ask the readers: what flies in your industry that would shock others?

This idea was sent to me by someone who works in a newsroom and said, “My editor looked at me like I was crazy for asking if I’m going to get in trouble for keeping a machete at my desk.”

…followed by this excellent suggestion: “Could we have an open thread sometime of things that are chill in your industry that would be extremely not chill elsewhere?”

So, let’s do it. What flies in your industry that you’re pretty sure would not fly somewhere else?

{ 1,203 comments… read them below }

  1. AdAgencyChick*

    We’re not as drunk as they are on Mad Men, but there’s definitely alcohol on the job in advertising. Sometimes the wine bottles start coming out as early as 2 PM on Fridays!

    I usually don’t partake — not gonna waste calories on cheap wine — but lots of people do.

      1. Bend & Snap*

        This is like the only thing I miss about working at a PR agency. Nothing flows anywhere in corporate PR unless you’re at an event.

      2. Chinook*

        Ditto for the small town newspaper I worked at. Once the weekly was sent for printing, alcohol was allowed.

        1. michelenyc*

          There is actually an AA meeting that is known here in the city as the one that all the fashion people go to.

          1. Catty Hack*

            ::shudders:: There’s a small but significant number of journalists I know who have developed problems with alcohol because heavy drinking is such a given in the profession. Even the problem drinking is downplayed much more than it should be because of the culture. I’m not a heavy drinker at all by industry standards but my non-industry friends are always horrified when I tell them how much I’ve had in any given week – it’s a bit of a wake-up call.

            1. Clisby Williams*

              Yeah, I remember comments on some thread here that made it sound like there are businesses where drinking at lunch is a complete no-no. I worked at newspapers for almost 12 years, and found that idea bizarre. Actually, I worked in IT for another 25+ years, and would have found it bizarre there, too. I’m not talking about going out for lunch and coming back drunk, but the idea that you couldn’t have a beer or a glass of wine is just weird to me.

              1. Anon for this*

                I work in the transit industry. Even though I’m at the management level in an admin building (so infrequently interact with people that actually operate vehicles), drinking is a huge no-no at anything that could be seen as representing the organization. Even if it were at a restaurant within walking distance. It’s not used as prizes either, the only exception would be if it was an informal “social” activity at a restaurant where everyone was buying for themselves and it wasn’t during the workday (unpaid lunch would be a no). The optics would just be too bad.

      3. MintyFresh*

        Talking about how scenarios where, say, a large city was wiped off the map can keep you up all night with worry but that if the world was destroyed tomorrow, who cares because we’re all dead anyway.
        Hearing “my P doesn’t look right” on a regular basis.
        Cracking jokes about actuaries and finding them hilarious.


      4. MintyFresh*

        Talking about how scenarios where, say, a large city was wiped off the map can keep you up all night with worry but that if the world was destroyed tomorrow, who cares because we’re all dead anyway.
        Hearing “my P doesn’t look right” on a regular basis.
        Cracking jokes about actuaries and finding them hilarious.


      1. CappaCity*

        +1 Digital Marketing/Tech. We have a wine fridge in the break room. I’m not a drinker, but working happy hours are definitely a thing around here.

        1. anonymouse*

          I worked in digital marketing tech for a year and we had a rolling keg cart and an endless supply of champagne and sparkling rose in the fridge. Not unusual to pop a bottle and drink bubbly from company branded coffee mugs in a conference room with coworkers for a “working session” (where we all worked independently while talking and drinking).

        2. Manders*

          +1 from another person in digital marketing. Although my husband is a high school teacher, and his colleagues have wilder parties than any group I’ve worked with.

            1. Chinook*

              Once I started working as a teacher, I finally learned why all the teachers felt that the “Friday Library Meeting” was so urgent – that was when they hauled out the beer and coolers. Those were usually stored in the Phys.Ed teacher’s fridge next to the ice wraps and water bottles (and explained why we as students weren’t allowed in his office).

              1. Kimberly*

                Here they would be violating the law. The cops used to sit in our parking lot and ticket people walking with a case of beer from the convenience store across the school parking lot to the apartments.

                1. Specialk9*

                  Wow. By any chance do you live in Ferguson? That’s a nice way to pervert the law to get lots of easy money.

            2. Batshua*

              I remember being shocked and horrified that there was a BYOB booze party called “Red SOLO Cup” being advertised in the elementary school bathrooms. (Only the staff bathrooms, but still!)

            3. Die Forelle*

              I remember student teaching and asking my cooperating teacher about the choir rehearsal posters in the staff bathroom. Turns out the venue was a local bar, and that was the code for the Friday happy hour.

              And can confirm, teachers do indeed know how to party! We used to get a half day on two Fridays per school year, after two long days of parent-teacher conferences. There were two or three bars in town where teachers from across the district (8 elementary schools, two large middle schools, and the high school) would meet up on those parent conference Fridays.

            4. no more interns*


              My (soon to be ex) husband is an elementary school teacher and I found out the hard way that they go apeshit when they get together and alcohol is involved. The women he is cheating on me with are also elementary school teachers! Who knew that elementary school teachers are getting it on!!!! It makes me think about what was going on with my teachers when I was in elementary school.

              1. Just Answering*

                Not all of us. Seriously, I’m an elementary school teacher of 18 years in both public and private schools, and I’ve been to one bar one time with my colleagues. And, in no school I’ve been in has it been ordinary or normal to go out together or stay in together and drink.

              2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                At one of the schools I went to as a kid, my mom found out that my second grade teacher was having an affair with the principal (both married, of course.) And it was a religious school!

                And she was a mean, nasty teacher to boot. Who knows what they saw in each other.

            5. Kriss*

              I come from a family of teachers & have lots of teacher friends (elementary to college level) & yes they can party. they were all circulating a meme not too long ago called “the teacher’s fidget spinner” it was a corkscrew.

            6. BananaPants*

              If I had to deal with 20+ 6 year olds every day, I’d be inclined to cut loose after hours, too.

          1. EmKay*

            Oh yeah. We had a weekly “book club” Fridays after class. The first time I got invited I said “but I don’t even know which book you’re discussing” and everybody laughed.

    1. Paige Turner*

      There are definitely “closing beers” at my coffee shop workplace and at my SO’s bikeshop workplace. It helps that we’re in a city where a lot of people bike or take public transit home.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        How does the way people get home help? More people die every year from being a drunk pedestrian than from drunk driving. And drunk driving is drunk driving in most states whether you are in a car or on a bike (motorized or not.)

        1. Cyrus*

          Because drunk driving is illegal and a danger to yourself and others. Drunk walking is only a danger to yourself. Drunk biking, a reduced danger to others (not nonexistent, I’m well aware, but reduced), and while still illegal and still dangerous to yourself, probably generally less likely to get arrested for it.

          It’s obviously not ideal to walk or bike drunk, but you asked how it helps – maybe it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as driving drunk.

        2. Natalie*

          And drunk driving is drunk driving in most states whether you are in a car or on a bike (motorized or not.)

          This is incorrect, it’s much more varied than that, and in some states it’s quite vague and up to the courts.

          Assuming “closing beers” is one round, it seems pretty unlikely the person is so drunk that they can’t safely take public transportation home. And what are they supposed to do, sleep in the coffee shop lest they get hit by a car walking home?

        3. Lissa*

          Well, considering that I’ve been inundated with ad campaigns against drunk driving since I was a kid, and see a ton of press about it, vs. never seeing similar things about drunk biking/walking, I think regardless of your personal feelings about it, most people would avoid drunk driving to a much greater extent than the others.

        4. Eric*

          This is not true.

          Over 10,000 people in 2016 in the United States died in alcohol-related car crashes.

          About 6000 pedestrians died in TOTAL in the United States in 2016.

          1. Specialk9*

            Yeah, I was going to give that a giant CITATION NEEDED. I used to ride an ambulance, and know the dumb things people can do drunk and high, and no way they’re dying more from falling funny or stepping into danger, as opposed to bring drunk while operating tons of machinery. That’s a very strange idea, and makes me think there is an ax to grind there.

    2. Yamikuronue*

      My boss’s prior team started literally holding their biweekly team meetings at the pub. They just all peaced out at 2 on a given day and ran through status updates over beers.

      1. MsMaryMary*

        I had a manager who would have our 1:1s at a bar. We were friends before she became my manager, and she managed nearly a dozen people at a company where monthly 1:1s were the expectation. We’d leave at 4:30 or 5:00 on a Friday, go out for drinks, talk about work for half an hour/hour, and segue into our weekend. We didn’t do it every month, more formal performance conversations like my annual review were done at the office. But for general stauts updates anf check-ins, we met over drinks.

        1. Mabel*

          Wow! I love having cocktails, but I would hate to have them mixed with work. Too fraught for me.

    3. Alexa*

      I worked at an investment firm and this was normal there, too. We had a huge Thanksgiving potluck (meats & beverages catered by the company but sides provided by staff) every year and our Marketing VP, who was a huge wine connoisseur, would bring cases of Beaujolais for us. Taxi vouchers were also provided ;-)

        1. Wendy Darling*

          There was so much drinking when I was in grad school. I’m not sure how you survive grad school without all that time in dive bars tbh.

        2. B*

          +1 science management. I work at a site where there are also labs, and they sell beer, wine, and sparkling wine in the cafeteria. Plus, every month one of our teams organises a “happy hour” for all staff.

        3. Chameleon*

          I fondly remember when we went to happy hour and afterward my lab mate was looking really worried. I asked him what was wrong and he just shook his head and said “I’m drunk, and I have to set up 5 96-well plate reactions tonight.” Somehow he managed but I was pretty glad I wasn’t him.

            1. Typhon Worker Bee*

              Oh, but tipsy science can be fun! (As long as you’re not doing anything complicated, expensive, or dangerous). During grad school, I did routine tasks like splitting cells, setting up (safe) bacterial cultures, making solutions etc. in the afternoons after our monthly pub lunches. It was really fun because pretty much the whole group was in it together.

            2. BananaPants*

              In our case as undergrads, it was beer AFTER engineering. No good can come of getting liquored up and then using power tools or doing electrical work.

              My senior year, most of us worked it so as to have no classes on Fridays – we’d spend a good chunk of the day in the lab or machine shop working on senior design projects. At 4 PM we’d head over to a nearby bar with a number of the grad students for beer, pizza, and foosball. Sometimes the 2-3 profs under the age of 40 would come as well, which was fun.

        4. Typhon Worker Bee*

          Depends on location. Here in Vancouver, it is Not Done to order an alcoholic drink at lunch. However, I did my PhD in Glasgow, and you’d hear people say things like “just one for me, I’m working with radioactive isotopes this afternoon”. Exact same field and type of institute.

          After-work drinks do seem to be a ubiquitous feature of academic science, though! I worked in the private sector for a couple of years after my postdoc and the same was true there.

          1. Mr McGregor's Gardener*

            My favourite (Sheffield, UK), was “Just one more for me, I’m making radioactively labelled virus particles this afternoon”.

        5. AfterBurner313*

          +1 computational chemistry and studio artist. I’m surprised I have a liver left from surviving the 1990s.

    4. Nonny for this thread*

      Software and web/graphic design too, in my experience! I once worked in an office with empty booze bottles all over the place. And clients regularly came in there. The big boss and others smoked weed in there after hours too.

      1. Cindy*

        I work at a smallish software company (70 employees) and we end work every Friday at 4pm and drink company provided beer. We also have a ping pong table, fooseball and darts. So it’s like our own little bar.

      2. The Other Katie*

        Can confirm. I used to work for a data company. First interview: Friday afternoon, finished because start of their Friday kegger.

      3. many bells down*

        At my husband’s tech company, bottle of whiskey are considered a standard “thanks for helping out with that project” gift. You do not have to take them home to drink them.

    5. Lauren*

      Most ad agencies have a bar with beer on tap or just fridges and closets dedicated for alcohol, some have PT bartenders at night. It encourages all nighters and working all the time in the ‘last minute, sure we can do that by tomorrow’ culture.

    6. Anonygoose*

      I once worked as a scotch whisky tour guide… As you can imagine, regular ‘tastings’ were definitely part of the job there!

      1. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

        I temped in the office of a major alcoholic beverage company a while ago. They had an actual bar in the office. During the workday it was used as a large meeting room and/or a lunchroom (it was right next to the kitchen). Once a week, though, they had a happy hour at the end of the day with free drinks for employees. (They did have a drink limit, though.) The company swag given out to employees included bottles of the company’s products – it was rare to see a desk that didn’t have loads of (unopened) bottles of alcohol on it!
        They also had multiple employee focus groups/tastings of new products.

    7. WILSON*

      In advertising. WINE! I’m in medical advertising, from a very stitched-up academic background and this shocked me. That is not to say I haven’t embraced it! A glass of red does wonders for apprehensions and creativity. The second sends me downhill rapidly.

    8. K.*

      Yep! That’s been my experience at ad & PR agencies. Happy hour Fridays were a regular thing at one agency – 4:00 every Friday, without fail.

    9. Tin Cormorant*

      This doesn’t sound shocking to me at all, but it’s probably because my last job (at a startup mobile game company in San Francisco) had beer on tap. You could go down to the third floor at any time and have a beer. Not sure how many people actually took advantage of it, but it was there.

      1. SL #2*

        Worked in SF for a bit and we had a beer mini-fridge that was behind the office manager’s desk and she used some of our grocery budget to restock it. We operated on the honor system: no beer until after 5 pm OR Friday at 3 pm.

      2. Butch Cassidy*

        I was a temp OM at an SF consulting firm, and we always had beer on tap. People usually didn’t break into it until Friday afternoon, but when the keg ran out we had a Situation until I called in a replacement.

      3. Not Rebee*

        I work for a startup tech company as well and we have a beer fridge in the game room and a kegerator outside on our little patio area. Not to mention a slide in the building XD

    10. Alex*

      I spent a year teaching English in France. At school one day the teachers (in an elementary school) all had a glass or two of Beaujolais Nouveau. I thought this would never fly in the US.

    11. DD*

      Yeah, I worked with a software/web development team that was located off-site in a bar. The location was a bar previously, and they kept, complete with three beers on tap. People would routinely have a beer any lunchtime or sit at the bar and code with a pint. I never witnessed it being an issue–everybody treated the perk responsibly. Wasn’t much of a draw for me.

    12. phedre*

      I would LOVE to be able to drink once in a while at my job. I work in fundraising at a nonprofit and do a lot of writing (donor communications, grants, newsletters, appeals, etc.). On days when the words aren’t flowing and I’m feeling stuck, a beer or a glass of wine at work would seriously help (I did this all the time in grad school). One drink loosens you up enough for writing to be easier, but you’re not buzzed and are still coherent. But sadly there is a strict no alcohol policy in my office.

      1. Tiny Orchid*

        When I really need to get the words flowing, I flex my hours/stay late and bring my work home/to the bar and get the first draft of a proposal pounded out. There’s the old saying “write drunk, edit sober”

        1. phedre*

          I really try hard to keep work at work – I only work on proposals from home in really rare circumstances. But the next time I have to bring one home I’ll definitely have a glass of wine! Or if I’m really stuck on a piece (side eye at my current project) I might just have to take a laptop to the bar.

      2. AstronautPants*

        You need to get on the face to face side of fundraising to experience the way drinking is a part of the job! A good alcohol tolerance is necessary to bond with donors and still ask them for a gift in many places. The head of our division was known for his love of wine, and would hold yearly tastings to pick wines for events.

    13. TotesMaGoats*

      I think people would be surprised at the amount of alcohol in higher ed dean’s office fridges.

      1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

        Oh lord. In my previous life in academia I worked with associate deans for whom the three martini lunch was an at least twice a week affair. We staff got to come with on special occasions. And so many of the tenured faculty had booze in their offices. Yet heaven forbid we post a picture of a legal drinking age student at a social event where the red solo cup was not doing a sufficient job of concealing the kind of liquid.

        1. Tedious Cat*

          At OldJob I don’t think we could have gotten the law professors to attend anything without booze. I think they got loaded in the faculty lounge every Friday afternoon.

      1. JustaCPA*

        wow I wish I worked with yall! NEVER at any company I worked for! (course this was private not public)

    14. KarenT*

      Publishing too. Company events are mildly more professional than frat parties. When I read that letter the other day about interns and drinking I couldn’t help but wonder…

    15. Cdn enviro consultant*

      At the first consulting firm I worked at, we consulted solely for the oil and gas industry (pre-2008 bust). There was always beer in the fridge, it was as much a staple as coffee. We could bring in our gaming console, hook it up in the conference room, and get drunk on Fridays. Sometimes people would just pass out on the couches after a good night. This company had to cut back on the free booze at the corporate Christmas party after number of years, and though senior management never said why, it was likely because of the staff hookups/drama/pregnancies.

      We also used to obtain massive contracts by taking clients to box seats at a hockey game where the beer just flowed.

      God I miss those days.

    16. V*

      +1 law firms. Every firm I’ve worked had beer, wine, Scotch, etc, floating around and it was normal to start drinking around 5 on Fridays (which is early, considering our hours are typically 9-7). One of my old firms had a culture of post-work happy hours multiple times a week and occasional day drinking at lunch. Surprisingly few incidents of people too buzzed to work. You just learned your limit and didn’t cross it.

    17. Dav*

      As a cruise ship musician, we had to perform in “parades” that had absolutely nothing to do with our actual job and were mostly just humiliating dancing while wearing knock-off Disney character costumes. It was pretty standard to buy a fifth of jack ashore on those days and pass it around the five lucky “volunteers” who had parade duty that week. You’d chant “every parade is the best parade!”, take a shot straight from the bottle, and pass to the right until the bottle was gone.

