclusion on *his* resume to be a closed case, not open to change or further debate with the girlfriend.

          If he said the same thing about an objectives statement, I think we’d conclude that he’s not likely open to advice on the matter, even if the advice to give is very clear cut. He wants former frat membership on his resume, he has a rationale for it, and he isn’t interested in changing that part of his resume. He’s an adult, he gets to make those choices, even if we personally disagree. There are limits on what one adult can do for another adult who doesn’t want any help.

  27. Observer*

    #2 – Super Bowl pool

    It’s hard to respond to this without being harsh. But – SERIOUSLY?! If your issue were just that you have objections to gambling, or to the illegal nature of the activity, I would understand – although I would agree that it’s a huge mistake to report this. I can’t see any upside to reporting this, nor can I see any legal, ethical or moral imperative to report. I could understand that someone would see that differently, but I would caution you to think about how it will affect your reputation.

    But you clearly do NOT have an issue with the legality or morality of the pool. Your objection is to the fact the not everyone is getting a cut of the action. You are going to call the cops for that? As a practical matter, it really could cost you your job, and if people in your company are connected, they will most likely talk. They won’t pain it as “Left out did the moral and legal thing.” Rather it will be “Left Out is mean and immature, and can’t stand for anyone to have a good time.” And, to be honest, I couldn’t really blame them. I say this as someone who would not participate in a betting pool, even if invited, and with the full understanding that being left out really does sting.

    “If I can’t have fun, no one else can either” is not a healthy or useful way to go about life.

  28. Mena*

    #4: if his resume crossed my desk I would think he is way-too still engrossed in the college scene, 10 years later. He needs to be focusing on work accomplishments and experiences, not his college experience. Keeping this in his resume at this point really sends the wrong message.

  29. TotesMaGoats*

    I think I’m echoing everyone else but….
    1. I would actually assume there is something medical going on here. Either un-diagnosed something or medication impacting him. I’d feel sorry for him either way because he probably doesn’t realize that he’s doing it. I probably wouldn’t say anything unless you could find a really gentle way of doing so and doing it out of concern. I once worked with a woman who did this strange thing with her eyes where it looked like she was asleep but she was awake and talking. It was bizarre but that’s just how her eyes looked.

    4. Yes, leave it off. I’ve never been a fan of greek life. We only had one sorority on my campus. I’ve always felt that joining a frat was working too hard to make friends. But that’s my personal bias. True, some frat connections will help you out long past graduation but those connections aren’t going to be on your resume.

    5. Get a smaller Bible. I wouldn’t want to leave any of my possessions out on a table where they could walk off with someone else. I have a pocket sized Message bible that’s smaller than an kindle. You have plenty of options. If I was an employer, I would want my employees to lock up all their belongings. Just makes sense.

  30. Observer*

    #5 – The Bible.

    Others have made very good points. You also sound a bit overly defensive or in denial. Let’s face it – unless you are bringing in a LOT of stuff to work, thing is BIG. “It hardly looks like a bible” means that it DOES look like a Bible if you give a second look – which is highly likely with a large book in the break room, and certainly if someone wants to move it out of the way. And, if you are bringing in a lot of stuff, the question becomes why leave the bible out, rather than the other stuff?

    In other words, either it’s in people’s faces or it brings up the question of “Why did someone leave a bible here for us?”

    Do yourself a favor. Either get a smaller Bible, or get one on your smartphone (if you have one) or a tablet.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Exactly. There are several solutions with a smaller Bible, smartphone, or a tablet. In my experience break room tables and areas are small and it’s just a good idea to keep personal stuff locked up safely. Plus then someone won’t spill their food on it. Plus some are uncomfortable with seeing a Bible and the manager is trying to avoid those situations.

    2. catsAreCool*

      You’re assuming that the OP can afford a smaller Bible or a smartphone. A small locker area doesn’t sound like a well paying job to me. And no, I wouldn’t recommend that the OP bring in the Bible, but that’s mostly because I’d be concerned it would get stolen or stained.

  31. Elizabeth West*

    #5–I’m with everyone else who says get a smaller bible, or an app. If I needed the table, I’d just move anything that was in my way. But that doesn’t mean the table should be used to store personal belongings.

