taking weeks off a new job to let a tattoo heal, our intern brings slime to work, and more

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

1. Can I take several weeks off from my new job to let a new tattoo heal?

I was hired for a full-time, post-university job and I start in two weeks. When I start the job, I won’t have any vacation or time off for the first five months. I would like to ask for two or three weeks off at the end of September and beginning of October. I am planning on getting my first tattoo, and it is extensive and intricate and not small. I have to wear a suit to work and there’s no way I can wear one while the tattoo is healing without damaging it. I can’t not wear a suit or have a visible tattoo where I work. Is there a way I can ask for time off while I am on my probationary period before I start accruing vacation time?

I have been planning this with my friends for a long time. If we don’t do it now, we won’t be able to do it until January of 2020 when we can all get together again. Is it too much to ask if we have been planning this for over a year? Or is it too much to ask at a new job?

I am sorry to tell you that you absolutely cannot ask for two to three weeks off from a new job to let a tattoo heal. It will go over very, very poorly — not because of any anti-tattoo bias, but because you do not ask for that much time off when you’re brand new for anything short of a serious health emergency. (Plus, that’s likely to be your entire vacation allotment for the next year or possibly even over it.)

It will not make a difference to your employer that you’ve been planning this for over a year, and raising that will seem like your priorities and understanding of workplace norms are really out of whack. (That said, if this is your first job out of college, it’s not surprising that your understanding of workplace norms isn’t well developed yet. How could it be otherwise? But don’t ask.) They want you at work so you can learn the job, and taking several weeks off while you’re still new would be a big deal.

The good news, though, is that you don’t need to take two to three weeks off to let your tattoo heal. People get tattoos all the time, all over their bodies, and don’t take time off work (or go around naked). They just wear bandages over the fresh tattoo. I verified this with my semi-heavily tattooed husband, who says, “If you’re unsure, talk to your tattoo artist and say, ‘After I get this done, I need to wear a suit. What’s the best way to protect it?’”

2. Our intern brings slime to work

We are a small (under 40) digital agency. We have a pretty young team with three interns per semester and have a casual office. One of our interns this year has a unique fidgeting tool that I want to get your take on.

She brings Slime to work! Not just one piece of slime but she often brings three or more containers of it. All day she is playing with the slime. She even brought it to one of our all-hands meeting and played with it through the entire meeting where our owner was presenting. She’s one of our most productive interns and does her job well but this is just … odd. Every time I walk by her desk I notice it. I want to give her feedback and say that not all companies will be okay with this but I don’t even know where to start. Is this a common thing to expect with college kids now? How would you give the feedback? I don’t even know if we need to tell her to get rid of it. Help!

There’s an increased understanding now that having something to fidget with during meetings helps some people concentrate (particularly people with ADHD, but it’s not limited to them), and I suspect that’s how she’s using this. But you’re right that slime isn’t going to go over well at many companies, and she’d be better off finding a more discreet/less slimy fidget tool.

I’d start by asking her about it sometime when you’re one-on-one — “Are you using the slime as a way to help you focus?” — followed by something like, “I want to make sure you know, it’s fine here, but at a lot of companies it would come across oddly — not the need to fidget, but the choice of slime in particular. But there are a lot of fidget tools that are fine in professional environments — you could out some options and see if something else works for you.” (Although if it’s not fine in your office, be up-front with her about that too.)

3. Explaining why I’m declining one-sided video interviews

I’ve been applying to jobs on and off for the past three years, and something I’ve come across a few times is companies that request first round video interviews. Not Skype or Facetime, but actual one-sided, do it whenever you want, record yourself responding to questions that show up on a screen video interviews. I hate these — I tried to do one but found it so uncomfortable, difficult to engage without having an actual person to connect with on the other end, and just generally annoying. I get the value to companies (they don’t have to schedule anything; can have as many candidates as they want complete them with little effort on their part) but I’ve decided that they’re just not for me. They seem rare enough that I’m cool with writing off any company that asks for one — can you suggest language to respond to these requests? I’d like to make it clear that the reason I’m declining is because I don’t do these video interviews. Or is it even worth specifying why?

“I’m sure video interviews are useful on your end, but I’ve found they’re not useful on my end as a candidate, since I’m not able to learn anything further about the job. I’d be glad to do a more traditional phone interview, but if that’s not an option, it sounds like I should withdraw from consideration. Best of luck filling the position.”

That said, the frustrating thing here is that unless you were their top candidate and they were really excited about you, there’s a pretty good chance that saying this will cause them to write you off as a prima donna or out of touch or a dodged bullet. That could change if this becomes a common response — but while it’s not, it’s likely to just get you pegged as Not Worth the Trouble. Which sucks, because your stance is a reasonable one. Still, though, if you don’t care about how they take it, there’s value in doing it because lots of other people feel the same but won’t bother to say it or don’t feel they can take the risk.

4. My interviewer told me not to say I’m interested in professional growth

I had something come up in an interview with a talent acquisition person today, that as both astounded me, but also made me wonder, am I really off-base here?

When asked about why I am looking to leave my current role, I outlined that there is not opportunity for growth, promotion or development outside my immediate role anymore and that I am the type of person who craves growth and development in my career, and that I ultimately care about challenging myself and not becoming stagnant. Her response to me was: “Just so you know, you really shouldn’t say you want growth and promotions, because you know that makes hiring managers scared that you want their jobs. Instead, you really need to say that you want to diversify your skill set.”

She then went on to say that I could achieve growth in my own role by going from a specialist to a senior specialist. Which, in my mind, would be the very definition of being promoted and growing in my career. That kind of transition is exactly what I was saying I wanted and don’t currently have the ability to do because of the structure of my current team.

Is it really a bad thing for an applicant to outline wanting growth and development in their career? Does it truly worry hiring managers that a job applicant is gunning for their job if they say they want a role that has opportunity for growth and development?

No. The person you talked to was weird and shouldn’t be giving you terrible interviewing advice in the middle of interviewing you. It’s normal to say that you’re leaving a job because you’re interested in being able to grow and develop (assuming that you’ve been there a few years and aren’t saying it after, like, six months), and it’s normal to say that you’re interested in a role that will allow you to do that. No sane hiring manager is going to read that as “this person wants my job, and now they are a threat.”

This kind of thing is such a normal thing to say in interviews that her response is absurd.

Read an update to this letter here.

5. Should my resume include a line explaining what my company does?

I’ve been working at my current company for a year and recently I’ve started applying for other jobs. My current position is a pretty standard role, but the company itself is a bit unusual and our product isn’t immediately apparent from the name. Basically, it’d be analogous to working for an employer called “The Smith Company” or something else generic. Is it worth including a brief line under my job title to clarify what my company does? I’m applying to a few big tech companies that don’t spend time thoroughly reading resumes, so should I even bother?

In most cases, those blurbs explaining what the company does take up space that’s better used to describe what you did, not what your company did. Plus, if you do it for one company, you’d generally want to do it for all of them so that your formatting is consistent, and it becomes silly to have lines explaining companies when is already obvious from their names.

But if that info provides important context to your work, you can instead weave it into a bullet point about what you did there. For example, “managed communications for a $40 million llama grooming supply company” or so forth.

{ 624 comments… read them below }

  1. Gaia*

    OP 1 – you need saniderm. You put it on right away and leave it for days. Clothing wont damage the tattoo and you don’t need to wash multiple times or lotion up. I was skeptical at first but man that stuff works! And it cuts healing time in half.

    1. Ray*

      I came to make this exact comment. Saniderm is the way to go. If your artist doesn’t use it, you can order it online. It’s remarkable and will make your tattoo heal perfectly, no matter what you’re wearing afterward.

        1. Faithful Reader*

          +1 – Saniderm is the best! I had an intricate back piece done over several sessions and Saniderm helped with the healing process tremendously. Also — no reputable tattoo artist would attempt to do a tattoo that is “extensive and intricate and not small” in a single session. I hope the artist you’re working with is going to spread out the work over a few sessions. That, coupled with something like Saniderm, will make the process super easy and manageable.

    2. Katherine*

      I forgot what brand I used, but I also used something similar. Really cuts the healing time and preserves the colors well. Ask your tattoo artist about this; they will know.

    3. Emily*

      Yes to this. I have a dinner-plate sized piece on my upper back (two sessions, seven hours total) and was able to wear anything over it immediately after applying the saniderm. And bonus for no peeling, no washing, no lotioning, easy showering, and absolutely beautiful healing. My method was to leave the cling wrap on for a few hours, wash, air dry thoroughly, then Saniderm. Then I changed it once when it stopped weeping (1-2 days) and left the second round on for however long made sense (5-8 days – less for the outline and more for the shading). You might need help applying if it’s an awkward location, but otherwise it’s perfect.

    4. That Lady*

      I *love* saniderm. It also gets rid of most of the obnoxious and persistent itching I get during the healing process.

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      Yup. LW, you can’t get the time off work but if you hang out in some online tattoo communities I’m sure you’ll find tips on how to wear a suit and get a tattoo.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        Even if a job isn’t going to be understanding about taking that much time off for a tattoo (and…it isn’t going to be) it might be totally reasonable to ask “hey, I’m getting a big tattoo my back, is it okay if I just wear lightweight linen or silk shirts to work for a couple weeks?”

        1. Nanani*

          If it’s summer where you are, wouldn’t lightweight shirts be perfectly normal in the hot weather anyway?

          1. TootsNYC*

            And if you’ve got suit pants, a button-down and tie, and you’re carrying your jacket, I would think people won’t blink most of the time.

    6. I Herd the Cats*

      OP1 — this is your FIRST tattoo? If so you REALLY need to consider the possibility that you’ll need several sittings. In fact I’d be surprised if a tattoo artist would plan for one sitting on a person who’s never had a tattoo.

      People vary widely in their ability to tolerate the tattoo process itself. Partly it depends on where the tattoo is, but some people find the process very painful and others don’t. I (literally) fall asleep, which I thought was crazy, but my artist said some people are like that — it’s a rush of endorphins. But for others it’s excruciating. And you don’t know where you’re going to fall on that spectrum.

      Also, is your plan to do this with your friends, as in, at the same time in the same room? Again, lots of artists aren’t going to put up with that. Sure, maybe a group of you can go get some small flash tattoos together. But it’s quite possible you’re going to be in the room by yourself while your friends are in the waiting area. A large, intricate tattoo can take 10 or 20 or more hours, scheduled over several visits (with several periods of healing.) Are you prepared for that?

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        This is actually an excellent point.

        Given the size you’re talking about, you’ll probably need more than one sitting – especially if there’s colours involved.

      2. michelenyc*

        Agree with everything you said. I have a back piece that I just started phase 2. Once I did the cover-up I realized I want a whole back piece. My tattoo artist only does 2 – 3 hour sessions no matter how many you have. I asked him about it and he told me it’s because he has found people start to get a little squirmy and restless after about 2 – 2.5 hours. Mine was a total of 3 sessions the longest being 2.5 hours. I had to wait 2-3 weeks between each session to allow for healing. Most of the artist I have worked with will allow 1 friend with you but don’t count on an entire group of 5 being able to be in the room with you. Even if it is one of the open spaces where there really is no privacy they won’t let an entire group sit around just to watch you get a tattoo.

        BTW I wish I could fall asleep that would be awesome. My adrenaline kicks in and I am super wide awake. At least my artist is in the front window area and I can stare at the people on the street to zone out!

      3. Anonymosity*

        it’s a rush of endorphins

        This is why they’re addictive! I want more!

        Yes, it does depend somewhat on where they are. My biggest one is on my upper arm and was done all at once–it took about three hours. I was fine until he was almost done and working on the tender part toward the back of my arm. That stung a bit. Plus, I had to listen to thrash metal the entire time, so I was very ready for it to be over.

        I don’t know of anyone who gets a large back piece or anything like that in one sitting.

        1. Lemon Sherbet*

          I feel like my endorphin meter is broken because I NEVER get a rush of endorphins from things that other people do. Not with running, not with tattoos. I have one, and while it didn’t hurt, I also didn’t get giddy or anything while it was happening. I mostly just sat there stone-faced until it was done.

          1. Rachel B.*

            Lemon Sherbet, I don’t either! Now, I have four tattoos ANYWAY, but it was never fun actually getting them; I still like having them though.

          2. Gaia*

            I think it can feel different for different people. Like with me, for tattoos, I don’t feel giddy or enjoy the feeling but it definitely doesn’t hurt. And it should, when you think about it. So I assume that is a lovely mix of shock and endorphins. I do always want another, though.

            And running? Yea. I just don’t get that. The only thing I feel when running is horror at why I am doing this to myself.

      4. Risha*

        I fell asleep during a coloring session too! I don’t think it was endorphins, though – I think I was tired and stressed from work and I was several sessions in and that part of my arm didn’t hurt at all. I was sad afterwards, because I enjoyed every little bit of the entire process and it sucks that I missed any of it.

        And yeah, my tattoo, which is my lower left arm (with a lot of detail and shading), took two multi-hour sessions for the lines and several for the color. It was my first tattoo, and even if the artist had an entire very lengthy day to spend on me, there’s no way he was going to try a newbie on that.

      5. Liz T*

        Especially if a group is getting all the same thing (from the same artist?). That’s gonna take aWHILE.

      6. Mine Own Telemachus*

        That was going to be my point: I have a large, intricate tattoo that forms a half sleeve on my upper arm. it was 9ish hours total, split up into four sessions (I bleed easily and had some bleeding problems in session 2 that cut it short).

        It took four months total, and I was working at a daycare at the time, which typically meant I’d take a day off when I had a session, but would be right back at work the next day afterward, working with children. As long as you take care of it (use the saniderm stuff or just keep it lotioned up and clear of debris), it’ll be fine. Mine is three years old and still as bright as the day it was finished.

        I recommend scheduling your appointment on a weekend, if at all possible, and use that weekend to recover (a session can take a lot out of you). But there is absolutely NO need to treat it like a major surgery.

      7. CustServGirl*

        Oh heck yes OP will need multiple sittings!
        My large thigh piece has had three sessions and will require one more to complete…I’ve laid on that tattoo table for as long as my skin and artist would allow (3 or 4 hours). Your skin WILL get to a point where it needs to heal before it can sustain any more trauma, and a good artist will acknowledge that fact and not push past your or your body’s boundaries with pain and physical trauma.

    7. Lady Blerd*

      A couple of tatoos ago, I had the idea of using glycerine as an emolient for my tatoos to help with the healing process and not only did it work great, on my less elaborate tatoos it sped up the healing and skipped the “ugly” phase.

      I will look up saniderm for my next ink :-)

        1. Gaia*

          I’m curious what you didn’t like about it? A friend is getting her first and I want to give her a well roubded opinion but I’ve never haf someone say they didn’t like it.

          1. Lady Blerd*

            Tl;dr: YMMV, I will not discourage people from using it.

            Maybe I’m just old school but maybe I just don’t like the look of the ink seeping under the cover before removing it. There is no one methode for helping a tatoo heal, the main thing being keeping it clean while the wound is still open. I prefer letting it air out.

            1. Andraste's Knicker Weasels*

              The saniderm is gas-permeable, though, so it does let the skin “breathe”.

            2. Gaia*


              For me, that is actually why I really liked it (although it looked and felt kinda gross for awhile). I love my tattoos and for my first five I did a mix of processes that all basically boiled down to wash, wash, wash, wash, lotion, wash, lotion, wash, etc all while keeping it open to the air so it would stay dry. When my latest artist told me about saniderm and that it kept it sterile (!!!!!!!!) and let it breathe (!!!!!!!!) and made it not itchy – I was ON IT.

              But, you’re very right that there are a lot of different options out there and it is important you choose the one that works best for you and that your artist recommends.

    8. rageismycaffeine*

      I love that not only did somebody else beat me to this comment, it was the very first comment! OP1, saniderm is a friggin *miracle.* Get it.

      1. pugsnbourbon*

        I am healing a tattoo with saniderm for the first time and I gotta say – it really rocks. I’m only two days in and it’s amazing to skip the washing/aquaphor/paranoia stage.

        1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

          Me too! I got one on Sunday, and when I saw the first comment last night, went to the 24-hour drugstore to get some Tegaderm, and I love it. It’s so great to ease that first stage of healing.

          (My biggest inconvenience is that it’s on my forearm, and this is the hottest week of the year here, but I’m wearing lightweight long sleeves to keep the sun off of it. Not the week to be wearing long sleeves!)

    9. Foreign Octopus*

      I’ve never heard of saniderm but I used Sudacrem – don’t know if that’s accessible in the US but it’s everywhere in the UK.

      I had my tattoo down on my foot and I had no problem with wearing shoes immediately after. The artist wrapped it for me, gave me instructions, and apart from some mild itching there was really no problem.

      You’re overestimating how much time you’ll need to recover OP. As someone else said, it’s just a colourful graze.

      1. Blue Anne*

        Sudocrem is available in the US, if you know where to look. I got hooked on it for my acne when I lived in the UK. When I visit I always pick up a couple big pots of it. It’s so good for so many things.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          It’s the same stuff as any zinc based diaper/nappy rash cream AFAIK. I use it sometimes on dry and peeling skin, but I hate the smell of actual Sudocrem so I buy other brands.

      2. RabbitRabbit*

        Saniderm is like a highly adhesive plastic wrap covering. If it’s anything like Tegaderm (I’m more familiar with that in the medical field), it is built to just lock onto skin and stay on until you remove it.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          Forgot to add that it is oxygen-permeable/”breathable” as well. It’s superior to just trying to wrap with plastic cling film/wrap.

        2. DataGirl*

          I’m pretty sure Saniderm and Tegaderm are exactly the same, just a name brand difference. My artist actually uses Tegaderm.

          1. Gaia*

            They are exactly the same. I find saniderm easier to use because I can get it in large sheets and cut to size and Tegaderm only comes in small pieces nearby me. But, to each their own.

    10. No Mas Pantalones*

      My first tattoo was from the nape of my neck, down my spine to my tailbone, and before saniderm was a thing. I got it Sunday afternoon and was back at work on Monday. Cling film worked fine that first day or two and then it wasn’t necessary. Asking for 2 weeks off for a tattoo to heal is ridiculous and reveals a deep lack of necessary research before making the decision to get inked.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        Yes, I have questions about some of the research OP1 has done as well. OP, where did you get the information that it would take 2-3 weeks to heal? My partner and I each have several tattoos, some of them quite large. Typical healing time is more like 2-3 *days* for the initial itching and swelling to go away, and both are easily managed with bandages and Tylenol (and even Tylenol has only been necessary in one case, when I got a large tattoo on my forearm and around my elbow.) Neither of us has taken any time off work, and I don’t know anyone else who has either.

        There are lots of people here with good answers to your specific question about wearing a suit, but I would really encourage you to do some more research into the process – I’m concerned that you’re not getting good information about healing time, and I wonder what else is missing or incorrect in the information you have so far.

        1. uranus wars*

          I am glad you brought this up – that was my thought! The time seems extreme to me, too. I was thinking something taking 2-3 weeks would have to be so intricate that it likely wouldn’t be able to be done in one session anyways. I do think the OP needs to do more research into the process itself and ask lots of questions of the tattoo artist they had in mind, especially since it sounds like she is going with quite a few people.

          Just a fun story I like to tell: my most recent tattoo, which is pretty small, was done on my lunch break one day. I called to make an appointment and he was like “you can come in an hour”. DONE.

          1. Someone Else*

            The more I think about it, the more I wonder if maybe OP knows it’ll take more than one session, but doesn’t realize how long most artists would make one wait between sessions? Maybe that’s where the 2-3 weeks is coming from? Maybe they’re thinking one session, heal, wait a week, another session, rinse repeat? That doesn’t quite make sense to me either, but most of the scenario doesn’t make sense to me.

            Assuming the letter came in very recently, it sounds like they have an early September start at the job, but intend to do all this end of Sept/begin Oct. So the time to deal with this would’ve been in negotiating the start date to possibly happen after these plans with hard-to-pin-down friends. Maybe the job wouldn’t have allowed for that, but starting later seems more plausible than working for 3 weeks and then asking for 3 weeks off. I’m assuming cash-flow-wise OP would’ve been fine starting later since presumably the time off they’re proposing is unpaid anyway, since not only would it be odd for the job to be ok with this much time off this soon, but even more odd for them to let OP use anywhere near that much PTO before it’d accrued.

      2. Hamstergirl*

        Yes I had this thought too, a quick google would have told OP that needing to take two weeks off to recover is not necessary at all. OP I would def encourage you to do some more research before committing to get inked – especially getting what sounds like such a big piece for your first, you want to go in armed with knowledge.

    11. Sara (A Lurker)*

      Saniderm is AMAZING. I have many large tattoos and I never had an easier healing process than when I had Saniderm. It just peeled like a sunburn after a day or two, and was beautiful underneath!

    12. DataGirl*

      Possibly lw1 is thinking it will take 2-3 weeks to heal because you are not supposed to submerge your tattoo in water, I.e. go swimming or take a bath for the first 2-3 weeks. Sometimes the artist will present this as “until it is fully healed”. But really after a few days it’s fine to leave uncovered. I have gotten 3 new tattoos in the last 6 weeks, 2 on feet, 1 calf, and all healed in less than a week. I was extra careful about bandaging the feet to keep dirt out but normally I don’t bandage tattoos at all. I agree Saniderm is amazing and will greatly reduce healing time. Do be aware as others have said a large tattoo probably wouldn’t/ shouldn’t be done in one session. The longest I have sat is 5 hours and that last hour was excruciating.

    13. Just Another Techie*

      Oh man, I wish I knew about saniderm when I got my large ribcage piece! I did take one sick day off work immediately after the first coloring session, because I just couldn’t bear to put a bra on over it. But for the outline, and the second coloring session (which was all below bra strap height), I was fine to go back to work the Monday after.

    14. museumgal*

      Second saniderm. I have a large thigh piece I recently had done and it healed in a week with proper saniderm application with no issues.

  2. Daria Grace*

    OP 1, I’m unsure of your gender identity, but if you’re female you likely have options (for pants/trousers especially) that look pretty formal but are made of stretchy, soft material that would be more tattoo friendly. Ideally you want ones that don’t have rough seams running across the tattoo location. I know you probably don’t want to spend even more money after the large costs of a tattoo, but some carefully chosen clothing might be a good investment compared to the reputation impact of taking time off work for this

    1. Zona the Great*

      Yes. Came here to say this. I’m a heavily tattooed female professional in a leadership role and not a single tattoo shows. I too wear suits. I’ve never taken time off even for the largest of my tats. Just schedule it on a 3 or 4 day weekend. Use A&D ointment and cover with saran if you really feel like it on that first day back but that’s all you need to do. Re-apply at lunch. But you’ll seem out-of-touch if you ask for any real time off. People get ink all the time.

      1. Marzipan*

        Add me as another voice in the chorus of people who have multiple tattoos and have never taken time off work while they heal. It’s really not necessary, OP1. You’ll be fine to cover it (with a little thought about the specifics of what you’re wearing and any coverings/products you’re using on it) and fine to work.

        I think you’re also overestimating what the tattoo healing process is like. A tattoo is pretty much just a colourful graze, when it comes to healing. Frankly, your biggest problem will probably be the itching stage. For me, I’ve never experienced more than a few days of a tattoo feeling a bit sore, then comes the itch, and by a week in they’re usually at a point where maybe the skin is a bit flaky but otherwise everything’s pretty normal. Two weeks off would be massive overkill and completely out of proportion.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          “I think you’re also overestimating what the tattoo healing process is like.”

          This right here. I’m concerned in general about LW1’s tattoo plan, since it seems like they’ve been greatly misinformed about the process re: at least this one aspect. Unless you’re doing something larger than 3 hands, it’s pretty chill to work around a healing tattoo, and larger pieces are only slightly difficult because of the surface area. I wore a soft, thin, t-shirt under my business drag when I wanted to keep a new backpiece covered and cozy, and I cut a sleeve off a long-sleeved t-shirt to wear over a piece on my forearm (I was wearing long sleeves over it, but I’m very particular about tactile sensations on new ink).

          LW1: Do some research. Use the Google (or Bing, if that’s what you’re into). Talk to at least 1 tattoo artist—and I really hope you have the 1 picked out, since this sounds like it’s happening soon. Talk to a few people who have tattoos, preferably at least 1 who’s heavily tattooed, and ask them about their experiences with getting tattoos and the healing process. The day of the tattooing and the day after are completely reasonable to take off (so schedule accordingly) but as a coworker, anything longer than that would have me wondering if you’d picked up something bloodborn from a sketchy shop. O_o

          1. LCL*

            I am also a little concerned about OPs plan also. I’m not trying to discourage getting a tattoo, I have a few. I am concerned because she describes her planned art as extensive and intricate and not small. Most people don’t go big for a first tattoo. OP may find she can’t tolerate the sensation of being tattooed. Or she just won’t like the look. OP, at minimum, draw or have a friend draw the art on you now with a sharpie and wear it around for a few days and see what you think. If you still like it, go for it.

            My other area of concern is that this is the only time window because of the need to have all of the group present. If not now, not until 2020. Not being able to get ink unless your friends are with you may be your subconscious’ way of telling you that you don’t really want this particular tattoo.

            Re healing time: Places here tell you 10-14 days to heal. My experience has been the first 3 days painful and swollen, then the peeling and itching starts. It has always taken 10-11 days for all of the peeling to finish for mine. Except for the one over my spine, which took a full 14 days before the last flake was gone. All of these were healed with lotion, not saniderm. I am intrigued by the description of saniderm and may use it for my next one. A & D ointment worked the fastest, but it stinks and will stain your clothes. Water based lotion also works.

            1. Just Another Techie*

              Enh. My first piece was four hands worth of area which took three sessions to complete, and it was fine. I did have to interview a half dozen artists before I found one willing to do it, but six years later I have zero regrets. I’m much more concerned for OP about the misinformation and the need to have friends for the tattooing than I am about the size.