      Yes, this is how you twenty-something alcholics.

    18. CanadianDot*

      In most government offices here, alcohol at work is strictly verboten, but I interviewed at one high-level office that hosted dignitaries regularly, and had a lot of strict protocol, was all suits all the time, etc. I made a joke about “So, no jeans and beers on Fridays?” and they laughed and said there were NEVER jeans at work, but they did have a wine fridge…

      1. Specialk9*

        I mean, government *contractors* have to take that seriously, but what Fed with tenure gets fired? I know several Feds who disappeared for big chunks of the day to drink.

    19. Emmie*

      I attended a private grad school. Our professors and students occasionally drank in class. The college cafe in the school building served beer and wine!

    20. Stranger than fiction*

      We had lots of drinking going on when I worked for a mortgage company, but that was before the bubble burst so not sure if it’s still like that in that industry.

    21. Lemons*

      Same goes for theater. No one cares how drunk you get or where, so long as you plan around the show schedule and stay safe (so keep away the saws and swords).

    22. Anonicat*

      Most fun part of interning at a small magazine company was the regular Friday Beer and Brainstorming meeting – brainstorming headlines and cover lines, the punnier the better.

    23. Jiggs*

      I’m also in advertising and I was going to say the day-drinking as well. Beer/wine with lunch. 2 pm “we had a hard week” drinking on Fridays. Client meetings at restaurants with booze flowing. Cocktail tastings for events. Wine tastings for events. There’s a lot.

    24. Government Mule*

      A (maybe) interesting story. When Apollo-Soyuz with the Russians was announced, the NASA project lead was quoted as saying to his team, “boys, this is what we’ve been training for our whole lives!”

    25. Old Admin*

      The sales department of *every (IT) company* I’ve worked for had a fridge well stocked with cheap champagne, Spanish Cava (sparkling wine), prosecco… at the slightest excuse corks would be popping right after lunch.
      I also worked for Siemens in Europe for a while – replace the fizzy stuff with local beer, drunk in jolly groups at the desks of the sales department. Not so much for tekkies.

  2. Brandy*

    Before my company became more corporate (im grateful they are, more professional) the owner would offer up drinks mid day to the staff. And he was an attorney. I can only imagine the liability if someone got into a wreck or got a DUI.

      1. Brandy*

        We have a lot of job sprawl (office parks all over the area) and taxis only go to the airport and downtown. And when this was going on, a while ago, Uber and Lyft weren’t a thing. And everyone working here lives everywhere, multiple cities.

  3. Kat M.*

    Former massage therapist here.
    I’ve touched the butt of every single coworker I ever had in that job.

        1. Annonymouse*

          It is ok and sometimes necessary to hit or hurt my coworkers.

          But I work in the martial arts industry and its always in that context of teaching, training and sometimes horseplay.

          Not like that time my psycho ex boss put a coworker in a chokehold while he was answering emails. Still in the MA industry but that is messed up.

    1. Nobody You Know*

      I used to be the HR Manager at a well-known educational retreat center where the hot baths were “clothing optional.” My co-workers and I got to see each other nude.

      1. Coalea*

        Interesting that you say you “got to” see each other nude. For most places I’ve worked, it would be that we “had to” see each other nude!

        1. paul*

          Yeah, I’d be horrified. I may have body hang ups but I do not want anyone I work with to ever see me shirtless, let alone naked.

          1. the gold digger*

            A friend of mine works for a company headquartered in Finland. He hates going to Helsinki – he says, “It’s the Beloit of Europe” – because he has to get cold and naked with his co-workers.

              1. the gold digger*

                Alison, the daughter of a college friend of mine (we went to college in Houston and she still lives there) will be a sophomore at Beloit. Maybe.

                When Ruth told me her daughter wanted to attend school in Wisconsin, I asked, “Does she know what it’s like to be cold?”

                The daughter swore up and down that she wanted cold. She spent a year up north and is now thinking of transferring.

                1. Solidus Pilcrow*

                  Heh, Beloit is far from “up nort.” It’s pretty much as far south as you can go in WI without going into Illinois and is notably warmer than the northern 2/3 of the state. Good thing she didn’t decide to go to the more northern schools like Stout, Eau Claire, or Superior; she would have never survived. Fun fact, today’s high in Superior WI is 58° F.

                2. Wintermute*

                  Solidus Pilcrow:

                  I’m a UW alum and lived my whole life in Wisconsin, a woman I went to school with actually bought battery-powered heated underwear!

                  Also, my friend, that lives in Beloit, has an entire very funny rant about the town, the line that sticks out is “In French it’s a beautiful word, sounds very nice, but people in Wisconsin pronounce it like the sound of a turd dropping into a toilet– BLOIT!”

                3. the gold digger*

                  Solidus, we are on our way up nort’ tomorrow! A night in Medford with family (north of Hwy 29 is nort’ to me) and then ten days on Madeline Island! Yes, we are taking sweatshirts. We know how this goes.

              2. Moira*

                I used to work for a company that is headquartered in Beloit and could say the same thing about them!

              3. Alissa C*

                Why am I geeking out that we share an alma mater?

                I went from living in a nudist community in FL, to school at Beloit, and despite growing up in Philly, the first winter was seriously hard on me.

            1. paul*

              I hate being naked in front of anyone but my wife, and I hate being cold, so I think I’ll just avoid Finland then :)

          2. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

            I hear you. I don’t even like to get naked with my friends, let alone coworkers or my boss!

      2. Chinook*

        That was my job teaching ESL in Japan. My first week there, my Canadian coworker took me to the public bath to show me the ins and outs of etiquette and help me get over the jitters. I can honestly say that I saw every single one of my female coworkers nude as well as a high number of my female students.

        1. Specialk9*

          Do people not have showers at home, or is this a communal thing? I.e. was it optional to skip?

      3. Anonicat*

        When I was doing recruiting for a skin cancer study, I would tell people that my job was “calling strangers and asking them to take their clothes off for science.”

    2. TotesMaGoats*

      I just found out that one of my current “students”, in that she’s a student at the university where I now work, was also my massage therapist a couple of times. So, one of my students has seen me mostly naked and also touched my butt. That said our massage table convos convinced her to go back to school and do the program she’s doing.

      1. Liz in a Library*

        One of my former students (she was in my class) was doing her nursing clinicals at my gyno a few years ago. Pretty sure that was my all-time most awkward pap.

    3. Kat M.*

      I just want to say, for my friends and colleagues who read this blog, this is NOT me (another Kat M.).


    4. Chameleon*

      In my old massage school days, we would take turns analyzing each other’s structure and disfunctions by standing in front of our class in our underwear. I no longer feel any shame at being undressed in front of other people.

  4. Lore*

    The first thing that leaps to mind is the entirely work-relevant, yet also entirely too extended conversation I had with my direct boss and our department head about gay male threesome erotica. (And the subsequent research into the various permutations of menage erotic romance.)

      1. Lore*

        Book publishing. My division has a line of digital-original romances that are frequently *extremely* explicit.

        1. Anon for this*

          …Lore, I actually have a finished, mostly-edited novel that I’m worried won’t get picked up because of the sexual content (gay, straight, lesbian, threesome). Any chance I could pick your brain a little about publishing options? (Not here, obviously.)

          1. Lore*

            I’m not working tomorrow so I won’t be on the open thread constantly, but post the query there and I’ll get back to it at some point. (And I’m probably not the only one here who can offer you guidance, either.)

          2. Nonny for this thread*

            Your options would heavily depend on what genre (and subgenre) the book falls into – I suggest reading submission guidelines pages for numerous publishers to get a feel for the market. (Another writer here.)

      1. EddieSherbert*

        That sounds like a really interesting job! Are you part of a publishing company? Or is the marketing part a whole different organization? Do different genres typically have their own marketers?

      2. Manders*

        Ooh, this would be perfect for one of Alison’s interviews!

        I’ve always wanted to give book marketing a try, but I ended up in SEO instead. How did you break into the field?

    1. Anon for this*

      Illustrator here and that subject makes up about 30% of my income hahah. I have conversations about it daily

    2. JAM*

      I just want to say Chuck Tingle comes up regularly at my office. And I have no connection to publishing, it’s just “Gay T-Rex Law Firm: Executive Boner” connects somehow with my job in a way I don’t feel like clarifying.

        1. Bun*

          When you’re not at work, Google “Chuck Tingle”, or search the same on Amazon. You will not be disappointed!

          1. AcademiaNut*

            But do it in incognito mode, or Amazon will be suggesting related items for years.

    3. The OG Anonsie*

      In my academic days there was an idea floating around between some colleagues and I about soliciting entries for a book focusing on the role of nature and technology in various forms of fantasy-based gay erotica. I think the specific piece of erotica that set this off is… One could say entirely inappropriate to describe on this blog, but I will say that it involved centaurs.

  5. MuseumChick*

    The amount of what I call “emotional babysitting” museums do. For volunteers, donors, etc. A grumpy word from a long time volunteer can change the course of a whole project, they have to constantly be reassured that they are “valued” even when all they do is screw things up. Museum employees are in a constant battle to not offend anyone in the slightest.

    1. Quackeen*

      Oh, man….I used to work in a museum back in the day. We had one employee who was The Docent Whisperer and would soothe the ruffled feathers of the wealthy ladies (often part of a donor family) over liquid lunches. He was a casual employee making $8 an hour in this crazy role of Keeping Things Operating Smoothly, but he loved the drama.

    2. Quackeen*

      Oh, yes. I used to work in a museum back in the day. We had one guy who was essentially The Docent Whisperer, taking long lunches with rich ladies who worked as docents (frequently they were also donors or from donor families) , soothing their ruffled feathers and keeping everything running smoothly. He was a casual $8/hour employee, but he had a way of managing these situations (didn’t hurt that he loved the drama).

      1. museum sara*

        Bless the Docent Whisperers. That’s a skill set that cannot be undervalued. One of my old coworkers literally had a nervous breakdown and left the field after dealing with docents for two years.

    3. Objects don't argue back*

      This rings so true it hurts. The level of unpaid emotional labor in museums is breathtaking, as is the amount of time *everyone* puts into managing volunteers.

      (I can’t even write about it, but what you say about one cranky volunteer with a strong will changing *everything* is just…I need to lie down or something, due to the floods of memories this is bring on1!)

      1. MuseumChick*

        1) Love, love, LOVE your username!
        2) I remember when I was having issues with a volunteer a friend of mine who has never worked in a NFP let alone a museum told me, “Well you just have to confront them.” I almost ripped his throat out.

        1. Greengirl*

          THIS! Other staff outside of donor/volunteer management will say “Just tell them no” and I’m like “um, maybe you could do that instead of me? Because actually that doesn’t work when I do it.”

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Oh yes.

        I used to do alumni comms stuff for a few universities. Oh my goodness there were some egos involved…

      2. Audiophile*

        Really? I was thinking of moving to that from development in the next few years. Maybe I will rethink this.

    4. Library Fairy*

      +1 for the public library

      Sooooo much emotional handholding. Not just for volunteers and donors (and city council), but also for regular patrons and even just regular people who wander in the door. I’ve had so many people break down over job applications in my presence, it’s unreal.

      I can’t say I hate this aspect of the job, as a lot of people are really great fun to have someone listen, but it can be really draining.

    5. Murphy*

      I used to work in animal welfare, and we had similar issues with volunteers. Don’t get me wrong, our volunteers were WONDERFUL, but very sensitive. They would complain about the slightest thing, so we often had to tiptoe around people, let them do things not exactly inline with normal procedure (nothing harmful) in order to keep them happy. (Also compounding this was that employee turnover was higher than volunteer turnover and employees are often much younger, so you got a lot of volunteer who acted and felt superior to staff, which was often allowed to happen. But that’s a slightly different issue.)

      1. Sibley*

        I was a volunteer at an animal shelter. I was very careful to be professional and follow procedure. If I didn’t do something right, I apologized, asked how to do it, and tried to do it right in the future. And I specifically told every staff member that I was around that I WANTED to be told if I wasn’t doing it right.

    6. MuseumGirl*

      Work at a museum and THIS. Even for our curators – the emotional hand-holding and whatnot is SO TIRING

    7. Mythea*

      +1 for nonprofits. I worked for a chamber of commerce and you would not believe the amount of handholding necessary.

    8. Shark Whisperer*

      I work at an aquarium and we metaphorically popped champagne when we got a new volunteer manager who decided enough was enough and she would start firing all the problem volunteers (but we are lucky that our volunteer base and our donor base don’t heavily overlap and our volunteer waitlist is pretty long). Now if we could just get marketing to understand that we do in fact know what we’re doing…

    9. The OG Anonsie*

      This is 100% of the reason why I don’t work in museums anymore, let me tell you. “I know Carrie didn’t break that piece of equipment but Sharon says she thinks it was Carrie, and Sharon’s the daughter of one of the board members and we need her support, so I’m going to proceed as if it was Carrie’s fault but I want everyone to know I don’t personally believe that it was her and will not hold her responsible otherwise.” Good god.

        1. The OG Anonsie*

          That was not a hypothetical! It’s funny now but it sure wasn’t when I worked there XD

    10. Agnes Stonewick*

      I think we can safely round up to include all of the Arts. I worked managed dancers and volunteer production staff for 12 years, and oh my goodness, sigh… I tried to embrace the emotional babysitting as “professional development enrichment” for them, but holy mother of pearl.

      1. Winger*

        For sure. Any cultural nonprofit has to do an incredible amount of hand-holding/babysitting/therapy for their donors and volunteers. I have worked in other corners of the nonprofit world and in my experience, this really is more difficult in the arts world than in academia, social services, etc.

    11. Kay*

      THIS. x10000. Oy. All the advice to be polite but brief, or to tell people you need to get back to work, when the long talker is a volunteer with money, or community heft? Out the window.

  6. Backstage Rachel*

    Oh man, I actually just had this discussion with some of our student workers the other day.
    The entertainment industry is rife with “inappropriate” jokes and conversations, often sexual in nature. Mostly Just ribbing. As a woman, I’ve tried to nip overtly sexist remarks in the bud. Some times it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Currently, I work with mostly women, so it’s alright.
    But yeah…lots of joking and convos about sex or drugs.

    1. Backstage Rachel*

      Oh, and the touching. I can’t tell you how many dancers/actors/other techs have grabbed my butt or elsewhere right before running onstage

      1. Winger*

        I have a lot of experience in semi-professional and student theater and the touching thing was a constant irritation for me. When I started out as a student musician it was much the same, especially with choirs. Why does a choral rehearsal need to start with backrubs? Eventually as I made my way into the world as a musician, I was delighted to see the gratuitous physical stuff was not part of the deal among most professionals.

      1. curmudgeon*

        see, this is what I do miss!
        There’s a certain freedom in working live events that you don’t get anywhere else.
        ‘course, I coulda done without the the ED telling me that for his father’s funeral he was going to lay him out on an ironing board, stick a calla lily in his ass and slide him into a hole in the ground…

        1. Recovering stage manager*

          Me too! I switched careers, and moved into one with a lot less cursing and dirty jokes, and I kind of miss it. Still work for an arts-related nonprofit, though, so it thankfully acceptable to stop work on a Friday afternoon and discuss the artistic merits of “King Lear with Sheep” (actual show title) and and Faust done on a trampoline.

    2. MommaCat*

      I posted below about tech theatre, but I specifically talked about using condoms on the mic transmitters and reaching down actor shirts to fix the mics. I work with a high school theatre now, and I have to tread the line of keeping things appropriate and making sure the students know the industry terms for various things (NFG stands for No Flipping Good, the “dang it nut,” etc).

      1. Anonymouse*

        I’ve also heard NFG defined as “Non Functioning Gear” in a student environment, although when I used that term to describe an NFG piece, my supervisor said, “What? No, that thing’s just No F**king Good”. LOL

    3. Lehigh*

      Ah, memories. “You’re gonna hear some stuff,” was said at a hobby event, but it could equally apply to my short time in pro theater.

    4. Mythea*

      +1 for kitchen staff too. Whether cook, pastry chef, sous or even as dishwasher – There is crazy comments and way more touching than you would picture

      1. Lissa*

        Yup! I have to admit I sometimes laugh at the amount of horror people express at the possibility of things happening that would’ve been so, so normal when I worked in food – going by the comments here the police would be getting called every day for employee assault and harassment. ;) (which isn’t to say that things never crossed the line, but I do feel like “the line” was quite a bit further than in other environments…)

    5. Normally A Lurker*

      No just the joking, but like, the actual amount of nudity required in entertainment (theatre, dance, and modeling world here) between quick changes and everything else.

      I think the number of people who have seen me naked or I have seen naked has to be… WAY higher than outside the industry.

      And it’s totally normal.

      1. Backstage Rachel*

        That’s true. I actually didn’t even think about it…but I have seen a lot of body parts, both as a performer and a tech

        1. Cate*

          This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread; the years I spent in costume/wardrobe in theatre. So. Many. Naked. Actors. My friends would say they wanted my job so they could see X person naked, but the truth is you have professional detachment. Partly out of respect and partly because it’s just a normal part of the job.

      2. Kelsi*

        Yup. Burlesque dancer here. I’m pretty conservative about people seeing me naked in my personal life, but when I’m at work I have nearly walked pantsless out of dressing rooms more times than I can count.