    As for the religious thing, I’d probably just ignore the bible, just as I would ignore anyone who tried to proselytize to me directly. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the issue here. If it’s important to you to take your bible to work, you simply need a smaller book that will fit in your locker.

  32. TOC*

    #2: I’m not clear that OP is actually left out of the pool. It could be that she is invited to play but still feels bad that so many other people are excluded. I think people are being way too harsh on her because they’re annoyed she brought up the “it is legal” question.

    OP, whether or not you’re currently included you should just ask if it’s possible to expand the pool. Don’t make it a dramatic thing.

    1. Burlington*

      I get the impression that whatever software the group uses to track their betting caps at 100 people. There might be others that allow more, but there might not be… 100 is a pretty big pool. Of course, they could split into two pools, so OP’s better bet may be what Alison suggested, to offer to administrate an additional pool for the leftover people.

      (Though honestly, I’m a bit surprised that, with a 100 person pool and a 130 person company, that they still have people that WANT to participate that can’t. It’s rare for any office pool I’m involved in (for sportsbets) to get a better than 50% participation rate!)

      1. Formica Dinette*

        Super Bowl boards are most often 100 squares. Lots of people want to play more than one square if they can, so some boards do limit individual participation.

  33. Burlington*

    I wonder how many people on this thread who are opposed to BF #4 keeping his frat on his resume have done a lot of hiring? This is not unusual. I see plenty of resumes with sororities and fraternities on them… it seems crazy to me to screen based on that.

    Further, I think people might not be realizing that Greek membership, for many, is a lifelong commitment. There are annual dues/lifetime membership fees, and plenty of activities/connections for alumni. It’s completely possible that he’s talking about a membership that he currently holds. Even if he’s not active, he’d still be a registered member, appearing on alumni lists and whatnot.

    I think society really needs to look hard at the utility balance of Greek organizations, but in some areas of the country they are deeply ingrained in society. Greek life is something where, for some, it’s NBD even when you’re in college; for others, they joined because they were taught from a young age that if you aren’t a Tri-Delt you’ll never amount to anything in the professional world. It’s worth keeping the diversity of experience in mind when you start making assumptions about how much a candidate is “living in the past.”

      1. Jubilance*

        For a lot of people, fraternity membership isn’t “past”, it’s current. For example, I have friends who are current chapter officers of their alumni/alumnae chapter, or even regional officers. How is that any different than being a chapter officer for Junior League or Toastmasters? Even if you aren’t an officer and are just an active member, I don’t see how that’s any different from participating in any other volunteer-based organization.

          1. Ezri*

            I’m curious Alison – if the membership is ‘current’ in a way that the applicant thinks is relevant to the job posting, how should they list it on a resume? ‘Member of XYZ’ is pretty ambiguous.

            1. Rachel*

              I’m actively involved (and previously held office) in my GLO’s local alumni association. I list that information in the Memberships and Organizations section of my resume – something like this:

              Teapotville XYZ Alumni Association
              Head Pourer, 2008-2010

          2. Burlington*

            Well, he graduated school 10 years ago, and OP states that he “was a member 10 years ago.” He might well be paying annual alumni dues (a very small amount) or have paid lifetime membership dues. I don’t know what the rate of dropout after graduation is, but the OP might not know whether he’s a current and active member, no longer a member, or pays membership dues but doesn’t DO anything, etc.

            I’d still say he should keep it on if he’s really proud of it, even if he’s not a dues-paying member anymore, but there are a lot of shades of gray in terms of how it might be impacting his life today.

  34. Scott M*

    #5 – (Atheist here, BTW) I agree that the employee should probably get a smaller Bible. However, that may be a hard decision to make. I think most people are missing a couple of things. For those who read the Bible regularly, they may use a study bible, which can be larger than normal. Also they may have written notes in the margins, or bookmarked many passages. So a new Bible may not have all those things.
    But I do agree that leaving it out on the table could be seen a proselyting .

    1. brian35242*

      Let’s be clear. #5 isn’t really concerned about having a Bible at work. #5’s true motivation is that everyone see the Bible during work. It’s passive-aggressive proselytizing. That’s the only reason anyone would bring in an obnoxiously large Bible.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        We have no information from the letter to conclude that, and I’d prefer that we take letter-writers at their word and not make assumptions. Exploring possibilities is fine, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that this is the only possible explanation.

