should I alert a gross Tinder user’s employer, people who arrive really early for appointments, and more

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

1. I received a gross Tinder message — should I alert the sender’s employer?

I got a disgusting and unprompted message from someone on Tinder. Unfortunately for him, he left his employer on his profile. Now the question is whether or not I should send it to his employer since even though it is a private message, he indirectly represents his company by attaching the name to his profile.

I can’t see any real point to doing that. I mean, yes, his employer would presumably be really displeased that he has their name on a profile that he’s using to send gross messages to people, but it’s not your responsibility to alert them to that. You could, of course — and it’s weird that he doesn’t realize that — but unless you’re truly outraged (and granted, maybe the message is worse than I’m picturing), I’d just move along.

I would change this answer if the message were racist or otherwise hateful and bigoted rather than the kind of run-of-the-mill sex stuff that you run into on dating sites.

2. People who show up very early for appointments

What’s the best way to handle clients who arrive early for an appointment? I try to confirm the time with them first, make sure it’s on my calendar, and plan accordingly. Then my day gets thrown off when I get a call from Reception way before the client’s expected to show up. I don’t mind the 5- to 10-minute early bird, but some arrive as far as 45 minutes in advance.

Some background: my company works to prepare people for entry or re-entry into the workforce, sometimes by addressing matters of professionalism (attire, conduct, etc.). Part of me feels like one of my duties is to demonstrate the importance of respecting another person’s schedule, and of maintaining a professional agreement (i.e., the meeting time). So when I get an early arrival, I typically stay at my desk (which is out of sight of Reception) and come out only 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time.

This strategy, while doable, makes me feel like an entitled jerk for making clients wait so long, since I tend to have a lot of downtime and there’s usually no reason I can’t meet with a client the moment they decide to show up. Still, I don’t like feeling as though clients don’t respect my schedule and how I choose to fill it.

I tend to want to conduct myself in a very black-and-white, right-vs.-wrong way, which I realize can work well for some jobs but tends to conflict with my current one, which is all about working with human beings and their many idiosyncrasies. Is it better to stand firm in cases like these, or cut clients some slack and focus on helping them in other aspects of my job?

Arriving that early and expecting to be seen so far ahead of schedule is rude. I generally advise employers who encounter really early candidates to stick to the original meeting time (and even to feel comfortable sending people away if there’s no obvious place for them to wait), assuming that it would inconvenience them to do otherwise. You don’t have any obligation to see people outside the specific meeting time that you both agreed to.

And certainly given your line of work, it makes sense to explain to your clients that they typically shouldn’t show up more than 5-10 minutes early to a job interview. But you can teach them that simply by saying it. If it genuinely makes no difference to you whether you see them early or not, I don’t think you need to teach the lesson by refusing to meet with people until the appointed time. It’s possible that in doing that you’d be making someone’s life harder than it needs to be; maybe they were hoping you’d be able to start early so that they can be on time to pick up their kid from daycare, or to catch a particular bus, or who knows what. You’re not obligated to start early — just like an employer isn’t — but I wouldn’t refuse to do it just on principle.

3. Can I advise my replacement about my difficult boss?

I’m about to leave my current position to attend graduate school, and my boss is interviewing for my replacement. I’m very ready to move on for a variety of reasons, in particular the fact that my boss Fergus has a very strong personality that does not mesh with my own (I’m not alone; others in the office also feel this way). I’d like to give my successor some advice that might help them “manage” Fergus — such as “if you want concrete deadlines, you need to ask for them clearly, vocally, and often” and “as the youngest person in this office, your informal job duties will also include computer support.”

I realize that my perspective is a little biased, and I don’t want to sound like a disgruntled former employee because overall this workplace has given me many opportunities and Fergus is a genuinely good (but, to me, infuriating) person. What kind of advice is appropriate in this situation?

You can absolutely do that and it can be really helpful. You just have to be careful not to sound negative about it — you can’t sound resentful or like you’re complaining or eye-rolling. Even a little eye-rolling is undermining to your boss, and it sets up your replacement to see things through a negative lens from the start. Let her draw her own conclusions; don’t draw them for her, especially since for all we know she may turn out to be someone who can work beautifully with your boss. (That happens!)

So the tone you want when talking about this stuff is just helpful and matter-of-fact — the same tone you’d use when explaining how the office calendar works or where the best places are for lunch.

4. Ampersands on resumes

It’s pretty obvious to me that I’ll never pare my resume down to two pages if I want to keep significant portions like my volunteer history (important in my field of enviro-scince). But I have just managed to squash it down to three pages partly by replacing a lot of “ands” with ampersands. What I’ve been doing is using ampersands for groups (e.g., “parks & recreation department”) but “ands” for lists of disparate items (“I did this AND then I did that”). But in one point I noticed I had this: “Image… analysis [of] vegetation pattern & condition and plantations” … grammatically correct by my own invented rules but is it weird or obviously wrong to do this?

Yeah, don’t do that. A resume is formal writing, so you shouldn’t be using ampersands at all unless an ampersand is part of a company’s formal name (like “Llamas & Toads Inc.”).

But I urge you to pare it down to two pages. Loads of hiring managers aren’t even reading that third page, and when they skim their eyes are less likely to fall on your strongest stuff. Plus it makes you look like you don’t know how to edit or identify what’s most important, and it makes you look like a weaker candidate. Cut, cut, cut.

5. My old boss wants me to come back but I’m not interested

Last year I left an entry-level job I enjoyed which had great benefits, awesome coworkers, and cool projects but way more administrative duties vs. teapot sculpting than I was happy about doing. I got recruited for an amazing job where I do all teapot sculpting all the time and none of the administrative duties that I hated, which was a godsend.

My old manager recently met with me for lunch and to catch up, and essentially used it as an opportunity to ask me about returning to my old job in a role where I would be doing even more administrative duties and almost no teapot sculpting, and I would never go back to that again. I tried to talk about all the duties I enjoyed, but I think my old boss was so hung up on convincing me that it went in one ear and out the other. But I have a good relationship with her and want to maintain that relationship, as she would be a great resource for me professionally. How do I nicely and respectfully say I don’t want to come back to do more of the things I hate?

“I really appreciate the offer, but I’m pretty happy where I am right now. I get to do teapot sculpting all the time now, which is exactly what I want. If you ever have a role open up that’s just teapot sculpting, I’d love to talk with you about it. But an admin-heavy role isn’t what I’m looking for right now.”

If she keeps trying to convince you after that: “It’s really flattering that you’d want me to come back, so thank you. But it wouldn’t be the right move for me right now.”

If you don’t think you’d ever want to go back there, for any role, you can skip all of that and just go straight to: “Thanks so much for thinking of me, but I’m really happy with where I am right now.”

{ 614 comments… read them below }

  1. Kathlynn*

    So, since you are helping people return to the workforce, it may be that you are encountering more people who rely on public transit then the usual population. Depending on your transit system, they might not have the option to show up just 5-10 minutes early. They may not even expect to be seen earlier than their appointment. I frequently show up very early for appointments since transit only runs every 30 minutes. But I don’t expect people to see me sooner than scheduled.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This was my first reaction, as well (that it may be a transit issue). It may be helpful to advise folks on what to do if they arrive super early. For example, I usually find a local cafe and hole up, but that’s not always possible, so offering suggestions for where they should go can be really helpful…

      1. AthenaC*

        Agree with this.

        Also, even though I knew better, I ended up in this situation because traffic was better than I thought, the security guard in the parking lot was looking at me funny for sitting in my car, and there was nothing around the office I walked to. When I stepped in, I was immediately confronted by security; I told them I was early and if they could please not call upstairs just yet …… too late.

        When I was called in for my interview I apologized for being early and blamed it on insanely good traffic (because who knows to plan for GOOD traffic, amirite?) and I think I salvaged that situation.

        In this case, though, I agree with Alison that telling people about the norms around arrival time would be a good idea and within the scope of her job.

      2. Allison*

        Question about hanging out in a local cafe, don’t most places reserve their seating area for customers? I don’t drink coffee, or tea, or any other sort of Starbucks-y beverage, so unless a place has food I want to eat and can finish before the meeting, I feel like trying to wait there isn’t really a viable option.

        1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

          In that case I would buy a small cheapest drink on the menu (usually tea) and not drink it. And yes, I recognize that not everyone has three bucks to spare.

          1. AngelicGamer*

            As someone who is frequently at Starbucks, they don’t keep a running tally of who buys what. You’d be fine with just sitting there.

            1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

              Yeah, this was rattling around in my head and I agree that most coffee places won’t actually notice or care that you’re taking up a seat for a half hour or so without ordering. That said, I am personally one of those people who gets really antsy if I don’t follow The Rules, so I would want to buy something regardless.

              1. Sarah*

                Also, even if you CAN’T drink/eat it because you have extreme dietary restrictions, you can still buy something, sit there with it for half an hour, and then go to your interview. Or, if you’ve come on public transit, you can hang out in the subway station/at the bus stop (which are obviously both perfectly normal places to wait since people will be waiting for the next bus/train). It’s not like “in the office where you are interviewing” can be literally the only location available to people!

                1. Sherry*

                  If the building is isolated, or in an industrial park, it can be hard to find a pre-interview “hangout.” And if it’s winter, there’s only so much time you can spend outside lingering. I agree, though, in principle: Showing up ultra-early for an interview is to be avoided as much as possible — get creative, if you have to! And if you do come early, tell the receptionist, “I have an appointment with Fergus at 10. I know I’m early. Is it all right if I wait here?”

                  For the OP’s situation, maybe the receptionist could help enforce appointment times by saying, “Your appointment isn’t for another 45 minutes. You can wait here, or leave and come back.”

          2. JessaB*

            And the problem for someone in the population the OP serves, is that they probably have zero discretionary income and even paying for a cheap soda might be more cash than they have.

        2. ThatGirl*

          Bottled water maybe? I mean, it depends on the place of course. But usually there’s some small thing you can buy to eat or drink.

        3. Chriama*

          Eh, if it’s pretty empty and you’re not staying longer than half an hour it’s fine. You’re not taking space away from a paying customer and it doesn’t cost them anything for you to be in there.

          1. Bea*

            This is exactly the key thing. If it’s not packed with people, it’s what coffee places are designed for. Most of their business is walk in, get drink, walk out. Then the few that hangout and write all day, maybe sipping a beverage at some point. It’s rare to find somewhere they aren’t okay housing someone hanging out for a few.

            Their hope is by being as hospitable as possible, you come back when you do want food or drinks. Like when you get that job and now it’s your local coffee stop.

            1. Rookie Manager*

              In my last job I went to the cafe accross the road to kill time before my interview. Got chatting to the server (actually manager) and she kindly gave me mt order for free and wished me luck.

              Once I got the job I stopped in for lunch about once per week. She made a good customer from me by being kind and hospitable.

      3. Jesmlet*

        This… it’s super intrusive when people walk into my office 30 minutes early and expect to be seen then. There’s literally a cafe two doors down. Now, I’ve had people call me ahead of time to let me know they’re very early and occasionally I’ll be able to interview them, but if they don’t call and they just show up with no good reason for being ridiculously early, they sit in our waiting area for a while.

        Advice to public transit users: find someplace to sit and wait if you can and come 10 minutes early at the most. Otherwise, your presence may be viewed as disruptive depending on the office and that’s not a good look if you’re interviewing.

        For OP, I did a similar type of job and this is a good lesson for them to learn too, but you have to tell them directly why you’re making them wait and why they shouldn’t arrive so early otherwise they’ll never internalize the correct behavior.

        1. WellRed*

          Not every office is located conveniently near a cafe. If you have a waiting area, why is that intrusive?

          1. Kim*

            Because the reception will call your host, putting them under pressure to collect you. Waiting areas are fine for a few minutes but not an hour.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yeah, and a lot of people feel rude if they don’t at least come out to greet you, even if it’s just to say they’re going to need to start on time.

            2. Kathy*

              Agree – When I have gone on interviews, I used to show up about 15 minutes early so I could use the bathroom. I would always say, I know I am early; but can I use the bathroom. The receptionist would say yes; but still call the interviewer.
              So now I know better, I show up 10 minutes early; hurry up and use the bathroom; fix makeup, comb hair, etc.

          2. Jesmlet*

            We also have a pretty open office so our waiting area is not exactly a room unto itself. Regardless, no office is an island away from everything. If you’re in an area where you have decent public transit, odds are there’s something around, so just plan ahead and look for somewhere you can stay to wait out the time.

          3. Colette*

            Having someone in a waiting area requires that someone be there – most businesses don’t let strangers wander at will. And even large companies that don’t deal directly with the public may not have someone at reception all the time.

    2. paul*

      Yep. Our public transit system in this town is *horrible*and if it’s near this bad at OP’s place I can imagine that happening.

      Are they expecting you to see them, or are they just waiting in the lobby patiently? If they’re just waiting patiently, then they’re not a problem. If they act angry you won’t see them half an hour early on no notice, that’s when you explain that no, schedules matter.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        True but it could potentially be a problem if they turned up that early to a job interview expecting to wait patiently. So it would be a kindness to say something.

        1. paul*

          oh yeah, I didn’t mean to imply OP shouldn’t say something, I just wouldn’t be upset at them about it here, but I wouldn’t stress about trying to move up appointmetns either

      2. Liz2*

        Our office skews very passive and the idea of “making” people wait is really hard for them. As an admin I’m all “They knew the time, let them wait!” We also have a super big comfy wait area with newspapers, coffee, tea and water.

      3. Soni Pitts*

        This. Most of our buses only run once an hour and often run late if traffic is bad. So depending on transfers and where your destination lies on the final bus route you take, you could end up having to choose between arriving almost an hour early, or risking coming in 10 minutes late.

    3. Kaylee*

      100% this – this was my first thought as well. OP, depending on where your office is, it’s very possible that people have to arrive that early due to transit and don’t have a comfortable alternative for waiting (a Starbucks, etc).

      Could you maybe make an arrangement with the receptionist to make the waiting area more comfortable for early arrivers, since this seems to be a pretty regular occurrence? Something like: “Welcome! Have some tea and blah blah, OP will see you at your 4:00p appointment time, but feel free to work on your laptop while you wait.” This could help mitigate some of your guilty feelings, and be a considerable gesture toward clients who may feel just as uncomfortable as you do about their arrival time.

      1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

        Yes, please do loop the receptionist in on how you’d like them to handle early arrivals.

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          I’ve temped receptions where I’ve passed on messages like this, and it’s never even been slightly awkward. Most people who arrive early do so because of transport etc, or eg it’s raining so they can’t sit on a bench somewhere, and are totally fine with it.

      2. LAI*

        Agreed! If clients arrive more than 10-15 min early, the front desk staff at my office will tell them “you probably won’t be seen until closer to your appointment time, so you’re welcome to wait or leave and check back in when you return”. I’m usually scheduled back to back, but sometimes I have a break and if it’s actually more convenient to see someone early, I will!

    4. INTP*

      This is a possible explanation for sure. However, a lot of interviewers will also find that level of earliness off putting, or even entitled. I think it would be worth explaining to the clients that if it happens with a job interview they should find somewhere to wait if at all possible before going into the actual office. Not because being early due to transit is so awful, but because it may work against them anyways and it’s (I assume) part of the OPs job to help people with interview and job search etiquette.

      1. Kheldarson*

        Sometimes it’s not really possible to wait somewhere else though. I was doing interviews for teaching positions and had a large search area. So I’d often show up to the farther drives (4-5 hours) about 30-45 minutes early. And school offices or the schools themselves aren’t often in areas you can just wander around.

        What do you do then? I always opted to just check in and say I was fine with waiting before pulling out a book or game device.

        1. MadGrad*

          In that situation, the most common advice I’ve heard is to just sit in your car or on a bench outside. Drop in and mention that you’re around earlier than expected if it’s convenient for them, but otherwise get out of the line of sight until 10-15 before. It takes the pressure off the staff to accommodate you.

          1. Gen*

            Sitting outside a school in your car? I wouldn’t, that’s likely to alarm people, even if security knows you’re there. Definitely check in with the office, acknowledge that you are early then ask them what they would prefer is probably better

              1. Anne (with an "e")*

                I believe that parents, students, and staff would be alarmed to see a random stranger sitting in the school parking lot for 30-45 minutes. It would make me think that it was someone who wanted to possibly harm one or more of the students. I would think drug dealer, kidnapper, or possible shooter.

              2. You're a kitty!*

                Non-custodial parents, abusive relatives, stalkers, child molesters, potential kidnappers, school shooters in countries with guns, older people who’ve been called in by kids to threaten or ‘sort another kid out’ because of bullying or a disagreement; it’s actually quite a long list

              3. Jessesgirl72*

                An adult person sitting outside in their car is often assumed to be a predator. Having to explain to the police why you are there would make you late to the interview.

                1. Amy*

                  I visit 400 schools a year. I spend a lot of time parked outside, sending emails, reading etc.
                  No one has ever questioned me.

                2. Samata (Formerly Whats In A Name)*

                  I spent 12 years working in college recruitment and have literally sat outside of hundreds of schools a year, sometimes upwards of an hour, reading or doing paperwork (when I started there was no smart phone) and not once did I get questioned. I just sat in a visitor spot. And no in a marked car, just a regular old rental from Enterprise.

                3. Jesmlet*

                  It may really depend on how you look… 20something female probably wouldn’t be looked at funny but unfortunately older males and minorities would probably get some serious side eye

              4. Turquoise Cow*

                I think it depends on your location and who you are. If it’s a very nice quiet suburban neighborhood where people notice things, it might look odd. Also, it might be a little weird to do near a school, especially if you’re a man, because our society sadly things men near children must be predators of some sort. If it’s an urban area you might be presumed to be a drug dealer or something (although if you’re wearing interview clothes maybe not?).

                However, in a busy urban environment it might not be even noticed. I personally hate being early for things, so if I feel weird sitting in my car I might drive around for a bit to avoid being super early.

            1. amanda_cake*

              I am a college admissions counselor. I visit high schools and aim for three visits or fairs a day. Sometimes visit 1 is short so I am early to #2, meaning I spend a lot of time sitting in school parking lots. Don’t like it, but if I was stopped I have legitimate excuses. I travel mainly rural areas, so often there isn’t time to go somewhere as there is nothing near by.

            2. Antilles*

              True, though it’s worth noting that “don’t sit in your car in the parking lot” is kind of specific to schools (and other places worried about security, like government agencies?). For regular offices, just sitting in your car or a bench outside or something is perfectly fine – not only would nobody be alarmed, most people wouldn’t even think twice.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                If you are in your car, fine. But if you’re taking transit, you don’t have a car to sit in and sitting on a bench, assuming there is one, in cold or hot temperatures is not a reasonable solution. That only works for temperate climates.

                1. Sarah*

                  But, can’t the person wait in the transit location (bus shelter/stop, subway terminal, etc.)? I mean, sure, it can be unpleasant depending on the weather, but at the same time, if you’re counting on transit to get home you’re used to waiting in non-ideal weather for the bus/train to arrive! I feel like advice that amounts to “well, we can’t expect people to wait at a BUS STOP!” is really out of touch with the actual experience of taking transit…even with a super reliable system, you are sometimes going to be waiting in unpleasant weather and this is not going to be a shock to people who rely on transit heavily to get around!

                2. One of the Sarahs*

                  @Sarah I have no idea where you live, but in the UK, bus stops are at best a row of seats under a shelter, max 6, and often just a stop on the street with nowhere to sit. And in the UK weather, it’s hardly sheltered, but I can’t imagine sitting at a bus stop in winter in the north of the USA, for example, when it’s often raining/snowing, or in hot weather where you sweat.

                  Tube stations in London don’t have anywhere to sit on street level, unless they’re parts of the really big transport hubs, as they’re designed for people to not loiter. If you sat on the platform seat as tube after tube passed, you’d get a station rep come and ask what’s going on, as they’d worry you were suicidal etc.

                  I totally get what you’re saying if you like in somewhere with a reliable, temperate climate, and large comfy bus stops, but I’ve worked in all kinds of different environments, and got to all kinds of places early because of transport, where I’ve said to the receptionist “I’m here to see X, but my appointment’s not until 4”, and it’s never been a problem – I’ve been on the other side of the desk and handled it too, and again, it’s super-easy to deal with someone sitting in the waiting area of reception for 20 minutes.

                3. The OG Anonsie*

                  It just seems really silly to say that you can’t go wait in a climate controlled waiting room and need to stand on the side of the road instead because… Something something appearances. Like sure, they can, but why make someone do that just because?

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  It’s not just because. It’s because it’s discourteous to show up significantly earlier than the scheduled time because it often requires people to stop what they’re doing and deal with you. It’s similar to how it’s rude to show up at someone’s house much earlier than they’re expecting you too.

                5. The OG Anonsie*

                  There are times where this is rude and there are times when it’s not. In this specific case, I’m putting weight on two things: that these are job retraining candidates and they do frequently turn up very early, and that we are talking to the LW with how to handle them (not to the candidates about how to handle needing to be early). So for the foundation here, I’m saying this under the impression that she is likely working with a population that needs both guidance and support/accommodation in a way that not everyone that anyone may ever have an appointment with would need… Or should be given. My opinions here are driven by the very specific circumstances we’re talking about here, not for all situations anywhere.

                  In this specific case, I think the LW may need to be addressing this with consideration of the population she’s dealing with. If she works with a crowd that is very much in need, potentially with minimal resources, I think a plan for expecting that folks will show up early and being ok with that makes sense. Loop in the receptionist so that she lets people know that they’ll still need to wait until x time and be ok with this being a piece of the support that the organization gives to these clients. Also have a specific plan for discussing it with people as part of the training she’s providing, explaining how this can be interpreted and coaching them about how to handle it if their arrangements would otherwise have them arrive very early to a job interview or the like. Because they should be given a warning about doing this with other people, but since the setup at the LW’s office sounds like it can accommodate people waiting I don’t think there’s harm in being the friendly office that doesn’t mind if they wait in the AC.

                  I used to work with an organization that provided similar services to a population that contained a lot of folks who used the disability transit system in my city. That system gave 2-4 hour windows, meaning people were often heinously early arriving to our building for appointments or classes. Because our goal was to provide support to these people, the organization took having a waiting area and being gracious in allowing early arrivers to spend as much as a few hours in there as a part of the support we were providing. It helped foster an overall relationship with these folks that we cared about them and would do what we could to help, and having that relationship helped us in the work we did with them. That doesn’t make sense for a lot of other situations, but in ours– and I think potentially in the LW’s –it absolutely did.

                6. One of the Sarahs*

                  @Alison I know in very small 1 room offices etc it’s an issue, but in places I’ve worked with receptionists/as a receptionist, it’s been literally no issue at all, it’s just a case of training the receptionist how to handle it.

                  Is this something about the UK v USA again? Because I’m genuinely baffled as how, in a space with a waiting area and a receptionist, it’s so much of an issue that people expect the arrival to sit at a bus stop in any weather condition (!!), over sitting in the waiting area.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            If you’re using public transit, you don’t have a car to sit in. Also, I live in an area where it is 90+ degrees for over half the year–waiting outside means you’ll finally arrive at your interview in a generally unpresentable condition. My office doesn’t have a reception area, just some benches in the “foyer”, which is a corner of the main work area that’s sort-of separated by some waist-high file cabinets. So we just let people wait there.

            While I think the OP might need to ensure that the time factor is addressed as a general part of the job counseling process, I also think that this is not the time or place to dig in with the black-and-white thinking.

            1. Chinook*

              ” I live in an area where it is 90+ degrees for over half the year–waiting outside means you’ll finally arrive at your interview in a generally unpresentable condition. ”

              Living in an area with the opposite problem as spending too much time outside in the cold when dressed professionally (which is not always the warmest) can threaten your health, I feel your pain. But, I also know that receptionists can be sympathetic if you tell them you are early and ask them if they know of a café nearby that they can recommend (thank goodness that Timmy’s coffee is much cheaper than Starbucks!).

              The OP can also recommend to her clients that they scope put interview locations electronically, if possible, to see if there are any places they can hang out at if they are early. Google maps is great for this because you can see if there is a proper building lobby from the street view as well as any nearby indoor public spaces.