            2. Frank Doyle*

              Yeah, I only have one tattoo and it took like 8-10 hours total, I don’t regret it. I did a little more research than the OP though . . .

        2. Bunny Girl*

          Yeah I’ve gotten a tattoo on my lunch break and skipped back to work afterwards. It’s not a huge healing process that requires multiple weeks off. Even my large side piece didn’t take long to heal. I’m actually sitting here getting ready to go to work with a new tattoo.

          1. Annoyed*

            This. Last time my business partner and I closed for lunch, got tats, got Taco Bell, and went back to work.

          2. EddieSherbert*

            I was in the middle of a month long cycling challenge (prizes for most days, miles, elevation, etc.) when I got my calf tattoo (about 3 hands large) on my leg… finished up, wrapped it up, and went for a 4 mile bike ride when I got home.

        3. Anononon*

          First, I don’t think the OP should take time off. (Maybe get the tattoo on Friday, and have the long weekend to heal, but that’s it.) However, maybe I’m a baby about it, but healing tattoos, for me, sucks! It’s my least favorite part of the process, and it makes me question each time if I want another.

      2. Arya Parya*

        Exactly. I’ve got three tattoos, all in places I can easily hide. The one on my upper back is rather large (took 3 hours) and I didn’t have to take time off work for it to heal. Most of my colleagues didn’t even know I got it, most probably still don’t know I’ve got tattoos.

      3. Lilo*

        I don’t have any tattoos myself, but my sister, who is a lawyer and has to go to court in a suit pretty much daily has a few non visible ones, including a large one on her upper back.

        If this is something really extensive like my sister’s back tattoo, I think part of how she did it was to spread it out over a few sessions. Hers looks great (not blurry) so it is definitely possible to do so without damaging the tattooo.

        1. Daria Grace*

          For large ones, spreading it over multiple sessions is normal and sometimes necessary

        2. straws*

          Yes, I have a tattoo about the size of my fist on my leg. It took 5 hours and the artist and I both were relieved when it was done. If it were larger or any more intricate, it likely would have gone to 2 sessions.

        3. Workerbee*

          And scheduling at least part 1 of the tattoo while all the friends are there should still count even if parts 2, 3, etc. have to be completed when they aren’t. Or wait for Part 2 in 2020. I’ve had friends who have long-planned, long-term, multi-stage tattoos for various scheduling and other reasons, so it’s not an unusual thing by far.

      4. Karma*

        Yes this.
        I have a lot of large tattoos (think multiple 6 hour tattoo sessions for one tattoo) and I have never taken a day off for them. I get them on a Saturday and by Monday I’m back at work. It reminds me of having a bad sunburn in terms of the discomfort. In Australia we mainly use Bepanthen cream for tattoo aftercare so the main annoyance is keeping that off my nice clothes – I just wear a thin layer underneath my top or pants – and nipping off to the bathroom once or twice a day too reapply it.

        1. anycat*

          i’ve done a friday night session to give me time for healing and then back at work on monday. Lose shirt, no camisole, something linen that breathes and trying not to lean back in my chair has been fine for me.

    2. Wrenn*

      That’s what I was thinking. You may want to get a “sacrifice” shirt or something like that where if it gets lotion/emollient/seepage/etc on it, you don’t care. Something nice and soft that will not bind or rub on the freshly inked area. Consider wearing something slightly bigger than you usually do. Even if you look less fashionable for a week or two, it’s miles better than asking for time off.

      I went camping days after getting my first tattoo, and it was fine. I made sure my clothes were soft and non-restrictive and nothing would be rubbing on the area. Keeping it clean was a bit of a procedure, but not a big deal. I used the A&D emollient cream for a few days and then plain unscented lotion. Healed up just fine, you’d never know I spent a good part of the healing process in a tent in the woods.

    3. Indigo a la mode*

      And, wear dark colors for a few days while the ink has tendency to leach, so you don’t ruin your clothes. That goes for towels and bedsheets, too.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        Or hit a discount store for a cheap under-layer of clothing that you don’t mind throwing out or using on house painting days.

  3. savannnah*

    OP 2- Once my brother got ahold of some wax or slim, he went from getting detention every day to all A’s and B’s in high school and is now working on his PhD, I’m sure with the assistance of some slim. I might ask her to be more discreet with it, you usually cannot tell if my brother is playing with it, but I’d be wary of asking her to change to fidget cubes and spinners, due to their clicky noise and child toy connotations, for better or worse.

    1. Vermonter*

      Yes, please don’t encourage her to switch from a quiet stim toy to a noisy one. The slime probably looks odd or unprofessional, but that clicking noise could drive another coworker (like me) to distraction.

      1. Kaboobie*

        Clicking would drive me to distraction too, but slime has an odor that really bothers me. I’d have to avoid sitting next to her in meetings.

      2. Jadelyn*

        But I thought slime makes sound, too – or at least, the slime videos I’ve watched have definitely had sound. I love those videos but I have to watch them with the sound muted, because the popping and sucking sounds (especially when people poke their fingers straight into the slime and pull them back out, that sound literally makes me shudder) grate on my nerves so badly.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          Fun information! There is a condition called misophonia, in which ordinary sounds (often mouth sounds but not always) grate on a person in the way that nails on a chalkboard grates on almost everyone.

        2. ThatLibTech*

          It depends on the slime! Some are made to be more “clicky” sounding, others are made to be quiet (and instead make a “sizzling” sound, usually due to adding things like clay and/or certain lotions and shaving creams).

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I also may be clueless, but is there a more discrete way for her to use her slime? I wonder if it were less obvious if it would be less distracting to folks who aren’t used to seeing it. (To be fair, I have only seen slime used in one professional environment, and that was a science outreach program for grades 1–6.)

      1. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox*

        I used to carry Silly Putty with me. The little egg container it comes in is pretty small, you can open it with one hand, and I never found it to be overly attention-drawing.

        I agree that suggesting something like a fidget cube or spinner will probably be annoying to those around her. I understand how odd the slime thing is, but fidget spinners can be SO distracting to the people around you.

        Plus, I know personally used Silly Putty as sort of a replacement for this horrible coping mechanism I had of pinching/biting/scratching myself when I felt extreme emotions. I could pinch or squeeze the putty instead . I don’t know if a fidget cube or spinner would have helped in the same way.

        1. Lilo*

          My Dad is a pediatrician and gives silly putty to his patients with hair pulling and skin picking issues (he has boxes of various fidget textures like that and ribbons in his office). I think that one is pretty commonly recognized by doctors and therapists.

        2. Grits McGee*

          My boss has a tin of some kind of metallic silly putty-like stuff that’s made for adults. I don’t know the consistency of the intern’s slime, but it also seems like putty is less likely to cause a mess if it’s accidentally dropped.

          1. Bibliovore*

            That would be Thinking putty. It is unobtrusive, quiet and cool looking with a similar texture to slime,

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            I have fidgety spouse and children, and this sounds like the stuff I put in their Christmas stockings.

          3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            I use Silly Putty all the time at work! At one point, my then-manager joked about how when I came up to him to ask anything, he knew exactly how serious whatever I had to say was based on whether I’d remembered to put the Silly Putty down and/or if I was just holding it or actively messing with it while I talked to him.

            I started with that “thinking putty” stuff, but found that for all it’s much more expensive, it’s not better in any detectible way. It started getting sticky and falling apart about as quickly as the silly stuff did.

            1. Specialk9*

              Have you ever tried one of those artist’s stretchable erasers? I don’t stim, but they were so entrancing that I played with them all the time when I took art class. They stretch out to be soft, then you can squeeze and roll them to be hard. And they erase pencil, without as much damage to the paper as hard erasers!

              1. General Ginger*

                They are the greatest. I used to stim with them long before I knew what stimming was.

              2. Admin of Sys*

                Oh, that’s a good idea! I’m all for normalizing stim tools, but the eraser gives you another reason to carry something around, at least if you tend to use pencils. (which reminds me, I need to pick up another eraser and some more .9 leads)

        3. Annie Moose*

          I use Silly Putty also! I don’t carry it to meetings, but I have a little tub on my desk. I also have a stress bus (stress ball material, but shaped like a double-decker bus) that fits nicely in my hand that also fulfills that “must squish” feeling.

          1. Anonymosity*

            I have two stress buses! The pasty shop we have here was giving them out around the time they opened. I like to have one at work, so if people ask where it came from, I can throw a little business their way. :)

        4. DJ Roomba*

          The problem I find with most people who use Silly Putty or Slime is the bubbles they create and the loud popping and/or crackling noises from playing with that type of material. As the user, it is kinda fun to make the noises (and somehow gratifying?) but as a person nearby it’s distracting and annoying. That said, OP didn’t mention this being a problem, though I find it hard to believe it isn’t there to a certain extent.

          At the end of the day, from what I’ve read about this category of products (slime, fidget spinners, etc) is that they help the person using them to focus. Which is great unless/until they distract the people around the user. I don’t think one person’s focus should come at the expense of everyone else’s.

        5. Michaela Westen*

          When I was a child I found I could press silly putty on the Sunday comic page, and the comic would be printed on the putty! Colors and everything! So cool! :)

      2. savannnah*

        I think it depends on if she’s using store bought slim or making it herself, where the wetness of the slim could be an issue. My brother preferred the wax, or yes silly putty would work, because it was dry and he could really pocket it while still using it. Alas women’s clothing and their lack of pockets. But you can palm it pretty well especially if you knew to be discrete. More so than a spinner or cube.

        1. Anonny*

          I personally like using blu-tak. It’s got a nice stretch and squish, it isn’t slimy, and no-one’s gonna question why someone in an office has a lump of blu-tak on their desk.

      3. Lynca*

        When I stim I am generally keeping my hands under the table flipping whatever it is (play doh was my go to) on the palm of my hand or through my fingers. Fairly discreet. It’s unclear how much slime we’re actually talking about. Whether it’s a palm sized piece or how big the containers are.

        1. Observer*

          The OP mentions “containers”. That’s part of the problem here – if she were fidgeting with it under the table, I doubt anyone would have really remarked on it.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            That’s what I was thinking, too. There’s a difference between discreetly having a wad of slime or silly putty in your hand, and openly arraying three containers on the table in front of you and playing with the contents. The intern just needs to be more discreet and less distracting with her fidget items.

          2. Turtle Candle*

            Yeah, I think that’s probably part of it. Sort of like the difference between doodling on your notes in a meeting to stay awake (fine in most cases) and bringing in a set of colored pencils, erasers, etc. for that purpose (less fine).

        2. Michaela Westen*

          I don’t like the chemical smell of play doh. Mentioning in case anyone is thinking of buying it – smell it first.

    3. Concerned Lurker*

      Absolutely agree on not switching to a noisy fidget for use around people who probably won’t like the noise.

      That said, there are quiet buttons on the… I guess official? original? fidget cube that are silent and some of the sides can be used silently. But if she really likes the squishiness of slime, she may find a stress ball filled with slime or gel a good substitute.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        That’s what I was thinking – there are fabric shapes filled with some kind of gel that might provide a similar sensation without looking messy (which I assume is people’s issue).

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ah, I’m unfamiliar with the options. I’ll change the language in the post to just reference the broad category without specific suggestions.

    5. chavisory*

      Though there are some very nice, well-designed, extremely quiet fidget spinners that don’t look like toys available–particularly the earlier iSpin models. They’re pricier, but beautiful, soothingly heavy, and don’t make the irritating clicking noises of cheaper plastic ones.

      1. Bryce*

        I use a VGA adapter. Fits well in my hand, different textures, discreet, and since they’re pack-ins with any television or video card or whatever, it’s usually pretty easy to find one in the first place.

        1. Claudia*

          Glad I’m not the only one who uses them for that purpose. I actually have a few different models that are of different designs.

    6. Anontoday*

      I think fidgets are wonderful things, and probably would’ve helped me if that were more of a thing when I was in school.
      I get that to anyone who is new to this in a workplace context might find it odd and have the same worry OP expressed here, but I think OP and others maybe need to 1. Say I will be supportive and if I hear otherwise discussing it I will support the value of these tools, and 2. Practice acceptance of some new stragies workers have now.
      She’s doing a great job, right? Don’t make it a big deal. I’m concerned even saying anything may make her self conscious and stop using this tool.

    7. fish*

      Theraputty would be my rec — it comes in different levels of firmness and is very affordable. (Amazon carries it.) I work in a Special school and this is what the therapists use, both for muscle tone exercises and for focus. I use it too!

      Also it comes in neat little containers which do look “official” rather than some brightly coloured more toy-looking ones.

      1. BeenThere OG*

        I was coming here to suggest that the slime may be indeed theraputty. I’m a programmer and I’ve been learning to play Cello. My pink finger was weak so I found exercises (that use theraputty) to strengthen it. I also wanted to increase hand strength and make sure I exercise my hands different from typing all day long.

        Off topic, I’ve noticed another BeenThere crop up since I haven’t been active (yay I love my job) so I’m changing to BeenThere OG :)

    8. Gadget Hackwrench*

      Tangle. Tangle are quiet, non-liquid. Tangle is amazing. All hail tangle. The original Stim Toy. (ADHDer with a literal pocket of my computer bag dedicated to stim toys. Tangle is by far the best for meetings.)

  4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    4 = there are, sadly, some people out there who wish to hire non-ambitious people, who have no interest in advancing their careers. Indeed, there are many who are just content to get by and don’t consider themselves to be career oriented – just happy to go along and get along.

    Perhaps this is what the “talent acquisition person” is looking for – someone to fill such a role.

    And OP 4 – thinking this is weird – might not want to go in that (non) direction.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      She may be butchering advice to interview for jobs you actually want (as opposed to trying to wedge in and then get promoted quickly into a completely different job than what you interviewed for). I’ve definitely been a hiring manager who gets a candidate who isn’t actually interested int he job we’re hiring for, but they think that once they’re hired for JobNotWanted they can transfer to JobTheyReallyWant. Those candidates can be frustrating, because I’m looking for someone who will do the job I’m hiring for!

      But her response is pretty odd. Although this is anecdotal, when I have heard interviewers give this kind of crap advice, they usually work at organizations with dysfunctional management or a dysfunctional HR department. So perhaps it’s a bullet dodged for OP#4?

      1. DJ Roomba*

        YES! Exactly this “but they think that once they’re hired for JobNotWanted they can transfer to JobTheyReallyWant.”

        I’m hiring now and my biggest struggle is finding someone who will want to stay in the role for at least a year (ideally more) but is also someone I can envision having a career with my company beyond my department.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          You need to look for someone like me. :)
          I was not ambitious. I worked to live, not lived to work. When I wasn’t happy at a job it was because:
          1. didn’t pay enough to live without high financial anxiety, or
          2. Was a toxic environment or boss.
          From my 20’s – 40’s I drifted into data and financial support because I happen to be good at stuff like that. I didn’t have big career plans or long-term goals. There was a time when I thought I wanted a career, but realized that’s because I thought I couldn’t have what I really wanted – love and a happy life.
          I had short-term and temp jobs and two jobs in a row got fired – one where I’m not sure why, the other was blatant chauvinism as I’ve described here before.
          I got tired of the financial instability and decided to get a job and make every effort to stick with it. I got a job at a small business where the owner was the most horrible person I’ve ever met. But the colleagues were good and with their help I managed to stick with it 5 years before I was laid off (the company was not doing well!)
          Then I got the job I have now. In the interview with HR I explained how I happened to drift into this kind of work and never had big plans.
          It turned out to be a supportive environment and that has helped me develop my skills and grow with the job. I made an effort to take better care of myself and sacrifices in my social life to keep up with this job because I want to be successful and not be old and poor.
          So maybe look for someone who’s not so career-focused, but wants to earn a decent living, and that might work. :) It will help if it pays market value or more and the environment is supportive.

      2. Legal Beagle*

        Agree with Princess about oddness.

        When I’ve been on hiring committees, it has been a plus hearing candidates say they want opportunities for professional growth because it suggests they are interested in taking ownership of the job once they learned it, as opposed to waiting to be told what to do. So, we’ve asked why they’re interested in professional growth and often would follow up with, “How would you like growth opportunities to happen?” That has allowed us to know if we could accommodate their desires or if, with a terrific candidate, it would be better for us to tweak our growth opportunities to increase the odds of making the hire.

        I realize not all hiring situations are like this, but it seems to me that the better ones allow for a true exchange of information so that both parties can determine if there’s good “fit.”

      3. OP#4*

        Thanks for the comment! I do want to provide some additional information here about the role I was interviewing for: This isn’t a role that I was thinking would be a “foot in the door” role, I am/was genuinely excited about the role as it was – in a lot of ways, it was a bit of a dream role. It’s a new team that is less than a year old and in theory, should have inherently had a good deal of room for growth in both the immediate role and the team in general. It encompassed a lot of elements I am looking for in my career – and being an event manager in the tech industry, it’s hard to NOT be an ambitious person.

        I agree though, it might be a bullet dodged given she was also 20 minutes late to the phone call then SHE sent ME a thank you note. In general, it was the oddest interview I have ever had.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      This is where the saying comes from:

      A players hire A players but B players hire C players.

      I’ve personally found truth to that saying. Mainly because a B player doesn’t know what it takes to be an A player.

      But if you told me you had no ambitions? I’d hit the delete key.

        1. Alton*

          I think it’s saying that high achievers/performers tend to value those traits in people they hire, and will hire strong and ambitious candidates, but mediocre managers are more likely to hire people who are less strong than they are.

          1. nonymous*

            My friend says that when her org hires they do the group interview thing and the strongest candidate is usually actively campaigned against. The reasoning is that: (a) they don’t want someone who will move along too quickly because it takes a long time to hire and train up replacements (b) they don’t want someone who will make them look like a poor performer in comparison and (c) they want the junior person to stay in the lower level grad as long as possible to be the target of layoff bumps (union rules). This is a City org.

    3. On Fire*

      Anecdotally: a friend’s husband was asked, “where do you see yourself in X years?” He – young, ambitious, straight out of the Navy – said, “where you’re sitting.”
      It isn’t recommended for all situations, but it worked for him. And in X years he was in that chair, with that person advancing to another position.
      Now, some 25+ years later, he has worked all over the country for that company and is now coming back to the original location as a regional manager, running that plant and a couple of others.
      The point, of course, is that many healthy, functional companies *want* ambitious people who can determine and articulate what they want their professional path to look like. Those are good places to work.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Also anecdotally: when I just started at CurrentJob, our manager, a teammate, and I were interviewing people for an open position. We’d all come from the same OldJob, were a small startup, and needed more people added to the team.

        One candidate, when asked by our manager where he wanted to be in five years, looked him in the eye and said, “I really want to become (the manager’s exact job title)”. First words out of the manager’s mouth after that guy finished the interview and left were “Hell no, I want to keep my job”. Never saw that candidate again.

        So, I don’t know. Ambitious is great. Wanting to grow is pretty much a requirement in my field! But “where you are sitting” would indicate to me, I don’t know… a lack of soft skills at the very least? I honestly think your friend’s husband either got very lucky, or he did so phenomenally good on the rest of the interview (which was probably what it was, given what you say about the rest of his career) that the interviewer maybe chose to overlook that answer?

        1. On Fire*

          Well… the guy told him that answer was a *big* part of the reason he got the job. /shrugs/

          This was a company with room to grow, and they’ve always been good about rewarding employees and promoting from within. I don’t know if that hiring manager is still there or has retired by now, but he got promoted to another job, which opened the door for Friend’s Husband.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            He was the IT director, the position above his current title would’ve been CEO or VP to CEO. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he was in fact not interested. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

            Either way, the manager’s personal life aside, I believe he was turned off by “I want your job”.

          2. Perse's Mom*

            Not everybody CAN move up (without leaving their current org, which they may not want to do). Not everybody WANTS to move up – there are people out there who don’t want to be managers. Ever!

            1. Turtle Candle*

              Yeah. If I moved up, I’d be doing less of something I enjoy and am good at (technical writing) and more of something I dislike and am mediocre at (logistics and management). I’m happy to be unambitious in that sense!

        2. uranus wars*

          Agreeing with On Fire that it can work for some people, but you have to know your audience.

          I was a consultant for a large company and the manager asked me what my career goals were. I answered “to work my way into your job”. She went right to the VP of HR and said “we need to figure out how to get Uranus here full time” and they got a new position added in the next budget cycle. I am now officially named her successor when none had been in place before. But she’s an “A” person so she wanted another A person to build a team.

          She told me this whole story after I accepted the FT position and we had our first review of my duties.

        3. Someone Else*

          For me, I think there’s a pretty significant difference between “I want opportunities to move up/professional growth” etc and literally telling the person you want their job. The recruiter in the letter is a fool for thinking saying the former automatically implies the latter. At the same time, whether the latter is a good idea to say to any one interviewer is a whole different kettle of fish. Wanting opportunities to grow is almost always good, but depending on the company/how high up the interviewer is/how many tiers there are/how long it’s normal to be at a particular level there, answering that you want the interviewer’s job could in many places read as tone deaf or overly gumption-ey. Not because it might scare the interviewer, because it just might not be a plausible goal in that context. So, know your audience basically.

        4. Michaela Westen*

          To me it seems arrogant, disrespectful and possibly predatory. Like the candidate is locking in to making sure the manager loses their job so he can get it.
          For this to work, the candidate would have to have a very good understanding of the industry, company and interviewer and know it will be well received.

      2. Jadelyn*

        I’ve openly told my boss and grandboss that I want their jobs someday, once I’m ready for that – and their response, both of them, was “Great! Let’s talk about what you need in order to do that.” It takes a manager who’s very secure in themselves to respond like that, but what insecure managers don’t see is that if you play it right, having strong employees on your staff winds up reflecting well on you as a manager, which can open up your own opportunities for advancement – thus leaving an opening for your staff to move up into as well. Win-win.

    4. Elfie*

      I’m sorry if this isn’t how you intended, but this comment seemed a little ‘judgy’ to me – perhaps it’s just irritating my sore spot at the moment, as I’m just recovering from being not well.
      I’m slightly intrigued by this comment, as whilst I can understand the ‘sadly’ part about the hiring manager, I don’t really understand why it’s sad to not be ambitious. I suffer from depression, and whilst I am ambitious, when I’m not well the ambition fuels the depression, which stops me from achieving my ambitions, which fuels the depression – you get the picture. I have to back off, for my own sanity, and just be ‘happy to go along and get along’. It’s a peculiar white-collar trait to value ambition for it’s own sake so much, when there are plenty of people who are definitely ‘work to live’ kind of people, and that’s okay. We can’t all be CEOs – indeed, if we were there would be no ‘doers’, and nothing would ever get done. To be fair, this is why I don’t go on LI very much anymore – all the gung-ho ‘ambition’ – it’s not much different from ‘gumption’ at it’s heart, and it’s not relevant for a lot of people. It takes all sorts.

      1. Kathleen_A*

        There’s more than one kind of ambition. I am ambitious to become better at my job, but I am not ambitious to about climbing the corporate ladder into upper management. I’ve been a supervisor, and I don’t like it – I prefer to manage projects. So if someone was only interested in hiring someone who hopes to become a Leader of Men and Women, they shouldn’t hire me.

        1. NotALeader*

          Yes! Not everyone can or should be a leader. I have no interest in becoming a manager or even a team lead. I just want to get my work done and become the “go-to” person for questions and maybe mentor people starting out. If one of my mentees became my boss, I’d feel like I did a great job. But becoming a manager myself? No thanks!

        2. Sans*

          Same here. I am very, very good at what I do (I’ve been told that by numerous people) but I don’t want to manage. I’ve made that clear and it’s always worked out for me at each place I’ve worked.

          If someone only values ambition, I’m glad NOT to work for them.

        3. Persimmons*

          Same here. Some jobs are just “do what you do” and then “supervise people who do what you used to do”. If you don’t want to manage, you either stagnate or make a lateral move to somewhere else that offers the middle ground of “do a more complicated/extensive version of what you do”.

          1. Isabel Kunkle*

            I’d just come back to mention this: I’m glad to do what I do really well. I don’t mind taking on more responsibility with that (if it comes with increased compensation), but within that particular scope–*not* managing people, or developing a grand strategy and unified vision where I have to be aware of ongoing trends within teapot manufacture, and so forth.

            I have a thing: I will do it, I will do it well enough to answer questions and train people *in that thing*, given time, but that’s about it by preference. I can go wider, if circumstances demand, but my ideal involves neither management nor strategy–and if that means five years without more than a COL increase, that’s fine.

      2. Emily K*

        There was a fantasy novel series I read in my youth which had three types of magic – good, neutral, and dark. Although dark magic users weren’t exactly to be trusted in most cases they weren’t definitive villains either and sometimes did good things. What I found really interesting about the authors’ construction was how they associated dark magic not with evil, but with ambition. Ambitiousness was equated with a certain selfishness that was at the heart of why these users chose to use dark magic to “get ahead.”

        Ten years later I still have a vaguely negative opinion of ambitiousness as a general orientation. If a project or goal that someone is attempting is described as ambitious, I hear, “this person is going to try really hard to do the best job they can to achieve a worthy goal,” but if you tell me the person themself is ambitious, I hear, “Getting ahead/self-advancement/worldly success is this person’s goal.”

        I guess I’m one of those who feels like power is best wielded by those who don’t seek it, and I’d rather see someone who is invested in doing a good job, which could naturally lead to advancement, than to just know that someone is interested in advancement.

        1. GG Two shoes*

          This is understandable, but considering the word ‘ambitious’ I hope you consider that some folks are just always looking for more. Not stepping on people, but just always looking forward for themselves or the company. As a woman, I feel like some may look negatively on being ambitious which I resent. I’ve certainly heard that; it comes off as selfish for a woman while for men it seems like it’s expected or encouraged.