      2. LBK*

        My coworker keeps a large Bible at her desk and occasionally mentions praying in conversation, but she’s never done anything remotely like proselytizing or trying to convert me in any way. It’s totally unfair to make this assumption, and I say this as someone who hasn’t had any interest or involvement in anything remotely religious in over a decade.

      3. nona*

        I’m as against proselytizing at work as you seem to be. But LW has said that the Bible isn’t in their locker because it won’t fit, not because they want to leave it out.

        1. nona*

          I’d like to add another reason for the Bible, actually: I had to carry one with me for a semester in college. It was included in a history course. If I had to go to class after work, I would’ve brought the thing to work.

        2. Burlington*

          And that could well be because the lockers are really, really small, as opposed to the Bible itself being big!

          1. Zillah*

            If the lockers are that small, though, there must be a coat rack, and the OP could just stick the bible in their coat sleeve every day.

      4. Ezri*

        This is an unfair observation. Some people’s personal belief systems include having a Bible (sometimes a particular kind) nearby. When I first met my husband, he asked me to never place other books / obects on top of a Bible because he considered it disrespectful. Perhaps OP has a similar concern with not wanting to shove it into a locker or bag. This may be something she ultimately has to compromise on in her workplace, but it doesn’t mean she’s intentionally being passive-aggressive.

        1. Kas*

          It seems inevitable to me that anything like a large book left on a table in a common space is likely to get something else placed on top of it.

    2. Observer*

      I find it hard to believe that you can’t find even a study bible that should fit into a typical locker or an e-book version. For comparison’s sake, I have a volume that contains the entire Torah (just the 5 Books, not the Prophets) with 2 commentaries (one of which notates EACH verse), the entire book of Psalms, a full prayer book and another text that is important to the group I belong to. It’s basically an “essential travel library”. It’s pretty think, because there are a LOT of pages, but it’s actually fairly small, and the thickness is kept down by the fact that the paper used is very thin.

      My point is that it’s likely that there are smaller versions of study bibles – groups that take daily study seriously are likely to print travel editions.

  35. Zinnias*

    #1 Sounds so, so familiar. This was me for months and months–so sleepy all the time, and falling asleep at very inconvenient times and places. I knew it wasn’t exactly normal, but it didn’t really occur to me that it could be a medical condition until one memorable day when I slept for 22 hours straight (unfortunately, yes, it was a workday–I was so mortified to realize I had slept through an entire workday–thank goodness I had an understanding manager).

    I really hope someone above him or someone with whom he has some rapport can encourage him in a compassionate way to get this checked out. Sleep disorders–including narcolepsy–are much more common than people tend to think, and many are underdiagnosed. It’s worth it to find out and get a treatment program going.

  36. Scott*

    #1: How is the temperature in your building? I ask because I worked in an office where the temperature was 85-90 degrees constantly, even in winter. The building charged extra for air conditioning and the management didn’t want to provide is, so they just paid for basic ventilation which OSHA requires. There were MANY days in that place where I fought to stay awake.

    Also, do you schedule your meetings for afternoon and/or right after lunch? This is when people tend to nod off. Maybe schedule your meetings early in the morning.

  37. hayling*

    OP#5: All legalities aside, I beg you to please be sensitive to your coworkers who practice a different religion or no religion at all. You may be making someone very uncomfortable and I am sure that is not your intention.

  38. CC*

    If your wife is being paid anywhere near $30/hr for her job, she’s being underpaid in most areas. Especially for part-time positions (aka PRN) where you forego benefits, the rates tend to be higher.

    There are a few things your wife needs to ask:
    1) If she’s going to be salaried, she needs to ask about having a cap in the # of patients and managerial/supervisory hours she is going to work.
    2) Being salaried for a part-time job in this industry is almost unheard of. Most people outside of school settings are paid hourly, with rates changing based on treatment/evaluation or supervision hours.
    3) How are the hours going to be divided? 30 hours of full patient contact/supervision is FULL TIME, because you still have to consider paperwork and prep time.
    4) Knowing this industry (it’s what I do for a living!), I am aware that positions are plenty and SLPs are rare. If she’s afraid of being overworked in that job, she should keep looking for a better fit!