              1. TootsNYC*

                “But, I also know that receptionists can be sympathetic if you tell them you are early”

                I think our OP, in her role as coach, should emphasize this to people–she should be coaching them with how to handle all sorts of things, including the situation when you arrive extra early.

                And I’ve found that appealing to the receptionist as an ally is often very useful. Be friendly, be apologetic, say “I left time for traffic/bus delays, and there weren’t any. I don’t want to be that person who arrives early, but, well, here I am–early. Could I sit here quietly, and then have you alert my interviewer when it’s interview time?”
                I would say that almost all the time, a receptionist appealed to in this way will be willing to help like that.

                But if it’s more than 30 to 40 minutes early, then it might be worth trying to find some other way to kill the time until it IS only that early.

                And explain to them why that earliness can make them look bad.

                The OP is supposed to be helping them, so good explanations, and working through or role playing solutions, is actually her job here. She should do that.

                And yes, if she doesn’t want to break her train of thought to see them, she can send a message through the receptionist, “Sorry to not be able to see you early; please have a seat, and I’ll get to you as soon as I can, but certainly by our interview time.”

                1. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

                  This so much!!! As a former receptionist who used to deal with early interviewees pretty regularly – I completely understood if interviewees arrived early and just needed a warm/cool/dry place to wait it out and was more than happy to either help make them comfortable in our reception area or recommend an alternative. I was also happy to assist in navigating the situation – I’d alert the person they were meeting, mentioning that candidate is aware they are early and happy to wait and then I’d let the candidate know if the person they were meeting with would not be able to meet with them until their scheduled time. There were a few people who were particularly uptight or had packed schedules – for those people I might not even tell them that the candidate arrived early. I would just alert them closer to the time of interview.

                  However – this was all predicated on the interviewee being both polite and acknowledging that they were early.

                  If they were like one candidate who showed up 45min early to interview with the managing partner and founder of our firm, was extremely rude, asked repeatedly if partner “knew she had arrive” (starting 30min before her scheduled interview), sighed and huffed, and told me she had a very busy schedule (still 10min before her actual interview time – and yes she acknowledge the actual interview time when she arrived so there was not a miscommunication)… You better believe I let the partner know everytime she asked and mentioned her behavior to HR. She was not hired.

            2. Elizabeth H.*

              It’s not black and white thinking – it’s a normal expectation for adult humans to be able to figure out what to do with themselves if they accidentally or on purpose arrive too early for something, be it an interview, haircut, or Broadway show.

        2. beetrootqueen*

          in the same situation right now. I’d suggest two things
          1. if possible walk away from the school and just look around the neighbourhood like seriously if theres a street with houses just walk down it and then back it’s better than nothing. obviously this doesn’t always work and if it’s a hot and sweaty day don’t do this.
          2. go in apologise explain and ask if theres somewhere you can sit or tell them you’ll be taking calls in your car. that way they won’t worry about the person sitting in the car.

        3. Colette*

          You need to figure something out, specially for an interview. Not every business has somewhere for you to wait, and being extremely early for an appointment you agreed to is not going to make a good impression. If you’re driving, go to a coffee shop/library/mall, even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes away, or just drive through the area. If you’re using transit, sit on a bench or go for a walk if you can. Or stop at a commercial area a ten minutes away and take a cab closer to the time. (Yes, this costs money, but not as much as losing out on a job.)

          1. Adele*

            A cab? If the town has them. The 35,000 person city in which my mother lives doesn’t have regular cabs and I don’t think it has Uber or Lyft, either. In the 120,000 person city in which I live, we have more options but there is a $5 minimum on cabs. If I were in the client’s situation that is not how I would be willing to spend my money.

            Perhaps the OP can tweak her appointment scheduling. Have bus/train schedules handy if that is how many of her clients arrive. Ask them how they will be getting there and then work with them to coordinate with the transit schedule. If the transit system is known to be bad, factor that in and be understanding of a late or early arrival. If they get there very early and you can advise them on a place to hang out, do that.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              We’re getting into “not everyone can have sandwiches” territory here. Lots of what’s been suggested here will work for many people in many situations.

              1. neverjaunty*

                Of course, but the bigger issue is that the OP should look to why this is happening and counsel her clients on how to address this. Black-and-white thinking on this issue is not helpful.

              2. Observer*

                True. But a lot of the suggestions probably won’t work for the population that the OP is dealing with. They are less likely to have cars, or the spare cash to camp out at starbucks etc.

                The cab thing is also a lot less doable than it sounds. It’s not just people in small towns who may not have access to street cabs you can hail immediately. I live in NYC and outside of Manhattan, finding a cab on the street ranges from hard to impossible. It’s gotten a BIT better since the city has made some changes to the system here, but there are lots of areas where the idea of finding a cab in a timely fashion is just a non-starter.

                It’s not “Some people can’t use these suggestions, so you should not make them to anyone.” But “You need to understand what’s going on with your client base so you can make suggestions that they might actually be able to use.”

                1. Colette*

                  The thing is, if you show up more than 5-10 minutes early to a job interview, you are annoying the person you are interviewing with and possibly several other people. You will very likely kill your chances at the job.

                  So you can figure out what you can do to make sure you don’t blow your chances before you open your mouth, or you can make excuses and not get the job.

                  In the OP’s case, it’s not as big of a deal since it’s not an interview, but she should definitely make it clear that this kind of thing can cost you a job you might have otherwise gotten.

                2. Observer*

                  Well, the thing is that it’s not always the case that you can figure out a way to avoid the problem. It’s not “making excuses”. It’s a legitimate problem.

                  Which is why the OP should have a conversation with the clients – explaining why they need to try to avoid coming in too early, but ALSO providing some ideas of how to handle the situation if really is not realistic. Understanding the barriers is step one to having both parts of the conversation.

                3. Colette*

                  I disagree. She should mention that it’s a problem, give a couple of general examples of how to handle it, and let her clients figure out what they want to do. They’re presumable competent adults who can figure out how to take the bus or kill an hour before their appointment.

                  The only time I’d start trying to solve it for them is if this is actually a life skills program.

              3. The OG Anonsie*

                Sure, but in this specific case since the LW has said these are workforce reentry training folks, I think it’s reasonable to assume she will at least sometimes be dealing with people with the most minimal possible resources a person can have. She may need to account for some more circumstances than more people should need to due to the nature of the work and the population she works with.

            2. Colette*

              I strongly disagree that the OP should take responsibility for solving the problem. She should point out that it is a problem, and make suggestions about what they can do for situations like interviews(e.g. wait outside, go to a coffee shop, etc.). But consoling transit schedules and figuring out where they can hang out is not her responsibility.

              1. Sarah*

                I think this sort of depends. It sounds like her role is actually to train people on various aspects of the job search, including professionalism. So while I don’t think she needs to 100% solve the problem for every person (which may not always be possible!), I do think alerting them to a professional norm they may not know about, doing some troubleshooting together, and working to figure out a solution does sound like part of her job. Now, it could be the solution is: the office is located in a terrible location with zero other businesses in the surrounding area and crappy transit, so OP decides to let people wait in the waiting room and even meet with her early when her schedule allows it, but still stresses that in an actual job interview situation, this wouldn’t be an acceptable thing to do and the job seeker should choose options A, B, C, etc.

              2. Not So NewReader*

                Well it depends on the population OP serves, the level of need and what her agency decides the employees should offer. They may or may not get into that level of detail.
                Confusingly, the agency may make exceptions or OP may make exceptions, in some settings.

          2. Breda*

            I once had an intern applicant show up over an hour early to their interview – and this was in the morning, so they were actually the first person at the office. They had brought a book and seemed happy to wait, but we aren’t really set up to accommodate people sitting in our reception area for an hour. I wound up interviewing them half an hour early just to get them out of everyone’s hair, and afterwards a colleague came to me and asked me not to hire them. It was THAT bizarre and off-putting.

            We’re in a city where nearly everyone takes public transit, and it was clear they were trying to avoid problems there. But it was SO far beyond normal accommodation that it circled back around to “unconscientious.”

            1. BananaPants*

              I’ve had internship candidates show up 45-60 minutes early for their ON-CAMPUS interview slot. Sure, they can sit there in the lobby area, but it comes across as off-putting when someone who lives a 5 minute walk from the location shows up so early.

          3. Chinook*

            I also recommend hotel lobbies as hang outs. I have done this before and never been approached, probably because I act like I belong and immediately open a book once I sit down. Basically, I look like I am waiting for someone to come from one of the rooms.

      2. Kathlynn*

        Sure, but there have been several comment sections dedicated to discussing waiting options for people who don’t have a choice but to show up early, and it’s not the early arrivals writing in, so I didn’t mention it.

    5. Blurgle*

      This is very common. Even if you live in a place with fairly good transit service you can’t know the first time you travel somewhere whether there will be unexpected delays. Being snotty about it will send a very clear message, one you might not want to give especially if there is nowhere to wait outside your office.

    6. Had Matter's Pea Tarty*

      Thanks to my *delightful* local bus system, there are only four buses a day on each route; I can either arrive 30 minutes before my Job Centre appointments, or over two hours. And the trains (which go to different destinations) are every hour, roughly speaking. I once arrived in town 8:30 for a 10:00 appointment because the next bus got there at… 11:30. :/

    7. Another Amy*

      Yes, I rely on public transport, and I have severe (diagnosed) anxiety about being late for things (the combination of which means that where ever possible I give myself a very large window in case things go wrong, which they very rarely do). While I, personally, try to find somewhere to wait so that the person I’m waiting for doesn’t know I’m so early (and I’d never expect them to change their schedule around to accommodate me like that) it’s not always possible and/ or people might not realise that waiting and being seen to be waiting might be seen as an imposition (that’s certainly a lesson I had to learn).

    8. Catalyst*

      This is exactly what I came here to say! I would also like to add that depending on what type of area you are in, there may be no option for someone to go sit at a coffee shop for the extra time they have when they arrive early by bus. I used to work in an industrial area in a large city and we ran into this all the time, there was just no where for them to go but our office once they got there.

    9. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      That was my first thought as well. LW, what I would do is meet them when they arrive if you are free to do so, explain the protocol of why showing up that early is not good in a professional setting, and, going forward, you will not meet with them until the appointed time. Not informing them off why you are making them wait is doing them a disservice.

      If their public transit schedule means that they are either very early or late, and there is nowhere suitable to wait, teach them what to say to the receptionist. My go-tos in this situation are, “Hi, I have an appointment with Cersei at 2 pm. Since I am ridiculously early, is there anywhere I can wait?” or, “Hi, I am meeting with Cersei at 2. Since I am early, do you mind if I wait here or is there somewhere less intrusive?”

      And tell them to always bring something to read or do. I always carry a book or magazine. It is less uncomfortable for the receptionist if people waiting are quietly engrossed in something else while they wait.

    10. Om noms*

      I showed up to say the exact same thing. For most of my life I’ve relied on public transit, and you just *can’t* show up 5-10 minutes early. Often the bus runs every 30 minutes, maybe even once an hour, or maybe you need to do a bus transfer and the schedules are even more wonky. Plus, busses are often early, late, or don’t even show up, so you have to build in time for that. I know AAM’s advice is to find a nearby coffee place to wait… but often there’s nothing that fits the bill. There may not even be a pleasant place to sit outside, assuming the weather is even good enough to do so. So, arriving 45 minutes early may be the necessary thing to do to avoid running late (which is even more rude.) I don’t expect to be seen before my appointment time; I bring a book and expect to read quietly until called. AAM, what would you do in this situation, where you can either arrive way early or way late, and there’s no place to wait except in the reception area?

      1. Christmas Carol*

        In my town, buses run ONCE every hour. The choice is 45 minutes early, or 15 minutes late. You make the call.

        1. MommyMD*

          Of course early. But then you have the common sense to wait it out somewhere else and to walk into your destination ten minutes ahead.

    11. Shay*

      OMG so much THIS. Plus, everyone I know who has been unemployed has been acutely aware that being 1 minute late can disqualify you outright. When I could, I would do a test run to make sure I knew where the place was, how to get there, how long it takes, if there is parking, etc. I’m guessing that for the vast majority of these people, it never occurred to them that the OP would take their arriving a half hour early as insistence on holding the interview NOW. That’s really a pretty narrow window for getting the timing right. Job interviews seem a different category in these ways.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Test runs are a great idea. When I first moved to this area, I made a test run before each interview. There was no internet or cell then. I found test runs relieved a lot of stress.

    12. Myrin*

      I have to say that as a lifelong user of public transit, I will never really understand this argument. Yeah, sure, I’m always early, often considerably so (during all my time at university, I’d have to take the train that arrives at 9 for a class starting at 10:15), and I have to watch my money so it’s not ideal for me to go to a coffee shop or similar, but my solution to that is that I wander around. You can do that even in the most barren industrial wasteland and sure, it’s not the most invigorating thing but I can deal with 40 minutes of boredom every once in a while. Of course it’s possible to get caught in the most horrible downpour that would leave you soaking wet if you took two steps too many but if that’s the situation, you can still notify reception and say you know that you’re really early but would it be possible to wait inside because of the weather (which some other commenters already provided great scripts for). But most of the time when I encounter this line of argument – not here in particular, mostly in real life – there are several solutions ready to use but people don’t want to use any of them and would rather inconvenience others.

      (All of that aside, I don’t really see how this is relevant to the OP regardless since she didn’t ask about ideas why these people are early. Given her job, I’d guess she’s aware of the public transit issue, but even if she isn’t, that doesn’t really help her with regards to her question of how to deal with these clients.)

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I agree with all of this. The people giving these excuses have essentially decided to make their problem that of the company they are interviewing with.

        Mind you, I completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to sit outside for half an hour in 95F degree heat, for example. I wouldn’t, either. And I wouldn’t disqualify someone just for being quite early, especially if they explained to the receptionist that they are aware they are very early, and they’re prepared to wait. So I’m not saying that no matter what, you should never be very early to an interview. But it still true that if you’ve decided you’re going to go ahead and go inside and wait in full view of the reception area, you’ve decided to make your problem (no where else to go, no way to be on time) theirs. So you need to do as much as you can to minimize that problem.

        1. neverjaunty*

          These folks probably do not see arriving early as a problem, much less “making it someone else’s problem”. This is what the OP can help them with. Deciding they’re being early AT an employer is silly.

          1. Sarah*

            I think this is key. If these are people who are in some type of job training program, they probably literally just don’t realize this is a professional norm, and that even if it is 100% unintentional, some employers WILL hold it against them and so it’s something they need to account for in some way, whether that’s finding an alternate place to wait, borrowing a friend’s car or taking an Uber when they have an important interview, or even just being extremely apologetic and explaining to the receptionist that it’s pouring rain outside and there’s nowhere else to wait, etc. etc. There are TONS of possible solutions that the job seekers can employ once the realize this is an issue, which many of them probably literally just don’t realize!

          2. Anna*

            I don’t think this was aimed at the OP’s clients, but at everyone in this comments section constantly saying “Yeah, but WHAT IF…” every time someone gives a way to avoid being early (WHAT IF there’s no coffee shop nearby, WHAT IF they can’t afford coffee, WHAT IF it’s 100 degree heat, WHAT IF you get accused of being a paedophile for waiting in your car at a school etc etc). It’s getting into “Not everyone can have sandwiches”- for most people, waiting in a cafe or waiting in their car/at the transit stop, or walking around the local area will be possible.

      2. TL -*

        I wouldn’t do that in summer in Texas and in winter in really cold state but yeah it’s an option to be explored.

      3. Kim*

        Exactly. I’m afraid I am so scheduled that if someone shows up early they have to wait. I tell reception, if I am able to take their call, that I will come collect them at their scheduled time. I just don’t have the time to be flexible like that.

      4. The OG Anonsie*

        For a job interview, yeah sure. You don’t want to show up this early. She should include this in the training she’s giving them re: professional norms when job hunting.

        For any other kind of appointment, I don’t see the point in coaching these people to do this or expecting them to. It doesn’t inconvenience people for you to be quietly waiting in a lobby, and I don’t think most people find it to be rude. It might stand out as odd, but whatever. It kind of doesn’t matter if the tax accountant I see thinks I’m kind of odd for showing up early and waiting– I doubt she’s going to be upset as if this is some kind of rudeness on my part. This changes her schedule and life in exactly zero ways.

    13. Kathleen Adams*

      I think we are getting kind of bogged down here – this is a thoughtful group, and thoughtful people do have that tendency.

      So let’s break this down:

      1. The plain fact is, people shouldn’t show up really early for interviews. It’s better than being late, of course, but it’s still not good because it means that people have to figure out a way to accommodate you, the other people being interviewed and the other things on their schedules, and they shouldn’t have to.
      2. If you do get there early, it’s usually perfectly fine and doable to wait in a nearby coffee shop, diner, library or other public building, or in your car. No doubt there are places where it is inadvisable to sit in your car, but surely that is not common. In most places, nobody would even think twice about a person minding his or her own business while in a parked car.
      3. If you don’t have a car, you should plan ahead for someplace to wait if you get there early. No doubt there are situations in which there won’t be a convenient place to wait, but again, I don’t think that’s common, and in any case, it’s something you just have to plan for.

      1. Sarah*

        My thoughts exactly. :)

        Also, I will just say that I think some of these comments about public transit users come off as a bit condescending. I was an exclusive public transit-user for over a decade, and now take the train/bus much of the time (my husband and I share one car so sometimes I drive but often don’t). Yes, transit schedules/reliability can be inconvenient and you end up having to choose between getting places early or late (and of course for an interview you’re not going to choose the “late” option). But because I took transit for so many years, I was also actually experienced at figuring out solutions of what to do when that happened! I don’t think people who rely on public transit are as helpless as some people seem to make it out. I think it’s much more likely that they simply don’t realize this is a professional norm and will be able to figure out a solution once they are informed.

        1. Kathleen Adams*

          That’s a good point. Experienced public transit users probably know quite well the best way to get where they need to be when they need to be there, and to assume utter haplessness isn’t fair. On the other hand, people who are getting training in how to get a job really need to know that showing up super early is simply not a good idea (though again, it’s much better than showing up late). This will at least give them a chance to try to figure out a solution when they do land an interview.

    14. Black Swan*

      I agree. If someone doesn’t have a job or have been out of work for awhile, you can imagine how little money they have. I certainly would expect them to use public transit or get a ride from a friend or relative and cannot dictate times, and live in a city where there is no metro and taxis are rare.

      She should just ask her clients if they will be arriving via public transit and if so, expect that they will arrive earlier than the appointment.

      If I were to arrive to an appointment early for job training, that possibly my ability to continue receiving benefits depends upon, I am going to enter the building and let the receptionist know that I am there. Not sit around in the lobby or wait until 5-10 minutes before the appointment and then sign in.

    15. The Other Katie*

      Since it’s a place that’s offering re-entry to the workplace, maybe they could offer reading material about stuff like interviewing techniques and so on in the waiting room, for people that don’t have a choice but to show up early? That way at least they would be doing something instead of feeling like their time is being wasted.
      (The OP should also address it directly in the appointments, of course.)

    16. Stranger than fiction*

      This was exactly my thought. Just because I arrive early, doesn’t mean I’m expecting the person I’m meeting with to drop everything and meet early. I’m expecting to wait because I was early and that seems like common sense to me.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. At the doctor’s office, I will say, “I know I am early” as I grab a magazine. Showing awareness is helpful.

    17. kittymommy*

      Late to the game (on vacation), but I immediately thought of this. I mean if people are demanding to be seen 45 minutes early, that’s one thing, but if they’re just showing up that early and waiting tool the appointed time, it’s probably a public transit/ride issue.

    18. Plum Daisy*

      Yes. This. I did this same work for people and many relied on rides from family and friends since we have little public transport in our area. It’s a scary thing for people who haven’t worked in a while. Showing them some kindness by accommodation this issue will go far in building the trust you need to get them employed.

  2. Ramona Flowers*

    #1 Unless he works in public office or something, there’s no need. Sorry you had this disgusting message.

    1. M_Lynn*

      I’d perhaps go with a more public shaming route, like tweeting a screenshot of the convo, the guy’s pic, and tag his company. But there are certainly risks with that approach since it openly identifies yourself, and frankly going viral is the most frightening idea in the world for me, but Twitter seems made for that kind of thing.

      Also-just props to you OP! Online dating is often so gross and demeaning, and I encourage you do to what you need to do to stay sane on it!

      1. Mike C.*

        I think you might end up unfairly targeting the company this way. Additionally, I’d add that there’s no way for the OP to verify employment so if it later comes out that the creep was fired or made it up to brag then both the OP and the marked company look bad for no reason.

      2. kb*

        This isn’t *good* advice, but the one time I reacted to an especially terrible Tinder message (beyond just reporting and blocking), I sent screenshots to the dude’s mother. As a young woman of color who is racially ambiguous, I received a huge variety and volume of horrible, horrible messages for the short time I used Tinder. The one I received from this jabroni somehow stood out– that is how terrible it was.

        If this guy is listing his real employer, I doubt he’s super keen on cyber privacy, which would make this easy. Again, not good advice necessarily, but so deeply satisfying. And I honestly think it’s more haunting for him than getting him fired.

        1. Emi.*

          I love this! How do you find Tinder creeps’ mothers? On Facebook by last name, or what?

          1. kb*

            A lot of people who think they can be terrible on the internet don’t think ahead to not list their mother or tag her in their prof pics.

        2. Roscoe*

          I mean, whats the point of that? To upset his mom? I think thats going a bit far honestly. His mom had nothing to do with this. And he isn’t a child, so its not like his mom can discipline him.

          1. Havarti*

            Guys usually don’t want their moms finding out they’re actually disgusting jerks to other women. I can’t imagine there are too many women telling their sons dick pics are an acceptable form of courtship. :)

          2. IvyGirl*

            Who cares? The guy didn’t respect kb enough to not send her something disgusting.

            Don’t start none, won’t be none.

          3. ZoyaTheDestroya*

            No, but she can tell him how disappointed she is in him, which sometimes works better than discipline.

            1. Carla*

              But that puts the onus on women to fix men’s behavior. Once he is grown, it’s no longer a mother’s responsibility or duty to keep tabs on her son’s behavior. And I doubt grown men who engage is offensive behavior are going to listen to their mothers about respecting women.

              I’ve seen “send it to his/her mother” as a suggestion about a lot of things, but never “send it to his/her father”.

              1. Havarti*

                Presumably because society/media has taught us a father will be more likely to high-five his son rather than reprimand him?

                There was something I read once. It may have been from Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft or a discussion related to it but I can’t recall. The person was doing group therapy with men who had anger issues and they found out that the men who claimed to have no control when angry insisted they would never lash out at their moms. They would attack their wives and girlfriends but being violent to their moms was simply not done.

                If true, it illustrates that these men know being violent is not acceptable. It shows they perceive (or at least pretend to perceive) their mothers as different from other women. Perhaps it’s not a mother’s job to fix her adult son but perhaps she can get through to him better? I dunno. Ideally a father figure would model the correct behavior but we’re a long way from society embracing the idea of men being kind without dismissing it as a weakness.

              2. TootsNYC*

                I think it’s far less that we think it’s his mom’s job, and more that we think his mom might do something about it.

                And what does that say about our general expectation of men? We think his mom will be upset, but apparently we assume his dad will either shrug it off or say, “Good one, son!”

                1. PlainJane*

                  Or that he’ll be more ashamed if his mother sees it than if his father does. Seems like the purpose of sending stuff to mom is (well-deserved) shaming more than anything else.

              3. ZoyaTheDestroya*

                I was mostly just joking. The age old joke of “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” and how some people say that hurts them worse than being grounded.

          4. kb*

            Honestly, my intention was to make sure when he looked at his mom, he knew *she knew* he is a terrible human being. (We were also both university-aged at the time, so parental punishment of some sort wouldn’t have completely been outside the realm of possibility.) Is this a perfect reaction? Of course not, but I do not believe harassing people online (or anywhere) should come with an expectation of privacy.

