putting fanfiction on a resume, telling an ex-friend’s employer what she’s really like, and more

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

1. Should I put fanfiction on my resume?

I’m a college student putting a resume together for the first time and your blog has been a huge help. There is, however, one thing I am unsure of. That’s if I should include my fanfiction on my resume.

I’ve published over 83,000 words of fanfiction in 2015 alone. One of my works is in the top 2% of all stories in its fandom, which I am of course very proud of.

However, I’m worried that listing this will weird out employers or come off as unprofessional or out of touch. I also know that if I list it more vaguely (not calling it fanfiction or mentioning where online I publish my work), it’s likely to come up in an interview. Would a hiring manager be alarmed by an applicant including this in a resume? Or is it not that big of a deal?

I wouldn’t include it. Fanfic has enough of a bad reputation with enough people — it’s marginalized, at best — that while some hiring managers might find it interesting or take it as evidence of writing skills, there’s too high a risk of many others seeing its appearance on a resume as a negative. There are also copyright issues with a lot of fanfiction, and if you get a hiring manager who’s attuned to that (for example, me), you risk raising their hackles on that front.

If you want to demonstrate writing skills, there are lots of other ways to do it — with your cover letter and writing samples, for instance.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. I want to tell my ex-friend’s employer what she’s really like

I had a friendship turn sour and when it did I cut off all ties, including blocking the person and all of her friends. I’d been friends with her for seven years and had known her to be unstable in the best of times, so I thought it was best to deal with her hostile feelings this way. Before I blocked her, I told her to never contact me again.

She was recently arrested in her home for some kind of drug charges. She believes that I set her up to be arrested, i.e. dropped a dime on her. I didn’t, but everything she was charged with was something she was actually caught doing. I know that she believes I snitched because she left me five threatening voicemails to that effect. I took it directly to the police and filed a police report.

I feel it is important that her employer know that he has a drug offender who immediately starts threatening people when caught in his employ. I’m going to send a letter along with my police report. I would like to know how to word the letter without airing any dirty laundry. I want to letter to cleanly say, “this person is threatening me and you should know it.”

Any ideas? I work for the government, so in terms of informing my employer, I just filled out a form. We have security in the lobby anyway.

This has nothing to do with her employer; it’s an issue between the two of you (and between her and the police, but having drugs in the privacy of her home isn’t such an outrage or a threat that her employer needs you to alert them to it). If she harasses you further, follow the advice of the police you’re already in contact with, but writing a letter to her employer would be an over-step by you and is likely to needlessly escalate this further.

Her employer probably employs plenty of “drug offenders,” given that 10% of Americans have used an illegal drug in the past month.

3. I sit near the printer and everyone wants me to babysit it

I’m a marketing coordinator with some executive coordinator duties. My desk is the closest in the office to the main printer. I am constantly asked/told to retrieve items from the printer and deliver them to the owner, restock the paper, change the ink and toners, scan and send documents, etc. It is very disruptive to my workday and I’m starting to go crazy. Would it be reasonable to submit a request to move my desk?

It really depends on your role. If you’ve got admin duties, and it sounds like you do, these might actually be reasonable things for people to ask you to do, although that also might depend on who’s making the requests. So the first question is: Is part of your job to provide admin help to others? And are those others the people who are asking you to do this stuff? If not, though, then sure, I think you could talk to your manager about what’s going on and float the idea of moving either your desk or the printer.

4. Are infographic resumes still a no-go?

Lately, my fellow job-information librarians and I have seen a number of articles about infographic resumes as a “trend” in 2016. We remember your column on this from 2013. We have a lot of pause about infographic resumes, for all the reasons you mentioned in your column; we’ve always been trained that you impress employers on a resume with your experience and skills, not gimmicks. So far, we haven’t seen any infographic resumes from our patrons during our resume review sessions, but as the word gets out more, we are wondering if we will. Has your opinion about infographic resumes changed at all? Have they become more accepted (or even expected) by hiring managers over the past three years?

No! No, no, definitely no. All the things I wrote in that older post hold true now: Infographic resumes are cheesy, sacrifice quality and quantity of information to the constraints of the design, don’t cater to what actual hiring managers want to see (just to what the people designing them want to sell), and are all around a bad idea.

Be very suspicious of anyone publishing articles telling you this is a current trend. They were also saying it was a trend a few years ago, and they’ll continue to say it now because they don’t know what they’re talking about and/or don’t care if they’re presenting good, helpful information as long as it gets them traffic.

5. Fired employee is still listed as affiliated with us at an upcoming conference

Firing the toxic employee from hell was a great decision that we don’t regret, and I say this noting we’re in academia, where firing takes a LOT to make it happen.

But I noticed that she’s attending a digital humanities conference next month, and that conference’s list of attendees (which is posted on the web) still lists her as being affiliated with us. Is it appropriate for me to email the conference and say that she’s not affiliated with us anymore? It’s perfectly legitimate for her to attend independently, of course (and I’m assuming part of why she’s attending is to network to find another job), but given how off-putting she is, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with people associating her with us.

Sure, that’s fine to do. It’s likely that she didn’t set this up intentionally but rather that the listing info was submitted while she still worked for you, but it’s fine to ask them to update it since — as you note — she no longer represents you.

{ 645 comments… read them below }

  1. Moral panic*

    #1: I have a friend who is probably seriously considering this… He thinks his fanfiction contributions put him on the same level as the authors themselves… As a result he loses all composure online. If anyone criticizes him he forms a mob and attacks them any way possible. I can only imagine how quickly an employer would run when seeing these outbursts attached to the content/profile. He even has some very risqué content in his writings, not something you want to flaunt in public sector roles. I would even be concerned that if you boast as being at the top that there’d be concerns of you working on your writing while at work.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Risqué content wouldn’t phase me at all, but online bullying? That’s a red flag for other sorts of morally questionable behavior. People have a right to their outside interests, and the fact that someone writes fan fiction or even explicit slash fiction doesn’t necessarily reflect on their ability to do a job and work with others. But forming online lynch mob would definitely have me worried about how they would handle criticism from their manager(s).

      1. Argh!*

        Yeah, sounds like an overly sensitive narcissist, which is an impossible personality type to supervise.

      1. Shannon*

        It’s writing set in the world and often using the other characters of another published author. For example, if I wrote a story about how Harry Potter and Hermione Granger fell in love and moved to France to attend Beauxbatons, that would be fan fiction.

      2. Annie Moose*

        I like to think of it in terms of an unofficial extended universe for a particular book, movie, TV show, etc. You know how there’s all the Star Wars and Star Trek books and so on? Like that, only written informally.

        As you might imagine, given that it’s not formally published and much is only lightly edited, a great deal of fanfic isn’t all that great, but there’s the occasional gem which is as good (and sometimes better!) than any officially-sanctioned materials.

        1. Nighthawk*

          For example, the James Potter series is just as good as (if not better!) than the original Harry Potter books. Of course, that’s because they were written by a real published author.

          1. Julia*

            When you say ‘James Potter series’, are you talking about Harry’s father or his son? Because the well-known series about his son by a Mr. Lippert is full of problems, if you ask me.

            1. Nighthawk*

              The son. I’m not sure what problems you’re talking about, but we’re in the middle of book #2, and thoroughly enjoying it.

              1. Julia*

                It’s great if you like it! It made me incredibly frustrated, though, so it being described as better than the original books threw me quite a bit. Open thread?

          2. Jadelyn*

            There are plenty of non-published “not real authors” who write excellent fic, and plenty of awful stuff written by “real published authors” – see: Fifty Shades of Grey, which was originally a Twilight fanfic. If a series is good, it’s good because it was written by a good writer, which is just as real as any published authorship.

            Commercial success really shouldn’t be used as any kind of barometer of actual writing quality.

        2. Artemesia*

          A lot of it has the rep of being sleazy. There is a huge volume of Star Trek fanfic featuring Spock and Kirk as lovers and this is common i.e. turning well known characters into fictional porn.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yes, and unfortunately rule 34 is one of the first things people think of when someone mentions fanfic. There’s not really any way for someone who isn’t familiar with it to know WHY the OP’s is in the top 2%–is it because it’s really well-written? Or is it in the top 2% on a site where the work is judged on how erotic it is? And do they really want to know?

            It’s not relevant to the job, so I’d leave it off.

          2. Oh please*

            Yeah, it’s so “sleazy” to write erotica, especially non-heterosexual erotica. What is this, 1980?

            1. KH*

              @Artemesia didn’t say it IS sleazy. They said it has the reputation for being sleazy. And like it or not, that’s true.

              1. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

                Yeah, I hate to say it because I know better (a lot of my friends are active writers and/or readers of fan fiction, though that’s a corner of nerdom that’s never sucked me in), but the first thing I think of when I hear “fanfiction” is “smut.” Which is cool and all (I’m pro-smut!) but if I saw someone listing fanfiction-related content on a résumé I’d be taken aback. Even if I then reminded myself that of course not all fanfiction is smutty, it would be enough of a weird blip to raise some yellow flags about the applicant’s judgment and professionalism.

                Oh, and the copyright thing too. I’d read that as “I am unaware of or don’t care about copyright law.

                Fanfiction makes great communities and a lot of people cut their writing teeth by exploring other creators’ worlds, but unfortunately I just don’t think it’s a résumé-appropriate hobby. :/

                1. Middle Name Jane*

                  Not all fanfiction is smut. The fanfic community generally abides by a ratings system similar to movie ratings. Usually, fics are rated K (like a G rating), Teen (PG-13) or Mature (R). The fanfic community–at least the one I’m in–appreciates ratings as well as an author’s note that warns if the story contains mature content/language/themes, etc.

                  It’s considered a bit rude not to rate your story, especially if you’re including mature content. Some people choose not to read smut, and it’s not fair to surprise them because you didn’t indicate your story contained smut.

                  And, honestly, the smut I’ve written and come across in reading other peoples’ stories is similar to mainstream romance novels or only slightly more explicit. Most people don’t write filth.

            2. Galaxy*

              I know nothing about Star Trek or their fanfic world but there is a huge divide between portrayed as lovers and “fictional porn”. Not to mention erotica and romance books keep the literary world’s lights on.

            3. Annonymouse*

              Writing fan fic in of itself is not sleazy.

              But it does have a deservedly bad reputation – and I say this as a fan fiction writer myself.

              A lot of what is out there is poorly written – bad plots, insipid dialogue, cliches for days, cringe worthy descriptions and a high focus on romance or sex. Or just the equivalent of a parody porno in word form.

              There are gems out there of whatever pairing and intimacy level you’re into. But you have to wade through a LOT of sleaze and crap to find it.

        3. Middle Name Jane*

          Agreed, Annie Moose. I write fanfiction under a pseudonym. There is a lot of crap out there, but there are also some skilled and talented writers who put a great deal of thought and research into their work. Fanfiction has a negative reputation, which is due to the bad fanfic stories out there as well as people like E.L. James who started the “Fifty Shades” trilogy as a fanfic based on the “Twilight” series.

          I’m amazed sometimes at the people who land book deals.

          The good writers use proper grammar and have someone called a beta reader read their story in advance of it being posted. I’ve beta read for other people, and I’ve had my own works critiqued.

      3. Zillah*

        Fanfiction are stories written by fans set in specific, already existing universes. A story about Harry’s son competing in a Triwizard tournament, for example, would be a Harry Potter fanfic. They vary widely in length and substance, and there’s a sizable schism of fanfic writers who mostly or exclusively write sexually explicit fics.

        Different authors have different stances on fanfiction. Some have actively encouraged it (JKR is probably the best known example of that) while others have spoken out against it (George R R Martin, for example). Most fics are likely in the clear in terms of copyright under fair use – provided no excessive quoting or commercial use – but afaik there’s never been a court case, and laws may differ from country to country.

        1. anon for this*

          Which is ironic in GRRM’s case since a lot of ASOIAF is basically rewritten mythology, history, and classic literature.

        2. LawPancake*

          Kind of off topic but I briefly did some legal work for a publishing house that repackaged and published fanfics and I actually disagree that they fall under fair use. I think, that while some fics are so far away from the original work that they’re almost unrecognizable, the vast majority are still demonstrably derivative works, borrowing style, characters, themes, etc.. and I’m not sure that the other fair use factors would outweigh that but, since it’s never been litigated and I have no idea how a plaintiff would prove damages, who knows?

          That said, and even though I think the argument for infringement is stronger than against, I don’t know of any authors who would actually be willing to sue over it. Generally, it’s not great for an artist’s reputation to sue their biggest fans… I mean, Metallica certainly lost a ton of goodwill and that was a case of, basically, the theft of their work…

          1. Zillah*

            But it sounds like the fanfics in the case you’re talking about were actually being repackaged and sold commercially – that’s very different than just posting them online. Once they’re in a publishing house, I agree that fair use likely no longer applies.

            1. Josh Benton*

              Fanfiction in and of itself is in no way, shape, or form fair use. While whether or not a product is released commercially does factor into court decisions, this is mostly meant to apply to circumstances such as teachers making copies of copyrighted material to use in classrooms. Releasing something for free does not magically make it fair use.

              There’s a fair use checklist available here: https://copyright.columbia.edu/basics/fair-use/fair-use-checklist.html Notice how both Fiction and Entertainment are on the opposite side of favoring fair use unless they fall within another category such as Parody.

              For the record, I have no problems with fanfiction. I wrote more than a few of my own in my younger days before I started freelancing. Like any form of writing, fanfiction can help you get better at the craft if you take it seriously and try to improve. It is not, however, a fair use of copyrighted materials, and is very rarely the sort of thing one should mention on a resume.

      4. ExceptionToTheRule*

        The most obvious example is 50 Shades of Grey, which was originally a piece of Twilight fan fiction.

        1. Bleu*

          Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is another recent bestseller (and about to be in theaters I think).

          1. VintageLydia*

            It opened this weekend! It was terrible which is exactly what I expected so I was satisfied. One day my husband will forgive me.

            1. Laufey*

              But like, terrible good, which is so terrible is almost becomes great again, or just terrible terrible?

              Movie ratings are definitely a circular scale, and terrible great movies could be worth $3 at the discount theater, while terrible terrible aren’t always worth the time of watching them.

      5. VintageLydia*

        Well, the new movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is a zombie alternate universe fanfic of Jane Austen’s original. The Lion King is a lion AU of Hamlet, Clueless is a modern AU of Emma, also from Jane Austen (Austen and Shakespeare get a LOT of fanfic that actually gets published and recognized on their own merits.)

        1. Argh!*

          But most fanfic is NOT published, so unless your fanfic has been reworked to an original story that’s been published by a reputable publisher, it doesn’t go on a resume.

          1. VintageLydia*

            PhyllisB was just asking what fanfiction was. I was giving them examples they may recognize.

        2. The IT Manager*

          Pride Prejudice and Zombies is a special case because the original work passed into public use some time ago so people can use Jane Austin’s characters and settings without the author or her estate coming after them legally for plague risk and damages. That’s not the case in most fan fiction.

          1. Zillah*

            I think you’re really overstating that risk – some authors have given explicit permission and most fanfiction probably falls under fair use anyway. Legal risk really isn’t the major distinction.

            1. Artemesia*

              There was an excellent piece called The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall that looked at the story of Gone with the Wind from the perspective of the slaves. It was tied up in litigation and then finally settled out of court when the author agreed to donate most of the proceeds to Morehouse College. I slightly knew the author and know that it was a pretty grim time to be sued by this giant well funded estate.

              1. Zillah*

                Sure, but that was commercial use, right? Comparing it to fics posted online that are strictly non commercial is like comparing apple and oranges.

                1. fposte*

                  Absent case law, you have no way of knowing whether it’s apples and apples or apples and tractors. I bet The Nation thought that copying a 300-word passage from a 500-page bio was an orange, too, and the court said it was an apple.

                2. neverjaunty*

                  Right, but I think Zillah’s point was that selling it makes it REALLY unlikely to be fair use.

                3. Zillah*

                  @ neverjaunty – Exactly. Once you get into commercial distribution, the dynamic changes in some really significant ways. I don’t think that a court case involving a book that was actually published and sold can really be taken as indicative of whether fanfiction posted on AO3 is fair use. The situations are just too different.

                4. ThomasT*

                  Commercial/non-commercial has NO bearing on whether a derivative work is covered by fair use. What it does have a significant impact on is the potential damages that might be assessed if the infringement was litigated. So copyright holders often make a cost-benefit analysis to not make infringement claims against fanfic writers because of the PR damage of taking action and the fact that available damages are minimal.

          2. Middle Name Jane*

            True. The original work of literature I write fanfiction for is still under copyright, and most of us include a disclaimer that we do not own the rights, and that the rights belong to [insert author’s estate].

            We write for fun and do not attempt to profit from our work. I choose to post my work only on two sites. You can only read my stories if you have registered accounts with the sites. I prefer to fly under the radar. My family and friends don’t even know I write fanfics.

            1. Middle Name Jane*

              Forgot to add that if we quote the original work, we cite the author like you would anywhere else. People in my fanfic community are quick to call out plagiarists.

        3. jaxon*

          Being inspired by the broad outlines of a plot and adapting it to a completely different set of characters, a new setting, etc. is not fanfic as most people understand the term. Adaptation is not exactly the same as “fanfic” although it has some similarities. It’s not really in the same category as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” which took the exact milieu and characters of one story and grafted a zombie plot onto it. Generally that’s what fanfic means – you take the precise characters, plot, setting, etc, all the details someone else has created, and then you expand it somehow with newly invented stories, interpolated characters, etc.

    2. Dovahkiin*

      I do a lot of hiring for entry-level content & copywriting positions, and seeing fanfiction listed seriously on a resume would be a pretty big red flag for me, just in terms of how the applicant understands how professional writing differs from personal writing/writing for fun.

      If the OP is looking for a writing position and needs to showcase writing skills on their resume, here are some things that do help a college grad stand out, at least for me:
      Awards won for writing (poetry, prose, academic papers)
      Freelance writing samples that show professional writing (For undergrads, this usually consists of concert/venue/restaurant reviews in a local paper or website)
      Published works – If you’ve gotten an article/short story/poem published, that’s pretty impressive! It can also show you have experience taking feedback from an editor, which is a plus.
      Profitable self-published books – If you have the initiative to publish your own works, and have the skills to actually move those books by creative marketing, optimizing your search terms, buying ads, whatever – that’s great experience that a lot of college grads don’t have.
      Profitable blogs – again, if you’re getting an income from blogging about X topic, by working to grow your audience, getting paid ad impressions and clicks, etc, that’s awesome experience. Within reason! A blog about local music or sci-fi themed fashion sets, or food you cook is awesome. If it’s a fan blog that uses copyrighted characters, that’s when you run into the question of “Will this person understand proper use of copyrighted material? Can I depend on them not to plagiarize when they’re writing content for us?” And if it’s an erotic fan blog, then I would just wonder why on earth the applicant is including their “Draco and Harry’s Slytherindor Love Nest” on a professional resume, no matter how enticing the writing is.

      1. Susan*

        I think this is a great, constructive comment. I actually think your first sentence is the most on-point comment on this entire thread.

        To nitpick, though, I will say at the entry level, a blog probably doesn’t need to be profitable. It just needs to have a strong POV (a topic that you have expertise in) and it needs to be updated regularly and with a certain amount of depth (AAM’s blog posts have substance and try to develop the conversation in a certain field — HR). I have two friends who got post-graduate paid internships at national magazines, and I have to think their personal blogs (one was a food blog, one was a health blog) helped show their passion for the specific publication they were applying for and made them stand out above people that only had classwork to show as writing samples but perhaps weren’t as strong as if these young ladies had been regularly published in their local alternative newspaper.

        1. Dovahkiin*

          You’re probably right – I’m a bit jaded, and I don’t work in the print industry, I work for a content site. I’ve seen a lot of really awful/laughable blogs on resumes, and you can’t throw a rock at a college career fair, without hitting a student who is blogging on tumblr/medium/wordpress, so in the past couple years, I’ve kept an eye out for students who showcase some hustling skills along with their writing skills, because that spark is something special.

          I hire writers who need to learn (quickly) how to optimize their writing for audience engagement, so any mention of skills that go above and beyond “I wrote it and clicked ‘post,'” will go right to the top of the pile. Whether that’s developing a social media account for your blog and doubling your follower count (this is free!), experimenting with ad impressions, even just tinkering with analytics to grow web traffic (also free!).

      2. aebhel*

        Thanks for this. I think a lot of these discussions can degenerate pretty quickly into ‘LOL fanfic writers’ vs. ‘but do you UNDERSTAND what transformative works are?’ (and I admit freely that I may be on either side of that debate, depending), but for most professional jobs, fic writing is not going to be applicable. That’s not a value judgement on fic itself, just on whether or not it’s appropriate to mention on a resume.

  2. ginger ale for all*

    LW 2 – If you have blocked this ex-friend and filed police reports, do not reengage contact through her employer. Don’t poke the crazy. Just get a restraining order and try to be the sane one in the situation. Do not lower yourself to her level. You don’t want to give her ammo against you.

    1. Bookworm*

      “Don’t poke the crazy.”

      I love that, and it’s incredibly rude advice. Her relationship with her employer does not (presumably) effect you, so it’s not really relevant to her current behavior. Put distance between yourself and her. If you need to, you can take comfort in the knowledge that generally people who are that toxic will probably poison the relationship on their own.

      1. Bookworm*

        Um, that was meant to say good advice, not rude advice…I clearly cut up some phrases wrong while comment editing!

      2. sam*

        Also, if the if the ex-friend already things that OP2 is the source of their troubles (rightly or wrongly), this certainly isn’t going to help the situation. OP2 – you’ll be going from blameless victim (at least according to your version of events) to actual perpetrator of further trouble for ex-friend. At which point ex-friend will have actual, somewhat justifiable (at least in their own head) reasons to continue this cycle of counter-revenge.

        If employers care about whether they employ people with criminal records, they have legitimate ways of finding those things out, without complete strangers tattling to them.

        1. hbc*

          Yes. “I’m so mad that she falsely accused me of tattling on her that I’m going to…tattle on her.” Maybe an oversimplification, but it certainly would make more people believe she’s the one who went to the police in the first place.

    2. The IT Manager*

      … but also informing her employer is revenge – an attempt to get her in trouble – plain and simple. Follow Alison’s advice.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        This. I cannot understand why OP2 wants to contact her employer since it wasn’t a work related incident. It appeared to me also as a way to get her in trouble.

        1. snuck*

          Yup. It can only be seen as vindictive and vengeful. If the OP didn’t have anything to do with the drug search then why on earth is she inserting herself into the prospective unemployment of the ex-friend.

          The only (ONLY) time I can see this being relevant is if the ex-friend is involved in a high risk, high value industry that has well known and specific standards around behaviour – Policing, Astronaut or similar. In which case the OP can rest assured that if it was necessary the Police themselves would have tipped the employer off.

          If the ex-friend is a dramatic, flaky, unprofessional person that will show up in their work and their employer can manage the behaviours they see. If the ex-friend is 100% professional and pulled together then who cares (except vindictive exfriends?) what they do in their own time?

        2. BRR*

          it appeared to me that way as well. LW, I would assume that if this is how that person operates their behavior is going to catch up with them (which in many ways it already has).

        3. Ad Astra*

          I wondered if maybe OP has some safety concerns or the two work in the same building or something, which might be a reason to say something to someone — though probably OP’s own employer, not the ex-friend’s employer. None of that is mentioned in the letter, though, so I have to think revenge is the motive here. And yeah, I would want revenge if I were in OP’s shoes, but that doesn’t make it a wise course of action.

        4. manybellsdown*

          I can understand WANTING to do it. My ex is a con artist who often cons his way into things he’s in no way qualified for. The temptation to call his employer and say “Are you aware Frank never graduated high school, let alone attended [Prestigious College], nor does he have [Professional Certification X].” Is often really really powerful.

          But it’s a terrible idea to do it. So I don’t. And eventually he gets caught, every time. If OP’s former friend is unstable at work, it’s going to catch up to her. But OP’s issue isn’t work-related.

      2. J*

        I am wondering how this case differs from the one where some lawyers (? I might be getting several letters mixed up) were behaving rudely on public transport, and the LW was encouraged to report them to their company. There the argument was “they’re making their company look bad, employer should know.” How is this different? Genuine question.

        1. Phyllis*

          If I’m remembering that situation correctly, not only were the lawyers behaving badly, they were also discussing clients, and loudly enough for everyone else to hear (breaching confidentiality, in other words).

          1. Kelly L.*

            This. IIRC, most of us said we’d have recommended MYOB if they’d just been general assholes.

        2. Doriana Gray*

          It’s different because the letter writer’s motive in this matter is suspect. Like someone noted above, it sounds more like an act of revenge than true concern as to how former friend is representing her company. And as someone else said – this didn’t happen in public. The ex friend was caught with drugs in her own home. Lots of people do things in their own homes on their own time that wouldn’t reflect well on their employers, but nobody’s going around reporting those people. This isn’t 1984 (yet).

          If I remember the letter you’re referencing correctly, the people reported in that one were making racist and/or sexist comments publicly, and that’s why they were reported. If that had been a conversation they had in their own homes that the OP of that piece had overheard, I’m sure the advice would have been the same there as it is here – it’s not the employers business; let it go.

        3. Graciosa*

          The confidentiality is a huge differentiator.