  39. Jubilance*

    #4 – This is a great example of how candidates from different cultural backgrounds will approach this differently. As mentioned, members of historically Black fraternities and sororities view membership as a life-long commitment, and are active throughout adulthood. Holding an office as an alumni/alumnae member is a big deal, especially if it’s on the regional/national/international level. That’s totally something I would put on my resume, especially the skills/accomplishments in that volunteer role were relevant skills for my resume. I wouldn’t bat an eye if I came across a resume with Greek affiliation on it (in context of course, not just a random mention of XYZ organization) but I am also a member of a historically Black sorority & understand the time commitment involved.

    1. Tiffany In Houston*

      Totally agree with this. I am also a member of a historically black sorority and would definitely be interested in having a person with that background as a part of my interview pool of candidates.

    2. LBK*

      I think the difference here isn’t necessarily cultural (or at least not totally), it’s that what you’re describing is totally different from the OP’s situation. This isn’t current fraternity-related activity. I don’t think most people would disagree that if you’re actively holding a leadership role or doing volunteer work with your fraternity, that could go on the resume, but if it was just something you did 10 years ago and aren’t really involved in anymore, there’s no reason to include it.

    3. Stone Satellite*

      Thanks (to you and others in this thread) for sharing this information about historically Black fraternities/sororities. I didn’t realize they were different! (My alma mater didn’t have any fraternities/sororities, so all I know about them is what I see in the news.)

    4. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

      Jubilance, I really appreciate you (and others) bringing up that there are some big differences in membership and activity between NPC and NPHC organizations. I hope that those that posted earlier that think involvement in a sorority/fraternity is only a college thing will take a moment to educate themselves on the roles NPHC organizations play in society. Although it’s a great networking outlet, even more so are the continuous opportunities to LEAD a group of people to a common goal, MANAGE a group of people with diverse backgrounds and talents and DEVELOP programs, people and policies that can influence local communities to national audiences. These are all great attributes, skills and experiences to consider when looking at a candidate, so please don’t disregard their association with a sorority/fraternity so quickly and flippantly. You could be missing out on a great asset to your own company or organization.

  40. Iro*

    #4 Interesting, and somewhat tangental, but am I hearing that people think that GPA/Honors should be left off of Resume’s after 10 years as well?

    I don’t know if it’s the same at all colleges, but the Honors program at my college was essentially a seperate degree program. I put in as many hours of Honors coursework as I did my Math degree so I’m of the feeling that as long as “Degree in math” is going to be a line on my resume “Degree in math with honors” may as well be the line.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That last line is fine, but I wouldn’t include GPA 10 years out, or even 5 years out. (And really, even when you’re a new grad, I’d only include GPA if it’s 3.8 or above.)

      1. Lia*

        I graduated summa cum laude in undergrad (4.0 GPA) — would you leave that off? I’m 10 years out now.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think it’s fine to leave summa cum laude on there, but I wouldn’t put a specific GPA. GPA is a good shorthand for smarts and potential when you don’t have much work history to point to … but once you do, how you’ve performed at work is a lot more relevant. (And I realize this same argument could apply to summa cum laude too, but it somehow feels appropriate to list that as part of your degree, whereas listing GPA starts to feel overly specific once you’ve been out of school for a while.)

          1. jag*

            What about grade inflation? I got honors in my college (grade-based) back when it was hard, and there’s been a lot of inflation since. Kids these days! Should I write “BA with honors – when that really meant something” on my resume?

            1. Iro*

              Apart from the fact that there is little evidence for grade inflation (kids these days spend a lot more time studying and using technology to solve complex problems than even I did as a kid), you may want to avoid this line simply due to the prevelance of millenial managers out there.

  41. Gene*

    To tag onto the lifetime frat thing, for many people, SCA is lifetime too. And many of us have positions that require the same things that employers are looking for; organization, self-starting, completion of tasks on time, managing large groups of people, handling large sums of money, etc. My most recent office required in-depth research, handling money, meeting deadlines, telling people “No”.