    6. rib me like one of your french girls*

      Wow, yeah! I went to school for technical theater and on the first day of class my professor said, “If you’ve got a problem with people cursing, find a new fucking career.” He wasn’t wrong. I find it pretty relaxing, though; stagehands all have sailors’ mouths but it’s nice to know that nobody’s stewing in their frustration, and although the end of the industry I’m in is still pretty (straight) male-dominated, the casual-to-profane vibe means that if someone crosses a line, I can tell them to fuck off and gain respect for it instead of having to worry about going through HR or something. As a queer and non-male stagehand it helps a lot, especially since corporate culture really stresses me out. Plus it had the side effect of teaching the guys I’ve worked with how to make the “right” kind of jokes about it (ie: I find it hilarious if we get a shipment of warped wood and someone affectionately says how nothing’s straight in the shop I’m supervising!) The more someone teases you like that, the more you’ve been embraced as part of the workplace, and I actually felt alienated when people didn’t feel comfortable making jokes at my expense the way they would about each other.
      Although it does make for a bit of a culture shock when I’ve had to work non-industry jobs; I haven’t slipped up yet, but there’s always a re-adjustment period when I have to remember that stagehand terms for hardware and cables might be a little too bawdy for pretty much any other work environment. (Also, no other jobs seem to allow utili-kilts so freely as employee attire.)

  7. SometimesALurker*

    Not as shocking as I bet some of the others will be, but in my industry it’s not unheard of to need to wear both dirty/painty/rugged clothes and sneakers, and business formal or even cocktail attire in the same workday. Some days, you don’t even know which you’ll need, so people keep a change of clothes on hand. In my job I have a less severe version of this — my work shoes are “sensible shoes” and I always have extra blazers and scarves to dress up an outfit that’s on the casual end of business casual.

    1. A Programmer*

      Business casual (at my desk) or business formal (meeting clients) and jeans + steel-cap-shoes (troubleshooting) here.

      The job is programming for assembly line robots.

    2. SusanIvanova*

      I’ve heard horror stories of the days when big companies like IBM required business formal at all times, even for the computer engineers who might find themselves crawling through the under-floor cable space. I was working at a software company in the mid-80s where we were casual most of the time, but one day word came down that IBM reps would be on site and we must all dress appropriately. And of course I did end up dealing with wires under the desk in a skirt.

    3. Quinalla*

      +1 for MEP Engineer (we work with architects, structural & civil engineers, etc. to design new buildings and renovations) for this problem. I really need to start keeping a change of clothes at work as for interviews to get new work I’m expected to dress business formal, for meeting with clients nice business casual, for work business casual and jeans on Fridays and for site visits – boots, hard hat, safety glasses, clothes that can get dirty but still look professional. I’ve basically given up wearing skirts/dresses ever as who knows when I’ll get called out for a quick site visit where I’m tramping through mud or climbing ladders or crawling around to get to some piece of equipment. I should keep a change of clothes at work all the time for site visits, usually I just do it as needed, but that’s probably the way to go.

  8. anony*

    Extended conversations (and demonstrations, using hands/arms) about how to use various forms of contraception, yelling about periods, the like.

    (repro health non profit)

    1. Anon a Bonbon*

      Yep, I work in a clinical setting and it’s common to pass through a conversation about herpes. We’ve had whole meetings on genital warts and the difference between…well…I don’t want to subject anyone else to the discussion.

      1. Pam*

        Not work-related, but my mother was a public-health nurse. If ‘gonorrhea’ had been on the second grade spelling test, I would have aced it!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        In the Peace Corps we had a practical personal health presentation from the location nurse on the variety of different sores you might see on the penis and what they might mean. With photographs. I think they figured it was the most effective way to convince people to use condoms.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Our Peace Corps doctor (who covered several neighboring countries, with each country having their own nurse) once did a presentation where he held up a clear glass of feces, mixed in water, stirred it, and explained “So those of you with giardia, this is what’s making you sick…”

            1. Julianne*

              Our nurse had a diagram showing all the routes feces could take to get into your mouth. Flies, your unwashed hands, the unwashed hands of someone sharing your food, etc. It wasn’t a particularly remarkable diagram, but they displayed it during every single health session we had in PST.

        1. Julianne*

          Riding in what passed for public transit and/or hitchhiking with a giant bag full of vagina models and wooden penises. Fun fact: in my 3rd year, I was pictured on the front page of one of the national papers holding said vagina and penis models. It may just have been the best moment of my service!

        2. Anya*

          Our PCMO was hilarious! He talked regularly about diarrhea and how important it was for us to replenish fluids if it happened. I was in a cold place (not tropical or subtropical at all!) so we also got talked to a lot about frostbite. My favorite lecture of his was, “Do not sleep with prostitutes. If you see a prostitute, you must assume that she has syphilis. If she doesn’t have syphilis, she probably has something worse!” Only half of our little training group was guys, by the way, but that didn’t stop our doctor. He was the best, though. He did combat medicine for the Soviet Army in the 1980s and knew everything about the human body. I wish I could consult with him again!

          In your country when volunteers got together, was there a whole lot of drinking and swearing? We used to get together, play board games, and do our best to out-curse each other in any and all of the languages that we knew! A friend of mine who was in a different country said that her fellow PCVs’ parties were subdued compared to ours.

          1. Julianne*

            Drinking, swearing, and talking about poop. Crowd sourcing diagnoses and treatments for mild to moderate GI problems from other PCVs was always the de facto first step before calling the PCMOs. (Because who wants to ride for hours in a cramped car to get to the capital to get their diarrhea treated?)

        3. Chinook*

          “With photographs. I think they figured it was the most effective way to convince people to use condoms.”

          Canada World Youth used the same theory when trying to explain to our Latin American counterparts what frostbite is and why you really needed to wear all those layers, gloves and hats when in Northern Alberta in November. I think the photos of blackened, 3rd degree flesh even scarred our participants from Southern Ontario.

      3. veggiewolf*

        +1 Pharma here. Totally normal to discuss STIs, and colonoscopy prep on the same day in the hallways.

    2. Ros*

      Medical research. Extended conversation with colleagues about exactly what “counts” as “sexual partners” (for a study protocol that specified “less than 5 sexuality partners”).

      And then discussions about how to phrase that to patients…

    3. Purplesaurus*

      Also in healthcare and have had conversations about fecal transplants, the continued use of leeches and medical grade maggots, and beer orders for DTs.

        1. Anonicat*

          We found out the waiters were referring to us as “the weird table” when we were talking shop at dinner once.

    4. Optimistic Prime*

      Yeah, when I worked in the public health world there were lots of extended conversations about sex, contraception, and other reproductive health issues. One of the reasons I got my currently job is that my coworkers were thoroughly impressed that I was able to present my research (which was all about HIV risk behavior in gay and bisexual men) in a completely unflappable manner, but at that point that was pretty normal and I had been talking about far more outrageous things for upwards of 7 years so…*shrug*

      1. MPH Employee*

        I used to work at a university in the public health department and there was a bowl of condoms on one of the desks in the administrative offices. I can’t tell you how many times I almost reached my hand in, thinking it was a candy jar, and then….nope.

        1. NY nonprofit*

          Haha, same here with thinking the condom jar had candy in it! I worked at an HIV org for many years. The UPS/FedEx guys loved us for the free condoms. We also hung (wrapped) condoms on the office Xmas tree as decorations. Lots of talk in the office about sex too. Seemed normal to me until I mentioned it to friends in other industries.

    5. JustaTech*

      The time my boss had to explain circumcision to another scientists, and decided that it would be easier to draw it (language issues). And that drawing stayed up on the whiteboard through lunch. (We did HIV research, the other folks did herpes research, so it wasn’t like anyone was super surprised by it.)

      1. Evan Þ*

        That reminds me of the time in fifth-grade Sunday School that one of my classmates asked what “circumcision” was.

        Fortunately, it was a guys-only class.

        1. Chinook*

          Eh…I had the same question about circumcision in my junior high, mixed gender class. My description didn’t include a diagram, but it did make the one boy cross his legs while the girls all covered their mouths in shock.

          As usual when I covered anything touching on a sexual nature, I gave the parents a heads up. I think that was the moment their response to awkward questions from their kids ended up getting a “ask your Religion teacher” response. :)

          1. Chinook*

            I know this because the kids started coming to class with more interesting questions (which they were all able to make at least partially on topic for Religion class).

            This is why I love teaching junior high!

    6. Zoe Karvounopsina*

      Ditto. Yesterday, I tried to convince a co-worker we should ask someone to look into what effect SPACE might have on LARCs.

    7. Jolie*

      I used to work for a public health campaign on cancer awareness. Part of the job was explaining to old folks how to take part in the NHS bowel screening programme. It involves taking stool samples. Also carried around a big bag of plushie boobs, to show women how to examine their breasts.

  9. Muppet Herder*

    I work at a non-profit fundraising consultancy agency. Extreme liberalism here is 100% cool and seems to be expected!

    1. wobbly*

      I’m not in politics, but politics-adjacent? Political advocacy? I’m pretty sure everyone has some recurring meeting which is partly devoted to complaining about how terrible various Republican politicians are, with swearing proportional to current events.

      We also have 100% non-ironic uses of the phrase Politically Correct and no one is giving me weird looks for having an Industrial Workers of the World logo pinned up by my desk.

  10. Librarian*

    Political statements.
    When a local cop was acquitted for the blatant and on-camera murder of a black man my boss dealt with her frustration and disappointment by filling the display cases at the front entrance with Ta-Nehisi Coates and books about lynching.

      1. Librarian*

        And lots of academic, theological, and otherwise specialized libraries would. I don’t believe Alison intended us to only post if the behavior in question applied to every single facet of the industry in question.

      2. neeko*

        And lots of public libraries would. I work to work at one that would have encouraged that.

      3. Alice*

        It comes to my mind that in a library that often has themed displays about topics in the local news, it would also be a political statement _not_ to address a hot, local topic.

        1. Mints*

          This seems typical to me. Libraries put up displays bases on current events all the time.

        2. Nonny for this thread*


          Sometimes in any context, not just this one, silence is its own statement. Often not one you’d wish to make.

      4. anon for this*

        Well, I don’t think this kind of display is shocking at all. Really quite standard. I think it’s more shocking to many people that a library would not make a display inspired by a local news story.

      5. DNDL*

        When I was a librarian in rural Kentucky, I had to grin and bear all of the blatant political talk. Just because it’s frowned on for *you* to make statements doesn’t mean the patrons won’t…

        As a librarian in a city that went for Clinton by over 70%, I gotta say…I now love all of the blatant political talk. And my boss is the most talkative of all.

    1. OhNo*

      As another librarian, yep. I broke out our small collection of books on race and policing to make a very pointed display recently, too. It’s not even just topics in the news, either; it seems like every other month I’m making a display that would doubtless upset certain portions of the political spectrum. I’ve done displays that are pro-LGBTQ, pro-refugee, pro-abortion, pro-alternative medicine…

      I happen to work at a small college whose overall political bent is very liberal, so it’s not necessarily as pushy as it seems. At this point, I just know what my patrons want to see. Libraries in more conservative areas also put up displays that conform to their community’s political leanings – I know there’s a library near my uncle’s place that puts up a massive how-to-hunt, choose-your-gun, field-dressing-for-dummies style display every time hunting season rolls around.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        I find this interesting. As an educational institution wouldn’t it be in the best interest of your patrons to present as many views on the topic as are available? Granted people don’t always want what’s best for the.

        1. olympiasepiriot*

          In this particular case, what works, exactly, would be an appropriate opposing view?

          The Clansman by Thomas Dixon?
          The Blue Book of the John Birch Society?
          Or just lots of knee-jerk pro-police editorials from around the nation?

          1. OhNo*

            That response seems very accusatory. Iris Eyes didn’t cite a specific case, and I mentioned several in my post that they could have been referring to.

        2. OhNo*

          Yes, it is. But there’s a difference between having those points of view available in the library collection, and putting them in a display. Having them in the collection means students and faculty can find them and use them as desired. Putting them in a display gets complaints.

          And yes, I’m speaking from experience there.

    2. Nonny for this thread*

      It’s horrifyingly sad that “don’t murder black people on camera” has to be considered a controversial political statement.

        1. Nonny for this thread*

          Yeah, I didn’t word that very well! The “on camera” bit was meant to emphasize that it’s unambiguous and unarguable that the killing was in fact murder, not self-defense, so there’s nothing to have a controversy about…

    3. Indoor Cat*

      So, I’m not a librarian, but a lot of my friends are. I live in a swing county in a swing state (Ohio).

      After the 2012 election (and probably after the 2008 election, although I wasn’t here at the time) there was a display featuring books by then-president Obama (“Dreams From My Father,” “Audacity of Hope,” collections of his speeches, etc). In the run-up to that election, I remember there also being Mitt Romney books and Hillary Clinton books on display.

      Fast forward to 2016 and the election of president Trump. This year the display during the run-up were more generic books about elections, people who fought for the right to vote, what makes America great, that sort of thing. But, it was fully expected by many people–both patrons and staff– that whichever candidate was elected president, the display would be books by that person.

      Instead, the display was mysteriously empty for a few weeks. Eventually, it was filled with Christmas / Winter Holiday themed books, many of them crafts oriented.

      Let me tell you, the *lack* of a Trump display riled *plenty* of people. There were letters sent with recommended lists of the best Trump books. People accused the library of having a liberal agenda. There were all-caps comments and people said they’d boycott, or petition against the next library levy, just because there was an Obama display four years ago and there’s no Trump one now. Unfair!

      On the flip side, some Democrats were incensed at the very IDEA that the library MIGHT put up a Trump display! So they’re pre-emptively mad about something that hasn’t happened yet!

      Fortunately, people have short attention spans and then the holidays happened. I still don’t know why there wasn’t a Trump display–was it an intentional protest by a librarian Democrat? An attempt to not ruffle feathers that backfired? Hard to say. But, sometimes it seems like libraries are inevitably political, no matter what you do.

      1. Librarianne*

        To be honest there aren’t very many books about Trump and it was likely that all the books “by” Trump (or his ghostwriters) were checked out at the time. There may have been nothing to display.

  11. Rainbow Brite*

    I work in tech, my hair has been every shade of blue, purple, pink, and various combinations of all of those. My Dad once told me that I should change it because “That is not how a professional young lady looks,” but I shut that down when I went on a couple of interviews last year and got offered every job.

    1. ceiswyn*

      Also in tech, and my hair is currently every shade of blue purple, pink and teal.

      I’m on the end that does the interviewing :)

      1. Agnes Stonewick*

        I would like to work with all y’all! I was a frontend dev for several years beginning in 1996. After the tech bubble burst and all of the fall out settled, I shifted gears until the recession, and then went to college… I need to shift gears back. I miss having an income.

    2. Junior Dev*

      I work in tech too and I have an undercut with the top dyed blonde. Two of my male co-workers dye their hair. We had a guy come in for an interview in a t-shirt and jeans, and my boss often wears sweatpants to work.

    3. starsaphire*

      Heaven bless tech-industry dress codes!

      At my interview for this job, I asked about the dress code. My soon-to-be-manager stood up and showed me his cool new sneakers. He was wearing Levis. My supervisor was also in jeans and a T-shirt.

      Generally speaking, “dressing up” around here either refers to cleanroom suits or to Halloween. I am grateful every single day.

      Yes, there is a good sprinkling of pink/purple hair around here too. :)

      1. Security SemiPro*

        I’ve conducted interviews in rainbow socks without shoes. Specifically to drive home the point that people can/should wear what makes them feel comfortable and happy. (Well, and because it was what I was wearing that day.) God bless tech dress codes. Please wear clothes.

        I do draw the line at sexist/racist crap on said torn t-shirts.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I explain the Seattle tech dress code as “don’t be naked, don’t scare HR with your shirt”.

          I was considered to dress particularly formally at my past job. My entire wardrobe consists of knit dresses and leggings because comfy.

          1. JustaTech*

            That’s it in Seattle biotech too, except the “please meet the safety rules if you’re in the lab” (ie, no sandals).
            I’m terrified of having to learn to wear “real” clothes, even though I’d like to.

          2. MissDisplaced*

            Sounds like heaven!
            And I actually do have a fairly casual field (but not that casual)

      2. CAA*

        I usually tell people that our dress code is “shirts and shoes required, but the shoes can be flip flops”. Also, I once knew a co-worker was interviewing for a new job because he showed up to work wearing long pants for the first time in 5 years.

    4. Manders*

      A friend of mine in tech told me that he dyes his hair before interviews and wears casual clothing just to make sure the company is judging him for his skills, not his looks. He’s very well-paid, so it must be working for him.

    5. Discordia Angel Jones*

      … and this is why I can’t wait to switch careers to tech when my (tech relevant) Masters is awarded! ;)

    6. an.on*

      I’m 40, gainfully employed, and my 70 year old parents still give me the side eye about certain things like that, like visible tattoos or dying my hair or wearing jeans and chucks to work. Dyed my hair purplish blue last year – it washed out in 3 weeks – and they were afraid I was going to get fired and have to move home with them. GUYS: I’m married and own my own home and even if I got fired, wouldn’t be in danger of losing my house. I have coworkers with rainbow hair. Half the people around here just came from yoga or ran to work and are still in their compression leggings or mesh shorts. And everyone – regardless of their mesh shorts or blue hair – is sitting on couches or in bean bag chairs looking like they’re doing nothing, but they’re hard working, high performing, well-paid adults doing skilled work – most of them doing the work of 2 people. It’s a casual environment where we work our asses off – the stress eats us alive but I don’t have to wear business attire so I guess it’s a trade off. :)

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        My hair has been purple or green or whatever since 1987 and my 70ish mom forgot that I dyed it!

        I work in tech, as well (Director of Engineering) and my other lady friends and I joke that if our hair was a more natural color, we’d be assumed to be “non technical” in interviews. There’s some truth in the joke.