          Breaching client confidentiality is an ethical offense for an attorney (in addition to potentially jeopardizing the client’s case).

          I could also, however, see an argument if scientists or engineers were debating the company’s still-secret new technology that was going to transform the market (if one of the people who overheard them didn’t race to market first!).

          Warning the company that employees are destroying its business (and in the attorney case, its reputation) is completely different from, for example, telling the company that an employee was cited for a noisy party on Saturday night.

          1. Doriana Gray*

            So I was miss-remembering that letter, but I agree with everything said here. Huge difference between the two situations.

        4. Jwal*

          I remember the lawyer one. I was too late to comment on that one but, working for a body which regulates a certain type of lawyers in the UK, I remember thinking that that could’ve been a breach of regulations.

          I can’t say what the outcome would’ve been for the individuals or the firm if it had been reported to us, but the firm almost definitely would’ve wanted to know.

          If there’s a regulatory body involved and it contravenes their rules then sure, make them aware, but it doesn’t sound like it does.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yeah, and I think there was another one where a sales clerk was writing mean-girl texts on the bus or something? I think people mostly said MYOB on that one, but I don’t recall for sure.

      3. themmases*

        It is pretty special to be mad that someone assumed you got them in trouble, and as revenge… Plot to get them in trouble. Clearly the assumption wasn’t so crazy after all.

        I can imagine how the OP is feeling because I once had someone I needed to block everywhere (a seriously unbalanced ex-boyfriend). It’s normal to feel mad at someone for the same reasons you needed to block them, and to have a hard time maintaining no contact even though it’s what you want. It’s human to feel so mad you want to have contact that would hurt them. But it not only brings you down to their level, it encourages them to keep contacting you.

        Let’s say this person is crazy enough to keep occasionally contacting you for a year after you block them. That year could start weeks ago when you first blocked them, or it could start a month from now when you finally recommit to no contact. Or you could make them so mad they’re now a 2 years of contact crazy person.

    3. LW2*

      Well, for one thing 10% of Americans aren’t drug traffickers charged with possession with intent to distribute. When I did go to the police, my name was already involved because, all my missing prescription drugs, she’s stolen them. A whole bottle of something I no longer take with my name and address on it, conviently for the police. I don’t really think it’s revenge. She’s dangerous. The police said it was my choice, but filing these harassment orders is standard according to what they said. And I’m not putting myself in any more danger than I already am in, also according to what the police said.

      Also, she’s not crazy.

      I can see why not to. I just got the exact opposite advice from the police.

      1. LW2*

        Eh, I thought about it and she’s going to have to imform her employer about the trial or just straight up quit her job for it. And then she’s also almost assuredly going to prison. I don’t care any more.

        1. Dontbeanarc*

          Fwiw it can be very dangerous to drop a dime on someone like this esp if they are dealing hard drugs and know where you live. I wouldn’t be messing with this woman anymore. It might not he her you need to worry about but her bosses up the drug chain. Drug dealers are killing people for less…

        1. snuck*

          Yeah. If the Police think her employer should know… then let them tell the employer.

          You think she went crazy about you tipping the cops off for flogging your meds? Imagine how much angrier she’s going to be if she loses her job, gets evicted because she can’t make rent etc… Why put yourself on the line?

        2. Meh*

          As if the police are always of the most sound judgement and advice… meh… but that’s a topic for another forum, I suppose.

      2. Juli G.*

        But I don’t see where the police said you should tell her employer. They just said it’s common to have an order of protection.

        If it’s a drug trafficking charge, won’t she have time in court or even jail time (unless she pleads down)? That’s probably a good tip off.

      3. MK*

        Did you really? Have you considered asking them why, in that case, they didn’t see fit to inform the employer themselves? After all, they actually do have a general duty to protect society. But I am guessing that what really happened was that you asked them if you could tell the employer and they said it wasn’t illegal to do so.

        Look, no one can stop you from doing this; but you asked Alison how to do it “cleanly” without airing any dirty laundry, and there is just no way to accomplish that. No matter how you word telling her employer, this is an act of revenge that you are doing to cause her harm. Maybe she deserves it, but you simply cannot stir up dirt without getting dirty yourself; you can’t spin this as you being a concerned citizen, you will appear as someone who is angry at their ex-friend and is doing this to get revenge.

        By that way, there is one excellent reason “why not”: as far as I can tell, she hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. If you tell her employer and then she is acquitted (which you can never know beforehand), you could get in trouble yourself.

        1. Foxtrot*

          I’d be surprised if the police even said it was ok to contact the employer. I had a no contact order and was told to stay as far away from the person as possible and keep my nose squeaky clean. At the time, I had asked if I could tell everyone *who* and *why* I was afraid of this person from a protective standpoint. Just let others around me know that I don’t want this person around. I was told that this could be taken the wrong way and malicious. I should call the police immediately if something happened, but not smear the guy’s name in the mud.
          I really think telling the employer will come back to bite you. It could even negate the no contact order you have in place or allow ex-friend to file one against you.

        1. Meh*

          I highly doubt it. LW2 just seems angry and looking for ways to hurt this person even more (as evidenced above) for, I’m guessing having a bottle of her Rx meds at her house at time of police contact.

          I understand the feelings, they are human. But I think it makes absolutely zero sense to involve herrself in this further.

      4. snuck*

        So wait. You had missing drugs, and you went to the police, and they raided her?

        Then you DID tip the police off? Or they had already raided her and just not bothered to follow up on who the drugs belonged to (you) aka who was the supplier?

        What on earth is this drama llama?

        1. Zillah*

          It’s really harsh – not to mention inaccurate! – to call the victim of theft a supplier. I’ve had prescription medication stolen from me by someone I trusted – I didn’t supply them with anything. Theft is common enough that I’d hope the police wouldn’t jump to “drug dealer” just because they found a bottle.

          1. SystemsLady*


            I use a commonly theft-targeted drug that has extremely helpful effects and has a low probability of abuse problems for me, but is commonly abused by people without my condition, and people often try to fake the condition to do precisely that.

            I have to be very careful about filling my prescription, because I’ve heard one too many stories about getting stalked and mugged by somebody who overheard what you were picking up.

            Just getting diagnosed, feeling like I needed the drugs (I did!), and getting them filled felt mildly humiliating for me.

            Please don’t assume people who use painkillers, stimulants, or other commonly abused drugs would even *want* to sell their drugs. We have very restricted refill timelines, and if you lose some in your car or have a bottle stolen (and subsequently found empty)…too bad!

          2. legalchef*

            I *think* that s/he meant supplier more as in “place from where the arrested person got the drugs” rather than “the person who knowingly gave the arrested person drugs for the purpose of resale.”

            1. Zillah*

              Given the tone of the comment overall and the insinuation that the OP is lying about not tipping the cops off, I’m less optimistic. Hopefully your reading is correct. :/

            2. snuck*

              You are correct – I just meant that the police would usually chase down all owners of drugs in a place to verify supply chains. That doesn’t mean they were sold by LW2/OP, but usually police want to know where stuff comes from…

              LW2 says: “When I did go to the police, my name was already involved because, all my missing prescription drugs, she’s stolen them. A whole bottle of something I no longer take with my name and address on it, conviently for the police.”

              From that it sounds like LW2 went to the police station (not them coming to her) and found that the medications were there. How did she know to go there? Why on earth would you go to the police except to report something missing in this situation? Maybe the OP was going in to report her boxes of meds missing – hurrah if it’s as simple as that – but if she knew that the ex-friend had them, if she knew the police had raided the ex-friend and had her stuff now etc… it shows that the OP was aware of what was going on before… report the missing meds as soon as they go missing… and then stay out of it? The whole thing just … smells.

              1. Zillah*

                Thank you for clarifying. Your comments are still coming across as super hostile to me, though – you’re essentially accusing the OP of lying. If you’re confused about their story, there are more respectful and productive ways to ask than calling them a drama llama and saying that their letter “smells.”

              2. Brisvegan*

                The letter says that the LW went to the police after getting the 5 threatening phone calls. I assumed that the LW was then told what had happened with their medications.

      5. Coffee Ninja*

        I don’t know a ton about drug laws, but in my small town that has a good deal of drug use, “possession with intent to distribute” is charged with almost every arrest. It’s not necessarily indicative of an actual plan to traffic drugs. In our area, it’s one of the initial charges and almost always winds up getting dropped.

        I don’t think you have anything to gain by contacting her employer. As you said in your follow up comment, if there is a trial/jail time she will have to inform her employer anyway. If this person is harassing you this badly now, it will get exponentially worse if you tell her job what’s going on.

        1. Kelly L.*

          Yeah–if I remember correctly, and IANAL, intent to distribute is often just based on how much you have. If you have more than a certain arbitrary amount, they assume you must be planning to sell it rather than just use it yourself, but that’s not always the case.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes. “Intent to distribute” is often based on how much you have (which is weird, because if you have a wine cellar, no one accuses you of planning to sell alcohol), or things like simultaneously being in possession of plastic baggies.

                1. Pennalynn Lott*

                  I have all of those things (scales for weighing my food, and plastic baggies and foil for storing my food). I also have a crap-ton of hydrocodone left over from my hip replacement surgeries.

                  I have a ton left over because (a) I didn’t need as many pain pills as the doc prescribed, and (b) I’m not selling any of it! But I guess I could be charged with intent to distribute. Scary.

            1. Engineer Girl*

              Thee is one difference. Wine ages well for years and years. Drugs break down fairly quickly and have a “use by” date where they start to lose their effectiveness. If you have more drugs than you could use by the expiration date then the assumption is that you are going to distribute. That said, intent to distribute is often used when a certain volume is reached even if the person could consume the drugs by that date.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Ah, but the law isn’t based on “more drugs than you could use by the expiration date.” It’s actually based on having relatively small quantities that could easily be for personal use. Especially if you choose to limit the number of illegal transactions you must make and instead stockpile a supply for, say, six months.

              2. Galaxy*

                Drugs break down quickly? Thats interesting because I’ve always heard the opposite, that the expirations are poppycock.

                1. Engineer Girl*

                  They start to lose their full effectiveness and that brings in a level of uncertainty that most drug companies hate. A Dr may be able to use them knowing that they don’t work as well. In today’s litigious society that won’t happen in the US! It may happen in other countries where 1/2 effective is better than none at all.
                  Another problem is that the binders for the drug start to break down and that can cause allergic reactions.
                  TL;DR – most drugs are fine after the expiration but drug companies and medical practices won’t chance it.

              3. Student*

                It’s really more of a way to pile on charges for a single actual offensive act. This is used in many different aspects of law enforcement. I think the whole process is despicable in a lot of ways. Basically, they shotgun many different charges at you, hoping at least one will stick all the way from arrest through trial to sentencing. It lets them avoid critical thinking at the beginning of the process, allows CYA, and allows further investigation (warrents, etc.) so they can come up with more charges to justify the initial arrest.

        2. Natalie*

          It’s pretty meaningless as far as determining who is actually intending to distribute. If your stash is portioned out (such as multiple prescription bottles) or over a certain arbitrary quantity you will probably be charged with intent to distribute automatically.

        3. KR*

          Kelly and Natalie are right here. It happened to a friend of mine. She buys her green stuff in bulk and when she got busted, they tacked on the Intent to Distribute charge just for the amount she had on her.
          Furthermore, just because she’s been charged does not mean she has been found guilty.

      6. Owl*

        Where do you think those 10% of Americans got their illegal drugs from? From drug dealers. Just let it go, your vindictiveness is showing.

      7. Lily in NYC*

        No. Just no. You already knew what she’s like and didn’t feel the need to tattle to her employer when you were still friends, so this really just reeks of petty revenge. Let the police tell her employer if they think it’s necessary. Gee, I wonder why she thinks you’re the one who “snitched” on her in the first place.

      8. Observer*

        The police told you to contact her employer? That’s ridiculous.

        It’s not your job. *IF* she is really dangerous, to the extent anyone has a responsibility, it is up to the police to let her employer know. Besides, if she was arrested for drug trafficking, her employer knows about it – or will soon enough without your interference. And since you filed for a restraining order (which makes lots of sense), if her employer cares enough to follow up, this will be in the record.

        From where I sit, it looks like you are looking for a reason to do this. You KNOW that it won’t make you look good, which is why you asked Alison how to word it.

        It does make a difference that she wasn’t arrested for just smoking a joint at home. And I was expecting to hear that there was more to the story than just a joint. But, it’s not enough to make it a smart (or appropriate) move.

        1. fposte*

          And even if the police had said the OP should tell the employer (which it looks like they didn’t), that doesn’t mean that’s the thing to do. The police say a lot of stuff that people think carries more weight or knowledge than it does–legal advice is a common example.

      9. BananaPants*

        Don’t hit the hornets’ nest with a stick and then be surprised when you get stung. We all get being pissed off at this ex-friend and wanting her to suffer for her crime, but she’s going to have to deal with the legal system. You don’t need to go and tattle to her employer when from the sound of it she’s likely to lose her job if she’s incarcerated.

        I really doubt the police told you to contact her employer. They certainly may have said you should get a protective order, but that doesn’t involve YOU telling her employer about it. If the police or prosecutor feels she’s a risk to her workplace they will contact her employer directly, not expect one of her victims (you) to do so.

    4. JessaB*

      I don’t know about that. I would never call the employer about the drugs off work thing because I don’t think that’s their business. BUT, an employee who starts making major threats when they think they’ve been wronged (whether or not they have been,) is an issue I think an employer needs to know about. If it rises to an actually granted full (not emergency) protection order or should, I’d want to know if my employee might go overboard or start making threats if someone on the job did something they didn’t like. Or “stole their idea,” true or not. It’s not the drug thing that I’d be reporting, it’s the threats. The problem is when someone starts making threats you have no idea if they’re all hot air or if they actually could turn dangerous.

      And honestly someone who does drugs (which I have issues with laws about in general I believe it’s a medical issue not a criminal one,) may not always have a clear head, and may actually do something they would not do sober. In this case I disagree with Alison, I’d want to know about a potential threat.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        … I’d want to know if my employee might go overboard or start making threats if someone on the job did something they didn’t like.

        Yeah, but she might not do that at her job. So it’s still vindictive and meddling. And frankly, if someone wrote me a letter like that about one of my employees, I’d be tempted to dismiss them as the crazy one.

    5. AnotherHRPro*

      I completely agree. I use a similar line, “don’t stir a pot of crazy” that I think applies. No good will come from informing the ex-friends employer. And chances are they may even know about the arrest. It is hard to keep things like that secret. OP is looking for some revenge but it isn’t worth it.

      1. Dot Warner*

        That’s a good point! There’s a decent chance that one of the ex-friend’s coworkers heard about this through the grapevine or owns a police scanner or saw it in the local paper (some newspapers print a record of the previous day/week’s arrests) or even got a heads-up from the police.

        OP, make like Elsa and Let It Go…

    6. Stranger than fiction*

      Totally, don’t poke the crazy. If she were some sort of danger or threat to her employer or coworkers, that’s totally different. This just sounds like an attempt at payback.

  3. The IT Manager*

    The problem with using fan fiction to demonstrate writing talent is the same as trying to use self-published work … it’s existence doesn’t demonstrate skill. Some fan fiction is great and better than a large percentage of published works, but some is terrible and I’ve seem terrible fan fic get positive reviews for reasons I can’t understand. Additionally that took a chunk of your time and that demonstrates that its a passion you devote many hours to and might hint that your job is just tiding you over until you become an published author – it’s about perception, not fact.

    1. LisaLee*

      Yup. I’ve worked on/off in publishing and I’ve written more than my fair share of fanfic and I’d still say DO NOT put it on a resume for all the reasons you mention. It’s a hobby, not a show of business skill. You wouldn’t put “knitted 16 sweaters in 2015” either, even though that is a pretty big accomplishment.

      The exception here is something like Kindle Worlds (maybe) where you’re publishing through legitimate, monetized channels. But even that’s got kind of a “meh” reputation in the professional publishing world and I don’t know of anyone who’s had serious success there.

      1. neverjaunty*

        That is a really insightful comment.

        OP #2, if I saw someone putting fanfic on their resume, I’d look at it very negatively – not because I have a negative view of fanfic* but because it would be a signal that you don’t understand professional norms. If a friend of mine or a co-worker told me she was a prolific fanfic author (particularly if she was a good writer), I’d be impressed. That’s very different than a job applicant doing the same thing.

        * for example, Wicked is fanfic, as are a lot of published works that lose the label once they have Literary Approval. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is fanfic. Ahab’s Wife is fanfic.

        1. Mookie*

          Thank you for your asterisked remarks. What constitutes fanfiction is imprecise, but when it’s applied to others it seems nearly always to function as an insult or dismissal, a signal that the writer lacks prestige or that the writing is insufficiently high-brow (no matter how large a forehead the author intended in the first place).

          As someone for whom fanfiction (and slash, come to think of it) doesn’t really appeal — though much of it appears to me to be thoughtful, funny, wildly creative, and improves dramatically on the source material — I wonder if part of the stigma against it is precisely because it gives voice to otherwise erased or marginalized (and often sexual) tastes, because it regularly subverts the status quo and often functions as a critique of its source material, because it emerges from subcultures that are incorrectly presumed to be the sole domain of white, self-professed geeks, and because it blends (reduces the almighty “purity” of, magnifies previously unexplored nuances of) that geekery with yucky, non-male, non-cis desire. I know it’s been reported that white women disproportionately dominate certain sectors of the publishing industry and are regularly catered to (although in the US, black women are the most voracious readers of fiction on average), but I’m not sure whether that applies here. Also, I’m probably off-topic, so I’ll save my questions, if anyone more well-versed than I am cares to answer, for the next active open thread.

          1. Sarahnova*

            I think a big old part of the stigma surrounding fanfic is that it is overwhelmingly a medium written by, and catering to, women. (Oh, and of course that it has long been known for putting male characters together and making kissy noises). It’s the same stigma that dogs the “romance” genre in a way it doesn’t, say, crime or thrillers. I have long observed that when people (mostly women) create new, exciting storylines with existing characters for free, it’s puerile, lowbrow fanfiction; when men get paid to do it, it’s a prestigious career in screenwriting.

            That said, unless this job *directly relates to fanfiction in some way*, I agree with the advice to leave it off the resume, just because it’s not relevant, and so there’s no upside to listing it.

            1. sunny-dee*

              Actually, at least for me, fanfic has such an awful reputation because it is overwhelmingly awful. It tends to be really juvenile, focused on sex / relationships *ahead of* the story or the characters, and it usually seems to deviate strongly from the original source material.

              1. Sarahnova*

                Plenty of it is bad, yes. Some of everything is bad. But lots is good, some is better than the source material, and lots of it isn’t sexual or relationshippy at all. And if you’ll forgive me, “deviating strongly from the original source material” is sort of the point! It’s where you CAN write an alternate universe where, say, Lily Potter was gay, which is never going to make it into mainstream media/publishing. Politically, it can be a powerful way of exploring marginalised characters and viewpoints. There’s a reason it’s a focus for academic research.

                If it’s not your bag, no problem. But many actual, published quality authors write the stuff, lots of real published works are basically fanfiction that has acquired a veneer of legitimacy, and “overwhelmingly awful is, in my opinion and experience, an overstatement.

              2. anon for this*

                The problem is that there’s so much of it that unless you’re willing to spend the time searching for good fic, the first few you stumble on are going to be bad. It’s no different than wanting to read a new book or watch a new movie. Click on something at random is probably going to be something awful or not suited to your tastes, so you have to do a bit of digging to find something you find enjoyable.

              3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

                I may have been overly involved in the Harry Potter world for awhile, and the problem is so much of it is bad writing. Even some of the “best pieces” are only considering good because the idea behind the story is good.

                The writing itself falls into the same bad tropes that get red lines in a creative writing 101 class.

                1. Julia*

                  Would you like to exchange recommendations? There are some fics I actually like, though mostly short ones, and I would like to hear about yours. Or we could jointly b*tch about the bad ones that get too much credit? :)

                2. Evan Þ*

                  Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is #@$*.

                  With published works, a lot of that 90% gets filtered out by publishers not accepting it, or editors improving it. With fanfiction – the publishers are websites that accept everything, and the editors work on a volunteer basis when an author goes looking for one. So, of course there’s going to be a really big haystack around the needle.

              4. Oh please*

                Some of us like it focused only on sex and relationships. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

              5. aebhel*

                Huh, that hasn’t been my experience. I think it’s really a matter of knowing where to look and how to find readable stuff.

            2. Shell*

              I also think part of the stigma comes from how fandom can blow things out of proportion in 0.000002 seconds flat. Just take a look at the shipping wars, the character X is better than character Y because of that one exchange in the movie, etc. You get pages and pages of personal attacks based on nothing but how, at the end of the day, one person doesn’t ship what you ship/see the character the way you do.

              I’ve been in fandom for a little under 20 years, and I’ve written fic for a lot of that too, but fandom drama is one aspect of fandom that disgusts me.

          2. MK*

            Eh, that’s a pretty big stretch, in my opinion, and I say this as someone who has loved fanfiction for almost two decades. There many stories that do not fall into the categories you describe and they still have the stigma attached to it. I also don’t think it is accurate to say that “much of it” is as good or better than the original material, or published works; some of it is, of course, but most of it, not really. And there is quite a lot of it that has truly terrible writing.

            But I think the reason to not include it a resume is, simply, because it’s not a professional activity. It’s something someone did because they love it, without having to adhere to any set guidelines of quality, and that other people possibly liked, but didn’t have to pay for it. The “kudos” button is a lot easier to press than the “buy” one.

            1. Chinook*

              “I also don’t think it is accurate to say that “much of it” is as good or better than the original material, or published works; some of it is, of course, but most of it, not really. And there is quite a lot of it that has truly terrible writing.”

              I have to agree that there is a lot of terrible writing but, when you find a universe with good writers and editors, it does open your whole world to alternative ways to look at characters. And for every 10 to 20 pieces of schlock I read only the first sentence of before dismissing, I stumble across a series that is true to the characters and their voices and gives great reading. The reason I would never brag about it on a resume, though, is a writer is not in a position to tell if they write schlock or quality.

              I tend to stay away from any fanfic about literary characters who are still being written by their authors (I love Outlander but only Diana gets to write about Sam and Claire, TYVM), but, to me, television and movies are fair game because there tends to be only so much of a story that can be done on screen and, too often, the voices and gaze of those who aren’t the target audience. And there are signs that the writers, actors, and producers do pay attention to this audience when things like a goat in a house pop up in the Highlander series (it was an inside joke in the Methos Harem I belonged to back in the 90’s) or a certain female hacker got the codename “Overwatch” last week in their series (and the producer openly admitted it was inspired buy fans when DC wouldn’t let them go with their first choice).

              1. Kelly L.*


                I think fanfic gets No True Scotsman’d by some folks–they believe all fanfic is bad, so if they see good fanfic (even fanfic that’s classic enough to be taught in school!), it must not really be fanfic.

          1. neverjaunty*

            I am genuinely curious why not. You can’t be drawing the line at “is the work in the public domain?” I am sure all of us would classify, say, an explicit story about a romance between Lord Godalming and Jonathan Harker even though Dracula is long out of copyright. And it can’t be the explicitness of the work; if I write a G-rated story about Harry Potter giving up Quidditch to become a world cricket champion, that’s fanfic, right?

          2. Liz in a Library*

            Sure are. As are the many formally published Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Sherlock Holmes continuations and retellings. (Other authors, too; those just seem to have a particularly large amount of work written around them.)

            1. Oryx*

              I think it’s the public domain factor. It’s so much easier to publish if the original work is out of copyright.

          3. Oryx*

            Yes, yes they are. They are published, established, and written by reputable authors but they are still very much fanfiction.

        2. jhhj*

          A lot of Shakespeare is fanfic. And Wolf Hall is jus RPF fanfic.

          I don’t tend to read it because I find it hard to navigate, but there’s nothing wrong with fanfic — it’s just not professional.

          Unless you want to be a fiction author — many of them used to write fanfic — it’s unlikely to be relevant.

            1. Amelie*

              Yup! I’m friends with three authors (who make a living from writing books) and all three write fanfic as well as their published novels.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I wrote one and that was enough for me. It had enough good stuff in it to turn into its own story, so I rewrote it. Now I just need to get that product in front of the right people.

                For me, it was a good way to get back into the long form of a novel and good practice in working with characters, even if they were already established ones. It was a LOT of fun, but once was enough, I think.

            2. A fly on the wall*

              I know of one author who wrote fanfic of his own work. And labeled it as such.

              It offered a kind of wish fulfillment. I think the “What If” comics that come out serve a similar purpose, at least in those comic universes that don’t eventually include them.

              FanFic can be defined either by the content or the genre, but I tend to see it as anything that establishes a separate, unofficial, plot line to another work.

          1. brighidg*

            Someone pointed out to me that part of the reason the play Hamilton is so popular is because it is basically fanfic.

            1. jhhj*

              It’s totally fanfic, but I don’t think that’s what makes it popular — I think it’s a bunch of other factors. It’s new, it’s fresh — the casting, the hip hop; it’s done by a huge nerd who clearly loves what he’s done (a fan); it’s earnest, not ironic; it’s got all this great characterization; it’s about politics and change at a time when it is relevant — I am not sure how much the fanfic plays a role, though of course everything about it is interrelated.

              Also I have tickets for next month.

            2. Sarahnova*

              Ooh – this is a great example of what I said upthread about the importance of fanfic for exploring marginalised viewpoints.