            I think with online dating, so many of these people have free-reign to be absolute monsters. Yes, they get blocked from the app/service, but they start dummy accounts and get right back on. They. Do. Not. Stop. So many times, it seems, they can absolutely debase an unsuspecting human being and then get to turn around with the veneer of a “good guy” and continue on with their careers, relationships, everything just like normal. No consequences. It is maddening.

            When we let this stuff fester in the shadows, it only grows.

            Now, do I really think this guy suddenly realized the error of his ways, became a true-hearted feminist, and started a brigade advocating to close the wage gap? No. But if it made him think twice and not send a message like that to the next girl, it was worth it to me.

            1. Not a Morning Person*

              You are an inspiration. I admire your principles and applaud your actions.

        3. Managed Chaos*

          I’ll never understand the line of thinking that you had to see something gross without requesting it, so you sent it to another woman who didn’t request it to see. Unrequested dick pics are unrequested dick pics.

          1. Emi.*

            I always assumed that actual pictures are blurred before sending them to people’s mothers, but if not, I suddenly approve of this way less. :(

          2. kb*

            You actually can’t send pictures over Tinder. He sent me a message (text, not photo) that was incredibly offensive in just about every way imaginable. I sent an initial message summarizing the content. Then I offered to send the screenshots as verification. She took me up on it.

            1. Kathleen Adams*

              Now, that’s great. Really. My only concern was for a mom suddenly having to see this, but if she OK’d it, that’s just perfect. He decided he could be a pig without consequences, and suddenly…consequences! Love it.

              My qualms are officially quieted.

          3. X*

            Frankly i think the amount of times i see commentors of Alison’s site essentially advocating doxxing and public shaming is disgusting and i think she should do something about it.

            I get it, sometimes people are kinda gross, that doesn’t make revealing someone’s personal information ok.

            1. Wintermute*

              You’re 100% right. for a few reasons.

              First, don’t escalate the situation, because what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. You start sending things to people’s employers and you’re giving them tacit permission to do the same to you.

              Also, whatever happened to keeping people’s dating lives and home lives separate from work? If someone sent me something from a dating site about an employee my response would be “uh, okay, not relevant to teapot polishing, I don’t care”. Especially because I don’t want to risk the fact it’s a made-up slander job.

              On TOP of all that, think about what you’re saying, what do you want an employer to do with this? Fire him? So you’re saying, “you sent me a gross message you deserve to lose your house, haha” Think about this a moment. Think about what a horrifying precedent that’s setting first of all, the fact someone can dislike your discourse online and try to get you fired with all the anxiety and turmoil and financial and personal instability that come with it. Second, was what they sent SO TERRIBLE that they deserve to lose a home, delay financial goals, lose their HEALTH INSURANCE (and maybe never get it back thanks to congress)?

          1. ZoyaTheDestroya*

            It really is. I’ve started publicly shaming people in the last few years that do reprehensible things in front of me. Don’t expect me to be quiet or join in your behavior, jerks. Expect me to call you out on it.

            1. Liz Lemon*

              OMG YOUR USERNAME!!!!!! I’m so obsessed with GLOW.

              Also your stance on people being jerks.

        4. Brown Coat*

          I am surprised that people here aren’t the least bit creeped out the notion of a complete stranger tracking down a member of someones family over a message that they thought was inappropriate.

          1. Sunshine*

            More creeped out by the notion of a complete stranger sexually harassing other complete strangers. I’d want to know if my son / partner / relative was doing that so I could tell them to stop.

        5. Hlyssande*

          I fully support the public shaming of gross jerks who send unsolicited pictures and other disgusting messages.

        1. LostCause*

          THANK YOU! Some people still have sense. This mob mentality about destroying people’s lives over stuff online is scary. It happens more and more and people see NO problem with this. Yeah, people say stupid stuff but ignore and move on. It gives them more power and validates them by you being petty and retaliating against them to prove what….that you both are basic jerks? Congrats!

          1. Jaguar*

            I don’t even know how to really address it because it’s so crazy. It took a long time and a lot of destroyed lives to move past public shaming, and yet here it is being warmly embraced not only for significantly lesser crimes but through vigilantism no less. Like, what’s going on?

            1. Gadfly*

              Mostly because they are not being held accountable any other way? Vigilate justice goes away when there are better alternatives.

              1. ScarletNumber*

                Accountable? The only way they should be held accountable is to be told no on Tinder

          2. Sunshine*

            I’ve never understood this sort of false equivalence.

            1) Sends unsolicited, disgusting messages that can be frightening and upsetting.

            2) Calls someone out / holds a person accountable for the above action.

            And you think that the two are the same?

            Do you think a person who reports a thief is as bad as a burglar?

            1. ScarletNumber*

              It is illegal to be a thief. It isn’t illegal to be a creep on Tinder. You seem to be an expert at false equivalence.

          3. Gadfly*

            If you destroy people’s ability to have lives online by sending this crap, I think you better be willing to have it destroy your life. Don’t be a gross creep if you don’t want to be outed as a gross creep.

        2. Sunshine*

          People who think it’s acceptable to harass strangers on the internet is also pretty crazy to see.

        3. KHB*

          In generations past, (some) men got away with pretty horrific treatment of women because it was considered a private matter and not anybody else’s business. Bringing the issue out into the sunlight has helped crack down on domestic abuse. I see this as an extension of that.

          If you want to worry about people’s lives being ruined, why not worry about the women who are harassed off the internet while the authorities look the other way because it’s “just people saying stupid stuff online”? Why is your primary sympathy with the men who do the harassing?

          1. Jaguar*

            If we can’t discuss all sides of an issue without being seen as having misplaced sympathies, I don’t think we can have a mature discussion.

            1. KHB*

              If we’re not willing to entertain the idea that sometimes sympathies really are misplaced, I don’t think that’s conducive to a mature discussion either.

    2. Jeanne*

      Sounds icky but it’s best not to engage the crazy. There’s really no good outcome.

    3. Jesmlet*

      Maybe I’m crazy but I think I would actually send this guy a mildly scolding message about the content and also having his employer associated with it. If I don’t try to correct the gross behavior, how many other women will he send that stuff to?

      1. Mints*

        I’ve also just sent the link to Straight White Boys Texting, with no context or response, letting the website do the scolding for me. (It’s a website that posts screenshots of bad, offensive lines men send to women.)

  3. t*

    #1 – I generally think that what a person does outside of work should not affect their standing in their job (unless they are acting that way in some official capacity). However, my employer would not agree and would likely require that I fire the person, no matter their work performance. If the comment is so bad you think the person should lose their job (and potentially have difficulty finding another one), then report it. Otherwise, I’d leave it be.

    If the person has a job that requires a higher standard of morals (I’m thinking of law enforcement, or people who work with children or vulnerable populations) then I’d be more inclined to report that.

    1. JamieS*

      I think that depends on the message. If the disgusting message was something that was abusive, bigoted, and/or threatening I’d agree it’s reasonable to report it especially if the sender works with vulnerable populations. However if the message is disgusting because it’s sexually explicit then I say the OP shouldn’t be on Tinder if receiving sexually explicit messages is upsetting and OP certainly shouldn’t report it. Sure I realize not everyone goes on Tinder looking for a hookup but I also realize that’s a major part of Tinder. For me, it’s similar to a teetotaler going to a bar. Sure he may just go for the fantastic nachos but is he really in the position to be upset when someone offers to buy him a beer?

      1. Czhorat*

        There’s a difference between consensually shared sexually explicit messages and rather grossly harassing someone. Just because it’s Tindr doesn’t mean there are no rules of polite society.

        I’d be fine notifying the employer if it’s out of bounds; people shouldn’t harass others, and if they’re dumb enough to do it with an account linked ot their job then they get what they deserve.

        1. JamieS*

          Nowhere does it say OP was harassed which would entail a pattern from the sender. The letter said OP received 1 message that was disgusting. That’s not harassment.

        2. Sunshine*

          “There’s a difference between consensually shared sexually explicit messages and rather grossly harassing someone.”

          Thank you!!!

      2. KHB*

        Sending sexually explicit messages to people (who, to be clear, are almost always women) who do not want to receive sexually explicit messages from you IS a type of threat, abuse, and bigotry. These creeps don’t do what they do because it’s an effective way to find casual hookup partners – they do it because it makes women uncomfortable, they know it makes women uncomfortable, and making women uncomfortable is their end goal. “If you don’t like it then you shouldn’t be on Tinder” is victim blaming.

        (Here, I’m giving the LW the benefit of the doubt that she’s intelligent and worldly wise enough to know what Tinder is for, and she doesn’t go running to her fainting couch whenever someone says “would you like to have sex?” – so that her identifying this message as “disgusting” means it’s considerably worse than that.)

        1. Mazzy*

          No, sending unsoliticited messages of a sexual nature is not bigotry. Please let’s not broaden the meaning of the word bigotry until it loses its value.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            It’s a form of sexual harassment that’s usually based on sexism, which is bigotry, so… no, not really broadening anything there.

            1. JamieS*

              Me only accepting dates from men is a form of sexism too. That doesn’t mean it should be included in the collective understanding of bigotry even if it technically meets the definition.

              1. JB (not in Houston)*

                If you’re not a straight woman, then only accepting dates from men might be a form of sexism, depending on why you do that. If you are a straight woman, then it’s really not.

                1. JB (not in Houston)*

                  To be clear, I am absolutely not asking you to discuss your sexuality on this site, far from it. Please do not take my comment as a suggestion you should do that. I just wanted to push back against the idea that straight people are sexists for only dating people they are attracted to, *if* that’s what you were saying. If that’s not what you’re saying, then just ignore my comment.

                2. JamieS*

                  Yes it is. I’m discriminating on the basis of sex. That’s sexism. It’s just not what we think of when we think if sexism.

                  Also by that logic, a man sending a sexually explicit message is only sexism if he’s not a straight man.

                1. JamieS*

                  That’s not the definition of sexism, thats how it’s generally applied (what I call the collective understanding) which is my point. Something meeting the written definition of sexism, which is discrimination on the basis of sex, shouldn’t automatically be included in the general understanding of sexism. I don’t think a straight men sending explicit messages to only women on a hook up app should be included in our understanding of sexism even though it meets the technical definition.

                2. Not a Morning Person*

                  prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
                  synonyms: sexual discrimination, chauvinism, gender prejudice, gender bias

                3. JM60*

                  Some people use the word differently, but the way most people use the word sexism, it can either be intuitional or not institutional. I use the word sexism to refer to any prejudice or unfair treatment on the basis of sex and/or gender. It doesn’t necessarily need to be institutional to be an issue with addressing.

          2. KHB*

            Merriam Webster says a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Creeping on women online is an act of hatred and intolerance toward women. I stand by that interpretation.

        2. JamieS*

          No it’s not inherently threatening especially if it’s sent on a HOOK UP APP. That is literally the reason Tinder exists. They send those messages because they think it works.

          I’m a woman and I’ve never once felt threatened or intimidated by those messages. The only feeling I got is that the sender is an idiot and I then proceeded to block them. That’s a reasonable response, going on a vendetta by trying to get them fired isn’t.

          1. KHB*

            The comment policy here asks that we give letter writers the benefit of the doubt and not jump to a negative interpretation of their situation. Here, the letter writer signed up for Tinder, presumably of her own volition and with a full understanding of what it was about. Nonetheless, she identified this message as “disgusting.” We should take her at her word that in actual fact, it was probably pretty disgusting.

            1. JamieS*

              I know what the policy is and I never said the comment wasn’t disgusting. You’re the one making assumptions and turning them into facts not me. Nowhere in the letter do it say OP was harassed or threatened. You’re the one who made that assumption, I replied a disgusting message isn’t inherently threatening. That’s not doubting the OP, it’s disagreeing with you.

            2. Roscoe*

              But the problem is that “disgusting” is a very subjective term. What one person finds disgusting can be arousing for another. So without more knowledge of what it was, I don’t think its nitpicking to question it. I can accept that she was disgusted by it, that doesn’t necessarily mean most other people would be.

              1. KHB*

                No, that’s not a problem, because “But what if the LW is an unreasonable prude who doesn’t understand what Tinder is for?” is the kind of unnecessarily negative interpretation that we’re asked not to make.

                1. Roscoe*

                  I never said she was unreasonable, but my point is we don’t know. She could be unreasonable, she may not be. But when you use a subjective term, its hard to give advice without more information on what it was. Advice would be very different based on what this “disgusting” message was.

                2. JM60*

                  It’s not about assuming the letter writer is a prude; It’s about the provide criteria being completely subjective. Finding a particular thing that someone else would like to be disgusting doesn’t make you unreasonable or a prude. It only means that what you subjectively find disgusting differs from others, which is completely normal.

                  Having a message that you find disgusting sent to you can be a form of harassment, but the mere fact that you find it disgusting does not necessarily make it harassment.

          2. Angelinha*

            But surely you can acknowledge that many (most?) women *are* intimidated or threatened by messages like those?

            1. JamieS*

              I realize it’s within the realm of possibility even though I’ve never encountered one single woman who was threatened by a single disgusting message that didn’t directly threaten her. Which this message may have but I’d presume OP would’ve mentioned that.

              Even do saying some women may feel threatened and saying a disgusting message is inherently threatening are two different things. I’m offended by being called a southpaw but that doesn’t mean southpaw is an inherently offensive term even if I personally feel it should be.

          3. Mpls*

            Not everyone views it as a hook-up app. Many people use it as a dating app, so have different expectations. Yes, it is often used to facilitate hook-ups, but that’s not the exclusive use. And even hook-up arrangements can still maintain a level of decency and civility that doesn’t include people being subjected to unsolicited offensive messages.

            1. JamieS*

              You can view it however you like. That doesn’t negate the fact it’s primarily considered a hook up app.

              1. Mpls*

                Sorry, we’ll have to agree to disagree about that.

                And regardless of the function (intended or otherwise), that doesn’t mean the user shouldn’t expect a level of civility. Hooking up =/= deserving of rude/gross/harassming messages.

                1. Sunshine*


                  If an employee was doing this in public – i.e. harassing or even flashing young women in bars (another venue where people go to hook up) – people would rightly call for him to lose his job and possibly be on a register. I’ve never understood why it’s supposed to be different online.

              2. D*

                Yep, Tinder is basically Grindr for straight people so it definitely has the usage of a hook up app. You might find a lifelong partner there but that’s not really the goal. It’s not Christian Mingle or It’s like going on Craigslist looking for love and complaining all the ads are for sex. That’s sort of the thing you’ll get on that particular site.

                1. Sunshine*

                  This seems to be an ongoing misunderstanding that sometimes comes across as deliberate. It’s like the idea that catcalling is a compliment. No guy yells obscenities at women with the actual goal of hooking up.

                  It’s the same with these sorts of messages. They are sent for the purposes of intimidating and upsetting women.

            2. Mints*

              I can’t find the link for it, but (iirc) tinder users actually skewed right in the middle of “Are you looking for a serious relationship?” compared to other sites

            3. JM60*

              ” And even hook-up arrangements can still maintain a level of decency and civility that doesn’t include people being subjected to unsolicited offensive messages.”

              But what’s considered civil, decent, and offensive will vary greatly upon context. Entering into those contexts (e.g., installing and using grindr) can arguably be considered consent to recieve explicit messages that would otherwise be extremely rude to send in other contexts.

        3. Marillenbaum*

          Bingo! It doesn’t require his employer to do anything–they may not care. He may be disciplined for mentioning his employer on the profile. He may be fired for being a creep. None of that is OP’s fault. He always has the option of not harassing women via Tinder.

        4. KHB*

          I’ll add that in my experience as a woman in the online dating scene, I’ve gotten my share of actual, sincere out-of-the-blue invitations for casual sex. And they’ve always been unfailingly polite and considerate – either actively thoughtful about how to turn me on, or at least neutral about it. It wasn’t what I was looking for, but I don’t think any less of the guys for asking.

          Those kind of messages are a world apart from the disgusting, demeaning, creepy messages that I’m sure the LW is referring to, and it bothers me a lot to see them all painted with the same broad brush. The creepers know exactly what they’re doing, they know their messages aren’t going to get them any actual sex partners, and they know they’ll be excused by people lecturing their victims that Tinder is an app for people looking for sex, and did you really expect not to get any messages talking about sex?

            1. Frozen Up North*

              I often find your perspective refreshing, thoughtful, and something I wish I heard communicated more often. Thank you.

          1. KHB*

            So to me, the correct analogy is not “teetotaler walks into a bar, is offended by being offered a beer” but rather “customer walks into a bar, orders beer, gets a full keg of beer dumped over their head, is asked incredulously, ‘You’re here because you wanted beer, what are you complaining about?'”

            1. Caro in the UK*

              Thank you for this, and your previous post, you wrote exactly what I wanted to say, but was struggling to articulate.

            2. Wanda Trossler*

              Thank you to you and Czhorat for speaking up on this thread. I read several of the initial comments on here this morning and was pretty surprised by the overall attitude that “well, you’re on Tinder, therefore you should just expect that.”

              1. Amelia*

                Yes, me too. I find that attitude of resigned acceptance depressing, especially because it seems it’s gotten to the point where “behaviour that’s just disrespectful to women but not, like, violent” is to be shrugged off. It’s misogyny, which to me IS a form of bigotry.

                I thought the beer dumped over the head analogy was perfect.

            3. JamieS*

              Did the letter say OP received 1 message or was inundated with messages from the offender? Having a keg poured on your head is being overwhelmed with beer. Does it say OP was overwhelmed with messages?

              Also nobody drinks beer at a bar via having it poured on their head but some people do respond to messages others would find disgusting on Tinder.

              1. KHB*

                I guess I need to spell out the analogy. “Keg of beer poured over the head” = “beer,” but obviously NOT what the customer wanted when they came in looking for “beer.” And what’s more, whoever poured the beer over their head knew that.

                Likewise, “gross, creepy messages on Tinder” = “offers of sex,” but not at all what women who sign up for Tinder are looking for. And as I said, my experiences lead me to believe that the senders of those gross, creepy messages know that and are looking to make the recipients uncomfortable on purpose. (I do get that you disagree with me on this and neither of us is going to convince the other.)

                1. JamieS*

                  I understood what you were attempting to say. It’s just not an accurate analogy.

                  You don’t know the sender knew the OP wouldn’t be receptive nor that he sent the message to make OP uncomfortable. You’re projecting. There are plenty of messages some will find disgusting that others wouldn’t.

          2. Sarah*

            THANK YOU! There is a world of difference between the not-for-me request for something (“Hi, My wife and I are looking for a threesome, are you interested?”) and degrading, creepy messages that are clearly designed to make women feel uncomfortable. I doubt that ANY of the second category of messagers ever receives a positive reply back, or indeed expects to — they’re doing it to harass and bother people.

        5. MommyMD*

          Tinder is viewed as a hook up site, more so than any of the online dating venues. A **** pic is not unexpected. Gross, yes. And it’s not bigotry.

          1. Annabelle*

            Yeah, but you can’t actually send pictures via Tinder. So the disgusting message could have easily been racist, threatening/kind of rapey, or a bunch of other things. But not just like, an unsolicited dirty pic.

        6. Jes*

          Yes!! Thank you for saying this. The message is most likely sexist and bigoted. No different than racist and bigoted, except more rampant.

          I don’t advocate for contacting employers. But I don’t like seeing sexism brushed off as normal and ok, or less relevant than racism either. Call it what it is.

      3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        I would agree unless the sexually explicit message is violent, threatening, or expresses hate towards women as a class, not just your run off the mill sexually explicit. Something along the lines of advocating mass rape or murder based on gender.

        Personally I an in the fence about outing this person to the employer. I think it would depend on where the person worked and what the person said. If I did decide to report it, I would not do it publicly. I would contact the HR department since this man might be lying about working there and I would have no interest in causing problems for the company.

        1. Thicket*

          Why would the message need to be threatening toward “women as a class?” Why require it be a “mass” rape threat? It’s not ok to lead off with stating your desire to hurt or degrade your partner unless you’re in a situation where you already know they’re interested in that sort of thing. If someone’s just whipping out the rape-play on a platform with a sizable vanilla user base, that’s not business as usual explicit hookup lines, that’s a person who enjoys frightening and alarming people in ways they haven’t consented to. And it’s entirely possible that behavior might be spilling over into other parts of that person’s life, or at least that their poor judgment is.

      4. Marisol*

        I think the analogy is off. It wouldn’t be someone offering to buy a beer; it would be someone forcing a beer down the teetoler’s throat, or maybe a screaming, angry insult-laden, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer offer to buy beer, which would indeed be inappropriate. It’s a question of consent, and of socially acceptable behavior.

    2. Temperance*

      I’m not so sure that I agree. There is this straight-up awful man on my train – so terrible that the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article about his awfulness – and it’s starting to look like the only way we’ll ever get rid of him is if someone clues his law firm in to let them know that the article is about him.

      1. Marisol*

        OMG I am so curious about this. Is it indiscreet to post a link to the article? Since it’s a publicly disseminated article, it seems like it should be ok…can you post?

        1. matilda*

          It seems that way. I have a vested interest in this info and my earlier comment to that effect was one of the ones deleted.

    3. Tuckerman*

      I tend to agree with your first statement (and with the caveat that there are certain types of jobs where alerting would be the responsible thing to do).
      What would be the benefit of getting someone fired? To help the business minimize its liabilities? To teach that person a lesson? Because getting fired might make the person behave better in the future? What are the long term consequences of saying something or not saying something?
      I’m of the mindset that you don’t make people more tolerant/kinder/conscientious by punishing them. And if this person has kids, and is unemployed and has trouble getting a job because of the reason he was fired, he’s probably going to become more frustrated and angry.

    4. Sunflower*

      His employer on there may not even be accurate. A lot of these apps pull that data from other sources- like FB where a lot of people(at least me and my friends) don’t keep up to date info so he may not even work there anymore. I went out with a guy who’s profile said he worked at X consulting firm and once we went out and started talking, he said he hadn’t worked there in about 4 years.

      And then, you know, there’s always that people lie on these things too.

      1. Barry Line*

        The way that Tinder works (or worked — I haven’t used the app in almost a year since meeting my current boyfriend), your name, age, school and employer are pulled directly from Facebook. Tinder requires you to display your name and age, but it does give you the option (or at least it used to) of omitting your school and employer information from your Tinder profile.

        I used Tinder for about six months and received plenty of unwanted dirty messages that I would classify as harassment. “Run-of-the-mill” does not necessarily mean “socially or morally acceptable,” unfortunately, and it upsets me to see other women (including Alison) minimize the harm that such messages represent. Sexual harassment is hateful and bigoted and it contributes to a cultural environment in which women feel sexually threatened.

        Now, I’m on the fence as to whether or not this jerk deserves to be fired because of what he says or does in his private life. I tend to wince at the idea that an employer’s control over an employee should extend to the employee’s personal life. But, he also willingly displayed his employer’s information on his Tinder profile (and depending on the prestige of the employer, he may actually be using the employer’s reputation to get dates/sex). His behavior IS reflecting on his employer, and I can see that as a justification for notifying the employer, and for the employer to take action against him. But if we’re going to say that racially bigoted comments should definitely be reported, then I think we should say that sexual harassment should definitely be reported too.

        1. Canadian Natasha*

          ” “Run-of-the-mill” does not necessarily mean “socially or morally acceptable,” unfortunately, and it upsets me to see other women (including Alison) minimize the harm that such messages represent. Sexual harassment is hateful and bigoted and it contributes to a cultural environment in which women feel sexually threatened.”

          Absolutely this. +1000

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            My answer didn’t weigh in on whether they’re acceptable or not. They’re not. But I don’t think they rise to the “report it to his employer” level.

            1. Canadian Natasha*

              Hi Alison,
              Sorry I took too long- I meant to add to my reply that I still agree with you that it won’t be useful to report this to his workplace (unless it was an actively threatening/harassing message).
              However I think the same reasoning would apply to racist, etc. messages also. It would still be less likely to do any good to report sexist offences imo, but that’s more because we suck culturally at holding men to basic standards of decency (aka r@pe culture) than because it is really not as bad.
              Tl;dr: I agree with the conclusion that reporting’s no good but disagree with characterising the dude’s gross sexist behaviour as “run of the mill” and not as serious.