        1. TechLady*

          I swear to glob I went to a women in tech networking event recently and the advice my boss gave me to spot the developers (versus marketing/sales/biz) was the non-natural hair colors.

          And in that particular instance it was true every time.

      2. Nancie*

        I’m in my 50s. My hair is currently creamsicle-orange, and I’m in either jeans or capris year round. In the summer at least 4 of my tattoos are usually visible.

        I’m don’t even work for an IT company, just the IT department in a different industry.

    7. Tammy*

      Also in tech, and despite being a senior manager who regularly has to stand up and present stuff in front of our executive team, my ever changing hair colors seem not to phase anyone. Of course, I’m also transgender and neurodivergent, and pretty open about both, so my hair color isn’t necessarily the most interesting or unusual thing about me…

      1. anonymouse*

        I’d never heard the word “neurodivergent” before this post and I’m glad to learn a new word (especially since it describes myself). Thank you. :)

    8. AnonMurphy*

      This, and I love the tech sector for it. I’ve had purple, teal, and hot pink in the past 6 months. Also have a nose ring. Not a single issue about it AND I get to wear jeans and flipflops every day.

    9. Tau*

      I am totally looking forward to tech industry dress codes at my new job after I spent the last 1.5 years in a business casual environment. I can wear jeans again! And snazzy socks!

    10. Rincat*

      I’m in higher ed tech and can’t do the bright hair colors anymore. :( It’s still fairly casual, and I think our CIO would be cool with it, but the associate VP would NOT. He wears a full suit and tie even on casual fridays and laid-back social events.

      1. JJ*

        I did the opposite – moved from higher ed tech to non-higher ed, and immediately donated all my suits, chopped 90% of my hair off, dyed what was left as bright as I could, and the tattoos started creeping out of hideable spaces.

        I do miss higher ed, but I very don’t miss the staidness.

      2. SirTechSpec*

        I’m also in higher ed tech and fortunately, there’s one person in my workgroup who’s near retirement and doesn’t give a crap about a lot of things – and so if I ever do get around to dyeing my hair, I can just point to his example :)

        But at least we get to wear cargo pants and t-shirts (though most of my colleagues do wear button-down shirts most days.) No sense wearing heels/slacks/oxfords/ties when you’re grubbing around under desks (though that’s not actually that big a part of my job anymore.)

    11. TCB*

      I work at a business school, but in marketing, so it seems fine to also have bright purple and pink hair. In the interview it was blue, and my now bosses complimented me on it. :)

    12. JHunz*

      One coworker here for a few years had a wonderful succession of multi-color dye jobs. I love the tech industry.

      Personally, my tech industry quirk is that I change out of my shoes when I get in in the morning and put on some nice comfy work slippers.

    13. HR Bee*

      Not in tech, but both of my previous jobs have allowed funky hair! Previous job was as HR in a hippie-type local grocery store and the floor staff was allowed funky hair because it was a part of our “alternative” image, and in my current job, 90% of my interaction with staff is through email or phone anyway, so who cares what my hair looks like.

      I’m back to solid red now, but over the past two years my hair has been blue, teal, purple, blue-and-purple, blue-green-purple, purple-pink, etc. I’ll be very sad if I have to go to an environment that doesn’t allow bright colors!

    14. MonicaLane*

      My friends refer to my hair as skittles! Also in tech although I am on the admin side of things.

    15. my two cents*

      I was an applications engineer (BSEE) for a silicon company (think ‘Tinychip Technology Inc.’), where the bright red and bleached-white hair wasn’t an issue, but OH MAN that one time I dyed over the bleached blonde with crayola purple…that was apparently the line, and they had me dye over it before meeting with customers again. Was also told I couldn’t wear my septum ring in the office due to “dress code”…which was again stupid, because we were a tiny remote office (from an acquisition) as opposed to the huge headquarters in Arizona.

      Now I work in the power industry, again as an Ap Engineer. There’s good ol’ boys all over the place and it’s pretty madmen-y sexist, on the whole – but I’ll save those anecdotes for another thread. It’s funny…so many of these good ol’ boys that I run into with my shoulder-length dark purple hair (think ‘oil slick’ but in just purple) comment positively about it. They seem extra-delighted with themselves when they also notice that I tint my eyebrows to match. And my coworkers, while obnoxious and shouty and are every stereotype about sales guys, seem to find my mods and hair fascinating. These are the same sort of guys who need me to copy/paste excel charts into their PowerPoint presentations because “computers”. lol

    16. Optimistic Prime*

      +1. I work in tech, I have had several different colors in my hair. When I travel back to the East Coast I consistently get questions like “Your employer doesn’t mind that you have colored hair?” to which I respond “I am the fourth person on my team to color my hair a fantasy color.”

    17. Fake old Converse shoes*

      Even in tech the dress code changes depending on your field. I’m usually on the more relaxed side, but people in Finance or BI are strictly conservative. I take evening classes at a local university, and a teacher (who is an Oracle consultant) told my friends and I that no one in “the real world” would take us seriously unless we wore formal attire. The ones who dress casually told him where we work and what we do (one freelance remote frontend dev, a technician, a delivery guy and myself), and he dropped the issue.

      1. Meg*

        Same. Software engineer. My hair color changes every 6 months to a year.

        When I was contracting (I was contracting for 5 years before accepting a conversion to permanent with my last client), I would often tell the recruiter “I have a green mohawk and piercings and visible tattoos. Is that going to be a problem?” before accepting a phone-screen or interview with the client. I’m not going to re-color my hair or take out my piercings or cover up my tattoos for a client who doesn’t allow it when there’s a dozen more tech companies in my area that it’s not problem for.

    18. Becky*

      Tech company that does DoD work. I have a total undercut and the long remaining bit is lilac (faded from Leela purple). I regularly present to C-level execs and no one cares. My parents hate it and worry about me being able to find a job, but if a company wants to judge my haircut instead of my resume I wouldn’t take the job they offered. :-)

    19. Tris Prior*

      Yep. I work in a creative field and exactly zero Fs are given regarding what color our hair is, how many piercings we have, tattoos are plentiful and visible on many co-workers. I’m trying to think what would be out-there enough to get me in trouble, and other than racist or otherwise offensive tattoos or some of the more extreme body modifications, I’m coming up blank.

      Boyfriend will come home and announce something like, his HR has decreed that tennis shoes are no longer allowed in the office, and I’ll look at him like he’s got 2 heads. It’s been so long since I’ve worked anywhere where the dress code was more than “relevant bits covered, shirt does not contain F-word or drug reference.”

    20. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

      Not to derail, but I’m wondering if this is a coastal thing (at least in the U.S.), as most of the tech people I know on the East Coast dress business casual at work with haircuts within the stylistically conservative spectrum and who don’t dye their hair. These people work in purely tech-oriented companies. (This is specifically in the Northeast.)

      1. Agnes Stonewick*

        I agree that it’s probably costal, Left Coast specifically. I earned my chops in Seattle and have also worked in the SF Bay Area where looking kooky is de rigeur. I now live in the Raleigh-Durham area where there’s plenty of tech and very few kooky looking people (my chosen people).

        1. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

          The one thing I’ve noticed is that everyone at a tech-related mixer who’s a bona-fide professional always wears their shirts tucked in. The people I’ve seen without their shirts tucked in, based on the convos I’ve had with them, are really out of the employment loop in general. (Unrealistic expectations etc.)

          Not saying that if you’re a senior dev on the West Coast and you don’t tuck your shirt in that you don’t take your position seriously; like you say, it’s just a different culture here, and the “professional look” tends to be more stringent in general unless you’re talking blue-collar work. Rather, the implication is that if you’re on the East Coast and you want to be taken seriously, you need to look Puritan/Old World and serious; and if you’re from there and you don’t get that, then you’re probably lost.

          As a fellow West Coast transplant, you have my sympathies tho re: culture shock. I definitely have a sense of “Yay! My tribe!” if I see people with dyed hair and piercings.

      2. BananaPants*

        I think so. I’m in engineering in the Northeast working for a Fortune 50 company, and it would be frowned upon to have purple hair, a mohawk, gauged earlobes, etc. Even as an experienced individual contributor, I wouldn’t have that sort of freedom in my personal appearance. Our office dress code is business casual – no denim of any kind, no capri pants, no shorts, no casual sandals, no sneakers, and sleeveless tops are frowned upon.

      3. Fake old Converse shoes*

        As someone outside the US, it’s more related who you deal with on a daily basis. If your job involves talking to people inside the company or outside it but at your same level, there are little to no restrictions; middle management: dress shoes, nice shirts, black, navy blue or khaki trousers; upper management and C-levels: full conservative attire. Hair with unnatural colors is a big no-no (usually reserved for people in the arts, as it signals ‘eccentric’, ‘diva’ or ‘prima donna’), but tatoos are ok as long as they’re covered.

    21. Not So Little My*

      I’m in tech in Seattle and a decade or two older than the norm for that industry. I was a software engineer for many years, then switched to product/program management for a few years, but decided a couple months ago to look for jobs in development again. I just got word of a job offer a few hours ago, and the first thing I did was contact a colorist to make my hair purple. I haven’t dyed it for 15 years so I’m pretty excited.

      P.S. I’m a long-time reader, first-time commenter, and wanted to share the good news of my job offer with the folks here because I feel like you have really been by my side during my recent career transitions.

    22. dg*

      Ah, yes. I’m a manager at a game studio in Europe, which is all of the shocking things about working in Europe combined with all of the shocking things about working in tech :)

      I’m wearing flip-flops today, and often my coworkers walk around in bare feet. You work 37.5 hours a week, and our company shuts down for two weeks for summer vacation. A large portion of my job is playing mobile games from other companies on my phone, and I’ve worked at companies that would reimburse me for any in-game purchases I made while playing a competing mobile game. My hair has been many colors and I’m covered in tattoos. Alcohol is plentiful.

    23. Floundering Mander*

      I know several archaeologists that have improbable hair (wild dreadlocks, every color imaginable, choppy asymmetrical punk rock looks). Your hair is not an issue when you wear a hard hat all day.

  12. Malibu Stacey*

    I work in Finance – I had to pass a criminal background & credit check to get the job. I could have been ineligible for hire if I had a personal bankruptcy for debt besides medical bills, had a conviction for something not money-related (like a DWI), if I had failed to disclose any misdemeanors besides speeding tickets (like an underage drinking ticket 20 years ago) or a bad credit report. And I could be terminated for any of these things if discovered or they took place after I was hired.

          1. Becky*

            +1 fed job where they interview neighbors and require reporting of certain mental health meds

            1. dg*

              I had a friend who was a defense contractor. He had an affair, and it was policy that he had to tell his company before he told his wife because they needed to assess whether he was at risk for blackmail.

        1. cookie monster*

          +1 for lending specific finance, with the addition that in my state, I can lose my license to do my job if I ever had been 30 days late 3x on Anything (even 3 different things 1x each) or if I ever had a tax lien of any sort, it would have to be immediately paid in full or I would risk my license. This is similar in other states but I don’t know how strict they are on the specifics. Pretty much immaculate credit is required.

    1. Chinook*

      DH’s job as a member Canada’s national police force with the added bonus that they have the legal authority to ask his doctor for any and all medical history at any time to ensure that he is fit for duty. This was proven when the head of the force, before a senate committee, explained in detail the mental health history of a couple of police offices who had appeared before the commission and talked negatively about him.

      Turns out this is the only employer in Canada allowed to do that. Even the military only requires a doctor to declare someone fit/unfit for duty, no details required.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      And IIRC (this was a LONG time ago), for my original background check I had to list every place I’d lived in the last 20 years, and someone who knew me when I lived at that location, including contact information. There were a couple of apartments I lived in for a year or two where I didn’t really talk to my neighbors much, so I wound up putting friends from back home or work who knew me then…even if they had never seen that apartment!

      1. Chinook*

        You mean not everybody has a spreadsheet on their phone documenting their residential addresses since they graduated high school?

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I had to do that for an internship at the police department (just addresses). I didn’t get the internship–they told me it was really close but they picked the other candidate. I saved the information, however, just in case I ever needed it again.

    3. Anon not allowed as a name anymore?*

      Foreign Service is similar, with the added joy of needing a signed form to get married (what do you mean I need a “Permission to Marry” form??”).

      We can also be pulled from our assignments overseas over any physical/mental health issues of our own or of our family members.

      The latter tends to have the impact you might expect, which is officers not seeking help for PTSD or postpartum depression or sexual/physical assault, for fear that they will be sent home and “blacklisted” for cutting an assignment abroad short.

      1. Anon not allowed as a name anymore?*

        Sorry, just thought of another one.

        Health claims need to be signed off on by your boss or admin permission and your Ambassador. It’s completely normal for the entire Embassy to know your health issues before lunchtime.

      2. I heart Jared Dunn*

        This is also true if your spouse works in the intelligence community. I had to fill out an “intent to marry” form more detailed than my own security clearance form to marry my now husband. Plus we also had to submit a “roommate” form because we moved in together one month before we got married. Plus annual financial disclosures (my husband gets to listen to a two day rant every year for that form, but he gets all needed info).

    4. S*

      Finance, too. One senior manager makes a point at quarterly meetings of telling stories (no names) of stupid things employees did that got them fired or warned. The one that stands out in my memory was when someone got on a commuter train so plastered that the conductor couldn’t wake them up to get their ticket, so they got a misdemeanor. Second misdemeanor would cost their job.

      1. Malibu Stacey*

        Not at my current company but at a competitor had their office downtown a guy went to happy hour and decided to keep the party rolling. He missed the last bus home – not sure why he didn’t suck it up and take a cab but he decided to sleep under his desk and got canned for being at the office where they had personal client info at an unauthorized time.

    5. The Expendable Redshirt*

      +1 informal trusteeship. I couldn’t do my job if there was bankruptcy or bank robbery type stuff on my life.

    6. Jesmlet*

      +1 domestic staffing agency, credit check is super important for our clients who need to trust that the people working in their home aren’t in dire straits and likely to steal

      1. PaperTowel*

        That’s kinda sad and discriminatory. I know plenty of people with poor credit, including myself, who are trustworthy and would never steal.

        1. Wintermute*

          and it’s worse than that, it does no good, there’s plenty of rich people that WOULD steal.

        2. Amazed*

          There are no easy answers when the choice is either ‘be sad and discriminatory’ or ‘fail to protect oneself or one’s charge from harm’.

  13. (Different) Rebecca*

    I’m tattooed, pierced, with an untameable mane of rainbow streaked hair down past my butt, and I regularly wear comic movie character t-shirts to work–I’m a practicing and teaching bioanthropologist, and no one gives two tail shakes.

    1. mlem*

      +1 anthropology. Nobody really cares how many visible tattoos you have or what piercings you have when you’re digging holes.

    2. LK*

      Bioanthropology? Does this cross over into ethnobotany? What, in a “simplified so much it’s almost incorrect due to overgeneralization” way, does your field entail?! I am intrigued!!

      (I used to work as a park naturalist after college and we had ethnobotany and native plant use stuff and it always fascinated me)

      1. (Different) Rebecca*

        Not entirely, no–bioanth is the study of the physical aspect of humanity/human culture, and encompasses primatology (monkeys/apes), DNA studies/biochemical studies (where you came from/where you are now, based on the chemical residues in your bones), kinesiology (the study of human movement), paleoanthropology (human origins/prehistory), forensics (anatomical research into the recently dead to help the police), and osteology or human skeletal biology. I’m specifically an osteologist–I look at bones and how their shape effects their function. My dissertation is on the effects of corseting on the female skeleton.

        Ethnobotany would be either cultural anthropology (if the researcher is doing ethnographies/oral history based research) or archaeology (if they’re looking at excavated plant materials).

        1. The OG Anonsie*

          I wanna read that paper… !

          Chiming in for everyone else’s benefit, this is also sometimes called physical anthropology. Not to be confused with medical anthropology, which is typically more on the cultural/social anthropology branch and studies the culture side of medicine.

            1. Saturnalia*

              Thanks so much for sharing! Very interesting and not what I expected (not that I have any knowledge on the topic, I just hadn’t considered how much women determined the course of corsetry fashion).

      1. (Different) Rebecca*

        My secondary specialty is archaeology. It’s a wild bunch. At the SAA conference one year in Memphis, we drank the bar out of glasses. *grin*

  14. EddieSherbert*

    I’m at a vendor for outdoor products, and it’s extremely casual…

    People often wear their workout clothes (including cycling spandex!) back to desks to cool down a bit before showering. Drinking in the office is very normal – I know another department has a keg sitting out by their break area. We’re also pretty close with a lot of retailers (our customers), so there’s a lot of teasing/swearing on phone calls, and occasional drinks with some of them. One customer we’re had for years sends us all mardi gras beads/treats every year.

    1. C Average*

      I used to work for a sportswear company (footwear, apparel, and gear), and it wasn’t unusual for employees to participate in wear-testing. I’d often return from my lunch break wearing shorts, a sports bra, and three different GPS watches on each arm. I’d throw on a sweatshirt (our brand, of course) and get straight back to work.

      True story: once we had a last-minute department-wide town hall (we’re talking several hundred people in a ballroom) scheduled right after lunch. I’d already planned to go running at lunch, so I figured I’d go straight to the meeting afterward and slip in the back.

      I left a long-sleeve top at the start of my running loop, intending to put it on over my sports bra when I finished. But the landscape crew removed it, so I had to skulk into the meeting half-dressed. And then the department VP called me out for a recent accomplishment and made me stand up and be recognized. So awkward. I’m glad I was in racing shape when that happened.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Haha, that’s too funny! 99% of my company would assume something exactly like that (caught her right before or after workout) – and then definitely give you crap later.