            3. Barb*

              I don’t know that I’d call it “fanfic”–or, it gets into a realm of what fanfic is. Is it fanfic of Chernow’s work? It’s about a historical figure and Miranda used many sources to write it (though, obviously, relied heavily on Chernow). The facts of Hamilton’s life don’t belong to Chernow.

              There’s a lot written about historical figures, sometimes in situations that are TOTALLY made up and sometimes in situations that happened but the dialogue is made up. If I write a story about George Washington, using primary sources but making up the situation, is that fanfic?

              1. Elsajeni*

                It’s RPF! Not Hamilton, necessarily — my impression is that the plot of Hamilton sticks close enough to historical fact that I wouldn’t even really call it fiction; it’s a musical biography — but your hypothetical George Washington story, involving a situation that as far as you know never actually happened, could definitely be described as RPF.

        3. Elysian*

          I usually think of fan-fiction as unpublished in the traditional sense by definition (that’s just my definition, but its where I draw the line). Fanfic involves people writing stuff that gets published online and that may or may not be any good, if it gets picked up by a “real” publisher then in my opinion it has crossed the bounds into more conventional literature. I would put the latter on my resume (if relevant to my job), but not the former.

      2. MsChandandlerBong*

        I don’t know if anyone has had success publishing with KW, but the original authors sure made out well by allowing other people to use their characters and settings. Not only did Amazon pay big signing bonuses, they also give the copyright holders 35% of the royalties from all titles sold in their “worlds.”

        1. LisaLee*

          Are individual authors who license their content actually getting that much? From what I saw when it came out, most of the properties were owned by media companies and not individuals. But I haven’t really followed it since the announcement.

          It would be super interesting to know if that stuff is actually selling though. I always felt like it was aiming for a market that didn’t exist.

          1. Dirk Gently*

            I recently learned that a former colleague I’d always thought of as “very nice, but a bit dull” has been pulling down 20-30k per year writing erotica via either KW or something very like it (can’t remember the details). He’s gone up in my estimation since his confession! He won’t tell me his pseudonym though, LOL

      3. Jubilance*

        It’s about context – if I was applying for a job at a knitting shop or as a knitting instructor, putting that I knitted 16 sweaters in a year would be a big accomplishment. In a traditional office environment, not so much.

      4. Ragnelle*

        If you knitted 16 sweaters in 2015, you wouldn’t have anything else to put on your resume for last year (unless they were baby sweaters) because that is literally all you would have time to do, lol!

        A knitter with a full-time job who has yet to even finish one hat in 2016

        1. LisaLee*

          *stares balefully at the fingerless gloves that have been sitting in a project bag for two months*

    2. Naomi*

      This is a good point; fanfiction posted online doesn’t go through an editor, and therefore the quality varies wildly. As evidence of your writing skills, I’d rank it with telling employers about your unpublished novel: it’s mildly impressive that you followed through with a project of that size, but it doesn’t prove that your writing is any good.

      Alison has already mentioned the copyright issues. I’d like to bring up the issue of content. For all I know your work is totally G-rated, but if it’s even slightly smutty, then keep employers far away from it no matter how well-written it is.

      1. Artemesia*

        I think if you have an on line presence that would help you if someone googled it, it is fine — but fan fiction is probably not that just as a highly political blog is not —

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          Would a blog that is half personal half disability activism be considering highly political? I ask because I was also considering putting this on my resume (I am applying for social media type jobs).

          1. NGL*

            Disability activism is definitely highly political, but not in a charged/partisan way that a vitriolic “X candidate is the best, all others suck” blog would be. So long as it’s not inflammatory (“if you don’t support legislation to require this accommodation, you’re a terrible human being”), I think it could be fine to add. When I was including my blog on my resume though, unless the job I was applying for specifically asked for blogging skills, I just had it in my header along with my phone number and e-mail address.

            If you’re looking to work in social media, writing and then promoting a blog on social media can be an excellent experience-builder – it’s definitely how I got my start in the industry. I could confidently go into interviews and say I understood Google Analytics, how to use social media analytics tools (back before they were all built in to the platforms – I am old in social-media-years!), knew how to optimize images for social, etc, so I had a leg up on the other entry-level candidates who only knew how to use Facebook to plan parties.

          2. Artemesia*

            I think when your job is for social media that you could make a case for using your own social media use. For example my husband has written well researched highly complex economic material for well known political blogs. They are also edited to some extent. If he were applying for a social media role, then this work would be a good example of his use of the media. There is the risk, since it is political that it might cause issues, but it is on the scholarly/political rather than raving maniac political side and so arguably would be helpful information to share. It always boils down to will an employer reading this stuff be impressed or turned off by it. Does it present the person as someone with a professional demeanor.

          3. anon this time*

            I really wouldn’t put that on your resume unless you can show specific metrics relating to skills you used to market and write for said blog. Not just “I have 5,000 Tumblr followers” but metrics that would signal that you have specific, concrete, cross-platform skills that will help an employer generate revenue.

            From some of your comments on this post, it seems as though you are very involved in fandom culture and internet activism culture. Respectfully, those are two spaces that can be very disconnected from the day-to-day workings of most professional spheres. Perhaps you should consciously step back from promoting those aspects of yourself on a job hunt, because to most “normies” (for lack of a better word) will find a job applicant’s disclosure of involvement in these spheres to be unsettling. Also, both spheres can bring out very, very personal, confessional, sexual, and emotional discourse, which is not a side of yourself that you want to show prospective employers (or frankly current employers).

      2. LisaLee*

        And even if it’s the best fanfic ever, it still doesn’t say anything about business writing. Imo, they’re very different genres with separate conventions and goals and skill in one doesn’t necessarily translate to the other.

        1. Knitting Cat Lady*

          Case in point:

          I write a lot of technical documents. I’m actually good at it.

          I’m also not very good at any form of creative writing.

        2. Lily Rowan*

          Yeah, that’s what I was going to say — even 100% original fiction doesn’t belong on your resume because it’s not relevant. And what others have said about demonstrating a passion for something that is not the job you are applying for!

        3. Jake*

          That’s exactly what I came here to say.

          I can write one heck of a letter informing a party that they are not fulfilling their contractual obligations, but I’ve written a couple short stories that were hilariously bad. One skill doesn’t translate to the other.

      3. Tau*

        And a lot of people will assume it’s smutty even if you write only PG-rated gen, because that’s the reputation fanfic has.

        1. Kelly L.*

          Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too–unfortunately, there are a LOT of people who think all fanfiction=pr0n.

          Incidentally, where do people post fanfiction now and how do you get a ranking? I’ve been out of that loop for ages, and when I wrote it, it was pretty balkanized–some was on LiveJournal and some was on fanfiction dot net and some was on various single-fandom sites and some was on Yahoo Groups and so on, and there wouldn’t have been any kind of centralized rating, though there were some people who did become more famous than others (Cassandra Clare comes to mind). I’m curious where the good stuff is these days, especially with the decline of LJ.

          1. Alter_ego*

            Most stuff is on archive of our own dot com, or fanfiction dot net, at least in all the fandoms I follow. Both sites have a mechanism for filtering for a specific show/movie/book, and then you can further filter for specific pairing. They also both allow for “liking” as well as leaving comments. So you could search for say, Harry Potter fiction, then organize the results from most likes to least. Considering there about a gajillion Harry Potter fics, if you’re anywhere near the top in terms of likes, you’ve probably done a really really good job

            1. Annonymouse*

              Also there are specific fan fic sites for example harry potter fan fiction dot com

              They occasionally hold awards for best fiction with different categories: best romance, best drama, best line of dialogue etc.

              You can also filter for popularity, most reviews etc.

              But again, unless you are applying to be a moderator of one of these sites, it’s a hobby that doesn’t belong there.

              You wouldn’t put your video game playing or chilli cooking skills on a resume so you shouldn’t put fan fiction on there.

          2. anon for this*

            Archive of Our Own. Ranking goes by the number of hits or kudos a fic gets, though I take it with a grain of salt because while you’ll generally find some great fics at the top of the list, there’s also a lot of crap.

            1. another IT manager*

              And the smaller a fandom is, the more likely that something less fantastic can make it to the top of the kudos list.

              The thing that bugs me is that the LW only mentions her output, and it sounded like her works were at the top 2% *by word count*, which is a measure of … how fast you can write. Maybe. Someone I follow just churned out an 80k word story in about three weeks basically on a dare. It was good and I enjoyed it, but I doubt she’ll put it on her resume.

              If you were volunteering at AO3 on one of the committees or something, that would be a resume item.

              1. Zillah*

                If you were volunteering at AO3 on one of the committees or something, that would be a resume item.

                What do others think of this? I’m in basically that position, though on a different site, and I’ve been struggling with whether to put it on my resume (and how, if so).

                1. Lily Rowan*

                  If there’s any chance you’d be embarrassed to talk about the content in an interview, I’d skip it.

                2. Zillah*

                  I wouldn’t be, I don’t think – I’m not really embarrassed by it. I’m just not sure whether it would help or hurt me.

                3. anon for this*

                  I think it depends. If an interviewer is unfamiliar with it, they may search for the site or ask you about it, and it could lead to the same reservations on their part that fanfic does.

                4. LizB*

                  I think it would really depend on the position. If the skills you’re using on that committee can translate easily into whatever job you’re applying to, I think it might be okay. If it’s a super conservative organization, though, or the skills aren’t quite what they’re looking for, I would think it would be risky. You could try leaving it off your resume and bringing it up in interviews if it seems relevant — I sing in a feminist/LGBTQ community choir and serve on the fundraising committee, and while I’ve never made space on my resume for that information, I’ve brought it up as fundraising experience/experience working in group settings in several interviews and it’s been well-received.

                5. Ultraviolet*

                  Can you describe the work or your achievements there in a way that will make it clear to the resume reader that you’re demonstrating skill? One of the problems with listing hobbies (or mentioning parenting, imo) on a resume is that it’s so hard to show that you’re actually good at it.

              2. anon for this*

                Yes, exactly. That output callout bothered me as well, but it was more because bragging about that is not considered cool in fandom, so it already set me on edge.

                Word count is necessarily an indicator of good fic. I just read a 100,000 word fic that was written in less than a month, which was a sequel to a 50,000 word fic written the month before. It’s well written and excellent (which, in my experience, is rare for fics over 50K), but large word counts are par for the course in fandom. I think it’s easier to write large fics in a short amount of time in fandom because you’re playing in someone else’s sandbox, so you don’t really need to spend time world building.

              3. not my usual name*

                Yeah, it’s not a great metric. Top percent of what? Word count, hits, kudos, bookmarks? A couple of years ago, I had ten of the top twenty fics in my pairing. By hits. But if the measure was comments, not so much. (I don’t hold conversations in my comments, some authors do.) I average twenty kudos a day, spread across my catalog, but quite often that’s highly slanted toward one person making their way through my list.

              4. afiendishthingy*

                Well, you can sort everything just in that fandom by kudos. Sorting by hits will skew towards the fics with a lot of chapters – the default is to sort by recently updated, so if you’re always at the top of the recently updated list you’ll get more hits.

          3. LawBee*

            Ugh, Cassandra Clare. Of all the fic writers who made it in the “real world” it makes me crazy that a known plagiarist did. I don’t know anything about her published works, but she was infamous in the fic world for lifting entire passages from romance novels and pasting them into her stuff.

            1. anon for this*

              Her works were published because she worked in the industry, had connections in the industry, and came from a family with money. The fact that she came from money made her schemes to get money from fandom all the worse (never forget Laptopgate and all the cons she attended for free ugh)

            2. Kelly L.*

              Oh, absolutely. I mention her as an example of a famous one, not an ethical one. ;)

              I was just a little confused by the ranking thing, and BNFs were about the only comparison I could think of!

            3. april ludgate*

              I used to like her books when I was younger, but once I found out about the plagiarism thing I couldn’t read them anymore. That and the way she behaves on social media.

          4. Zillah*

            If you’re interested in Harry Potter fanfiction, harrypotterfanfiction dot com is wonderful – there a lot of very high quality authors, and the staff are very responsive and actually review most material before it’s posted – they reject stuff like explicit sexual assaults, incest, slavery, so it never ends up on the archive at all.

            1. Zillah*

              There’s plenty of not good writing, too! But the Dobby winners are typically pretty solid, particularly the recent ones, and you can check their tumblr for quality fic recs.

              (Disclaimer: I’m very active on it and its sister site, so I may be biased… But I post my fics on AO3, ffnet, and tumblr as well, and there’s a reason I’m only active other than posting on HPFF. If you know Madeleine L’Engle, you can probably guess who I am there, but I don’t really want to specify further here, I don’t think.)

              1. Judy*

                I’ve wondered if your name here was in reference to her. I love those stories and my daughter was named after one of the characters.

                1. Zillah*

                  Yep! That’s awesome – If I have kids, I’m going to strongly consider naming them after her characters, too. She was such a wonderful author.

            2. brighidg*

              Livejournal used to be a great resource to for HP fic. There’s probably some still around but all older stuff.

              Also, Tumblr has quite a bit of fic but finding it can be tough.

            3. Annonymouse*

              I used to like HPFF but I chafed under the forum rules.

              In particular the head moderator seemed unreasonable and a little too free with the ban hammer for minor indisgression with no way to redeem yourself.

              I was not surprised they shut down the forum section after one of the other mods got banned from modding and went wild with their not yet disabled access. They had also shut down the chat application before all this.

          5. Chinook*

            ” I’m curious where the good stuff is these days, especially with the decline of LJ.”

            When I got into the Arrow, I stumbled back into fanfiction after a 20 year hiatus (I was big into Highlander and even wrote some fanfiction which is now lost somewhere in Geocities), and stumbled onto AO3 (Archive of Our Own) where they police copyright by requiring any users to go through a background vetting (I am not sure how) to prove they are not a bot sucking up work to be posted under another name for profit. They have all sorts of universes listed there and new ones can be created by users. I don’t know how ratings work, but I like the fact that you can see who your favourite writer follows since good writers often can’t stand to read bad writing.

        2. INTP*

          Yep. As someone who has never sought out or read fiction myself, the image it conjures up for me is badly written erotica expressing the author’s sexual fantasies about the characters that make no sense for the actual characters or storyline. I’m sure it isn’t all like that in reality, but that’s the perception of most people who don’t read it themselves, I think, so leave any mention off a resume.

        3. Annie Moose*

          Heh, I once got in an argument with someone who insisted that 100% of fanfic was just porn… even after I revealed to him that I was a mod on a small fanfic site that barely even allowed PG13. He just couldn’t fathom it.

          That was quite a few years ago, but the general perception really hasn’t changed much.

      4. Liane*

        “…fanfiction posted online doesn’t go through an editor…”
        Sometimes it does. I did this for a friend’s fanfics, which were PG-13 at most.

        But does this go on my resume? Nope, not even the version that goes to game companies. And a good bit of the content of many roleplaying game books fits the shared world type of fiction writing. Not fanfiction, because it is in licensed products.
        I won’t put it on resumes even though this is a field where it might be helpful, since many people in the industry started as fans of the properties they now work on, and learned the craft by creating for themselves. I might mention in an interview in this industry IF there seemed to be a place where it fit.

        1. fposte*

          No, that got read by a helpful friend. That’s not the same thing as going through an editor’s process to meet publishing house standards.

          1. A Cita*

            Yes! Also, in my experience, even if the beta reader is an actual editor, you can’t edit it like you would a contracted author, because your friend or fic writer will often not react well AT ALL to that level of editing.

            I knew of one fanfic writer who got a book contract and remarked about how shocked they were to see how “harsh” and absolutely thorough an editor could be. They couldn’t believe the amount of red lining.

            1. fposte*

              Yup. There’s an ownership component. If you write fanfic with the help of an editing friend, your writing is yours. If you write for a publisher, your writing is theirs. I mean, it’s yours too, but it’s their name on it and their money behind it.

              Work (whether writing or any other kind) that has been worth somebody else’s money is always going to be treated differently than work that hasn’t gotten that backing. It doesn’t mean that the quality level was for sure different, but it means it met a different level of accountability, and that’s important.

            2. LQ*

              This is so strange. (I totally agree, but still strange.) A writer friend asked how I spent so much time editing, I think he thought I was goofing off. So I showed him a track changes version of something I worked on. This was my own edits on my own stuff. I had something in every paragraph often giant changes. He asked me to suggest edits for something of his so I did it, at that level. He didn’t talk to me for several months.

              1. Oryx*

                This was a hard lesson I learned from a middle-school English teacher who was a fabulous mentor but didn’t hold her punches when it came to editing, for which I’m grateful. Though when I went off to college and refused to coddle the other classmates in our upper level workshop classes I was not well liked.

            3. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

              I’m an ex-fanfic writer who just got my first publishing contract (!!!), and yes, the editing process was brutal. Like, “throw out the dual POV and re-write 1/3 of your 147,000 word manuscript” brutal. My editor was spot on though that it made for a much better book. along with helping correct a lot of bad habits I’d developed as a fanfic writer with a fawning fanbase.

              I was very open to the critique, which I guess made me somewhat of an exception. My editor said that most first time authors she’s worked with are defensive, rude and inflexible once they get their first set of edits back.

                1. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

                  Thank you! It really has been a dream come true. I can definitely agree with those commenters who say that writing original fiction isn’t necessarily harder than writing fanfic, but it does have a whole new and unique set of challenges that goes along with it.

                  I would love to be able to share the news that I’m a soon-to-be-published author with my co-workers, family and friends, but due to the NSFW content of my novel, there are only a few select people in my personal life I can tell.

      5. Molly*

        I think you mean “doesn’t go through a gatekeeper”–many fanfic writers do, in fact, get their works edited. There are a LOT of pro editors whose primary hobby is fandom, and who are happy to use their skills to improve the quality of their friends’ work.

        Even there, though: goodness knows publishers, perhaps especially the “big six,” produce absolute mountains of unreadable bilge. Having written something isn’t a proof that it’s good, but neither is having it accepted for publication.

        1. Charity*

          That’s true, but to me publication for a writer is like getting a good reference from a past employer. Is it “proof” that the person is a good employee? No, of course not; lots of people manage to float from job to job without being much good and without accumulating bad references for a variety of reasons. But publication is evidence that supports a conclusion — that other people think that their writing was marketable and can make money, which is what an employer is more likely to care about.

          The LW’s fanfiction may very well be brilliant, and far superior to many traditionally published works — but how many hiring managers are going to read all of it to make that determination on their own? The easier method for them is to rely on indirect and imperfect indicators — like professional references and publication history. That doesn’t mean that traditionally published works are objectively better than self-published or unpublished works, but it does mean that for resume purposes a traditionally published work will almost always carry more weight.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yes, this. A writer at a con panel on self-vs-traditional publishing said something that really resonated with me. He was flogging the self-pub thing, as an author who had done both, but he said that traditional publishing gives you something self-pubbing does not.


            Someone in the industry has signed off on your work. Someone–as you pointed out–thinks it was marketable (publishing is a business after all, and books are product). He said even if your book didn’t do very well, there could be many reasons for that, and no one can ever take that endorsement away from you. And I want that.

            If you’re putting it on a writing resume, the trad-pub will FAR outweight the self-pub, unless you are picked up by a big house, which carries basically the same odds as going straight from community theater to the Oscars.

        2. fposte*

          But being edited by a publishing house isn’t simply being read by one other person. You’re talking about a very different process.

          1. AZ*

            That rather depends on the publishing house, unfortunately! There are certainly some smaller ones where getting published doesn’t amount to much more than that.

            1. fposte*

              It does amount to somebody putting their livelihood behind the publication, which is the big difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

              I totally agree that some fanfiction is great and some traditionally published stuff sucks. But it’s also true that some volunteers do better work than some paid people, but it still doesn’t make the two situations equivalent; the process makes a difference just in the fact that somebody else is willing to put their money on the line for the work.

              1. Oryx*

                “the process makes a difference just in the fact that somebody else is willing to put their money on the line for the work.”

                Yes, exactly. I say this as a writer who has worked with two small publishing houses.

        3. em2mb*

          My two closest friends and I spend an inordinate amount of time reading, writing and plotting fan fiction. As we all have journalism degrees (and two of us have industry jobs that involve editing), our stuff goes through about the best non-professional gatekeeper you can get.

          That said, I will not be putting “wrote 177K words of fan fiction for a terrible MTV show based on 1980s Michael J. Fox movie” on my resume. Most of my coworkers know I’m active in fandom – I have a Harry Potter tattoo on my arm that they’ve all seen by now – but I think it would have been off-putting two years ago before they got to know me to know that it’s my main hobby outside of work.

      6. INTP*

        If its slightly smutty I wouldn’t even mention it to a trusted coworker after you get the job. It has a rep for being an expression of the author’s personal fantasies and frankly you risk a curious coworker googling you and feeling weird about it at best, sharing it and mocking you at worst.

    3. Sarahnova*

      Hey, E.L. James has made out pretty well from fanfiction – which just goes to prove two things: 1) making tons of money magically moves an activity from “icky and weird” into “awesome”; 2) OH BOY does the quality of fanfic vary a lot.

      (I am not a Fifty Shades fan, as you may perceive.)

      1. Felicia*

        That’s what I am going to say. I don’t like 50 Shades of Grey for a wide variety of reasons, including that it’s not good writing, but it’s still Twilight fanfic.

    4. Fanfic Resume*

      I also think that is demonstrates skills around being an independent work – self motivated, driven, and so forth. What do you think about that?

      Your last comment about my job tiding me over is interesting. And to be fair I’m applying for short term jobs and internships right now so I’m not concerned about that. I also have complicated feelings about if I should pursue publication.

      1. Sarahnova*

        I think it’s better to demonstrate those skills in a work context, to be honest. Can you demonstrate those skills better through your degree, or any p/t or outside work you have done?

        It’s not that it doesn’t show those things, but being self-motivated and driven around writing fanfic and being self-motivated and driven in a work context are two different things, and it’s the latter that employers care about. I know you want to use this, but seriously, unless the word “fanfiction” appears in the job description, it doesn’t belong on your resume.

      2. AnotherFed*

        It does show those things, but they are overwhelmed by the reputation fan fiction has. Putting it down would be like referencing soft porn acting, no matter what you actually wrote. You can show independent motivation and willingness to work hard through more conventional activities.

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          Thanks for the soft porn acting comment. (Genuinely.)

          I know this next bit is going to be a little weird out the full context…

          But my mom has been helping me put together my resume and doesn’t understand why I don’t want to include my fanfic because she doesn’t understand the reputation it has. I’m just going to pass that comment along because I’m sure she’ll get it.

          1. Juli G.*

            Aw, you should have put that in the letter! You deprived Allison of another “Never listen to your parents’ job advice!” response.

            1. INTP*

              Also, this wins for most original bad parent advice on this blog. We’ve all seen “Walk into the office and ask for a job,” “Call a million times,” “Put your SAT score on your resume so they know you’re smart/apply for jobs requiring 5 years more experience than you have, they won’t care about that if you’re smart (my parents),”…I have never seen “Put your fanfiction on your resume” yet!

          2. Ad Astra*

            Ah… this makes a lot of sense! Your mother, like many mothers, is likely proud of you and isn’t great at separating “cool things my awesome kid has achieved” from “stuff my kid’s potential employers will want to know.” Classic mom error.

          3. LawBee*

            as a Old Fandom Hag who dates from the days where you DID NOT TALK about fanfic, I am reeling at the idea of sharing it with my parents. Bravo to you.

            Fandom has changed so much since the days of dial-up internet…

        2. Elysian*

          I had a friend in college whose resume I reviewed, and he a line devoted to his achievements in a leadership position in his World of Warcraft guild. Something like “Lead XX people to slay The Big Dragon” or something. I would equate it more to something like that than soft porn. But either way, it is something that is going to look pretty “off” on a resume.

          1. Anon Frost Mage*

            Ooof. I had a friend do the same thing, except there were full on paragraphs about the leadership qualities and interpersonal skills they demonstrated in guild recruiting and organizing 25 man raids that they refused to cut even after multiple people gave them feedback on it. These are totally valid skills, but slaying dragons is not a professional credential.

          2. LQ*

            I loved WOW as a space to test and practice leadership skills. Getting 5/10/25/40 people to do what you tell them to at exactly the right second when they don’t really have to be there? Good sandbox for learning skills. But unless I was applying in a heavy gaming industry I would never put it on my resume. (That said, if I was applying to Blizzard? YUP that’s going on there.)

          3. MyFakeNameIsLaura*

            Leadership in some large, well-known, and long running guilds are very resume worthy – but only for the right job. As LQ notes below, coordinating weekly raids between 10-20 people can be quite difficult. (It’s like managing a small conference or other event where you have to coordinate multiple people with varying skill sets and interests into successfully completing a group goal)

      3. Tomato Frog*

        Being disciplined at a hobby that mostly just incorporates things you love doing doesn’t really demonstrate that you’ll be self-motivated or driven at tasks you’ve been assigned and that need to be performed in a certain place and time. Maybe you’ll be daydreaming about your characters all day and be writing down story ideas on scrap paper. I have mad respect for anyone who can finish a novel, but it doesn’t make me think “This is someone I can count on to show up for work on time and do their very best.”