    5. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

      After reading, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” I’ve thought a lot about the fact that calls for publicly shaming and attempts to get people fired speak way more to the mob than the person who committed the original offense.

      I’m by no means suggesting that you should let statements or actions go unchecked (I’m the first person to say, “huh, I don’t get it. Can you explain?” when some one has a racist or sexist joke) but there is the escalation level now that I don’t understand.

    6. Hey Nonnie*

      I have to disagree with Alison that “racism/bigotry is one thing, but sexism/sexual harassment is another.” If one warrants a calling out to his employer, than so does the other. I strongly disagree with the suggestion that sexism is somehow a different, lesser category than other forms of bigotry — if it reflects badly on a company that their employee is publicly racist/homophobic/transphobic, then it reflects just as badly on them if that employee is publicly sexist. If racist/homophobic/transphobic harassment is not okay, than neither is sexual harassment. Giving sexual harassment a pass like this is what creates the environment that the harassment continues to thrive in.

      I’d feel the same for anyone trying to downplay any other form of bigotry (homophobia, transphobia, religious discrimination, or anything else) as a lesser form of bigotry, too. If anything, it’s pretty gross to suggest to someone that they should put up with harassment because their kind of harassment “doesn’t count.”

  4. Turanga Leela*

    OP #3—I did this in my last job, both when I was hiring new staff and when I left and was talking to my replacement. I tried to frame everything in a way that wouldn’t offend my old boss if it got back to him, and in fact, I told him some of it and he was delighted that I was thinking about how to help the new hires thrive. It helped to stick to statements that were objectively true, e.g. “Boss has a lot on his plate, so part of your job is to keep up with the project deadlines and make sure he knows about them.”

    The way you’re framing things seems fine, and as Alison said, tone is really important. Some of the stuff that is crazymaking for you right now will be normal or no big deal for other people, so it’s important to present it that way.

    1. Chinook*

      OP #3, I actually love AAM’s phrasing and emphasis on tone when explaining to your replacement how to work with your boss, especially since I am one of those people that enjoys working with what others think of as difficult bosses.

      Think of you boss as a quirky operating system and you are going to show her all the shortcuts and hidden keystrokes. People may complain about how Microsoft’s programs work because they can be difficult, but nobody complains about being told that “Ctrl Z” undoes stuff or “Ctrl F” will help you find things.

  5. Sue*

    #1 I don’t know, is it the kind of thing that shows a complete disregard of boundaries? If so, I would wonder if he has issues at work and this information might be helpful to his employer. Maybe someone has compained about his comments/behavior, this would add some serious substantiation.

    1. Jeanne*

      Why should you care if he has issues at work? If he has a complete disregard for boundaries, wouldn’t his employer already know? Why should work believe you, a complete stranger? This is MYOB except for specific situations like a teacher who talks about sex with children or something like that. I believe your sex life can and should be completely separate from work life.

      1. Sunshine*

        I agree – which is why he should not have put his employer’s name on his Tindr profile. Because he has, it becomes his employer’s business, because it could bring the company into disrepute.

    2. Mike C.*

      How would his actions on Tinder substantiate other actions at work? I don’t quite see the connection.

      Also as Jeanne points out, why would an HR department trust an unsolicited source in a matter directly unrelated to the workplace? Is this something you would take into account at work?

      1. Rachel*

        Yeah, as an HR Manager, I really have no idea what I would do with this information, in an official capacity. I might be personally grossed out, but what would I do with the info? Reprimand him and put a note in his file for inappropriate behavior on Tinder?

        1. Interviewer*

          My company has a policy regarding social media usage, where employees agree (among many other things) not to be disgusting on social media, especially while using their real names, and definitely while identifying themselves as employees of our company. If OP reported this behavior to our company, we would absolutely take action.

      2. Sunshine*

        I wouldn’t necessarily take action, but it would make me want to keep an eye on him. How’s he interacting with the 17 year old intern? His female co-workers? Does he have a contempt for women that spills over into how he treats his clients? Is he likely to get skeezy at the office party?

    3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      I am uncomfortable within the idea of judging someone’s work behavior based on their private behavior or bringing the employer into something that doesn’t concern them. I get the urge to “get back” at someone who was cruel, unsettling, or hostile if they give you an avenue to do so (like indicating an employer in a Tinder profile), but it is an urge that it is best not to succumb to because it is a bit petty.

      1. Emi.*

        I agree. Besides, if the gross message is indicative of a gross attitude resulting in gross behaviour at work, then work can deal with the gross behaviour at work. There’s not point in dragging gross non-work behaviour into it.

      2. Antilles*

        In addition to being petty, it’s also useless. Even if the company *does* take action (which they might not, as Jeanne and Mike C. mentioned above), he’s not going to think of this as justice and a call to fix himself. Instead, he’s going to see this as “some crazy weirdo reported my Tinder to my employer” and remove his employer from his profile…but not actually change his behavior.

        1. Statler von Waldorf*

          Yeah, I’ve dealt with those types of guys before, and I agree that being reported probably won’t change them. If anything, they seem to get even more bitter and misogynistic.

  6. Ramona Flowers*

    #2. I think you need to tell them and not just try to demonstrate/show them, because if you simply refuse to see them until the appointment time they aren’t going to know why you did that – if they don’t already know this is an issue of professionalism they’re unlikely to extrapolate from there.

    It’s not really a choice between standing firm or not addressing this at all. As you recognise, that is one extreme or the other. I think I’d see them early the first time and ask them why they turned up early – then explain that they shouldn’t do this before an interview. I’d also reiterate that when they actually get an interview.

    1. Mike C.*

      Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. If these folks are there to learn about norms they might not already understand, then it seems a bit unfair to silently punish them for violating they haven’t learned about yet.

      1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        And, if they receive any benefits or use any community or government services, showing up early is often beneficial and waitinge the norm than the exception. If not seeing them until the appointment time is supposed to be sending a message, many will be missing it.

        1. (Different) Rebecca*

          *nods* Being seen ‘on time’ can lead to the assumption of ‘gee, the office must be really backed up today…’

    2. MadGrad*

      When I applied with my current employer, they made a point to politely request that I not get in more than 15 minutes prior to the interview when confirming the details. Would that work for your business? That way, you know they should have known better and have a very clear reason to bring it up if and when they do get in too early (as well as a good opportunity to advise on avoiding it in the future).

    3. Mookie*

      Exactly and precisely this. Explicitly advising on matters of professionalism, decorum, and ‘polish,’ particularly when you have an example staring you in the face and tapping its finger at you, LW, sounds like it could already be part of your job description, and if it isn’t, it ought to be because it appears you’re encountering this habit often enough that it’s a pattern among your clients and therefore worth addressing in some way, by you or someone else in your company. It’s also a kindness on your part, costs you nothing, and ensures that your clients are one step closer to transitioning back into a professional life. Doing so is also a great example of professionalism-in-action: you directly address an issue and explain why it’s a problem rather than trying to teach your clients to waste time interpreting, as Ramona Flower alludes to, ambiguous signals. Any competent manager would do the same, and it’s important for people who’ve not had one in a while to learn how to spot them.

    4. overeducated*

      Yes, because in other contexts it’s completely normal and even expected that you should show up early or as soon as you can get there and wait (doctor’s office, DMV, social security… I’ve even had instructions to show up for jury duty absolutely no later than 8:00, so everyine lined up outside before the courthouse doors opened). People reentering the workforce may have a lot of experience with waiting as part of bureaucracy, and may even see your office as part of the same. It’s helpful to communicate that job interviews are different.

      I also think if the appointment is at 4, and someone shows up at 3:15 and waits in your reception area, it’s not rude of them to wait quietly and it’s not rude of you to continue what you’re doing until closer to 4. Holding to the appointment time isn’t necessarily teaching the lesson you think it is, but it’s not mean or particularly unkind if you aren’t ready for them.

  7. Ramona Flowers*

    #3 Just don’t mention being the youngest – I would really just leave age out of it.

    1. Jeanne*

      It sounds like that’s how they decide some job duties so it’s relevant that new worker will pick up those duties.

      1. Liane*

        It sounds like OP’s boss Fergus may be one of those people who assumes that younger adults are all very good with computers and tech. So Fergus always asks the youngest report to handle tech issues, whether that is the teapot admin or the spout lab manager.

    2. nhb*

      I was thinking the same thing. How do we know the new employee will even be the youngest? He’s still interviewing for a replacement. I think it’s fine to say something like “By the way, I’ve often found myself doing tech support”, but I don’t like the “As the youngest here, everyone else is counting on you to do tech support”

    3. OP #3*

      You’re right, it’s not necessarily an age thing – but I work in an academic setting, where career status does necessarily track with age up to a certain point. I’m the only person in a bachelors-level position, and this position is generally expected to lead to graduate school. Most of the people I work with have PhD’s, and (just by chance) most are above 60. They do seem to rely on the youngest person around for tech support, whoever that is. I’ve also been asked to help Fergus interview the current candidates, so I do know that they will be the youngest.

      1. Cleopatra Jones*

        As someone who works in academia as well, IME any admin position in a department supporting faculty is going to be the default tech support. When I worked in a department, I was still the tech person for faculty members who were roughly about the same age as me.
        It’s the nature of the beast in academia because it’s implied that faculty have other things to focus on besides getting that damned printer to work. :-)

        1. Chinook*

          Working in various industries, I have learned that any admin position makes you the first line of tech support. It isn’t necessarily because we know more than those we support, just that they are used to us taking care of little office details such as fixing the copier, ordering supplies (including the computer for a new hire) and setting up meetings, so of course they are going to ask if we can help them with this issue. Plus, I often use the computer programs in question more than the person I am supporting (especially the Office suite).

          I have also learned the value in this because it means that, if I call the Helpdesk about something urgent, they are more than likely to put me at the top of the queue because I have probably already done the “have you restarted it” portion of any call for help.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Yes this is so true. We have two IT people who are perfectly nice and approachable, but everone seems to ask me first. I’ve been told it’s because they don’t want to sound stupid to the IT guy so they like vet it through me first. Ugh.

    4. LizB*

      I read that as a reference to a particular dynamic where older-ish people assume that all younger-ish people are familiar with every kind of technology and can work some kind of young person magic to fix it when it breaks. It would definitely be useful to me to know that’s the dynamic I’m stepping into, so I can set boundaries effectively.

  8. L.*

    So, assuming he didn’t threaten violence or something criminal like that….I don’t understand what OP 1 hopes to achieve contacting a Tinder rando’s employer out of the blue as opposed to just hitting the Block button. Assuming he actually works there (possible he doesn’t,) it seems like she’s certain he’d lose his job (which, I dunno) and then…. he’d learn to respect women despite a lifetime of sending disgusting messages on Tinder after that experience? Seems like a lot of work for a very unlikely outcome. And then, is she going to contact the employers of the next 10,000 randos sending her disgusting messages on Tinder? OP1, be Tinder Batman if that’s your truth, but I suspect it’ll be like pushing that boulder up that hill.

    1. Jeanne*

      Well put. That would be an impossible task to teach every gross message sender a lesson.

    2. Grits McGee*

      OP 1- L. makes a really good point. People talk a lot about reporting things because they want employers or bosses “to be aware of” something- but to what purpose? What is it that you actually want to happen by reporting this guy to his company? To get him fired? To get him to stop being gross to women? To get his employer to pressure him into apologizing?

      1. Katie the Fed*

        maybe to have enough common sense to not associate himself with the company if he’s going to be disgusting.

      2. D*

        Revenge/punishment. There is no constructive reason to contact the employer. And since we don’t know what the LW considers “disgusting” it’s hard to make a judgement call. Flip the scenario and have someone saying the same thing about a female employee posting “disgusting” things online and it would called a case of “slut shaming”.

        1. Anon Accountant*

          This is what I was thinking. I cannot think of any reason to contact someone’s employee over an online dating message. Block him and move on.

          I think you shouldn’t list your employer for safety reasons with online dating but think it’s an overreach to contact the employer.

        2. Allergist*

          You are comparing apples to oranges. The actually flip of this would be a woman sending a disgusting message to a man and the man thinking of sending it to the woman’s employer. The general community here would not call that slut shaming.

          Finding a nude photo of a man online and then finding that person’s employer to shame them would be slut shaming.

          I hope you can see the difference…..

        3. PlainJane*

          I have mixed feelings about this issue, but some of the motivation behind outing people who are huge jerks online is to make it less safe to be a huge jerk online. Plenty of jerks get off on making other people feel unsafe; outing them to bosses or publicly shaming them is a way to turn the tables and (maybe) make people think twice before they harass or creep on people. Ditto for outing racists; it won’t change their hearts, but they might change their behavior when that behavior has negative consequences. All that said, I don’t know whether or not it does any good.

          1. Sunshine*

            This. They get away with it because other people fall all over themselves to dismiss and minimise the problem. People like that think everyone thinks like them. Shrugging it off confirms that to them and validates their behaviour.

          2. Gazebo Slayer*

            This in huge fiery letters. I care less about changing the minds of Internet bigots and harassers than I do about shutting them up and containing the harm they cause.

            Also, I love the idea of Tinder Batman.

    3. Lissa*

      Yeah, I think the most the employer would do would be to make him take his employer out of his social media so it can’t be linked like that. I doubt that the end result would be either him learning a lesson or anything bad enough happening to him that it caues others to be careful what they do – I think he and other gross dudes will take the lesson “don’t make it easy to find your employer from Tinder”, not “be less gross”.

      Also, Tinder Batman put hilarious images in my head!

  9. Ramona Flowers*

    #4 Ampersands are, as Alison says, not appropriate in formal writing. They make it look like you don’t understand the norms of business communication and they’re not that easy on the eye.

    Are you absolutely sure you need everything you’ve included?

    1. CityMouse*

      Agreed. Reviewers.will recognize gimmicks. Especially formvolunteer work, maybe a bulleted list rather than separate entries. Also unless it has specific skills.that are relevant for a position, is years old volunteer work really relevant? It was hard for me yo take internships off my resume at first, but at some point no one cared who I interned with seven years ago.

    2. Al Lo*

      Interestingly, in screenwriting, ampersands in film credits denote a specific breakdown of work. An ampersand means that two people are a team, and are treated as one person by the WGA; an and means that writers worked at different times. So, a screenplay written by Wakeen & Jane and Fergus is a correct credit and means something entirely different than a screenplay written by Wakeen & Jane & Fergus or one written by Wakeen and Jane and Fergus.

      The OP’s designation as mentioned seems to loosely follow the spirit of this rule. I know that a resume is formal writing, but I would definitely parse the ampersands and ands as she intended, based on other uses of the two in the same sentence.

      1. Jess*

        I’m not in screenwriting and I also use ampersands on my resume in the same way as OP did. It never occurred to me that ampersands would be inappropriate on a resume if used in a consistent manner given that resumes also tend to include bullet points with sentence fragments. Even though formal, I just assumed different rules applied to a resume than, say, a cover letter which includes paragraphs and complete sentences.

        1. teclatrans*

          Exactly this. I am baffled that ampersands aren’t allowed, while sentence fragments are. Further, ampersands sometimes help me avoid needing a second sentence, which means I don’t have to treat half of a bullet point as fragment and half as a full sentence.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          I think it probably depends on industry, too. I work in legal, and ampersands would raise eyebrows. It’s a substitution, really, not a shortening like the sentence fragments, which are common for bullet points. In my industry, where formal writing skills are important, it’s no different than using # for number or pounds or @ for at.

      2. Al Lo*

        Come to think of it, I often use that same rule for couples, families, or groups. Rather than saying “We went out for dinner with Ben, Leslie, April, and Andy,” I might say, “We went out for dinner with Ben & Leslie and April & Andy.” It feels more precise, somehow.

      3. Mookie*

        Yep, this is also the case for certain citation and format styles, where & and ‘and’ denote specific information or are otherwise not used interchangeably. In resumés and non-academic CVs, however, using the one as an abbreviation for the other, especially inconsistently, is non-functional, hard on the eye, and barely saves any space.

        1. Mookie*

          I notice that a lot of ‘creative,’ ‘pretty,’ and artfully formatted resumés (terrible typesetting, finicky font choices, many tedious redundancies) sneak in ampersands.

      4. Mike C.*

        So can you have “Wakeen and Wakeen & Jane and Jane” to indicated that Wakeen started, then Jane teamed up with Wakeen, and Wakeen later left?

        1. Toph*

          No, that wouldn’t be allowed. If you’re part of a team you’re either writing as your team or not. “Wakeen and Wakeen & Jane and Jane” could happen if there were two different people named Wakeen and two different people named Jane, and one of the Janes and Wakeens were partners. If there are only two people and Wakeen and Jane frequently work as a team, but Wakeen starts a project hired solo, and later Jane is brought on…it’d probably end up in arbitration but I’m guessing in this case they’d end up as Wakeen and Jane and that’s it for this particular project. When you’ve got a team they’re paid as one writer-unit. So if you wanted to hire the team, you’d hire the team.

      5. Amy Cakes*

        I have always wondered about this, and thought I was just overly pedantic! It’s thrilling to know that it’s actually meaningful code.

    3. Graciosa*

      I think asking if OP4 is absolutely certain she needs everything that she included is a good start, but it leaves her open to convincing herself that *everything* on there is part of her work history / adds to her resume / makes her a stronger candidate. This path leads to a bad place.

      The OP should treat the page limit of 1 page up to 10 years / 2 pages after 10 years (of professional work only) as an *absolute.* There is a limited amount of space, and the candidate needs to entice the reader to offer an interview – that’s all.

      It’s a marketing document and not an autobiography. Movie trailers mention Academy Award winners, but not the special participation ribbon for the fourth grade production of “I’m a Chocolate Teapot.”

      I’m hiring now, and there is a strong inverse correlation between the strength of the candidate and the number of pages in the resume. I do look at all of them, but I suspect I would have the same results if I just rejected every resume over two pages (as well as every resume that alerts me to margins outside the printable space!) without even a cursory glance.

      If the OP wants to maximize her chances of landing most jobs in the U.S. (there are exceptions like academia), she should declutter her resume.

      1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

        As someone with a two page resume, I would push back on the strict ten-year rule (I know Alison has written about this as well). If your industry is one where internships and volunteering is common, it may be fine to use two pages. That said, I have not heard of a US industry where three pages is common or advisable.

        1. (Different) Rebecca*

          Academia: they want a CV with all your degrees/jobs/accomplishments. My degrees take up a third of a page by themselves.

          1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

            In the US at least, a CV is not a resume so I figured that was implied. But yes, if you are writing a CV, you probably already know it should be longer than a resume.

          2. Newby*

            The OP might want to double check whether a resume or CV is more appropriate. The jobs I apply for want a CV, not a resume.

        2. KTZee*

          I personally will take a two page resume that has ample white space, reasonably sized fonts, bulleted lists, and is easy to read over a one page resume that is crammed with tiny text in dense paragraphs any day of the week, for anyone with work history. (If you’re fresh out of school, you should be able to achieve the former goals on a single page.)

          I agree, though, that outside of a CV (or a pseudo-CV i.e., a 1-2 page resume with presentations and publications spilling onto pages 3-4 – I work in a non-academic research org, so we see these fairly regularly), going onto a third page should not be necessary.

      2. Grassmower*

        I understand that sometimes people think only the last ten years are important, but there are intangibles around older experiences. I worked at a company 20+ years ago that has a strong network and when people see if on my resume (or I see it on someone else’s these days), it massively increases their odds of being interviewed. Recently someone came in and mentioned in the interview that she had worked at that company that was not on her resume and I said she should add it on in order to increase her odds.

        1. Graciosa*

          I didn’t say that anything over 10 years should be left off the resume, and I would agree that the material that adds the most to your candidacy should be included (even if it’s at the end under “Previous employers”).

          I do think that resumes from people who edited them properly down to the required length are much more likely to get a positive response than resumes from people who believe you have to list everything and the kitchen sink because you might not get another chance.

          The latter idea is counter-productive in practice.

    4. Frozen Ginger*

      What I would recommend and what I do (and may be in-advisable according to more experienced folk), for less-involved or less-relevant positions I will cut it down to one line. Just one. State your title, the company, and time period. Don’t go on and list what you did there, but if you think it’s important to include because it shows commitment or it’s different and might pique interest, include it. But don’t give any details and let the interviewer decide if they want to know more.

    5. FlibertyG*

      I have met a few people who swear they need all three-plus pages, and I don’t get it. Even senior people in my industry who have been working for 50 years get it down to two pages. The goal is a bulleted list of the BEST jobs, not paragraphs about each volunteer activity. If something really needs a paragraph, maybe it belongs in the cover letter.

      1. BC Enviro gal*

        I work as an environmental coordinator, I get the desire. My full resume that lives on my computer is about 4 pages because of all the different skills I’ve acquired and large projects I’ve worked on. BUT the resume I send to employers is 2 pages. I pare down my resume to be specific to the job I’m applying for, removing skills and projects that have nothing to do with the opportunity posted.

        OP, you need to tailor your resume to the needs of the job. Believe me, they won’t care about volunteer work you did for frog habitat if you’re applying on a groundwater assessment job.

        1. Cercis*

          You wouldn’t think. But I can’t count the number of jobs (for a particular municipality) that I’ve not gotten and later find out that they wanted someone with “x skill” but never mentioned in the announcement or the interview. They’re always shocked to find out that I actually have several years’ experience in “x skill” (it’s never the same skill, but I’ve had an eclectic work history due to moving for my husband’s career). It irks me that apparently this skill made the difference between them choosing me or another candidate but they never once asked about the skill. It’s crap like that that leads to people having super long resumes.

          Now, it’s mostly been the one department within the municipality, but it’s happened in other hiring agencies as well.

          I still tailor my resume, but I’m becoming pretty bitter about it.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I review a lot of resumes, and I rarely get a resume that is more than 2 pages long that couldn’t have been easily condensed. It tells me that someone has difficulty summarizing and picking out what’s important. If you’re delineating every job responsibility you have with every job, it’s going to be too long and also a waste of a recruiters’ time. A resume is a marketing document that should highlight your accomplishments and skills, not every single thing you’ve ever done in your professional career.

    6. Anon16*

      What about position titles? Mine had an ampersand in the job description which I think I left in the resume, but wrote as “and” in the cover letter. Does it matter?

    7. Anonymousaurus Rex*

      I’ve used ampersands when I have had a very long title and tried to get it all on one line–but I’ve been cursed with a series of overly wordy titles with multiple parts (“assistant administrative analyst and basic life support program coordinator” for example–that was a single role with two functions) I’m sympathetic to using them in cases like this, where you can lose a whole line or not by subtracting two characters.

  10. Bruce H.*

    #5 I’ve always wanted to be in a position where I could say, “I don’t think I could add enough value to justify the money it would take to get me to do that job.” Then if she doesn’t take the hint and actually asks how much, say something truly outlandish, ten or fifty times your previous pay.

    1. Lora*

      It’s only fun for about a minute, then it’s just awkward and sad. The person asking has been telling themselves for however long that it certainly wasn’t THEIR fault, it really was because of whatever excuse you gave in the exit interview, not a reflection on them, and the job isn’t any worse than other horrible jobs out there, jeez it’s not as if you’re digging ditches, and in the moment that you chuckle and say they couldn’t pay you enough – those weeks / months / years of lies they’ve been telling themselves just crumble all at once.

  11. anon for this one*

    I don’t know if Tinder has changed, but when I used it, you could only receive messages from someone you matched with….so I don’t see how this would be unprompted. Maybe in the sense that you didn’t ask to receive a disgusting message, but disgusting messages are par for the course in dating, online and in person.

    It depends how bad the message was. Bigoted in some way? Sure, I’d consider reporting that to the app, if not the person’s company. Harmful intentions towards you (rape, stalking, etc.) Definitely report it. Sexual? I don’t think anyone at the guy’s company would take you seriously for reporting a sexual message on a dating app, even if it was over-the-top or pornographic.

    It’s really hard to determine without knowing exactly what was in the message.