        2. media monkey*

          It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

          RIP Douglas Adams

        3. Jadelyn*

          Gods forbid people want to improve their life, amirite? I just don’t see what’s wrong with having desires for ~~worldly success~~, as long as you’re not using unscrupulous means to get there. I also don’t think that wanting to do a good job, and wanting to advance, are inherently mutually exclusive, which is how you’re presenting them.

          There’s another layer of this, too, in which that kind of moral judgment against “selfishly” wanting to advance tends to fall heaviest on those who are already fighting an uphill climb – people of color, women, etc. A white man is ambitious and nobody thinks twice, because that’s just the expected way of the world. The rest of us get sneered at for having the same desires, because we’re trying to rise above our station (even if the people who feel that way wouldn’t think to put it in those terms, it’s quite probably subconscious, but it’s definitely there).

      3. Isabel Kunkle*

        Thiiis. Thank you. I want to do a good job, not screw over co-workers or customers, and do it for the rest of my professional life: I am not ambitious. There are plenty of people who think it’s “sad” to invest so much of your time and energy in a company that will replace you in three weeks if you get hit by a bus, or to be so striving that you’re constantly looking to move up the ladder. But everyone has different goals, and different things that make them happy.

        1. uranus wars*

          I am ambitious at work. I am not a bad person. I do not screw over my co-workers in the process of doing my daily tasks. And quite frankly it makes me sad that people have this perception of me (and others I work with) who don’t know me/us.

          I want to produce good work product. I am proud of being promoted. I set goals in my career and professional life. None include the C-suite.

          I agree that what makes life wonderful is that not everyone is setting the same goals. But no matter what your goals are they don’t make you a bad or vindictive person – even if they are professional in nature.

          1. Isabel Kunkle*

            Oh, exactly. Sorry, I meant “not screw over my co-workers or customers” as what I consider essential in “doing a good job.” Like, don’t fuck up so that someone has to re-do stuff, and so forth.

            Basically: everyone’s career goals are different. But if someone comes at non-ambitious people all “oh that’s so sad,” we can come right back at them, so maybe just let everyone do their thing, even if you don’t understand it/it wouldn’t work for you.

        2. Totally Minnie*

          Maybe you should examine why it is that you feel ambition is so directly tied to screwing people over. It’s possible to want to succeed and move up in your profession and to do so honestly and ethically, in a way that actually *helps* your coworkers. I’m at a relatively high position in my field given my age, and I got here by treating people well and doing the job correctly. No colleagues were stepped on or otherwise sacrificed on my way up.

      4. Cat Herder*

        Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with working because you need it to support the rest of your life. There’s nothing wrong with finding work to be less important than the rest of your life. Once upon a time I was very ambitious — I saw myself moving up and directing programs like the one I was working in, and I was on track to do that.

        Then my child became very very ill, and I ended up pulling myself off that track for many years.

        Of course, saying that you aren’t ambitious is often the kiss of death in an interview. So I’d find ways to talk about growth and and desire for professional development — which doesn’t have to mean leadership, management, etc.

        1. Coffeelover*

          Regarding the expectation to be ambitious… That’s something that really irritates me in the white collar world. Some people are genuinely ambitious, but many people are also just in it for the pay check. Yet the assumption is that everyone wants to climb the ladder and if you don’t you’re lazy.

          I have a meeting with my manager to talk about goals and ambitions next week. Alison has some scripts for how to say “I’m happy where I am” but that would go over like a bag of bricks at my company / in my role. So now I have to come up with some ambitious goals which I don’t actually care about. Hopefully, ones that are difficult to measure :P.

      5. Wrenn*

        In Western culture, the go-go-go higher-higher-higher more-more-more mentality is very prevalent and frequently held up as laudable. Honestly I find that exhausting. I’m probably one of the least ambitious people you’ll ever meet. I want to enjoy my work, at least part of the time, I want to pay my bills and live in modest comfort. That’s pretty much it. I’m not a go-getter. I don’t care what my job title is. I take orders well and tedious, detail-oriented tasks don’t bother me at all as long as I’m being paid to do them. I want to get paid, so tell me what the job is and I’ll do it well and reliably. Therein ends my ambition.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          Yes, and that mentality doesn’t serve well those who practice it. They wear themselves out and neglect other parts of their lives. Those are two reasons I don’t want that. I want to enjoy life!
          Also it make it easy for incompetent people to fake their way into upper management – all they have to do is act like this and their managers think they’re competent. We’ve all seen examples of that, and it’s one of the reasons corporate culture is so damaging. It makes the companies we depend on for goods and services incompetent.

        2. Elfie*

          Exactly. It’s this idea that we must advance at all costs in order to be seen as ‘worthy’ that really dispirits me. Some of us have other priorities – I don’t mind ambitious people (okay, disclaimer – I don’t mind ambitious people who have the skills and abilities to back up their ambition, but do I ever mind ambitious people who are just full of bull…!!), to each their own – but don’t look down on me for practicing self-care. It’s taken me nearly 30 years of being depressed and anxious and buying into this whole ‘hamster wheel’ crap to figure out what works for me – but hey, you do you (the generic you, not any specific commenter!!)

    5. En vivo*

      Nothing sad about ‘happy to go along and get along’ as long as it’s the employee’s choice, and they are doing their job well.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        No, there isn’t. But – it would be odd for an interviewer/recruiter to face someone who’s young and wants to “move up” in time, to be told, not to say you’re interested in advancement.

        Indeed – ever hear the term “overqualified”??? Similar thing, some people view opportunists as a bad thing. I once told a manager who used that term with me “you’re an opportunist!” I said “yes, and there’s room for more than ONE in this group. And, I don’t want your job.”

    6. Not So NewReader*

      It could be rural areas, but I can see this advice being handed out here. Probably the workplace itself matters, too. There is a lot of old-time thinking out there still left.

      My thought is that if you really can’t get a job at a place because of wanting advancement, then you could chose to stay at the job for a period of time knowing full well you will have to leave to get something better. In other words the employer has turn themselves into a stepping stone on a career path.

      Once in a great while you might find an employer who knows people will move on but finds satisfaction in launching their careers, giving them that chance to get on firm ground then move upward. These employers turn out to the be the kind of employer where we could really want to stay, but we can’t. Just my opinion, but you are more apt to find this type of attitude in a specialty, such as repairing musical instruments or in an arena that is thought to be a dying interest. Using a silly example, suppose you are a person who repairs antique pump organs. You love the antique pump organs and think it’s a crime that everyone is throwing them out. So a newbie comes along and wants to learn what you are doing. The problem is that you cannot offer a very good wage. However, as a close second, you get to train this person and send someone out in the world to help save the antique pump organs.

      I had one job where I deliberately did not mention my education. It was right on my resume but no one read my resume. Sometimes you can be pretty forth right and people still don’t notice, so there is that, too.

    7. Trout 'Waver*

      I disagree with the “sadly” part. I have some roles on my team that need a consistent person who doesn’t mind doing repetitive work. Some people just want clear expectations and a paycheck at the end of the day. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      1. Anonymosity*

        This is true. Not everyone wants management.

        However, anyone who does want development (whether management or a higher-skill position) won’t want to stay in an entry-level job with an entry-level salary forever, especially if there’s nowhere to advance in the company. I keep seeing that locally, where small and mid-sized businesses end up posting the same job over and over and over. The only way to move up is to move out.

      2. There's Always Money in the Banana Stand*

        Yep. I gave management a shot. I hated it, and I was awful at it. Currently, I am in a customer facing support role, and while my job can be a little boring, I know what is expected of me each day, and I make enough to live comfortably. I am very happy where I am.

    8. notanon*

      This isn’t always “sad.” Some roles are not ones that cater to ambitiousness, but are better suited for someone who is content to be in one place career-wise for a long time.

      My workplace has a receptionist role that was notoriously hard to keep filled (and not because of the work/load/people). We spent too long hiring ambitious people who wanted to move up in the company (there is no feasible trajectory for this particular role to do that) and instead moved on once they realized there was no opportunity for that, leaving us to rehire and retrain in a few months. When we started including a line in the job ad that this is not a position for someone seeking career growth, we started getting candidates who were more interested in sticking around for a few years at a time.

  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#1, unfortunately you’re going to have to decide what’s more important to you: Getting an intricate tattoo when your friends are available, or starting your new job/remaining employed. Right now, you have three options:
    1. Decline the job and get the tattoo. [Which may burn a bridge since you’re so close to your start date.]
    2. Get your tattoo now; be conscientious about after-care; and don’t take time off to heal.
    3. Reschedule your tattoo date to a post-probation period, possibly without your friends, there.

    As Alison notes, there is no way you can ask for 2-3 weeks off during your probationary period without throwing up red flags or jeopardizing your employment. Folks rarely ask for time off during the probationary window unless it’s for major and unforeseeable issues, like coming down with the flu. Approaching your job with an immediate request for time off will indicate that you aren’t aware of common workplace norms. (Although, as noted, it’s ok that you don’t know the norms—that’s why you’re asking AAM!)

    If you had negotiated a later start date or for leave during the offer and acceptance window, it would be a different situation. But you’re about to start your job (or have already started by now), and it’s going to look really off/red-flaggy that you want to cash out all of your annual leave at one time before you’ve had a chance to develop relationships or credibility at your new gig. If keeping this job matters to you, I’d gently urge you to use the first 6-12 months working hard and being super reliable so that you build up the political goodwill to take long leaves in the future.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s also worth noting that at a lot of jobs (in the U.S.), it would be really rare to ever be able to take three weeks off in a row — not that you couldn’t get it approved as a special request in some cases, but definitely not as a new employee and definitely not for this reason.

      1. Yourethicsconfuseme*

        Also, like it was mentioned above, OPnis seriously overestimating healing time. What if she was allowed the time off, and then after two days of the three weeks realizes it was a mistake? You used all your vacation within a month of the job and maybe even some extra time and capital. OP is going to regret it.

      2. Lilo*

        I will note that, especially during training period, taking 3 weeks off can be disruptive too. A guy I trained got a very bad flu with complications and ended up in the hospital a few months after being hired. We were able to get his leave covered with paid leave from the emergency donation bank (which has to be approved and is only for sick and family emergencies like that) but even with that it did mean we had to redo a lot of his training and recalibrate the goals and timeline. For someone who got sick, it was something we were willing to do, but it was quite a bit of work for multiple people. But for something voluntary? You wouldn’t qualify for the leave bank or the first year FMLA equivalent we have and it would be harder for all the people who have to put in the extra work to make it work to be willing to do so.

      3. Anon Anon*

        I’ve been with my employer for a decade. In that decade one person on our staff has taken three weeks off in a row. And the only reason that got approved was because his job has specific cycles, and once every 7 years he gets an opening that allows for three weeks off in a row. And I work for an organization that has a very generous time off allotment.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Only people I’ve ever seen take three weeks in a row were the coworkers that lived halfway across the world, had no family here with all their friends and family being in their home country, and requested an occasional (once every few years) long vacation to visit all the family and friends. I can really count these people, who were out on vacation for three weeks, on my one hand throughout my entire career.

          Admittedly, this is a US thing. (One time I messaged an old college friend who’s living in my home country, telling her about a week’s vacation my family spent at a Caribbean resort, and the response I got was “Wow this is great, but what did you do with the other three weeks of your vacation?”) But since it looks like that’s where the OP is, that’s the information that is relevant to the OP.

          1. Jen*

            I’m in the US and we had a guy take a month off once for a long vacation, but he planned it for over a year (and had saved up leave and comp time for some time) and he also arranged for someone to cover his workload while he was gone. There were some logistical issues, but he took on a lot of the burdens.

          2. Windchime*

            On the other hand, I’ve worked with lots of people who have family on the other side of the world, and a three-week vacation isn’t really that unusual. Yes, it has to be planned ahead of time for coverage but it’s really something that people who have to travel to India or Russia do pretty routinely in my line of work (IT services for healthcare organizations).

            But for a tattoo during a probationary period? Nope.

          3. JustaTech*

            I took 3 weeks for a trip to Europe, but I had also been hoarding vacation time, and it was a slow time in the office, and my boss’s boss had just realized that I was the only person who knew how to do the big thing our group does (the other person had recently quit) so he wanted to keep me happy. And I’d been at the job for 7 years.

            But it’s not something I expect to be able to do again any time soon.

        2. AMPG*

          In my last job a couple of the long-time employees would take big chunks of leave (2-3 weeks) every year, but in that job it wasn’t too hard to configure assignments around people’s vacations with enough notice, and they had the time available to them, plus a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it in principle, but you have to know your company culture and workflow, which OP #1 definitely doesn’t at this point.

        3. sorbus*

          For those whose jobs don’t let you take 3 weeks off in a row: what happens when someone has to take short term disability? The only time I’ve taken 3 consecutive weeks off was when I was on short term disability after a surgery that temporarily impaired my ability to use my arms, and I can’t imagine actually trying to work a week or two after that.

          1. Totally Minnie*

            Medical leave is different. A lot of employers who wouldn’t even think of allowing someone to take a three week vacation will still allow a multi-week medical leave when that’s what’s required.

      4. Cat Herder*

        Yes. Two weeks in a row, especially at a relatively slower time in the office? Doable. Three weeks in a row? LOL.

    2. neverjaunty*

      or 4) talk to a tattoo artist who will explain that you aren’t going to get a huge, intricate tattoo done all in one sitting, and you won’t need 2-3 weeks off to recovery.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yes! I can’t believe I forgot this option, in light of all the friends I have with elaborate, large tattoos who had them done over months (or in some cases, years).

      2. huskypunx*

        Definitely agree here, unless OP’s definition of “huge” and “intricate” are much different than most. I’m in the process of getting my back done with some very intricate detail. Most recent 7 hour session only got me half my upper back outlined with the start of some detail work.

        Do people actually take time off work for tattoo healing or is this a double whammy of naivety (new to job market and tattooing)? My limbs and torso are effectively covered in tattoos and have never once taken time off work for them to heal. There’s a variety of ways to clean a tattoo located anywhere during the workday. You really only need to wash/moisturize it twice a day for the first couple, then after that let it dry heal. If you’re worried about staining your clothes, wrap some plastic wrap from your kitchen around it before getting dressed. Your life doesn’t stop just because you get a new tattoo…

        1. Yourethicsconfuseme*

          My back tattoo was four 6-10 hour sessions. It’s my first and only (right now) tattoo. I was 18 and I didn’t take a single day off (although one day off may have been nice). My artist was a champ.

        2. Emily K*

          My limbs and torso are effectively covered in tattoos and have never once taken time off work for them to heal.

          I honestly don’t even really remember the healing period for any tattoos except my very first one – it’s that unremarkable. The only thing that really stands out in my memory is the frequent need to apply moisturizer during the middle time after it’s no longer an open wound but still not fully healed. And even that is like, a couple of times a day at home, not something onerous I was trying to find time to do in the middle of the workday.

          1. Gaia*

            The only remarkable healing period was my lower calf. And that is only because it involved significant shading and is quite large. I was taken by surprise by how much the muscle hurt the next day. But it was like a rough workout – nothing I’d take time off for.

          2. EddieSherbert*

            Right? I’m trying to remember specific details of how my recovery was and I can’t…

            I DO remember for my back tattoo (also my first tattoo) that I had to re-moisturize at work a couple times due to itchiness (and mostly my own paranoia about it getting “too dry”) and that was awkward. I wore tanks under whatever I wore so I could strip a bit in the bathroom to get to the tattoo.

      3. Gen*

        A friend of mine had full sized wings (extending shoulders to butt) tattooed in a single session. They look terrible because they were rushed. So if OP has been told they’re getting something massive in one sitting they should probably question the tattooist a bit more.

        I have a dozen tattoos and the only time I’d say there was awkwardness with work clothing and tattoos is when there are bra or binder straps going over the fresh tattoo. In that case you might need to switch to a different solution for a few days (halterneck/backless bras for example) but definitely not for weeks. But I can’t see anything about a suit that would be an issue.

        1. Yourethicsconfuseme*

          Mine are wings! And yes second the no bra straps. Wear strapless or bralettes or bandeaus or layer some tank tops. That’s what I did the first day after. Then normal bras were fine.

        2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

          My BIL got full sized wings over the course of three months and they look great! I don’t know how many sessions it took, but I second that taking your time and doing big things slowly works out for the best.

        3. Bananarama*

          Yeah, if the artist is saying they can do a truly large tattoo in one sitting, I would be suspicious. My cousin is a tattoo artist and prefers to do large pieces in separate sittings (one for lines, one for shading, one for color, etc.) not only for the comfort of the client, but because SHE gets fatigued.

          1. Anonymosity*

            This is a good point. If someone is tired, they’re probably not going to be doing their best work.

        4. jack*

          My bra strap was going over my first tattoo – I switched to some old, worn out (read: loose) sports bra for a few weeks and was good to go (I mostly wear t-shirts at work and could get away with this).

      4. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

        For real. I’m three full day sessions (7-8 hours) into a colourful half-sleeve, and I still probably need one more full day for my upper arm to be covered.

        1. Airy*

          Also in New Zealand! I recently had a hydrangea tattooed on my back and for various reasons needed to get it done in one long session (considerably longer than the older tattoo I was getting covered up). I was just sitting still but by the end I was absolutely pooped. I don’t think it’s a great idea to get a large and intricate design as a first tattoo because you don’t yet know how how you’ll react physically and you may well find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Getting the tattoo done in planned stages with shorter spells of recovery time in between (like weekends) is more likely to be manageable. I wonder if it would be practical for OP to start the tattoo with a smaller section with their friends in September, then get further sections done, staggered over time, to conclude with doing the last piece when they’re together again in January 2020? All kinds of different arrangements are possible.

          1. Lilo*

            I don’t have a tattoo but I know every one of my sister’s larger ones was done in multiple sessions.

            Especially if this is OP’s first tattoo, getting a large one in one setting with a big group sounds like a pretty bad idea. A) getting something large for a first tattoo sounds like a bad idea B) if it is that big are you getting the attention it needs if you are going in with a bunch of other people? My sister’s took multiple sessions of detailed long work. I can’t imagine that working in a group. I have known some people to all go in and get the same tattoo but it was always something smallish and not intricate.

            1. neverjaunty*

              On the other hand, getting a “starter tattoo” you don’t really want just to see if you’re ok with it may not be a good thing.

              1. Airy*

                That’s why I thought of getting one section of the desired tattoo done first that would look okay by itself if you decided to stop there- eg you want a full back tattoo of the whole team of Sailor Guardians and you start with the figure of Sailor Moon that will be the middle and anchor of the design, then add her friends around her one by one. If you don’t want to go further, a Sailor Moon tattoo is still something you wanted.

          2. Marion Ravenwood*

            Yep. I’m currently planning my first tattoo, and the reason I want a small and fairly simple one is precisely because of the ‘but what if I don’t like it/can’t handle it?’ concerns. I figure that if I’m OK with that, then I can progress to bigger/more intricate pieces in future.

          3. Falling Diphthong*

            I don’t think it’s a great idea to get a large and intricate design as a first tattoo because you don’t yet know how how you’ll react physically and you may well find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

            One thing that concerns me about the OP’s list of constraints is that the friends must be all together and must do it at the same time. That sounds like the group fears some people might change their minds without the peer pressure element, and… somehow you wouldn’t want the tattoo unless all your friends went through with it? Which seems to be a set-up for future regrets.

            1. Bekx*

              Ehhh, I don’t think it’s that nefarious. It’s probably just they all planned on getting matching (or cohesive) tattoos to celebrate something (graduation, friendship, who knows) and want to do it together. My best friend and I have said that we would get tattoos together because it’s meaningful to both of us and our friendship.

            2. Kathy*

              My thing about the constraint that the friends must all be together and must do it at the same time is more of a concern about tattoo artists’ styles. No two people tattoo the same, and many favor different styles such as hyper-realism, traditional, blackwork… OP says that it’s quite intricate and so if they are all getting, say, a hyper-realistic tattoo, there may only be one or two artists at the studio that can do that or are comfortable with doing that.

              1. Lilo*

                I am also concerned they wouldn’t get enough time and attention in a big group. Big groups usually get little simple tattoos for a reason.

    3. Susan K*

      This is why I’m glad this site exists — so people can ask these questions before they do something they’ll regret. A request like this would be so far outside of professional norms that OP #1 might never live it down. OP’s manager will always think of her as the one who asked for three weeks off for a tattoo right after starting the job, and if word gets out about it, coworkers might laugh about it, too. I hope OP has read Alison’s response and the comments and changed her tattoo plan accordingly.

      1. Lauren*

        Susan K is exactly right. I would majorly question the judgment of someone who asked if they could take time off to get /heal from a tattoo, and I don’t in the least buy the “oh, they’re young, they don’t understand professional norms.”

        1. OhBehave*

          Same here. When I first read that letter heading, I shook my head. Who even thinks this would be an ok thing to do? Finding out OP may be new to the job world helped somewhat. So glad they wrote in – and hopefully took the advice. Having this in the works for quite awhile, this should have been brought up in the final interview; maybe just saying that you have something booked during xyz and asking to push back the start date.

    4. Erin*

      2-3 weeks off in a probationary period is something for an unforseen emergency. Such as you were in a car wreck and spent a week in the hospital. Not I got a tattoo. I’ve never any taken time off of work to get one of mine. I just do it on my day off.

  6. Sami*

    #2 — I’m very much a fidgety person. I always need to have something to fuss with. I frequently use a small piece of Silly Putty and by small I mean less than the size of a quarter. It’s barely noticeable. Perhaps your intern could use that?

    1. Lindsay*

      I was a big fan of Silly Putty as a fidget toy when I was in high school. I highly second this suggestion.

    2. Jiji the Cat*

      I’m a big fan of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty! You can buy it on Amazon and I’ve seen it at craft stores as well. It’s like Silly Putty but has more resistance. I have a small (palm-sized) tin on my desk to play with when I’m on the phone, and you can break off a small chunk.

      1. fish*

        I mentioned it up-thread too, but if you like stuff with more resistance you might like Theraputty, which is used by all the therapists in the school I work at and comes in about 6 grades of resistance. I have a multi-graded pack at home for my own use and I like going for the amount of resistance I feel like in a particular moment!

    3. Iris Eyes*

      Yep smaller size and less noticeable color might help, as would playing in your lap/under a table/in one hand.

  7. ENFP in Texas*

    “I have been planning this with my friends for a long time. If we don’t do it now, we won’t be able to do it until January of 2020 when we can all get together again.”

    Well, in 18 months you should have enough vacation time accrued to take time off to let it heal.

    It’s a question of priorities. What is more important right now? Your budding career, or your buddies?

    Taking out the fact that it IS completely possible to work with clothes while a tattoo heals (and people do it all the time), you need to do a serious introspection on why you think it is acceptable and appropriate to put a new job at risk for a completely optional fun thing. Do you take your new career seriously? If so, why are you willing to risk it for such a frivolous reason?

    (For the record I have 3 tattoos, and never missed a day of work for them, so this is not “anti-ink” bias.)

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I’m going to push back gently, because this may be a case of naïveté on OP’s part. They note this is their first post-college job, and so the relative weight of a new job/career versus their tattoo may be skewed. Or maybe they’re so financially secure that they’re willing to let go of a job in order to have this experience with their friend. Sometimes a person’s priorities are not going to match the priorities of the commentariat.

      This letter reminds me of the letter involving a new grad who couldn’t get time off to see the eclipse, so they lied and called in sick and significantly negatively affected their coworkers… only to be found out and fired. I think it’s a situation where it helps to hear from other people that it’s not a good plan or that one’s scales are off.

      1. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish*

        I’m really trying, but I truly cannot see how this

        ” the relative weight of a new job/career versus their tattoo may be skewed.”

        is possible. Taking a day off to go to the beach or see the eclipse (which is at least something time-sensitive – I doubt the tattoo store is going to be closed from now until 2020) is one thing. Taking three weeks off for anything besides a serious medical event or an already booked trip to the other side of the globe isn’t something I can imagine anyone thinking makes sense.

        1. SS Express*

          Even someone who just won a hundred million dollars in a lottery, or earns a fortune in royalties from something they’ve previously created, or has a dozen other excellent job offers right now and a promise that they can always come back to a beloved former employer? Or someone who belongs to a culture where this tattoo is a very meaningful tradition, or is getting it done to cover scarring left by a traumatic accident or violent attack? While none of these scenarios are super likely, everyone’s circumstances are different and therefore they won’t all have the same priorities.

          1. JamieS*

            Considering comments are made within the context of the OP’s letter I think we can safely say Fergus’s comment had an assumption the tattoo would be something fun OP wants to do not a medical need or a cultural rite of passage and it’s not really necessary to explicitly spell everything out before posting a comment.

            1. SS Express*

              Except Fergus said they can’t even see how a different perspective on the relative weight of the job vs the tattoo is possible, because it “isn’t something I can imagine anyone thinking makes sense”.

        2. Oxford Comma*

          I can see there being special trips that you want that much time for (e.g. hiking a really long trail, going to Europe or Australia or something). A coworker had to take off a month when a family member had a really serious illness and she needed to be the sole caregiver.

          But the first applies only if you have the time banked and the standing to be able to ask for it and the second probably involved family medical leave.

          Also, I just want to say that I’m loving learning about tattoos and all the stuff out there to help with the healing. I had absolutely no idea!

    2. MK*

      I don’t think this is so much about how seriously the OP takes their career as that they haven’t fully adjusted to workplace priorities as opposed to education ones. When you are in school, readjusting your schedule to accommodate a bonding expierience with friends (on special occasions and within reasons) is not as outrageous as asking your workplace to accommodate the same thing.

      1. Shell*

        College professor here. I would think it utterly bizarre if a student said she was going to miss three weeks of class to get a tattoo.

        1. MK*

          Would you fail the student? In fact, assuming the class had no mandatory minimum attendance and the student completed the coursework/passed the exam/turned in their papers on time, would you be allowed to fail them? Would you let this affect their grade? Would it really be fair to give someone a lower grade than their work merits based on this? Would it be considered so bizarre that it colored your overall opinion of this student? And, barring specific circumstances, how much would it matter if you (or any other professor) think this student is a flake or whatever?