        1. Allison*

          I’ve never thought of it this way, but this is extremely true. A person putting a lot of time and effort into something they love doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll put the same effort into something someone else needs them to do. It’s the same reason why parenting doesn’t really translate into a set of professional qualifications; just because you used MS Office to organize a family trip to Disney World doesn’t mean you’ll excel at it in a professional context.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yep! And this is why–to tie it in with a thread we had a few months ago–being super fit doesn’t necessarily translate to your work output either. We were discussing how some managers assume that if you put a lot of effort into the gym, it means you’ll do the same for work, even though people don’t assume that for other hobbies.

          2. AnotherHRPro*

            This is so very true. I have an employee is is passionate about acting and spends much of his free time participating in local acting and improv programs – even teaching. But I can’t get him to collaborate with anyone at work! He says he is an introvert. But obviously he can “get over his uneasiness” with public speaking when it is for his passion. Just not for his job.

      4. anon for this*

        As someone who works in publishing and someone who writes and reads fanfic, please don’t. There’s about a 0.5% chance that someone would care enough to publish your fanfic. Most published authors who go on to write original work have to erase all traces of fanfiction because it doesn’t have a great reputation in the publishing world.

        Writing fic shows you’re independent or motivated about your hobby. If you put fanfic on your resume, it’s most likely going to be chucked in the trash or laughed at. Especially if it’s for one of the larger, more problematic and dramatic fandoms (I’m thinking MCU, SPN, etc). Those fandoms already have a bad reputation in the non-fandom world as overzealous, soapbox-shouting social justice warriors, so it’s probably not something you want linked back to you in a professional sense. Not to mention, saying you’re in the top 2% doesn’t really mean anything because hit count and kudos isn’t always a marker of true quality but more….the popularity of the tropes, pairing, or kinks you’re writing about.

        Regardless, my comment may come off as a little harsh, but as someone who’s part of fandom, please, please, please don’t go around breaking the fourth wall. Waving your fic about to employers is just as cringeworthy as people who send links to fic to celebrities. If it’s not relevant to your job, don’t put your hobbies in an interview.

        1. brighidg*

          already have a bad reputation in the non-fandom world as overzealous, soapbox-shouting social justice warriors,

          That’s the bad reputation? That’s cute considering what happens in some of the more “risqué” fics.

          1. fposte*

            Yeah, for SPN the extreme I think of is “crazy people who believe the actors are secretly a couple.”

              1. fposte*

                To me that’s less crazy than the belief that the actual actors are a couple and their entire lives are a shield of this fact.

                See also: Harry and Louis in One Direction. I find it fascinating this isn’t a one-off but a genuine motif as a fan delusion.

              2. Chinook*

                ““They know we’re brothers, right?”
                “Don’t seem to care.””

                Double ha! I tried reading fanfic on them but they all seem to have an incest theme to them that the authors don’t want to recognize (or I haven’t been able to hold my nose long enough to find). Though, now that Eileen showed up for one episode, things are looking up in fanfic world.

            1. Noah*

              This always makes me laugh as someone who knows one of the two actors personally.

              Two men can be close friends without being a couple.

          2. anon for this*

            That was the nicer way of saying it.

            A lot of fandom social justice tends to hinge more on the “this is my view and it’s the only view and if you don’t agree with me, then you’re wrong and bigoted”. Those views are problematic even when they’re coming from good intentions. For instance, saying a character can only be seen as gay – despite being straight in the canon source material – and hating on anyone who dares view them within fandom as bisexual/asexual/trans/etc instead. Social justice is all well and good, but not when you’re attacking people under that umbrella for having a different opinion about fanon headcanons or source material.

        2. Lapsed Academic*

          Thank you for pointing out that being popular does not equate quality (in 99% of the cases it doesn’t).

          Dear LW1, I’ve been in various fandoms for almost 20 years now. I learned English with fanfics much better than I did at school (because when I was starting out, there was almost no content in my language on the internet), I’ve written fanfic for over a decade in English and that alone amounts to probably over a million words (I’ve long stopped counting; and yes not few of those stories are what you guys are calling “risqué”, yes I’m careful about keeping my identities very separate). The difference is I don’t particularly care if anyone reads it, because I write them for my own amusement. At the same time I have something of a reputation because of how much I redline when I beta (and here I’m a fandom grandmother, concrit used to be appreciated, now it seems to be an insult).

          But I also have a legitimate academic writing, editing and translation record, the latter two I’m freelancing with on the side. This is on my CV, because I can make a case for it. They ARE skills I initially honed with fanfic, but I’ve done enough of legit work (be it paid or during academic slavery) that I can make a use out of it. It’s also important to note I’m not in the publishing industry nor do I want to work there.

          I’m currently job searching, and occasionally where I am, hobbies and interests do come up in interviews (never ever in a cover letter!), I do say that one of my hobbies is creative writing, because it is. I’m an avid reader, I go swimming, I write, I meet friends, we go dancing once a month and we cook together. But I don’t tell anyone how many words I’ve written or that it’s fanfic. I’m proud of my work – I know where it can improve, but I’m doing this recreationally not for money – I can see myself get better at it over the years, but it stays firmly in my private life. If anyone asks what I’m writing, I do say it’s various topics of interest and that some I’ve let people read it in the past, but I make it a point to say I’m unpublished and that I do it for fun, not for eventual publication. (It rarely does come up, fyi, and I have a few original content short stories that I can whip out if I were pressured.)

          tl;dr please don’t drag this into the light, even if it’s perfectly harmless. It will look as if you don’t know where to draw the line to professionalism, which is never good.

          1. Lapsed Academic*

            (haha and I very clearly shouldn’t write long winded comments about editing on the train. forgive the mistakes, my phone screen is not conductive to proofreading, as is evident.)

      5. MK*

        Not really. It’s like saying you would be a great childcare giver because you are great with your niece and spend a lot of time with her. Everyone is motivated to do what they love to do; that doesn’t necessarily apply in a work context.

        1. simonthegrey*

          I won’t lie, I helped tutor a college student for a little while who had gone into our vet tech program because her grandmother had gotten a dog when she was 16, and she loved the dog, so she thought she would love to work in a vet’s office.

    5. AnotherHRPro*

      Yes, unless the jobs the OP is apply to are somehow related to the fan fiction world or unpublished writing, then it isn’t relevant and may have a negative impact.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      THANK YOU for bringing up the self-published thing.

      Just because you have a book published these days doesn’t mean you can write! Anyone who can pay the fee can publish. It’s one reason I will not do it at this point–even if your book is brilliant, it still may drown in a sea of dreck and it looks like you weren’t good enough to publish any other way.

      Also, as I said already, it’s most likely not relevant to the job you’d be applying for.

      1. Oryx*

        I wrote this rom-com novel in college and my dad offered to be my silent backer and take it to a vanity publisher. I refused and he never understood why and this was looooooooong before the age of Kindle publishing which makes it even easier (and cheaper!) now.

        I have friends who have published with a publisher I refused to work with after I heard her dealio — apply to her program and if you’re accepted, she and her team will a) help you write and b) publish your book. Only catch? It costs 10K-12K (depending if you want ebook only or add print on for an extra couple grand). Ummmmm no thank you.

  4. Mookie*

    I would like to know how to word the letter without airing any dirty laundry.

    Start by putting the pen down and minding your own business. By definition, what you’re plotting (out of revenge, not civic-mindedness) is the airing of “dirty laundry,” yours and your friend’s.

    1. RKB*

      Basically. The letter reads: “Am I entitled to ruining this person’s life, Alison? Do I have your bona fide permission?”

      Luckily, Senor Blogger Green said no.

        1. Sarahnova*


          Alison, pleasepleasepleaseplease update the “you” at the top of the page to have a matador outfit. (Please?)

          It’ll be like how the Mutant Enemy logo dresses up for special occasions!

        2. Awkially Socward*

          ” in my head Alison is now masquerading as a Spanish bullfighter”

          Well, she definetly knows how to deal with the stuff that come out of the non-horn end.

      1. Random Lurker*


        “I hate this person so I am making a thinly veiled attempt to turn my disdain into a professional issue.”

        Drug busts aside, OP#2 is not covering herself in glory here. This isn’t remotely close to being her business, nor is it even remotely a professional issue.

      2. get some perspective*

        Frankly, if someone threatens you with violence, sure you’re entitled to cause them some problems

        I’m not saying it’s prudent, or helpful to anyone, but the OP is not talking about some random person doing something he/she doesn’t like. He/she is talking about someone who threatened violence that warranted police action, and I don’t begrudge some revenge in that situation. I probably wouldn’t do it myself, since that might escalate the problem, but I understand the desire to do that and think it’s legit if he/she wants to.

        “I hate this person so I am making a thinly veiled attempt to turn my disdain into a professional issue.”

        It’s legit to hate someone who threatens you with violence.

        And to be very specific, if I was the OP and decided to tell the employer or anyone, I probably wouldn’t even mention the drugs. As AAM says, lots of people use or have used drugs.

        I’d mention the violence: “This person threatened me repeatedly.” THAT’s the problem

        1. Colette*

          Well, the OP went to the police. That doesn’t mean she was justified in doing so. She may have been, but I can go to the police and say you threatened me – that doesn’t mean you did.

          Assuming the friend did make credible threats, vindictively trying to get her fired will not improve the OP’s safety.

          1. Former Retail Manager*

            Indeed it won’t improve the OP’s chances of safety. In fact, the friend would then have an exorbitant amount of free time to focus on further making your life miserable, OP#2. You say you work in Government…..so do I. If your former friend is smart enough to complain in the right manner to the right people, she could just as easily make your life miserable, via a lengthy investigation by your employer, at a minimum, and potentially permanently tarnishing your professional reputation with your employer. Should you be investigated, your manager will be looped in to the fact that an investigation is occurring, even if they aren’t provided specifics. And should you desire to provide them specifics, you don’t come out of this smelling like a rose no matter which way you slice it.

            Leave well enough alone. Let the police build their case and focus on keeping this person out of your life. And make better choices about who you befriend. 7 year friendship describing her as “unstable at best” and your medication going missing. I highly doubt that you didn’t know that she was a pill popper. And yes, I am assuming that she likely is because that would explain the erratic, sometimes violent outbursts and the need to “distribute” to support her own habit. Hopefully, your former friend will end up getting help, either willingly or through court mandate, and get her life together. Until then, just leave her alone.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              Yes, to the first paragraph above! You did the right thing by reporting the threats to the police and by notifying your employer of the threats so that they could let security know. Notifying her employer personally is over the top. Don’t give her free time to fixate on you! You’ve filed for an order of protection, and having to deal with the legal fallout (time off work for the trial/plea negotiations, having this on her record, if convicted) is going to catch up to her eventually.

          2. INTP*

            Assuming the friend did make credible threats, vindictively trying to get her fired will not improve the OP’s safety.

            Yes, exactly. By all means, report threats and illegal actions, and take actions necessary to protect yourself and society. But unless the person’s job allows them access to weapons or other potentially catastrophic goods or information, chances are they aren’t any more dangerous to society as a whole at work than out of work (maybe less so due to having less free time, desperation for money, and anger). Calling the employer would just be a vindictive action, and you do NOT want to get caught up in a battle of who can get the most revenge with an unstable and violent person!

        2. Apollo Warbucks*

          The bottom line is that the former friend has done nothing in a professional capacity to the OP so it is not a work issue that needs to be reported to the company.

          Engaging further wont help the OP it is pointless and likely to blow up in their face, I assume the OP and their former friend share some other mutual friends, if so it will reflect much better on the OP to be able to say they haven’t done anything to provoke this reaction and haven’t escalated the situation. Like ginger ale for all says “don’t poke the crazy.”

          The sensible thing to do is report any threats and harassment to the police and leave it at that.

        3. Liane*

          I might possibly see going to the employer IF the harrassment were being done with company email, smartphone, etc. Even IF this were the case, OP would be better off staying out of it and letting Ex-pal’s employer find out from the police or their own IT

        4. hbc*

          Would you really hope this would work? That someone can send an anonymous note to your boss claiming you did something in your personal life and that it would affect your standing with your employer?

          If what she’s doing/has done is big enough to affect her employment, it will affect her employment without any outside nudging. Like when she goes to jail for drug dealing, theft, or violating the protection order.

        5. Mike C.*

          Frankly, if someone threatens you with violence, sure you’re entitled to cause them some problems

          Yes, let’s bring back blood feuds and vigilante violence! That sounds like a *great* plan!

          1. get some perspective*

            I never advocated violence but thanks for building that straw man to knock down.

            And yes, I will repeat it: if someone threatens you with violence, you are entitled to cause them some problems.

            1. fposte*

              I don’t think “entitled” is really a useful concept here. You can stop prioritizing their convenience, that’s for sure, but you still want to consider whether actions you take have benefits beyond momentary satisfaction and downsides that exceed those benefits.

            2. Mike C.*

              It’s the end result of people taking the laws into their own hands. If you’re going to advocate something you should at least try to understand where such policies lead to from a historical perspective.

            3. Florida*

              “If someone threatens you with violence, you are entitled to them some problems.”

              So once you cause them some problems, are they then entitled to cause you additional problems.
              Fighting fire with fire generally creates a much larger fire.

        6. Stranger than fiction*

          Sure, but this sounds like a classic “bad breakup” between friends and very emotionally charged. For all we know, the ex-friend just said those things out of anger, fear, or whatever. We don’t know, we only had one side. Also, if she was arrested in her home, it’s likely she already missed some work and her employer may already know she has some sort of legal issue going on, since she’ll need time off to go to court, etc.

        7. Allison*

          It’s definitely legit to hate someone who threatens you with violence, but as someone who’s been threatened with violence and sexually assaulted it’s never even occurred to me that I should tell these guys’ employers about their behavior. At one point my friends and I told the sexual assailant that he’s molested at least 10 people by that time, but we never told his employer. Maybe because violent people only get *more* violent and break more laws if they’re unable to earn money.

    2. Menacia*

      A scenario similar to this came up on Judge Judy. A woman had broken up with her bf, and she took his laptop. He kept harassing her to give back the laptop, and ended up taking her to court. Her argument was that the guy was abusive, so she left, but he keeps harassing her. Judy Judy’s reply? Give him back his laptop, and the harassment will stop! The woman kept arguing the laptop was a gift, and he owed it to her due to the bad relationship. She could not grasp (nor could her mother) the laptop was the bone of contention, remove the bone, remove the contention.

      If you want to put distance between yourself and this ex-friend, do not insinuate yourself into her life for the sake of revenge. I can see this entire situation backfiring on you, especially considering you have known her to be unstable, and perhaps on drugs, which would make her more unstable. A direct threat against you is one thing, and calling the police was the right call, but do not contact her company.

  5. Kay*

    Fanfic is a big huge no on a resume – and I say this as someone who in her heyday far exceeded your word count. For one thing, it’s a very different kind of writing than you will need to demonstrate on the job. For another, fanfic success does not necessarily correlate to quality. Certain pairings or scenarios will get more attention and praise regardless of their writing.

    That said, I did once successfully use the example of how I organized a fan convention to prove that I had organizational skills in an interview. That remains one of my prouder moments as a geek.

    1. RKB*

      The Life and Times, which is a renowned Harry Potter fanfic (about his parents) currently exceeds the total words written in the entire LOTR trilogy. 83,000 words is an accomplishment, but it’s also the length of a Stephen King novel.

      1. i need to think of a name*

        Also, 83,000 words isn’t considered a lot for one person in terms of fandom output. It’s impressive, but a lot of people go way beyond that in a single year.

        1. simonthegrey*

          I have one fanfic that is probably at about 200k. Only like 5 people know about it. I’m not ashamed of it (it isn’t smutty, it’s retelling a particular thing I enjoy from a different character’s perspective) but I don’t want people thinking negatively of me because this particular fandom is kind of rabid and that’s what people will think. I don’t follow the fandom at all (had no idea how contentious it was until long after I started my piece).

      2. Saucy Minx*

        Speaking of Stephen King, his works became lengthier & lengthier but not, IMO, better & better. He apparently got too big to “need” an editor, or at least so his publishing house reckoned.

        And speaking of copy editors, we are not there to rewrite your work. The most basic tools of the writing trade are spelling, punctuation, & grammar, & writers really need to have a good grasp on those, & not turn in a rough draft for the editors to polish into perfection.

        While I am ranting, I noticed about 30 years ago that even first edition hardcovers had succumbed to having typos, which seemed to me unforgivable.

        1. fposte*

          In general, it’s not that the publishing houses agree that a big author no longer needs editing; it’s that they decide they’d rather have an unedited celebrity moneymaker than argue about editing and risk losing the author to a competitor.

          1. Lore*

            Also, they’d rather publish the book on the schedule on-sale date, around which an expensive marketing and publicity campaign has been designed, favorable bookstore placements have been secured, and reviews have been scheduled, even if the manuscript delivered 8 months later than contracted. So if the choice is “editing” or “holding the on-sale date,” holding the on-sale date always wins.

            I am fairly convinced that there are certain authors who deliver late precisely to take advantage of this fact.

    2. Hellanon*

      This is really true. *However* it’s an excellent hobby, and I credit the online fanfic community with not just teaching me how to write but teaching me how to take criticism and how to edit – and those have been critical skills for my career trajectory. And I do make occasional reference to my online writer’s group; I just don’t admit to fanfic professionally.

  6. Mookie*

    re 4 and “infographic” (blargh) résumés, selling yourself like you would snake oil (full of misleading or inflated statistics, ad jargon, and flower-y balloons trying to fill up whitespace where experience and accomplishments should go) seems like such an obviously bad idea, even if you yourself are in graphic design (that’s what a portfolio is for). I don’t get it. I get why people want to be paid to make them, but who wants to pay for that and what is their boggle?

    1. AnotherHRPro*

      I encourage everyone to research who exactly is publishing these types of “trends”. How do they know it is a trend? Do they have a vested interest in the alleged trend? Are the publicly recognized as an expert in the field?

      1. OP #4*

        That was my thought exactly, and I’m relieved that Alison, for one, doesn’t see this as a trend with any legitimacy.
        Thank you, Alison, for answering my question!

    2. LQ*

      A portfolio is actually a place I could see it being good. If you are in graphic design and you don’t have a strong portfolio and need to create new pieces for it then one of the pieces you create could be your resume infographic. But that is as a piece of a portfolio, NOT as the resume you actually turn in. (And I could be wrong, if there are people who hire graphic designers who would like to say bad bad idea.)

  7. Leisabet*

    As a mid-level professional, and someone who has been reading and writing fanfic for nearly 20 years (WHOA. I just did the math! Where did my LIFE go?), I strongly encourage OP 1 to never conflate your professional life with your fandom. We do have a reputation – it’s unfair, but it’s there. I’ve always stuck to vague “writing clubs” when talking around my fan-related creative output. I don’t need or want my colleagues to know me that well, to be honest. I have family members who don’t know me that well.

    Also, what if your interviewer read it? If someone I was hiring cited their fanfic on their resume I don’t think I’d be able to resist taking a look. What if they hate it? What if – heaven forbid – you don’t write their pairing? Now I really want to know your fandom…

    And lastly – and I’m not saying this is true of your work – lots and lots of dreck is popular. I’ve read and kudos’ed my share of overwrought id fic and I love it, but I wouldn’t call it *good*. You don’t want to be tied to that, either.

    TL;DR: Don’t.

    1. YawningDodo*

      As someone who loves fanfiction and as an avid participant in what I call “collaborative storytelling” if backed into a corner and forced to admit in real life that I do it (read: online text-based roleplaying games using fandom characters; sort of a cousin to fanfiction), I am very very careful not to bring it up at work. Ever.

      I’d argue that the stigma against fan activities is undeserved in a lot of cases, but people who aren’t involved in those hobbies themselves tend to either 1.) not know what you’re talking about or 2.) know vaguely what you’re talking about and have a general impression that it’s something only weirdos and high schoolers do. It’s generally not worth the awkwardness of trying to explain yourself to the first type of people, and it’s not worth the risk of leaving a bad first impression with the second type. Writing hobbies can strengthen us as writers and improve our time management skills as we work to keep up with our commitments, but that’s not what’s going to come across to potential employers.

      Besides that, you make a really good point about the possibility that they might actually read your work and that that might not be a good thing. I don’t really constrain myself to topics or language that are necessarily work appropriate in this hobby, and I’d rather not have to worry about what my coworkers would think of it all.

      1. A Cita*

        Whoo boy, did I completely misread your user name. Wow.

        And then thought: “If it’s yawning, maybe you’re not using it correctly.”

        . . .

        I’ll show myself out now.

        (Please don’t ban me Alison.)

          1. A Cita*

            I wrote a fanfic about our yawning friend being sent back to Beauxbatons Academy to learn the subtle science and exact art of pleasure making and put it on my resume. My employer knows.

      2. neverjaunty*

        Well, and bringing it up at work is very different than bringing it up as a job applicant. I agree with you there can still be a lot of stigma, but even among co-workers who are mellow about fanfic (or who are in fandom themselves!), that’s very different than trying to present it as a reason one is the right candidate for a job.

        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

          One of my staff members and I actually found our manager/employee rhythm after she told me she wrote Harry Potter fan fiction.

          It also never lessened my opinion of her as a writer, because I had already seen the high-quality professional work she produced.

    2. A Cita*

      Oh my gosh do I love me some fanfic.

      And oh my gosh would I seriously side eye seeing fanfic on a resume. Like hard core side eye. Like question your judgement for adding it to your resume for a presumably unrelated job.

      And then I would google it and read it. How bad (awesome) would it be to return a beta read/edited/red lined version of the fic back to the candidate during the interview? “I saw your fanfic online and took the opportunity to makes some characterization corrections, point out some problems with narrative flow, and added a few SPaG fixes…”

      As an aside: fwiw, if your fandom is Harry Potter, JKR has come out and said she’s ok with with people writing it and doesn’t consider it copyright infringement (unless of course you try to sell it).

        1. Kelly L.*

          I was always more into writing about the adults in the HPverse, for what it’s worth! I feel like there are so many interesting aspects to explore about Harry’s parents’ generation.

    3. Tau*

      I just did the math and I’m actually getting close to that as well, which is flat-out terrifying. And I second this whole-heartedly. I may be unusually paranoid as when I started I remember people worrying about being fired if their employer found out they wrote fanfic and that was pretty formative, but only some very close friends and family members know I write fic. No one at work, definitely not my boss, and I would not in a million years put it on my CV (even though to my understanding it wouldn’t even be that out of place, since AFAIK it’s common to have a small section on hobbies and interests in the UK). The reputation it has is just too bad to risk it, never to mention the risk that someone will then find your fic and read it and not be impressed.

      1. Sarahnova*

        I have a vague reference to “writing fiction and nonfiction” on the “interests” section of my CV, and that’s as close as I come. I tend to talk more about the “nonfiction” side :)

        1. Tau*

          Yeah, I ended up putting “writing” sandwiched in with a lot of other hobbies, and was ready to be very vague if it came up. No one asked – apparently the long-distance cycling was a lot more interesting. :)

          (The hobby I always wonder whether to put down is knitting, since I’m in a very male-dominated industry and, well. Stereotypes.)

    4. Fanfic Resume*

      “writing clubs” is definitely a good way to talk about it. I actually started out with writing clubs and original fiction, but – and this is going to come off as so narcissistic I’m already cringing – I was always one of the best writers there and so didn’t get much out of these sessions. Especally since the other good writers criticized my work for being “too feminist”.

      Anyway, I’m starting to think that maybe I should go back to them and a original fiction. And not because I can’t include ff on a resume, unrelated. A college would almost definitely have a writing club.

      As for my fandoms I’m MCU and Hamilton mostly.

      I of course think my work is good. Although I don’t think my best work is also my most popular which has always made me sad.

        1. Amelie*

          Someone wrote an AMAZING Hamilton fic for Yuletide – in verse. I could hear it being rapped in my head when I read it!

        2. I don't know how to say no to this*

          A lot of it isn’t very good, unfortunately. There’s an influx of modern day high school and college AUs that miss the point of the musical.

        3. Fanfic Resume*

          I love Hamilton fic so much. It’s fannon that several characters are disabled and non-binary and so on. Which is just absolutely wonderful to be in a fandom that is exploding with diversity and representation above and beyond what’s in the source material. And the source material is already /amazing/ in that respect.

      1. Ekaterin*

        (Completely unrelated to job/resume stuff, but you should listen to the podcast Worst Bestsellers. It’s hilarious and seems like it would jive with your interests. They did an entire Hamilton episode back in December.)

      2. Graciosa*

        I think there’s a lot to be said for going back to original fiction (beyond just not worrying about copyright issues), although if you think about, even original fiction would not necessarily have a place on your resume.

        You noted above that it could demonstrate independent work, but if you can’t demonstrate this in a work related context, I’m not sure it helps you. I don’t want to hire someone who is very disciplined about personal writing but can’t show me that they would complete the work for which I am paying.

        If writing itself is part of the job, there might be a stronger argument for including it – although again, it would be better if you can find something more work related.

        1. Chinook*

          I just have to ask – has anyone started on the Ask A Manager fanfic that was requested a few weeks ago and, if so, where will it be posted? I really want to know how Wakeen is handling his new role as Assistant Teapot Manager.

      3. april ludgate*

        This is just my opinion, but I’d be even less likely to tell anyone about Hamilton fanfic. It’s just too close for comfort to being RPF and I think that people not into fandom (and even some who are) could be extra turned-off by that.