  42. Angela*

    As a former member of the SCA, I agree with you about how the organization requires organization, self-starting, and excellent interpersonal skills. However, as I live in the Bible-Belt, it would almost impossible to convince employers (and my mother!) that I had not joined some weird cult. Sigh.

    1. Gene*

      Actually had a resident in an apartment complex call the police about the “Satanic Cult” meeting every other Thursday evening in one of the apartments (not mine). It was the Cooks’ Guild meeting and since it was winter, cloaks for warmth were in order. And yes, the food was amazing!

      1. Michele*

        I really hope that when the police got there, someone was stirring a large, steaming cauldron of stew.

  43. Warren*

    #5: I find the response to #5 in the comments irritating. All the cross-examining questions: “Why can’t you buy a smaller Bible?”, “How do you find time to read at work?”, etc. Personally when I start reading a book I get attached to that book- the heft, feel, look, etc. To just switch to a different edition of the book halfway through would feel weird to me. (And I can’t stand e-books at all) And with a book like the Bible it’s easier to get attached. So that’s a perfectly reasonable reason he might want to keep his “obnoxiously large” Bible rather than spring for a smaller one. Or maybe he has a very small locker (it’s not unheard of). Or maybe he has a study Bible, as someone above suggested. Or maybe he has bad eyes and needs a large print Bible. We don’t even know that he’s reading it at work- maybe he teaches a Bible study class after work and needs it for that. People need to stop jumping to conclusions and stop trying to sniff out some sinister ulterior motive.

    People shouldn’t proselytize during work and workplaces shouldn’t discriminate based on religion. But I don’t think that religious people should have to treat their religion as a dirty little secret while at work. If there are people who have a problem with Christianity and will be offended by the sight of a Bible, well, that’s their problem. It’s not the responsibility of religious workers to make accommodations for coworkers who have a problem with their religion. Now I’m thinking of the story about the Muslim worker who was washing his feet in the sink and wondering why that didn’t get a similar reaction.

    Allison’s answer is the right one. If personal belongings are banned from the break room, then sure , that would also apply to his Bible. (Though I think his employer ought to make some arrangement if he feels he needs it and it won’t fit in his locker. And for the record I would think the same of any personal belongings, not just religious ones.) But if other workers put personal effects in the break room then he has as much right as anyone else.

    1. LBK*

      Huh? This comment feels a little self-victimized – I don’t think most people here have an objection to the religious aspect of it, they’re just trying to come up with good solutions for the OP. I think you’re misreading the sentiment as “KEEP YOUR STUPID BIBLE OUT OF MY FACE” when people are actually just trying to offer a suggestion – “If your locker has limited space, is getting a smaller Bible an option?”

      It’s all about consideration for coworkers, religious or otherwise. Leaving your property in a shared space is pretty rude regardless of whether it’s a Bible, a Koran, your purse, your pet turtle aquarium, whatever. Some break rooms are tiny. You don’t get to co-opt what limited space may be there and then claim religious reasons when someone asks you to move it just because it happens to be a Bible – that’s awfully entitled.

      1. Kelly L.*

        This. And nobody is objecting to him actually reading it while he’s sitting there on break. If we were offended by the very sight of a Bible, that would bother us too, but it doesn’t. He has the right to read his reading material of choice while he’s on break/lunch. We’re talking about storing the Bible on what is probably a really small table that a large group of people have to share. If Bob has his Bible there this week, then next week Amy’s got her novel sitting there all day, and Chuck has his GameBoy, and before you know it, there’s no room for anybody to eat. Each of those people could still use their stuff during their own break, as long as they put it away and out of the way when it’s somebody else’s turn.

        1. Green*

          Warren’s right though: people are also concerned about the environment that leaving a *religious* text out in a shared space could create for other coworkers. I disagree with him on whether that’s a legitimate concern (Warren incorrectly states the law around religion at work and accommodations based on what he thinks it should be rather than what it is). When OP is actively reading the Bible during a time when people are generally allowed to do whatever they want, then it is not objectionable that OP spends some of that time in quiet prayer or reading their Bible. If OP is leaving that Bible out all the time in a shared space, then that could create a very different environment, regardless of OP’s subjective intent. And, regarding accommodations, having a religious obligation to do something is very different than having a preference to do something. I prefer not to work Friday night at sundown until Saturday night at sundown. A Jewish person who observes Shabbat has a religious obligation not to work then. As an ex-Christian, I’m pretty sure that the size of the Bible is generally a preference (and employer has provided a place to store personal items), as is the “necessity” of it at work. Preferences don’t really need to be accommodated.