          The stakes are simply mot the same.

          1. Chocolate lover*

            My class has mandatory attendance, for various reasons. We only meet once a week, and if a student misses more than 2 classes, they have to repeat the class, because it’s a significant percentage they’ve missed.

            Part of my specific role is to teach workplace norms and expected behaviors. Students ultimately make their own choices, but there are still consequences. That’s part of the learning and development.

            I wouldn’t offer flexibility for an optional tattoo the way I would for illness or family emergency or similar.

          2. SarahTheEntwife*

            I wonder if this varies by type of college, because I think of college as significantly *less* flexible than office workplaces in terms of time off. The class happens when it happens, and even if you’re missing three weeks because of some serious unexpected illness, there’s often not a convenient way to make up the material and discussion. I know several people who had to redo whole semesters because of that sort of situation.

          3. Sarah*

            Well, our university is on quarters, so missing three weeks would mean you’re missing 30 percent (!) of the class. Even if I didn’t have an attendance policy (which I do), it would be near impossible to make up that amount of work. Obviously I would try to work with someone who had a serious medical issue (although practically many students with that level of illness end up needing to do a medical withdrawal), but someone asking to miss that much class for a tattoo? Absolutely no.

          4. Properlike*

            Community college and private 4-year professor here. Short answer: three weeks away for *any* reason means you flunk the class. We might be able to swing a medical or special circumstances withdrawal depending on the circumstances, but most schools do require attendance – even if there’s work product – as part of the rules of accreditation. I’ve had students with chronic illnesses, family deaths (including murder), sudden illness, car wrecks, etc. The school will say, “This is not a good time for you to be doing this thing.”

            1. Alton*

              Exactly. Even if someone has a genuinely good reason to have to miss a lot of classes, if they can’t do the work, they can’t do the work. Sometimes the only accommodation that can be offered is a medical/emergency withdrawal. It’s not a punishment for the student–attendance policies are often outside of the professor’s control. Even if the student is brilliant in the subject and can pass the exams through self-study alone, part of qualifying for a degree is doing the work and receiving instruction from the professor. That’s why a lot of schools place limits on how many transfer credits they’ll accept, too.

            2. Tara R.*

              I do think *most* is the key word here. I’m in the sciences in a university in Canada, and I’ve had maybe… two classes over two years that have taken any kind of attendance? And the attendance was only 5-8% of the grade, and you could miss three classes without a penalty. I’ve had a class or two where I could have missed three weeks straight with little impact (mostly the one where the prof just recited the textbook. I can read that myself, thanks.) I missed almost every Monday morning class of one of my M/W/F classes, and I finished with an A+.

              1. Tara R.*

                Oh, I forgot about my two lab classes, which obviously required attendance. (Although there were two make-up classes, so you still could have missed three weeks and only taken a small hit to your grade).

                Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I agree with MK’s original point. There’s a huge range of experience with college/university, and depending on what your classes are like the attendance requirements of a full-time job can be a bit of an attitude adjustment. I had better attendance in uni than most of the people I knew (many of whom were also Dean’s list students), and it was a big change at my internship to have to show up every single day consistently at the same time regardless of whether or not I felt like it.

          5. Clorinda*

            High school teacher. We have homebound status for students who are severely sick or on maternity leave, but taking time off for a personal choice like a tattoo is absolutely an unexcused absence. Three weeks would mean failing the class and having to repeat it over summer or the next year.

          6. Falling Diphthong*

            Once you’re out of the huge gut classes with 300 people in a lecture, attendance is usually considered in a grade because you are supposed to be contributing to the discussion in section, doing lab work, etc. The “work” of the class absolutely includes some facetime, just as being in training for a new job includes facetime.

            And it is absolutely normal for people in professional, volunteer, and educational relationships to jump through some hoops to help someone dealing with a crisis, but not someone dealing with an optional fun thing.

          7. Jessie the First (or second)*

            “Would it really be fair to give someone a lower grade than their work merits based on this?”

            A lot of the work in college happens in labs and discussion groups. Missing those is actually missing the work. So yes, it is fair to give a lower grade to someone who does not participate in – does not even show up to! – a significant portion of the work of the class. Lots of college courses are not simply about the end product (results of exam, final paper).

          8. mrs__peel*

            I never had a class in college or law school where students *didn’t* get marked down for failing to attend.

            It’s very normal (and, IMO, perfectly fair) for attendance and class participation to be significant components of a final grade.

        2. Lilo*

          I also have friends who got tattoos in college and they never missed class for it.

          My undergrad degree involved a lot of lab, but missing even one lab session was a big deal that had to be made up. 3 to 6 (depending on the frequency of lab) would result in a flunk or incomplete.

        3. scorpysuit coryphefuss arterius*

          But in most cases, a college student would not be required to wear a suit (in fact they’d have more leeway to wear comfortable, accommodating clothing of their choosing), and it sounds like it’s the OP’s perceived ability to wear a suit after a tattoo that is causing her to consider asking for this time off.

      2. hbc*

        I agree. Even some typical “starter” workplaces aren’t going to care if you’re gone for a month if you’re a good employee. Lots of them are used to juggling whoever they’ve got and will take as many competent people as they can—I can probably get work immediately if I said I’m available to babysit, referee, or life guard every other month.

      3. buttercup*

        Even for someone adjusting to workplace norms…this is so bizarre. I would never dream of missing 3 weeks of class for anything less than a medical procedure or emergency. And even considering industries – it’s totally understandable of the OPs parents never worked in an office environment, but I highly doubt blue collar or service jobs being chill with taking 3 weeks in a row off for anything, much less a tattoo.

    3. Alton*

      I don’t think it’s really fair to criticize it as a “frivolous” reason. Some people are very much “work to live” people who prioritize their work responsibilities mainly because they need to in order to function in society and have financial security, and that’s okay (of course, you should be considerate of how your work behavior affects others, too). There are people who feel very strongly about their body art being important to them who are absolutely willing to prioritize that when making career choices, such as only taking jobs where visible tattoos are okay. And that’s fine if it’s an educated, thought-out choice.

      The OP’s problem is that they’re not used to professional norms yet and may not have realistic expectations about the healing process. The specific solution they’re thinking of (taking three weeks off) isn’t a realistic compromise between their work responsibilities and personal life.

      1. Perse's Mom*

        It seems safe to rule out body-art-as-an-important-personal-statement for this OP given how other commenters have pointed out the lack of knowledge the OP seems to have around the process.

        1. scorpysuit coryphefuss arterius*

          I disagree; I think it’s quite possible for the OP to regard body art as very important to them without necessarily yet knowing much about the process.

  8. KR*

    Hi OP1.. I recommend asking if you can work from home or taking a sick day or two if needed but you will not need that much time off and if you really think you should I would amend your plans and get the tattoo a little at a time. Also you may be able to wear softer clothes or soft underclothes while your tattoo is healing.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Hard agree, especially because OP has no leave accrued and is not able to take leave during the first five months. The caveat is if this is an office where working from home is common, but even then, new folks should not rely too heavily on that backstop unless they negotiated it up front.

        In situations where you’re blacked out from taking leave at the beginning of your tenure, you should really only be calling in leave for Big Deals, like an unexpected bout with the flu or a death in the family. Asking for time to heal from a completely elective and non-essential treatment is not going to fly for many employers.

      2. KR*

        Oh yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Sorry I didn’t specify. I was thinking they get tattoo Saturday, take Monday at home if they think they need to and it’s a normal thing for the business. My job is one where it’s normal to wfh if you’re not feeling 100% but can still work or whatever.

  9. Chelle*

    3 – huh, I have a little container of thinking putty at work that I play with almost constantly, for exactly this reason (it helps me focus). I’ve had a few people comment on it, but no one’s seemed too bothered, and I certainly don’t pop it or make any kind of noise. I guess I don’t get how it’s different than a fidget cube/similar?

      1. nopenope*

        Slime isn’t slimy, it’s essentually putty. Slime is a huge trend right now with teenagers, I’ve seen a lot of slime related stuff on Instagram and have made it myself with my kids. I’ve never encountered any that’s actually slimy.

          1. Rana*

            My daughter has some that’s clear with sparkles in it, and it’s not sticky at all. It’s more like jello. But it does get sort of drippy even so, so I also have trouble visualizing how someone could fidget with it without having to keep shifting it from hand to hand.

            1. Lilo*

              Although so am not sure this is the same thing, I think a friend’s kid was playing with this when I was over like a week ago (she called it slime) and it did leave her hands glittery and wear out pretty quickly. If it leaves glitter around, I would reccomend something else at work

              1. GRA*

                There is homemade slime – which is usually messy and glittery and really goopy/slimy and SO MUCH FUN (for use at home), and then there is the slime you can buy in little containers which leaves hardly any residue and is more “professional” (if professional slime can be a thing?). I’m assuming the intern has the latter.

                1. Yvette*

                  I am picturing ‘professional’ slime, grey or taupe or navy, perhaps with a tasteful pinstripe? :)

          2. sheworkshardforthemoney*

            Don’t feel bad, I was also thinking of a green mucus-like substance and trying not to gag.

            1. Kaboobie*

              Me too, and that stuff smells awful. Something more like putty would not bother me at all and now I’m thinking I need some! I don’t have a diagnosed attention deficit but I am definitely a fidgeter.

          3. Clinical Social Worker*

            Alison, I think one thing to consider is that some folks may be more flexible about what will work for them for stimming than others. If someone is on the autism spectrum they might need to apply a certain amount of pressure or be sensitive to textures. If someone brought in a cane that had a bright pattern on it would we be asking them to bring in a different cane? As long as it’s not making noise or a mess I think most people are just being judgmental about the slime.

            1. Aeryn Sun*

              That’s what I was thinking – if it’s a sensory thing something like a fidget spinner or cube isn’t going to cut it.

            2. fposte*

              If the cane strobed for no good reason, yes, probably they’d be asked to bring in a different cane. If the intern has found the rare silent slime, that’s a big improvement–the slime I know makes noise, and that’s pretty distracting. I think silly putty is much better than anything that requires digging your hands into a container, though.

              Additionally, we really haven’t established that we’re talking “reasonable accommodation” levels yet. Just because I find something soothing doesn’t mean I get to do it at work.

          4. Alton*

            I think most slime either has a putty-like texture or is like that Nickelodeon “gak” they used to sell (gooey and sticky, but not wet). Of course, with homemade slime, it probably depends on the ingredients. I know that homemade slime can be messy sometimes, because I’ve heard of parents banning their kids from bringing home slime they make at school. But it’s not supposed to be very liquid. The mess-factor seems to be more that it can get stuck in carpet and rub off on clothes.

  10. Mike C.*

    It’s really odd to me how bringing a whole bucket of slime to a meeting is just dandy, but quietly glancing at your phone brings out the morality police.

    1. KEWLM0M*

      Actually I think the slime is to help one focus on the meeting, while glancing at the phone is taking focus away from the meeting.

      1. FD*

        +1 It’s a pretty big difference that way. Using your phone directs your attention to the phone, while in an ideal world, using a small fidget should help you keep your focus on what’s going on (while also not distracting others).

        I see both sides about phones in meetings–IME many companies schedule way too many totally pointless meetings and it’s pretty hard for me to get hard on anyone for not paying full attention during yet another idiotic status update. At the same time, if someone goes to the trouble of preparing an agenda and keeping to it, it drives me CRAZY when people don’t pay attention and/or keep stepping out to take calls.

      2. Pollygrammer*

        One’s own focus shouldn’t be the only concern, though. Slime is probably distracting to others and glancing at a phone is not. I would personally be thinking “is that woman playing with slime in a meeting? WTF?” I would be unable to keep from making wide-eyed WTF eye contact with others to double check that I’m not alone in finding this insane. It would definitely impact my attention.

        1. Cat Herder*

          Also the slime can make a weird squishy noise and it can also have an odd smell. Distracting. Maybe they’ve improved slime since my child was young, but that’s one of the things I remember about it.

          1. Windchime*

            I could only watch a few seconds of the videos that were linked above; the slime makes kind of a crunchy, foamy sound when people poke at it and I would not want to listen to that in a meeting. It gives me the heebie jeebies.

        2. Dent*

          As society becomes more accepting and understanding of the need for some people to stim to help with their focus I’m sure things like slime or putty being played with discretely will become less distracting. It’s no different than someone doodling on the corner of a sheet of paper.

        3. Jennifer Thneed*

          If I’m talking, and I see someone glancing at their phone, it’s very off-putting to me. Maybe I’m oversensitive?

          But it’s so rarely just a glance. SOMEtimes the person is just checking the time but usually it’s a longer interaction than that.

      3. Nita*

        I don’t know, I need to glance at my phone to stay focused! Not if I’m participating in the meeting, but if it’s one of those meetings where you sit and listen… it snaps me back awake when I feel myself starting to nod off. I’d rather be the coworker who checks her email in meetings, than the one who starts snoring in the middle of them.

      4. a heather*

        Sometimes I play a simple numbers game on my phone (20) in meetings to keep me focused if my mind starts to wander. If I read on my phone, no way am I paying attention, because I can’t focus on two sets of words at a time, but I can play that and my mind is more focused on the meeting than if I’m not. I’m sure some people think I’m not paying attention, but no one has called me out on it; I contribute when I’m playing, and pause the game or stop playing when I need to. Often in these meetings coworkers have laptops out and are paying way less attention than I am (a coworker was writing a novel once!), but somehow that’s more okay than me fiddling with my phone.

    2. Lily*

      This seems a tad ableist, since fidget devices are usually used by people who have a medical need for them.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        Interesting comment. I have a 14 year old (birthday today!) who has been dx’d with ADHD since 1st grade, and no physician or psychologist has suggested there is a medical need for fidget devices. It has also never been an approved accommodation in his 504 plan. He’s had fidget spinners and cubes, but they’re such a problem at school that they don’t let anyone have them. He’s allowed to stand in class, though.

        I wouldn’t encourage him to use slime at school or work, and I’d think it was pretty weird to see from an employee.

        1. Kj*

          And I’m a child therapist who writes access to fidgets into IEps and 504s all the time for kids with ADHD. So people vary and plenty of kids I work with need some sort of fidget. I let schools determine what is appropriate for their setting, but fidgeting is a legit need for many people with ADHD.

        2. rldk*

          I had many friends when still in school to have medically-approved (and -encouraged) fidgets, particularly ones that moved them away from tapping their pencils on every hard surface. My impression is that there are many doctors who are trying to move away from just Rx to treat the symptoms of AD disorders, and finding the right (non-disruptive) fidget can be part of that treatment plan.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            From what I have seen, my son uses pen and notebook destruction–drawing on the cover, poking holes, peeling off the cover. I was cleaning his room over the summer, and there was a pencil bag full of pen pieces. Like, an entire 12 pack of pens completely disassembled down to the ink cartridge and spring. It was amusing.

            1. Writing Passion*

              This is what I did in elementary school because we didn’t have fidget toys. By the end of the first month of school I would get in trouble for all eraser bits and pencil tips and such that I had in my desk. I also used to obsessively sharpen crayons in a pencil sharpener to get this need to fidget out.

              Now that I’m in college, I’ve discovered a deck of cards full-fills by need to fidget nicely with less mess (usually). And while I don’t shuffle, just finger the deck, I do sometimes have butterfingers and the cards go everywhere and then I need to pick them up.

              I don’t want to make a lot of noise and distract others, but my hands need to be doing something or I zone out in minutes and don’t know what’s going on. I’m actually trying to find alternatives, but so far no luck. (I haven’t thought to try the silly putty thing though.)

              1. Rosemary7391*

                As you’re not shuffling the cards – could you put a hole through them and (loosely) tie them together so they don’t go everywhere if you drop them?

              2. Weyrwoman*

                My go-to on-the-go fidget was cat’s cradle string made of very thin military para-string. I wore it as a bracelet and would unloop it and just mindlessly run Jacob’s Ladder. Quiet, unobtrusive, can’t make a mess, and even untangling it is enough of a distraction to let my mind focus on other things.

            2. General Ginger*

              I did that in elementary school. Notebook destruction in particular, because it somehow felt more satisfying, and the notebook could still be used in a partially destroyed state, but pens, too, especially ones with a clicky end or one of those little tab things.

            3. Tau*

              Sudden flashbacks! I disassembled so many pens in school. (I generally reassembled them, though).

            4. Weyrwoman*

              Oh my gods this was me. I drew on everything, and if I couldn’t draw I took things apart. Mostly pens. Or I’d unwind the spiral of a notebook, or open/close my binder rings…I got really good at straightening paper clips, actually. And then I’d reconfigure them into wire shapes.

              AnotherAlison, I did these things even before I was dx’d, and if I hadn’t gotten an exception from the school (after a lot of fighting on my behalf by my parents and my diagnosing professional) to be allowed to draw in class I likely would have failed grade school. If things like thinking putty and fidget cubes had existed when I was growing up, I would have had a medically-mandated alternative to drawing.

        3. Humble Schoolmarm*

          Fidgets are a bit counterproductive for a lot of kids 13 and under because they’re too much like toys and the kids tend to play with them rather than fidget while listening or working. I’ve had a lot of issues with fidget spinners (although cubes tend to be much less distracting) in my middle school class. I’m don’t see a problem with them for adults unless op’s intern is trying to put her slime in Jane’s hair, though.

          1. Weyrwoman*

            You could allow another option, depending on the class you teach – my teachers who allowed me draw made stipulations that I had to draw stuff that was class-related. So I often ended up giving them cute little stick figure comics about whatever we’d covered in class that day.

      2. Mike C.*

        I don’t think you should call people who deal with these issues on a daily basis “ableist”.

        Also, commenting on how one form is acceptable while another is not is in no way, shape or form “ableist”.

        1. Totally Minnie*

          I think it depends on the use of the phone. If we’re comparing a person with a diagnosed attention disorder using a small amount of slime or silly putty as a means of getting their brain to a place that allows it to pay attention to a person using a phone app for the same reason, then you’re right, ableism doesn’t come into play at all. But if we’re comparing that same slime using person to someone without an attention disorder who wants to look at their phone in a meeting because they’re bored, I would say the ableism concern would be more valid.

    3. Les G*

      When you’re basing your whole comment around a deliberate exaggeration, you’ve bought yourself a ticket on a high speed train to Logicalfallacyville, population: 1.

    4. Mookie*

      It’s weird to you that accomodations and attention-focusing aids are regarded differently than activities that disengage the user from listening and participating?

      Nowhere here was the latter regarded as proof of moral deficiency, so I’d take the straw elsewhere.

      1. Mike C.*

        Have you never seen previous discussions about looking at your phone during a meeting here? Have you not seen the endless memes about people “glued to their phones”?

        1. neverjaunty*

          And you’re still pissed off about them to the point of rehashing them all over again when they have nothing to do with the OP’s questions? Okay, man.

          1. Mike C.*

            Quit following me around. Your anger and persistence is really getting out of hand. It’s creepy and I’ve told you previously not to do it anymore.

            1. Jessie the First (or second)*

              This…. this seems to be neverjaunty’s only comment in response to yours today.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Whoa, that seems out of left field. Responding to a comment is not “following you around.”

              I’ve asked you before to not be so heated with people here. I really value your contributions here, especially when you present a different viewpoint than the majority, but you cannot inject this kind of hostility here. Please stop.

    5. Ladysplainer*

      I bring my phone to meetings in case my kids’ care provider calls with an emergency. My husband travels a lot for his job. We all know I had children and remain involved in their upbringing out of sheer malice toward my colleagues. So I get why people are upset.

      1. Batty Twerp*

        The internet desperately needs a sarcasm/hyperbole font, but while there are hints of this, it’s an interesting case of broad brushstrokes.

        Personally, I find people fiddling with *anything* in the middle of a meeting distracting, because my eye is drawn to their fingers (I have nervous peripheral vision – I’m extremely arachnophobic, so I see movement, I concentrate on it to be sure it’s not a danger – blame my monkey brain). Several co-workers mangle paperclips; one person does a sort of “worlds smallest violin” finger fidget while composing email.
        A person on their phone is, in my experience, checking their emails, following up on a previous meeting, or preparing for a next one – it is rare, though not without precedent, that someone will leave their phone on vibrate, face down on the table during the meeting in case the childcare provider needs to call – they are often the ones with the most focus, usually because, if they had to leave for an emergency, they will need all the meeting information to provide a handover.

        So, there is no one size fits all solution – have a fidget cube, and you’ll distract me; bring your phone but don’t look at it, and you’ll be tarred with the same brush as the inattentive managers. It may be a case of continuous adaptation, because no single suggestion will work for everyone in every situation

        1. Ladysplainer*

          So my phone is on silent but if the number of the daycare or a text from someone there pops up – The screen flashes and I see it. I’ve had conflict a few times with colleagues who thought I was unprofessional to bring my phone to meetings but I spend 4-8 hours a day in those. I can’t just leave my phone in my purse and hope all is well. It was only once but one of my children HAS been rushed to the ICU in an ambulance while my husband was on another continent. And sorry, my five year old’s safety is a little more important than a co-irker’s ego. If an adult can’t tell that from Candy Crush, it’s not my problem.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            And now someone’s gonna say “but 30 years ago, parents managed to parent without phones,” and I’m going to suggest to those people that they stop using their computer, since 30 years ago we managed to do everything without them.

            1. Judy (since 2010)*

              From what I remember 30 years ago, there were admins for department use. For example, a team of 12-15 engineers and their manager shared an admin. The admin would make travel arrangements, answer the phones, etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a first level manager have an admin, not to mention individual contributors have access to an admin. My current company has about 150 employees, and there’s one admin shared by the company president and the two VPs.

              30 years ago, there was a number to call that had a person who would go find the parent.

                1. Jennifer Thneed*

                  LOL, but only once you elicited it. I have a strong suspicion that you did that on purpose.

          2. medium of ballpoint*

            I understand why folks do this, but I find it really distracting and I’m not an easily distracted person. When people leave their phones visible in a meeting, they (and everyone else) sees *every notification that comes through* and that can be distracting. (And oof, I’ve seen some things I’d rather not have, but I can’t help that my eye is drawn to the bright, flashy thing in front of me.) I assigned custom vibrations to contacts who might need to get in touch with me in an emergency, so I can keep my phone in my pocket and still be notified.

          3. Totally Minnie*

            I think a person complaining about the fact that your phone is in the room during a meeting has gone too far. If it’s just sitting on the tabletop or in your lap or your pocket, it seems really out of proportion for someone to get angry about that.

          4. Clumsy Ninja*

            One of my jobs has a “no cell phones” rule in one area. I’ve told the director flat out that my phone WILL be with me at all times, because of this very reason. My husband is almost impossible to reach, and even if it wasn’t impossible to get through on the business’s phone lines, I work multiple jobs and can’t expect anyone else to remember which place I’m at on any given day. For that matter, *I* only know where I’m going because I check my calendar. ;)

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      These aren’t the same at all–“glancing at your phone” makes it clear your attention isn’t on the meeting, while people are perfectly capable of tapping their feet, humming, or fidgeting with a tablespoon of putty without conscious thought. Of those three distractions, putty would be the least annoying to everyone else since it doesn’t make noise.

      1. Mike C.*

        Glancing at your phone doesn’t make noise either.

        Also, for many meetings where you’re only there “just in case”, you’re not going to be paying attention during large parts of it anyway.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          Phone and fidget aren’t equal.

          A phone is proven to be distracting. As a manager, if I saw someone looking at a phone I would question their engagement. A person playing with slime, Silly Putty, or paper clip, or doodling while listening, would not bother me at all. Those a proven to be helpful for some brain types.

          So they aren’t equal, and you can’t argue that they are. That’s a logical fallacy.

          1. fposte*

            I think it’s even more nuanced like that in both cases; I don’t buy Mike’s initial division. Playing with slime absolutely can be distracting for other people, and you absolutely can use your phone to be helpful for your brain type. The fact that something can be helpful for your brain type doesn’t automatically mean you get to do it at work, though, and there’s stuff you can do at work even if it doesn’t help your brain type.

    7. Girl friday*

      It’s meant to equalize the attention span. So person a with slime pays as much attention as person b without slime. No more, no less. So they might still be a bit fidgety, or glance around, or doodle occasionally. A quiet swift glance at a phone would be an equal thing to do and not upset anybody probably.

  11. RG*

    OP #4′- I agree, those video sessions are weird without having someone to actually interact with. Plus, like Alison said you miss the chance to learn about the job, meaning now it takes two rounds to catch the major requirement that you despise that somehow want mentioned in the ad.

    1. anoldfart*

      Thirty years ago I got a phone call at my job from my son’s school. The school nurse was asking me to go pick him up and take him to the emergency room because he was having an asthma attack. I got terminated for leaving my post. I hope things have improved in thirty years! There were no cell phones then; the call came in on the boss’s business line which was the only way to reach anyone at my job.

    2. BigTenProfessor*

      I just took a strong stance against this in admissions in our department. I hate, hate, hate making students do these.

  12. Aysë*

    Re: #3 To avoid looking prima donna-ish, I think your best bet is to send a screen grab of AAM’s answer to this, so they can be clear that an expert in management finds your sensibility about this to be reasonable!

  13. RhinoWino*

    Hmm, if that tattoo is as big and intricate as described, it’s probably not something that can be done in one sitting anyway.

    Also, very tattooed here, never missed a day of work, even in a suit. Tattoos can be very easily protected.

    1. Elle Kay*

      -signed 3 large, complex, multi-session tattoos; mostly gotten on Friday evenings/weekends and never missed a day of formal-wear required work

  14. lost academic*

    #3 – my company (large, international consulting firm) had moved heavily towards video interviews (video short answer responses is actually a better way to put it) for entry and lower level positions. It’s not just about efficiency and cost. We get a lot of additional information on you that we do need before we commit to bringing you in for at least a half day interview session with a pack of hard to schedule people, and everyone is hard to schedule, even though it’s important. Preparation and presentation are part of our jobs, all of them, so we do want to see how you do these. It’s not supposed to be easy or necessarily comfortable – neither is interviewing in general! But the positions we have involve lots that’s new and unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable, so if you’re going to just not do something for that reason, not the job for you.