        1. Kelly L.*

          See, to me, that’s less problematic than writing about another writer’s fiction characters, or about live people! Everybody in Hamilton’s been dead for ages. Historical fiction is a thing, and if the OP wanted to (for example) write a totally non-musical-related historical novel about Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr or whoever, they would be in the legal clear, I think–just like Lin-Manuel Miranda was when he wrote the musical!–and could get it published by a mainstream publisher if the publisher liked it.

    5. Not Karen*

      lol Now I’m imaging a hiring manager saying to a job candidate, “We’d love to hire you, but unfortunately you don’t agree with my OTP.”

      1. not my usual name*

        I would kill for an interview that consisted of a prompt challenge, though. One of my most popular fics came about that way.

        1. neverjaunty*

          “Can you give four examples of times you were able to solve a challenge at work, and one time you weren’t?”

    6. april ludgate*

      I really like your point about what if they didn’t like your pairing. Shipping is so divisive among fans that, especially if it’s a larger fandom like Harry Potter, you’d run the risk of putting yourself at odds with the hiring manager. Is automatically liking someone less because of their ship mature or professional? No, but not all hiring managers are mature or professional.

    7. anon for this*

      I’m just imagining an interviewer looking for the fic and finding something like alpha/beta/omega or soulmate AUs, or some other beloved trope in fandom, and getting really, really freaked out.

      As to your last paragraph, I totally agree. A lot of fics get high hit counts or kudos based on popularity of the author or fandom. In some cases, it’s not even that the fic is good, but that it was posted at the right time and had the most readers.

      1. A Cita*

        Yeah, they’d be freaked out. And then, if malignantly curious like myself, would have to go and read more just to confirm “is this real???? what the…” And then read more. And more. And soon they’re spiraling down the rabbit hole, and suddenly Sam and Dean being more than brothers seems entirely plausable, and really, why couldn’t men get pregnant in a magical world? Surely the right combination of spells and potions….and you add that repressed Vela gene…

        Yeah. Malignant curiosity. It’s a thing.

  8. Chocolate Teapot*

    3. I can imagine Copier-minding duties are disruptive, especially when in the time somebody has walked over to you and asked you to scan and send something, they could have done it themselves. Why does everyone assume that if you are an admin, you are an expert on printer cartridges?

    1. Rubyrose*

      If these in fact are not a part of your job duties, have you tried saying “sorry, not my job to do that today” or something to that effect? Yes, this may be painful at first, but it sound like you may have promoted this behavior from others.

    2. Rubyrose*

      Also, post on the copier who they should go to for toner/paper jam issues. They may just not know who to go to for advanced issues.

    3. misspiggy*

      Even if it’s your job to change the paper and toner (which I would want clarified by my boss) it’s never an admin’s job to fetch other people’s print jobs. Being an admin is not the same as being a PA or a media runner, and once you start the personal fetching and carrying with a big team you could end up doing little else.

      One thing which is an important part of an admin’s role is setting and communicating boundaries. I think OP should tell their manager how much time and how many interruptions the printer work is taking out of each day; ask for clarity on which specific tasks she should be doing; email the team with those, and politely refuse to do anything else.

        1. F.*

          Unfortunately, “anything” is covered by that last line that appears in every admin type job description: “Other duties as required.”

          1. potato battery*

            Sure, but there’s a difference between something required by your manager and something your peers think you should do.

          2. Kelly L.*

            Nope, I would disagree–that doesn’t actually cover “anything” that someone might think up. I think there’s an implied “within reason,” and that it’s possible for an employer to overstep in that regard.

            Examples: I’m an admin. My employer can ask me to order lunch, or clean the microwave, or order toner. They can’t ask me to perform brain surgery (I mean, they could, but it’d be wildly wrong for me to even attempt it), and IMO they’d also be wrong if they wanted me to take on heavy custodial duties, because that wasn’t what I was hired or trained for.

    4. Xarcady*

      I sat across the hall from the copier/printer room when I was a manager, and in no way responsible for the printers and copiers. I got the same type of requests all the time. Seriously, it took them as long to write out the email or call as it would have to walk down the hall and get their own print-outs–but having me run their copies around would “save them time.” Sure it would. But it would cost me time. So I can’t tell if it’s the letter writer’s job or her proximity to the machines that is causing this.

      So, yes, do clarify with your supervisor which of these tasks you are supposed to do. And then do only those tasks.

      I will say that knowing how to un-jam printers and copiers is a useful skill, so you might want to keep doing that, or at least learn how to do it. Some places I’ve worked, the only people who knew how to change the toner were the receptionist and me, and only because I asked to be shown how. Comes in handy when the receptionist takes a two-week vacation, and decides to quit and never come back.

      1. Vulcan social worker*

        In one place we had a really lazy admin assistant who always had long nails and a perfect manicure and was impeccably dressed in our casual environment. (Jeans were allowed but I always wore pants and a sweater or nice shirt because I learned in social work school that social workers should always present a professional image even in a casual workplace, but just nice enough to still fit the workplace culture.) I have no problem doing whatever it takes to unjam a copier, including lying on the floor despite my nice shirt. Professional dress with toner stains on my hands? Oh well. This place had an old copier that would jam a lot. This admin figured out that she could get out of fixing jams by leaving them for me to fix. If she needed to use it, she would even tell me that she couldn’t figure it out and could I come fix it? I didn’t complain about her abdicating that part of her job. It wasn’t my business and unjamming the copier all the time was annoying but not that big of a deal. Before too long the program manager to whom we both reported figured out what was going on. He was not pleased. The admin didn’t last a whole lot longer as that was only indicative of her laziness, not the sum of it.

    5. AnotherHRPro*

      I tend to fall on the side of the OP needing to talk to their manager and let them know that that they are frequently interrupted to help people with the copier. The manager might be fine with this. If the OP feels it is negatively affecting their performance, they need to explain that. Otherwise, this is kinda just what it is like working in an office environment.

      Pretty much everyone is asked to do things that technically are not their official job responsibilities and often these include things that they feel are beneath them. I think it is ok to tell people you are busy and can’t help out when you really are busy. But otherwise, I am a big believer in pitching in to help when possible.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I too am a big believer in pitching in, even if it’s not technically “my job.”
        (I have a respect problem here at work w/ one person who, in my view, far too frequently says, “it’s not my department’s job,” often on things that I actually think -are- his dept’s responsibility.)

        But there is a time in which the organization benefits from the push-back. And delivering people’s printouts is well past that point.

        You don’t help the company by changing the toner for other people. It uses up MORE of the company’s resources (i.e., total minutes spent on the task, per person). So forcing them to deal with it themselves will benefit the company in the long run. And benefit the person who doesn’t want to change the toner, because if they do it themselves, THEY will get their papers faster.

        My metric is, “will this benefit the company, by saving the right person the right effort? Or does it perpetuate wasteful behaviors?”

    6. Michelle*

      Just want to say that I am an admin asst. and I quite frequently clear printer & copier jams and replace toners because I’m the only one who bothered to learn how to do it properly. I keep the toners at my desk because another one of my tasks is to reorder and keep toner in stock. I do draw the line at being asked to “fetch” other employees print jobs. I sit 1 aisle and 3 cubicles away so no, I’m not fetching your print job. When I see a large amount of print jobs that have been left on the printer, I put them in the paper tray, send out an email that says “get your print jobs or at 5 they become recyclables”.

      Being an admin doesn’t mean I’m your lackey, mom or maid. I will help anyone within reason but please don’t try to insult me by insinuating that your time is more valuable than mine so I should run get your print job.

      1. Shelby Drink the Juice*

        “Being an admin doesn’t mean I’m your lackey, mom or maid. I will help anyone within reason but please don’t try to insult me by insinuating that your time is more valuable than mine so I should run get your print job.”

        Exactly. In my previous job I was an admin and the all-in-one printer/copier/fax was in my office. I wasn’t anyone’s printer delivery person. Sometimes I may drop something off, but that wasn’t often. The only time I would really do it was when someone was faxing something (rare in and of itself), I’d take them the printout of if it went through or not, since it could take half an hour to show up.

        1. fposte*

          The tricky part is that to the company, their time quite likely *is* more valuable than the admins, in the literal meaning of value. But different companies have different cultures on what that means to daily work–some places have assistants that’ll get the boss’s cleaning because it’s cheaper to the org than the boss getting it herself, and some places would be horrified that the assistant is the one tasked with making coffee. Most places are in between, in that you have to be pretty high level before it’s considered okay to ask the admin to fetch your print job. But it’s because of culture, not because of the value placed on your respective time.

          1. Michelle*

            I can understand how in *some* instances their time is considered more valuable than mine. However, when they are just too lazy to go pick up something off the printer, that isn’t more valuable, that’s being an lazy jerk.

            I have tons to say about how admins are treated but I’m just going to let it go this time because debating complete strangers on an internet forum is not going to change anything and usually leads to insulting comments. Not that you fposte would be insulting, but I have witnessed some discussions go downhill quickly and I’m actually having a pretty good day and don’t wish to spoil the mood. I will say that I am treated well in my current position and after politely and calmly speaking with people who think they are too good to get up and go get their own print jobs and fill out their own forms, with the exception of about 2 people, I am considered a valuable and integral part of our office.

            1. fposte*

              It’s not about the instances; it’s about how much different positions cost the company. “Costs more” = “more valuable.”

              That’s not the same thing as saying you personally are more or less valuable, or, as I said, that that’s the only metric in deciding whether it’s appropriate to ask the admin to do something. But from an organizational standpoint, yes, the admin’s time usually is less valuable than other people in the org.

              1. Michelle*

                Currently, I make about $400 more per year than 5 of the 10 managers, so if we are deciding how valuable people’s time is based on money, my time is more valuable that half the managerial staff. I know this because my direct manager is the Executive Director of our company and I do quite a bit of pre-employment paperwork for him, including our payroll change and authorization to hire, which has that info on it. No, those managers have no idea I make more money than they do. They only reason I don’t have manager in my title is because I (technically) don’t manage people and for our company, you have to manage people to get the title.

                1. fposte*

                  No argument with this, and I’m glad you’re well compensated in your organization.

                  It’s just that when people talk about their time not being more valuable, they’re generally meaning in a human sense, and in the organizational sense, there is definitely a value hierarchy and that’s important to remember. An hour of my boss’s time is literally worth twice an hour of mine, so his time is more valuable than mine. Similarly, my time is more valuable than my staff’s.

                  There are cultural limits to what that means we ask of one another, but a lot of decisions about who does what are based on who costs less.

      2. Vulcan social worker*

        There were lots of people who posted so I doubt you were referencing my post (and I see that you are an MSW too), but I certainly didn’t mean to imply that my time was more valuable than the admin assistant’s and that’s why she should be the one to clear the paper jams. This one just never wanted to do it for her own jobs! I spent two years immediately post-BA as an admin before I got a promotion (a lot easier 15 years ago than today, I think) and it has made me pretty reluctant to ever ask anyone else to make my copies for me. I had an assistant when I was a manager and I asked her a few times, but mostly not. She had her own tasks. It’s not that I hated making copies for executive or division directors or anything, but it made me cognizant of whether it’s urgent that I keep working on something and should pass something off to someone else, or if I really can afford the few minutes to walk to the copier. Usually I can take the time and it’s better for my body to stand up and walk 100 steps every so often anyway.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          This is where I land with it all, too. There is that middle ground.
          While I understand that some people’s time is more valuable than other people’s because of pay rate and position, but voicing that OUT LOUD, seldom goes well. Employees can and do micromanage their bosses. I know of plenty of bosses that have been timed while discussing golf with a visitor. And those bosses brought that on in some manner. Pointing out how one is more valuable to the company than another person is something that should be said sparingly if at all.

          I think that a good boss knows how to finesse the situation with a mix of doing something herself and asking for other things. OTH, good employees are aware of their boss’ concerns/time constraints and respond accordingly. If both parties are aware then this leads to a back and forth or a give and take. For example, my boss and I pass a huge amount of files back and forth to each other. This has lead to predictable problems. Both of us have taken turns at suggesting ideas on how to make the work flow better. Some of it is nothing you would do for anyone else, it’s personal taste. “I like form A at the front of the file.” Technically, it does not matter where form A is. But I can accommodate that, no prob. Then my turn comes, “I need X info in specific instance of Y.” My boss will make sure I have it knowing I could get it, but it will take me 15 minutes to retrieve it. She is still The Boss and she is very much aware that I know that. But she also needs me to do ten hours of work in five hours. She’s also aware that she needs my work completed. I do dozens of other things that save her time and it only takes me a few minutes to do these things.

    7. Mockingjay*

      #3. I find it astounding that the highly trained and experienced engineers and technicians that I work with won’t stick their arm in to unjam the copier.

      At ExJob, the copier was on the other side of my cubicle wall. One day, senior engineer pokes his head in and asks, “Do you know how to unjam the copier?” I looked up briefly, said “Yes” and went back to work. He stood there for awhile, then, screwing up his courage, approached the copier, stuck his arm in, and pulled out the piece of paper.

      A chorus of angels appeared, singing anthems of praise for his brave deed.

      1. Chinook*

        “#3. I find it astounding that the highly trained and experienced engineers and technicians that I work with won’t stick their arm in to unjam the copier.”

        The ones I work with like to joke that they specialize on fluid dynamics, not mechanical engineering so, if the copier starts leaking liquids, then they would know what do.

      2. Kat*

        LOL. I sit right next to the printer and so am assumed to be the copier-genius. People frequently ask me, “Can you show me how to collate and staple?” And I steadfastly reply “I don’t know” without ever looking up.

        They’ve finally stopped asking.

      3. Noah*

        Agreed. The safety department where I work shares a printer/copier with a portion of the maintenance department. They work on aircraft all day and still ask us all the time how to operate and fix the copier.

        Sometimes I’ll help them out, other times I direct them to an admin. Maybe I’m part of the problem there.

    8. INFJ*

      I would feel really slimy asking an admin to “fetch” my papers from the printer, even if that were an established practice. The admin is not a border collie.

      1. periwinkle*

        Highly intelligent, strong work ethic, able to round up confused creatures and guide them into the right corral/meeting room – I’d totally hire a border collie to assist our awesome admin so she could get other stuff done.

        1. Jadelyn*

          Clearly I need to go write up a request to add a collie to our department staff. Payroll and I could share the collie – it could go growl at people who haven’t approved their timecards on Friday, and go round up and bring back ops staff who are late for the weekly meeting. Plus guarding the door when we don’t want to be disturbed. I’m not really seeing a downside here…

    9. TootsNYC*

      I do think that if you’re an admin and you sit next to the copier/rpinter, it’s fair to expect you to watch over it a bit.

      But this list is bananas:
      asked/told to retrieve items from the printer and deliver them to the owner, restock the paper, change the ink and toners, scan and send documents, etc.

      In today’s office, it’s really out of line for someone to expect anyone else to deliver their printouts to them. Your direct boss can ask you; your colleagues that you’re currently working WITH on a big, rushed project, can ask you to be the “feet” for the group (that you **are a member of**). The CEO can ask you, if she happens to be on your floor in conversations.

      Scan and send documents? Only for your people.
      Change the ink and toners? considering how incredibly easy that is, just refuse, saying, “The directions are on the box, I’m sure you can figure it out. I’m in the middle of something.”

      The things I think are sensible are for you to be the point person for ordering more toner or paper. That can oddly enough be just specialized and picky enough that it’s helpful to have the continuity.
      And ordering more is also something that needs someone to be proactive about it, to “own” the task.
      However, if you personally don’t want to, then just don’t be available.

      I’m wondering if you’ve just always done what they ask. Or if you hear them floundering around, and you speak up to say, “Here’s how you scan it,” and then the next time, they just ask you. Maybe stop being so helpful.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I had a coworker who randomly retrieved my printed stuff. I really thought I should get it. I said so, too. But part of my problem is I cannot sit for hours at a clip. I have to move around. When I explained it that way coworker understood.

    10. Chinook*

      “Why does everyone assume that if you are an admin, you are an expert on printer cartridges?”

      Easy – it was taught on our second day of “AA School”, right after the introductory course on mind reading. (They won’t tell you when the advanced course is – the pre-req is being able to figure that out on your own).

      1. pope suburban*

        I want to laugh, but I can’t make it through a day with at least one person reminding me, very clearly, that they don’t think I went to any school for anything. But I have some very rude clients and coworkers, so…

        1. Chinook*

          “reminding me, very clearly, that they don’t think I went to any school for anything. ”

          There have been times when I have wanted to put my B.Ed. degree behind my desk (it currently hangs in my bedroom next to my birth announcement because, in both cases, the only one who really cares is me). But, I have also pointed out that I was officially trained to deal teenagers and, as a result, any presentation I have to give where there is no threat of spit balls or someone putting something in my coffee without me knowing, is considered an easy presentation!

          1. pope suburban*

            I’ve thought about doing that too. I haven’t yet, but I really wanted to after my boss (who is an absolute nightmare), who was shown my resume by our HR person when I was hired, asked me in an incredulous tone, in front of most of the company, “*You* went to college?” and skipped right past my mortified-for-him yes to say, “Did you finish?” Everyone was stricken, because the other inside staff are professional people who don’t treat people without degrees any worse, so I just gave him degree and date to make the awkwardness stop. The icing on the cake was when I found out later that he himself had not, despite being a real snob about such things, finished college himself, because a family friend handed him a plum job in banking.

            Though, related to your point about your degree, and to the story I just told, what helps me get through the days here is Supernanny. I have learned to manage my boss, a few terrible coworkers, and our most fractious clients by watching a TV show about dealing with toddlers. I wish I was kidding, but it works.

            1. Vulcan social worker*

              When I was in my MSW program a friend of my mother’s thought I was taking some kind of extension classes because they were evening classes at a satellite campus and she never heard of that being a legit grad school thing. Same exact program as the main campus, just a more convenient location and time for some of us. Did she think I flipped through a catalog that came in the mail? “I should really get out more and meet some new people. I could take a class. How about cooking French cuisine? Computers for dummies? Maybe social work?”

        2. Michelle*

          pope suburban- yeah, some people suck. I went to college to be a social worker and after a few years I traded in the glamorous world of DFACS for the even more glamorous world of assisting, haha. I could shove my MSW degree in their face but social workers probably get less respect than assistants.

          1. pope suburban*

            What bothers me is the needlessness of it. Like, let’s say that someone did not pursue higher education. Does that really entitle people who did to treat them poorly? Are we really okay with treating people who we perceive as less intelligent, or who might actually be, rudely? I wouldn’t talk to *anyone* the way people routinely talk to me, regardless of their station or education. And this is while I get excellent performance reviews, I get along with everyone in the office, and I am unfailingly polite to clients (Even my nightmare boss acknowledges this, and I think it takes a year off his life every time he has to be decent about me). People just plain suck.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Apparently it’s pretty hard. My husband had a cohort in another department get on his case. My husband did everything wrong, including breathing. Now you have to understand, my husband was one sharp guy. But some really smart people have their own odd way about them. This odd way kind of left him a sitting duck for wise-guys. My husband’s boss saw the problem and knew what to do. Boss told Wise Guy that my husband graduated from Harvard. End of problem. Just like that.
                Wise Guy was all about where you got your degree from. Boss knew this odd tidbit of info and used it.
                My husband did not go to Harvard.

            1. Meh*

              Being able to finish/afford/attend school are often a privilege of life circumstances and not always indicative of intelligence. Everyone’s paths are different. I know a few people who managed to go to class every day, and turn in assignments and pass tests by the skin of their teeth who have obtained degrees and aren’t at all very bright, while in turn I know many people who weren’t able due to the cards in their deck or weren’t interested in earning a degree who are some of the smartest, most creative, quick on their feet minds I’ve ever met. I’ll be glad when we stop measuring “success” by degrees.

            2. Michelle*

              Exactly. I treat everyone from the housekeepers to the biggest boss exactly the same and maintain my politeness to all rude customers (with a dash of coolness when they get really ugly). Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to go to college/university. If you are treated differently because of lack of higher education, then they really suck and I will be polite to them, but I will add a gallon of coolness to my tone.
              I think I read somewhere that Bill Gates was a college drop-out. I wonder how those same people would treat him??

  9. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – unless it’s YOUR employer, it’s none of your business… while AAM is giving the impression that the drug charges aren’t that big of a deal – if they ARE to the new employer, they’ll find out. Some jobs require bonding, others a security clearance, which will be jeopardized by a conviction – even a misdemeanor conviction. But – if you voluntarily called your ex-friend’s new employer and started badmouthing her — YOU could be in trouble for tortious interference with an employment situation.

    And, frankly, OP , it would come off as YOU having a vendetta. If your best old ex-friend was seriously being considered for employment at a company and they received an unsolicited “bad stuff ’bout Betty” communication, the tables would almost certainly turn against you if you dared to put your name on it. And if you didn’t put your name on it, it would carry no weight at all. Steer clear, even if you’re mad at your ex-friend, even if think you have reason to be angry. This is not junior high where people pass notes. This is the real working world, where
    seemingly good intentions can backfire and turn against you.

    #5 – yes, it’s very common – especially if the ex-employee registered with the conference, or was an invited participant while employed with you. Most people who are participants will disavow their former employment situation, especially if they’re looking for another job.

    I would expect that she would say “I am no longer with the XYZ company” and her attendee badge would not have your company name on it. Especially if she’s using the conference to find another situation. And if your ex-employee is a participant / speaker – she’ll probably be introduced as an independent worker, and perhaps announce without comment that she’s no longer with XYZ.

    However – under no circumstances should you imply or hint that she not attend nor participate in the conference.
    I’m in a couple of professional associations, and invites to be a speaker, etc., as well as membership, is extended to the individual – NOT to the company.

    There have been situations in which a speaker put together a seminar for a conference, then was terminated or left the company on his/her own. The employer may try to commandeer the speaking spot – including a complimentary attendance – but the groups I belong to have a policy of “we will talk to Mr. X, and only Mr. X, because we still are of the understanding that he/she is coming to present their work.”

    1. #5 OP*

      Thanks! I’m the OP on #5, and no worries on this front. I’ve organized enough events to know how much losing a speaker sucks, and I’ve had speakers switch or leave jobs during that period.

      It’s not an invite conference (anyone who registers can attend), nor is she a speaker, but we’re also not inclined to stop her. She actually (without telling us) put the conference registration on her company card without getting approval. Since it was a whopping twenty bucks (yay, academia!), we’re letting that go.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Well, you CAN’T stop her from attending or participating.

        And considering it’s only $20 to register, it’s probably a small volunteer event, and making such a call might sound like a petty move from your part. Even vengeful. The conference organizer might find such a call to be a weird one.

        I would leave it up to her, and I’d just let it go.

      2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        And a follow-up – if this is a “$20 to attend” event, and she registered while still an employee , this group probably doesn’t have a big infrastructure, is probably just a little volunteer professional-interest group.

        I am wondering – OK, you did chase her out the door. Why are you pursing little minutia like this? Do you intend to Google-search her activities going forward?

        I’ve seen people tossed out in the street, only to dust themselves off and become a rock star at a new locale.

        In fact, I had that happen to me once. But – that company knew enough not to gumshoe me…. because they knew I landed in greatly better situation and WAS a rock star in my new position – they weren’t happy about my newfound success and better personal and professional life — but they also didn’t want the peers who I left behind to know that — like the Careerbuilder ad with the monkeys said = “A better job awaits.”

    2. TootsNYC*

      I think all the OP was thinking of (and all that Alison was suggesting) is a simple, “FYI, there’s an error on your program; this person is no longer affiliated with the university. I’m sure she’ll give you the new credentials line if you ask her.”)

      1. TootsNYC*

        Maybe even, “I’m sure she’d have alerted you, but it might be good to fix the website right away.”

  10. Marina*

    The only job ad I’ve seen where putting fic on a resume would be appropriate would be the current Development Director opening at The Harry Potter Alliance. Even then, cover letter would probably be better than resume.

  11. RKB*

    Hilariously enough, I got one of my current positions with an info graphic resume. Cringe. It caught the eye of the person going through the resumes, and he thought it was unique.

    It’s an awesome job though, so while I don’t have “no regrets” I’m at least thankful it didn’t totally backfire on me.

  12. Nursey Nurse*

    OP #2, if your friend is harassing you and you want nothing more to do with her, why would you instigate further drama by writing to her boss? (Yes, that’s exactly what you would be doing. Don’t pretend otherwise.) If she is facing multiple charges, her boss either knows about it already or will find out soon enough when she needs to start missing work for court dates. Just be glad you’re done with her and her situation and let things be.

  13. JL*

    #1 – I agree that fan fiction is a no on a resume – and I say that as a regular reader and writer myself. That being said, I just wanted to point out – fanfiction, when it’s not being profited from, fall under fair use which is recognised by copyright law. Most fanfic writers don’t make a dime from it, it’s just their lovely contribution to the world of fandom. And the world of fandom is where it should stay.

    1. Fanfic Resume*

      Yes, I wanted to say that about copyright law as well. The transformative part of transformative works has always meant a lot to me and has been at the core of my writing.

    2. neverjaunty*

      Fanfic is in gray area of copyright law. “Fair use” is a mushy test and it’s simply not true that all fanfic is (or isn’t) clearly protected by fair use. Certainly it’s true that as a PRACTICAL matter, your chances of running into legal trouble for writing and sharing fanfic, unless you make money from it or try to, are minuscule.

