I don’t want my boss at my goodbye party, putting Dungeons & Dragons on a resume, and more

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

1. Can we leverage our coworkers’ marriage to get work done?

I have a weird one I’m not sure how to handle. I work as an admin/office manager in an office of about 15. Overall it’s one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had but sometimes there are the typical small office conflicts. Two of my coworkers are married to each other. They are very professional and it would be easy to miss.

My question is if it’s appropriate to bring in the other partner to help with an issue you are having with their spouse. For example, the husband coworker is kind of the forgetful professor type, brilliant at what he does but once a week the wife coworker must bring a large bag to office to collect all the personal belongings he leaves everywhere (commuter mugs, lunch containers, coats and scarves, etc). Recently he needed to take some equipment home and now keeps forgetting to return it. This has caused a delay in a coworker and me getting some work done, but overall its very low stakes. Our manager checked in and when we told him the reason for the delay, he suggested that we email the wife coworker to help. She has been on a conference road trip and won’t be in the office for another two weeks. If she were here, she would have noticed independently and made sure he returned everything. I said that seemed awkward and several coworkers replied they’ve done it in the past.

I feel like this is getting close to a personal boundary that shouldn’t be crossed when coworkers are married. They should be treated as coworkers at the office, right?

Yes. It’s inappropriate to bring a coworker’s spouse in to solve a work issue with their partner. That doesn’t mean people never do — apparently they do in your office — but it’s a really bad idea. It’s blurring boundaries in a way that might not be a problem this time, but could become a problem in time, or could become a problem when the answer is “I have no idea where he put that folder; we’re not speaking.”

Moreover, it’s undermining to both of them in different ways — the husband is being infantilized by people going around him to his wife, and the wife is being asked to assume professional responsibilities that aren’t hers (and to kind of mother her husband at work, which is ick). If they want to privately have systems behind the scenes where she reminds him at home to bring in the folder he left in the living room, that’s between them. But to you, they should be independent colleagues, not a unit.

2. Can I put Dungeons and Dragons on my resume?

I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. This is a hobby that’s lead to some various achievements and skills I’d like to put on my resume: I organize biweekly meetings with groups of people varying from 3-8 across various time zones, manage those meetings (which tend to be upwards of 3 hours), and have to be able to constantly improvise. However, I’m aware that listing nerdy hobbies (or hobbies at all) on applications seems incredibly gimmicky. Is there a way to tactfully bring this up without sounding desperate or out-of-touch, or should I leave it out?

Leave it out. I don’t doubt that are some transferrable skills, but it’s going to look unprofessional and out of place to too many managers to risk it. It’s not just about it being D&D; it’s also about there not really being the same kind of accountability or standards of performance or overall stakes that there would be at a job or even in a volunteer position.

3. Can I ask my boss not to come to my goodbye happy hour?

I’m leaving a small company (50 people) after two years. When someone leaves, staff usually go to happy hour as a big group (maybe 10-20 people) on the person’s last day. I’ve made a lot of great relationships at this company and I look forward to this happy hour as one last fun social occasion with them.

The reason I’m leaving is my boss, Martha, is terrible. Working for her has exacerbated my anxiety and has led to more moments crying in the bathroom than should ever happen in a workplace. I’m sad to leave this company and great coworkers but I couldn’t stand working for Martha anymore. Since I’ve given my notice, she has become even more difficult to work for (which I didn’t think was possible) as she realizes that she doesn’t know how to run the projects I’ve been in charge of.

Martha has asked about my goodbye happy hour plans. I told her I didn’t want one, in the hopes of having a private gathering with a select few coworkers that she wouldn’t know about or attend. But she was pushy about it being “tradition” (in reality, a very loose/informal tradition) and for me to choose a date and location for her to coordinate. I stalled and asked for time to think about it.

Many of the staff know my boss is difficult to work for and know she’s the reason I’m leaving the company. I think Martha wants to plan the happy hour because it makes her look like a good boss. (It’s typical at my company for a coworker to plan the happy hour instead of the manager). A coworker who I’m close with, Jane, has already started to plan the happy hour for me.

Martha and I never had a great working relationship and it feels disingenuous for her to attend, let alone plan, this after work event. She even chastised me once for drinking at an outside networking event where alcohol was served (I’m 26). Can I ask my boss not to come to my goodbye happy hour?

Nope! Not really, anyway. Not if it’s your official goodbye happy hour, and not if you’re trying to avoid burning bridges/future references/your reputation there.