    If you don’t like it enough to both not do it and tell us why, fine… But yes, you’re off the list, and if you give that reason it’ll get remembered by people involved.

    As a separate comment…. The poster indicated she had only attempted one of these and didn’t indicate if she had considered any options to make the process work better for her. There’s lots of ways to do that since you have so much control over the responses. An easy one is to have a friend sitting on the other side of the camera you can speak directly to, and practice with.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      We get a lot of additional information on you that we do need before we commit to bringing you in for at least a half day interview session with a pack of hard to schedule people

      Of course you want that; all employers do. Candidates want it on their side too, before giving up a half day. And that’s what phone interviews are for. It’s unreasonable to ask candidates to invest in this kind of thing before you’ve invested any time in speaking with them and letting them learn more about whether they’re even interested. They’ve already invested time in writing a cover letter, etc. Have a 15-20-minute phone conversation with them, like other employers do.

      1. lost academic*

        We do that too, but that’s what our recruiters do and before we ask for this. We’re asking a total of three short questions that we want video responses to, which generally take a total response time of 3 minutes. I don’t think it’s asking that much.

        1. ceiswyn*

          I think you will find that planning and shooting that three minute response is taking your candidates way longer than you suppose.

          1. Lance*

            That, and they’re still not getting any info back from this themselves, which is the primary point being made.

            1. Nita*

              And the video interview doesn’t represent your company well to the applicants… they’re also evaluating whether they want to work for you, and the fact that no one on your end is willing to take three minutes to conduct a phone interview won’t come across well. If you’re looking to evaluate presentation skills, it might be better to have someone talk to the candidates, and only then proceed to having them do a short presentation.

              1. PlainJane*

                This. Good employees have choices, especially when the unemployment rate is low. Your approach likely would be a red flag to savvier and/or less desperate candidates, because it suggests that you aren’t willing to invest in employees. That might sound like an overstatement, but as Alison has pointed out many times, during the hiring process, neither party has much data on the other, so small things take on greater importance.

            2. media monkey*

              agree. recruiters rarely know the answers to the sort of questions you might want to ask. often you want to get a feel for the sort of people you’d be working with!

            1. Mike C.*

              Lots of jobs ask for a lot but don’t put their candidates through a hazing like this. Why is your situation so unique?

              1. Engineer Girl*

                I was thinking hazing too, but didn’t say it. “Prove to me how bad you want this”.
                No A level player will put up with that crap.

                1. Nom Nom*

                  I see the hazing but I think it’s more about boundary pushing actually. Employer is basically (no matter how they pretend to spin it) going to be judging you on appearances – they can weed out the people of the wrong colour, disabled or just the non photogenic all the time pretending you are being judged on ‘merit’. Lost academic say 3 minutes but just getting the lighting, camera angle etc right takes way longer than that even if you agree it’s ok. Lost academic, your firm is trying to weed out the non compliant, looking for desperate people who will also work 18 hours a day at an entry level job and I’d be fairly confident you are well aware of it. if it was a third round interview for a high level job then maybe. At entry level? You are looking to hire cheap from the most naïve base you can find. Plus weed out the ‘undersirables’

                2. Falling Diphthong*

                  “Prove to me how bad you want this”.
                  No A level player will put up with that crap.


                3. Dent*

                  I can’t reply to Nom Nom but they make an excellent point. Video interviews (or really, let’s call them video essays because that’s what they are) are ripe for allowing easy, quiet discrimination against a number of folks. Why do the answers to these questions have to be in video format? Why can’t an applicant submit these answers in writing? If you are looking to assess someone’s presentation skills, why not ask for an in-person presentation during the interview?

            2. Quirk*

              Then this seems highly counterproductive. The more the job requires, the more care needs taken to make the interview a two way street. If you’re hiring at C-level, things likely begin with a conversation. If you’re hiring a senior engineer in any field you need headhunters to bring them in, the interview starts and finishes with selling them on the company.

              Making would-be employees jump through hoops like this will most put off the ones who can easily find other options.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                This is what I came here to say. I am mid-career, fairly senior, and in high demand, and unless the employer is the absolute perfect match in every other way, I would just move on if I saw a company used this very one-sided, inconsiderate practice.

                1. I'm A Little Teapot*

                  I HAVE moved on. I’m in higher demand than that, I don’t need to put up with those kind of games. Every company I know is hiring for my job, and they are all having difficulty. Companies with known culture messes, low pay, or antiquated/gimmicky hiring practices are having even more difficulty.

                2. OP 3*

                  Yep, agree — I’m a competitive candidate and I’m being very selective about where I apply next. I asked this question having already done the calculation about whether it’s worth passing on these jobs, and to me it definitely is.

          1. BRR*

            A phone interview and a video interview is a heck of a lot of investment at this point in the process and would be a huge turn off to me as a candidate. Unless I needed a job or this job was amazing, this process would be a negative mark for me against the employer. Remember that candidates are interviewing the company as well.

        2. Ciara Amberlie*

          I had to do a three minute video for a job interview. It took me half a day to prepare, shoot and edit (and I work in media and I’m pretty quick at shooting and editing.)

          It was a total pain and I felt that the employer didn’t respect my time. I’d self-select out of another potential job that required it.

          1. Ciara Amberlie*

            I meant to add, that you’re almost certainly losing good candidates with this policy. You should think about whether the benefits of video interviews outweigh the negatives of missing out on the best people who have other opportunities and don’t need to do this.

          2. Mad Baggins*

            Good point, also wonder how many candidates you lose because they don’t have a good camera and video editing software. That’s a lot to ask for an entry level applicant, who presumably makes entry level wages. Would you knock points off if it was filmed from a phone’s front-facing camera, selfie style? Or on a laptop without a special microphone to filter background noise?

          3. Mookie*

            Precisely this. That an employer blithely asks this of applicants while revealing a gross underestimation of the investment required to produce something substantive and with polish basically demonstrates how unworthy they are of the investment. If it’s as easy breezy beautiful a task as they claim, then the exercise doesn’t seem valuable to them; the whole point of advancing levels of screening is to deepen their knowledge of promising people. How do you do that with throwaway questions and no active engagement? Smells of busy work coupled with the pointlessness of bureaucratic, authoritarian hoop-jumping Because They Say So.

          4. General Ginger*

            I could see doing this after an initial two-way conversation. Maybe. I still wouldn’t like it, but I could understand it, especially if the job had something to do with making presentations. But as the first component of the interview process, before I’ve even spoken to these people, and before I have any idea what the company is really like? Nope.

        3. Emily K*

          Then why not have someone from your team do a second phone call where you ask the 3 questions over the phone (or Skype)? The bottom line is you’re asking candidates to invest a lot of time in answering these 3 questions on video so you don’t have to spend 15 minutes asking those 3 questions on the phone. The information may be important enough that you absolutely need it before you can bring them in for the half day, but that doesn’t explain why your team can find 10 minutes to watch the video that took 60 minutes to make, but can’t find 15 minutes to ask the questions in a live, two way format.

        4. Genny*

          I’ve had to record 2-5 minutes video presentations for my grad school courses. I usually spend around 10-15 minutes or so writing out the script and timing it. I then go through about 3-5 takes until I get something usable (i.e. I sound natural, don’t stumble over the words, the camera angle is nice, the audio is good, etc.). Then I fight with the learning management system to get the video uploaded because it doesn’t accept a basic MP4 (?) file. All said and done, I probably spend over 30 minutes to produce a 2-5 minute video.

        5. Iris Eyes*

          Well if their job would involve video presentation I could see a case for it. If they need to be able to demonstrate not only presenting on camera but would also be accountable for their own videography, lighting, editing and content. In that case it would essentially be a work trial project with the added benefit of learning more about the candidate in other ways. BUT no one should be expected to do that before the mid/final stages of the interview process. They should at least have an idea if your company/organization is worth the hours required to produce a quality response.

        6. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

          Why not just have them do a 3 minute presentation if you are bringing them in person for a half-day interview? Does the job require presenting on camera?

        7. Jennifer Thneed*

          > but that’s what our recruiters do and before we ask for this
          I suspect that you have some control over what your recruiters do, and when they do it

          Have you tried creating one of these interviews, either to get hired where you are or just as an experiment? If not, I suggest you take 10 minutes and try it out. You’ll have a much better idea of what you’re asking of people.

          You’re giving us a lot of answers about how valuable this is for the employer but you do not seem to be engaging with anyone’s comments about how it is as an applicant. It’s off-putting.

        8. Not A Morning Person*

          I’ve done one similar video interview. It did take a lot of preparation on my part. I took care with my appearance, my interview outfit, (waist up), and my hair. I set up the laptop with the webcam and tested my audio connection. I reviewed my resume and the questions that I was expected to answer. It was almost as much prep as an actual interview. It was not as awful as I’d expected, but it was quite a bit of prep. There was a time limit for each question and on one of them I got cut off, but in any case, I made it to a face to face interview that required air travel and a hotel stay. I would say that the first time was intimidating, but I’d do it again. However, I would expect the hiring organization to absolutely understand that it does require a significant effort on the part of the applicant to prepare for even three questions when it’s recorded, time limited, and doesn’t allow for re-recording if you think you need to explain or elaborate on anything. But I’m not as opposed to it as it seems many of the comments are. Also, I’m pretty comfortable in front of a camera and with being recorded. If I had not already had so much of that experience, I think it would have been much more intimidating. Just food for thought.

        9. Totally Minnie*

          Is there a reason you can’t send the candidates the same questions in an email for them to respond to? That would get you the answers you’re looking for without forcing candidates to figure out lighting, camera angles, reshoot when they inevitably say a word incorrectly, etc. Email also gives the candidate an option to ask any questions they have at this stage of the process, which would make this stage of the recruitment more useful to the candidate.

        10. JamieS*

          Can these recruiters accurately answer questions about the job, company culture, what the job will entail, work-life balance, etc.? I don’t just mean what the job description is but what they’ll actually be doing day to day. If not that’s not really the same as a phone interview.

      2. JSPA*

        Furthermore, insisting on video rather than audio can so easily add up to, “company can outsource / have plausible deniability for discrimination on the basis of (perceived or actual) race, culture, creed, orientation, gender / gender expression, age, disability, weight, shape, and all the other things that have zilch to do with skills, collegiality, reliability, professionalism, etc.” This is why we no longer have photos and family / church information on our resumes (US / UK / Canada / much of EU), right?

        1. Julia*

          I don’t know about the rest of the EU, but German resumes usually ask for a photo as well as information on family status etc. Same with Japan.

          1. Lily*

            As far as I know, in Germany they are no longer allowed to. You’d still do a resume with picture because it’s normal here somehow, but legally they can’t ask for it.

            1. Myrin*

              I mean, technically they aren’t allowed to, but I see it all the time, so much so that until I researched for this very comment, I wasn’t actually aware of this law!

          2. Italian Temp-worker*

            I applied to a job in Italy and it had a spot for a photo. The spot was quite small, and there were no instructions so I had a photo with my entire body so that very little of my actual self could be seen, so it seemed like an odd formality. I was later told by a colleague (I got the job) that it wasn’t necessary to have the photo, and “only those who are good-looking should bother to add one” (he was an old guy, very near retirement).

        2. One of the Sarahs*

          Not to mention the class/poverty/resources issues here. There’s the assumption that everyone has a good video camera on their phone, enough storage to be able to keep making videos, plus editing software. The kid with an iphone with some kind of tripod-equivalent and a laptop with imovie, for example, is going to end up with a far better product than the kid with a cheap phone and no access to editing software. I know phones have more storage these days, but “Just download an app” isn’t always possible, especially as videos take up a lot.

          I do wonder how companies that do this train the people who watch them to look out for implicit and explicit biases, from common or garden racism, to the fact that Wakeen has got the time and resources to spend a couple of hours with a friend sitting behind a DSLR on a tripod asking him the Qs, having made sure the light looks good and the aperture setting and white balance are A1, and knows he can edit it, so he’s relaxed and comfortable, while Fergus is worried about having to do it in one take, and/or is having to hold his shitty phone etc etc.

      3. Queen Esmerelda*

        Wouldn’t this also give the employer information that they’re not legally allowed to ask on applications? Like race, age, sex/gender?

        1. LarsTheRealGirl*

          Can we please let this inaccuracy die once and for all?

          It’s not illegal to ask for any information on an application or interview. It’s illegal to make hiring decisions against a protected class BASED on that information (which is why companies have policies to not ask – as a way of having plausible denaibility).

          And video or not, there is plenty of information you can get from an applicant through their resume or LinkedIn: gender, rough age, race, etc. (Obviously not perfectly but 9.5 times out of 10 a name and a picture on LinkedIn will get you at least sex and race.)

    2. Engineer Girl*

      Unless the job is for video conferencing, I find this logic a bit bogus.
      There’s lots of new and uncomfortable stuff out there that doesn’t include video interviews. A so called “test” that includes video interviews won’t bring out those talents.

      1. lost academic*

        Everyone is in fact involved in video conferencing extensively, and nearly every role is also client facing.

        1. MK*

          A recorded video does not necessarily tell you much about how a candidate will do in video conferences, much less how they will act in front of a client. A Skype interview will do that.

        2. Mad Baggins*

          In this case it sounds like the pre-recorded video answers are more of a skills test than a pre-screen. Perhaps you could look at it this way and reexamine where it fits in your hiring process and what you have candidates do. I’d be pretty frustrated to have to put in that time and effort for a company that won’t even call me for 15 min, so you could be screening out people with other options.

          That said, you mentioned you do have recruiters do a phone screen, so perhaps your situation is different from OP’s. Still, could you have the pre-recorded videos be actual calls with just 1 or 2 people, not the whole group? Candidates might perform better with an actual human, and if they have the opportunity to ask questions it might feel fairer to them (since interviews are a two-way street).

          1. lost academic*

            That’s why this happens after the phone screen. The phone screen is a dialogue about the position and team, it’s just unfortunately not WITH the team at this stage.

            1. Mad Baggins*

              Is there a reason that you choose not to involve any members of the team (or even HR) to make the video recording a dialogue as well? If the phone screen is done by a recruiter about the team, candidates may feel like they aren’t getting a full or nuanced picture. I’m curious how often candidates drop out in between the phone screen and the video request.

            2. You're Wasting My Time*

              This sounds like a really poorly thought out and counterproductive process. Good candidates will opt out because you are wasting their time.

              1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

                It’s not quite preparing a dinner for 19 people level of commitment but some candidates will look at the hoops and decide not to jump.

              2. AMPG*

                And when the candidate pool doesn’t measure up, the company will add MORE pre-screening to its hiring process, not realizing that the process itself is what’s driving good candidates away.

          2. Smithy*

            As a skills test or interview, there’s always a chance that based on the level of demand and if it’s not perceived as standard that you’ll lose candidates. I’m in a field where I’ve had to do a number of skills tests during interviews – and some that have felt excessive have caused me to drop out.

            If you feel like it’s working and providing good candidates – then so be it. But it’s hard not to feel like you’d be losing candidates based on this request.

        3. Mookie*

          So then this exercise is utterly divorced from the everyday realities of the role: it’s not live, it’s not engagement, and it doesn’t loop in skills needed for a video conference.

          1. Properlike*

            Plus, if I worked in this role that’s video-oriented and client-facing, I assume the company is providing necessary equipment? Especially for lower- and entry-level? Me sitting down in a pre-wired conference room set up for this thing is far different than doing it on my own computer. It does also make me wonder if people are getting screened out (intentionally or not) if they don’t have the right “look” for your clients.

        4. Le Sigh*

          Putting aside the fact that this doesn’t sound very relevant to the skills you need, asking for a skills test up front means you’re going to lose good people. I’ve administered skills tests before, but it was after I did phone screens and in-person interviews, which meant I had it down to two people. Both had strong skills and were strong candidates, but I wanted to make sure they were strong enough with specific skills before making a final decision. And the assignment was a 1-2 hour writing exercise, scheduled around a block of time that worked for them.

          It also sounds like an insane waste of time for your company — are you seriously watching all of the videos? Waiting until you have a narrowed pool not only respects your candidates’ time, it respects your own time.

        5. nonymous*

          Video conferencing and video editing are two very separate activities. I would suggest that your phone screen be changed to the Skype format, and recorded. As part of the screen, the recruiter can certainly ask the questions you’re proposing for the video.

          What this will do is (a) place some limits to reduce the bias that savvy video editing can introduce and (b) provide a real-world test of how the applicant handles a stressful video conference experience.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        I think the main thing videotaped interviews would tell you about me is why I will never have a viral You-Tube channel. I’m fine in face to face discussions, or phone conversations, or giving a presentation, but reading responses to canned questions in front of a video camera is just so stilted and fake feeling.

        It’s also one sided. If an employee passes the video screening, they’re being asked to take a day off work to attend a gruelling interview when they haven’t had a chance to gain any more information about the job.

        Now, if the candidates are allowed to submit three questions, and receive a video response from the employer with answers, that’s a totally different situation. A weird situation, but at least reciprocal.

      3. Tuxedo Cat*

        I don’t see how this would be useful for video conferencing. I video conference all the time, and if I were interviewing someone to replace, I’d want to know how they do in real time. I imagine people are sending their best take.

        The only job I can think of where this might make sense is if someone is interviewing to content creation, from being the person in the video to being the editor.

    3. Possibly Paranoid*

      This might just be me being paranoid or cynical, but honestly, it’s the same way I feel about places that require you to add a picture to your CV. What you’re really looking for is another way to discriminate against people without having to take the time to interact with them. No older people, no fat people, no people of color… Since they have to show their faces on camera, you won’t even have to call them in for an interview session!

      Maybe it’s not what you’re looking for, sure, but considering most of the places I’ve seen that do this kind of hiring end up with primarily shiny happy (white, thin) people under 35… Ehhh. I’ll pass.

      1. lost academic*

        I get paranoid about that too! But the real struggle I’ve got with upper management is that they previously refused to even look at resumes from candidates not in the immediate hiring area which to me is ludicrous, especially for the new grad jobs. The excuses made for that instant culling are insanely weak, honestly, and definitely geared towards maintaining a level of self similarity. This process does seem to have upped the diversity in both the in-person interviewing stage and actual hiring.

        Plus, honestly, and even more cynically, you’re already getting Googled to heck if you make it past the resume screen, prior to the phone screen – someone already know what you look like. I don’t know anyone without ANY web presence that would be applying to a job with less than 5 years experience in this day and age….

        1. Myrin*

          I don’t know anyone without ANY web presence that would be applying to a job with less than 5 years experience in this day and age…

          I am someone like that! (Although I’m 27, so I could technically already have ten years of experience, I just don’t because of my career path.) I’ve never had a Facebook and my only social media is tumblr, where I’m basically anonymous. And I’ve actually just googled several friends but most of them only have a limited-to-friends-only Facebook or really nothing at all beyond maybe a newspaper article when we graduated. I mean, it’s a moot point since we have to put a picture with our CV in my country anyway, but I honestly think that people are often less google-able than many believe. (And some are much more google-able, of course! Some people’s web presence is… strong, to say it kindly.)

          1. Batty Twerp*

            I’ve just googled myself. The first result is very definitely not me! (I’d like her credentials though, she’s way more senior in her career than I am!)
            I extended it to an image search, and I’m not there at all (there were a couple of men’s photos in there, which confused me…)
            I’ve even tried narrowing it down to just LinkedIn profiles and I don’t make the top 10.
            You’d have to do some highly specific googling to find me – given that my LinkedIn profile is a little sparse. Unless you associate my other (very limited) social media avatar (a picture of cute otters holding hands) with my actual appearance (not an otter!), you’d be hard pressed to make any conclusions – although you could probably guess my gender based on the words I use (and you could probably do that from my resume and work history)

            1. Emily K*

              Typically any HM that googles candidates would not just type your name in the box – they would enter your name + your city/state, the name of a school or workplace listed on your resume, etc, and probably try different combinations of keywords and only decide you aren’t findable on the internet if several combinations fail to yield any results.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                I have a common name. If I take down my LinkedIn profile and you Google my name+employer, you’ll get one hit from 8 years ago that is me, but you probably wouldn’t be certain it was me. If you search my name and city, you get 157 hits for the White Pages. You will get a hit on the business I co-own that my husband runs, but that will confuse you if you don’t know me because my resume doesn’t mention it, and you won’t think it’s me. You won’t find my FB profile or other social media because I’ve stripped out the identifying information. I’ve intentionally tried to be unfindable except for LI, so I realize other people will yield more information.

                1. blackcat*

                  Right. I have a SUPER common name. It actually takes a fair bit of googling to find anything on the internet about me except for my carefully curated internet image.
                  For example, googling BlackCat + Institution yields a great deal of information about the other BlackCat at my institution, my professional page, and my LI.

                  Googling my *full* name (which appears on my publications) yields my professional page and some interesting family history about my great grandmother (I have the same full name).

                  Basically, having a highly common FirstLast plus a very unusual middle name basically means I can turn on and off access to my internet history by withholding my middle name.

            2. Nita*

              I just googled myself too! I’m happy to say I found exactly zero photos, although I have an uncommon name. Although, oddly, my LinkedIn search result comes up with a photo of someone who looks vaguely like me but 100% for sure isn’t.

          2. CupcakeCounter*

            My coworkers attempted to google me when I was hired on and I heard all about it when I got here. All they got was my LinkedIn and a recipe contest I had one. I have no Facebook or other social media. I’m an accountant so lack of vacation bikini body shot pictures running around the world wide web is a good thing.

          3. Ginger Baker*

            ^Same re very little google-able. I recently changed that via LinkedIn, but previously (like less than five years ago) I was basically un-findable, due to having a non-active FB page under a name that I share with a GREAT MANY other people and no other social media under that name at all.

        2. Persimmons*

          I’m in tech, so I’m intentionally difficult to Google. I don’t use social media or LinkedIn.

          Also because I’m in tech, there’s no way I’m putting video of myself with no context out there into the world. I have no idea what your infosec is like, what you do with the video once you don’t need it anymore, and who has access to it. This concept is a hard, HARD pass for me.

          (Based on what you’re describing, you’re not looking for someone in my field. But know that if this concept spreads throughout your company, you would be attracting poor tech candidates because the decent ones would RUN from this.)

        3. WillyNilly*

          I have a very common name… so common in fact a very popular author, quite a few collegiate athletes, a newscaster (in another state), and just tons of randoms share my name. In fact, a colleague once shared first and last name with me. I am very difficult to find despite having a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all in my name, simply due to volume.

        4. OyVey*

          I have FB and a few other things . . . . . I haven’t used an actual photo of myself for a profile pic in years and my stuff is privacy locked down to only seeing my profile pics (I untag myself from photos pretty routinely) so a Google search might erroneously conclude that I am either a dog, a cat, or a badly knitted scarf.

    4. FD*

      I mean, you can do this.

      But here’s the reality. Any time you introduce a situation where there’s a lot of non-reciprocity in the interview process, some number of the best candidates will decide ‘Eh, not for me.’

      In a two-way interview, both sides get to assess the others. Remember, candidates are deciding if they want to work for you; you aren’t unilaterally just deciding you want them. When you just make them do all the work:
      1. You imply that your time is more important than theirs, which is not a great start to a potential relationship
      2. You act like their questions aren’t important, which isn’t a great way to get them excited about working for your company
      3. You make them do a lot of extra work, from shooting each answer multiple times to potentially editing the work

      I believe this has probably worked for you when the economy was weak, but remember, as people are starting to retire, it’s getting harder to fill jobs. You really should consider whether this method is turning off the top candidates to your company.

      1. Kat in VA*

        I had a company request this. I’m an executive assistant, and the process was set up entirely through email. It was five questions with five minute (!) responses each. I considered it, mulled it over, then decided that I wasn’t willing to undergo that process without even a cursory discussion of what the job entailed and whether or not I was interested in proceeding further.

        Complicating this is the fact that I have a moderate (sometimes severe) speech impediment that’s actually a neurological condition that makes my voice alternately cut out, shake, quiver, or honk like a goose. I generally get that out of the way – right up front – on a phone screen by explaining I have a speech impediment, feel free to ask me to repeat myself if you didn’t understand me, etc. Did I mention it’s made worse by stress and for some reason, speaking on videoconference or over the phone requires me to project my voice, which also makes the fraying sound even worse?

        I would have had to either take time from the first five (!) minute answer to explain this particular disability, or hoped that either (a) I had a good voice day or (b) the recruiter was able to understand me when my voice cut out in the pre-recorded answer.

        So while I very, very much want a job and this was a large company with decent reviews, I self-selected out because in addition to roughly half an hour of record time (which, me being meticulous, would have taken at least a half day of reconsidering and re-recording), I would be getting zero input on the position, zero in-depth detail about what I’d be doing, zero info on the execs I’d be supporting, or anything else.

        One-sided video interviews? No thanks.

        1. Tau*

          Yeah, I stutter and I am not recording a one-way video interview, no way, no how. Phone screen is doable because (as you say) I can explain it and allow people to ask me to repeat myself or ask questions about it if necessary. Recorded video would be basically the worst possible medium for me, and I fail to see why I should put myself through that when there are plenty of jobs who don’t require you to jump through hoops like this.

      2. FD*

        Here’s another way to consider this too. Employers sometimes only think of potential employees competing to get the job. But there’s a reverse here.

        Most employers get loads of applications, and maybe only 10-15% get looked at seriously (this is not a comment on 85-90% of job seekers being bad, but many do apply to absolutely EVERYTHING, including jobs that are clearly not a fit for them). Out of that 10-15%, a smaller portion are the really top-notch candidates for the particular role you’re trying to hire at a particular time. So let’s say, you want to get the top 1% of the candidates for your particular role, right?