      1. Tomato Frog*

        Yes. Fanfic’s status as a case of fair use is not established legally, at all (as I understand it, you need case law for that). And there are certainly cases of authors cracking down on it, or otherwise being jerks about it.

        1. Elysian*

          It would depend on the individual work, I think, just about every single time. So no one case could establish it. But there aren’t a lot of benchmarks – that’s part of the problem with “fair use.” Fair use isn’t just something you can claim – fair use is something you claim after you get sued (it is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement), and then you go through prolonged and expensive litigation to determine whether you use is actually and legitimately fair. There’s no way the entire genre could ever just fall under “fair use”; that’s just not how the doctrine works. Part of the analysis depends on how much of the original work you take, and that is just going to be different for every single piece of writing.

          1. fposte*

            Yeah, this is the challenge of a lot of law (ADA stuff comes to mind on this too)–you don’t know where you stand until you take it to court and find out. Most relevant activities just operate on policies that seem to be okay without knowing for sure.

      2. Biglaw Stormtrooper*

        Yeah, agreed. I’m a lawyer (American, but I also did a master’s in the UK) and wrote my dissertation for the UK degree on this. It was a total blast but the very short version is that the legal status of this is a hugely grey area.

      3. TootsNYC*

        I am not a lawyer, but I have attended seminars, etc., and it is not true that “not seeking to make money” inoculates fan fiction.

        You are still digging into earnings potential for that author, or that copyright holder. Because you are sating a desire for their product.

    3. Graciosa*

      The test of fair use is not lack of profit.

      Also, don’t assume that the absence of profit equates to an absence of damages – it does not. Works that are registered with the copyright office in the U.S. are eligible for statutory damages.

      Fair use is a complex multi-factor test, (the transformative nature of the work is only one of the factors). While there is a lot of case law protecting parody, the same cannot be said of fanfiction.

      Neverjaunty’s comment that as a practical matter, there is limited risk in the absence of a commercial motive is a good one, but that doesn’t mean I want to be the test case.

      Intellectual property litigators are consistently among the highest paid attorneys in practice.

      1. Biglaw Stormtrooper*

        Yeah, and there’s a weapon/target parody distinction in the US, where parody that uses the copyrighted work as a weapon to critique something other than the work (ie homophobia) is more legally problematic, and a lot of fic is weapon parody.

  14. Susan*

    On the fanfiction note, regardless of the stigma or the potential copyright infringement, this question kind of reminds me of one from a while ago where someone asked if it was OK to mention her very popular boyband website. Alison’s answer to that was yes. I think the difference is the boyband webmaster could translate that into skills that employers find valuable by focusing on increased page views and interaction (SEO analysts and social media coordinators are real jobs now, after all). I’m not sure how you could translate the fanfiction in a meaningful way because creative writing is a skill, but it’s not typically an employable skill (whereas copywriting, promotion writing, etc. are and often demand samples that demonstrate that skill).

    1. Ultraviolet*

      I was thinking of the band fan website letter too! A key difference between the website letter and this fanfiction one is that the webmaster’s prospective employers were basically familiar with the kind of metrics she could point to that proved she was doing it well (increased page views and membership, etc). It’s much less likely that this fanfiction letter writer’s prospective employers will be able to gauge what a certain number of page views or recommendations or positive reviews say about the author’s skill. If her work is in the top 2% by some measure then it’s probably not terrible, but most people will lack the context to judge whether it’s likely to be great or good or okay. And that makes it unhelpful to put on a resume. (I also agree that the bad reputation of online fandom would make it a risky call anyway.)

      1. Susan*

        To me it’s not exactly that the webmaster was able to create popular content, but that she knew *how* and *why* it was happening. The point of marketing really isn’t to write prose that reads like a Ray Bradbury novella but to make people engage and click and buy. The fact that the *NSYNC site was not just getting a lot of inbound traffic but she also increased the engagement with posts means she learned something about “customer” behavior and how to manipulate it in a positive way. Does that make sense? I think if the fanfic writer can somehow spin this as a job skill then awesome. But right now I can’t think of how to do that.

        (And I’m sorry OP if you feel piled on! I was a creative writing major myself, so I know the struggle of developing an art but also needing to find a job.)

        1. fposte*

          I also think it would be a closer equivalent if the OP had created Archive of Our Own or a similar site, rather than simply writing; it’s a whole different managerial/marketing statement from being a contributor. It still wouldn’t be identical, because of the different cultural places of the two subjects, but it would be a lot more analogous.

    2. Fanfic Resume*

      I do “market” my fanfiction and have taken a lot of steps to improve my page views, kudos, and so forth outside of the tagging system on the archive. What you say is interesting, perhaps if I also ran a popular fandom blog that might be resume worthy.

      1. Sarahnova*

        Hmm. If you are applying for jobs which involve web marketing AND you can point to some tangible numbers-oriented achievements here, then you could justifiably list these. But if they aren’t relevant to the job, then leave them off. And I’d definitely avoid using the word “fanfiction” anywhere, but you could make a bland reference to marketing your fiction/personal writing.

        1. MsM*

          I think even that might put off a lot of HR folks or interviewers. If you’ve used SEO tools or anything like that as part of the process, though, those could go under “skills.”

      2. Zillah*

        It’s not that your fanfiction isn’t “worthy” – it’s about whether it’s 1) relevant to what you’re applying for and 2) likely to help you more than it hurts you. Inherent worth doesn’t enter into the equation.

        I love fanfiction. However, I don’t think that Alison’s sentiments are at all uncommon, so you’d want to look at that equation closely and dispassionately.

        1. Graciosa*

          I very much support the focus on whether it helps the resume more than it hurts it.

          My industry happens to be very sensitive to IP issues (although you might not realize it as an outsider). In the absence of a clear explanation that all your fanfiction was limited to works in the public domain (maybe Austen or Dickens?) the mention would probably disqualify you from consideration.

      3. april ludgate*

        A blog still isn’t the same thing as a website, though, and I think fandom blogs would still be kind of iffy to mention. As plenty of people have mentioned, fandom just doesn’t have a great rep. I run/help run several fandom blogs (one of which is pretty popular) but I would never ever mention that on a resume. Only my two best friends know about those blogs. My family and a couple coworkers know that I blog but I purposely keep it vague (Oh yeah, I blog about Harry Potter and tv shows). Also, for people who know nothing about fandom they’ll often write it off as something childish or immature, like my parents who are still hoping I outgrow my Harry Potter phase.

        The only part that made it onto my resume were my self-taught HTML skills and when people ask why I learned HTML I just say that I though it’d be a good skill to learn.

  15. Susan*

    #1, since I agree with everyone above that your current plan is a no-go, have you considered participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo? Reservations about creative vs. technical or other professional writing of course still apply, but it’s a lot more cut and dry as an accomplishment. It will make sense to someone who has no idea what AO3 kudos are, and you can frame it as an example of work ethic and time management.

    1. Susan*

      (Just for clarification, this is not the same Susan as immediately above. I’m a bit selectively blind today, it seems. Going forwards, I should probably find a new nick. Sorry, other Susan!)

      1. The aforementioned Susan*

        To be honest, when I started posting here a long time ago, I noticed another Susan and was always too lazy to change it, but then she stopped posting as much. I should probably change it too. Maybe I’ll start going by I Hate Snow.

    2. Fanfic Resume*

      I’ve done NaNoWriMo for two years in a row actually! I never thought of putting that on my resume because I break the rules and don’t write on long finished work. And also because it’s an event I just don’t think about outside of November. At this stage in my life novels just don’t agree with me, I’m improving and changing to fast.

      (And, also for the record, most of my NaNoWriMo was for original fiction.)

    3. neverjaunty*

      It is more cut and dry, but as somebody said upthread, it’s trying to present “I reached a milestone in a hobby” as a an accomplishment that reflects professional skills in a way that is kind of a reach.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I see NaNoWriMo on student resumes sometimes. It’s forgivable but unhelpful.

        We talk here about the limits on the value of volunteer experience on a resume–that you’re going to be judged different by the org and by readers of the resume because it wasn’t activity that was worth financial compensation, but at least it provided value to the org. A hobby is like volunteering for yourself–not only aren’t you getting paid, but the only person deciding it was valuable is you.

      1. Marzipan*

        My take would be, *some* hobbies, sometimes, can demonstrate useful skills and may be worth including; but I wouldn’t dream of putting NaNoWriMo on my CV (or of taking it seriously if I saw it on someone else’s) because it doesn’t really do that. I mean, I’ve completed NaNo in ten days in a word count sense, but all that means is that I wrote a lot of dross for ten days. It doesn’t really show dedication and commitment (because, ten days); it doesn’t show that I can write (I can, but the output of ten days’ worth of babble isn’t likely to be my best work); it doesn’t demonstrate any special capabilities or skills at all, really. It’s a mildly impressive but not-terribly-useful party piece, unless I happened to be applying for a job where generating a lot of wacky ideas for later filtering was an important skill (and if I were, I could demonstrate that skill more effectively in other ways, including through academic qualifications). And, it has potential to be counted as a negative, as some people take issue with the whole exercise and might be prejudiced against a candidate who mentioned it. I’d put it in a similar category to fanfiction, for that reason.

        The sort of hobbies that I think are sometimes worth including are those that require skills which have very clear parallels to the role you’re applying for; *and* which don’t carry any unhelpful stigma. So if, say, you were heavily involved in organising an event relating to a personal interest, this might be relevant when applying for a job relating to event planning (because you can refer to specific achievements involved in organising the event, e.g. ‘-organised juggling convention for 300 participants -responsible for venue booking, budget management, booking speakers and liaison with catering company -event rated as excellent by 87% of attendees’) – *but*, you’d be drawing upon it as an example of your skills rather than of your interests, *and* if the subject matter of the interest was likely to draw any stigma, it would probably be better avoided. (So, best not to mention ‘organised convention for 300 serial killers…’)

        1. simonthegrey*

          I have a hobby jewelry business that I list on my resume because it is a legitimate business (we pay taxes and everything). I’m a co-owner, and from doing that job I have learned about marketing, improved photography skills, handled customer requests, sold at events….but it is listed at the very bottom, in its own section, and whether I included it on a given specific job hunt would depend on what I was going for. It is a hobby, but it is one that I am known for.

          My 200k fanfic is not listed. Nor is my unpublished original writing.

        2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          There are some things you put on your resume as “personal interests” — and some things you don’t.

          You leave things off that would show bad judgement just by listing them.

          If, say, photography , or volunteering for a local cancer charity were your off-work pursuits, that likely wouldn’t hurt you. But if you volunteered for some cause that you’d have to rationalize a defense for – even if the manager is sympathetic to that cause — it might reflect a judgement call on your part.

      2. Amy*

        Hmm, interesting. I had it on my resume in college (applying for writing internships), and it helped. (A supervisor mentioned it specifically.) But now that I have “real” writing experience, I’d never dream of including it.

    4. Naomi*

      I have, in fact, mentioned to potential employers that I do NaNoWriMo… but only in the context of outside interests or hobbies, and not on a resume. People tend to be impressed by it, but I don’t kid myself that it carries much weight in deciding whether to employ me, especially since writing isn’t my professional field.

    5. Book Person*

      Working in publishing, I’ve seen a few resumes list NaNoWriMo achievements under “other skills” or “hobbies.” It doesn’t turn me off a candidate at all (and is a nice break from a lot of the “reading, biking, playing with my dogs” or in one notable example “napping” comments that I usually see in that section), but it also doesn’t move someone automatically into the MUST INTERVIEW pile.

    6. Amy*

      I’m going to second the NaNoWriMo idea! I had it on my resume in college, and it helped me get my first writing internship (my supervisor mentioned on my first day that it impressed him specifically)

    7. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      I had a candidate raise NaNoWriMo during the interview (we were in the tell me about yourself phase) honestly, I found it pretty impressive she shared how much she got done while working a full-time job!

  16. Fanfic Resume*

    Note: Please no one take the spelling in my comments as indicative of the writing quality of my fanfic. I’m severely dyslexic (to the point where I use a screen reader for everything). I run my serious work through this screen reader and a few beta readers before I publish it.

    But since this space is more casual and it’s still really early in the morning I haven’t been bothering.

    1. Ad Astra*

      FWIW, I haven’t noticed any spelling problems in your posts, and I edit copy for a living. So if the errors are there, they certainly aren’t glaring. You sound very bright. :)

      1. Fanfic Resume*

        Thanks! It’s something I worry about a lot, and then when I realize I haven’t been worried about it while writing comments I worry even more when I remember.

    2. Susan*

      I’m a copy editor, too, and it’s actually one of my pet peeves when people decide to be grammar nazis on informal threads like this one or on social media (unless you’re getting paid to represent a client). I just think we’re entitled to write quicker and less formal in certain spaces. I write half my forum posts from my iPhone.

  17. Fanfic Resume*

    Another note: I prefer the pronouns They / Their / Them or He / Him / His. I know why people assume that I use She / Her / Hers, most fans are women. But I don’t, FYI.

    1. Sarahnova*

      That actually isn’t specific to either you or fanfic; Alison has a policy of using “she” as a default pronoun where gender or preference is unknown, to counter the many places where “he” is the default, and in the comments we often follow suit.

      1. Fanfic Resume*

        Oh I did not know that. Can I request They / Their / Them pronouns in some way? I’m trans and so often get misgendered as “she” and would just like to avoid that as much as possible. This space seemed safe and respectful enough that the risks of making that comment out weighted the pain and discomfort of being misgendered.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          Commenters are generally pretty respectful about using LWs’ correct pronouns if the LW states them in the comments, so you should be all set!

        2. Vulcan social worker*

          I think anyone who sees this comment will use your preferred pronouns. I think a lot of readers just comment without reading everything already posted, so please don’t take it as intentional misgendering if as you read on, you are still called she. It’s just the default until a letter writer indicates otherwise, and I’ve seen writers say that they are male but then still referred to as she because commenters didn’t pick up on it.

        3. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Interesting. From what I’ve gathered as a reader I think Alison’s default to female pronouns was meant as a counterbalance to 1) male pronouns being the default for a lot of people, and 2) the assumption by many that if gender-neutral pronouns are used and the position is not “secretary” or “care worker” (teacher, nurse), the person is probably male.

          (Most commenters here are very good about not making those assumptions, but Alison reaches a far wider audience than just those who comment here on the blog. )

          Personally, I think every person needs to own their own assumptions, so I concur with your preference, but it’s Alison’s blog, and she sets the tone, since the original blog posts are by definition the jumping-off point for the discussion in the comments. I am very interested to see if she weighs in on this topic, though.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Hm, now I’m not sure whether you meant this in reference to yourself, Fanfic Resume, or in general. Your comment was top-level, not a reply, which indicates the latter, but it is written like a reply to a conversation, which could mean the former. Of course people should respect your personal preference when talking about yourself, but if you mean in general when referring to unknown people, that’s a much broader, more complicated question.

            1. Fanfic Resume*

              I didn’t want to call out the specific person who misgender me because I thought that would be too rude or confrontational. So that’s why it sounds like it’s a reply.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Thank you for clarifying. I had skimmed through the comments to see if there was a pronoun used specifically in reference to you, but I must have missed it. I think most all commenters will support you in determining what pronouns are used in reference to you, and those that don’t are trolling and should be ignored. :)

                But do keep in mind that some commenters may jump in later having not read all of the earlier comments, or if commenting on subsequent posts they may not have read the comments on this one. I’m not telling you how to feel about or react to that, just to keep in mind that what seems like a slight may simply be ignorance, in the most benign sense of the word.

  18. Buzzword Bingo*

    #1 – I totally agree not to mention fanfic on your resume, and actually not to bring it up at all at work. Even if you’ve been there a while. My experience is, it’s one thing to contact a fellow author online and strike up a friendship that way, but if you mention it in “real life,” even to a fellow author…we still get skeeved. A few theories there:

    1. The fanfic world has a tendency to favor the…godawful. Fifty Shades wasn’t an anomaly in that respect. And the worst offenders also seem to be the most self-aggrandizing, so…there’s kind of an assumption that if you’re talking about it, you’re one of those.

    2. There’s kind of a Fight Club stigma going on where we seize up when we hear others talking about that thing we do.

    3. Most writers are just competitive by nature. You’re going to run into a few people who are actually bona fide jealous that your stories are up in the top percentage.

    And, like Alison said, even if you get someone who doesn’t have any of that baggage, they’re just going to wonder about your judgment in bringing up fanfic as relates to work even if that work requires a lot of writing. If it is a writing-type job, though, I’m going to be honest and tell you that they’re not going to be impressed with 83K words in a year. Writing isn’t even my job and a bad week for me is probably 10K of fiction. So the whole package just comes across as out of touch here.

    1. april ludgate*

      I feel like godawful fics get a lot of attention for the same reason it’s hard to look away from a car wreck. One of the most popular Harry Potter fanfictions is only so well known because it’s infamously bad (My Immortal). Sometimes I’m shocked at how some of the top fics when sorted by kudos/favorites are just terrible.

        1. em2mb*

          We had a trivia round last week that was, “I’m going to read you a hilariously bad line of fan fiction erotica, and you have to say which TV show it came from.” About half the people on our team write fan fiction, and we were still cringing just so much.

  19. BRR*

    #4 these articles about hiring and trends are usually because writers need pay checks and people who have been unlucky in their job hunt enjoy reading this content because it tells them what they want to hear. I read the articles but they’re rarely written by anybody who does a lot (if any) hiring.

  20. Jane*

    I disagree that the drug arrest is irrelevant to he employer (depending on the employer and what their sensitivity level is) but I think they will likely find out anyway. For many employers behaviors outside of work may be construed as reflecting negatively on the employer. Even though drug use may be common enough, and it’s a total double standard, using drugs and being arrested for using drugs are two different things and many employers are willing to turn a blind eye to the vague concept that some employees use drugs but not in the face of an actual arrest (despite that there has been no conviction yet). I think it is relevant to many employers, but if I were the letter writer I would not expend any more energy on a toxic ex friend. The arrest is enough.

    1. JessaB*

      I see your point but I still think the threats are relevant, if the employee would do this to the OP they may do it to someone at work, and I’d hate to find out after they slugged someone that there was advance knowledge of them being generally threatening in an over the top way to someone else. I don’t care about the arrest or the drugs, if my company has rules against that it will come out since the employee will probably have to take time off to go to court, or may spend time in jail, but the threats to me are relevant to protecting my other employees.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        But you’re assuming that. You don’t KNOW the person will do that at work. And in any case, it’s up to the employer to deal with any behavior the person exhibits on the job. The OP has no reason to contact the person’s employer and to do so makes her look vindictive.

  21. Afiendishthingy*

    I adore good fanfiction, but I agree with Alison. Unfortunately a lot of people find it creepy, juvenile, grounds for ridicule, etc.

  22. TL17*

    #2 – Even in big cities, arrests for drug trafficking make the news. Unless this lady works somewhere where nobody reads the paper, listens to the radio, or watches television, chances are good the employer already knows somehow or will very shortly find out through sources independent of you.

    1. Anon for this....*

      The letter says “some kind of drug charges” that doesn’t mean trafficking and media reports aren’t always the full story.

      The police raided a shared house I used to live in expecting to find some sort of dealing operation (linked to a former resident) the raid was reported in the paper stating “an intelligence led operation into the supply of illegal drugs lead to an address in @street_name being raided this morning, a quantity of drugs was recovered from the scene” Whilst technical true all they found was less than 0.5 of a gram of weed in my desk drawer not exactly a major bust.

      1. TL17*

        There’s a comment upthread from LW2 that suggests the friend was charged with trafficking or possession with intent to distribute or somesuch. i can see where a story like that makes at least the local news blurbs.

        1. Anon for this....*

          I hadn’t seen that comment, I’m sure that that would make the local news but even a report of trafficking doesn’t indicate the whole story and I’d put money on the former friend being able to plead to a lesser charge.

          1. Observer*

            Sure. But the point is that it’s the kind of information that the employer would be likely to hear about.

        2. KR*

          Intent to Distribute can be as simple as having over a specific amount of marijuana that the police/law deems too much for a single person, so it must be for distribution. A friend of mine got busted a few years back and they tacked on the “Intent to Distribute” charge because she had a large quantity. She’s not a dealer, she just buys in bulk.

  23. sunny-dee*

    Re #2, first (as the OP said) — 10% of people don’t get arrested for possession with intent to distribute. And, going by numbers, even saying 10% of adults used illegal drugs last month doesn’t mean much — the labor participation rate is less than 63%, so 10% of adults could use drugs and *still* not have any employed people using drugs. (Obviously, there’s not that kind of separation, but still — a normal thing to expect of an employee is “not using illegal drugs.”)

    It does sound like OP#2 is being vindictive, but there could also be legit reasons to report drug use. My worthless junkie step-cousin (inexplicably) got a job as a deliveryman … for a pharmacy. My dad works in a mine and there is a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol because of the safety issues with operating heavy equipment. Even the commissary which my husband runs has requirements about being sober at work because of the safety issues with industrial kitchen equipment and knives. If the friend works with children or in the medical field, there could be real safety concerns for people under her care.

    1. KH*

      I think it’s pretty important not to reach for things that weren’t explicitly stated in the OP’s letter. There is nothing to indicate that she works with children or in the medical field or that the situation puts her employer or any of her coworkers in danger.

      I understand OP#2’s anger. I was betrayed by a friend in a way that wound up severely damaging my personal life and compromising my career. I promise you I sat up nights plotting how I could ruin her life 10x worse than she’d harmed mine. I wrote many an imaginary letter – to her employer, to her family, to her church leaders – all with the thought in the back of my mind that I would feel vindicated if only other people would suddenly see what a horrible human being she was and then she would suffer as badly or worse than I had.

      But I also knew that what I wanted and all of my revenge fantasies were exactly that .. REVENGE. Which is why I laid in bed at night and plotted them out, but would never in a million years have acted on them. And eventually life moved on and I didn’t feel the need to do that any more.

      OP#2, if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that this is exactly what you are doing. She is a former friend who you previously had issues with. Now she is scapegoating you for her problems, threatening you, and causing you even more pain and drama. You want to “get her back” for what she’s done, and if in doing that you cause her more drama than she caused you .. yay!

      Fantasize about it all you want. Write as many “I’m going to ruin your life you miserable POS” emails as your heart desires. And then delete them and walk away. Because what you’re doing isn’t motivated out of any desire to protect her employer or her co-workers. It’s 100% motivated out of a desire to be the instrument of her ruin. And in the long run? That’s just bad karma.

    2. Observer*

      You are making a real stretch here. There are not that many situations where an employer really needs to know, and where they wold also not have access to the information. In fact, many employers for whom this is a real issues (as opposed to having policies in place) do things like random drug tests. And, if ex-friend uses enough drugs that she’s stealing them from her friends and has enough in the house to get slapped with “intent to distribute”, it’s highly likely that she’d fail a drug screen sooner rather than later. (And, we really don’t know that there was “intent to distribute”, as that’s often just a matter of how much you have in your possession.)

      Also, given how ticked off the OP is, and her attempt to justify the idea, the fact that there was zero mention of this type of job speaks volumes.

  24. Drea*

    OP #1, I completely sympathize with the urge to want to put fic on your resume. It’s frustrating to see job postings asking for writing samples or a link to a portfolio and then be unable to send them the link to perhaps many thousands of words you’ve written. But echoing the sentiments of the other comments, it’s unfortunately going to look, at best, wildly out of step with professional norms. And at worst, you may end up with a plagiarist mark next to your name that could very easily become a big obstacle.

    If you do need to develop a writing portfolio, have you considered trying to find a gig writing columns or somesuch for a geeky website? I have a handful of friends that have managed to merge their nerdy fandom interests with writing that’s more palatable to prospective employers this way. It’s not creative writing in the same way fic is, but it’s potentially more interesting that writing articles on your own purely for the sake of having some writing sample to offer.

    1. Drea*

      And one minor additional thing, there are plenty of fic writers who very much keep their online lives purposefully separate from their offline lives. I’m one of them! So seeing fanfic on a resume would make me, even as someone who has dealt in fandom for several years, flinch. There have just been too many horror stories of people losing their jobs over fic, not to mention having to solider through an awkward conversation with your coworkers/family/etc about your nsfw writing.

      1. JessaB*

        This. I couldn’t really put my finger on why the whole thing bugged me but this is pretty much it. I’d find it tone deaf to think that it’s an appropriate thing to bring up as a skill considering the iffy rep it has with some people and also the fact that many currently professional writers are very clear about keeping the fanfic separate.

      2. Not me*

        I seriously agree with this. I don’t write fic, but I’ve been some sort of fan for long enough to see that there are reasons we don’t always talk about these things in real life.

  25. caryatis*

    LW#1: Fanfiction is childish and derivative, and people are going to assume you’re writing porn. Also, “publishing” fanfiction isn’t worth bragging about because these websites take anything they are given; it would be like bragging about the number of words you’ve “published” on your Facebook or Livejournal.

    If you want to showcase your writing ability, find a school- or work-related writing project to do, and if you want to write fiction, find your own characters instead of stealing from another writer. Now, if you are the Fifty Shades of Grey author and your childish erotica finds a publisher…congratulations…but I would still probably be reluctant to put it on a resume.

    LW#2: You are a bad person. If you want your friend to stop harassing you, first stop harassing her.