        We also have a gym, locker rooms, and showers, so I suppose I could also add that I’ve seen a lot of coworkers in various states of undress, which is probably weird…

    2. Turquoise Cow*

      I briefly worked for a very health-focused retailer, and their dress code (in corporate) was basically wear what is health-friendly 94 promotes health — which is insanely broad. They didn’t care if you wore jogging pants and sneakers. Most people stuck with something that vaguely resembled extra casual business causal. I had a lot of that from my previous job so I was probably dressed up more than I needed to be.

    3. EddieSherbert*

      …. also just found out that another department did some kind of swimsuit thing today? So there’s legit people walking around in swimsuits. Including a guy in a speedo (with a shirt, so I guess that helps)?

      Noooo ideaaaaa.

  15. Meg*

    Stagehand: We sleep in hammocks after load-in (setup) before the show starts.

    Software engineer: Office provides alcohol on Fridays, and we stroll into work between 7am and 10am and leave between 3pm and 6pm. Super lax dress code, and we curse. A lot.

      1. Saturnalia*

        +having the most epic emerald hair.

        Please excuse the hearts flying from my eyes toward your hairs, Meg.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        Hee hee I do stagework and computer engineering, too. I have degrees in EE and “Fine and Performing Arts.”

        1. Sparkly Librarian*

          See, I read this and had to double-check the commenter name, because it wasn’t CL!

      3. SusanIvanova*

        I got to hang out with the sound guys at a Duran Duran concert because a former software co-worker had moved on to running his own sound company.

    1. AnonMurphy*

      Oh the cursing. And the ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, which we women make as often as the men. And the Friday booze. GOD I love being in tech :)

    2. chelle*

      I just moved out of tech and so miss the cursing!! Biting my tongue all day!

      Luckily I have regular happy hours with my tech people and our greeting is “F&*k You” and “Hey F&*k You, too”.

    3. phil*

      Wow, hammocks. When I was a roadie and live sound mixer I just sacked out under the console.

      1. kitryan*

        all the places I worked in theater just had loads of ratty couches everywhere – usually what was too torn up for props.

    4. TechLady*

      Also in tech. We have a hammock in the office just for whenever! I’ve never slept in it myself, but I’ve seen other people sleep in it. It lives in one of the lounge areas near our finance department (open office floorplan)

    5. O'Bunny*

      I’ve noted other stage crew asleep in hammocks slung under a working stage. Fast asleep, with a band playing a foot or so above them. An internationally-known, *loud* heavy metal band.

    6. ArtsNerd*

      I used to have ‘artist services’ among my job duties, and I do miss those 12 hour days where 75% was just hanging out with the crew doing crosswords and shooting the shit.

  16. Red Reader*

    As long as they’re in a medical record I have reason to be accessing, nobody bats an eyelash at any naked body parts visible on my screen.

    (Aside from the part where, if there’s pictures of them in the medical record, they’re probably infected, inflamed, oozing, broken, or otherwise remarkably unpleasant to look at.)

    1. Red Reader*

      Also, not so much a “thing that is chill in my industry” but a thing that is (I think) somewhat unusual: in the entire structure of my department, including management all the way up to our VP level, we have about 10% men to 90% women. And of the men, only two (out of about 15) are higher up the org chart than an individual contributor level – our management team is overwhelmingly female at all levels.

      1. Rainy, PI*

        +1–my office of 50+ has 4 regular staff that are male. Of our interns and student employees, it’s still about 90% female. (Higher ed.)

        1. Red Reader*

          Yeah, I’m in medical finance. We have about a half dozen male ICs (out of probably 70 total), one male manager out of eight, no male directors or exec directors (6 female), and our VP is a guy. (But our CFO is a woman.)

      2. Not That Kind of Coder*

        Ha! I’m also in the finance side of medicine and there are two men in our entire department structure (CFO on down). My husband works in IT and has the opposite structure. He’s always joking about my office’s “lack of diversity hires” and “token males”.

    2. Treecat*

      I used to TA an anatomy dissection lab at a university. When the department upgraded the faculty’s computers, our professor had to warn the IT guy that there would be all sorts of naked corpse pictures on hers.

    3. Suzy Q*

      Similar to this, I used to have piles of medical records in my office, and I had a photo of someone’s oozing butt on top of one pile for weeks. Didn’t even notice it until someone pointed it out. When you see crazy medical mishap photos all the time, you become inured.

      1. Red Reader*

        I have not managed to become inured, hah. I have this remarkable ability to open the charts that have pictures of infected anal fissures that were mis-filed in the chart to places other than the “photographs” folder.

    4. Theo*

      I can actually SEE a picture of exposed body parts from where I’m sitting, and in any department I walk through — my entire job early in my career (I work in medical publishing) was checking through an directory of explicit medical photos. Completely normal. Don’t remember the last time before this I registered it as odd.

    5. Anonicat*

      Ha yes in skin cancer research, and I have pics of people in their underwear on my screen all the time.

      Instead when I was counting iris freckles a while back and everyone would start when they passed my computer because the screen was always full of a hugely magnified eye. It was like passing Barad-Dur.

  17. Katelyn M*

    Political campaigns- we drink. A LOT. It’s not uncommon to see someone crack a beer at their desk at 11am on a Tuesday.

  18. Antilles*

    The machete thing made me think of my manager at OldJob who had a framed photo on her office wall of her carrying a giant scythe, with a furious look on her face. Nobody ever commented on it, because we were a construction firm so carrying tools like that (and making jokes about it) is completely standard within the industry.
    I’m pretty sure in most industries, that photo would have gotten her escorted out by security, possibly in handcuffs.

    1. Paige Turner*

      That’s amazing :) My middle school French teacher is from the Caribbean, and she told the story about how when she was teaching at another school in the US and wanted to bring in some items from home to demonstrate Caribbean culture and history. Apparently, the panicked principal told her, “You can’t bring a machete here!!”

    2. Antilles*

      Also, it’s common in the construction management industry to not have the slightest clue where anybody is. Each person manages their own projects and might need to visit a site with no warning, so there’s plenty of times where someone just straight up vanished without a trace for hours on end and nobody has a clue where they are or when they’ll return. At the extreme, it’s not unheard of for people to be gone so often without telling anybody that co-workers legitimately can’t tell the difference between “in the field” and “quit two weeks ago”.

      1. Chinook*

        I laughed the day I was working in an office and couldn’t open up a well sealed box. I took out my swiss army knife and sliced it open on my desk. Everyone around me just went silent until my boss asked me why I carried a knife. I just shrugged and said I thought everyone did. Turns out what is normal in rural Alberta (where my Mom carried one in the form of a business card) is not at all acceptable in downtown Ottawa. Who knew?

        1. Engineer*

          As an engineer in a major urban city, literally all of us carry a heavy-duty multi-tool with a legit knife blade in it on our person at all times. If there’s a sealed package and 4 people don’t pull out their knife to open it, that’d be weird.

          1. DevManager*

            No multitool here, but I carry a beer opener on my key ring due to several software development jobs where build night beers were common and being tired of waiting for one to free up.

            1. Free Meerkats (formerly Gene)*

              Currently on me, multitool with blade, sailing knife for cutting things that might be sewage contaminated, pocketknife for cutting things that aren’t, and a Swiss-Tech Utilikey that goes everywhere with me, including through TSA.

          2. Formica Dinette*

            I laughed because my dad is an engineer and he always has at least a small Swiss Army knife on him. I have countless vivid memories of him pulling his knife out of his pocket. Which sounds evil without proper context.

          3. BananaPants*

            Also an engineer, and here in suburbia I tote a mini multitool on my keychain and have a Swiss Army knife in my purse. I’m always amazed that other people don’t. Growing up, my dad (not an engineer) always had a small Swiss Army knife on his person; I learned it from him.

        2. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

          I work in a lab in Texas and I’m one of four people (3 women, 1 man) well-known in our office to carry at least one knife on my person at all times.
          I open a lot of boxes and it’s just simpler (plus, I keep a knife on me as a matter of habit already). One of the techs and another of the support staff always have one or more knives on them too, and the three of us have been known to gush about new sharps.
          Just the fact that we have knives spurred our boss to do the same, and they’re the #4.

          (You would think this would be a common thing in Texas, but it’s apparently not. And especially not in medical.)

        3. Stinky Socks*

          My kids’ pediatrician, sadly now retired, was never without his pocket-knife, tucked into his business slacks, accompanied by the button-down, necktie and stethoscope. I remember him telling me once that he’d been carrying it since a chemistry class in college (I forget the reasoning) and after 9/11 he was worried that he’d forget to pack in it luggage before a flight and have it confiscated…

      2. Mints*

        Oh man, that happened at my old job! We pulled a tech from the regular field to do low level service. He had a list of tickets. It was good for a couple days then like a week later his manager (lateral to me) was like “Have you seen Tom recently?”
        Me: No, why? Did you lose Tom?
        But it turns out he was working, just not checking in or recording tickets.

        I teased the manager about it a lot

        1. heatherskib*

          She is pretty awesome. Angry borrowers weren’t too much for her to worry about though since she wrestled gators as a hobby.

  19. HR Hopeful*

    I work in a call center and our dress code is extremely relaxed to the point where my supervisor wears yoga pants almost everyday.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      I actually have an office job that is just about as laid back. I wear jeans nearly daily, but I’ve seen tank tops and yoga pants around, as well as flip-flops and decidedly short skirts.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Ditto! I don’t know how I’ll manage if I ever got a job that doesn’t allow jeans!

    2. k.k*

      When I worked in a call center people it was crazy casual. Especially on weekend days, since the non-call center staff wasn’t in the building and our department was a skeleton crew. People showed up in pajamas. On the day after Halloween, on girl had been out partying all night and showed up still in her costume (Snookie from Jersey Shore)…though very disheveled by that point.

      1. HR Hopeful*

        We will also have ‘pj days’ when we work half-days around the holidays as well which is always fun. We don’t have them as much anymore b/c we are getting to be more co-ed and my boss didn’t think it was appropriate at that point.

    3. Science!*

      I work in a lab and we all dress very casually. In fact, aside from working at a movie theater one summer in college, I’ve never had a job with much of a dress code (except close-toed shoes and long pants or leggings).

      In fact, not long after I started my post-doc, I had to give a presentation for a group of about 20. I dressed up in business casual and got ribbed for being “fancy”. So the next time I had to give a presentation to that group, I wore my best flannel shirt and hiking boots.

        1. Science!*

          Oh yes, you put EVERYTHING in your CV. I saw a faculty member list every single person he’d mentored in a long list (including those whose thesis committee he was on, but was not the primary advisor for). I was so excited the day my CV extended to 3 pages (by a line, so I shortened back to 2 for the time being to it doesn’t look weird).

  20. Gen*

    Working in the admin side of emergency animal care and you notice that the person sitting next to you has a shirt pocket full of baby animals just peeping away. No one ever mentions it and you never find out what animals they are. Another coworker comes in looking harassed and hands you a cardboard box with the instruction ‘look after this a minute’. You make the mistake of looking inside. Half a dozen orphan ducklings have now imprinted on you, congrats.

    1. LK*

      omg and then you get to be the chick in the Fly Away Home movie though!!!!!


    2. Teapot Librarian*

      I would love to have a shirt pocket full of baby animals! (Preferably kittens.)

    3. LeeGull*

      Former PR Asst at a humane society here. Totally this!! Dress code included hoodies with the HS’s logo, so pouch babies and hood babies were not uncommon! But as the professional side of things, with an actual office, I always needed a change of clothes. Might be doing a local news interview in the afternoon depending on how the morning went, but the odds of stepping in feces was ever-present, as was jumping up to unload an unexpected van-ful of hoarded animals in varying states of cleanliness.
      (Once after one of those van loads, I managed to give my personal cat fleas. Me, a human, had enough fleas in me and my clothes to share them with my poor cat. He, as well as my husband, were delighted when I moved on from that job!)

  21. Nora*

    Not my day job, but I volunteer at a zoo and I talk about nothing but poop (consistency, smell), sex (positions, frequency, desire), death (inevitability), and animals eating other animals. Sometimes I forget to not take those conversations with me when I go elsewhere.

    1. Amadeo*

      Yes, there’s no other job quite like vet med, where poop can be exciting. I’ve done AI in cattle, with my arm in a cow’s backside up to the shoulder and cleaned a horse’s sheath (only once, I am very allergic to horses and did this one because the vet supervising didn’t believe me until I broke out in hives). I don’t work as a CVT anymore, but those were interesting times.

    2. hermit crab*

      That’s also my volunteer job! I think the number one most common phrase shared between staff/volunteers is “did it eat?” followed closely by “was there any excrement?” I have mostly worked with invertebrates and (for a short time) herps, so in some cases a positive response to either of those questions was a really big freaking deal!

      1. Nora*

        I talk mostly with (or at) the public, so I get lots of questions like “why is there a goldfish swimming in that cat’s water bowl?” or people accusing the zoo of abuse because a 30-year-old bear died.

        1. hermit crab*

          Ha, yes. Also:
          “What does it eat?”
          “How long does it live?”
          “Is it a boy or a girl?”
          “Where is the bathroom?”

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I used to be a veterinary assistant and, wow, parenting websites have *nothing* on veterinary staff where discussion of bodily effluvia is concerned. We can talk about every poop mishap they can, except across multiple species.

    4. Murphy*

      Yes! I used to work in animal welfare. My friends and I were talking about workplace conversations, and I just said, “We talk about poop a lot…”

    5. Stall mucker*

      I work part-time at a horse farm and so poop-related conversations are a regular occurrence. It’s a riding stable, not a breeding farm, which cuts down on the discussion topics that would be inappropriate elsewhere, but mares still do go into heat, and geldings do need their sheaths cleaned.

    6. Shark Whisperer*

      A coworker at OldJob was fired for “sexual harassment” (she wasn’t actually harassing anyone, she was just being a lesbian near a super religious person, which the religious person found to be harassing). She obviously took legal action and I volunteer to be a witness that she definitely never sexually harassed anyone. Her lawyer was interviewing me and asked if coworked ever talked about sex at lunch in front of offended person and I had to explain that all zoo keepers/ aquarists ever talk about is sex and poop.

    7. Shark Whisperer*

      I don’t think my other reply posted, but I have another story to share. My immediate colleagues and I sent another department poop as a practical joke. Every one loved it because it was parrot fish poop (which is basically sand). This particular poop was also from Aruba and one of the recipients collects sand from different places and did have Aruba sand yet. I can’t think of another job besides an aquarium where you can send someone in another department poop and they say they are going to take it home and add it to their collection.

      (Also this story will definitely out me if anyone I work with also reads this so heyyyy)

    8. Bird Trainer*

      Yes! All the gross animal conversations happen at zoo jobs! ;)

      Not just poop, pee, blood… But some animals (I’m looking at you, parrots!) masturbate… a lot.

  22. DatSci*

    Rage-yelling and name calling are pretty much par for the course in market research and data science. In fact, they’re so prevalent its considered to be part of new researcher training to be screamed at and called incompetent.
    The purpose of this is to make you impenetrable to the reactions you’ll get from stakeholders throughout your career, especially since a lot of the time, you’re presenting findings that powerful people DO NOT want to hear. The theory is that if you’re trained early on to develop a thick skin and not let this behavior bother you, you’ll better be able to navigate being in the hot seat with clients/executives/researchers holding an opposing view.
    I find it surprising to see how sensitive to criticism and yelling most other commenters here are, all that was beaten out of me years ago…

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      It’s not that they’re “sensitive.” It’s that yelling and inappropriate criticism* aren’t appropriate in most work places.
      And I’d guess that you could train someone to have thick skin without constantly yelling at them and calling them incompetent–I had a workplace like that and it didn’t give me thick skin, it made me not want to share anything that would get me yelled at. I developed thick skin from working somewhere I was trusted and valued. Obviously everyone is different, but for me knowing I *wasn’t* seen as incompetent and worthless allowed me to let unfounded criticism roll off my back. But clearly that worked for you and your coworkers, so to each their own.

      *I don’t see most commenters here being defensive or sensitive to any and all criticism.

          1. Anonymous 40*

            I wouldn’t last a week in that environment. Not because I’m thin skinned but because I have too much self respect to tolerate being treated that way.

            1. Wintermute*


              exactly. I am a professional, I bring valuable skills and experience to the table. The era of my career where I had “hire ’em in masses, train ’em in classes and kick ’em in the asses” careers is over. I demand to be treated like a competent professional because I am.

              I’ve HAD those jobs, I could put up with those jobs, if I had to, so survive. I don’t have to anymore, I won’t work someplace that doesn’t treat me with respect.

            2. only acting normal*

              My long time colleague reviewed my paper the other week and included much red ALL CAPS text followed by excessive “!!!” usage, not to mention insinuations of my being unintelligent.
              My refusal to take such s*** means he’s been apologising to me ever since. :)
              His excuse was he’s been on the receiving end of similar from others. Nope. It’s unprofessional whoever is dishing it, and accepting it from others is where he went wrong (as well as thinking he could copy them.) I’m also a reviewer and I know how to deliver a hard review without being an asshat.

              NB – After I’d cooled down, I completely took on board the actual *content* of his comments – the problem was solely the delivery.

      1. Thicket*

        I imagine there’s also a fairly large difference between a workplace where it’s the commonly held wisdom that everyone needs to acclimate to high levels of conflict in order to work with clients effectively, and one where people are being yelled at just because the yelling party doesn’t know how to communicate or enjoys watching the yelled-at party squirm.