        Well, chances are if that candidate applied to your company, they’re also applying to other companies. So you’re actually likely competing with at least a half dozen other companies for the best candidates. Why do things that give you a worse chance of getting them?

      3. Not Today Satan*

        I definitely think a lot of employers are still stuck in a 2011 mindset–they think they can still be demanding on candidates, not sell them on the job at all, and still have their pick of the litter. I’ve actually noticed some jobs that I’ve interviewed for stay listed for like 6 months–I think they’re waiting for the overqualified, underpaid unicorns they could afford five years ago.

        1. FD*

          Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed that too! Especially with businesses trying to demand fully trained, experienced employees, but with pay rates that aren’t commensurate with that.

        2. Isabel Kunkle*

          Yep. I’ve seen some stuff (super-restrictive stereotypically Boomer attitudes toward WFH combined with statements about “wanting a Millennial perspective,” extremely demanding robo-form stuff, vast portfolios required for entry-level jobs) where I’m just like…well, you *can* do that, sure, and…good luck getting someone? Really good luck getting someone you’re happy with, who isn’t the most desperate of the desperate?

          Because as a qualified, skilled job-seeker, I see any of the above, and I think, you know, if it comes to the choice between that BS and a few months of temp work? I’m going with the latter.

    5. Delta Delta*

      Maybe I misunderstand your comment. Does your company go directly from the video to a 1/2 day interview? Or is there another actual two-party conversation in between? Seems like a candidate could end up wanting to opt out of the process, and you’d want to know that before the 1/2 day interview.

    6. GigglyPuff*

      I’m genuinely curious since you’re involved with this. What happens if a candidate doesn’t have access to a webcam? (I know it can happen with things like Skype, but in a general sense companies seem willing to move to a phone interview if they can’t Skype) Because while I’m fortunate enough to be able to get help if I really needed a new laptop, my laptop is 12+years old because I haven’t needed an upgraded one since college. But the quality of my camera is pretty bad, and I’ve had to do one of those video interviews, it didn’t look great. So do candidates who are unable to afford or have access to cameras disqualified?

      1. CMart*

        I can’t speak for lost academic up there, but I can speak for my own company’s hiring process that piloted “video short answers” for one of our entry level programs:

        They’re SOL. It’s something I asked about when they solicited me for feedback and I got several blank stares and a couple “well surely they can just borrow someone else’s? Won’t their schools have computers with video equipment available?”

        All THAT said, the two rounds of hiring we did using this technique were pretty dismal. I think a lot of great candidates were self-selecting out, and the sheer awkwardness of the entire exercise meant nearly all of the candidates were starting off with a bad-to-awkward impression. It would be really great feedback for the hiring people to hear that people are choosing not to pursue employment with us because of the video screen. They’re thinking about stopping it, and it would be extremely relevant information.

    7. Emmie*

      My org does this as well. I think of them like an additional phone screen with video. It’s very helpful as someone who participated in interviews. It allows me to look at each candidate’s answer to the same question consecutively and more objectively rate candidates. It helps remove bias, and the effect that one positive answer can overshadow your impression of the candidate. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT easier to review video interviews. It’s longer. It involves much more discussion with other panel members. I review your questions multiple times. So, I appreciate how helpful it is in selecting the best qualified candidates for the next level. I have participated in these as a candidate, and I have a strong dislike in them from that perspective. I feel odd. It’s strange to play myself back. But, it’s necessary in my org to move to the next level. I understand your perspectives here, but I hope you reconsider.

        1. Emmie*

          I have more chances to focus on the content of their answers instead of first and only impressions. I review the answers more than once; review answers in the context of the whole interview; review each candidate’s answers to the same question side-by-side; and constantly polish my notes. At the end, I can rate candidate’s responses in factual way with reliable, honed information. I have been happy with the improvements in my own assessment. I wish that others had an opportunity to view this from an interviewer’s standpoint as well. I agree with others comments above – one must be aware of the candidate’s time. I believe that organizations should conduct a pre-screen to filter people before, but to also answer any questions about the org.

          1. Lucille2*

            I’m still not convinced this is a good process, for either the candidate or the hiring manager. I can see how this takes more time on both sides. But, personally, I would be uncomfortable and unnatural answering written questions to a video. Even rehearsed. I’m much more authentic and comfortable in a face to face conversation. I don’t believe you’re getting the candidate’s authentic self in this format, and spending so much time analyzing their video response is probably skewing your opinions of them even further. I’m with the OP, I wouldn’t pursue a position with a company who interviews this way. I’m not a media personality, so there is really no value in it for my profession.

            1. OP 3*

              Yes, this exactly. I’m personable, but not when speaking into a camera and getting no feedback or response. It also isn’t a skill I need for my job. To me it seems like video interviews are just a way to see what the candidate looks like without having to formally schedule anything and to put the burden fully on the candidate.

        1. Emmie*

          I’ve seen org requests for brief written answers to a 1-2 questions. The video is important to our line of business and many positions, but I don’t want to give too much infor about my org here.

    8. Nanani*

      “Make a video presentation” is NOT AN INTERVIEW. Interviews are two-way things.
      If video shooting, editing, etc., skills are part of what you need, maybe include it as part of a portfolio?

      Otherwise, you are showing massive disrespect for candidate time and skewed understanding of the point of interviews.

      Or you know, what everyone else said.

      1. OP 3*

        Even if “make a video presentation” were a valuable and valid part of an interview process (and for some it can be) it would never be the candidate’s first interaction with the company — you’d probably phone screen and meet them in person before asking them to expend that time!

    9. NW Mossy*

      This is…. one of those things that only large international consulting firms and investment banks can do and not severely damage the talent pool. When you’ve got tens of thousands of the world’s best and brightest applying to a position they know is the first rung on the ladder to Future World Leader and/or Gazillionaire status, having multiple layers of process before you reach a live human at the company in question makes sense.

      Also, you are very much looking for people who look and feel like masters of the universe because masters of the universe are the target market for consulting/i-banking services. In this age, meeting that visual/auditory bar does require a level of TED Talk polish far beyond what a more pedestrian line of work might, so it makes sense that you’d expect a candidate to be able to pull off a professionally shot and edited video series as part of the application. It’s unfortunately a serious barrier for talented people of limited means, but it leaves an opening for less glamorous firms to snap those people up.

      1. Sunflower*

        I totally agree. I’ve been asked to do these twice. Once by a Big 4 and the other a giant tech company. I rolled my eyes so hard but of course I did it because !!!

    10. Alton*

      I can understand the logic on the company’s side, but this process can put a pretty big burden on the applicant for what is essentially a preliminary step.

      I had to do one of these recorded interviews once. I had to buy a webcam because my computer didn’t have one. Then I had to rearrange the room I was going to do the interview in so that the background would look okay. I spent probably an hour going through all the questions.

      And then…nothing. I don’t think I even got a form rejection.

      I understand there are going to be expenses associated with job hunting, and buying a webcam so that I could do video interviews didn’t seem unreasonable considering that technology is so common now. But I did resent spending the money when the process was so one-sided. I also felt that it was very difficult for me to learn from the interview. I had no sense of how I came across because I couldn’t read cues from the interviewer. Did I get rejected because I didn’t answer the questions well? Or were there just a lot of applicants, and I wasn’t one of the strongest?

      I also feel that one-sided video interviews are…kind of pointless. Isn’t the point of a phone interview or face-to-face interview to actually interact with the candidate to get a sense of their personality and how they express themselves in person? Plus, an interview allows opportunities for questions (on both sides), or for the conversation to go in a natural direction. A recorded video interview feels like the worst of all worlds to me. The candidate is probably going to be more stilted because they’re not interacting with a real person, and they have less opportunity to “make up for” any characteristics that the interviewer might be biased against (such as their race or any visible disabilities).

      1. Lucille2*

        This. I don’t believe this process is getting the authentic version of the candidate. And a lack of follow up questions means you really can’t filter out the BS answers. I understand that this is an early step in an otherwise lengthy interview process, but the same can be achieved by a recruiter in a phone screen or a skype video interview and with better results. My guess is this process moves the polished BSers forward and kicks out some of the real talent.

    11. OP 3*

      Hey there — to add some more context, I’m not entry level or low level, I’m a mid-level attorney, and I’ve found that the majority of my first round interviews/phone interviews are more focused on interpersonal skills/ability to connect with the interviewer. If a company finds that the more efficient way to narrow down the pool for my type of position is to watch candidates recite answers into a video (vs. having a 15 minute phone conversation with them) then I’m pretty confident it’s both not the best place for me and not the best way to prove my candidacy.

      You’re right that I could put in more effort to become better at these, but my point was that I’ve only been asked to do a couple in my field, and the fact that they’re relatively rare makes it easier for me to decline when they do pop up.

    12. Kara*

      Oh boy. There is no way in hell that I’m making a video response to your pre-interview questions. Unless you’re hiring for someone like on-air talent, this seems unnecessary and time consuming.

  15. Yourethicsconfuseme*

    I have an entire back piece that is very detailed. VERY. I never had a problem with wearing clothes or not wearing clothes. After the first night or first few hours, you can take off the bandage and shower, go about your life. As long as you’re not exposing it to anything (floor, dirty clothes or sheets), tanning or swimming, you’re fine. The hardest part was getting clothes on and driving back home afterwards in pain. But a little bacitracin, and then lotion and tattoo goo, and I couldn’t feel it much after the first day or two. Just keep it clean and if you are really in that much pain wear a bralette instead of a bra or loose clothes (but honestly a decent tattoo artist isn’t going to tattoo so deep that you should be in pain). Don’t take off work; no one else does it.

  16. PsychDoc*

    OP1 I would also recommend setting realistic expectations for yourself and the tattooing process. If you’re getting a bit piece with lots of details, it may not be a one session thing. Between the pain and the time (and not just yours, but your artist e as you well), you may have to start with the outline, let that heal, and then go back in for shading. My wife has a tattoo on her lower back that’s about 6x 8 inches and took almost 3 hours. It’s not hugely intricate and isn’t fully colored. She almost passed out a couple of times, but pushed through and has a very high pain tolerance. I have two small ankle tattoos that only took about 15 mins each and I almost bit through my hand, hehehe. So really, don’t get your hopes up about getting your tattoo done in one day if you think you’ll need three weeks to recover. And, like others, and Allison said, you can wear clothes. Don ‘t wear white (the colors may stain), wash and lotion as recommended (I believe my artist says 3 times per day or so), and stay out of the sun, and you should be good to go. Good luck, and enjoy your tattoo! They really are a wonderful medium.

  17. Maddie*

    Two or three weeks is a ton of time. What if you get sick or injured? What if something happens and you have no choice but to take time off? Think about these things before planning any cosmetic procedures that could keep you off work. Your new employer will have zero sympathy for you over a tattoo.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      ^ This is what I came here to say.

      When I first started at CurrentJob, the policy was that you got no vacation days for the first six months, and then one week for the next six months. You got (iirc) two sick days for the first year(?)* I did end up borrowing PTO time from the second six months, and then a day or two from the second year, because as it turns out, life happens and it may end up being impossible to get through a six-month period without ever needing a day off. Even if OP somehow gets the 2-3 weeks right away, she’ll never get another day off after that until her vacation time accrues.

      *They later changed the policy to three weeks vacation from the start, “to keep up with the market trends” as we were told. I’m guessing too many candidates must’ve reacted to the old vacation policy with “I get HOW many days for my first year? No, thanks.”

    2. Confused*

      I am just confused b/c as most people have said, there is no way you need time off for any tattoo. It’s not a surgery! If OP knows this little about tattoos then she should wait until 2020, because she is clearly not ready for one.

      1. Kathy*

        I’m not sure that she’s not ready, I think it might have just been an overload of differing opinions. I have six tattoos including ones on my ribs and back and I didn’t take days off. But, before my first one, I had asked a couple of friends and I got a lot of different opinions. One friend takes a week off. Another takes a couple of days. Another went straight from the studio to a plane and got all sandy on a beach (I did not take this recommendation). It’s very much a YMMV situation and I think OP is just trying to cover her bases.

        Personally, by now I know I wouldn’t need a day off. But I always schedule my tattoos for Saturdays or the days before a long weekend just in case.

        1. Confused*

          I mean, a day I get. You don’t actually need one but for a first tattoo I can see nerves necessitating a day. But get it on Friday evening after work and then you have two days. A week is excessive for any tattoo unless you had an outdoor job that involves pools or something. If someone actually told her three weeks, they were clearly trolling her or something. I got my first tattoo at 18 and wore clothes the next day, it wouldn’t have even occurred to me that I couldn’t.

  18. Jemima Bond*

    I might be being cantankerous here but can’t get behind the idea of it being ok for any employee (but probably especially not an intern who is likely to be younger and less au fait with professional norms) to bring into the office (and to meetings!) a messy child’s toy to play with. If they have a diagnosed ADHD or an autistic spectrum disorder where a discreet fidget device will help, then by all means, but openly playing with slime? I’m surprised he/she wasn’t immediately told to put it away and not bring it into the office again. It’s not kindergarten.

    1. Rich Tea*

      Perhaps cantankerous, but definitely ignorant! Slime is not messy, nor is it a “children’s toy”. It’s a tool to aid focus and concentration. Many people without a diagnosed condition benefit from these aides. Including me. I’m 42, have been promoted multiple times, and well-respected and liked professionally, and I used thinking putty and tangle toys at work to ensure I can focus.

      1. Project Manager*

        Not messy? Must be different kinds, then. When my son came home from summer camp with some slime, it was oozing and wet and left (permanent, I might add) marks everywhere and a film on his hands. It was not only messy but revolting.

        1. Jemima Bond*

          Yeah, the only kind I’ve seen or heard of is marketed to children (either the slime itself or the instructions/recipe to make it) and I’ve never seen an adult with it. It’s made with PVA glue; I can’t see how it couldn’t be messy; even if the recipe somehow destroys the stickiness, something that has to be kept in a container is surely liable to spillage and getting everywhere, and food colouring stains easily.
          I’m not familiar with thinking putty or tangle toys but they sound discreet and fine to keep in your pocket.

          1. Lexi*

            I have a 9 and 7 year old who are obsessed with slime, and it very much is a kids toy marketed to kids. But it also very much varies on how slimy, wet, glitter abomination,and stain power based on which brand and homemade or not. However they have also converted my husband who has his own slime now. Husband had an 2-day meeting where his team of 8 would be in a conference room all day watching conferences from the main hub and he brought in Slime, play doh, a few fidget spinners/cubes gel pens and doodling pads, colored pencils and coloring books for his team so they could keep focus better.

          2. Kyrielle*

            Slime, I tend to agree on, if that’s really what it was. Thinking Putty, not so much – it ranges from medium stiff to very stiff, and it’s not going to spill or stain or do weird stuff. It’s made for this, and not with food coloring.

            But you do keep it in a container when not using it, generally. Makes it easier to find. (Also protects it from the air, but I don’t know if it actually needs that.)

          3. Dust Bunny*

            The homemade glue-and-cornstarch slime is messy, but there is commercial slime that is more gummy and doesn’t get all over everything so much. It was a big thing when I was a kid in the Eighties (thanks “You Can’t Do That On Television”, I guess?). Maybe that’s what she’s bringing.

        2. WillyNilly*

          Your kid’s camp gave crappy slime. I have twin 4 year olds, so slime and childish irresponsibility are a norm in my home. None of the slimes have ever stained or left a film. And wonderfully, when left out for too long, it dries up into a rubbery blob that is easily picked up, off hard surfaces or fabric alike, and just thrown out. (Admittedly I have not dealt with slime + microfiber, plush/velvety, or silks, only standard woven & knits.)

      2. Lynca*

        I’m going to disagree that it isn’t marketed as a children’s toy. It very much is based on the tv ads for the commercial Elmer’s glue based products. It’s not exclusively a stim tool which is why people would find it odd.

        I have ADHD and have used Play Doh as a stim of choice. That’s very much a children’s toy but useful for me. I agree it’s not a hindrance to advancement in a professional setting but you do have to be conscious of what is acceptable in a professional setting.

      3. Pollygrammer*

        I think “ignorant” is unfair. I don’t want to diagnose, but IMO the fact that she’s bringing more than one container (I’m assuming she likes to switch between colors) makes me think that fun and/or cool is at least a factor. Slime is trendy among The Youth, and not just among those who need something to fidget with to focus.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I’m a non-fidgety person married to a fidgety one (not ADHD), and I would be hard put to remember to use the slime, carry it with me, etc. Trendy or not, the only reason I can see her doing this is because it’s a routine that keeps her focused.

          There was a finding that fidgety people (e.g. knee jigglers) burn more calories, but alas, if you are not programmed to jiggle your knee without reminding yourself, it doesn’t work.

    2. MakesThings*

      Just want to put it on your radar that:
      1. Not everyone makes their diagnosis public, and it’s not really possible to police such a thing (formal diagnosis isn’t even an option for some people without health care).
      2. Some people get diagnosed with ADHD late in life, but they still get to live with the symptoms for their ENTIRE life, including the undiagnosed years.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        Fair enough. I’ll amend to say, if a person needs a concentration aid, then a fidget device should be fine. I still think containers of slime aren’t office appropriate though for reasons as stated.

        1. MakesThings*

          I think it really depends on the office, and their style and culture. Some might be very much OK with slime, or even encourage it. Though I assume those are probably very few.

        2. Temperance*

          I’m with you. I find slime to be absolutely disgusting, and I would be way too focused on watching her play with the slime, then touch things in the office with her greasy slime hands that I would be revolted to be near her.

            1. Rat in the Sugar*

              But it’s really not cool to say that an employee can have something that helps their own focus but disrupts the focus of others. What would even be the point of that? Especially since there are a lot of alternatives people have suggested that can be tried instead.

        3. Kyrielle*

          I think it depends on the person, and the fidget device. I get nothing from fidget cubes or spinners – and the fidget cubes can be clicky-noisy. I do like Tangles, but unfortunately they can *also* be clicky-noisy. I can do without fidgets at work so I do, but Thinking Putty and other similar things are (or can be) relatively quiet and calm. If the coworker is bringing in “slimy” slime, something more liquid than solid, something that can stain, etc. – then I don’t think that’s office appropriate. But if it’s something stiffer and closer to putty in texture, that might be fine.

          And of course, whether I think it’s fine or not, if the coworker has texture aversion or needs a particular texture or finds that only this works well for a fidget…then it kind of bites that they have to choose between professionalism and having the focus to do the job.

    3. Security SemiPro*

      I keep fidget toys in my office so one on ones and small group meetings have available focus aides. I want high performance more than forcing a specific idea of norm. It’s not kindergarten, we have work to do and I’d rather get the best work done. If that means keeping fingers busy so the brains stay alert, that’s an easy support.

      Like most things, what do you value more, everyone following rigid apppearance rules or productive work? There are places where the rigid appearance rules are the work – modeling, acting. Like most things, be honest about what the job really needs and then flexible outside that.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        As stated – a dry, silent, reasonable discreet device or toy seems fine if it helps productivity. I just think slime is for children’s messy playtime not a concentration aid that’s ok in an office.

    4. Nanani*

      “I’ve only seen this as a messy cheap kids’s toy” != “this is always a cheap messy kids’s toy”

      Your experiences are not the sum total of existence.

    5. ThursdaysGeek*

      I’m not ADHD, but I play with play-doh or work on my candy wrapper chain during meetings. It helps me concentrate on the meeting. However, my meetings are phone meetings, so no-one sees the toys I use. I’ve noticed if I don’t use something like this, my mind wanders a lot.

  19. BeetleJude*

    OP1 – I have a full sleeve, a full leg piece, and multiple smaller (although still quite large) tattoos on my back and arms. I haven’t had to take time off work for any of them.
    Granted my manager is very understanding, but at most you’ll need a few extra minutes a day in the bathroom to clean your tattoo and apply cream. Yes it will be uncomfortable, but we’re talking 5 or 6 days of discomfort at most (ok then it’ll start itching but that’s an entirely separate issue lol).

    Someone else mentioned speaking to your tattoo artist – definitely do this, they will be so used to these types of questions! Particularly from 1st time clients! Good luck :)

  20. Kiwi*

    OP1, I don’t know if you’re planning to get the tattoo done during a workday, but I don’t think you can ask for time off for that either. Just thought I mention that.

    1. Ciara Amberlie*

      If they have vacation time to use, I see no reason why they couldn’t use a day of PTO for this?

      1. Kiwi*

        Sure. But they said “I won’t have any vacation or time off for the first five months”, so they don’t have any. I think it’d be a bad idea to ask for a day or two of special leave for a bonding session getting tattooed with friends, though I understand why they’d want to.

        1. EddieSherbert*

          This is a good point. Definitely don’t ask for a couple weeks to recover… and maybe not even for the DAY OF. It won’t raise flags like asking for weeks to recover will, but it still is going to come across naive to ask for a day of during your probationary period to get a tattoo.

  21. Lora*

    A few things, OP1:

    1) no, you absolutely do not need time off to heal. As others have said, you may put a light layer of A&D, saranwrap or H2Ocean on if it helps you not feel itchy, but even that is optional.

    2) large tattoos, larger than about 30 square inches, are done in several sittings with 4 – 6 weeks between each sitting. Unless they’re doing a long skinny bit you won’t have much surface area healing at once anyway.

    3) if you have not booked your artist yet, one month away, it will likely (not impossible, especially if you can schedule during convention time, but likely) be difficult to get on a good artist’s schedule. September/October is a busy season for them and even mediocre artists are booked out a month or two. I cannot stress this enough: for a large, intricate tattoo, you want a SPECTACULAR artist. The kind of artist people walk in and say, “just do a fish, use your inspiration” and walk out with something amazing. That type of artist is booked out years in advance. Now, if you’re getting your first tattoo done by Paul Booth or Guy Aitchison, more power to you, but you still have to get a large one done in stages, with all your sittings booked out when you called them last year.

    I’m concerned because it seems like you don’t know what to expect about getting a large, intricate tattoo, both the logistics of it (scheduling, artist quality) and the typical aftercare and healing process, and that can lead to something you end up not liking, done by a mediocre to bad artist, healing badly.

    If you haven’t booked an artist yet, yeah, it might well take until 2020 to get time on the schedule of someone good. But I promise you that unless you get a horrible infection from a very sketchy shop or going hot tubbing, you’ll be back to normalish in an hour or so with an ibuprofen.

    1. Marzipan*

      Mmm, I had some worries about the scheduling logistics, too, and would echo that if the OP hasn’t already booked, the chances of getting a substantial piece done by a decent artist next month are… not high. Also, the whole thing where the friends are all getting together to do this – is everyone getting a tattoo? An intricate, substantial one? Because that’s an even bigger scheduling challenge. Or are they just all planning on hanging out at the studio? Anywhere I’ve ever been tattooed (including the studio I used to work in) had limited space for that – not that nobody else could be there, but it isn’t *that* practical a group activity.

      I do wonder, though, whether the OP’s definition of ‘extensive, intricate and not small’ is perhaps not quite as large and involved as we’re assuming?

      1. Les G*

        This. Nothing like a swarm of woooooo! descending onto a tattoo shop to put everyone in a bad mood.

        1. Marzipan*

          Well, and also… it’s pretty boring, getting a tattoo, now I think about it. I mean, as a life event it’s exciting and significant; but as a process it’s fairly slow, it’s uncomfortable, the artist – while happy to chat – does need to maintain a level of concentration. It’s an interesting process but as a minute-by-minute spectator activity it’s not that fun.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            My best friend and I got matching tattoos last year. They are small and took less than 30 minutes each so it was nice that we could chat while we were getting them done. The same artist did both, so we weren’t being inked at the same time.

            1. Marzipan*

              Yeah, for half an hour fair enough. For something large and intricate that was going to take several hours, though?

            2. General Ginger*

              I’ve gotten tattooed together with my ex-spouse and ex-FIL, but this was something we’d booked in advance, to be done by different artists at the same studio. It was a really good experience, especially for my first tattoo. I’ve gotten a couple pieces solo since then, and am planning on getting small-ish tattoos with a friend sometime in the near future. The same friend has also recently accompanied me when I got an older piece retouched. We wanted to scope out the studio for future work, meet with a couple of the artists, and friend was very willing to wait for me in a nearby coffee shop instead, if the artist doing my touch-up didn’t have room for them to hang out. And for our upcoming tattoos, we’re definitely planning on booking far ahead of time, with the artist we already met, and did the preliminary discussion with.

              1. Lora*

                In a room that is generally the size of a walk-in closet and already containing two full grown adults, one of whom may be trying to contort themselves in an awkward position to give the artist hunched over them room to work on the body part with skin stretched taut? Bring a book, bring your iPod full of podcasts, bring almost anything else to do.

          2. EddieSherbert*

            +100 I had a friend drag me along for her large-ish tattoo that took 4 hours…. So boring. So awkward hovering around.

            Besides my first tattoo (when I was a nervous teenager and my mom came with), I’ve never brought someone to any of my tattoo sessions.

      2. GigglyPuff*

        This. About a month ago I finally decided on what tattoo design I wanted, after wanting one for about ten years. Started asking around for recommendations, finally found someone whose work was amazing, thought maybe a few months wait. They are totally booked until April of next year. And I’m only getting my inner forearm done and still scheduled multiple sessions. After all the research I did, I can’t imagine, if we’re reading the OPs situation correctly (multiple people, massive tattoo in one sitting, short wait time–if it hasn’t been scheduled long), that is possibly the kind of place you’d want to get it.

      3. Agent Diane*

        I have an armband (shout out to the early 90s!) and even in 1994, that had to be booked in advance after conversation. On the day, my appointment slipped as multiple walk-in people came in wanting tiny jobs (e.g. A heart outline on a thigh) and my tattooist wanted a clear run on my arm. He also knew it was my second ink, so he knew I had a pain threshold where I could take sitting totally still for an hour.

        A “not small” tattoo is absolutely a collaborative process with your artist and I hope OP1 has done the prep needed.