    1. JamieS*

      Agreed. Especially since it’s Tinder which is known as being a hook up app. I’d probably be more sympathetic to OP if the message was sent on ChristianMingle or something similar.

      1. Jessie the First (or second)*

        I’m sympathetic to the OP because I assume by “disgusting” she means “disgusting.” You can ask for a hookup without being disgusting. I’m not sure why you don’t want to take the OP at her word that it really was out of bounds of normal – I mean, yes, we could assume that she finds requests for casual sex to be disgusting, but that would not be a common use of the word “disgusting.”

        1. JamieS*

          I never said the message wasn’t disgusting. I assume it was. I said I’m not sympathetic if it’s disgusting because of sexual explicitness That’s an assumed risk when using an app that’s primarily used for casual sex.

      2. Emmbee*

        You seem to have an awful lot invested in the possibility that OP1 is overreacting. It’s fascinating to watch.

        1. JamieS*

          When did I say OP overreacted? I disagreed with the notion a disgusting message is inherently threatening and said I don’t find receiving sexually explicit disgusting messages on Tinder to be worthy of my sympathies. I never said OP overreacted by being disgusted with the comment. I’ll admit I don’t think contacting the sender’s employer is a reasonable reaction though.

          1. Jessie the First (or second)*

            Your assumption is that the message the LW received is the standard, run of the mill sexually graphic/crude message that women receive all. the. time. on these apps, and your comments are all made on that assumption – that there is no reason to get all worked up about it, it happens, that’s Tinder for you. But I honestly don’t understand why you’ve made that initial assumption and why you won’t entertain another notion –

            Yes, that *is* how Tinder works, and women get graphic messages constantly. So isn’t it more logical to assume this message is out of the ordinary for TInder – otherwise, why would she be upset about this specific message? Unless this is her first day on Tinder, It is highly unlikely that she has not received an explicit or crude message before. Many of them.

            1. JamieS*

              I never made the assumption it was a run of the mill comment. That would be an illogical assumption considering the information available and I don’t make illogical assumptions.

              I said I’m not sympathetic to the OP’s plight because using an app like Tinder is going to attract people who are even worse than the low lives on other dating sites and the behavior is going to be worse than the bad behavior on other dating sites/apps. That’s what happens when an app significantly lowers the bar for what’s acceptable behavior. Users know that going in.

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      Your first paragraph is definitely true. When you use Tinder, you match with the person and wait for the person to send you a message. And even though people often use it as a general dating app, it was originally meant for hookups and it’s still frequently used that way. You gain nothing by acting shocked when someone sends you an explicit message on a hookup app.

      1. FlibertyG*

        I kind of assumed it was an unsolicited image of, uh, a sausage. But if it was just a request for a hookup I don’t think that’s the same tier.

      2. LizB*

        Can we give the OP a little more benefit of the doubt than that, please? We have no reason to believe she’s “acting shocked” because of an explicit message, and plenty of reason to believe she was actually shocked and disgusted by something above and beyond the normal grossness you might get on Tinder. We can advise her that it’s pointless to alert this guy’s employer (which I agree she should not do) without trying to convince her that she didn’t actually feel disgusted or should have expected whatever she received.

        1. Dinosaur*

          +1. I’m kinda grossed out by how women should just expect to get disgusting and degrading messages if they choose to use dating apps. Why should that be normal or par for the course? Why isn’t OP allowed to feel however she’s feeling after receiving a disgusting message? I don’t think contact the guy’s employer will have any impact on his behavior, but OP is allowed to be angry and hurt after receiving a horribly offensive message.

          1. FlibertyG*

            To be fair, I don’t think anyone is saying OP shouldn’t feel offended or repulsed and that she shouldn’t block this guy with extreme prejudice. The question was should she go to his employer, and I just don’t think that is a good idea that’s likely to play out well.

          2. Stellaaaaa*

            I wouldn’t disagree with you if this were a perfect world populated by people with pure intentions. But we’re not going to start a social movement in opposition to the gross-but-legal crap men say in private Tinder communications, so I don’t think it’s wrong to point out that gross messages are par for the course on dating apps, Tinder more than any of the others.

            She doesn’t have to just suck it up and deal with it. But it’s also pointless to insist that Tinder shouldn’t be what it is. Don’t use Tinder if you don’t want to deal with the guys on Tinder.

            1. Sunshine*

              Do you not think that if the disgusting guys on Tinder faced consequences their behaviour might improve?

        2. Stellaaaaa*

          Without more information we can’t know exactly what the message was like, but the fact that she pointed out that the message was “unprompted” (no it wasn’t) makes me think she’s very new to Tinder and doesn’t know what to expect from it. I’m not saying she should accept it when men say gross things to her. I’m saying she shouldn’t walk into a room full of poker players and ask why they’re all playing poker.

          1. Sunshine*

            I’m really not sure why everyone keeps equating ‘sex’ with ‘sexual harassment’. The two are different. Being up for a casual hookup does not mean you’re up for being treated badly.

    3. Hrovitnir*

      The first paragraph is why we ought to assume it was someone being aggressively harassing rather than just sexually explicit. “You have to match first” most certainly does not preclude someone being a horrible creep.

    4. Tina*

      It’s true that you have to match first, but the person is still a stranger. Swiping right on somebody is not the same as saying “I would like to engage in sexual relations with you ASAP.” You saw something you liked and are potentially interested in getting to know them/find out what they’re looking for. It’s like if you went to a singles mixer and walked up to a man to introduce yourself and he whipped out his wang.

      Tinder will always have the reputation of being a hookup app but honestly in my experience the vast majority of people use it for actual dating. And even if you are using it just to look for a hookup it is common courtesy to establish that the other person is also only looking for a hookup before sending anything of a sexual nature.

      In terms of whether LW1 should alert the employer, as many people have said it really depends on the actual content of the message. Ultimately it’s not the route I would go (I’m more likely to send a novel-length feminist rant in response, or just send a screenshot to Straight White Boys Texting) but if it was really outrageously gross in a way that was at all bigoted and/or rapey then I wouldn’t cry for the guy if the LW did alert the company.

    5. LBK*

      I’d guess by “unprompted” she meant that they hadn’t been having an ongoing conversation that led into him making a gross comment (ie it wasn’t like maybe he had just really badly misjudged how she would react based on how they’d been talking up to that point). But it’s tough to say without knowing what the comment was.

  12. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    #1 I do think it depends on the message, and the employer. There’s a big difference between “hey baby you look 12 and that turns me on” from someone who works with teenagers and general “here’s a graphic description of what I’d like to do to you” from someone who works at a random finance company.

  13. The Annoniest One*

    #1 – You could always screenshot it, blur out identifying information, and send it to straight white boys texting. He doesn’t need to fit those exact parameters and the rest of the internet may find it amusing.

    1. Lora*

      Yes! Straight white boys texting is exactly the right place for this sort of nonsense. Whenever friends ask me why I don’t do online dating, or when straight men ask me why there’s hardly any women on (online dating site du jour) I send them there.

      You’ll have to scrub your brain afterwards with puppy pictures but it will recalibrate your cynicism levels for sure.

    2. Just, wow*

      The letter provided no information about the offenders race or sexual orientation, so we’ll just assume he is straight and white. It’s not like any other races or orientations are guilty of such gross and disrespectful behavior right?

        1. Trout 'Waver*

          That’s even more problematic, though. Because of the site name, it associates those behaviors even in non-straight white boys with straight white boys.

  14. Atomic Orange*

    #1 As a single woman living in a big city in the digital age, I’ve unfortunately experienced my fair share of online dating. Typically if I receive disgusting messages I choose to either block/delete/let it go or call the man out (only if we’ve already exchanged pleasant conversation, and then he pulls a 180 and starts sending explicit message unprompted and unsolicited … seriously what is with that!?) However there’s been occasional times that I was so enraged that I briefly wished the men were there in person so I could cause some actual damage. All of those times the messages sent to me were sexually explicit, extremely demeaning, misogynistic, and involved my race. As a woman of color, it is sadly not uncommon to receive these types of messages from men who feel free to “express themselves” in the relative anonymity of the internet. I remember one man (before sending me such a message) said that he trained youth athletes… these are the ones I have difficulty ignore.
    I don’t know what type of message OP got. And I have personally never thought of contacting someone’s employer. But I can certainly relate to the level of outrage and indignation that she must be experiencing.

  15. Mike C.*

    The issue with the picture is a complicated one.

    We can all agree that no one deserves to receive non-consensual pictures of a graphic or sexual nature and that such actions are, while common, not to be casually tolerated or dismissed. It would also be fair to recognize that certain groups of people are almost always the sender or receiver of such pictures. In short, dudes, if someone wants to see you naked they will inform you and it’s otherwise gross and sexist to send pictures unasked for.

    Now the question is whether or not I should send it to his employer since even though it is a private message, he indirectly represents his company by attaching the name to his profile.

    I’m going to make an assumption that the OP has no stake in the business listed – you aren’t on the board, you aren’t employed there, you aren’t a significant investor, supplier or client, etc. So we should recognize, and I say this completely without any judgement of the OP, that you aren’t interested in reporting this person for the sake of his employer, but because you (rightfully!) are mad about the actions of this individual. You understand that there is more than the off chance that his career would suffer or could be fired on the spot.

    So the question you have to ask yourself is, “does the harm caused by this jerk warrant him likely (say, 2:1 against) losing his job?” Harm of course must be met with proportionality – it’s one thing to expect a thief to make restitution for their crimes, but it’s quite another to cut off their hands.

    Again, you suffered real harm. I don’t want to downplay that in any way. Only you can say for sure if those repercussions of reporting this guy to his employer are reasonable, but vigilante actions are risky and can get out of control.

    /I do seem to recall a story a few years ago where someone sent some unwanted pictures to the mother of the sender. I’ll admit that was absolutely hilarious.

    1. Mike C.*

      And if there were any actual threats or other criminal acts then you need to report this person to the proper authorities.

    2. Jeanne*

      Did I miss something? The letter doesn’t say picture, it says message which could be just text. Then how do you know she suffered real harm? She is disgusted but that is not equal to harm. There is no reason to jump to your conclusions.

      1. Mike C.*

        Given the norms and tone of this blog combined with common behaviors found on dating websites, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to presume that the OP received unsolicited pictures of male genitalia.

        1. Miso*

          I absolutely can not see how you would conclude the content of a message on a completely unrelated site from the tone of this site. Absolutely not.
          Besides, personally I would never refer to a picture as a message, but of course that might be just me.

          1. Mike C.*

            I didn’t say “conclude”, I said “presume”.

            Tinder is a website for consenting adults to find other consenting adults who are interested in dating and sex. A major problem with sites like Tinder are men who constantly send out pictures of their genitalia without consent or invitation. This site on the other hand is a professional workplace blog where specific descriptions of such things would be highly unusual and many posters here would feel uncomfortable being direct about such things, preferring to be more circumspect.

            Given that combination of facts, it’s not unreasonable to presume what’s going on. I’m certainly not the only person who suspects this to be the case! It could certainly be something else, but that’s a given when you talk about presumptions.

            1. Coffee Ninja*

              You can’t send pictures through Tinder (I think you could previously, but not in the ~8 months I’ve been using it). All the unsolicited d*** pics I’ve gotten have been through text.

            2. JamieS*

              Directly saying something like “a guy sent me a picture of his rooster” would be something some may feel uncomfortable with especially on a blog like this. I don’t see why anyone would feel uncomfortable saying “I received a disgusting picture” when they’re comfortable saying “I received a disgusting message” though. Sure it may be the case but I don’t think the occurrence would be so common that it’s reasonable to have that assumption without knowing more about the OP.

        2. Hrovitnir*

          It’s possible but 100% not a given. There are so very many ways to make a casual hookup app into a horrendous off-putting experience, it doesn’t need to be a dickpic.

        3. Hrovitnir*

          If you’re interesting in reading about it this reddit is depressing/amusing. (The front page isn’t as bad as last time I looked actually – often it’s 50% women being abused for not replying to messages fast enough.)

          Note: the link goes directly to a message with someone abusing someone for not answering their message, complete with all the word c— etc. No NSFW images.

      2. Yorick*

        Mike C. assumed it was a photo, but I think the same type and amount of harm can be suffered from text. I would actually argue that messages can be much more disturbing (since they can be threatening, abusive, etc) than photos (which are just gross).

    3. Mookie*

      Two things: she doesn’t have control over the proportionately of any response that comes from contacting his ostensible employers, and making contact with them is not vigilantism any more than a single, non-threatening message is harassment; I see it as revenge because, as you say, she’s angry with him. (I don’t condone that particular revenge in this instance but the de-limbing analogy is hyperbolic.)

      1. Mike C.*

        Look, let’s be plain here – the end goal of the OP is to get the message sender in trouble at work, with trouble extending up to being fired. I’m not judging the OP for wanting to do this, but it’s certainly not being done for the sake of the company itself and a reasonable person would conclude that even if being fired is out of the hands of the OP and isn’t certain, that it’s still a reasonable and forseen possibility.

        I can’t say if the guy deserves it, but if the OP is going to seriously consider doing this, she should consider it in this light.

        1. Mookie*

          I’m not judging the OP for wanting to do this, but it’s certainly not being done for the sake of the company itself and a reasonable person would conclude that even if being fired is out of the hands of the OP and isn’t certain, that it’s still a reasonable and forseen possibility.

          I agreed that it was for revenge — no one, including the OP, suggested such a response was for the company’s sake, so this is a red herring introduced by commenters including you — and I think it’s utterly hyperbolic and unhelpful to imagine this man would be fired. The commentariat appear to agree in this respect. If the prevailing culture was such that he would be fired, he’d be less likely to send unwarranted, sexualized messages to strangers. But it isn’t, and he does. Three cheers for plain speaking on all fronts.

    4. Emi.*

      I don’t think receiving a single gross message on Tinder amounts to a level of “real harm” that would make it proportionate for the guy to lose his job. This isn’t about restitution for harm; it’s about punishment for wickedness. I’m not saying that’s never called for, but it’s not the OP’s place (or his employer’s, for that matter) to decide and dish out such punishment.

      1. Yorick*

        Yeah, I find the use of the word “harm” strange here, but I can go with it. When someone does something creepy online, you do get a negative feeling that can last some time.

      2. Mike C.*

        Well if someone goes around in public exposing themselves, society in general considers that harmful and criminal activity. I see sending out unsolicited pictures as a more personalized version.

        But please don’t get hung up on my use of harm here. I’m not trying to specifiy a quantity but rather to balance my feeling of caution with a desire not to be dismissive of terrible, “boys will be boys” behavior.

        1. Gaia*

          Agreed. I actually think it is incredibly aggressive to send unsolicited pictures of you genitalia to people. Especially as they won’t know what the message contains until they open it and then they cannot unsee it. It is like a high tech version of flashing.

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          Mike, I really appreciate the measured way you’ve talked about this issue.

      3. Tea Fish*

        Well, it’s not as direct a correlation as Gross Disgusting Message >>> FIRED! Any number of things could happen to the guy, from getting a round of beers and a hi five to a shrug and a note to take off the company name to a slap on the wrist to yes– termination. OP’s motivation might be revenge (hey, mine would be too!), but I don’t think she needs to be concerned about whether he’ll lose his job, or whether he “deserves” to. She has no power over that.

        But while it’s certainly not the OP’s place to determine what level of discipline (if any) the offender receives, but it 100% absolutely is the employer’s prerogative to decide if they don’t want to employ someone who sends out sexist shitty messages with their company name attached. (And that’s only if the message didn’t include even more disgusting stuff, like rape threats, racist invective, pedophilic references, etc.) Plenty of companies have social media policies for a reason.

        1. Sunshine*

          Yep. Apart from personal distaste at his behaviour, it demonstrates a severe lack of judgement on his part.

    5. LBK*

      Yeah, I think the idea of proportionality is important here, and I’m not sure based on what the OP has described that contacting his employer would be proportional.

      I don’t know the vibe on Tinder since I’ve never used it and I think this may also be different between the straight world and the gay world, but FWIW when I’ve used other apps, you kind of had to understand that unsolicited pictures were part of the package (pardoning the pun). I think that’s one thing that differentiates it from being as bad as in-person flashing, because you do have to willingly sign on to the platform knowing that this is a thing that might happen on it vs someone flashing you while you’re just out in public going about your day.

      I’m not saying that makes it acceptable but I think it’s a false equivalency to treat the two acts as being even close to the same level, and it’s important to make that distinction when we’re talking about proportional response.

      1. Mike C.*

        I don’t think your view is unreasonable, and one I considered before making the comparison.

        I fell on the other side because while the practice is disturbingly common, I feel like it’s only tolerated not because it’s harmless (I would certainly agree that a picture is less harmful than seeing it in person though) but because it’s so easy to do and so widespread that the effort to properly curb the behavior is just too much. In a sense, people put up with it out of necessity rather than by choice.

        The sending of such pictures still violates the spirit on consent. If I were king for a day I wouldn’t put such folks on a sex offender list, but I would treat it like a serious traffic violation – civil fine of a few hundred dollars and for extensive offenders let harassment laws take over. You’re right that it’s not a serious crime in the way others are, but it certainly shares more than enough aspects that it shouldn’t be tolerated in a civil society the way it is now.

        1. LBK*

          Yeah, I was thinking a similar thing when reflecting on some of the discussion below – there’s definitely a desensitization that’s happened due to the prevalence of this kind of thing on dating apps, such that if you treated every occurrence as a serious offense you wouldn’t find using the app in general to be tenable. I think people make the mental calculation that whatever benefits they find from the app are worth just blocking the occasional creep and moving on rather than expending the emotional energy to get worked up about it.

        2. PlainJane*

          Mike C., thank you. I really appreciate what you’ve said here. There are lots of things that used to be commonplace (casual racism and sexism on the job and at social gatherings, for example, as well as blatant sexual harassment at work) that are no longer considered acceptable by most people. Obnoxious behavior can and should be curbed even (maybe especially) if it’s widespread, but that won’t happen if everyone just shrugs and says, “Yeah, well, that happens all the time, so you should expect it.”

    6. Hedgehog*

      If it is a picture, isn’t it illegal to pass it on to others, besides maybe the cops?

  16. Anon for this*

    OP #1, recently I had a job interview where I arrived 20 minutes early (I had 2 interviews an hour apart and there wasn’t enough time to do anything after #1 but go straight to #2). I signed in at the front desk and told them who I was meeting, but I also said: “I’m very early so I’ll just wait in reception.” Since it was a large company with a designated seating area this worked fine. Maybe this is something that would work for your clients if they can’t always judge their arrival time accurately? It’s different of course if there *is* nowhere to wait.

    1. Yorick*

      I agree, it seems kind of silly to expect people to never arrive early. And sometimes when I have appointments, I even wish the person would be early so we could get it over with!

      The key when you arrive early is to make sure they know you don’t expect to be seen before your meeting time.

    2. Anon Anon*

      I’ve done this a couple of times. Sometimes there is no good place to wait. If it’s 100 degree’s outside it’s not practical to wait outside while you develop sweat stains on your clothes, and if you didn’t arrive via car then sometimes that is your only option if there isn’t a coffee shop or something similar nearby. I consider going in and letting reception know that I know I’m very early and that I was hoping to be able to wait in their reception area and catch up on some emails, reading, etc., to not be the worst choice.

      However, in terms of the OP’s letter, I do think meeting with the clients and then explaining that arriving early is the last resort and then assisting the client come up with strategies to manage the situation for a job interview is a kindness. Because I suspect there will be some people who won’t grasp the fact that arriving that early is a negative thing.

  17. Jeanne*

    #4, “grammatically correct by my own invented rules” is not going to work for a resume. Look at each job and volunteer experience. Which duties were truly important and which were minor? Then for each important job duty, what to you need to say to describe it? Use as few words as possible. If it is obvious in your field, you don’t have to define it. “Acted as a docent, guiding guests around the museum so they could learn about our collection.” That is redundant as you can see. “Acted as a docent for a tour of a changing 200 piece collection.” This is probably still a little long but gives better and more relevant information. Finally, get a trusted person or two with more experience to read your resume and help you cut it down. Keep refining it. It will be worth it.

    1. Yorick*

      If you tailor your resume for each job you apply for, you can probably see that certain jobs and volunteer experiences are relevant to the position and others aren’t. So this way you should be able to cut your resume to a more appropriate length.

      1. FlibertyG*

        FWIW I usually have a few different versions of my resume (a more education-focused version, a more communications-focused version, and a more technical-version) that highlight different jobs that best speak to those strength areas. Then I edit the most relevant one to better fit a job. Maybe the OP with three pages could make three one-page resumes instead?

  18. MommyMD*

    I would block the gross Tinder user and under no circumstance contact his employee. What if he is not stable? Don’t invite crazy into your life. It’s not that hard to track people down on the internet.

    1. Chloe Silverado*

      That was my concern as well. You don’t know this person or how he might try to retaliate. Best to block him and move on.

    2. Former Retail Manager*

      Agreed! Why escalate a situation with someone you don’t care for and who has shown you what type of behavior he engages in….and that may only be the tip of the iceberg.

    3. FlibertyG*

      Yeah assuming he didn’t write something actually illegal or personally threatening, I wouldn’t personally follow up on this. The feeling of being offended and repulsed by this is understandable and I sympathize with OP if she wants revenge for being treated this way … but I’d try to separate that out from needing to take an actionable step to punish him unless there’s a sense of imminent harm to herself or others.

    1. physics_padawan*

      Lol- I was looking for a thesis adviser in my department, and was going through the websites of the profs. Found an emeritus who had an entry in his website for “Talks I was invited to do” with over 600 of them (usually people have like 20 on there), and in his alumni section he had over 40 people, and only those who got a research position at a university.

      (he was a big deal though- wrote papers with Landau and such)

      1. Meredith*

        He might think he’s a big deal, but academic CVs are a totally different species of resume. He also may have been using the document to keep track of activities for tenure and promotion purposes.

        1. Just J.*

          There is definitely a distinction between CV and resume.

          In my field of architecture and engineering, we walk a line between CV and resume. Most resumes contain a “Notable Projects List” which records pretty much every project you’ve ever worked on. It allows interviewers to see the breadth and / or depth of your work experience depending on building type, size of project, renovation versus new construction, etc., etc. However, it is included as an APPENDIX to the resume itself. This allows the resume proper to remain at one to two pages (depending on years of experience). Because yes, none of us want to sort through more than one or two pages. (We read your Notable Projects AFTER we read your resume and assess your skill set.)

          So circling back to the OP: Can you separate out your volunteer experience onto an Appendix of “Notable Volunteer Research”? Or is this just not done in your field?

        2. RabbitRabbit*

          Even so, some are a bit more… dramatic. I know some academic physicians with a half-dozen to couple dozen pages in their CVs, and one of their colleagues with a 150+ pager, including awards and grants received, talks given, all kinds of stuff.

  19. Sue Wilson*

    #1: If you can’t let this go, just respond “Dude, if you’re going to send gross messages like this, you should probably take your company off your profile” and block. Then you can imagine that he panicked about what you’re going to do with this information and get some imaginary schadenfreude. If it was just regular grossness (such a ick thing to say), then lbr, even if you did contact the company, they’d probably think you were weird and unreasonable.

    1. Mazzy*

      Yes. I like your attitude you want the OP to take control. The OP will not feel in control if they just delegate this to completely unknown outside party

      Also can we please stop contacting people’s employers. They are not parents and we are not children. Unless a truck driver is driving drunk or a child care worker is a known sex offender why do you ever need to get involved with someone’s employment????

      1. Roscoe*

        Amen, it just seems, for lack of a better word, petty. I mean, someone is doing something totally unrelated to their job, but you feel the need to contact their job about it. For what reason, besides vengence? You aren’t doing a public good. You aren’t making the world safer. (Aside from the 2 examples you mentioned). You really just want someone to be punished for something YOU deem inappropriate. The problem is, everyone doesn’t see it that way. And where do you draw the line? Doing these things just gets really sticky and again, there is no reason.