        There’s a difference between “cultivating an unflappable demeanor” and “acquiescing to abuse and gaslighting.”

    2. Mary, Not Rhoda*

      Same in my job. Sometimes I think about how sensitive I was 5 years ago compared to now and it’s like night and day.

    3. extra anon today*

      As someone who also works in market research, I have to ask where in the world you live that this is the norm. I’m in the midwest, in a mid-size city, and I have to say I’ve NEVER seen someone get yelled at or called incompetent on the job. Yes, stakeholders do often get upset or angry but how in the world would that justify abusing your employees??? If my coworkers treated me as you described above I would have left the job and field years ago.

      1. Hamilton Reference*

        I named my work computer Aaron Burr. Every time it freezes up, I mutter “You are the worst, Burr.” It makes me feel a little better.

    4. mooocow*

      Huh. I also work in Data Science (e-commerce), but hereabouts it would be a total no-go to yell at coworkers or subordinates. What we do have a lot of is irony, sarcasm, and utterly bizarre jokes to the point that it is sometimes hard to figure out what people really mean and what’s a joke. There is a lot of mutual teasing that would definitely not fly in other industries.

      Another thing that amazes me is that in my job, the hierarchies are so flat that mostly everyone just does what they want, or we hash it out as a team. It works, because we’re a bunch of smart people who actually want to make things work, and I’m very happy with this setup, but it’s not what I expected to find outside of academia.

      Dress code is also really casual – tank top, shorts, and flip flops are deemed totally adequate business attire.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m surprised that this isn’t standard practice in the consulting industry in general. I’ve had great clients, but I’ve heard horror stories about not just abuse, but sabotage and illegal activity (embezzlement, fraud, etc.) by clients and consultants.

    6. Josh S*

      As someone who works in Market Research/Data Science (and has for ~9 years across multiple clients and employers), I have not ever been rage-yelled at or name-called.

      You may have had an unusual experience for our industry.

    7. Rebekah L*

      Uh, no, this is not standard for the industry. At all! I’m afraid you may have just have had a really bad experience and have mistakenly assumed this is normal. It’s really not. Source: twenty-two years working in market research at six major employers.

      I’m so so sorry someone did that to you.

    8. Data analyst*

      I also work in data science and this is totally not my experience. My coworkers are kind and polite. Being verbally abusive to colleagues or losing your temper would not be tolerated. Even raising your voice would raise eyebrows.

  23. HigherEdPerson*

    Digital badges. :-)

    We are also supportive of 2+ page resumes, talking about our feelings, and it’s TOTALLY frowned upon to give just 2 weeks notice. And to give short notice mid-semester —ooooooh you’d get black-balled fast. We’re a pretty interconnected field, so someone always knows someone else.

    1. Shoe Ruiner*

      Hey, me too. The amount of personal information shared is bananas. Also more of a work hard/play hard culture than you would think from the outside. Lots of bonding over drinking, at least where I have worked.

      1. AnotherHigherEdPerson*

        I knew it must be student affairs before I saw the follow up comment. I once gave notice in October for a May end-date after my boss asked me about my plans, and it was totally normal. Other things that are totally normal: living where you work, very casual work environments with TONS of free t-shirts, meal plans, having to teach people you can’t just hug everyone without checking in with them first, and generally odd personal boundaries. I now work as an academic adviser which is still in higher ed and draws heavily on my student affairs background but does seem to have a bit less of the student affairs norms. On the other hand, the power dynamics within an academic department and the way the chair isn’t so much the boss as the only person willing to do this lousy job definitely make navigation interesting.

        1. Shoe Ruiner*

          Going to camp with or rooming with coworkers at a conference (I’ve shared a room with my manager plenty of times and never thought it was weird).

      2. AnonIHE*

        Hahahaha…and I knew by the first words that you are my people.

        I’m in conduct/title IX so I spend time reading through students’ social media accounts (for evidence), interviewing students and asking them super awkward questions (what did you do with the condom afterwards? how many thrusts exactly?), and educating myself about sex culture via

        1. ConductAnon*

          THIS. I am in conduct now, after being in residence life before, and it is amazing the questions I have asked students that felt totally normal at the time. (“How often do you practice Japanese rope bondage for stress relief? How do you navigate that with your roommate?”)

          1. HigherEdPerson*

            Well. That’s…interesting.

            I’m trying to imagine the logistics of that in a tiny res hall room.

    2. Shauna in higher ed*

      Also, obsession with parents’ possible opinions/reactions to many situations: “the student is responsible for X egregious behavior, but in planning our response we have to think of how the parents would react …” ESPECIALLY if the parents are donors or potential donors. I didn’t experience this much in previous jobs, so I don’t think it’s universal, but it’s come up repeatedly in my current role. To the extent that the development office will “check in” about the progress of students from wealthy families to ensure their needs are being met.

      1. HigherEdPerson*

        uuughhhhh yes. The “having to give a crap” about parents and family members. That wouldn’t fly anywhere else except for another educational setting!

        1. HigherEdPerson*

          My office is currently vibrating from the drilling and hammering going on one floor down.

          “Are you going to NASPA?”
          “No, I’ll either be at NACA or ACUI, but maybe I can talk the VP into letting me go to to ACPA or LEI instead? I hear MMI applications just opened, though.”

    3. cleo*

      And all the married couples working in the same institution, and sometimes even the same dept.

      I’ve worked in higher ed both as faculty and staff (in web/marketing and instructional design), although not Student Affairs.

    4. AnonIHE*

      Preferred pronouns as a way of introduction- in an email signature, on a nametag (especially at conferences), and even at the start of meetings.

    5. Anxa*

      I’m in higher ed have the opposite experience. My supervisors are very understanding that I could be gone whenever, but I typically don’t do that. I gave 1 month notice for my last move and my bosses at current job took it pretty well when I changed my availability early semester.

      But I’m part-time, hourly, no benefits.

    6. AspiringSexTherapist*

      I’m an administrative assistant for two sex coaches. One of my bosses teaches a very popular class about squirting, so I have watched him give a live demo where he made one of my other coworkers squirt.
      And overall, just a lot of explicit conversations and very casual dress code (if I get hot, I take off my shirt). Their mission is to make this kinda sex Ed accessible and normalized, so it all feels very in line with that mission. I love it, but I’m very aware that many people would not.

      1. AspiringSexTherapist*

        I swear to God I clicked leave a new comment!!! Sorry this showed up as a reply here!!!

  24. Kyrielle*

    This is less “my industry” and more “this company”, but clothing does trend casual in my industry, and I had a coworker (he’s taken a different job since) who showed up every day in cargo shorts. (Including in the winter. I don’t even. Brrrr.)

    1. Paige Turner*

      I could go on and on about the super casual (like, midnight at the convenience store-level casual) outfits I’ve seen here…I’m a contractor at a federal building, and basically many feds who aren’t trying to get promoted dress very casually.

      1. Former Retail Manager*

        Fed here…so true. Mostly call center people for my organization, but we have some degreed, licensed professionals that look like they’re either headed to a gym or out to the street corner to panhandle. Bizarre!

    2. mskyle*

      My (financial technology) company also trends extremely casual – the interns are generally the best-dressed people in the office and one of my coworkers just walked by barefoot (sometimes he wears bunny slippers). Cargo shorts and sandals-with-socks are standard attire.

    3. Just J.*


      Shorts are the norm for my office. Even in the winter (and we are in the northeast). As are concert tees, Under Armour, and flip flops. Our jobs are stressful and it’s nice to be able to be this casual about what we wear.

      We have been advised to keep spare clothes at our desks or in our cars for when clients “pop by” (we usually have an hour to 24 hours notice) so we can “clean up our act”and “look the part.”

  25. Nonnonnon*

    Apparently sexual harassment is perfectly acceptable at my [former] company, if they claim it’s not “pervasive or severe” and was perpetrated by a coworker, not a supervisor.

    1. Brendioux*

      Ugh yes, the construction company have a lot of casual sexism, sexual harassment and even racism filling the office and as far as I know, this is pretty common in the industry…

    2. Quinalla*

      I work adjacent to the construction industry and while I’d say on average the sexism and racism is better than when I started, it’s still appalling compared to most. Though I do think it has gotten worse during and since the election, definitely emboldened some folks.

  26. Jeff*

    I work in Christian Higher Education (think private Christian colleges and seminaries). It’s very common for staff meetings to start with prayer and prayer requests, where people will reveal pretty personal parts of their life. Everything we do is often prefaced or ended with references to God’s work in what we’re doing. In some cases, it extends into practices around the campus. Because of our difficult financial situation (common for a lot of higher ed school, but especially Christian schools), our president recently encouraged faculty and staff to fast on Tuesdays and set aside time praying during lunch for guidance on how to navigate our way through difficult financial times. Not mandated, but encouraged. Since I’m an administrator, I also had to sign a statement of faith affirming my Christian belief. Again, pretty tame since it’s pretty standard Christian values; nothing too crazy.

    I have a couple friends who work at a much more conservative Christian school. That school has everyone on staff sign a statement of faith, and part of it is a requirement that you’ve spoken in tongues. If you haven’t done that, you are basically limited in what roles you can serve in at the school, and you have to sign an addendum that states that even if you haven’t spoken in tongues that you’re open to the possibility of that happening to you. Being a mainline Protestant (Presbyterian), I would never want to work at a place like that, but I bump elbows with colleagues who work in institutions like that. So there are some pretty crazy things that would never fly in other environments.

      1. ByLetters*

        My jaw legit dropped over this one. And as someone who’s not at all familiar with this .. is that .. normal for that denomination/faith? For everyone to experience that? Is the idea that, what, they’ve been “touched” by God in some way? I am so confused and yet horrified/fascinated.

        1. Jeff*

          For the really conservative school, I don’t know if that’s “the norm” for every school you would find, but there are some denominations that are huge sticklers on speaking in tongues. It’s sort of like a badge of honor for them, and it’s based primarily on a really dubious reading of Acts 2. It’s really weird and off-putting to me.

      1. Jeff*

        Oh, for sure. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone who agrees 100% with a statement of faith. Especially at my school, there’s not a whole lot that would be outwardly facing. Most of it is, “I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ” etc. At more conservative places, you will sometimes find things that say that you’re not allowed to drink or dance (yes, really, it’s ridiculous) in those agreements. The only way that plays out at my school is that we can’t get reimbursed for alcohol at meals, and on campus events have to be dry. So basically as long as the school isn’t paying for it, the expectations are probably pretty standard for any work place (don’t show up to work drunk, don’t get plastered when meeting with clients, etc).

        1. Elizabeth West*

          The no drinking, dancing, cursing, sex, being gay, etc. is in the agreement for a Christian college here, on their careers page. They outright state that they prefer to hire church members, or at least people who conform to the code of conduct. I would never get a job there because I do almost everything on their list. ;D

          1. Anonymous 40*

            One of the ones here has all those requirements, the statement of faith, and that you be an active member of a church in their denomination.

      2. Julianne*

        I did when I was briefly employed at a religious non-profit that was affiliated with a conservative Christian school. While I did not personally agree with the “values statement” (which was in line with what Jeff described, belief in God, Jesus the son of God, etc., nothing about personal conduct or sexual orientation), I felt that I would be comfortable with the probably minimal extent to which I’d need to actively engage with the organization’s/school’s religious teachings in my job. (My immigrant ESL students may have wanted to have lengthy discussions about faith…but since they primarily spoke Karen and Bhutanese and Tigrinya and I did not, that kind of settled that.)

      3. Chinook*

        “do people ever lie about being more faithful just to get the job?”

        Enough that, to get a job in a Catholic school system in Alberta, you need a letter of reference from a parish priest (or a minister or religious leader from whichever religion you are a part of) to basically prove that a)you know where there is a church, b)the priest has seen you enough to know you are a member and c)you haven’t done anything bad enough in the community for him to remember you for it.

    1. HigherEdPerson*


      I work at a Jesuit institution and we are WAAAAAY more chill than that. I’m Jewish and very welcomed here.

      1. Jeff*

        Yeah, I’ve found Catholic and Mainline Protestant institutions to be way more chill. I went to a somewhat conservative Christian school for my undergrad, and even there I didn’t agree with a lot of the policies. I’m way more comfortable where I’m at now.

      2. Bridget*

        YAY Jesuits!! I went to Boston College so I am a big fan of the Jesuits. I had a Jewish friend when I was there who would come to mass almost every week, just because he enjoyed the fellowship. :)

        1. Natalie*

          A friend of mine teaches at a Catholic school and they have a number of practicing Muslim students. Their parents wanted a decent private school that they could afford, and in our area that’s the parochial schools.

          1. Sara without an H*

            I now work at a Catholic women’s college affiliated with the Sisters of Mercy. We’ve had a number of young Muslim women students here, and they seem to feel very comfortable.

            And the Sisters of Mercy are also chill…

          2. MommaTRex*

            Yep. As long as you understand that your child attend mass when the class does, participate in religion class, and otherwise respect things like prayer time, other rituals (some of which would not require direct participation if you are not Catholic), etc., you can even pretty much be an atheist and send your kid to Catholic school.

            1. Chinook*

              The top religion student in my Catholic high school was Muslim. We had him ask his parents why they sent him there and they told him it was because the place was clear on what they taught when it came to religion and morality both explicitly and implicitly. With the public schools, it is definitely not as cut and dry because you can stop the explicit stuff but the implicit is not always so obvious.

            2. Teenaged Rabble-Rouser*

              I’ve been an atheist since about the age of 14. My father was agnostic and at least semi-supportive of my lack of belief. Mum had been raised Anglican and was decidedly *NOT*, even though she only went to church on xmas eve – and the church was across the street from our house!
              During my last year of HS, the school really messed up the timetabling and ended up cancelling two classes I needed in order to graduate early. Our public high school shared a campus with the Catholic HS, so I was able to take those two classes there. They were morning classes, so there was the matter of principal-led prayers over the classroom intercoms that we were all supposed to stand up for and join in with (this was the mid-90s in semi-rural southern Ontario, Canada).
              I was already an unbeliever and uncomfortable standing for and saying things I did not believe in and in some cases absolutely opposed (like the way they treated a few gay friends of mine who had the misfortune of being enrolled there), so I refused to participate. I sat at my desk and read quietly rather than standing up and joining in.
              The school made a huuuuuuge stink about it and threatened to expel me, which I considered equally hilarious (I had little respect for them by then, for lots of reasons *see above – treatment of gay students*) and horrifying (if I lost those classes I’d have been unable to graduate a year early, and with my florid detestation of high school, anything that might keep me there longer than absolutely required terrified me). I also knew that if my parents found out, they would not support me and I’d end up forced to participate in what I considered a ridiculous, hypocritical public prayer-fest, so I did not tell them what was going on and always arrived home early enough to be the one ‘editing’ the incoming mail and the messages left on the answering machine.
              It finally ended up with me (emptily) threatening to make a Human Rights case of it if I was expelled (like a 15yo has the money to bankroll a lawyer… hah! ) but they must have assumed that the lack of reply to the letters they sent meant my parents supported me and they backed off. I was allowed to spend the Opening Exercises part of the first morning class out in the hall, reading and listening to music. Most of the other kids were on my side and at least privately considered the forced, loudspeaker praying awful.
              Not long after I graduated (early, yay!), they ended up accepting the enrollment of a Jewish student and let him spend the Opening Exercises part of the morning out in the hall with his Discman and a book too.

          3. BananaPants*

            No one around here bats an eye at non-Catholics and non-Christians attending Catholic schools. In our area the parochials (virtually all Catholic, one or two Lutheran) are the only affordable private school options and are known to offer small classes and high-quality teaching. Plus, it allows the diocese to keep schools open, since Catholics are having smaller families than they did 40-50 years ago and many don’t automatically opt for parochial school; the non-Catholic students pay higher tuition and keep the schools open.

        2. Sara without an H*

          I, too, went to Boston College (many, many years ago). Jesuit cool is legendary.

        3. Jessica*

          Went to a Jesuit Catholic college back in the early ’90s. They had a Muslim group, LGBT group, a Jewish group, etc. Granted, they also had an anti-abortion rally, a few problematic priest professors (one who derailed his own lecture about the ancient Greeks by going on a rant about homosexuality), hosted some problematic guest speakers in recent years, etc. They don’t bat 1.000 on progressive issues. But at least they don’t have a “speaking in tongues” hiring requirement.

          1. Specialk9*

            Charismatic Catholics absolutely exist, but they’re not super common. The Holy Spirit stuff is generally a better fit with Protestant culture on spontaneity vs ritual, and individual vs group worship. I’m not explaining that quite right – Protestants (minus Anglicans & Methodists) are often more comfortable with things being loosey-goosey in church.

      3. Lily in NYC*

        Hell yeah – I went to a Jesuit university and those dudes knew how to party. We had a priest living on our floor and he had a full private bathroom and would let us fill his bathtub with ice and beers.

        1. Chinook*

          Ditto for the Basilians where I went. One of the priests was known for going out with some of the student residents, taking out the Order’s credit card and saying “the next round’s on God.”

    2. Anon for Religion*

      Wow. I have spoken in tongues, but needing to sign something to that effect would be extremely off-putting to me.

    3. Tedious Cat*

      I met someone who worked at a Catholic university where putting the rainbow overlay on your Facebook userpic was grounds for termination.

      1. Chinook*

        “I met someone who worked at a Catholic university where putting the rainbow overlay on your Facebook userpic was grounds for termination.”

        I can actually understand why because, by doing so, you are “promoting homosexuality” instead of merely accepting it as existing, which is the Church’s stance. And, as a worker at a Catholic university, you are expected not to undermine their teachings.