    2. TotesMaGoats*

      Agreed. My sister and I got matching single line script, 3 latin words, tattoos. On our ribs. We had to go in and do design first and since we wanted them done at the same time, we had to wait a month to get two artists at the same time. It only took like 20 minutes or so and honestly I didn’t find it all that painful. Healing was minimal.

    3. Kali*

      I really hope OP1 reads this, because that letter had my eyes wide with all the obvious lack of research.

      I had a friend and his wife go to get their first tattoos while a bunch of us were in the same city. Several of us went along, just because we were going to say goodbye before heading home. I saw the artists’ faces when we all walked in and told everyone to cut our goodbyes short, much to the artists’ relief. Not every shop is cramped, but it’s not a spectator sport to get tattooed. Also, as other commented, it’s boring.

      Also, I’ll note that my friend and his wife did *not* research properly. They have a couple spectacularly bad tattoos, because they went to traditional-style artists for what should have been realism.

    4. Lia*

      This this this.

      I got a tattoo last year at a shop that has a superstar on staff (he did not do mine — I wanted another artist, because while I respect SuperStar, his work was not what I wanted for myself). The receptionist told me that SuperStar was booked a year out at minimum, and his work is not super intricate. Even the less fan-followed artists there were booked 3-4 months out generally.

      I cannot stress enough the importance of researching the work of the artist and finding someone who does what you want before booking.

      1. SLR*

        For sure this!! My personal artist is booked 18 months in advance. I have appointments scheduled for August of 2019, booked last year. When I want something NOW I find another artist. Beyond the logistics of scheduling, the recovery time isn’t that bad. I did a 3/4 sleeve a couple years ago & the most annoying immediate thing I had to deal with is swelling. But that’s because that’s how my body reacts to tattoos. So I kept an ice pack at my desk & ate a ton of Advil for a few days. Luckily the majority of my wardrobe is black, so if I got oozy ink on sleeves it didn’t matter. Whoever OP1 has spoken to regarding recovery must not actually have any. Even folks I know with very low pain tolerances have been ok w/ tattoo recovery. Also, if they think the immediate few days is rough, just wait til it starts scabbing & itching, there is no hell quite like it.

  22. alice*

    Alison, #2 brings up a question I’ve had for a while. I’ve always wondered about the acceptableness of fidget tools at work. I absolutely need them, *especially* in meetings, where I find it hard to concentrate otherwise. So I end up drawing or playing with a pen instead of my usual tool. I’m autistic, but not enough so that it’s immediately obvious, and I usually leave it off any job application materials to avoid discrimination. If someone ever brought it up to me, I’d of course try to be less distracting, but is it appropriate to say “hey, I need to do this in order to understand what’s being said to me” or even to request a disability accommodation for it?

    1. Knitting Cat Lady*

      Hello! I’m autistic too!

      Here is what I do in meetings:

      1. Play with the chain connecting my keys to a belt loop. That’s mostly with a hand in my trouser pocket.
      2. Fidget with the silent features of my fidget cube. I rest my hand on my leg, below the table.

      Hope that helps.

      1. alice*

        I think my comment may have been eaten since I included a link, but basically I think my usual tool is too distracting because I move my hands a lot.

        I used to carry rocks with me, and that’s actually something I could bring back since it would keep one of my hands in my pocket. Both of those are great ideas.

      2. General Ginger*

        I play with my carabiner keychain, too. I don’t like fidget cubes, but I have a thick ring with good texture that I use occasionally (I don’t wear it often in professional settings). I also play with my watch, which has several textured surfaces — the watchband is leather and canvas, plus the metallic closure.

    2. BRR*

      I think there’s a pretty wide acceptance of them as long as it’s not distracting and doesn’t come off like you’re playing with a toy. It wouldn’t be great if it seemed like you weren’t paying attention and were focused on a toy but doing it off to the side while being engaged seems ok from what I know.

    3. Harper the Other One*

      I’m not autistic but have two kids on the spectrum and one of their assistants pointed me to an awesome website you might want to check out, https://www.stimtastic.co. It’s run by an autistic person who’s created a bunch of very subtle stim tools that are appropriate for the workplace. My kids are still young but it was recommended as a source for when they hit high school, college, and the working world; maybe it will have some things that would work for you!

    4. Harper the Other One*

      OP #2, if your employee says she uses the slime for focus, there are a few options that might be good compromises. Crazy aaron’s Thinking Putty has a thicker texture and comes in some colours that make it a cool desk to, like liquid glass. And I haven’t seen it in person, but https://www.stimtastic.co has a stress ball that squishes like putty – often stress balls are more accepted than putty/slime.

      I think it’s important to approach this as “this must be a tool you need, so let’s find the best workplace version of that.” There doesn’t need to be a diagnosis for people to be more productive with a fidget, so please don’t make it a matter of whether it’s “needed.”

    5. Lynca*

      The key I always found was that it needs to be discreet and quiet. I’ve never asked for an accomodation for my ADHD either and just use what works for me.

      Explaining that it helps me be able to concentrate generally addresses the issue if anyone notices. No getting into the intricacies of stim tools. If someone asks me not to use my stim tool I don’t. But I’ve only had that happen once in 10 years.

      1. Girl friday*

        The only issue I see with slime, is that sometimes there’s a smell or fragrance?, sometimes there’s glitter, etcetera. Instead of trying to make a rule that generalizes no slime, I would just focus on the intern’s performance at work. You want to keep your conduct the same for everyone, as well as your expectations. This may be one of those things that’s just too unusual to address in this form. And clicky pens, while more accepted in appearance, are way worse in practice.

    6. Security SemiPro*

      Judge your office. Ask your manager if you can try it in a lower stakes meeting. Think about how you can fidget without being distracting to others.

      My office is very fidget friendly, so it wouldn’t really be a question here unless your fidget tool is a goat or something else large, loud and awkward. We don’t have a lot of obvious spinners, but small magnet toys, small hand puzzles, a large collection of small rubber ducks and other hand squeezers, and putty are all pretty common outside of Serious Executive Meetings. (Those you get stuck with pens and doodling.)

      1. alice*

        This made me laugh.

        I haven’t discussed this with my manager yet, and my guess is that it wouldn’t be a problem. What makes me cautious is that I’m the youngest person on the team and also the only woman, so I don’t want to come across as juvenile.

        1. General Ginger*

          This is kind of tangential, but I accidentally taunted my cat recently when I picked up one of her squeaky mice from the floor (to put away), and promptly started fiddling with it. It has a nice give, it makes a satisfying noise, the texture is varied — so I was really into it, kind of thinking, wow, hey, maybe I could get another one of these for me — while my poor cat was sitting there at attention, ready to play, basically going, WHY IS HUMAN NOT THROWING THAT. HUMAN, PLEASE GIVE.

    7. Lily Rowan*

      If you can deal with drawing and playing with your pen, that’s clearly the “safest” option, and if you look around the table, I’m sure you’ll see a good chunk of people doing the same thing. (I’m neurotypical and will always be taking notes or doodling or playing with my pen!) That said, I really think some subtle fidget tool will be noncontroversial.

    8. Bananarama*

      If you’re not going to disclose your condition and ask for accommodations in the workplace, you need a fidget that’s discreet and quiet. Doodling is the least-obvious fidget in most professional settings, so if that works for you I’d stick with it!

      I have ADHD, diagnosed almost 15 years into my professional career, and out of necessity I found fidgets that are suitable in the workplace. My condition hasn’t been disclosed at work and I have no intention of doing so. I often play with Thinking Putty, but only at my desk (NOT popping/snapping it) and in meetings I always have a notebook and pen so I can doodle discreetly. I’ve also had a small stress ball that worked well.

      Anything making noise or lighting up is obviously problematic in a meeting. I’d also avoid fidgets associated with kids – cubes, spinners, and slime have potentially-negative optics even if quiet. Someone bringing a container of slime to an all-hands meeting, as OP2’s intern has done, would very quickly get tagged with a not-so-great impression of their maturity and professionalism.

      If someone has a condition where they need an obvious fidget or a sensory input item like chewelry, IMO it’s time to disclose and discuss accommodations.

    9. Observer*

      As long as you make sure you are not doing something that it generally distracting – noisy, flashing lights, smelly, etc. I think it’s perfectly ok to say “This helps me to concentrate.”

    10. media monkey*

      would fidget jewellery help? i don’t have a stimming issue but i have a lovely wide silver ring with 2 slimmer rings around it that you can spin. there are loads of other options that might work with your style/ office dress code/ preference.

      1. JM*

        I’m “ neurotypical” aka not on the Spectrum, but I have suffered from anxiety most of my life and realized in my teens that wearing lots of jewelry and fiddling with it from time to time gave me a perfectly socially acceptable way to deal with my restless nerves. As an adult, my jewelry preferences have evolved and are more professional, but as long as you’re being subtle (hands in lap playing with rings, turning a bracelet, or holding a long pendant necklace), it’s something that should be accessible for employees/students of all ages. Granted, males may find it more challenging to find accessories that fit their personal and professional style, but with the popularity of fitness bands and watches, it’s certainly possible to be discreet!

        I work with kindergarteners with special needs, and we teach them that fidgets should help YOU focus and not prevent others from focusing- we allow them to use squishy balls or putty as long as it’s contained in their own space and not being thrown or spun at eye level, etc. I think the same rules apply for adults.

        1. Alex the Alchemist*

          Thirding this (rather late). I’m an anxiety sufferer as well and I bought a Time Turner replica off Etsy which does wonders for my fidgety (and geeky) needs.

    11. Marxamod*

      My office is very “get the work done, I don’t care how you do it” and I’m a constant fidgeter. Usually I knit or crochet in meetings because it feels more productive than toys but if I don’t have a project I spend the time doodling or playing pattern games on my phone. Whenever I work with new people I tell them it helps me concentrate and people are generally very receptive. I think it helps to explain it rather than having people wonder. There’s loads of research on the value of doodling and I’ll sometimes reference that. It also helps if you are very active in the meeting while doing your fidget.

    12. Genny*

      If you need something to fidget with, I think the key is to be even more actively engaged. Keep your eyes on the speaker, react appropriately (smiles, nods, laughs, etc.), and contribute/ask questions more than you might normally do. People without visible fidget devices might be able to get away with not doing those things, but you probably won’t because of the perception that “you’re just playing with toys”.

  23. BRR*

    2) I have a fidget pen that I have found discreet because nobody thinks looks twice at me holding a pen.

    1. BookishMiss*

      This is brilliant. Where did you get it? Does it make noise? I have so many questions!

      1. Blue Cupcake*

        I’m not BBR, but I have a spinner pen that’s surprisingly quiet. It’s a pen with a smallish spinner on top that doubles as the click. You can hear soft whirling only if you hold it close to your ear; it should be fine in meetings if you’re discrete. I got it at Walmart but don’t know if they still stock it since the spinner fad has faded.

  24. Knitting Cat Lady*

    1#: I had gall bladder surgery a few months ago. I was on sick leave for two weeks. I had four holes in my stomach.

    I really don’t think a fresh tattoo compares to surgery or an infectious disease time off wise…

    1. Bea*

      Omg I couldn’t even sit up without assistance for 3 days, let alone drive a car and sit at a desk or move around the facility. 2 weeks is typical without any complications per the surgeons notes. You’re incredibly lucky and not the norm.

      1. Knitting Cat Lady*

        I had the procedure on a Wednesday and was released from hospital the following Saturday.

        To sit up I had to roll to my side and push myself up with my arms for about a week.

        Took the second week to be able to stand up straight and breathe normally.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I removed a long off-topic thread here about gallbladder surgery. Y’all, please stay on-topic, per the commenting rules that are right above the box where you comment. (Knitting Cat Lady, that’s not directed at you; it was all the replies about gallbladder surgery experiences.)

  25. Four lights*

    OP 1, and anyone new to the work force. Unfortunately, you’re going to spend the next several years wishing you could do things that you can’t do because you have to work. Then you get used to it. Even when you have the vacation it’s not always possible to take it all at once, so that European get away becomes a once in a decade thing.

    1. Angeldrac*

      Oh, so true!
      Everything from staying out a bit late at the pub on a Sunday night to getting someone in out-of-hours to fix the flipping dishwasher.
      Now I have kids and work part-time so, sure, I’m not at work all the time but I am carting 3 kids under 5 around everywhere with me! #adultingishard

    2. WillyNilly*

      I am 42. Other than school breaks when being a student was my career, I have never gotten 2 weeks, let alone 2+ weeks, off in a solid block. I know very few people, and none at the early stages of their careers (unless they are teachers) who are able to get more than 5 consecutive days off at a time.

      I also have 3 tattoos, including a 5×10 dragon on my back, and my husband has 7 tattoos, several friends are heavily inked, many of whom wear suits to work – I have never known anyone to need any time off of work whatsoever to heal. Not even for weekday evening tattoos – the next day they dressed and went to work per usual.

      1. Ginger Baker*

        Almost all my session were weeknights where I was up (so sooooo late, sigh) and then went to work bright and early per usual! I have a HUGE back piece so that was lots and lots of sessions for me, ha. The idea of taking a day off of work post-tattoo is bewildering to me, to say the least.

  26. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I just got a set of fidget toys because I decided I was tired of playing with rubber bands and paper clips. They are all quiet and discrete (I think). I’ll link in the next comment if anyone is interested.

    1. Writing Passion*

      I would be very interested! I’m 22 and still trying to find a quiet/discrete/not messy combination. (In elementary school my solutions made a mess in my desk – these days the only solutions I have are fingering a deck (NOT shuffling them – just touching, but sometimes I have butter fingers and drop them anyway) of cards of playing with the pages of a book.)

    2. periwinkle*

      I have several of those motion liquid thingies, almost all purchased from Daiso, but I think of them as more decorative than fidget-quelling. I’m not on the spectrum but I get restless and fidgety at times. Recently there was a Fidget Toys exchange on Reddit Gifts so what the heck, I participated and received a collection of different toys.

      Flippy chains for life, y’all. The flippy chains are a discreet outlet for impatient energy during those long phone conferences when I can’t leave my desk or multitask.

  27. Harper the Other One*

    OP #2, if the concern is the texture of the slime (if it’s really goopy or something) there are other options that may be more suitable, like Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty or the putty-like stress ball at https://www.stimtastic.co.

    However you discuss this, please just approach it from the point of view of “let’s find a suitable version of this tool you need.” You don’t have to have a diagnosis to be more productive with a fidget, so it really is just another workplace tool, like listening to music through headphones or doodling during a meeting.

    1. Like what even*

      Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is my favorite thing! I have a ton on my desk and people are alllwwwaaaaays coming by to borrow some!

  28. Delta Delta*

    #3 – I don’t work in an industry that has one-sided interviews like what’s described (I don’t think; I’ve not heard of this before). A few things immediately jumped out at me.

    1. This seems like a way for companies to discriminate. On paper “Denise Jones” might look like a good fit. On video, they may see that “Denise Jones” somehow doesn’t look like what the company wants, so she goes in the bin, probably without even considering what she has to say.

    2. This takes way too much time. A candidate is going to take this seriously and prepare and send a good product. This takes time. The employer has to watch all of these, and also probably re-watch them. Even if each one is only 5 minutes, it could take hours to review and find candidates (subject to the problems I noted in #1).

    3. It’s so one-sided. Phone screens are a way both sides can evaluate whether they want to go forward. Without the employer involvement, the candidate might not get vital information to decide if this is worth his or her time (see #2).

    1. OP 3*

      I agree — I’m not an entry level candidate desperate for any job, as I said above, I’m an employed mid level attorney and corporate culture etc is a huge priority for me. I also know that my strength is in connecting to people one on one, not in giving presentations, and a one sided video interview both isn’t the best way for me to show my strengths and isn’t helpful in finding out what it’s like to work there (and, further, says something about how the conpany that I don’t like).

  29. TIFF*

    #5 – is it really important what your company does to a potential employer? I wouldn’t want to point out any big differences from the job/field you are applying for. If it is a similar field, they are bound to know what the company does.
    But if it is something you think is an edge, this is what cover letters are for.

  30. Ladysplainer*

    The video requirements. Ugh. Where I live the employer/interviewer douchebaggery hasn’t recovered from the recession. So these video interviews are “employed candidates only, but we need you to turn it around in 12 hours mid-week.” It is how I got current job, but I did it at 4 am. Took an hour for a 5 minute video. The prior day I’d spent about 2 hours being screamed at and belittled at ExJob and it seemed urgent.

    1. OP 3*

      Exactly — I work full time. I got a request for a video interview recently and then got a second email 18 hours later reminding me that it was due soon! Unless I canceled my dinner plans that night or left work early to go go home, prepare, set up a camera, and find business attire, there was no way I could’ve done this. A 15 minute phone interview would’ve been much less of a burden because I could’ve left my office and done it outside during the day.

  31. Delta Delta*

    #1 – First, I think we ought to commend OP for asking the question. She’s indicated this is her first post-university job, which makes me think she’s fairly young and also doesn’t know what’s normal yet. Good on her for asking. When I started working we were just going in to the most recent recession. Some pieces I read (not AAM! I think this was pre-AAM) suggested that you never take your vacation or days off because even though they’re given, employers will think less of you (or even fire you) if you do. So for three years I didn’t take a vacation day because I got some bad advice.

    Second, this isn’t going to work for so many reasons, all of which are nicely articulated by other commenters.

  32. rosenstock*

    everyone’s different, but i have over 20 tattoos and have never had to take off a single day for healing. keep the Tegaderm on the tattoo for 3 days, and then keep it clean and dry and go to the bathroom twice a day to apply aquaphor or vaseline. or follow whatever else your artist tells you. and then you’ll be fine :)

    1. rosenstock*

      quick thing to add! use a super thin layer of aquaphor/vaseline, not a thick one, or else the tattoo may end up marbled and cracked. i learned this one the hard way.

  33. MicroManagered*

    OP4 I think this person may have been mistakenly thinking of that trope where the young upstart gets asked in an interview where she sees herself in a year and to show her Gumption, says “I want YOUR job!” to like the CEO or something. *gag* I think it’s fine (a positive, even!) to explain to an interviewer that you did not see a path of career growth in your current position, and you realized you needed to find your next step outside of your current employer/however you want to phrase it.

    1. OP#4*

      The interesting thing is this and other comments seem to immediately think this is an entry level or just starting role…. I am 7 years into my well established career and was recently certified in my industry and the role is a 5-7 year experience requirement, for what is really a lower-mid level role. Anyone in that role, should be looking to move into a senior role within a couple years or taking on significant c-suite facing duties in my industry.

      1. Observer*

        I think that people were making that assumption because otherwise, the response is just kind of hard to wrap your head around.

        I’d say that since you do have a good job and are not desperate to get out / find employment, filtering out any employer / manager who would see any level of ambition as a threat is a GOOD thing. Managers like that are awful.

  34. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    OP1. Out of curiosity I asked my ex-BIL who is a tattoo artist if 2-3 weeks off work is necessary for a tattoo to heal. His response was only if it’s a really badly executed tattoo. It sounds like the writer wants a deep bonding experience with school friends before everyone starts their lives. I’d also be curious to know how many will be available and ready to commit to the tattoo experience in 2020.

    1. Kate*

      I only regret one tattoo, the one 3 inch Tasmanian devil I have on my hip. This is also the one me and all of my high school friends got together before we left for college since we were going to be best friends forever. My 36 year old self wishes at 18 I would have only done tattoos for me not for a crowd. I have 4 tattoos but that one is the only one I have considered getting lasered off.

  35. Holly*

    Re: the slime thing – I thought it might be worth mentioning that apparently there’s a big slime craze (even a slime community) on YouTube I think? with The Youths and there are people who make and sell slime. So I’d just also want to keep an eye out that she’s not trying to sell slime at work or using it for other purposes. (I know this is odd, can’t explain it, just what I heard).

    1. SAS*

      This is so funny because I haven’t spent a second thinking about slime for at least 20 years, since I was in primary school but this is the second time it’s come up this week and the first was one of my clients at work (17yo young offender) whose hands were dyed purple and yellow explaining how he and his gf we’re making slime from a YouTube video!!

      On topic- I think it’s an excellent and workplace appropriate fidget tool and I’d much prefer my colleagues using this to anything clicky! As long as it isn’t leaving a mess for the cleaners.

      1. Holly*

        Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about! The whole make your own slime craze. I can’t imagine slime being an appropriate fidget tool in my office, but I can definitely see it being accepted elsewhere.

  36. Bananarama*

    OP2 – I have ADHD and have a canister of Thinking Putty (i.e. silly putty) at my desk to fidget with. It’s discreet and quiet and doesn’t have as much of a “kid” connotation as a fidget cube or spinner. I’ve done this since well before my ADHD was diagnosed, and now that I’m on meds I fidget less overall.

    That said, I would not bring it into a meeting – certainly not an all-hands. It wouldn’t go over well in my workplace and the optics would be iffy at best. I bring a notepad and pen to every meeting so I can doodle if I start to zone out – looks like I’m taking notes!

  37. Security SemiPro*

    OP 1 There has been a lot of good tattoo advice here which is good. I’m in a very flexible work place that allows a ton of vacation time (by US standards) and this would go over extremely poorly. Not because of the tattoo, because taking off three weeks in a row in a brand new position where I’ve lined up time to train you and mentor you is just tone deaf. I’m serious about your growth and success and I’ve planned to support it – disappearing on me for something less than a medical emergency doesn’t give the signal that you are.

    OP 4 Some jobs want someone who is looking to grow. Basically everything I hire for is in that category. Some jobs want longevity and are looking for a candidate who will be happy in that job, doing those tasks, excellently for the next ten years. I don’t think either is a bad job, but I do think that people can be a bad fit. I get bored with the same brand of tea after a month, I’d be a terrible hire for a repetitive task job. I’m going to experiment with anything within reach. Conversely, I’ve worked excellent people who just could not handle my world where external emergencies and new realities are pretty constant and there isn’t a reliable normal day. So that advice sucked, but maybe that job needs stability and might be a bad fit.

    1. OP#4*

      I totally agree, some roles definitely need people that enjoy longevity and repetitive tasks. I am for sure a bad fit for that role. It’s a of an odd requirement for this particular job because it’s a new team (less than a year) and a new role to the company. It’s also an events role in the tech world: which basically requires highly ambitious driven people.

      1. Observer*

        If your interviewer is also the manager for this team, it’s a disaster in the making. I think that it’s bullet dodged – not just because of what you are looking for but because the manager doesn’t seem to understand what’s needed here.

        1. OP#4*

          To clarify, this was an initial phone screen with the HR/Talent Acquisition person, not the hiring manager – though it does make me weary of the whole HR team and how that would function.

  38. Lynca*

    OP#2- To me, part of being an adult with stim needs is navigating how it appears from the outside. You have to figure out what will work in a professional setting, so I agree with Alison there is nothing wrong with outlining that this appears unprofessional in your setting. You may get push back on suggesting they look into more options. I know in my case many things like cubes, slime, etc. don’t work for me. Specifically I find slime to have an abhorrent texture. I wouldn’t be offended by the suggestion to look into other options but I would keep in mind that it’s not as simple as switching tools.

    Strategies for how to be discreet with the stim that works may help. Such as not having it openly on your desk, not having a large amount out, not openly using it at the meeting table, etc. are things that I have to deal with in my job. My stim of choice is Play Doh. Obviously I’m going to get questioned if I had a large amount of it out and was openly playing with it. But I generally just have a small ball I roll and squish in my palm under the table. I haven’t had a lot of people notice. I keep the container in my desk rather than on it. So I think there are ways to navigate this where the slime can stay.

  39. MuseumChick*

    OP1, others have already pointed that no, it would not be professional to ask for 2 weeks off. This is a little off topic but I have to wonder how much hard research you have done into getting this tattoo? I ask because 1) If it is as large as you are making it sound it will not be done in one sitting. I have many friends with tattoos and even the medium sized ones they have usually take multiple appointments. 2) I can’t see how you would need multiple weeks to “recover” people get tattoos every day and still go to work, school, care for their kids etc. Unless your tattoo artist does a really bad job or you don’t care for the tattoo properly you should still be able to function normally.

    In any event this comes down to proprieties.

  40. Lady Blerd*

    I wonder if OP 1 was told that it their ink would take 2-3 weeks to heal and assumed that he’d have to take time off for that period.

    As someone who’s gotten inked 15 times, with one of them being pretty elaborate and most of them hidden under my work clothes most of the time, I can tell you that you do no not need 2-3 weeks off for your ink to heal. At best I’d suggest to do it on a weekend for the initial healing. And as someone who’s been getting inked for 20 years, I’d also say that if a tatoo is worth doing, it’s also worth waiting a couple of years to get it done. I’ve redone a couple of tatts because I was impatient to get it done and have regretted not waiting (although I do also have a few that were done as walk ins that I’m still happy with so YMMV). I’ve learned to wait for my prefered artist’s schedule to open up.

    As someone else mentionned above, if your tattoo is to be done in a month, you appointment has to be booked already. If not, it may take even up to a year or more to get one.

  41. Copier Admin Girl*

    OP #1: I have about 20 tattoos, ranging from small and not very noticeable to large pieces that attract stares in public. :) I have been working the entire time I’ve gotten tattoos (managing and assisting in professional office settings with normal-conservative dress codes), I got all my large pieces in single sessions, and I have never had to take time off, even for those large pieces. I’m not sure how familiar you are with tattoos, but I’ve actually never heard of anyone needing to take multiple weeks off of work for a tattoo to heal. I say yes, get the tattoo, and no, do not ask for time off. It is far enough beyond professional norms that it would seem quite naive. Just care for your art properly and adjust your dress when possible. :) Once your tattoo is finished it will likely be wrapped with a saran wrap bandage which you’ll leave on for a specified amount of time. Afterwards you should let the skin breathe and heal, which I’ve found is not particularly painful at all. Try to wear breathable clothes when you can and have some painkillers in your desk just to be safe. Chances are you will have some cool art and uninterrupted workflow.