        If the guy sent you something like this on LinkedIN, I could maybe see it, because that is theoretically a professional networking site. This is a “dating” site most people use for sex.

      2. Emi.*

        Also can we please stop contacting people’s employers. They are not parents and we are not children.


      3. MJH*

        IDK, if I see Jamie using his FB account to leave awful racist remarks on our local newspaper’s comment section, and right under his name is Account Manager at Lannister Teapots…I might want Lannister Teapots to know about it. A) because it seriously hurts their business (I’m never going there) and B) because I presume there are people of color working at Lannister Teapots. People seem to be framing this as “teaching the awful person a lesson” or punishment. I really don’t care if Jamie loses his job; I want his employer to know that one of their employees is a racist asshole for their sake for the sake of their employees.

        In the case of LW1, it would really matter what the message said, but if it were sexist enough I’d consider screenshotting it and sending it to his employer. Presumably the man works with women.

        1. Yorick*

          If he acts racist at work, they already know. It would be his behavior at work that needs to be addressed, and OP doesn’t know about that.

          If he’s racist online but manages not to show his racism at work, does his employer care?

          1. Roscoe*

            Exactly. I don’t really care what people do outside of work, I care about how they act at work

            1. LBK*

              We’ve discussed this here before, but the idea that people can shut off being prejudiced while at work and just do it in their free time is a fallacy. They can shut off the more outward signs but the bias still seeps into their decision-making, which is even worse in some sense because it’s more insidious and harder to prove.

              1. HannahS*

                Yeah. It’s not like your neighbourhood white supremacist is totally cool with Shonda, Juan, Mohammad, and Aviva from 9 to 5 but thinks they should be kicked out of the country or murdered from 5 til bedtime.

          2. Gaia*

            It matters if they are associating with their employer. If I owned a business and some racist/sexist/bigoted jerk was saying that kind of crap with my company’s name right there I’d really not be amused.

          3. Gaia*

            Also, many racists are really good at hiding their racist actions at work. Or they make people afraid to speak up. So no, it wouldn’t necessarily be known by the people that need to know.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              Exactly. And someone who is racist but isn’t overtly so at work can still act in ways that harm a POC coworker in a way that a business *should* care about. Everything from unfair work assignments, unfair evaluations, taking credit for other’s work, making good employees uncomfortable–these are things an employer should care about.

              1. Just Another Techie*

                Nevermind how they treat customers/clients. Worse terms for loans in financial offices, slower service in service-industry jobs like restaurants, less pain management in doctors’ offices, etc etc. It’s incredibly easy to do this sort of thing very subtly, so that fellow dominant-culture coworkers don’t even notice.

            2. Yorick*

              Sure, but someone from Tinder can’t demonstrate that harmful things are happening at work

              1. Gaia*

                No, but they can raise the issue and let the employer look into it further. I’m hard pressed to believe a racist is suddenly not racist at work.

          4. Kiki*

            >If he’s racist online but manages not to show his racism at work, does his employer care?

            His employer should care. To use a personal example: my friend, a black woman writer, received a very hateful and racist email from someone who read one of her articles. This email included the phrase “we should kill all n-words”. The man who sent this email used his work email address with his full name, and a Google search revealed that he was a police officer in a town with a large black community.

            Obviously, my friend took screenshots of that email and sent them up the chain. Because even if he hadn’t yet shown his racism at work, his job description is to “protect and serve” a community who he apparently thinks should all be dead. And he’s in possession of a gun around this community. It’s absolutely something the employer should be alerted to and care about.

            1. Sarah W*

              Thanks for this example Kiki. There are countless examples of similar cases online. I wish people would stop acting like someone losing their job due to their own actions is worst than the harm they could cause to others – whether it is coworkers or the community they serve.

          5. Sunshine*

            a) It makes it look like the company is cool with racism. (Which apart from the moral aspect, could have a financial impact on the company).
            b) It would make non white employees feel uncomfortable working with him.
            c) His white colleagues would probably also feel uncomfortable working with a racist.

        2. Emi.*

          You would boycott an entire business because a single account manager said something racist online? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

          1. Kiki*

            Personally, yes, I would depending on how the company responded. If the company made it clear that they did not agree with the racist account manager and took swift action against him then I would consider still doing business with them. But if they let it slide or defended the employee? No way. There are plenty of businesses to choose from for my various needs and I’m not giving money to ones that support or defend bigotry.

            1. Emi.*

              Oh, I thought you meant just because you saw the comment (which the company probably didn’t see or know about). So if you told them about it and you didn’t like their response, that’s when you would boycott?

        3. PlainJane*

          It’s also about making it less safe to act like a bigot. Not saying we should report every online jerk (that’s a full-time job for an army), but I don’t feel bad when someone gets fired for saying something horribly bigoted online. These people enjoy terrorizing other people; there’s nothing wrong with turning the tables and giving them a reason to think twice before behaving that way.

    2. RVA Cat*

      Yes this is perfect! Let him sweat and stew about it. I’m imagining him starting an awkward conversation with his (female) boss…

    3. LBK*

      Yeah, this was going to be my suggestion. I think if there’s any possibility of him actually reconsidering his actions, this gets it done more or less as effectively as going through all the hassle of contacting his employer, plus it’s easier for you and doesn’t allow him to take up as much space in your brain.

  20. Sue Wilson*

    #2: Then my day gets thrown off when I get a call from Reception way before the client’s expected to show up
    Mentally? Because if you only meet them at the scheduled time, then your day should proceed chronologically as scheduled. Assuming this just wasn’t hyperbole, I think this might bother you less (and you might get a clearer picture of how you want to handle it) if you re-framed this that someone else’s actions aren’t necessarily problems for you to solve immediately. I know you want to treat your clients really humanely, but that doesn’t actually mean letting them take up more mental space than they should.

    To that end, I think the comments above give a general overview of the many many reasons someone would turn up early that aren’t entitlement or an expectation. This is a great teaching moment! Take it! And if it really irritates you still, just put “please only come 10 minutes at most in advance of the meeting” in the email you send with the time of the meeting.

    1. Myrin*

      A big yes to your first paragraph, I was thinking the same thing. You don’t have to, even only mentally, drop everything and attend to someone just because they show up. One would hope that someone who has an appointment at, say, ten, isn’t surprised or angry or annoyed if you only go to see them at ten.

    2. Alton*

      I agree. Not that I don’t think it’d be helpful to talk to these clients about norms and how arriving early might be perceived (it would be good), but I think it could be helpful for the OP to work on not letting this get to them as much. I also tend to feel thrown-off easily because I feel like everything has to be dealt with Right Away, and I’m easily distracted. But some of that is my own issue to work around.

    3. Temperance*

      Honestly, I also get thrown off when people arrive very early for meetings/appointments/trainings. If I plan a CLE, I notice that some people will tend to show up over an hour early. That throws off my entire prep schedule, because instead of doing the last few things I need to do before a training, I have to greet visitors and answer their million questions. It’s highly irritating. And the people who are extremely early almost always have a billion annoying questions.

      And no, planning on people being extremely early wouldn’t help me because I often do these things very early in the AM. I’m already coming in at 7 for a training at 9, and I’m not coming in at 6 just because some rude person doesn’t understand schedules. (If they would ASK me to come in early, I could arrange with our receptionist to get them a meeting room so they’re out of my way.)

      1. (Different) Rebecca*

        “…I have to greet visitors and answer their million questions.”

        But you don’t. Just say a very quick hello, mention that you wish you could talk but you have to finish prep, and you’ll be happy to answer any questions they might have during the training itself, and then go do what you need to be doing and leave them to entertain themselves. It’s not rude or anything, it’s good business.

        1. Temperance*

          These people never have questions about the substance of the training. They want to know the Wifi password, where the bathroom is, where the coffee is, and oh can someone fax something? I’ve gotten better at stashing them in a conference room and just walking away, but they are so frustrating to deal with.

          I’ve hit a point where I don’t care so much about being rude, TBH, because they are rude by showing up so darn early. These are the same people who will ask a million questions during the training and make things take 5x as long as it should.

      2. Sue Wilson*

        As a person who did reception/sign-in at CLEs when I was in law school? No, you don’t have to answer questions. I’m not saying early people aren’t annoying (especially when chairs are still being set up and they want to sit), and I do think having them there interrupts that little alone time where you don’t have to be ~ready, but I think you’re letting your conventions of appropriate hosting behavior take over appropriate classroom behavior. You can require that people be able to occupy themselves when they’re early.

        Also, why don’t you just ask your receptionist to do this anyway?

        1. Sue Wilson*

          And seeing your response to (Different) Rebecca, can you make it part of the receptionist’s duties that they be the point person for questions like “where is the bathroom?”

    4. Blue Eagle*

      The issue of coming early is not just if you use public transportation but also if you are driving to an unfamiliar location and want to make sure that you are there at least 5-10 minutes for your appointment. Depending on traffic and ease of finding the place I have easily arrive 30 minutes early a number of times – but I never expect to be taken early.
      My suggestion to the LW is: to stop stressing about people arriving early, see them early if it fits into your schedule, and don’t see them early if it doesn’t. Just because they arrive early doesn’t mean that you are required to greet them, get them coffee, make them comfortable waiting, etc.
      As to letting them know they shouldn’t arrive more than 5-10 minutes early for a job interview – as long as they wait quietly, I don’t see the problem and I wouldn’t say anything. My opinion is that it is more professional to arrive 30 minutes early than 10 minutes late.

      1. scattol*


        In a relatively large city it’s hard to accurately predict your travel time to the minute and it’s far safer to attempt to be 15min early than run the risk of being late.

  21. Orlando*

    Does anyone else imagine the letter writers getting nervous and using AAM terminology? “Thank you, but I’m quite happy with my career in teapot sculpting.” Cue extremely confused look in former manager’s face.

    1. Gaia*

      I once used Wakeen in a Skype conversation with a coworker. She came over and was like “you know it is spelled Joaquin, right?”

  22. Intern*

    I’m a young college student who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with interviews and I don’t rely on public transit. If there was a circumstance that caused an applicant to arrive to an interview would it be unprofessional to bring it up when the interview was offered?

    Could the person politely ask the interviewer if they could within reason change the interview time because their kid’s daycare will close or the bus they need has a weird schedule?

    1. Temperance*

      I wouldn’t bring up childcare issues prior to an interview, nor would I mention the bus unless I was in a place that had really hopping public transit. This is my .02, others may disagree.

      If you’re already telling your interviewer that you need a rigid schedule and to leave very early to pick up your kids, that could tank your chances. You don’t want to put that idea into an employer’s head. Similarly, if you let them know that you have transit issues in an area where public transportation isn’t common, you’re going to be planting the seed that you don’t have access to reliable transit.

    2. I'm going anon!*

      Could the person politely ask the interviewer if they could within reason change the interview time because their kid’s daycare will close or the bus they need has a weird schedule?

      You can ask for a different time but I wouldn’t go into specifics about why. Interviewers might (consciously or not) count it as a mark against you. “Oh, Jane has young kid’s in daycare, that could cause scheduling problems for us…” It’s not fair, but it happens.

      With transit issues if none of the available times are ideal I think your best bet, like others were discussing above, would be to take the earliest option that would get you there before the interview and find a place out of the way to wait. A park, a bench, a coffee shop, go for a walk (if it’s not too hot/too cold), etc. With daycare, I would see if you could make arrangements to have someone else pick up your kid, or pick them up early and find a babysitter for the interview slot. Neither of these are ideal solutions, but if you can’t get a different interview time your only options are 1) passing on the interview 2) disclosing why you need a different time (which could be counted against you, depending on the reason) or 3) finding a work-around on your end.

    3. MuseumChick*

      I wouldn’t bring these things up. It’s really tough on working parents, and even if its unfair that you have the extra challenge of your child care plans falling through, it not appropriate to bring up in th context of interviewing. I know it’s not possible/extremely difficult for most parents but when possible have a triple backup plan on days you have an interview. Plan A: Day Care. Plan B: Grandma Plan C: Babysitter who has watched them before Plan D: Close personal friend you trust. This is especially challenging with infants, or if you live somewhere without any family but make as many contingency plans as possible.

    4. MJH*

      Normally when I have interviewed, the person reaching out will say, “we can see you Friday at 10 or 1 or Monday at 3” and then I can pick one. Sometimes they’ll say, “can you do Friday at 10?” and it’s perfectly fine to say “no, that won’t work” without explanation, although it’s nice to offer an alternative option. “I can’t do Friday at 10, but I could do Friday afternoon or any time on Monday.” A lot of interviewers have multiple slots and can fit you into the one that works best.

    5. Intern*

      Most of the interviews I’ve been offered were through my school’s career fairs. At those the recruiters understand you’re a student so it’s acceptable to ask to have the interview when you don’t have class. I was just wondering how it works in the real world

      1. Lindrine*

        If they ask you when you are available that week and have not given you times first, you provide a range of days and times. It is assumed when you are employed that you will have to either take time off or fit in interviews between meetings or other obligations. You don’t have to give full explanations, just phrase it similar to “I’m available this week Tuesday from 10-12am or on Wednesday from 2-4pm.

  23. justcourt*

    I am not sure if most commenters have experience with dating apps because a lot of people are seem to think the message must merely be sexual; however, it’s not uncommon for messages to start off sexual and then turn racist, sexist, and/or threatening once the recipient turns the messenger down. Maybe I’m wrong about the commenters understanding, and maybe I’m projecting, but I can easily see this messaging as something far beyond run-of-the-mill sex stuff (e.g. threatening the OP w/rape or murder or something along those lines).

    1. Gaia*

      I don’t think people are assuming that. We’re just saying the reaction has to depend on which level of disgusting the message falls towards.

      1. paul*


        “Hey baby, DTF” is kinda disgusting but it isn’t something I’d contact an employer over if it happens on a hook up app.

        But it can get way worse than that.

        There just isn’t enough information.

    2. Annabelle*

      Thank you for pointing this out. I figured I was just projecting my own experiences, but the most disgusting messages I got were of the racist/rapey varieties. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this guy escalated to harassment and threats after not receiving an immediate response.

      I know we have no way of knowing for sure, but I imagine this message was more violent than sexual if OP is considering contacting his employer.

    3. Mints*

      Yeah, I think some commenters think “disgusting” means “explicit” but like, saying you want to see somebody naked, or jumping from “Hey” to “Want to come over tonight?” is common enough on tinder that it wouldn’t even register. But actual, disgusting, messages are way more common than it seems people are allowing

  24. Malibu Stacey*

    I’m an admin and I back-up reception. We also have a lot of clients arrive 30+ minutes early and it’s so frustrating because I have other duties in the back office area behind a security door plus you have to be buzzed into the front door and our restrooms are outside the suite.

    If clients are that early I suggest they go to our lobby coffee shop but if they don’t want to, I say, “Jane will be out for you closer to 2:00 sharp (or whatever their scheduled time is)” if I know my coworker isn’t ready for them yet.

    1. WS*

      I’m surprised that people refuse to go to the coffee shop when you point it out to them, especially if it’s in the lobby! Out of curiosity, do you tell whoever is interviewing them that they hung around reception for that long? Does it count against them as a candidate?

      1. Malibu Stacey*

        They are clients, not job candidates. We’re a national F80 firm with the only location in our state and it’s not uncommon for our clients to drive from an hour away to get to us so I think after a long drive and locating the right building, the right floor and the right suite some clients just want to stay put.

        1. WS*

          Whoops, totally misread your first comment, sorry! Although that makes much more sense about why they’d stay instead of going back down to the lobby.

      2. Malibu Stacey*

        To answer your other question, I I M my coworker, “The Smiths are here and I told them you’d probably be out closer to 2:00”

    2. (Different) Rebecca*

      *grin* If someone suggests I go get coffee, my only question is “…and coffee is…where?”

  25. MuseumChick*

    OP 4, I can 99.8% guarantee that you can get your resume down to two pages. It will take a lot of work but it can be done. I suspect you are not customizing your resume for each position. Start doing that, keep your big, three-page resume but when you apply to job only pull out those positions and tasks within that positions that are relevant. Take a down and create a couple of resumes for the kinds of jobs you want.

    1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

      Having struggled with a longer resume, tailoring is key. I have also experimented with having two work sections, the first for my very best, on point for that job experience, and the second for the “fill in the gap” stuff to show I’ve been continually employed. The second section needs minimal, if any, bullet points for job duties as the first section ideally covers the necessary achievements for what I’m going for.

  26. AthenaC*

    OP#3 – In my old job, I think I was the person that worked inexplicably well with my boss, whom other people found difficult. Without going into irrelevant detail, some personalities just work better together, and some people have an easier time “managing up” when they click with that person. I would follow Alison’s advice – who knows? Maybe things will work out for your replacement!

    1. OP #3*

      I hope so! One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m not a super “jokey” person, meaning that I don’t generally feel comfortable poking fun at other people and I don’t really enjoy being on the receiving end either, although it’s fine when I’m comfortable and know the other person well (but not my boss). But that’s definitely Fergus’s preferred sense of humor, so someone similar would definitely do better with him than me.

    2. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

      Wanted to say something similar. I used to work with a guy that everyone seemed to despise (literally – when a major promotion for him was announced at the holiday party almost half the room either left the room or didn’t clap). He was deadpan serious, direct to the point of rudeness and had a tendancy to take his anger/frustration regarding issues he couldn’t control out on his underlings in spectacular blowups over the silliest things.

      However – I can also be serious when it comes to work and appreciated the directness of his instructions (I could brush off tone by just thinking, great – now I know exactly what he wants). He blew up at me a couple of times, but b/c I never fought back (I adopted a nuetral, slightly submissive response) I think he realized he wasn’t getting the “fight” he wanted from me. He would never apologize (which I knew better than to expect), but he would just come back an hour or two later like nothing ever happend. It was terrifying the first time (though I was about to be fired!), but afterwards it was much easier to deal with any future blowups.

      All this is to say – despite how awful he sounds (and objectively was) I worked really well with him and think of him as one of my more positive boss-relationships. I’d much rather brush off a rude tone than deal with the anxiety of trying to figure out what someone wants from their vague instructions (personal preferance – not saying most others would feel the same). Maybe you will find a “me” out there who will work well with this difficult personality.

      1. OP #3*

        Wow, my boss sounds very similar, though to a lesser extreme. I work in academia, where there can be a lot of difficult personalities (although my personal opinion is that this changing… now that academia is ridiculously competitive, fewer brilliant people make the cut without social skills). I’m early in my career, so I’m actually kind of grateful that I’m learning about the personalities I work best with.

  27. Emi.*

    I don’t see why racism should be reported to an employer any more than a gross sexual message (assuming it’s gross by the standards of Tinder, not just gross by the standards of polite society). They have equally much or little bearing on the workplace.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yes, thank you for saying that. Plus, if someone is racist, there is no chance that doesn’t bleed into their interactions with coworkers and clients in subtle ways that can harm the coworkers/clients and the company (by driving away good employees and clients).

      2. Yorick*

        Racism is terrible, yes, but it isn’t inherently violent (in terms of physical violence, which is what “violence” refers to)

        1. Gaia*

          Violence can be many things and is not always physical. There is emotional violence as well.

      3. Brown Coat*

        “inherently violent”.. I see we are adding violent along with bigotry to the list of words we are going to broaden the meaning of until they mean nothing. It’s these types of histrionics that cause people to take these issues less seriously.

        1. Gaia*

          Violence can refer to both physical and emotional violence. Are you really suggesting that someone screaming hateful, racist things in your face is not violent? Someone working to keep you out of society is not violent against your very way of living?

          1. Observer*

            Except that those are not the only forms that racism takes. That’s not to defend racism, but to note that “inherently violent” is a mis-statement.

            I agree with Brown Coat. This kind of thing doesn’t make people realize the badness of racism. It has the opposite effect because it affects the credibility of the whole problem.

            1. Sunshine*

              Well… it’s not all about educating the racist. It’s also about the company not being associated with racism. And not subjecting your other employees to subtle and unsubtle racism.

              1. Observer*

                I wasn’t talking about the racist. I was saying that when you use unfounded hype you make it harder for people who aren’t racist, but who don’t quite understand the problem to understand it.

          2. Brown Coat*

            I’m not disputing that would be a very bad thing (admittedly screaming in someone’s face is threatening to say the least). My issue is with the term emotional violence. Perhaps you were thinking of the term psychological abuse or emotional abuse. I even imputed the term emotional violence in to google and it redirected me psychological and emotional abuse. I object to equating everything under the umbrella of racism as violence. Violence strongly implies a physical component to a specific act. Racism goes beyond that. It may be tempting to equate a racist belief or act as violence in order to boost awareness and action but it has the opposite effect.

            1. Gaia*

              This is not a stretch of the definition. It is part of the definition of the term. Violence does not have to be physical. It can be emotional. It can be psychological. The term is already very broad and has been since the earliest use of the word.

              Just because violence is often used to describe a physical act does not mean that is the entirety of a definition. I object to being told not to use a word in proper form because others are unfamiliar with this aspect of the definition.

    1. Observer*

      Racism (and any other ism that affects a large proportion of the population) most definitely DOES implicate most work places. The sexist idiot *is* going to have to deal with women. The racist gnome *is* going to have to deal with “other” races (even in very homogeneous areas, if they are in the US), etc. So, that does make a difference.

      How much, is the question.

    2. Carla*

      It’s the rare racist that doesn’t allow his biases to impact the people he is biased against. If my coworkers were racist, I would be sincerely concerned about their ability to work with me without allowing their ideas of people like me to cloud their judgement.

    3. Emi.*

      Guys, I understand that and why racism is bad, and how it can affect the workplace.

      I don’t get what it is about racism that’s supposed to make it worse or more workplace-relevant than sexism, which is implied by Alison’s “I would change this answer if the message were racist” as well several comments saying similar things (including one against reporting this but for reporting hypothetical messages that are “racist, threatening, or anything along those lines”).

      What parameters of “reportably bad and relevant to the workplace” include racism but not sexism?

      1. LBK*

        The message was sexual, not sexist; I suppose you can argue that any unsolicited sexual message has some kind of inherent sexist undertone but I don’t think that’s always the case.

        If the message were sexist I think it would be the same as if it were racist, but just being sexually explicit isn’t the same, IMO.

        1. Jessie the First (or second)*

          We do not know that the message was not sexist.

          The OP says it was “disgusting” – I suppose she could have meant just sexual, and that she found that alone disturbing, but when I read that I read it as the misogyny-laced, aggressive sexual comment – because that happens, sadly, it is not really rare (though thankfully not super common) and disgusting is a strong phrase to use; sexual messages are not uncommon for apps, so when OP says “disgusting” I just assumed it was a level above sexual. Which would be sexist. I guess we are both making assumptions here about the type of comment.

          1. LBK*

            Eh, I get what you’re saying, but think you can be pretty gross sexually and still not necessarily be sexist. Case in point, there are plenty of really nasty message that go around on gay dating apps where the gender dynamic isn’t the same.

            1. Emi.*

              Okay, then what about sexual harassment? That’s a better workplace analogue. Are you thinking that it’s more likely to be contained to Tinder?

              1. LBK*

                The point is that things that might be considered harassment outside of Tinder aren’t in that context, so you can’t draw a parallel. Opening a conversation with “hey, you looking to hook up?” to your coworker would be wildly inappropriate, but it wouldn’t be on Tinder (at least from my understanding of Tinder etiquette since I’ve never used it personally).

              2. Sunshine*

                No, I think the guy likely also expresses his disrespect for women in the workplace.

            2. Jessie the First (or second)*

              Right, it can be gross sexually, but women on dating sites don’t receive just one or two of those in a blue moon. They are pretty constant. So I just find it very hard to believe this is a run of the mill explicit or gross comment – if she were this upset about “regular” gross stuff, she wouldn’t be writing in about this one message she got, she’d be writing in about the 50 she got. Because she did not get just one of those. (I mean, yes, maybe she did – but …. that’s unlikely. Unless this is her first day on Tinder?”