    1. Macedon*

      ‘Fanfiction is childish and derivative’, ‘bragging’, ‘stealing from another writer’ – that’s a bit unnecessary. OP’s clearly put some time and effort into this pursuit, for all some of us – yes, I’m one of them – think it’s not immediately marketable in a professional setting.

    2. Juli G.*

      This is a very harsh comment. Fan fiction is a hobby. It’s not hurting anyone and can help people foster a healthy amount of self-esteem, a sense of community or just blow off steam and have fun.

      I recently had a conversation with a friend who was aggressively dismissive of the adult coloring book trend many of my friends enjoy. Why does it make you feel superior to degrade other peoples’ enjoyment?

    3. LawBee*

      Hey, no need to be a jerk about someone’s hobby. Your comment to LW#1 is way out of line and deliberately mean-spirited.

    4. Not me*

      I’m not sure why you think it needs to be pointed out that a site like AO3 publishes whatever you put on it. That’s generally how self-publishing goes.

      I’m also not sure why you think OP will be receptive to your comment while you’re insulting them.

    5. Karyn*

      Not to pile on, but there are a lot of authors who don’t consider fanfiction “stealing” their work (JK Rowling is one of the best examples). I’ve read a LOT of bad fanfiction, but I’ve also read some that is better than the original work. A lot of fanfiction authors DO create their own characters and only use one character from the original work. And even still, there’s no need to insult someone’s hobby. Fanfiction is often a way to ease into original writing; please be kind.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        Not to mention that lots of published writing is also bad, and that lots of published media is basically fanfiction – BBC “Sherlock” and the American “Elementary”, basically everything having to do with superheroes (movies based on movies based on cartoons based on comics based on comics based on comics), every remake of a classic – Kiss Me Kate, Clueless, Ten Things I Hate About You, She’s All That. Ok that was a lot of 90s romantic comedies but still.

        1. Karyn*

          Oh, and BBC Sherlock also admits that it takes a lot of plot points and even whole scenes from fans’ ideas! I’ve actually seen pieces of script taken directly FROM fanfiction. And yes – it seems like tons of movies are based on other works. Look at the Avengers movies! Lots of “creative liberties” taken there – yet no one complains about that.

          1. anon for this*

            The Avengers movies are based, in one way or another, on the comics. They’re cherry picking different comics written over decades, but there’s such a wide background to choose from that taking creative liberties is almost expected. But the movies themselves are more based on the source material, just altered a bit, than anything else.

            1. Annie Moose*

              Source material written by a wide variety of writers, mostly NOT the original ones… which is, of course, basically what fan fiction is.

        2. MsM*

          Hell, Shakespeare himself drew most of his inspiration from other sources. It’s just that as Allison says, he and everyone who’s since taken advantage of him being in the public domain didn’t need to be conscious of copyright law.

    6. Fanfic Resume*

      Thanks for the support from all the other replies. What I find tone def, childish, and derivative is the commentor spewing two demential stereotypes about fanfic.

      I do not write porn or anything rated higher than T. (No offense to those who do, it’s just never been my thing.) And I have a /ton/ of my own characters. Which the commentor would know if she had read other comments I have made. And most of the fic I have written, especally the ones I’m most proud of, could be converted into original fiction because my works are intensely transformative and look very deeply into a small part of cannon.

      I write fanfic in the first place because I want stories about people like me – queer, disabled, trans, and so forth – to exist and fandom is actually interested in stories about those types of characters. Even if they don’t exist in cannon.

      1. A Cita*

        As horrible and inappropriate as that comment was (and it definitely was!), it provides a really good example of why you wouldn’t put it on your resume. It just has too much stigma for the majority of people. This is the kind of reaction you should assume you would get from a prospective employer (even though it’s unwarranted and mean spirited, and even though there will be plenty of potential employers who may dabble in fandom as well).

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          Yeah, I get a lot of support writing fic (from my parents, to my mentors, and even a college prof I’m particularly close to). I know that it’s unusual but since I’ve actually never faced the type of comment as above before it’s hard to really /know/ just how unusual it is. Which is so sad. I wish the entire world took the same perspective as the people I listed above.

          1. A Cita*

            I think it’s super great that you’re getting so much support! That’s fantastic. But yes, it may skew your understanding of how lots of people would react to it, unfortunately. I have a coworker who reads fanfic. We somehow accidentally figured it out about each other. Now it’s our super personal super top secret super high security level for your eyes only knowledge. We tend to now admit other more personal things to each other because, as coworker likes to say, we “know where the bodies are buried” of each other. :)

      2. Book Person*

        “I write fanfic in the first place because I want stories about people like me – queer, disabled, trans, and so forth – to exist and fandom is actually interested in stories about those types of characters. Even if they don’t exist in cannon.”

        I’m sorry you had such a negative comment here, LW. Fic like this is incredibly important, and is also one of the reasons why fanfiction is such a hotbed of academic research. I read so many incredible works when working on my dissertation, looking at how pieces like yours write back to works that are overwhelmingly dominated by straight white cis-male characters in heteronormative relationships.

        I still don’t think fanfiction itself belongs on a resume, unfortunately–I would find it a strange thing to include in a cover letter or as a skill, even though outside of a professional context I would be very interested in your writing! If your college provides student grant funding toward attending conferences, you might consider sending an abstract in to the Pop Culture Association conference. They have panels on fanwriting, and translating your fanfiction experience into an academic paper could be an interesting way of parleying a passion and a hobby into a professional event.

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          That sounds fantastic! I’ll definitely look into that! I have to admit I swooned about when you mentioned a dissertation about fanfic. That sounds amazing, to read and to write.

          1. Book Person*

            Definitely do! I imagine that a paper about fanfiction as a vehicle for visibility of typically marginalized peoples would be interesting indeed. I saw some interesting ones on fan shame and fanfiction and pedagogy when I was there a few years ago–it’s definitely a broad area of interest with different avenues to explore. As a member of the hiring committee at my current company, while I might look askance at a fanfiction reference in a resume despite my own interest, I would find a list of publications or conference paper titles normal and interesting.

            Thanks very much for the kind swooning! It was an immensely fun project for me. It involved a lot of theory and history of literary criticism as well, of course, but for a large part of it I got to watch TV and read fic and interview authors, and two of those were things I was already spending a lot of my grad school downtime doing. ;)

    7. afiendishthingy*

      I totally disagree about fanfiction being “childish and derivative” but the fact that many share caryatis’ opinion is a good reason to keep it off the resume.

      1. fposte*

        Surely “derivative” is a fair cop, though? It’s pretty much the definition. The argument would be whether that makes it inferior or not.

            1. A Cita*

              And really, what isn’t derivative. Harry Potter is derivative of Tolkien and both are derivative of Norse mythology (Fenrir Greyback, anyone?), etc, etc.

              It’s turtles all the way down.

      2. ynotbeoriginal?*

        Fan fiction-

        Why are you not motivated enough to create A story that’s your own? I don’t see the merit in rearranging someone else’s intellectual property.

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          And who says I haven’t written a story of my own? I’ve said repeatedly in comments that I write original fiction as well. So I find your assumption that I am not motivated enough to “create a story that’s my own” to be belligerent and rude.

          1. ynotbeoriginal?*

            If you wanted to show your own unique skills then you should be spotlighting original work if anything.

            1. fposte*

              But the fanfic probably has a wider audience, so it makes sense that’s the stuff they asked about.

              I think we get that you don’t like fanfic much, but I don’t think that’s an issue we’re going to settle on a management and employment blog.

            2. Meh*

              Fanfic Resume already stated that the reason they were considering it be included was because they had reached a certain level of notoriety in the fanfic community. Their work was listed at a high level, etc etc etc. That is why they were motivated to include their fanfic as an accomplishment for their resume. Not just because they enjoy writing, but that this particular writing has garnered positive attention and recognition.

        2. YawningDodo*

          I can’t speak for the LW, naturally, but the answer to this (needlessly belligerent) question for me would be pretty darn simple: writing fanfiction is fun. It’s not about being unmotivated or unable to write original fiction; it’s about finding a writing hobby that we legitimately enjoy. If you can’t see the merit in that, that’s your problem, not the LW’s.

          And I think we’re getting off track here, anyway. The question in the post was not whether the LW should be writing fanfiction, and it’s very presumptuous to try to use this conversation as a platform for telling the LW off for being a fanfic writer. The question was whether fanfiction is resume-appropriate, which is an entirely different matter.

    8. Lily in NYC*

      Both of your comments (to LW1 and LW2) are unnecessarily rude. You just called a LW a bad person – how is that remotely acceptable? I didn’t agree with her comment but there’s no need to get personal or nasty.

    9. moss*

      This was harshly put but I kind of agree with it. Fanfic is using something someone else created. It’s not impressive to me and I would not want to see it on a resume.

      1. Tomato Frog*

        Would you also be unimpressed if someone had written an Emmy-winning episode of Buffy because they weren’t Joss Whedon? Creating characters and a world are only one part of writing. Fanfic requires a somewhat different set of skills than original fiction. I agree it shouldn’t be on a resume but the fact that the writer didn’t invent the characters is not the reason.

        1. moss*

          Well that’s a good point I guess. I’ve never seen Buffy and “fandom” in general is a strange thing to me (sports fans, tv show fans, y’all are all nuts). I suppose I see your point.

      2. Myrin*

        While I agree that it shouldn’t be mentioned on a resume, you clearly have very little idea of what fanfiction is (especially considering that the extent of “using something someone else created” for basically all fic authors I read is “characters have the same name as the canon characters and basic same personality” and everything else – wordlbuilding, the specific plot, character backgrounds, oftentimes whole parts of the characters’ personalities, and so on – is their own creation).

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, I think we have two arguments here that are getting misleadingly lumped together: is fanfic valid writing and should fanfic be on your resume? Yes; no.

    10. Noah*

      Comments like this one are exactly why you should leave fanfic off of your resume. People will judge you wrongly based on their assumptions about fan fiction.

      1. Zillah*

        In fairness, you could argue that someone who is as judgmental and rude as caryatis might be a good employer to screen out. (That said, there will be many employers who aren’t pointlessly cruel to people they’ve never met who will still be turned off by fanfiction.)

      1. ynotbeoriginal?*

        Joss is more talented than his writers. The writers are moving building blocks and elements he created. It’s the difference between starting from nothing to starting with a pre established cannon and making it your own. People like fan art / fan fiction because it is giving more content of what they already like.

        I feel it takes more talent to build your own story.

        1. Fanfic Resume*

          Lol. Joss is not even in my top five Buffy screen writers so no. Creating the world and moving the building blocks are two different skills. Joss is good at creating the world but other writers are much, much better at moving the building blocks.

          And fanfiction is my own story. I sat down and I brain stormed it and wrote it an edited it. Just because it’s based off of something else doesn’t mean that the final work isn’t my own. Even in the legal sense I own all the original material in the fic and it can’t be used for monetary gain by someone else – it can only be reficced.

            1. A Cita*

              Wow. I find these comments to be strangely adversarial. Let’s not get into whether or not you think OPs fanfiction writing is a valid use of their time and creativity. It’s very antagonizing and not awesome.

            2. Zillah*

              Why is this so important to you? I’m really confused by how invested you are in how other people spend their free time and express their creativity.

            3. Nelly*

              Dante’s Inferno is fanfiction. Wicked is fanfiction. The Rapture is fanfiction. A case could be made for Mormanism and its ilk to be called fanfiction. Sherlock is fanfiction. Ah, let’s face it, everything written in the past few hundred years is derivative of something else.

          1. Tomato Frog*

            Amen re: Buffy. If I groan at the dialogue, there’s like a 75% chance it’s a Joss episode.

        2. neverjaunty*

          First, nobody is ‘starting from nothing’.

          Second, do you realize how ridiculous you sound? You’re shouting at people to stop a hobby they enjoy because you disapprove and think they “should” do something else. I’m sorry other people’s idea of fun isn’t highbrow enough for you. No, wait, I’m not.

  26. Macedon*

    #1. Afraid I’m adding to the ‘no’s on this one. The trouble with creative writing (of any kind, whether fan fiction or the unpublished manuscript in your drawer) is that until it yields concrete publishing results, it’s not quite meaty enough to put on your resume.

    #2. Don’t. This isn’t the problem of your former friend’s employer. It’s between you – and the police. Keep it there.

    #3. I hate dealing with printers. Sorry. I’ve got nothing more useful on this one. I just hate printers.

    #4. I’m gonna go against the trend here and say that I’m okay with some infographic resumes – I’m thinking of the text-led ones ( like this, I suppose ), where you are still prioritizing information. But even those can make it difficult to read through fast, and I’m just not sure they’re worth it.

    1. Ad Astra*

      Printers are the worst. I don’t understand how technology has evolved to create amazing, intuitive products while printers remain as frustrating and unreliable as they’ve always been.

      1. Chinook*

        “how technology has evolved to create amazing, intuitive products while printers remain as frustrating and unreliable as they’ve always been.”

        The problem is that the copiers have evolved to a point that they now have feelings and take it personally whenever you swear at them or treat them roughly. They also have long memories and will choose to seek their revenge for such abuse at the time to cause the most pain to the abuser. This is why, when we get summer students, I teach them not only how to unjam a copier and how it is rude to leave it with no paper, but also to speak kindly to them. They think I am weird until I whisper sweet nothings into the copier’s innards and manage to unjam something that no one else could find.

      2. Macedon*

        I don’t know why I harbour this intense hatred of printers. They do me less wrong than service. Most of the time, they’re happily sitting there, communing with the wireless gods. I just can’t help my animosity.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Look how little information that resume has about each job; it’s been sacrificed to the design. And very hard to quickly scan and find what you want.

      1. Macedon*

        I think it hasn’t been sacrificed to design exactly, as much as to the introduction of other ‘tabs’ of information – which, I admit, I don’t find personally useful, but someone else might. I see this kind of resume as passable. Not ideal, but I can work with it. There’re some infographic resumes that dedicate large amounts of space to Venn diagrams and charts and… those cross the line for me. But what I linked… ehhhhh, I can deal with it. I wouldn’t roll my eyes at it, I wouldn’t toss it out.

      2. caryatid*

        i would not be happy to get this resume – it find it really difficult to extract the information i would want to have quickly.

      3. Meh*

        I think this one is VERY tailored to the type of industry/jobs he is looking to secure. I like some infographic resumes, and I like some very bold and flashy ones. I don’t particularly like this one though, but I can understand in todays social media / online culture where something like this would fit. But definitely only for the other types of social media/online media marketing type jobs he is looking for.

    3. Traveller*

      And when you actually take the time to read that resume, you’ll see that the jobs are listed oldest first (what?)

      Plus the top left section spends 100+ words giving a bio that is basically irrelevant to any job he is applying for (moving for a girl? what?)

      Not at all sensible!

      1. Observer*

        Well, if he had some actual jobs listed, it would help explain a move or gap. But, yes, the whole bio is at best irrelevant. I think I would also say it’s a bit pretentious and way to cutesy.

        Also, it’s not just the order of the listing, but what he chooses to highlight. As for the tone .

        The thing is that this guy is peddling his services. I really feel bad for anyone who is using his services for their resume and paying for it.

        1. Meh*

          Yeah… I get what he was going for here and perhaps it has worked for him in certain job markets and cultures. I do not hate all info graphic resumes, but I am not a fan of this one at all — and as far as selling these for other people in a wide range of industries… is a bit worrisome.

    4. Noah*

      That resume is really hard to read. I wouldn’t throw it out but it would irritate me a bit as I picked through it. For me, as a hiring manager, the best resume is the traditional format. It is quick and easy to read through and digest.

      1. Macedon*

        These are more or less my feelings: I wouldn’t prefer it, I wouldn’t be as well served by it, but I’m ultimately okay with it in the only sense that matters – I’d read it and I wouldn’t hold it against a candidate.

    5. Observer*

      No. Please don’t do that – ESPECIALLY if you are applying for a design position. It’s a very poorly designed piece of work, and it makes it hard to find the important information.

      It’s full of design elements that do nothing to help readers get the important message. It’s also full of information that no on really cares about. Like who really cares where he was born? In terms of design, what does that huge + near the words Curriculum Vitae do, besides adding clutter? Same for the Sticky note graphic? And the skills graph on the bottom tells me very little, while taking up a good deal of space. And, at that, it’s not so easy to get the information that’s in that graph.

      If you are going to do an infographic, then at least make it good! This one isn’t.

      1. Macedon*

        That’s fair – I’m not in the business of designing infographics, and I wouldn’t personally resort to using one. I was just saying there were certain types of infographics that I found less offensive than others – this one, for me, isn’t ideal, but I wouldn’t throw it out. That makes it passable for me.

        Obviously, you have stricter standards on this stuff, and that’s perfectly okay.

    6. LawBee*

      omg I looked at that linked resume and gave up immediately. Maybe it would be easier to read in print, but it just screamed Big Wall of Text.

  27. hbc*

    OP2: If you have an Interests or other similar section, I think there’s no problem including that you write fiction/belong to a writing group/whatever. But besides the specific worries that fanfic carries, I’m thinking that emphasizing a hobby like it’s a job is a bad idea. The more you show how you’re invested in it, the more the employer wonders where your attention is going to be. Are you going to be sneaking spare minutes to get that next chapter out? Are you going to be inflexible when a busy time at work conflicts with the Boy Scout Jamboree? Are you going to be resistant to coming in earlier because you’re training for the Iron Man? Are you going to be taking calls from contractors or tenants at the properties you own?

    You can talk about the relevant benefits in person or *maybe* in the cover letter, where you can put them in the proper context. But a main entry in your Experience section is saying that you consider this Real Work, and no one is going to be thrilled about you having a concurrent job about which you’re more passionate.

  28. K*

    #4– There’s one exception to the infographic resume ban, in my opinion. (I’m an in-house recruiter for communications positions.) If you’re applying for a communications job that requires design work, an infographic resume can be a way to demonstrate your skills. I’ve seen some that showcased excellent design work and were still substantive. They were polished and professional, not goofy or playful like some infographics are. Those candidates stood out to the managers. But that’s a very specific kind of job.

    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      I’m surprised by this. I’ll take a “fancier” resume from my design candidates, but at the end of the day I still want a pretty traditional resume and a solid portfolio.

      1. K*

        Oh yeah, a good portfolio is the real non-negotiable here. Just saying that I’ve seen managers for design positions respond well infographic resumes. I’ve also seen infographic resumes crash and burn when they looked good, but didn’t have enough info on them, or weren’t actually well designed.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          I’ll admit I am totally biased because the only ones that have ever made it to my desk were bad, and when you dug into what they were saying, the infographics were hiding the actualities of what the candidates skills/experience were.

          For example, one had a bar graph with years “using” software, and inDesign had 8 years. However, when you dug into the candidate’s actual experience, they learned inDesign in college 8 years ago and hadn’t actually touched the software during their day-to-day work activities since.

      2. K.*

        (This is a different K than the original – maybe I should change my commenting name.)

        Yeah, I would rely more on a portfolio than an infographic resume. Like, if an applicant ONLY submitted an infographic resume, that wouldn’t go over as well as someone who submitted one with a few more design elements and had a robust portfolio. Most of the design candidates I’ve seen rely on their portfolio as evidence of their capabilities, rather than doctoring up their resume – actually, I’ve seen some fairly bland resumes from them for that reason. The portfolio does the talking.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          The best graphic designer I ever hired (who left for much bigger and better things) had the most bland, functional resume you have ever seen.

          I remember showing my boss who is an operations VP with no creative inklings his stuff and he was like, “what? this guy can’t be a designer. It’s so plain.” He was also disappointed that he did not have tattoos, piercings, dyed hair and that he wore a tie to his interview.

          Please note: this was also the last time my boss was allowed to be involved in the hiring process. Though, two weeks in he did come to me and say, “I guess you don’t have to look like a punk rocker to be a good designer.”

          1. Observer*

            That’s really funny – although I probably wouldn’t be laughing if your boss was still doing hiring.

            1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

              I do have to say that he was smart enough/self-aware enough to back out of the process.

              We were moving from 100% outsourced and free-lance design until I pointed out that I could hire two experienced people with benefits (with money left over)for what we were spending, so he was watching my first hire pretty carefully since he went out on a limb for me.

    2. OP #4*

      I agree. I think a designer is the only type of position where I wouldn’t shudder a bit upon seeing an infographic resume… but like you said, I’d really be looking for the substance behind the graphics.

    3. Ad Astra*

      Even then, I think it would work better as a supplement to a traditionally formatted resume than it would as a replacement. Most people who look at a resume are in search of a chronological list of someone’s experience — any other format makes it harder to get the information you’re looking for.

  29. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

    Fan fiction Resume, I hire writers, both as content creators and copy-editors. I often hire people directly out of college.

    If I received a resume with fan fiction on it, I would think you are inexperienced. Additionally, I wouldn’t count it as professional work – is that biased, probably. But I’ve read a lot more bad fan fiction than good, and popularity does not always indicate quality in the fan-fic worlds.

    It wouldn’t prevent you from getting an interview with me, but it wouldn’t help you either.

    1. Interesting*

      So I guess you wouldn’t hire the author of Wicked, then? Or of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies? Or all Tudor era historical fiction?

      1. fposte*

        I don’t think that’s at all what Not the Droid is saying.

        I think it’s legit to talk about the genre criticism reasons why fanfic isn’t distinct from some other kinds of writing, but in general use, “fanfic” means “stuff written as a hobby and not sold for money.” That’s the difference that makes it a dubious prospect on a resume.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Right. It’s one thing to try and use “fanfic” as a marker of quality, but the previous commenter clearly meant it in the sense of amateur vs. professional.

          1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

            I’ve been trying to articulate why this 1,000x yes.

            I’m not saying fan fiction can be good (though I’ve encountered a lot more 50 Shades style stuff then PP+Z), I’m just saying it’s different.

            Hiring creative people to work in a team environment where a lot of non-creative people have opinions of your work is hard. Being able to see that someone has been through that process of editing and approvals (and bat-sh!t crazy demands — it’s “too eloquently worded” or “can you throw in text speak? We want millennials”) is what I look for in writing experience.

            And again, it’s not like I would not bring someone in because they had it on their resume, I would just be a flag of something I need to explore.

        2. YawningDodo*

          Yep. The difference between the media Interesting listed versus garden variety fanfiction found on AO3 is that Wicked and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are published works. If you write fanfiction off a public domain property and manage to get it published, that’s professional work and I’d argue it would be perfectly appropriate on a resume when applying for a job as a content creator.

          1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

            I agree. Anytime someone has published work it’s an attention getter. I have even had people list publication in their school’s literary journal…that’s awesome. It tells me you know the process.

            Though even tonight I was sitting around with some other hiring managers at a professional development event and the subject of “published articles” came up, with one of them saying she automatically disqualifies people who count Elite Daily under their credits, as anyone can contribute (though, to be honest, I don’t know enough about ED to say whether or not this is true).

      2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        It wouldn’t prevent you from getting an interview with me, but it wouldn’t help you either.

        Never said I wouldn’t hire someone with it on their resume, just that I would see them as inexperienced.

        But honestly, if the people you raised above only had those as their work samples, I’d be concerned. It’s about knowing the job you are applying for.

        On a side note, I probably would not hire the author of “Wicked” because I cannot stand his writing style. I made it through Wicked for book club, but every time I have tried his other stuff, I have just marked it DNF and moved on.”

        1. YawningDodo*

          I’m bummed out that I don’t like the book Wicked itself, because I love the musical and I wish I liked the source material enough to want to read his other works. Alas, it is not to be.

  30. Sunflower*

    So I know what fanfic is but I’m kind of confused as to what having it published means. I thought fanfic was mostly written on open forums/message boards. Are there sites where you can submit it and someone has to choose whether to publish it?

    1. Not me*

      It’s mostly posted on sites like Archive of Our Own, the same way people can put whatever art they want on DeviantArt or put their writing on blogs. There have been things like contests, newsletters, or little magazines that selectively publish stories (but these aren’t around much anymore).

    2. Elsajeni*

      There are some sites like that, but yes, most fanfic is essentially self-published; fic writers tend to use “published” and “posted” more or less interchangeably.

  31. Sue Wilson*

    This is sorta off-topic, but there’s nothing funnier to me than the fact that the sequel to Don Quixote is just Cervantes essentially complaining about popular fanfiction of his book.

  32. Karyn*

    As a fanfiction writer of several genres (I’ve completed a 100,000+ word Avengers work, and am now working on a Good Wife/SVU crossover), I still wouldn’t list it on my resume. I like to keep that part of my life separate from my professional world. It’s my own little outlet, and I write under a pseudonym. One of my coworkers knows about it, but she’s one of my best friends – and one of the partners at my firm knows I’m working on a book (I plan to rework the latter into an original novel since I’m using two characters who had little backstory when I first started writing it), but he doesn’t know anything more than that.

    So, in short, don’t do it. Enjoy your hobby – by all means – but keep it out of your professional life.

    1. Susan*

      I don’t read fanfiction but I’m so curious about your Good Wife/SVU crossover.

      Even though I don’t read it, I’ve always been kind of open to the concept of it. I feel like some people just love a story and/or character(s) so much that they want to continue to experience it even after they’ve reached the limit of actual episodes. I used to be a music critic (I stopped because it pays terribly), and I always defended the medium as not being about loving your own voice but wanting to explore a piece of art completely. So I get it. There are people who enjoy art, then there are people who really want to ruminate on it.