  42. Banana stand*

    I don’t do video interviews bc my success rate with them is 0% (as in number of times I make it through to the next round). Whereas my success rate with traditional phone interviews is a 80%. As a woman of color I don’t think this is a coincidence.

    1. Bea*

      This was why I’m shocked companies do these things. It’s so obviously a block between jobs and POC, you may as well just ask for pics with resumes at that rate.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      I’d think this is a huge risk that companies are taking. I mean, if they are required to keep statistics on hiring and the data show that diversity rates potentially *decreased* after they started this video answer interview process… that’s gotta be bad news for the company. Making this type of thing the official interview process when the only difference between video and phone interview is the company can see the candidate, that makes it pretty clear that the company is okay with the person’s appearance potentially playing an outsized role in the selection process.

    3. Huddled over tea*

      Interestingly enough, I’m also a woman of color and have a 100% success rate with them (as in, I’ve done one and now I’m in the job). So I think it very much depends on the company and their general outlook on hiring inclusively. If they’re a company that would discriminate, there’s not much difference between them doing it at video interview stage or face to face interview stage, imo.

  43. MollyG*

    Re #3 I want to make a clarification for those responding to this. I did a one-sided video interview once. The program gives you the question and about a minute to think of an answer, then starts recording. I had two minutes per question (but you could stop it sooner) and there were six questions. Once the recording was over you could not re-record your answer. The questions were all the stupid basic interview questions and one even had five parts. One of the questions made no sense at all and since it was one-sided, I could not ask for clarification. It was a miserable experience and told me that the employer has zero respect for their candidates. I will never do one again and I will use the language in this post to explain why.

    1. OP 3*

      This was my experience with the one I did as well. I even had to download computer software to use their program.

      1. One of the Sarahs*

        And I totally get how the assumption that a mid-level career person would have their own computer to do this on, but for entry level positions, it’s assuming a level of resource (your own computer/laptop with webcam and great wifi) that’s going to rule out good candidates who are from poorer backgrounds. It doesn’t sound like something that could be done in a coffee shop/library etc because of background noise & disturbing other people.

  44. Jiji the Cat*

    And OP1, if you tell the employer it’s for a tattoo, anti-tattoo bias can still come out. I have 2 large tattoos (in places that are always hidden by work clothes) and I don’t mention them in work conversation. In the past I had an employer who had a huge personal issue with tattoos and would get very upset if they found out their employee had a tattoo, even if it was small or hidden. Lots of talk about “destroying your body,” “kids these days,” etc. I imagine if you have to wear a suit to work every day you’re probably in a more conservative field. It’s not something an employer SHOULD be mad about, but it’s something they CAN get mad about. You don’t need to take time off, but if I were you, I would keep your tattoo news to yourself at work, especially early in your career.

  45. Jamey*

    Op1, Regardless of your probationary period, that is just an unreasonable amount that you think you need to heal from a tattoo.

    For reference, I recently had major surgery- I was under the knife for a half day and spent 2 days in the hospital- and they told me to take off 2 weeks from work if I could, but if I couldn’t spare it, 1 week would be okay if I didn’t do heavy lifting at work.

  46. The Tin Man*

    OP 4:

    I say that if you get a hiring manager who thinks that you are a threat to their job because you want career growth and chooses not to hire you based on that paranoia…they did you a favor.

  47. Internationalist*

    To LW1: Saran wrap works really well. I had the same thought when I got my first tattoo that I would need time off. You don’t. It basically feels like a mild sunburn. Depending on how thick the black lines are, there might be some ink/skin that naturally rubs off. It does not damage the tattoo. If done properly, the tattoo needle and ink goes through deeply into the skin. The rub off is from the very top layer healing itself. To speed up healing, drink lots of water and don’t work out for at least 24 hours.

  48. Anonforthis*

    Tattoos do not take 2-3 weeks to heal. They’re more like sunburns. Wear a soft undershirt between you and anything scratchy and you’ll be fine. Getting a tattoo doesn’t incapacitate you any more than getting a sunburn does.

  49. TatttoedInDC*

    OP1 — you’ll be fine. I have several tattoos, including one large side piece. I didn’t take a single day off work. My brother is a Marine with a huge chest and back piece, the first which he got during training!

    Ask your artist the best way to protect it. I found wearing a lightweight cotton tank top (or undershirt if you’re a guy) + saran wrap as needed + aquaphor ALL THE TIME was my magic bullet, but again ask your artist.

    Also, good luck — they’re addictive! #canthavejustone

  50. Bea*

    #5 Please don’t!! I’ve seen this on a few resumes and it looks junky/filler to me. I want a resume about your abilities and responsibilities not what Acme Inc does as a business. I’ll Google the business if I’m interested (I may be, we tend to lean towards people with experience in our industry and so if your experience is all insurance and retail, I need to go in another direction kind of thing).

    1. CM*

      But to be clear, you mean please don’t have a separate line explaining what the company does, right? I thought Alison’s suggestion which was something like “Raised revenue by 10% at llama grooming company” is good and provides useful context. When I hire somebody, I would like to understand what their previous companies did because it’s relevant to their role and the type of experience they have.

      1. Bea*

        Yes. Raising revenue is an accomplishment to list.

        Or “developed new clothing line dedicated to mini doberman pinchers.” would be fine and you go “ah ha, clothing line!”

        But i’ve seen multiple resumes with
        “Acme Inc. 1877-1879”
        “Acme specialises is ant farms. Ant farms are a great joy for many kids and adults!”

        They are weird sales pitchy kind of fillers.

        “Increased ant farm sales by 10%” is melding that together and slipping in that they should ant farms.

  51. Nita*

    OP #4 – that seems like a bit of a red flag, especially if the person you’re working with has a specific job in mind. She may be telling you that the job you’re applying for has no room for growth either.

    1. AnonyMouse*

      Yeah, the only reason I would suggest not saying this is if you’re interviewing for a position that will have limited growth (i.e. new/young leadership, etc). However I think there are other ways you can demonstrate a desire to grow in a new role (asking about professional development, asking staff how they’ve grown since beginning their role, etc). And in this situation, then sure I think “diversify your skill set” could be a better way to phrase that.

  52. AnonyMouse*

    OP #4- I had a similar experience with making statements like this in an interview this spring, which ultimately ended up having the negotiation process sour and me declining the position because of how weird things got. I had asked questions about the tiered levels for the position (think junior, intermediate, senior) because these did not exist in my current position, and I explained I wanted to know more for the exact same reasons the OP explained. And the hiring manager had a similar reaction, saying they “took it as a sign I wouldn’t stay.” Not sure if the OP is hanging out in the comments, but out of curiosity was it an older interviewer? It may be a generational thing, and the hiring manager did state that it had been a while since they hired a new person (which I took as a good thing- low turnover. But then it became clear that this may have caused their expectations to be way out of whack). I honestly would take it as a sign that is somewhere you don’t want to work/someone you don’t want to work with.

    1. OP#4*

      I don’t know her age, since it was a phone interview and organized over email. It wasn’t the hiring manager, it was a phone screen from a talent acquisition/HR employee that I was interviewing with – so this was my very first experience with the company and part of me wonders if she’s out of touch with the division she’s hiring for, since the hiring manager is based out of the UK.
      The role is also on a new team (less than a year) and is a brand new role to the company, which given it’s in tech, usually means growth and development is a given because there’s likely to be lots of changes over time. It was just in general, completely different experience than the posting and the company reviews. It also seemed like she didn’t really understand the role.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        > It also seemed like she didn’t really understand the role.
        I think you nailed it exactly. I also think that hiring manager isn’t going to find anyone very soon if that HR person stays involved in the recruiting process.

        I recently had a recruiter email and ask me for a phone call so that I could explain what a technical writer does. Talk about not understanding the role, let alone the field.

        (I thought to her: You’re a RECRUITER. Surely you have peers you could ask? Or access to Wikipedia? But instead you want to use my time to get educated, rather than getting me a job.) Oh, I was most irritated. I finally wrote back about 3 lines of what a TW can do (and made it clear that there’s tons of variety) and called it good. Maybe she’ll get me a job someday.

  53. peachie*

    #1: Definitely doesn’t take that long to heal! I had a fairly big one on ribs/back, and I’m a person who pretty much needs to wear a bra, and I was fine. The first day or two I did have to do some pretty silly undergarment rearranging (think I wore a soft fitted tank top and no bra but a structured dress + blazer one of the first days), but it felt fine and healed perfectly. Having to wear a suit might be a good thing! You get to control what you’re putting underneath it. (Listen to your tattoo artist, of course, but I found the “fitted tank top with a soft material” to be perfect; it seemed to protect it from potentially-scratchy outer layers while not rubbing it or irritating it.)

    #3: I’m an actor and good lord, please cancel pre-recorded video interviews and auditions. They do not work for ANYONE. (Stage actor, so it might be different for film actors.)

  54. Let's Talk About Splett*

    Yeah, I have two tattoos, one on each hip. I got them both in the winter in Minnesota on the weekend and wore poly blend work pants to work on Monday.

  55. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    Fairly heavily tattooed professional type person here. A few things:

    1) Tattoos do not take 2-3 weeks to heal, unless you’re talking about 100% done, no more skin peeling, etc. The most painful and messy bit was always over in a few days, even on my most extensive/sensitive tattoos.

    2) The first 48 hours are the worst. Get your tat on a Friday after work, by Monday you’ll just need to make sure it’s covered with a soft cloth and that you’re tending it a couple of times a day. If this is a piece on a limb, cut a tube from a soft sleeved seamless cotton undershirt or leggings and put that over the tat to keep seams and rougher fabric from rubbing. If it’s on your torso, a nice soft cotton undershirt is your friend.

    3) Talk to your artist about aftercare, particularly those first few days in a suit when it’s still tender.

    1. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      ETA: To speed healing, eat healthy the few days following and do not drink alcohol. Stay hydrated. Maybe consider a multivitamin.

  56. La Jefa*

    Very tattooed and a director of a local government agency. You don’t need any time off work for healing. I’d recommend wearing a lined suit so a thin layer of Aquafor (my preference for healing) doesn’t ruin good fabric.

    I got a tattoo on my thigh after day 3 of a five-day director’s conference. Not an issue. You are overthinking this for sure. Good luck!

  57. Horrayforpipecleaners*

    #2: I attended a meeting once where the facilitator distributed pipe cleaners to fidget with. I certainly used mine to craft into creative shapes!

  58. Royals2015*

    As someone who uses a fidget spinner to help focus, I think that OP2 should keep their opinion to him/herself. In 2018 everyone seems to be mostly concerned with how things affect or offend them rather than understanding why someone does something. If the slime isn’t impacting the persons work or others work in a negative way than there is no reason to bring it up. Chances are this person has been doing this long enough that it is possibly discussed when they interview.

      1. fposte*

        She’s an employee and the slimer is an intern, so she is a superior. It’s not clear to me if the interns have a direct supervisor or not. If they do and it isn’t the OP, you’re right that this is better coming from the supervisor.

        But this is also the kind of thing that can be valuable to learn about in interning, and that’s the point of an internship. It’s not mean to say “Hey, in future workplaces I’d advise you to stick to a more work-familiar sensory tool, especially in meetings, at least until you find out from your manager or from other people using it that it’s okay.”

  59. Sara (A Lurker)*

    I haaaaate the video interviews. I had to do them for my current job. Four questions–some of which I had definitely already answered in my application materials–with two-minute responses that we could re-record indefinitely. It took me 90 minutes to record 8 minutes of video that I could live with, and I couldn’t ask the job any questions at the same time to see if it was worth spending 90 minutes on. I had to record it at a friend’s house because I did not have the necessary equipment (not even my phone supported the video app). Also, it was a writing position and video presence has nothing to do with the job.

    It was a huge red flag in my opinion, but I went along with it because my employer is a large university that often has stupid hiring processes. (Another example: I had to enter my references through a website, minimum five, minimum two supervisors, can’t hit submit until all are entered. As I did not wish to ask my current supervisor until I got an offer, that meant I gave them six references total.)

    As it happens, the job is great and I am very happy here. But I was surprised to learn that the video interview was requested by my bosses, and in their view, the rewards outweigh the costs which I explained to them. Still a red flag? Maybe, maybe not.

    I understand LW3’s stance though. My line in the sand as a writer was that I would not create content for my employers as part of the application process. This led to several frustrating conversations where the employer promised not to use my content without permission, and for all I know maybe some of them were good employers with bad hiring practices, but whatever–I’ve been burned too often to do that again.

    1. OP 3*

      Yeah, they’re rare enough for my position (I’m a lawyer, but sometimes the large companies I apply to use video interviews for all jobs, I guess) that it’s not really much of a burden to just decline these.

      1. CM*

        This is a rare occasion where I’m not crazy about Alison’s suggested script. I think the explanation that “I’ve found these aren’t useful for me” sounds high-maintenance and the part about “if you insist on this I’m going to withdraw” sounds like an ultimatum. I think it’s fine to say, “I prefer not to do video interviews, is it possible to do a phone interview instead?” and if they say no, then you can decline.

        1. OP 3*

          That’s true — I would like them to realize that the reason I’m saying no is because of the huge amount of time and effort required before even speaking to a real person at the company and 1. Finding out if I’m a serious contender, and 2. Seeing if I like the company and the job… not just because I personally don’t enjoy them.

          1. PersonalJeebus*

            I’m totally with you, and saying “this interview format won’t work for me” is a perfectly reasonable script. I think requiring video interviews shows the *employer* is high maintenance and doesn’t value your time at all, and it’s *not* being high maintenance for a candidate to expect their first interaction with the employer to be a two-way one. Candidates should have the same opportunity as the employer does to gather first impressions. I wouldn’t even bother with the “ultimatum,” I’d just decline the interview without asking for a phone screen instead, since the company has already shown me how much they overvalue their own time and how much they underestimate the value of interacting with candidates. Also, there’s nothing inherently wrong about all ultimatums everywhere; it’s just another word for “setting a boundary” or “having a dealbreaker.”

  60. pop tart*

    Heavily tattooed person here, good news, your clothes will not damage your healing tattoo. You could probably get away with taking the next day off as a sick day or personal day since some people tend to have cold and flu-like symptoms the next day (as you’ve just subjected your body to hours and hours of damage and your immune system is desperately trying to heal it), but definitely don’t tell them why. Also, the most a tattoo will be vulnerable to ink falling out is in the first day or two, and that’s normal and what touch ups are for.

  61. Hot diggity dog*

    #4 – I’d be really concerned about this. I know times have changed, but 20 years ago I was fresh out of college and working with an employment agency. I had many, many interviews where I said I was looking for a position where I could grow and the interviewer just looked at me like I was crazy.

    I was finally hired by a company who was excited about what else I could do. They were so happy with me that they continued to hire from that agency.

    Then they hired the agency’s former receptionist, who became a friend of mine. She told me that she had been instructed to pass all female voices over to the department who only worked with administrative staff. So all that time I’d been interviewing with companies who wanted forever receptionists and administrative assistants and had no idea.

    I can’t say that is what is happening to you, or if that even happens anymore (or if you are female!), but I’d be wary of what they have in mind for you.

  62. Meghan*

    The one-sided video interview thing is a new one to me, and I can’t get the image of Elle Woods Harvard Law video application essay out of my head for it.

    1. sunshyne84*

      Yea I did one for a bank, but then they bring you in for a face to face interview after so you could ask your questions then.

  63. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP#4: There may be a clue hiding in that HR person’s comment. We can’t tell due to lack of information, but it is possible that the HR person knows something about the position or the team that is not obvious, for example: the last person in this role didn’t work out because of their demand for undeserved promotion to their manager’s level after working for only 6 months. (that’s just my wild made-up example!) Or… perhaps the HR person is clueless. I would go the conservative route and take the strange advice as a clue. It’s reasonable for an employer to want a candidate who wants and is satisfied with the role as described, especially when the company has a serious need to fill the advertised role, not the level above the advertised role. That being said, there are safer words to use (instead of promotion), and you already know them. I personally would not use the specific word “promotion” in an interview context, so to an extent, I agree with that HR person. But of course it’s reasonable to express a desire for growth and professional development! More code speak would be: more learning opportunities, the chance to take on more responsibility, expand your skill set, deepen your knowledge, become a subject matter expert, etc. etc. If you interview further, you may get enough information to figure out the underlying concern that instigated that HR person’s comment.

  64. KH*

    As a professional and a tattoo-haver, the biggest adjustment I’ve ever had to make for a healing tattoo at work is wearing a bralette instead of a full underwire bra for a little while. And for my first big one, maybe a few more trips to the bathroom than usual to check it out.

  65. Seespotbitejane*

    OP#5 Just thought I’d weigh in because I have blurbs like that on my resume. The last two jobs I’ve had have been for odd companies. They’ve actually come in extremely handy because without them I spend a good 5 to 10 minutes of interview time explaining what the company did and how my position there made sense. It does take up space on my resume but my resume is strong enough and I get to the interview stage often enough that I’d rather take up the space there than in a 30 minute phone conversation. Especially because my last position is not only convoluted to explain but also extremely boring.

    1. PersonalJeebus*

      Great point! And speaking of how much space it takes up, I find that saying “did blah blah for a teapot manufacturer” can take up almost much space on my resume as “Teapot Manufacturer” in its own line. (This has a bit to do with how I format my resume, probably.) But for someone whose resume is strong overall, you’re likely to get an interview with or without these extra descriptions, and interview time is more valuable.

    2. Jacki*

      Came here to bring up the same point as well as companies with similar names. I actually had a heck of a time trying to find a company I used to work for on LinkedIn after I realized I had selected a different company of the same name. I always make sure that for the lesser known companies, I have a very brief blurb as to what they do so my accomplishments and roles make more sense. I only have descriptions like this for two companies on my resume and from what I can tell, it seems to work just fine, but then again, I am still job hunting. I do get a good number of responses.

  66. Ponytail*

    I know it’s not popular for UK people to mention their leave in comparison to US workers but even as generous as British employers are (forced by law to be), 2-3 weeks off in your first months, for a pre-arranged thing that you didn’t mention at interview stage? Not happening.

  67. Nancie*

    BTW, a data point for everyone who’s saying that No One takes off work after getting a tattoo. I’ve got a lot of regular tattoos, and for all of those, it’s absolutely true I was fine to work by the next day.

    BUT. About a year ago I got permanent makeup, lips and eyeliner, on a Thursday. I was mostly prepared for the fact that I’d probably want to hide at my desk on Friday. I was NOT prepared for my eyes feeling like someone had jammed gravel between my eyelids and eyes.

    I felt ridiculous doing it, but since I could only stand to keep my eyes open for a few minutes at a time, I had to take Friday off. Fortunately, it was far from my first year on the job, and my boss was sympathetic (as well as fascinated and amused.)

    1. Observer*

      You also only took one day and a weekend off, not 2-3 weeks.

      It’s not surprising that eyeliner caused that kind of reaction, but I wouldn’t expect it on someone’s back. Eyelids ad eyes are just much more sensitive.

  68. CM*

    OP#2: You say that your company is OK with it, but is that true? You seem bothered by it.

    I would either wait until the internship is over to give the intern this feedback as useful advice for future jobs, or explain that it’s jarring to see slime in the office because it’s messy and people associate it with children (or whatever the reason is) and if she is using it for focusing purposes, she should consider other items instead. Don’t say, in the middle of the internship, that the intern is doing something unprofessional and your company doesn’t mind but in the future somebody will. That will feel like indirect criticism.

  69. Just Visiting*

    I have a half sleeve as well as several other large tattoos. You don’t need to take even a single day off. I wouldn’t get a tattoo and immediately go into work, but as long as you get a sleep in between the session and work it’s fine. And contrary to some of the comments here, do NOT cover it with a bandage or saran wrap (the artist will cover it with saran wrap but you take that off before you go to bed that night). It needs to breathe. There’s enough air inside a suit to let it breathe but a bandage will only trap in any germs that might be floating around. Also, most “large” tattoos will need more than one sitting, especially if they also include color, and you shouldn’t really be spending more than three hours in the chair at a time. It sounds like you have some misconceptions about the tattoo process in general, talk to your artist.

  70. Tata*

    Tattoos are my area of expertise! OP#1 I have 7 extensive and intricate tattoos and you definitely do not need 2 – 3 weeks of healing time. I’m really curious as to why or who said you need 2 -3 weeks off. If it was the tattoo artist, find a different one. If your tattoo is that large, then that means more than 1 session. The tattoo artist will wait until your skin is fully healed before starting the next session. Some of my tattoo sessions were up to 3 1/2 hours. I’ve worked out hard such as running or cross fit after 2 days of getting tattooed. You need to speak with tattoo artist on how to best keep your new tattoo clean while wearing office attire. A good artist will give you proper advice since many of their clients are professionals. Your skin will heal fast and scab quickly. Your biggest worry will be the itching when your tattoo scabs. You do not want to itch since that is what causes damage to ink. Wear loose fitting clothing and speak with your supervisor (if comfortable) to see if can let tattoo breathe, meaning have it uncovered for short periods of time for first few days. Keep the area moisturized.

    1. Observer*

      Keeping her back bare for even short periods of time is likely to be a total non-starter in an environment that requires suits.

  71. aok*

    get your tattoo done in stages. If you ask for that much time off I suspect you will wind up getting all the time you need because you will be unemployed.

  72. OldJules*

    #2 The slime could be used for people with sensory issues as well. Some people are sensory seeking and so it’s hard to sit in a meeting/training and concentrate. I could be wrong but it could be for something like this. I envision a lot more people with some kinds of disability in workplaces as schools are getting better at dealing/accomodating children with disability and so they are able to participate in higher education and workplaces.
    Disclaimer: I am not experienced in sensory issues but I do have a 2e child.

  73. CustServGirl*

    Op #1, I’m assuming you’re a guy based on the suit comment, but for what it is worth, I recently got a large thigh tattoo (3 sessions and I still have one more to go) and I’ve worn dresses almost exclusively since. Part of getting tattoos is learning to navigate the world with them. Even very large tattoos are usually okay after the first few days- you just want to avoid tight clothing, scented body products, etc. Saniderm is a great recommendation. Good luck!

  74. The Other Katie*

    My first tattoo I unwisely got two hours before getting on a transatlantic flight, on my lower back. Saniderm plus the initial bandaging was plenty of protection. Honestly, if you get it done Friday night you’ll only be a little itchy by Monday morning, it’s not a major thing (although it can hurt like whoa at the time).

  75. Avalon Angel*

    OP1: As you have never had a tattoo before and are planning the first one to be sizeable, I strongly urge you to get an allergy test first, at least 48 hours before the appointment.

    There are two common methods to test for tattoo ink allergy. The first is a non-machine version, usually called an “ink rub,” in which the artist puts a small amount of the dye on your bare skin close to where you plan to get the tattoo (and if your tattoo will have yellow and/or red, the two most common inks to provoke an allergic reaction, have the artist put those two plus the black outline ink on your skin). The second type is the “dot test,” in which you get a small dot tattooed on your skin. Then you observe the area for any sign of allergy (and go to the ER if you even so much as suspect the reaction is or could be severe).

    Do NOT frequent a shop or artist who will not give you an allergy test, tries to talk you out of them, or charges an exorbitant fee. A quality artist wants to take care of their clients and cares about their client’s health. A true professional knows allergies happen (even with so-called hypoallergenic inks), and they don’t want it to happen to anyone they tattoo. Allergies are rare, but do you really want to risk that, especially when starting a new job?

    Good luck with the tattoo and the new job! And beware: they can indeed be addictive…I have 20 and counting!

  76. LadyCop*

    With my fair share of tattoos…and clothing worn over them…I can’t fathom how one cannot wear suits with a new tattoo. I’ve never had a problem with healing, and the idea of taking any time off work, would get me laughed out of the building…

    Not trying to be dismissive…just confused how this is an issue.

  77. Triple Anon*

    #3 – I agree with Allison’s advice. Saying you don’t do phone interviews would get you labeled as a prima donna. Unless you’re well known enough to have that kind of leverage. I would just back out, using a generic excuse or none, when they ask for a video interview. “Thank you for your time, but my availability has changed. I’m withdrawing my application.”

  78. ctstud2008*

    I was fired from a job once due to a labor dispute with upper management (they were promoting new, unknowledgeable employees rather promoting experienced and trained employees with seniority so I challenged them about this and was canned.)

    At interviews, when they ask why I left, I tell them that I disagreed with the management about my future career path so I partied ways with the company.

    This is technically a true statement but it doesn’t cast me in a negative light.

    To this day I don’t regret my decision to speak up even though I was unemployed for 4 months as a result. I would rather not work than work for management that didn’t fully value my skills and personality.

  79. RN*

    OP1 – I didn’t make it through the chorus of advice about tattoo healing but … on my last tattoo (upper thigh, three sessions) my artist used a thin plastic film called Second Skin (secondskin dot ink.) It really eliminated the worst of the aftercare – including the multiple day washing, applying ointment of your choice, etc. I left it on for 3-4 days – you can shower with it on – and then was immediately at the lotion stage. Good luck!

  80. PersonalJeebus*

    Alison’s take is perfectly reasonable, but for what it’s worth, my experience says otherwise. I have done exactly what you describe. I’ve used a very short description (one line, no more than a few words–think “Boutique llama agency” or “Major llama agency”–under the company name), and I’ve even applied it inconsistently across my resume rather than feeling obligated to use it everywhere for the sake of formatting.

    I’ve done this when applying to jobs in a different industry, or jobs where I have reason to think the hiring manager may have no clue what my former employers did. If I was listing work experience somewhere I knew they *would* recognize, that’s when I left off the description and let the formatting look inconsistent.

    I have been offered the position after doing this. That doesn’t mean hiring managers loved it or even noticed it, but clearly it didn’t hurt me. So if anyone has done this recently and is kicking themselves, don’t freak out!

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