  28. Aaron*

    Re #1: As an on-and-off Tinder user, I can tell you that the platform is really glitchy. There have been times where it wouldn’t accept my choice to remove my employer’s name from my profile (it automatically pulls it when you link to Facebook), no matter how many times I tried to change it or even deleting and reactivating my account. For a while, I didn’t even know it was still out there, because I assumed my settings changes would have turned it off.

    It sucks that this dude was creepy, but because of this, it’s probably a leap to assume he’s intentionally linking himself to his employer.

  29. Kat*

    #2, I used to work the same job as you. Part of the job is, as you say, helping teach working norms to clients, and showing up that early makes a bad impression. One thing I used to counsel my clients was, if they had to come that early because of a public transit situation, to head to a coffee shop or public park before the meeting. Even the library would be a good alternative – pick somewhere nearby where you can hang out before your meeting so you can arrive on time.

  30. FDCA In Canada*

    LW#2: I also work in a field that prepares people for entry or reentry into the workforce. If you are not spelling out to your clients that arriving very early for an interview can be detrimental, you are doing them a disservice. When we do practice interview sessions or I do workshops with youth on good interview behaviour, one of the things we always touch on is not to arrive too early (or, heaven forbid, too late). 5-10 minutes is fine, but otherwise it can give a negative impression because you’re asking the employer to rearrange their schedule. But you need to say this, out loud, with your words, instead of silently expecting them to pick up on it.

    Whether or not you see them right away is up to you, but please, please, please tell them why. If you’re dealing with a population that needs assistance with workforce reintegration in the sense of attire and behaviour, chances are they’re going to need help with intangibles like this that can be a total mystery.

  31. Doe-Eyed*

    #2 – if you’re helping people get back into the workplace is it possible that they’re possibly using public transportation and erring on the side of being VERY early vs. possibly being a few minutes late?

  32. Jazmint*

    I think the main point of the tinder question is that the person who messaged op did so with their company name attached. Many companies have social media policies in place to address exactly that.
    I mean, I’d never wear my company shirt and scream obscenities to people in the street. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to hold anyone who attaches their company name publicly to the same standards.

    Someone i worked with did something similar. They were reprimanded and told to remove their company name from things they do privately that would reflect poorly on the company as a result.

    1. Roscoe*

      I think the question comes though do they even know its on there. I’ll be honest, I had to look at mine to even realize my employer was listed. So he isn’t necessarily “attaching” it, it may have just pulled it from facebook or whatever. Now, I guess you could say he should be more aware of those things, which is fair, but lets not assume he is purposely doing this. Honestly, I don’t even know how to remove it if I wanted to, aside from removing it from Facebook

  33. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    OP1, I urge you to not do this. Yes, this guy sucks. A lot. But think of it the reverse way – if you had a hat with your company logo in the back of your car and you were behind someone driving slow, tailgating them, quickly got around them the first chance and cut them off and flicked them off in retaliation for not getting our of the fast lane, and they called your company about it because they felt threatened by your driving, how would you feel? Should your livelihood be jeopardized because of one moment? (I am aware that aggressive driving and aggressive sexual messages are not the same – but just as one’s road rage often has no bearing on their ability to do their job, often their terrible habits with hook-up sites don’t either)

    I am not personally a fan of public shaming in any capacity and I don’t support it – if it was threatening in some manner, contact the authorities. What do you hope to gain form contacting his company? Does he really deserve to lose his job because he offended you?

    I am NOT defending his behavior. At all. And yes, it is likely this is not a first time thing for this guy and that he treats other women this way. But telling his company won’t change that. Taking a more direct route and telling him what a gross scumbag he is might. The more of us who have the strength to stand up and say “This is totally f*cking unacceptable”, the less it will happen – at least one hopes.

    I really like the suggestion above to respond to him that he is gross and wrong and awful and that if he is going to be a complete do*che canoe he should remove his company name from his profile. Then block him. And enjoy thinking that he is freaking out about what you might have told his company. But don’t actually contact his company.

    1. Allison*

      “But telling his company won’t change that.”

      Super important. He’s not going to see the light, or learn the error of his ways. He’s going to insist there’s nothing wrong with his behavior, and blame the PC police for ruining his life for trying to get some action.

    2. Jazmint*

      I agree with a lot of this but i think it’s more similar to saying something to someone on Twitter. If you attach your company to your profile and you say anything either through dm or in public tweets, you are held to a certain standard and if you get aggressive or lewd, geting fired wouldn’t be out of the question. After all, Twitter is meant for discourse, even if it gets nasty, but you publicly represent your company by adding your company to your profile.

      That said, op probably shouldn’t, but i like the idea of making him sweat as well.

      1. Jazmint*

        With the caveat that if if it was racist, threatening, or anything along those lines, she should absolutely report him.

        1. Doe-Eyed*

          So can you explain to me why being racist warrants a complaint but sexually harassing people anonymously doesn’t? If someone had a company hat in their car, leaned out the window and shouted “Hey nice [blank], want to [blank]???” would the advice still be to let it go? I’m trying to get a sense of the line here, because I’m bewildered by the “Well what do you expect when you try to online date?” attitude.

          1. fposte*

            I think there are two layers here: one is the “how out of line was he?” question and the other is the “should I report him to his employer?” question. One thing that would skew me to a “No” on the second is that I’m not sure most employers would professionally care about disgusting private messages over any dating service, but especially not apps with a hookup reputation or stated purpose. I’m also not sure that a single racially bigoted private message would be something that an employer would care about; I think it would have to be a public message , like a tweet, or a sustained campaign (which would raise the specter of publicity or legal consequences for the employee and thus for the company) before most employers would get involved.

            Obviously employers vary here, and we don’t know exactly what he said. But I think the odds of its being actionable to the company are pretty low.

            1. fposte*

              To clarify on another dimension, I think the OP *can* tell anybody she damn well pleases, including the guy’s mother, second-grade teacher, and current girlfriend; she doesn’t owe him confidentiality, and for that matter he’s free to tell her workplace that she’s on Tinder and what her response was. I just would anticipate telling his workplace to be an attempt to curb his behavior, and since I don’t think it’s going to do that I think it’s likely to be a further annoying time suck for the OP.

            2. Doe-Eyed*

              So considering the types of messages that are “normal” on online datings sites, my interpretation is that he was outside the ordinary of vileness. But I may be wrong.

              I’m not sure that an employer would care about either category of message either, I just don’t understand why being racist is seen as something to report while sexually harassing people isn’t. Basically the attitude that “well if you’re on Tinder you should pretty much be expected to endure any kind of harassment because boys will be boys” is what’s bugging me here. (not necessarily from you, but from the comments section in general)

                1. anoniest*

                  Fposte, I’ve been thinking about other types of messages (and what I expect commenters would say about them; I don’t really have a take on an employer’s perspective) based on my memory of the comments to a past letter (the retail employee who was fired after someone on a bus took a photo of the employee’s phone, which she was using to text her boyfriend something out of line about the overweight passenger next to her). I do think that comment section trended towards blame on the employer and employee rather than the photo-taker, who folks felt wasn’t out of line as no one should be texting anyone anything they don’t want on the front page of a newspaper. As I reflect more, I’m not totally sure how incompatible that is with what I see as the “Don’t send it,” consensus here since, as you point out, that’s not necessarily an argument for a right to privacy on the part of the messenger. That said, the comment-responses to that letter and to this one still feel…not quite square with each other, to me. Maybe it’s that the previous comment section seemed, to me, to really want to emphasize to its OP that she had behaved badly and sometimes that has a cost–to impress upon her that she’d messed up–whereas this one doesn’t seem as upset about the message, to me, even in the context of sympathy for its OP (given that we’re not talking to the messenger in this case).

              1. Mazzy*

                Just thought of this – most sites have an email for issues or to report site violations. I’ve only used match and they’d be interested in things like this

              2. LBK*

                I think it’s different because sex and sexual talk are, to some extent, part of the environment and intention of Tinder. A lot of people are purposely signing on to Tinder for sex, and I think you do have to at least accept that if you’re someone who’s on there strictly for dating, sometimes you’ll come across people in the other camp. Assuming the message wasn’t extremely graphic, an offer for casual sex that would be pretty much straight up harassment in the general world could be exactly what you’re looking for on Tinder (but not, say, just walking down the sidewalk), so it takes the edge off of messages like that because you know you’ve purposely entered a world where that might happen.

                Racism isn’t partially built into the framework of the reason you log on to Tinder in the first place, so it doesn’t provide the same softening context for racial slurs; no one is on there to be called racist names (unless you have some kind of problematic emotional masochism thing going on, I guess).

                1. fposte*

                  Yeah, I’m still figuring out how to articulate this, but I also think there’s an issue with content vs. consent–what makes many such messages inappropriate isn’t the content, which is fine and not hugely uncommon between people who are into it, but the consent of the recipient. And that means the argument tends to shift to what constitutes consent rather than what’s not appropriate in a message, which limits the traction of complaints.

                2. LBK*

                  Yeah, this feels like a very “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it” problem. By no means do I think that you implicitly consent to receiving unsolicited pictures just by signing up for Tinder…it’s more that you’re knowingly entering an environment where the frequency of that happening is dramatically higher than in the rest of the world, so I guess I feel that makes you a little less entitled to be shocked or put off by it?

        2. Mazzy*

          Just remembered I “reported” something racist posted online once by my coworker. It wasn’t a formal complaint but was part of a pattern of boundar pushing and dropping the ball. It was one non white person making disparaging comments about another non white group online during work hours, trying to be funny.

          VP rolled his eyes and decided to handle the other issues and internet use at work in general rather than drill down into the specific “jokes” written. I guess he assumed the guy would get the picture. So there was no specific retaliation, which I think OP wants.

  34. EddieSherbert*

    #1 honestly, assuming everything Alison said (it’s a gross soliciting sex type thing and not threatenting or racist or something)… I really wouldn’t do anything.

    Especially because it’s Tinder – no offense meant, because I do know some legitimate couples that met on Tinder – butttttt it’s more of a hook-up app than a dating app. And it’s pretty commonly known as a hook-up app. So unfortunately, I think you’re going to get even more sketchy messages than a “normal” dating site.

    1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      That doesn’t excuse his behaviour.

      I don’t think his employer should be contacted, but you don’t get to send disgusting, demeaning, graphic messages to someone who hasn’t consented to them just because it’s a hook-up site.

      I only bring this up because saying things like that normalizes it. We need to not. It doesn’t matter the forum, that type of behaviour is not ok, and it should be said every chance we get.

      (With the caveat mentioned above that asking if someone is interested in sex in a polite and respectful way is different than aggressive sexual content. And shouldn’t be treated the same.)

      All that said – I agree, unless it was explicitly threatening (in which case authorities should be notified) there is NO reason to bring his employer into this.

      1. Gaia*

        We don’t know that they were demeaning or graphic, only that they were “disgusting” and that can be very subjective.

        1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

          True, but I am giving the LW the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t merely not her taste and was something the majority of people would view as crossing a line. As I said, it is not wrong to politely and respectfully ask someone on a dating site if they are interested in casual sex rather than a relationship.

        2. EddieSherbert*

          This was my thought, Gaia. We have no clue what the message said and she specifically asked about telling his employer, so I meant to address that.

          That being said, I GOTS, I see how it came across to you. I was also thinking of a friend of mine (who is quite a bit older than me) who joined Tinder and had never heard of it as a hook-up site before. So I mentioned that thinking “FYI, if that isn’t your scene it might not be the best app for you”. Not as saying that rude-sex-requests are okay.

      2. LBK*

        To an extent I think some of the issue here is the ambiguity of the purpose of Tinder as a platform, in that among dating apps I think it has one of the more mixed userbases of people looking to date vs hook up. If you go on a site that’s more explicitly meant for hookups, do you effectively/implicitly consent to receiving sexual messages? Genuine question; in my view, there is a point where I think the forum matters, and that if you’re not prepared to receive those kinds of messages then you’re on the wrong site. So the issue for me is judging where Tinder falls on that scale, and how that should calibrate your expectations if you’re on one side of the date/hook up continuum and encounter someone on the other side.

      3. Amelia*

        THANK YOU. “Wanting to hook up” does not equal “therefore, needs to be okay with being treated in a demeaning or disgusting way.” I’m surprised at the number of comments here rushing to defend this sort of behaviour as possibly not great but de rigeur on Tinder and thus shrug worthy. This is how stuff like this gets normalized.

  35. The Expendable Redshirt*

    2). If you can, do see the people who arrive 45 min to an hour early. Like others have said, you may be working for people who use transit. My line of work is similar, and it’s pretty common to have clients show up early (or late) for their meetings due to transportation. I also welcome drop in clients, though there is no guarantee that I’ll be free at that time. Our reception staff is used this, and we are fortunate to have an out of the way reading area. People can chill out and read books/work on a computer while waiting for a short time.

    That being said, I did have to correct the behavior of once client who showed up excessively early for appointments. It was common for this man to show up four to six hours early for his appointments. Or, he would show up long before the building opened. Usually, I would be all booked up that day and couldn’t see this individual until our scheduled appointment. The individual showed a great deal of entitlement, or lack of awareness about appointment related social norms. It was clear that the client did not respect the schedule of others. First, I started asking the client to show up no more than 15 min before out appointment. The client did not change their behavior of waiting hours in the lobby. The next time he showed up outlandishly early, I asked him kindly to wait in a nearby coffee shop. The client did not change their behavior. The last time the client showed up early, I bluntly stated that I could not see them until our scheduled meeting. Then I requested that he leave the building and come back later. So far, the client is now showing up half an hour early for meetings.

  36. Rachel Green*

    #2: We get a lot of early visitors to our office as well. I don’t mind meeting with them as soon as they show up, as long as the conference room I’ve booked is free. But, most of the time my boss prefers to wait till our original meeting time. When I go to get the visitor I’ll thank them for waiting and then explain that the conference room wasn’t free.

    I think if a person shows up early hoping to be seen earlier so they can do other things, that they should call ahead of time and ask if you’re available to meet earlier than planned. You could always ask why they arrived so early, and depending on their answer, request that they give you a heads up next time. “If you had called to let me know you would be here at 9 instead of 10, then I could have moved some things around and made it work.”

    1. Jazmint*

      On the flip side, would you automatically dismiss someone for being late if they called to let you know that they would with a very valid reason?

      1. fposte*

        I think it’s rare that they’d be completely dismissed for the lateness, but if they’re so late that the interview won’t fit in the planned slot there may not be another one open for them.

  37. HR Recruiter*

    #2 please, please tell them what is appropriate time to show up. Most people aren’t going to realize this without being specifically told. As someone that does a lot of hiring a few things happen when someone shows up too early. First, it disrupts the schedule like you mentioned. But more importantly it comes off as they don’t know appropriate workplace norms, and your job is to teach them those norms. There is nothing more awkward than being the receptionist who has an applicant/client staring at them for an hour because they are that early. I have found with many people re-entering the workforce they are 1-2 hours early because they are always told to be early but no one tells them how early. Or they do not have transportation so they get dropped off whenever their ride is available. Or they don’t know where they are going and don’t have a good sense of time so they leave super early. When I teach classes for people re-entering the workforce we review how early is too early (more than 15 minutes). And if your transportation gets you there “too early” what do you do? I always suggest go to a coffee shop around the corner, take a walk and get to know the area. If that’s not possible then explain you are early and happy to wait and then sit patiently, not on your cell phone making loud personal calls, not staring at the receptionist, etc.

  38. Gaia*

    OP 1 I think it really depends on what the message said. Run of the mill gross sexist crap? I probably wouldn’t report it to their employer (and I hate myself for saying that, but that crap is just too common in society for someone to lose their job over when it isn’t related to their job). But violent, bigoted, threatening or attacking? I would not blink an eye at sending it to their employer. If you are dumb enough to 1. send that level of crap and 2. do so while listing your employer, you deserve the consequences. And I don’t think their employer would be wrong to fire them. No, it likely didn’t happen at work but it belies a lack of good judgement and common decency that I would not want to work with.

  39. Caryatis*

    Re: #1, I would strongly advise against telling the tinder guy’s employer. People are entitled to send sexual messages on dating sites, even ones that LW finds “disgusting” (a highly subjective term). Let’s not punish people for having sexual desires.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t think this is a particularly outrageous comment, although certainly one could disagree with it.

        Constructive disagreement where you explain your own point of view is going to be more useful here.

      2. MommyMD*

        I think that type of pic is gross but it’s well established it is common on the Tinder site. Calling someone’s employer is overkill and potentially dangerous. If d*** pic alarms her, image if he shows on pzzd off on her doorstep. And he could. I’m positive Eharmony has way less of these transgressions. You know what you’re getting into.

        1. Sunshine*

          By that logic, you shouldn’t report someone for stealing your car because it might provoke them to break into your house.

    1. Bend & Snap*

      I agree with this, except the “punishing people for having sexual desires.” You can have desires and also self control.

      However, this is par for the course with Tinder and other sites, so it sounds like the LW may need to find another way to meet people.

    2. Kate*

      I don’t think that’s fair. “Having sexual desires” is not a free pass to send sexually explicit messages. You can express an interest in dating someone in many nonsexual ways. For instance, striking up a conversation about a shared interest is one way. I’m actually kind of dismayed by the comments on this thread that think receiving these types of messages is just the cost of online dating. It may be, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable than if I were in a bar, and a random guy decided to tell me all the sex acts he’d like to perform on me. Online dating sites are just another avenue of meeting people, which can be really difficult in real life. They aren’t an invitation to receive gross sexual messages from strangers.

      FWIW, I’m in 100% agreement with Alison here though. I would not be inclined to tell the guy’s employer because even terrible people need employment.

      1. LBK*

        You can express an interest in dating someone in many nonsexual ways.

        I think the point you’re missing, though, is that usually these people aren’t interested in dating.

          1. LBK*

            Well obviously, but in the context of Caryatis’ comment, the point is that it’s not inherently wrong to be up front about looking for sex, presuming it’s not being done graphically.

              1. LBK*

                I’m not presuming in this particularly context (although we don’t know either way). I’m talking about in general.

    3. Sunshine*

      There is a huge difference between ‘desire’ and ‘abuse’. You don’t get to be nasty to someone just because you’re horny.

  40. Roscoe*

    So the comments on #1 made me wonder. I just checked my Tinder profile, and apparently my employer is listed on there. I know it is on Facebook, but I never intentionally listed it. Going along with that, I’m not exactly sure how to even remove that aside from removing it from Facebook. So while I’m not excusing the guys behavior (and honestly we don’t know what that behavior even was, since “disgusting message” is very vague), I also don’t think he is intentionally representing his company with this behavior either.

    1. DevAssist*

      If you go to your information in the app, you can tap on your employer. If you have other (previous employers) you can select one of those, or change it to “none.” When I use tinder, I set it to hide my employer and university for privacy reasons.

    2. Elizabeth H.*

      I created a different facebook account without my real name in order to use tinder. No content except for the few pictures I chose, no FB friends, unsearchable. You can do that if you don’t want it to pull any other profile info

  41. Katie Fay*

    2. Arriving early (for an appointment or a personal invitation) is just as rude as arriving late – there is no difference at all. As Alison suggests, stick with the agreed upon meeting time and let him/her wait.

  42. IsobelDeBrujah*

    #2 I am former military and as a result I tend to arrive about half an hour early to life. I am also a receptionist and I deal with early arrivals all the time. My question is this; are you really describing a problem with the receptionist?
    I ask this question because, at no point in your letter did you say that the clients expect to be seen earlier than their original appointment.

    There are certain of the people I work for who will not take clients early and as such, I tell those clients, “thank you for being so conscientious about your appointment time. The person with whom you are meeting will try to get to you early but you are most likely still going to meet at the time you agreed upon.” Then I tell the coworker that their appointment is here but they are aware that they have to wait. Apparently I am the first person who has worked at this office who has ever done that. Previous employees have felt an artificial urgency to get the client in and out immediately, no matter the appointment time. I suggest you speak to the receptionist about their procedure.

    Being early to an appointment is not, in and of itself, a bad thing as long as the client doesn’t put pressure on the organization to change their appointment time or act as if they have been wronged because they have to wait.

    1. EddieSherbert*


      I tend to be early for most things because I’m trying to account for potential delays. For example, I interviewed somewhere 3 hours from my location at the time. I left almost an hour early (what if there’s construction? or traffic? or I miss my exit?)… and arrived almost an hour early.

      For that one, I just sat in my car down the block for half an hour because I knew being that early might be taken badly… but it’d have been nice to feel like I didn’t have to sit in car, feeling like a weirdo! Hahaha.

    2. Chinook*

      I did this to as a receptionist. I would always give the option to the employee to come out earlier if they wanted but also let the client know that they will have to wait until the appointed time.

  43. NXM*

    #1 Here’s my question. If this guy thinks it’s okay to send an unsolicited disgusting message (and I’m assuming harassing) message to a woman he doesn’t know, what does that say about how he treats women in general? How does he treat his co-workers? I don’t often disagree with AAM, but this time, I do think it there is just cause for contacting his employer. If I had an employee harassing someone on tinder with my company name visible, I would sure as hell want to know.

    1. Roscoe*

      We don’t even know if its harassing. Sending something once, isn’t harassing someone. And its a huge leap to assume that his dating life has anything to do with his personal life. Thats like saying every dude that treats his girlfriend bad is a misogynist and treats all his female co-workers badly. Its just not likely to be true. Somone’s dating person and their work persona is often very different.

      1. Kiki*

        >Sending something once, isn’t harassing someone.

        What…of course it is. Harassing someone a single time is still harassment. The offender doesn’t have a be a serial harasser (of the same person) in order for it to be harassment. Where did you get that bizarre notion?

          1. Kiki*

            Wow, that’s ridiculous. That’s like saying someone has to punch you multiple times before it’s considered assault.

            1. fposte*

              It makes more sense when you think about the kind of conduct that is really only a problem when it’s repeated and unwanted. I think it’s reasonable that a single phone call saying “I like you and I’d like to go out with you” isn’t harassment but calling back to say it again when you’ve been told not to is. And that doesn’t mean the law doesn’t ever recognize behaviors that are harassing when done only once; it’s just that there are also offenses that require repetition.

              1. Sunshine*

                I feel like a better equivalent would be the sort of dudes who scream obscene ‘compliments’ from cars. Yeah, sure, they might only do it once. Still frightening, still upsetting, still ruins your day.

      2. Sunshine*

        If a dude treats his girlfriend badly, that’s often a pretty good indicator of how he thinks about women.

    2. Maya Elena*

      If he mistreated his coworkers, wouldn’t the employer already notice?
      Not all racists or sexists are idiots, and know how to maintain professional norms at work.

      1. Kiki*

        Not necessarily. If he was loudly calling people racial slurs in the office, yeah, that would be noticed. But many times racist and sexist people are specifically sneaky and subtle about their bigotry, which makes it harder for the employer to detect. It’s things like giving the best projects to their in-group, talking over the people they’re bigoted against in meetings, “losing” important documents in order to make someones job more difficult, etc.

    3. LBK*

      I think this depends wholly on what the message actually said, and I also think context matters. It comes back to whether you think Tinder is a platform where being more direct and aggressive about sex is acceptable; if you believe it is, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with doing so in that context, and it doesn’t say anything about how you treat people as long as you’re not doing it outside of that setting where it’s more acceptable.

  44. Ashley*

    OP #1 – The way I see it, there are two parts to your problem. Part One: Would it be wrong for you to contact gross tinder user’s employer. To which I say, no! Not wrong at all! Gross, demeaning people shouldn’t get a pass on their non-consensual behavior just because they’re on the internet, or just because they’re on a dating app, or just because they’re men, or just because they’re messaging women. You didn’t deserve this, he left himself open to retaliation, you can take those steps if you want. You can even do it in such a way that the company, at least, could not trace this back to you (I’m thinking by blurring out your name and sending from an anonymous email address). People can debate whether or not the guy really deserves this or not, but to them I say, whatevs. You didn’t deserve the demeaning message, after all. The ship of “proportional response” has sailed.

    Now, onto the more pressing question: Is it in your best interests to contact the employer? Unfortunately, it’s probably not, because if he figures out you jeopardized his employment, HE may come back for revenge, and rest assured, he will escalate. Decent men do not send messages like the one you received, so we know he is not decent, and that he will act against society’s standards of morality if he thinks it’s deserved and/or he won’t get caught. In my honest opinion, you don’t want to become the target of someone like that.