      If I sound overly sentimental it’s because I am.

      1. YawningDodo*

        This is a really good way of describing one of the main drives behind writing fanfiction. Thank you for that.

      2. Meh*

        I feel like some people just love a story and/or character(s) so much that they want to continue to experience it even after they’ve reached the limit of actual episodes.

        This is exactly why I will enjoy well-written fanfic from time to time. Sometimes you just really want the story to go on.

      3. Karyn*

        The thing about wanting to continue the story – that’s one of the biggest reasons people write and read fanfic, I think. Especially once a series has ended, like the Good Wife is about to, you sometimes just want to keep telling the story. And even when a show is still on the air, like SVU, sometimes you feel like maybe the writers aren’t doing a character their proper service, and you want to fix something. Or maybe you want to alter how the character’s life has gone and see how a different life might have changed them. Whatever it is. It’s just about having fun and exploring different ideas.

        And my fic is a political drama with a bit of romance thrown in there for good measure. Or at least that’s what it’s trying to be. Sometimes it deviates a bit and I have to rein it back in. Fifteen chapters in and still growing.

  33. HRChick*

    #4, I feel your pain!

    I am not an admin. I’m a manager. But, the fax machine for our floor is in my office (I have NO idea why. I guess it’s always been in here since before this was an office and they didn’t want to change the number?).

    People email me asking me to look out for their faxes and bring it to them when it comes through.

    Honestly, I don’t hear the fax machine anymore. It’s like background noise. So, I just tell them that I can’t be relied on to get the fax to them, but they can come and check the fax machine if they want. If they ask, I tell them I am prepping for a meeting and will either be glued to my desk or out of the office.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Wow. Normally I would not advocate ignoring emails. But I think I finally found an exception to the rule!

      For some reason, everyone asks me for Advil and stamps. Everyone! I don’t mind giving out Advil even though it gets expensive to keep replacing the bottle, but I finally got fed up with the stamps. They are no longer cheap and I hate going to the post office just as much as everyone else. Yes, I have a stash in my purse. But I now just say no. I used to lie and say I didn’t have any but then they would just go bug another admin – so now I just tell them the truth and tell them that it’s something they should really buy for themselves and to stop asking the admins for items out of their personal stashes.

      1. Michelle*

        Yes! I told the executive director that we need stock to Advil/Tylenol because people always ask for them. I was given permission to put together a little first-aid type kit and always keep a large bottle of both Advil & Tylenol.
        I also put allergy meds, stomach meds and all the typical first-aid stuff.

        I’ve always said no to stamps. We have a postal machine for business mail and if it’s personal, you need to be purchasing your own stamps people.

    2. ArtsNerd*

      That’s irritating. I’ve shared an office with the photocopier before, and sometimes I would do some basic maintenance tasks just to stop the damn alert beeping. But just as often, I had to remind my coworkers that they were always welcome to come into my office to use it any time. So many shy employees lurking in my doorway! It’s okay, friends! This is YOUR copier too!

  34. brighidg*

    1: The only exception to this is if you’re going to write for an online publication that discusses media/pop culture like Jezebel, Cracked, Buzzfeed, The MarySue etc. Otherwise, nah. It’s not even the fanfic aspect (though that’s part of it) it’s the lack of being published. If you’re not published, no one cares.

  35. Little Mary Moonshine*

    I feel for #3. I sit next to the printer as well. At best, I get to hear a steady stream of cursing from my coworkers when the printer is acting up. At worst, I face the same kinds of interruptions as the LW. I want to be pleasant and helpful toward my colleagues, but I’m not in a admin role and if the printer is out of toner or whatever, it’s not my problem to deal with. Proximity =/= responsibility!

  36. Emrin Alexander*

    About fanfiction – it’s fun and a great hobby. Like any other passtime – it does not belong on your CV. Derivative works are wonderful, but they don’t belong in the work place, uless you’re looking for a job with Archive of Our Own.

  37. Graciosa*

    As I think about fanfiction and what limits its utility as a demonstration of creative writing skill, world and character building come to mind.

    I have an original (science fiction/fantasy) piece that I’ve been working on, and it requires an enormous amount of thought. This is *building a world* with all the elements to make it make sense. When I think about Tolkein’s middle earth, Lackey’s Valdemar, or Rowlings’ magical world, I am truly amazed at the rich detail and complexity of what they created.

    Even absent the fantasy elements, real character building requires a lot of effort if you don’t want to end up with cardboard figures or caricatures. Rowling is probably a good recent example of this as well – many of her minor characters are so clearly drawn that entire communities of fans have developed around them (not only to write fanfiction, but also to argue about subtle aspects of characterization and perceived backstory).

    Amateurs also tend to underrate the importance of good villains – and they’re not easy to create either.

    Writing fanfiction is a bit of a crutch (or if that seems too pejorative – which is not my intent – perhaps training wheels?). All of this work is already done, although fanfiction authors have been known to tweak it. Still, it can be easier to use what someone else has created rather than to create it yourself.

    I’m not saying that there is no skill required to write fanfiction – there is still plotting, pacing, dialogue, etc. – but it does allow an author to work only on those and skip all the rest. Sometimes that lets you focus on the fun part of writing, and there are some authors whose skill comes through in fanfiction, so please don’t take this more critically than it is intended. It is meant as an observation about the level of work required.

    Using an existing world or characters also makes it much easier to gain “fans” of your work or “likes” or positive “comments.” The original author created a world and characters that people already care about, so the fanfiction author does not have to. If I was creating a writing blog, I would expect it to be much easier to gain followers if I wrote about Tony Stark and Steve Rogers than if I wrote about my own original work. This has nothing to do with quality, but rather the presence of an established market.

    Setting everything else aside (copyright issues, or the reputation fanfiction has, etc.) I would be more impressed by someone who accomplished the difficult task of creating an entire piece of original fiction than by someone who leveraged the work of another more accomplished writer to avoid doing that work or building a market of their own.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I don’t read or write fanfiction, so I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I reject the premise that writing fanfic is just “writing lite.” I’d argue that it takes *different* skill(s), not fewer or lesser skills. Fanfic authors don’t build worlds, but they operate within the confines of worlds. They don’t create characters; they adapt characters and imagine them in new circumstances. It’s not less. It’s just different.

      But that doesn’t matter anyway. Your ability to build worlds or adapt a character to a new set of problems doesn’t tell me anything about your ability to manage a leadership development program or organize a fundraising event.

      1. A Cita*

        Well, and some actually do build new worlds. There is one series that developed a whole different tribe of people who lived along side the original characters–it was a completely new world: their own customs, rituals, kinship systems, social organization, rites of passage, etc. It was well thought out and completely divergent from canon. Could have stood on it’s own and not even lived in that canon’s universe. I’ve read a few like this.

        So all that to say, it’s really hard to generalize fanfiction. So getting into the weeds about what differentiates it in reality is sort of irrelevant since the take home is: 1. it has a stigma for most people, and they will react poorly to it, 2. it’s not relevant to the job, and so 3. it doesn’t belong on the resume.

        1. Elsajeni*

          Right, and there’s plenty of published writing that does just as much or as little world-building or character-creating as fanfiction — the many series of media tie-in novels, for example, are genuinely just “fanfiction that has the blessing of the rights-holder,” and they vary from essentially no world-building (uses just the canonical characters, keeps them in settings that have been described in canon) to loads of world-building (adds lots of new characters, creates new settings for them to visit, sometimes has essentially no overlap with the original — I’m thinking, for example, of the Star Wars tie-in book “Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina,” which is a collection of short stories focusing on the various weird aliens we see for a few seconds in the cantina scene, giving them all names, backstories, homeworlds, etc.). And of course, as Sarahnova says below, realistic fiction doesn’t involve much or any world-building; historical fiction doesn’t involve much creation of new characters; etc.

      2. Chinook*

        “But I reject the premise that writing fanfic is just “writing lite.” I’d argue that it takes *different* skill(s), not fewer or lesser skills.”

        I have to agree. Taking a pre-existing character and world and staying true to them (even if it is AU or off-canon, there are still things that need to stay the same if you are using those characters) takes a completely different skill. Original authors have the advantage of having hidden knowledge (Dumbledore being gay is a good example) that they can pop in at any time because they were always writing the character that way or, because they are the writing god, can justify that change for plot purposes. Fanfic writers can’t/shouldn’t. Three things turn me off as examples of poor writing: 1st person POV of the main characters (especially when not done in the original work), poor grammar and losing the distinctive voice of the characters. If you want to rework the characters, then do all the heavy lifting that goes with it (like Graciosa mentioned) to make sure it makes sense instead of just picking and choosing what you like. But, if I am reading fanfic, odds are good I am reading it for insight into the characters, which isn’t there if they aren’t acting like they normally would.

      3. Fanfic Resume*

        I agree with this, especally the different skills. Fanfic is the story it is because of the direct and intimate connection it has with the source material. Every tiny change and parallel in the fanfic becomes deeply meaningful in a way that it couldn’t be if it wasn’t referencing cannon like it is.

        Being able to dramatically change the meaning of a moment in a movie, book, or TV show through fic is an amazing skill and an amazing thing. And one of the reason I’m disappointed that fanfic isn’t respected in mainstream society is that we miss out on writers who can make good use of this skill outside of fanfiction because the have no reason to develop it.

    2. Sarahnova*

      …but if I write, say, a crime novel set in modern-day New York, I’m not worldbuilding either. I have to come up with characters, yes, but fanfiction often involves generating new characters, or simply radically reimagining or expanding on existing characters. I’m not sure you can definitively say that that requires less skill than generating new characters.

      Lots of original fiction is really bad. Lots of fanfic is really bad. Some original fiction is outstanding. Some fanfic is outstanding. Neither fanfic nor original fiction belong on a CV, unless the job is “writer”, or as a brief mention under “hobbies and interests”.

      1. Tau*

        Thank you for pointing this out! I really don’t get the “but no worldbuilding means you are inferior!!” argument, since it actually doesn’t apply to… probably most of what’s considered high-brow literature, honestly. I don’t buy into the “science fiction and fantasy are low-brow pulp” thing you see floating about, but equally I have to raise an eyebrow at an argument that implies everything other than science fiction and fantasy is low-brow pulp.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I think working in a world that is already set up can be good PRACTICE–especially in staying true to a character you know well. But you’re correct–it is somewhat limiting if you stick to the established world you’re writing about. That’s why I chose not to do any more of it.

      And really, unless you have real, tangible credits in established publications, whether paid or not, it’s not really of much value on a resume.

      1. Chinook*

        “I think working in a world that is already set up can be good PRACTICE–especially in staying true to a character you know well”

        I like how you put that. I dabbled in fanfic decades ago and it really was good practice at consistent characterization. Because you don’t “own” the world and the people, you can force yourself not to change the who they are to make a plot more convenient or better. Instead, if you write yourself into a hole, you actually have to write yourself out of it instead of deciding that wormholes exist and one is right there.

      2. Tau*

        And for me, the limitations are what makes it fun. I started off writing original fic but abandoned it early on. I really enjoy taking an existing story and seeing what I can fit in between the lines, or how I can change it a bit and come up with an interesting (and sometimes, critical) reflection of what was there to start. It’s a challenge and it’s really fun! In contrast, because a lot of the things I like writing most are about contrasting/critiquing/pushing back against/expanding/etc. the source material, original writing tends to leave me cold – I play with original ideas, but I can never make myself interested enough in them to actually put them to paper. Different strokes for different folks, and all. :)

        (I know I’ll most likely never publish anything, and I’m fine with that. I have a job that I enjoy and a career trajectory I’d like to follow and they have nothing to do with creative writing. I’m pretty sure I’d end up miserable if I tried to write for a living, anyway, so I’m absolutely fine leaving it as a hobby. But there’s this tendency to assume that fanfic *must* be a stepping stone towards original work and publication instead of a goal in its own right, and it’s inaccurate and annoying to deal with.)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, people write what they want to write and if they want to write about HP or Avengers or Trixie Belden girl detective, that’s totally fine. If you want to write pr0n about them, that’s fine too. I just find the limitations too limiting for me. And since I do want to publish, I have to write my own stuff.

          BTW there is Trixie Belden slash/pr0n, believe it or not, and it’s hysterical.

      3. GH in SoCAl*

        Writing fanfic is really good practice for writing TV. In both cases someone else created the characters and premise, and your task is to be creative and hopefully memorable within those confines.

    4. neverjaunty*

      But you could say the same thing about historical or modern ‘literary’ fiction – where you don’t even need to build on a fictional world, you’re just mooching off the real world.

  38. M from NY*

    #3 I don’t have time to read through but I disagree. Being a coordinator does not mean you hold those duties for everyone.

    There’s a difference between keeping an eye out if toner needs changing or if there are reams of paper available to refill tray (proximity) and having to take various senders items they printed. OP you know set up of your office. When you bring it up lay it out with solution including tasks you are willing to do (if it’s not already another person’s responsibility). Scanning and carrying items to others are NOT duties you should be saddled with.

    [For example: Lay out a few reams at beginning or end of day and have your boss make others aware if they have large job it’s their shared responsibility to replace paper. Office chose not to give coworkers private printers. Don’t let them shift this on you.]

    1. ArtsNerd*

      I would be so very uncomfortable if I ever worked in an environment where part of someone’s job actually entailed delivering my print jobs to my desk. In the offices where I’ve worked, the whole staff performs minor copier tasks like changing toner and the admin just manages major repairs and supply ordering.

  39. Stephanie*

    OP 2 — I would make one exception to the “don’t tell the employer” advice: If the person in question works in healthcare, I would contact either their employer or their licensing board. Most likely, if they are in the judicial system, their employer or licensing board is aware, but there are times when that doesn’t happen.

      1. Stephanie*

        As Not me said, the possible access to prescription medication. Additionally, the consequences of performing patient care while under the influence of a controlled substance can be extremely dangerous. And finally, illegal actions, especially those involving controlled substances, usually end up in the suspension of a medical/nursing/allied health license. All of these directly affect the employer and their patient population.

        1. Stephanie*

          I feel like I should add that any behaviors which would indicate to the employer that there is a potential problem would already be happening around (and to) patients, hence the need to be proactive by reaching out as opposed to waiting for the employer to be affected by it.

    1. Noah*

      I still think the OP needs to just stay away from this. Even if the person is in healthcare, their licensing board will find out soon enough and they are most randomly drug screened. Also, drug use or possession does not necessarily mean the person is under the influence while they are working.

  40. boop*


    You’re trying to distance yourself from the accusation that you are a person who rats out their friends. It’s going to be really really difficult to perch yourself atop the highest throne of royalty when you’re ratting out your friend to her employer at the same time.

    1. fposte*

      “Ratting out” is a phrase that gives me pause, though–would you would be against the OP telling the friend’s employer no matter what the employer did or the friend did? Because to me there are definitely cases where it makes sense to tell the employer; this just isn’t one.

      And the person isn’t a friend. They may have been once, but they aren’t now.

  41. Interesting*

    Everyone knows that Wicked is fan fiction, right? And the book is also a Broadway show? You should never generalize about any genre, including fanfiction.

    OP, please keep writing. And if you think that your writing is good enough to be used as a writing sample, use it as such. Don’t worry about the commenters who don’t understand literature.

    1. fposte*

      In a genre sense, yes, Wicked is fanfic. In a business and practical sense, no, it isn’t.

      And people can understand literature and still disagree with you.

    2. Zillah*

      Well, hold on – there’s a difference between putting something on a resume and using it as a writing sample. If the OP was asked to submit a creative writing sample, I think using their fic would be fine. The question is whether it belongs on their resume.

      In addition, saying that commenters advising the OP to leave the fics off “don’t understand literature” is rude, condescending, and massively oversimplifying the issue – none of which helps the OP.

      1. MsM*

        It’s still really rare that you’d be asked to provide a creative writing sample for a job, though, and even then I think employers are going to want evidence that you can come up with ideas that can be marketable without having to call in the copyright lawyers. The only context in which I can really see it making sense would be if you were submitting a spec script for a TV show or some kind of commentary from the viewpoint of popular characters for a pop culture blog.

        1. Zillah*

          Ehhh – I think it depends on the job. If the job is focused on substantive and original ideas, absolutely, but I’ve definitely been asked for writing samples (more often academic, but occasionally creative) that basically seem to be about establishing that I’ve got the mechanics down.

      2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        I’d be frustrated if I got fan fic back as a writing sample.

        But honestly, at that point, if I did, I would blame myself because clearly the person didn’t understand the nature of what we write.

        From a recent college grad, I would actually rather see a history term paper than a piece of fan fiction (or even original fiction) as a writing sample.

    3. neverjaunty*

      I get that you’re angry some people look down on fanfic, but you might has well have posted “I didn’t bother to read what other people said”, because you managed to miss many, many comments by people who, y’know, ALSO WRITE FANFIC who disagree with you.

      1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*


        No one is saying the OP shouldn’t keep writing. We are just talking about how best to present it in a professional setting.

  42. Paquita*

    Regarding the printer: We have one person + a backup that is responsible for the ink and toner. She also reorders those things and makes a service call when needed. Everyone puts paper in, there is a supply right there. Whoever jams it clears the jam.

  43. Rachael*

    I know that the OP’s ex friend did some horrible things, but I feel the need to comment on America’s obsession with getting people fired from their jobs whenever someone does something horrible in their personal lives. Why is it that when a person (just a regular person in a position that is not high visibility) acts badly people quickly gather a mob with the intent to get that person fired? So, not only are they a horrible person, but they want them to be an unemployed horrible person.
    I know that this is not a popular thought, but….even horrible people need jobs. Even they have families to support or bills to pay. To me it is a form of economic bullying. “Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to make sure that you can’t pay your bills”. For the most part, it is none of the employers business how horrible someone is outside of work as long as they are doing their job.
    I say this because I’m not perfect. And while I have not sold drugs or burned a friend I know that I’ve not always been an angel. The thought that someone could just contact my boss and tell them to fire me is crazy to me. OP, it is not any of your business what this person does at work. “They should know who they are hiring” is just a cop out that people use to justify their own bad behavior. Face it, when people do this it is not usually for the common good. It is a personal attack.

    1. catsAreCool*

      I don’t know, but if I were an employer, and an employee of mine did something really horrible in his/her private life, I don’t think I’d want to keep the person on my payroll. Assuming it was actually really horrible.

      Maybe part of this tendency has to do with the economy and people worried about getting/keeping jobs. A person without a job or who is underemployed or worried about layoffs might think “Why does this horrible person deserve a job when so many deserving people would like to have it?”

      1. Rachael*

        So, the question is: If someone is a horrible person but they do their job well and have no issues at work….then they do not deserve to have a job? They should be homeless?

    2. Evergreen*

      I agree: if we think there are deficiencies in the justice system, we should be addressing those directly, not attempting to bypass the system by getting someone fired. It’s another form of vigilantism.

  44. Not So NewReader*

    Ugh. I tried to find fposte’s comment about “some things should be reported to an employer, but this is not one of them.”

    Alison, that might make an interesting post sometime. What DO you call up an employer to report on about an employee? Using a similar context as we have here, where the reporting person is not an employee of the same company as the accused person.

    I called on of those “how’s my driving” numbers once. I was very specific, I had the location and time. I had a good description of the driving behavior. Because I was so specific, the lady who answered the phone said the driver would be fired. (He had been reported and spoken to several times already.)
    I tend to think that crimes make the news and word will eventually work it’s way to the employer. I am thinking that it’s stuff that has potential to be a big problem if left unchecked. These would be situations where the employer would NOT find out any other way, unless an average citizen reported it.

    FWIW, OP, I saw early on that you had decided against reporting it. I think some people missed that post. Because you changed your mind so quickly, I started thinking that maybe this was less about revenge and more of an ethics issue, where you felt you had a responsibility to report this person because of their erratic and potentially dangerous behavior. In light of all the work shootings and other chaos in the news this might be something we need to think about for ourselves, too. When do we warn an employer? And how do we state our warning in a manner that the employer understands the seriousness of what is going on?

    One job I worked at, I got an email about an employee in another department. The employee did X and Y and OH YEAH, he also did Z. Ugh, ugh. I discreetly spoke to a few people and luckily I found the correct people, so the whole thing was handled immediately. I was a little tense for a minute there.

    1. catsAreCool*

      “you felt you had a responsibility to report this person because of their erratic and potentially dangerous behavior.” Good point. That worries me, too. Without knowing what kind of job the person has (if this is a long distance trucker who is taking drugs that could affect driving, I think the employer needs to know) and what kind of drugs these are, it’s hard to judge.

      Without knowing those things, the threatening voicemails make me more nervous. I don’t know, maybe the former friend only threatens people when arrested, but…

      And although I can understand why people are telling the OP not to say anything to the employer, and I think it probably isn’t really the OP’s place to say, I keep thinking that if I were the employer, I would really want to know about all of it.

  45. Leila*

    Re: #1, I can kind of understand the urge to put it on the resume. 83,000 words in a year is a big time commitment and it’s understandable that you should feel proud of it, or that it should be the first thing you think of when you think about non-work activities and achievements.

    I’m struggling to think where it would even go on a resumé, though. If you’re applying for a writing-based job, I’d assume you probably have other writing experience to draw on that might be more appropriate to a job application(professionally, academically, etc.) And if you just want to list it on your resumé as a hobby – surely there are more important things to list on your resumé than hobbies, anyway – unless it’s a writing job and you don’t have any other writing experience, in which case you probably need to focus your time on gaining a wider/more suitable range of writing experience, anyway.

    I guess if you have an interview and they ask about how you spend your spare time, you could say something like “I’m a big reader*, and I write some fiction too” (*assuming this is true for you as it is for so many writers). On the off-chance they ask what kind of thing you write, you could tell them the genre and maybe a very brief plot overview (as long as it’s nothing too controversial!). If you frame it as something you do in your spare time for your own entertainment only, I don’t imagine they’ll insist on any further details.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve read a lot of fanfiction in my time. There’s an awful lot of dross, but more quality than people who’ve never given it a go would imagine. And it does have a place for building writing skills (you can focus on developing your skills within the boundaries of already-existing fictional worlds, allowing you to skip the process of creating an entirely new fictional proposition, and get straight to the actual writing – more practice equals more improvement). But if you want to be a writer, you should have writing experience outside of fanfiction (a blog, for example, or original fiction – you could even take one of your fanfics, change the character names and some of their traits and re-write it to fit a fictional scenario different to the source material), and that experience is what you should be using to show-case your writing skills.

    If it’s not a writing-based job, your resumé and covering letter should be enough of an example of your writing abilities for the employer to decide whether your skills meet the requirement of the job.

  46. Shadow Chaser*

    To the LW at # 1 – I seriously considered doing this when I was applying to journalism jobs (both on-air, print, offline, and background) after college. What dissuaded me from ultimately doing it was some careful research as to how the various jobs I wanted presented themselves as well as the cultural atmosphere at the jobs. Fanfiction is a very big no-no in media, no matter what you think it may be and no matter how many articles are currently published about it. It’s not only because of the copyright issues, but ultimately plagerism and liability issues. I realized that if I became successful at my job, I did not want anyon connecting my fanfiction penname with my real name and drawing all of the wrong conclusions about my sources, my life, and my thoughts (even though most of my fanfics were of the benign nature and not even containing risque content).

    The plagerism issue is a big one because not only of the reputation of fanfiction (ripping off content or riffing on someone else’s content to create your own), but rather your name becomes untrustworthy. You’re essentially nullifying any type of credibility you have with your readers/writers if they end up realizing who you are and connecting the dots (ala you might get a version of Rathergate or Brian Williams’ tall tales, but probably less controversial). Sure there are successful authors who have started in fanfics, but even then you’ll find critics and those who mercilessly deride them because of their fanfic origins. If you are considering going into entertainment, I’m sure it is a good source to use for writing samples, but anything outside of entertainment (like media, public relations, public sector work, even private sector non-media work) I wouldn’t use fanfics as a writing sample.

    Instead, what I do recommend is writing analysis of a subject you like, or as Alison said, presenting it in the cover letter to show off your skills. What I did to get my current job in the media was not only to wow on my cover letter, but also presented an analysis of recent current events (if you wish to critique your own fanfic writings or do a comparison and contrast, that might be viable, but risky).

    On a side note: After securing my job, I found some fanfic readers at work and we’ve been sharing fanfic recs to each other. And yes, that name I just wrote this comment in is my fanfic penname. :P

  47. Ronny*

    #1. While I do not write fan fiction, I am a writer. I have had 21 books published. That is not on my resume (vita actually), not because I am ashamed of it but rather because it does not directly relate to the jobs I apply for (dean) and therefore does not help make my case. You resume is about selling yourself FOR THE JOB, not telling the world everything about yourself.

    #5. As a department chair is academia, I know how hard it is to fire someone; especially a tenure-track professor like what it sounds like you had here. I expect more of the AAM readers do not realize just how hard that is. As someone else commented, this is most likely him/her forgetting to update the conference after their change of status rather than wanting to continue to claim to be part of your university.

  48. Vee*

    I’m a recent college grad too (and fanfic writer since I was 11 or so) so I understand some limitations in achievement, but if fanfiction is the achievement that sticks out, you probably didn’t do enough relevant work. Fanfiction as a hobby, great! As something to mark you as a great employee, no. I figure even if this person is applying to writing-oriented jobs any hiring managers would want original ideas and publications.

Comments are closed.