    4. Mischa*

      I never realized how conservative and evangelical the church I grew up in was until I got out of it. Speaking in tongues was expected, and if you didn’t/couldn’t speak in tongues then you were basically a failure. That particular environment wasn’t very healthy, though, for a host of reasons.

      1. Specialk9*

        Did people lay hands and then make their hands quiver, to show they had the Holy Spirit? I HATED that.

        People ask, hands already reaching, if they can pray for me. I say “sure, so long as you do it silently and without touching me.” Their big smiles falter, but that’s on them. The presumption that God hates physical boundaries is one that bugs me.

    5. Cedrus Libani*

      Meanwhile, at the place I did my PhD…they dragged all the first-years to sensitivity training. The presenter asked everyone who had felt uncomfortable because of their religion to raise their hand. Of the 200 people in the room, maybe 15 did. The presenter started talking about how it’s not cool to assume everyone is Christian…we all looked at each other, but nobody wanted to say it. After a minute or so, I finally stood up and said “Uh, those people ARE the Christians.” (And they weren’t wrong to feel that way, either.)

      I worked with one of the Christians who raised his hand. Admittedly, I did go out of my way to help him (holding doors, that sort of thing) – because I knew it made him twitch (not a woman’s place to do that), but he couldn’t say anything, because I was being helpful. I’m not a saint! But I don’t think it’s my place to make fun of someone’s beliefs, certainly not at work…and I’ve had to side-eye a number of fellow atheists for not watching their mouths.

      I would be very confused if I ever left the deep blue biotech bubble.

    6. Iris Eyes*

      As a former Christian College student, I had to agree not to drink or fornicate among other things for the duration of my enrollment (including breaks where I was away from school.) I know some more conservative schools who may still have separate sidewalks for men and women and require a signed letter of consent from the parents to the school for marriages.
      The no drinking/fornicating/theft rules aren’t all that bad and certainly had their benefits.
      I also had an apartment were extra-marital sex would have gotten you evicted (and I do know of someone who was.)

      1. Anonymous 40*

        At my relatively conservative “Christian” school, one of my classmates got pregnant a couple of months before graduation. The few of us who knew had to keep it absolutely secret because she would have been expelled on the spot. Her wedding was already planned for the week after graduation.

      2. Lehigh*

        I looooved going to a “dry” college. Sure, people drank, but they weren’t dumb enough to be drunk and sloppy in public. It made for a very serene environment.

        1. Roja*

          I went to a dry college too and it was great. The school didn’t care how much you drank as long as you didn’t bring it on campus, so campus was always super chill.

    7. TiffIf*

      I attended a Christian college where it was common to start classes and other meetings with prayer, and all students are required to sign and live by a rather strict honor code, but the speaking in tongues thing even I find very odd.

    8. Miso*

      My mother once applied for a job I think at a vocational school? I’m not sure, but anyway, the job was paid for by the Catholic church. She basically already got the job and the local guy in charge told her that some church guy just had to approve it.
      Well. He didn’t.
      Because while my mother is Catholic, my father, my brother and me are protestant. Obviously she’s not a good enough Catholic, when she can’t even raise her children Catholic… The local guy was shocked about it. Apparently church guy was pretty young and very overzealous…

      This was in Germany btw, where we have all the employment laws – just not for church institutions…

    9. Beatrice3*

      I go to a Quaker college and volunteer lots at a mainline church camp, so I’ve gotten very used to starting and ending every meeting with a moment of silence.

    10. Specialk9*

      That’s utterly insane. My stomach is churning at the thought of that. And I *have* spoken in tongues!

  27. FDCA In Canada*

    My organization employs between, oh, 75 and 100 people, and we have one man. He works in my office of 6. We used to have two, but the other one resigned in February.

    I work for a nonprofit whose mission is to support military spouses and families, who are overwhelmingly women (and children), so it fits the demographic, but I don’t know of many other companies who employ such a skewed ratio of women to men.

    1. Kathlynn*

      All 3 of the retail companies I’ve worked for have fairly high women to men ratios, as do schools. (right now we have about 12 employees, 3 of them guys. at my last job we rarely had more then one or two guys employed at the same time, out of about 7-10 employees.

    2. Chinook*

      The national nurses association in Canada does. When I worked there, there were 6 (none of them former nurses) – one in Procurement, 2 in the mailroom, and 3 in IT (which had only one woman and was notable for also having the only male manager).

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      My company of 15 is all women, but we are a non-profit supporting women running for public office so that makes sense. Apparently in the past we’ve had a male intern or two but we’ve been all women for most of the time we’ve been in existence.

    4. Squeeble*

      Wow! My org doesn’t have quite THAT severe of a ratio, but I’m in philanthropy which similarly skews toward women.

    5. AnonNurse*

      I am an RN and while our ratio isn’t quite that bad, and it’s getting better, we definitely have a majority of females. On my unit alone we have no male nurses at all, although there are male nurses within my facility as a whole.

    6. Perse's Mom*

      In my experience, animal welfare/veterinary medicine skews pretty heavily towards women. The vast majority of CVTs I’ve met are women, along with the majority of vets I’ve had over the years. And at Old Job (shelter work), there were something like 3-4 men (two of them in maintenance) for 25+ women.

      1. Ashie*

        Animal sheltering here. My company has over 100 employees and fewer than 10 of them are men.

      2. Hamilton Reference*

        Ditto on the animal shelter! It was great for when we got in dogs who had issues with dudes, but one time a woman came in to surrender her dog who was aggressive towards (human) females and it was like… We only have two guys who work here, and they’re part-time.

        (Thank God we convinced her to keep the dog. She’d had her for 10 years and wanted to surrender her because the dog damaged a new couch. She was scared of fireworks, it was July.)

    7. Risha*

      Most of my career has been on the tech side of health insurance or healthcare administration, and while it was not quite that shockingly skewed, it was generally majority women, including at least once on a 10-20(?) million dollar account implemented by a 20+ person team that accidentally ended up entirely so.

      My current job is with tax software, and until the new hires arrived this past Monday there were only four of us women in this entire office (out of about 30 people) – it’s so bizarre!

    8. Candy*

      Libraries tend to employ more women than men. In mine right now, there’s one man and 10 women. Even in library school I only remember having at most two men per class.

    9. Liz Lemon 2*

      Come on over to child welfare! In my county office (technically, parish office because I’m in Louisiana), we have no men in the foster care, adoptions, and in-home services units. There are three men in the CPS investigations unit. Our attorneys and administrative assistants are all women. No male supervisors, managers, etc. at all.

    10. museum sara*

      In one museum education department I worked for we had one man and twenty-four women. He used to introduce himself as the “department dude.”

    11. Howdy Do*

      I worked at a similarly skewed reproductive rights non-profit and now I work in libraries, all of which were similarly female dominated!

    12. Erin*

      I am in the finance/business office of a school district and there are 3 men in our building of 24. Currently, I’m the third youngest person there, and I’m 40.

  28. Nobody You Know*

    I used to work in a grief counseling center. Gallows humor saved us. The death jokes were rampant!

    1. Cruciatus*

      My aunt worked at a children’s hospital with the dead and dying babies. She had to go to court frequently to speak against the abuse they suffered. She only got through it with gallows humor. At the med school I worked at, before a certain forensics course, the students were always told to expect some black humor because of the kinds of things the presenters see every single day.

    2. k.k*

      I worked in a call center that handled obituaries and death notices for a number of newspapers. Hearing all day about people dying, how they died, and often having to speak with grieving family members…you bet we had some weird humor to save us.

      1. Erin*

        I’ve also worked at a call center that handled funeral homes and hospice patients. You can’t spell funeral without fun.

    3. Elemeno P.*

      I volunteer with sick children. The cancer jokes in the break room keep us from crying on the floor.

    4. therapist*

      Yes! I came here to comment the exact same thing! I work in hospice, and our team meetings at times have involved us crying from laughter about death jokes. Obviously we have the utmost respect for our patients and their families, but without a little levity on occasion we’d all totally burn out.

      One other thing fairly unique to this field is having to regularly adapt my schedule due to my patients having died (happened twice this week alone).

    5. Clinical Social Worker*

      Not grief counseling but when I worked in prison man…the jokes. Anything an inmate or the system could do that was disturbing we made a joke about it.

  29. Ruth (UK)*

    Mine’s probably more of an individual office thing rather than an industry thing but we process the admin for hospital referrals which often explicitly describe patients’ bowel movements, urology issues, gynae issues and so on. It’s reset the norm of what’s considered safe office talk for bodily functions and in my office (of 10 people) we will often openly discuss our own medical issues or changes we’ve noticed, say, in our bowel habit etc in a way in which I would not expect is usually the norm at work.

  30. pmia*

    I work in corporate IT for a big name bank you’ve all heard of. Being IT, we can work from home. I’m currently in a tank top and athletic shorts as I am designing infrastructure changes.

    1. ;)*

      Same. If I ever go back to work in an office, I don’t know how I’ll get used to wearing a bra all day again!

    2. Anonymous 40*

      Healthcare IT here. On work from home days, I’m usually in shorts and a t-shirt with my bare feet propped up on my desk as I work.

      1. Autumn Leaves*

        +1 federal government work from home 3x/week in yoga pants & a tank (& often a dog on my lap!)

  31. Michael Scarn, CPA*

    In public accounting managers and partners go to happy hours and lunch with staff all the time. It’s not unusual for managers to be friends outside of work with the seniors and staff they manage. When I moved to the corporate side I realized how odd that is and how cliquey public accounting is. But now that I’m a manager on the corporate side, my only work friends are people I used work with in public accounting. It’s lonely in middle management.

    1. Snowflake*

      I just started working in public accounting and this is my experience…one of the directors told us about the bachelorette party she attended for a partner when the partner was a (younger) partner and the director was a senior.

  32. Parcae*

    I work in a tiny sliver of a nonprofit industry where the vast majority of our clients and staff are Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native. Our work is completely secular, and our clients and staff represent a huge range of tribal affiliations and religious practices, but we start every major meeting or conference with a prayer. Seems very normal here.

  33. Cruciatus*

    When I worked at a med school library, I frequently had to ask students, “Human or plastic [skulls]?” I realize this probably doesn’t count as most other places don’t have human skulls nearby to hand out, but I like telling the story. Otherwise, my jobs seem pretty tame overall (which I think might be a relief based on some comments here!).

      1. Wintermute*

        “Look, I’ve got work to do, you want a fellow of most excellent fancy or not?”

    1. Another Lauren*

      I had that happen in a science museum I worked at! Went to turn on the lights in the lab and –BAM! Row of human skulls.

    2. Braaaaainsss*

      I frequently have buckets of brains, rats, or eyeballs in my car shuttling them between campuses.

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        I once worked as a foreskin dissector. Had to go make the rounds of the city’s maternity wards every weekday at lunchtime, pick up the day’s harvest, and haul them back to the lab. Where I spent the afternoon chopping them up. Explaining that job in polite company was…interesting.

        1. HR Bee*

          I’m sorry, but I’m curious… why does foreskin need to be dissected? I would have thought it would just be disposed of.

          1. Typhon Worker Bee*

            Foreskin fibroblasts (skin cells) have a ton of applications in science – mostly stem cell research, but other fields too. Because the donors are so young, the cells will grow in lab culture much better than other easily-available types of human cells.

          2. Anonicat*

            Our lab (skin cancer research) uses foreskins from infant circumcisions as a source of cells that definitely haven’t been exposed to much UV radiation. (The parents do consent to them being used for research, we don’t just take them.)

            1. Anonicat*

              It was also my job for a while to drive to the clinic and collect the foreskins in a university car. My sister dubbed it the Brismobile.

            2. Cedrus Libani*

              Salute to a fellow Brismobile driver. =)

              I also worked for a skin cancer lab. The problem with studying cancer cells directly is that, by the time they’re fully cancerous, they’re terribly messed up. It’s hard to tell what the effect of any specific mutation is. It’s much easier to tell what’s going on if you can take a normal, healthy skin cell and introduce that mutation.

              The healthiest, most “normal” skin cells are on newborn babies. Fortunately for us, there’s a reliable source of baby skin…

              The dissection is needed because different cell types are present in different layers. My group was mostly interested in melanoma, and melanocytes are only in the top (epidermal) layer. So I’d take the foreskin, cut the fat and blood vessels off, soak it in an enzyme solution overnight, then peel off the top layer and digest it to release single cells.

              You can use adult skin, but the cells don’t grow as well. I’d sometimes pick up a bucket from the plastic surgery clinic (from a tummy tuck or breast reduction), but that was mostly used by the real dermatologists in the department (testing out treatments on real skin before moving to human trials).

              It’s definitely true that working in a MD-heavy environment, around literal buckets of human parts, warps your perception of what is appropriate table conversation. I once showed up late to a dinner party, because I’d been sent to get the bucket for a penis amputation (due to melanoma), and the surgery had run long because it had already started to rot from inside…and I explained this, to the wide-eyed horror of everyone else.

        2. SQL Coder Cat*

          Ha! My checkered past involved a student job at a reproductive research lab, where one of my jobs was to go to the (academic) slaughterhouse on Friday to get the week’s supply of bovine ovaries- and then spend the next six hours extracting the eggs and freezing them for later use. I use that job in a lot of stupid icebreaker games, in an attempt to get jobs to stop doing stupid icebreaker games.

    3. Librarygal30*

      I ask students if they want the brain model that comes apart, or the one that doesn’t.

  34. P*

    Music industry – had a group outting to a baseball game, and everyone was so drunk and other things from the bus ride, they were ejected from the ballpark before the game even began for being drunk in public. They used to have bands play at the Christmas party, and one guy threw up on himself as the president was making a speech as the party was beginning. Guy kept his job. The list of bizarre incidents just goes on and on with this place……

    1. k.k*

      My spouse works in the industry, and their office Christmas party is insane. The open bar gets well taken advantage of, and this year the CEO was high as a kite during his speech.

  35. Marisa*

    I teach at a pretty large university, and we have happy hours for young faculty and staff. (Young is relative. In the university setting, it typically means younger than 50.) It’s not explicitly stated, but highly encouraged for these people to use the happy hours as a way to find dates. The idea is that you won’t leave the job you have if you work with the love of your life.

    1. Manders*

      Hah! Well, that’s one way to deal with the two body problem.

      Academia is also generally more tolerant, even encouraging, of spousal hires and spouses working together. It makes sense, since there aren’t a lot of industries that require people to move around so much during the time most people are dating and settling down.

    2. Molly's Reach*

      I also work at a university. The contract for faculty includes a stipulation that when a faculty member is hired, part of the deal is that their spouse is also given a job (somewhere) on campus. There are lots of couples here! As well as brothers/sisters, parent/child and all sorts of close familial relationships.

  36. Sigrid*

    I’m an emergency medicine physician and I am currently sitting in a lecture entitled “street drugs and where to find them”.

    1. costume teapot*

      Oh this is interesting. Do they literally mean source-wise? Why would you need them? :o

  37. Dr. Doll*

    Incompetence, arrogance, impracticality, lack of accountability, and occasionally sheer viciousness because the stakes are so damn small. Also long term sexual harassment. Yes, I work in higher education.

    For the record, I think higher ed is a truly valuable enterprise (unlike most Republicans, according to that recent Pew Center poll) but I sure wish we were *actually* as open to self-criticism and improvement as we pride ourselves on being…and that we like to dish out to other people. Maybe I am having a bad day, sigh.

    1. cleo*

      OMG, the DRAMA involved in higher ed is almost impossible to explain to anyone outside of the field

      1. HigherEdPerson*

        It’s crazy. And the TENSIONS between faculty and administration are ridiculous.

        We in Student Affairs gossip more than my entire sorority back in college

        1. cleo*

          Yeah. I’ve worked at like 4 universities now and the specifics (and the level) vary from place to place, but there is ALWAYS drama and tension somewhere – admin vs faculty, academic departmental rivalries, administrative department rivalries, etc. Or that one person who has just enough power to make you miserable if you cross them (i.e the crack-pot in IT / procurement / etc).

      2. JJ*

        God, all the drama – especially with all the internal politics.

        I once had a new staff member come in and say ‘why did you assign this to me this is a stupid idea?’ I responded ‘politics – we need to make x look good’. He got very puffed up and said ‘politics is not a legitimate reason’.

        I just laughed and told him ‘welcome to higher ed’. He didn’t appreciate that (then, he totally got it a few months later)

      3. Amy Pond*

        Omg yes. I was looking to go into higher ed as a career, however after seeing the entire department that I worked for be replaced in a year due to the turnover from the drama and politics I changed my mind.

    2. Also Higher Ed*

      I’ve worked in higher ed for nearly three decades. One of the most interesting aspects of starting to follow the AAM blog is that I finally have it confirmed that much of what goes on in higher ed is most definitely not normal. One of my coworkers jokes (at least, partly ), that in higher ed you can punch your supervisor in front of six witnesses and still keep your job.

      I also agree that higher ed is valuable. Some days it’s amazing how well we can educate students in spite of the craziness.

      1. Airedale*

        Interesting! I’m on my third year in higher ed. I remember once Alison said that AAM needed a disclaimer that all of this didn’t apply to higher ed. Could you possibly explain?

    3. anon for this*

      So much this.

      I work in academic publishing where part of my job is to find reviewers for manuscripts and then later people who will say nice things about the forthcoming book for the cover. Navigating the minefield of factions and rivalries and who hates who because someone’s former adviser once made an off-hand comment thirty years ago . . . just astounding.