    If I were you, I would (a) report him to Tinder, (b) block him, and (c) read The Gift of Fear.

    1. Marillenbaum*

      I think this is the only reasonable comment I’ve seen on the subject. So many people have been justifying it by saying “It only matters how he behaves at work” (debatable) or “it’s a hook up app (still doesn’t excuse it) or “Disgusting is subjective” (in which case we should take LW at their word). I personally wouldn’t bother, but that doesn’t mean LW would be in the wrong to give the company a heads-up.

    2. Jazmint*

      Agreed. This is one of the few responses that doesn’t seem to be pointing the finger at op saying she deserves it for being on tinder, while offering helpful advice for the op instead of lecturing the morality of reporting someone.

      She should definitely take care of herself first. No point putting herself at risk for someone who obviously has issues.

      1. LBK*

        Well, wait – there’s a difference between saying she deserves it and saying she shouldn’t be surprised by it, and I’ve only seen people saying the latter here. That distinction matters because having appropriate expectations for behavior ensures you’re correctly calibrating what a proportional response would be.

    3. Emi.*

      People can debate whether or not the guy really deserves this or not, but to them I say, whatevs. You didn’t deserve the demeaning message, after all. The ship of “proportional response” has sailed.

      I don’t understand this. It sounds like you think it’s a mistake to moderate responses to undeserved mistreatment in proportion to the gravity of the mistreatment. So what should we respond to proportionately? Deserved mistreatment? If it’s deserved, it must be a proportionate response to something prior, and the loop is closed; there’s no need for any response at all. Do you just reject proportionality across the board? What set this ship a-sailing?

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, what? All-out rejecting the concept of proportionality is pretty insane and I think if taken to its extreme isn’t something you would actually agree with, Ashley.

  45. Matilda Jefferies*

    #4, am I right in thinking that when you say you have “squashed” your resume down, that you have done it by adjusting font sizes and margins and so on, in addition to the ampersands? Because if you’re doing that, I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. You need to be focusing on the content of your resume, not the formatting. The two page guideline doesn’t mean as many words as you can reasonably fit into that space – it means that most employers will only have the capacity and interest for a certain number of bullet points, and that those bullet points will usually fit into two pages.

    Instead, I think you should think of it as “cutting” your resume, or “editing” it, or using some other verb that means actually removing content. I promise you can do it!

    1. OP#4*

      Sorry. When I said squashed I meant cut down, although I did remove extra line spaces as well.

  46. OP #2*

    Thank you for all of your responses. Nice to see there are others here with similar jobs, too.

    Yes, public transportation is a thing for some of our clients – I didn’t connect the dots that it can drastically affect arrival times, so that’s my privilege talking. There are probably more who use it than those who explicitly mention it, so it’s helpful for me to keep that in mind.

    It’s funny, a lot of my interpersonal conflicts come down to me just needing to SAY something – I am nonconfrontational to a fault, and I tend to go along with things rather than speak up, even in cases like this where alerting clients to the issue is a necessary kindness.

    Since two of my recent early arrivals were former IT project managers, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’re aware of arrival time norms and really did not expect to be seen right away.

    But moving forward, I will be clearer with Reception that I’ll be out closer to the meeting time if I’m busy, and inform clients that interviewers will expect them to be 10-15 minutes early at most, and encourage them to bring reading material (to our office) or wait elsewhere (interview) if it’s going to be a regular thing.

    1. IsobelDeBrujah*

      “and encourage them to bring reading material (to our office) or wait elsewhere (interview) if it’s going to be a regular thing.”

      This is important too. I always bring reading/knitting to a waiting room because I am always early. I also make it clear that no one needs to put themselves out for me. I am happy waiting until meeting time.

  47. MHR*

    #1 – Has anyone considered that someone listing an employer on a hookup app might be lying? Especially if its an employer he thinks might look good to others?

  48. Wakeen's Duck Club*

    4: You always want to tailor your resume to he job to which you’re applying. I might have a 2-3 page resume with everything listed, then delete the parts that are irrelevant to the job (or that wouldn’t help you land that interview) before sending it in.

  49. KD*

    #1: I don’t think the employer should be contacted, but isn’t a gross message to a woman bigoted? Isn’t sexism bigotry?

  50. DevAssist*

    #1 Noooooooooo! Please don’t report him to his employer (unless, as advised, the message was racist or bigoted).

    Nasty and inappropriate messages are, unfortunately, part of online dating (especially when using dating apps). Block him and move on.

    Also- food for thought: Tinder pulls that info from Facebook, and a lot of people do not regularly update their information. For all you know, that might not even be his current employer.

    1. gwal*

      Or if something unique to that workplace is apparent in the inappropriate content (like a nasty photo taken in some identifiably-work location, I’m imagining totally awful like behind the counter at a coffee shop or something)

    2. Happy Pirate*

      There was a media controversy in Australia a few years ago when a journalist Clementine Ford contacted the employer of a Facebook stalker who was sending her rape and death threats. He was subsequently fired. It’s a bit of a different scenario because Facebook is a public profile but in that case I feel that one should be accountable for your actions and if you list your place of employment you are defacto representing your employer.

  51. Amy*

    OP#3- I had someone do that for me when I was interviewing for my current job. I had an opportunity to sit with her one on one so we could talk candidly about the organization, the position, and our boss. Could be I was kind of oblivious but I wasn’t really picking up on it. She was trying to warn me and I just saw her as negative and disgruntled. Eventually we became close friends and she confided that she was really hoping I wouldn’t take the job because it was such a horrible environment. Fast forward almost two years later and I am finally getting out! Sound like you’re not trying to warn your replacement away but just giving them a heads up. If you can provide concrete ideas to your replacement on how to deal with boss’s challenges as Alison suggests, I think that’s great!

  52. TootsNYC*

    Re: cutting your resumé:

    Here’s a tactic I used.

    The actual duties of my job tend to be the same at different places. So I left out anything that’s obvious or that’s a duplicate, on the assumption that my interviewer will know that I input data, or proofread reports, or whatever the normal, core tasks are.

    And for each listing, I only included what was -different- or -notable-.

    That led me to focus on accomplishments (trimmed budget by $X or Y%; moved standards sheet to the cloud for easy access; recruited stable staff) (yes, even before I ran into Alison’s blog)
    or on unexpected scope of work (supervised more people at this job than at others; had Z extra duties)

    I also took early experience and put it in a list of employers and titles, with no details. If they want to know, they can ask, but after about 7 years, that wasn’t the most relevant part of my resumé. It’s true that I’ve been at companies of different sizes (and my interviewers will recognize those companies), or covering different “markets” (which will be evident to my interviewers as well), so that’s valuable for them to know, but they don’t need to know the duties or even the accomplishments–especially if the accomplishments are echoed in more recent work (effected a workflow transition between different softwares, for example).

    As for your computer work, consider placing that in a list as well, to cut down on space.

  53. Observer*

    #4 I think you need to edit your resume. Someone else mentioned not trying to “squash” as much as you can by shrinking fonts, margins etc. That’s good advice. You really do need to cull your resume. Not every single thing you need is really that important. But also, you probably need to change how you are writing. There may very well be ways to describe the important points more concisely than you are doing.

  54. Eljay*

    #1 – Report this person to his employer for what – being gross? Creepy? Horny? The very idea is bizarre. OP, you are on a dating/hook-up app. You can’t police the behaviour of other people. Reporting someone to their employer seems incredibly self-righteous, petty and vindictive towards a complete stranger.

    1. HannahS*

      Your comment is gross and victim-blaming. If a woman has the nerve to want to date or (gasp!) have sex she’s signing up to be treated like crap? She should just tolerate the dude being gross and creepy? That’s the bizarre attitude. Why are you fine with men being gross and creepy on dating apps? Most men manage not to be, so why is that not expectes of everyone? Of course you can police other people’s behaviour. That’s why most dating and hookup apps allow you to report people for bad behaviour.

      1. Eljay*

        Just because someone offends another person doesn’t mean person is being victimized. You’re right that the OP shouldn’t tolerate the behavior; she should block this person and move on. To try to negatively impact a person’s career because he said something she didn’t like on a dating app is not a reasonable step to take.

      2. LBK*

        She can easily just block him, and I don’t think that’s “tolerating it”. The absence of karmic justice doesn’t mean you’re passively doing nothing; tolerating it would be leaving the conversation open so he can continue to harass her, but she doesn’t have to do that.

    2. Sunshine*

      “You can’t police the behaviour of other people.”

      We do that all the time. That’s why we have the police.

      1. Eljay*

        And as I previously commented, if the message is violent or threatening then she should call the police. Telling someone’s employer that they were rude or behaved badly is not an appropriate response.

        1. Sunshine*

          While I was being (slightly) flippant before, we also police each other’s behaviour all the time as a society. It’s how we make society pleasant to live in. You aren’t going to report your co-worker to the police for playing a ukulele at his desk, but you’d likely ‘police’ his behaviour by asking him to stop; involving other people and ultimately talking to your employer.

          If a guy thinks his ‘desire’ to play the ukulele – or own a dangerous dog, or sexually harass you – trumps your right to peace and safety you’ll likely ‘police’ his behaviour in a number of different ways without involving law enforcement.

    1. Panda Bandit*

      Why yes, gross people should be able to do whatever they want! Everyone else is just going to have to accept it!

    2. AW*

      I’ve never used it but I assume that there’s guidelines for behavior so I’d expect anyone using it to abide by them.

  55. Mallory*

    Steve Jobs’ resume was one page. STEVE. JOBS.
    All of us can keep our resumes to one page. Three pages is insane.

    1. Allergist*

      Steve Jobs had very few jobs so not a great example. List the company he owns and the revenue growthethere and presto resume.

  56. Jaguar*

    OP1: Do you want to be someone that tries to harm someone because you don’t like who they are?

    1. HannahS*

      Uh, if who someone is is someone who sends, for example, sexually violent fantasies to women who have not given an indication that they want to hear sexually violent fantasies that star them, then yeah, I want them in trouble. Sometimes who someone is sucks.

      1. Eljay*

        The appropriate response to a sexually violent message is to call the police, not the stranger’s employer.

        1. HannahS*

          Right, because the police are known for their excellent handling of both online threats agains women and sexual violence against women?
          I don’t think contacting this guy’s office will accomplish very much, but the idea that sending disgusting messages to women is ‘who someone is’ is seriously objectionable.

      2. KHB*

        I wish I could upvote this.

        And I’m finding something puzzling about some of these comments. A lot of people seem to think BOTH that the gross message sender has done nothing wrong (he’s just “being who he is” or “having desires”) AND that he’ll definitely be fired or otherwise penalized at work if his employer finds out about it. I don’t see how you can have it both ways – if there’s nothing wrong with the message, wouldn’t the employer probably also make that assessment?

        (I’m definitely not saying that there’s no need for privacy between employees and employers, or that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to complain about. I’m just not seeing how a Tinder message can be both completely innocuous and a fireable offence.)

        1. Observer*

          Actually, very easily. I don’t it’s highly likely, but definitely possible. A lot depends on the employer and local environment. But if a woman can be fired because of her history as a stripper (something she stopped BEFORE she took the job she got fired from), I see no reason to see why something similar can’t happen to someone else.

        2. Jaguar*

          Who a person isn’t an excuse. Jeffrey Dalmer is who he is.

          My point is just that going after someone’s job is really extreme. I think, morally, there should be a high bar to meet before you take action to jeopardize someone’s job. We don’t know what the content of the message was, but I would not feel like I acted ethically if I tried to cause harm to someone’s livelihood because they said something to me I found offensive.

          1. Sunshine*

            You think going after someone’s job is more extreme than sending someone hateful / abusive messages?

            1. Lindsay J*

              I absolutely do.

              A hateful message can be deleted, and the person blocked. You might feel shitty for a day (I don’t, generally, but it seems like others do when they receive things like this and I know my fear reactions seem to be calibrated differently than most women’s) but you move on with life. It’s not something that you’re going to be thinking about next month or next year.

              And I think if the message one that you’ll be thinking about in a month or a year because it is threatening or otherwise harassing, the proper course of action is to go to the authorities, not his employer.

              If you get that person fired, it’s going to mess up their life for a long time. They’ll certainly have to find a new job which could take weeks, months, even years. They could get evicted, their car repossessed, etc. Their family could suffer. They might not ever be able to find a job with equivalent responsibilities or pay, or their career could just be set back by the amount of time they spend out of the workforce.

              I know that this isn’t a great equivalency, because the receiver of the message didn’t do anything to deserve the negative emotional consequences of getting the message, which the sender of the message did do something that (at least arguably) deserves some sort of recourse.

              But just answering your question, I do think that seeking out someone’s employer to send them a message and hopefully get them fired is more extreme than sending off a disgusting message on a website and if they are fired their life will be more effected than the other person’s was by receiving the message to begin with.

              1. Sunshine*

                Hmmmm. We’ll have to agree to disagree. To me, this sort of behaviour is sexual harassment. Do you think someone should be fired for yelling obscenities at young girls from a company van? For groping someone?

                I also don’t think for a second that he *would* be fired. But wanting a person to face consequences for vile behaviour is totally acceptable imo.

        3. Roscoe*

          I think you can say that it is both inappropriate on the guys end and its also not a good thing to involve their career based on your own morals. It seems people feel like “punishment must be served” and that it is their job to see to that. When in reality, yeah, some people suck. But that doesn’t mean that you need to contact their employer about it.

    2. Hana*

      Let’s not equate what someone does with who someone is. It’s not like the behavior in #1 is uncontrollable for most to all people.

    3. Temperance*

      I think the better question is dudebros, why do you feel okay with verbally assaulting women for merely existing?

      1. Jaguar*

        Considering the context is someone asking how they should act in response to receiving an offensive message, that doesn’t seem like a more relevant question at all. It seems more like trying to reframe things.

  57. Amy*

    I just have to tell this story. So a sales guy was hired at an old employer, he seemed kind do awkward. He left a competitor radio station to come work with us. He used to be in promotions, min wage and now was in sales, which is a better job, I guess. It depends. Anyway while he was working at that competitor sports station he used to harass the promo.models that worked for us, sending multiple gross messages to one girls Facebook. He even sent a picture of you know what andthe girl replied I am blue ckijg you, gross!!! I know all this because it turns out my boyfriend knew the girl, somegow it all came to me and I was asked to do something. Publically it said who his employer was on Facebook. I couldn’t look at the guy the same as I had seen his behavior to women not to mention his you know what. The messages were him saying I know you want it,etc. The girl saying I am a model, not a call girl, that conversation then she blocked him. Anyway I handled it by telling my manager to call the girl and investigate…he was later fired for it. Just hand it off to someone !! Maybe it will help. You could send it anonymously!!!

    1. Emi.*

      But that’s something he’s doing in connection with work, or even at work, and it’s much more persistent than a single nasty message. Fired is an appropriate consequence of ongoing sexual harassment at work, but not of being a one-off cad on Tinder.

      1. Lindsay J*

        And Amy had a stake in what his employer did because she worked at the same place.

        I wouldn’t think the OP would be in the wrong to contact this guy’s employer if she had a stake in that employer in some way – if he worked in the same place she did, if he was an employee at a gym she worked out in or a vendor her company purchases supplies from or similar.

        But googling the email to the guy’s HR department when you have no relationship with the company at all seems icky to me.

        I think it’s because if she had a connection to the company, she would be looking for something actionable and reasonable on her own behalf. It’s completely reasonable to not want to have to look this guy in the face when you sign in to work out at the gym, or worry that he’s going to wind up handling your company’s account, or to let your managers know that this guy behaves in this way online which makes you uncomfortable with being in the same building with him and might also be losing them customers.

        With no connection to the company, it seems like she’s just doing this so the company can punish him/so she can seek revenge.

        And, really, I don’t want employers to be in the business of punishing people for their behavior outside of work.

        Because, even if we take the OP at her word that the message was disgusting and thus was likely out of the norm of normal dating website behavior, and thus is likely something most people would agree is poor behavior that “deserves” to be punished by someone, where does it end?

        Smoking marijuana is still illegal in most of the country. One could argue that by paying for marijuana, your money ultimately winds up funding cartels that actively harm people, and in the least increases demand even if you pay for weed that is more ethically sourced. Do we want people tattling to employers if someone posts a message online indicating that they smoke weed? My partner and I engage in BDSM. Many people find that objectionable for a variety of reasons – maybe they just find it objectionable because it’s outside the sexual norm, maybe they dislike it because they feel like it makes light of abuse or sexual assault or leads to the normalization of violence against women. Should it be reported to our employers? Say I send a private message to someone who doesn’t share my political beliefs, letting them know that they support something I find morally reprehensible? Should they forward that to my employer? Should I be punished for it, even if the content wasn’t abusive? If my employer shares their political beliefs I might be, even though 50% or more of the country doesn’t share the same sentiment.

  58. Sarabeth*

    My predecessor and I overlapped in the office for 2 days. He’d interviewed me both times and we’d emailed about job details, but on my first day he took me out to lunch so we could talk out of the office. He gave me a spot-on description of my future coworkers and it wasn’t negative but completely accurate! 3 years later I still think about how helpful that was. Highly recommend.

  59. Greg*

    #4: I had a class in college where our paper had to be an exact length, and the professor even specified the font/line spacing so that we couldn’t “cheat” even a little. Let me tell you, cutting that paper down to the required length is still the hardest edit job I’ve ever had to do, but in the end, it made my paper much better . (I’m reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote apologizing for a long letter because he didn’t have the time to make it shorter).

    You have to get out of the mindset where the goal of your resume is to cram information. It’s to *present* information, and you need to put yourself in the mindset of the person reading it.

  60. Allergist*

    #4 doesn’t sound like you are doing an achievement oriented resume switch to that and the pages will melt away.

    If I tried to list my tasks for my current role it would be two pages for just the majorly important ones but I really only have 5 shining accomplishments in the role.


    Re: #3
    Alison is very right to point out that the new person may have a very different relationship with your boss than you do. I had someone sit me down and spend an entire lunch hour warning me about the horrors of my new boss… who turned out to be someone I am blissfully happy to work with.

  62. Former Retail Manager*

    OP#2….no time to read all the comments above so apologies if this has already been raised, but can the person scheduling the interviews/appointments with these folks simply schedule it and tell them that they may arrive 5-10 mins early while politely requesting that they not arrive any earlier than that? If they do this and start getting ample feedback regarding transit schedules or some other cause that impacts their arrival time, you could perhaps adjust the appointment schedule accordingly?

  63. Hoorah*

    If you leave your employer’s details on your Tinder profile then send disgusting messages to strangers, you kind of deserve any consequences you suffer as a result of the recipients contacting your boss.

    If any of our staff was sending gross messages on Tinder I would say it’s none of my business. I would, however, care to know if they made known their associations with our business.

    It’s the same as people behaving rudely while wearing their company uniform, or flipping people off on the road while driving in their company branded car.

    1. Sunshine*

      Yep. There was another letter where a dude got fired for brawling off premises while wearing a company polo. This is in exactly the same ballpark.

  64. Winger*

    I have to disagree with Alison’s categorical differentiation between “racist or otherwise hateful and bigoted” stuff and “run-of-the-mill sex stuff” that you might encounter on a dating site or social media in general. Why do we need to separate these things? Why is it worse to call all Mexicans lazy than to grossly proposition a woman? That she would advise the OP to take action if its racist but not if its sexist – as if both are not forms of violence that should be aggressively called out and resisted at every opportunity – is strange to me.

    1. AW*

      I’m just guessing here but I would guess that it’s easier to imagine an “acceptable” level of bigotry toward a group you belong to versus a group you don’t belong to. I can imagine a message that, while gross, would not necessarily make me think this guy is dangerous or otherwise shouldn’t be around women customers or co-workers. I can imagine that because, as a woman, I have to do that mental math of “is this sexist enough for me to take action on” all the time.

      But I’m not Muslim so I can’t reliably look at something and say that’s an “acceptable” level of Islamaphobia that isn’t worth acting on. I can’t look at something and tell whether the person who said it is merely ignorant or if they’re likely being discriminatory toward Muslims at their job. I don’t know where the line is on that or even if the line exists at all.

      But I also don’t think Alison is saying that all sex stuff is run-of-the-mill sex stuff. She did say that the message may be worse than what she’s imagining so she isn’t saying it being sexist is OK regardless of how bad it is.

  65. AW*

    This strategy, while doable, makes me feel like an entitled jerk for making clients wait so long

    I still don’t get this.

    But rather than re-hashing my comment from the last time this was discussed, I will ask this: Would it help at all if the job applicant, assuming they knew they’d have to or likely be extremely early, discussed this with the interviewer up front? Would a, “I will have to take [mode of transit] to your location which means I will likely get there N minutes early. Can we move the time earlier/later? If not, is there a waiting area where it would be OK for me to wait until the start of the interview?” be acceptable?

    I imagine a lot of job applicants, especially new ones, don’t think they can or should negotiate interview times unless they literally can’t make it at all. Am I correct in thinking that asking would OK or would this come across badly as well?

  66. Workaholic*

    #3 – i’ve been trained by bitter, angry and/or disgruntled workers numerous times and was briefly worried at the topic. But the way you worded everything it sounds more like a tip or shortcut. If presented in that way, without negativity, it will surely be helpful and appreciated.

  67. Lisa*

    #2 – At my last job, I was not the receptionist, but we were a small office and my desk happened to be the one next to the “reception area” (aka a couch and a couple chairs). It drove me nuts when people showed up super-early for meetings because I felt like I had to awkwardly ignore the person sitting a few feet from me for 30 minutes OR take time out of my work to make conversation/offer them a drink from the kitchen, etc.

    It was most frustrating because we were in a downtown urban area with plenty of spots to sit and kill time, including a coffee shop ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF OUR BUILDING. (That’s where I went to sit myself, when I was early for my own interview with the company!) But for the people who weren’t coming specifically to meet with me, I didn’t feel like it was my place to suggest that they go elsewhere for a while, etc. Oh well. Just a vent. I don’t work there anymore anyway; now I’m about as far from our entrance as you can be so I never deal with visitors unless they’re actually for me!

  68. Jonah Kyle*

    #1: My girlfriend got a message from someone in her Facebook group from someone who was not taking no for an answer. His business was located on his page (quite overtly), and his position was manager. I visited his office myself, saw him in his office, closed the door, and had a quiet but very assertive chat. I said if my gf had done what she had WANTED to do, every person on that floor would have known about his activity, but I told him that I didn’t expect for this to happen again, with my gf nor with anyone else. I considered the matter close and I left, pretty sure he got the message. If not, then it’s his funeral.

    #2: In many cases, applications need to be filled out prior to an interview. In this case, if your company doesn’t require an application, and if your candidate has arrived well before the interview time, it may be wise to have your receptionist to instruct the candidate to fill one out. Even if you don’t read it, it provides the built-in excuse of not having to come out to contact the candidate prematurely, and usually takes at least 10-15 minutes to fill out. Just make sure that you include the application with the resume to comply with any employment documentation regulations. If there is still considerable time left to the interview, then your receptionist should had the candidate a brochure on your company. (Don’t have one? Create one for this purpose!)

  69. Wintermute*

    To everyone saying #1 should contact his employer. Frankly I’m horrified that anyone thinks that’s a good idea.

    Think about what you’re saying, what do you want an employer to do with this? Fire him? So you’re saying, “he sent a gross message he deserves to lose his house, haha”

    Losing a job is a B.F.D. Especially in this economy and political climate. You are literally saying “he sent a gross message so he deserves to be bankrupted, ruined or even physically harmed”.

    Think about this a moment. Think about what a horrifying precedent that’s setting first of all, the fact someone can dislike your discourse online and try to get you fired with all the anxiety and turmoil and financial and personal instability that come with it. Second, was what they sent SO TERRIBLE that they deserve to lose a home, delay financial goals, lose their HEALTH INSURANCE (and maybe never get it back thanks to congress)?


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