        2. fposte*

          Yeah, I was seeing several comments about it being a problem because it’s a Bible, not because there’s stuff on the table.

          1. catsAreCool*

            At least a few people have assumed that the letter writer is leaving out the Bible as a way to recruit others. A couple of the people were pretty harsh.

    2. Kelly L.*

      The Muslim worker was using bathroom facilities for brief periods of time during the day, just like all of us do, even if his ablutions are a little different from yours. A better parallel would be if someone left a pair of shoes in the sink all day so no one else could use it.

    3. nona*

      Buying a smaller Bible and leaving it at home are possible solutions to LW’s problem. There’s some pretty harsh criticism of LW going on here (people assuming their intent is to proselytize), but the “cross-examining questions” are pretty fair responses that could help LW.

  44. Language Lover*

    #2 I’m honestly kind of surprised that the participation in the Superbowl pool is at 77% (and that even more would like to participate). That’s higher than anywhere I’ve ever worked with a SB pool.

    Is it possible that whoever starts the pool and asks other employees to participate is subtly pressuring them to join? Could you ask the person next year to send out an e-mail inviting people to join or have a sign-up sheet? Or heck, maybe you could start it next year. That way people can opt-in without being pulled in and you may find that you don’t have more than 100 dying to participate. If you do, create another board. This way everyone who really wants to be a part of the pool will likely join right away. Those who are ambivalent might get pulled in at the end of there are open slots but likely won’t be disappointed if they don’t make the cut.

  45. JC*

    #4: I think I would view fraternity membership on a resume the same way I’d view involvement in a club—for example, if you listed that you were in choir in college. Ten years out, I’d probably be puzzled about why it was still there, especially if it wasn’t explicitly tied to a leadership role within the frat (and probably even if it was tied to a leadership role, since that was 10 years ago and before the candidate began his professional life). I did not go to a college with frats and sororities, so I honestly don’t know what being a frat might have entailed beyond what being a member of some other college club entails, even if they are quite different.

  46. Amy*

    Could you cover the Bible? Like, those brown paper bag book covers we all used to make for our textbooks in middle school? Or, they make all sorts of plain book covers, like this:

    Ask your employer whether, if the Bible were covered in a plain wrapper, maybe just with “Property of YourName” written on the outside of it, whether that would assuage his concerns.

  47. Dawn88*

    #5: Why is OP is concerned with the “legality” of leaving the Bible out on the table? Forget about religious arguments or whatever. It’s very simple: If that Bible is that important to you, why expose it to possible theft, dirt, spills, food, dirty hands and germs, leaving it out on a break room table? Would you leave your new IPad or Kindle out on the table? Leaving your precious Bible out in the open, to possibly be damaged, doesn’t show much concern or respect for it, does it? When people CARE about certain personal items, they PROTECT THEM. Why houses have garages! Besides, it’s in the way of other people who use the same shared facility. It’s not your office, table or company. I wouldn’t leave anything I owned out for grabs if I cared about it! Lockers are there to protect and store your personal items. Use them, or store it safely at home.

    #3: 30 hrs a week to treat patients and manage a team? Surely you jest. That won’t last long. I always ended up with 45+ hour weeks. I was salaried and didn’t get paid (or comp time) for those hours, either. Do the math! Just 10 extra hours worked per wk (say 2 per day, easy to do) at $30 = 520 hrs of FREE work the company gets, or $15,600 a year. Even a fat $5000 bonus (highly unlikely) would only cover a third of that. I’d be out the door on time, every day.
    Hardly an incentive to excel in a new job.

  48. phillist*

    I know I am super late to the party, but I guffawed at the SCA comment!

    So, so many SCAdians put it on their resume (prominently, even) and react with complete disbelief when I go, “Ack, no! Please don’t!”

    I feel incredibly vindicated right now.

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