    4. GT*

      Also higher ed – and a museum, with all the dysfunction there. I would pretend I was starring in a soap opera and ask myself, “What is the weirdest, most dramatic turn of events that could happen?” and plan from that. 9/10 I was right.

  38. Elmyra Duff*

    I used to transcribe closed captioning for TV shows and movies. There was a cluster of computers used near the back of the room for transcribing porn. So, like, we’d all end up with a shift where we just watched porn all day.

    1. Red Reader*

      I don’t want to totally derail, but I’m curious — who decides how much of the background noise gets transcribed for closed-captioning? we keep the CC on our Netflix because one of the housemates has an annoying habit of walking into the room and talking over the show, plus I have slightly dodgy hearing anyway, and we were watching a bunch of Justice League episodes a few weeks ago that were full of transcribed “biff” and “pew pew” and whatnot, haha. It devolved into my housemate and I narrating our own sound effects off the CC.

      1. Elmyra Duff*

        Good question! It’s dependent on the type of show, what the client wants, and what the captioning company itself does. The one I worked for probably did Justice League. For cartoon-y things, you use a ton of sound effects. The goal is to give the deaf/hard-of-hearing viewer as close to the same experience as the hearing viewer as possible.

        1. Red Reader*

          From my Facebook postings that week:

          “Apparently “bwok” is the sound of Wonder Woman beating the bejesus out of Superman.”

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        I was watching Agents of SHIELD at a friend’s house this weekend and there was one scene where Coulson was yelling from the other side of a soundproof door and the caption was [yelling silently]. I thought that was great. They also make liberal use of “musical note” graphics during dramatic pauses.

          1. Almost Fergus*

            My fave was [urine splashing aggressively] in a recent episode of the Twin Peaks revival. Never thought of urine itself as aggressive.

        1. Jessica*

          Mine is a court scene in “Liar, Liar” where Jim Carrey is making a bunch of random noises, and the caption says, “[Speaking nonsense]” and then as the camera view switches, “[Nonsense continues]”.

      3. Elizabeth H.*

        I’m so interested in how closed captioning is created. I’m hearing but I always watch EVERYTHING with closed captions. Every time I watch something with other people I get surprised (I don’t know why I don’t learn) when they are not on and when people are bothered by it, bc I hate watching without captions. A funny effect of that is that I know everyone’s name in shows really well. On Orange is the New Black I remember someone complaining in an online review that the newer Latino characters didn’t seem to have been given names/unique identities and I was thinking “what are you talking about, they say their names in every episode” before I realized it was from the CC. I was interested to see below, the idea about not giving deaf viewers more information than hearing viewers because I really like seeing the names – Orange is the new Black in particular gives names even to characters that we only see for a few minutes once a season and I feel like it really enhances my viewing of the show and experience of the characters. I feel that Netflix has very good captions in general.

        1. Jessica*

          I’ve converted several people to watching with captions. It’s a lot easier to follow the dialogue without turning the volume up loudly. I figure that at least when I’m old, I’ll be the one who doesn’t have the TV on full blast 24/7.

          1. DecorativeCacti*

            I do the same so I don’t have to hold the remote through every show and play up-and-down with every explosion followed by whispers.

      4. Optimistic Prime*

        OMG I was watching Justice League the other day and noticed that (my husband and I always watch with captions because we don’t hear good). The funny part is that we were criticizing the sound effects – “Mmm, that was more like a ‘pfft’ than a ‘whoosh’.”

      1. Courtney W*

        This is not an office job with as good pay as OP is probably describing working in, but I do some captioning work from home as a side job with a company called Rev. Anyone who can pass their tests can do it, and it’s nice that it’s something I can just do whenever I have spare time. No set schedule and the pay is per minute of captions (probably not worth it unless your typing WPM is at least somewhat high.)

        1. Saturnalia*

          I will caution that I have a friend who has made her career captioning from home, and at this point has such severe carpal tunnel that it’s limiting her hours (she’s classified as IC so no insurance or other employer benefits). There may be more to her story than her job, but still, like any profession which relies on sound body, it’s important to think about what you might do if your body fails.

          1. Malibu Stacey*

            Yeah, this A Thing for a lot of people who do a lot of typing. Stenos, court reporters, admins, etc.

            1. Jessica*

              Coders. I feel very fortunate that I don’t have carpal tunnel–but I do have shoulder problems from keeping those muscles tense all the time, so…

          2. Courtney W*

            Yeah, I’m not necessarily recommending it – like I said, I only do it as a side job, not a frequent thing.

        2. Elmyra Duff*

          It was an office job, but the pay was about $10/hr and a bachelor’s degree was required. They acted like you should feel privileged that they’d even pay you that much. It was ridiculous. I did Rev for awhile as a side gig, and I liked it a lot more.

      2. Figment*

        I wouldn’t recommend it. The first company I worked for laid off the entire captioning department and outsourced the work to a big firm in Pittsburgh. The second company I worked for laid 1/3 of us off after I’d been there for a year. I took the hint and went into a different line of work.

        But as for how I got it – I had a friend who worked in a post-production facility who got me a job in the tape library, and I happened to impress the owner of the company, who recommended me for the captioning department.

        1. Elmyra Duff*

          Oh shit. I worked for that big firm in Pittsburgh. We screwed over a lot of smaller companies that way and everyone not in management felt so bad about it.

      3. Elmyra Duff*

        You answer a job ad preying on new English majors and look past how badly the company pays and treats you because, hey, at least you have a job. I don’t recommend it.

    2. DataQueen*

      So I have a fun story and question for you – I use the captions because I’m deaf in one ear, and on an episode of a popular Netflix show, they gave away the bad guy in the first 5 minutes because the caption said [X breathing heavily]. The rest of the show was a flashback, so if they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have known who he was until the last 5 minutes, and it would have been way more excited. I was PISSED. So I wrote a very angry letter to the captions department, cited a bunch of laws, and THEY CHANGED THE CAPTION! I was so happy for all the future viewers that won’t get the surprise ruined, and pretty pumped that my single request got Netflix to do something :)

      My question for you Elmyra Duff, is whether I’m a caption-changing superhero, or whether you have to update captions all the time for this exact reason. And how DO you deal with spoilers, assuming you don’t know the intricate plot points of every show?

      1. Figment*

        I’m not Elmyra, but when I was captioning, the goal was not to give the hard of hearing or Deaf community any more information than the hearing community has. So we strove really hard to not give things away, considering we often had full transcripts and character names to work with. It was tough, but basically until that character was introduced on screen, by name, we were not to use their name in the captions.

      2. Elmyra Duff*

        Oh, cool! I never had to change captions like that. I think the managers mostly dealt with those situations. I was always very careful about not giving anything away because, even though I’m fully hearing, I’ve always watched TV with captions on since I was a kid. That kind of stuff makes me so mad, along with poorly timed captions that give away punchlines or major plot points before they’re actually spoken.

        1. Figment*

          My all-time favorite caption was from the first season of “Preacher”, where a crow is eating out of a Chinese take-out container. The caption read [Eating Chinese food]

        2. DBGNY*

          My HS English teacher gave away the entire plot point, including all spoilers, by page 2 of “The Scarlet Letter”. I was so angry that I had to sit in the class for half a year to learn what she had just blabbed about ten minutes into our first class.

          Arg. It still makes me nuts when I think about it.

    3. Figment*

      HAHAHA, I used to caption as well and I had to caption an unedited season of “Dating Naked”. It was so embarrassing.

      1. Denise biscuit*

        Im just curious-how long does it take to caption a 30 minute or 60 minute show? Or a whole season?

    4. Figment*

      My other favorite captioning job was like six seasons of “Geordie Shore” where we were given no transcripts and had to basically figure out that accent on our own. It was crazy, but by the end, I had a good handle on what they were saying.

      1. Elmyra Duff*

        Oh, my god. I know what you mean. I was horrible with accents. For awhile, we were working on a certain network that used to be about learning, and they were dubbing all of their terrible reality shows in Spanish. Someone already translated most of them, but trying to actually time and place those with very limited knowledge of the language was brutal.

      2. Floundering Mander*

        Wait, are you American? And transcribing Geordie Shore? Man, I’ve lived in the Newcastle area for nearly 14 years (from Colorado) and I don’t think I could do that! Some words still just don’t make sense to me…

    5. Ramona Flowers*

      I used to work for a magazine that carried porn ads and someone had to go through and check all the strategically placed stars (think along the lines of fig leaves) were covering what they were meant to.

      1. the cake is a pie*

        This makes me think of the cards they hand out on the Vegas strip, which I like to call the clap-clap cards (referring to the double hand slap the sidewalk distributors do before trying to get you to take one). There are always strategic stars. I always wonder who exactly designs and prints these cards and whether someone has to make a judgement call on star size and placement.

    6. Lissa*

      I do live captioning (of classes, meetings etc) and having to decide when to put in a non-word sound on the fly can be stressful! Like you said, the job is to give the hard of hearing client the same experience as the hearing people, but something like [frustrated sigh] could be potentially a problem if I misinterpret!

      We also, during training, got taught about how we had to transcribe things even if we found them uncomfortable, like racism or sexual comments, and not to put our own “spin” on things which is interesting when doing political events. (we do meaning for meaning, not verbatim).

      I love seeing a thread about something close to my job!

      1. ArtsNerd*

        I am in awe of people who can do live captioning and translation (inc sign language). I have some minor trouble processing spoken conversation – count me among the many hearing folks who greatly prefer captions! – so taking in that kind of information, processing it, and transcribing and/or translating in REAL TIME is some kind of frickin super power to me.

    7. ArtsNerd*

      I APPRECIATE YOU and your colleagues. So much.

      Not only do I prefer captioning as a hearing person, I live in a city with a large Deaf population and work at a movie theatre. I wish EVERY movie was shown with open captions, and still the number of films released without any captioning track (oc or cc) is pretty staggering. And captions are easier to produce than audio descriptions (for visually impaired folks), which are few and far between.

  39. Nobody You Know*

    I used to work at a start-up software company where we coddled the brilliant young minds who were supposed to create the product that was going to make us all rich. One created a Tiki hut out of his cubicle, complete with umbrella, bamboo, and sand on the floor. Cleaning up after he got fired was incredible. Oh, and we never got rich.

    1. Kyrielle*

      …wow. I worked with someone who set up a whole tiki hut, except minus the sand on the floor. That’s…a whole new level. (Bamboo gate across the cubicle entrance, umbrella over the top, seascapes pinned to the walls, check.)

      But in our case it wasn’t an industry thing or a company thing, it was a this-person thing. It wasn’t _quite_ enough to not fly, but it was definitely viewed as highly odd and not positive for reputation.

      1. Lehigh*

        I dream of having the kind of F U money to be comfortable doing really really quirky things like this at work…

      2. Snargulfuss*

        Wasn’t there a story here a while ago of someone who set up a bed or cot at their workspace. This is so far beyond that!

        1. Quackeen*

          There was the story of someone who set up a pillow fort at their desk. That’s pretty awesome.

  40. animaniactoo*

    Pretty much, I suspect I’m going to be a voyeur to this thread. My industry is pretty tame considering that it’s child and household-license focused.

    Unless you want to count blatant rip-offs of each other’s products changed just enough to be categorized as “not identical”.

    Or wait… I know. The name changing. Don’t have the licensee rights to Teapots in the contract? Sell WaterBoilers instead. Or Hot Beverage Servers with Infusion Cores.

  41. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

    Finance (Asset Management – Hedge Fund/PE space specifically) – pretty extreme and invasive Compliance policies/regarding personal investing and money management.

    Upon starting you must hand over the account numbers of every single brokerage account (for yourself, spouse and any other family members that live under the smae roof) that has the ability to trade securities (even if you don’t use the account for that purpose). A wide variety of trades must be approved by the company before happening and every single personal trade and/or investment made while working here is monitored and recorded.

    My family was very private growing up, particularly regarding money. So this seemed so odd and bizarre to me at first, but now it totally makes sense (it is literally by law that this stuff has to be done).

    1. AthenaC*

      Public accounting as well. We also have to list employment relationships and retirement accounts of immediate family members.

    2. DCGirl*

      There was a letter on this site from a woman whose husband was balking at providing that information.

    3. snowflake*

      I just started in public accounting and this process has been such a pain. It will be easier when everything is in the approved accounts but I’m still trying to transfer them.

  42. ali*

    Back in the late 90s, as a web designer (for the government, no less), we’d go surf porn sites all day – those were the most popular sites on the internet, so we assumed that was the type of design people were looking for and we’d try to emulate them even though our content was scientific instead.

    1. The IT Manager*

      so we assumed that was the type of design people were looking for

      Oh no! That’s just so incorrect.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          That it was scientists coming up with this theory makes it even more hilarious.

          “We want people to read our site on global warming.”
          “Okay, what sites do people visit a lot?”
          “Ooh, I know! Porn!”
          “Good idea! What sort of font size do they use?”

          1. ali*

            that was exactly it. and it was in fact a site about global warming ;)
            to be fair, back then, their version of porn was just playboy. we also looked at big successful companies like nike and coke at the time.

      1. ali*

        there weren’t many good examples of successful website layout back then. when you worked for an entity like the government that wasn’t big on innovation and doing anything new, you had to look at what was available. Universities, big companies, and porn were the best layout examples and porn usually had the best code for all of them because they could hire the people who were actually good at it!

        I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally typed “.com” instead of “.gov” after “whitehouse” back then too, which was, of course, a porn site.

    2. SarahTheEntwife*


      So much about the weird government document formatting in the 90s makes sense now…

      (An inventory project has given me the utterly useless but mildly entertaining skill of being able to tell the age of a US government publication within about five years purely by design and typography. The 90s were…not the government’s best years, layout-wise.)

    3. Anonymous 40*

      The idea that it was the design of porn sites that brought people in really cracks me up!

      1. Jessica*

        As someone who started designing in 1996…like what even! This must have been a government thing because I can definitely say that NOBODY was looking to porn for design ideas in my slice of the private sector.

        1. Anonymous 40*

          “I browse porn for the web design” must be a 90s equivalent of “I read Playboy for the articles.”

          1. Saturnalia*

            Welp, anonymous 40, it’s official: you have won the internet.

            Now to cleanse my immediate vicinity of snorted coffee…

  43. Kara*

    Not my industry, but my husband is in construction, specifically in concrete. I’m an HR/Business Development consultant and could never, ever work at his company. The crude language, racism, ageism, sexism, and horrid management practices – all seen as humorous to anyone who works there – would drive me crazy. Smh.

    1. Objects don't argue back*

      I have friends who work on tugboats who say it’s the same there — open racism and sexism are basically expected.

    2. Anonymoose*

      The oil and gas industry is very much the same. The ageism may not quite be as bad as construction , but I’d say the sexism is even worse. I can count the number of women I’ve seen on an oil rig over the last 20 years without using my second hand. Also, I’m pretty sure that there isn’t another industry outside Hollywood where cocaine use is as common and tolerated as it is here.

  44. sharpshooter*

    Checking each other for ticks and asking how long it’s been since your coworkers have peed.
    (Field biology)

    1. Dust Bunny*

      My brother is an archaeologist, so . . . yeah.

      He’s also had some law-enforcement scares. As in, people thinking he’s law enforcement (drives a truck with a seal on the door). None of the people he’s startled have been doing anything illegal, but the possibility that he might one day run across one who was is always sort of in the back of his mind.

      1. sharpshooter*

        Oh yeah, I’ve had training on what to do WHEN you come across illegal activity on federal lands.

    2. Nea*

      I shouldn’t be giggling because the context makes perfect sense, but this is the entry that made me laugh out loud at the office.

    3. smokey*

      Or the guy (almost always a guy) who just turns and pees while standing two feet away from the group.

      1. sharpshooter*

        Seriously! I know we’re close bud but I don’t want to be close enough to feel your backsplash! I’ve worked in some great plains areas where there are no trees for miles. That’s when you really have to announce that you’re “going behind the truck” or “no one turn around for a few minutes”

        1. JaneB*

          A former boss used to announce that he was “just gonna contribute to the hydrology” – he was unreasonably snarky if newbies didn’t get it

          1. Katie*

            My favourite expression is ‘just checking out the stone work’ as you step behind a rock on a hike. ‘Contribute to the hydrology’ is my new favourite.

        2. Floundering Mander*

          That’s definitely a “behind the truck| situation. I once had to deal with horrible diarrhea on an open hillside, with no cover, while on a survey. It was too far to walk back to the truck and there were no bushes. Fortunately I had a trowel so I was able to dig a decent hole, but still. I just had to trust that my colleagues carried on (and of course had to thoroughly check the immediate area for artifacts. It would have been really, really bad to have chosen that place and then realized I was looking at a Clovis point or something…).

  45. HankyPanky*

    Libraries — the places where bodily fluids are routinely found on/in/near items (on purpose!) and staff are required to have conversations with patrons about vermin in their homes (since the critters come with them to the library). I’ve cleaned too many poop/vomit explosions for any workplace outside a health care center. Also, training on identifying a mental health crisis is necessary when dealing with the public. It’s not unusual to go from talking with one patron or staff member about academic subjects and triaging a mental health crisis or body fluid crisis the next. I still love my job, but it is exhausting at times.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I don’t think most people have any idea how rough being a librarian can be. I work for a private (academic) library and even we get incidents like this, despite having card-keys and a gate to let people in.

      1. JustaTech*

        I once had a grad student attempt to hand me her baby/toddler when she was told that no children were allowed in the stacks (and she just needed one book). The librarian nixed that so I went and got her book for her.
        (The no-babies thing was a new rule.)

    2. (Different) Rebecca*

      …so those books that occasionally look/smell like someone vomited in them…?