But what you can do if she asks about it again is to say, “Thanks for offering to plan something, but I actually prefer not to have a formal work thing.” You can then go ahead and have a small, informal happy hour with a handful of coworkers. But it needs to be small — if it’s 20 people, you can’t credibly argue it’s not a work thing, and you can’t politely keep her from coming. Keep it under 10 people and make sure that Jane doesn’t talk about it much at work, and you should be fine.

If you want something larger or more officially associated with your office, then you can’t really ask your boss not to attend. But you can mentally reframe her presence as the thing you’re celebrating never seeing again.

Read an update to this letter here.

4. I got lectured at an interview for not knowing to use a side door

I have a burning question to ask about a bad interview experience I just had. I was invited for an in-person interview and given the address and time (8 am sharp). I got there 15 minutes early, had my best interview game face on … and stood at their locked front door waiting to be let in. By 8:00 when the doors weren’t open, I called the HR contact saying, “I’m here, but the doors aren’t open.” At 8:07 someone walked out and I ran in to find the nearest person to say I have an interview with Judy. They then tell me that is in the admin area, to the back of the building through a side outside door.

I made it at 8:15 and the receptionist went to tell Judy. She then comes back and says they won’t interview me because I’m late, it’s 8:15, and my appointment was at 8. Mortified, I told the receptionist the reason I was late and she went back. Either Judy or another interviewer came back to tell/lecture me that they had a tight schedule and mayyyybe they’d fit me in between, but I’d have to wait. And I was not guaranteed a spot. I apologized profusely and said, “I will take this as a lesson I need to ask and know where to go next time.”

Because I was taking time off of my regular job and only had slotted a certain amount of time, I decided to not wait. I had a good cry about how dumb of a rookie mistake this was, and now I want to know … is it worth it to email another apology and mention that they should inform others of the side door entrance? Part of me is mad I didn’t “have any questions” during the scheduling and raise this question, but am I just being too hard on myself? Is it normal to ask a place if they have a different entrance other than the front main entrance?

No! You did nothing wrong here; they did. It is not normal to have to ask during scheduling if there’s a different entrance you should use other the main one; you can generally assume that if there is, they will tell you that. So they messed that up.

Their bigger mistake, though, was how they treated you! It would be one thing if they’d said, “We’re so sorry, we didn’t realize you wouldn’t find the entrance, and our schedule is so tight today that at this point we may not be able to fit you in.” That would still suck (you’d taken time off work!) but okay, things sometimes happen. But lecturing you as if this was your fault? No.

If you’re still interested in this job, you could certainly email them again and say that you’d love to come back and use the side door this time … but I would seriously question whether you want to work for someone whose first reaction is to blame you for her own mistake. That’s not going to get more enjoyable once she’s your boss.

5. Can I ask apply for a full-time job if I’m only available part-time?

I’m a stay-at-home parent who is eager to re-enter the working world. However, a variety of family responsibilities are going to limit my availability to just 20-25 hours/week for the forseable future.

I’m having a really difficult time finding part-time jobs that are in my field of interest (i.e., general office jobs, not food service or sales). The jobs that I do find typically pay very low — too low to afford childcare.

I’m seeing plenty of interesting jobs that I am very well-qualified for in my area that are full-time. Is it worthwhile to apply, specifying in my cover letter that I’m only available for part-time work? I wonder if employers would be willing to split the job duties in half for the right candidate(s).

Generally, no. There’s a reason the job is full-time; it’s because the work that needs to be done is (usually) full-time. You’d be proposing doing half of what they need done, rather than all of it, leaving them still needing to find someone to do the rest of it — so now they need to make two hires, train two people, and manage two people (which is a lot more work than managing one). Very occasionally an employer might be willing to make that compromise — usually if you’re an exceptionally strong candidate and they’re having trouble finding other good candidates — but mostly not.

You can certainly try sending out a few applications that propose this in your cover letter (make sure you’re clear about exactly how many hours a week you could work since “part-time” can mean all sorts of things) and see what happens, but I’d definitely be prepared for that not to really go anywhere.

{ 683 comments… read them below }

  1. bunniferous*

    Great answer on number one. I have that scenario and I do NOT want to be responsible for my husband at work. Nor should he be responsible for me!!!!

    1. valentine*

      once a week the wife coworker must bring a large bag to office to collect all the personal belongings he leaves everywhere (commuter mugs, lunch containers, coats and scarves, etc).
      Why must she? I hope this isn’t something your department initiated and the second-best time to end it is now, OP1. Give her back more of her professional distance. Is she brilliant at what she does? Who’s playing her personal assistant? Tell them both no more maid service. Tell him he’s now expected to tidy up daily, not weekly. Even if it were a medical issue, the correct course is to create a plan that doesn’t involve his wife.

      1. StellaBella*

        What Alison says is spot on: “the husband is being infantilized by people going around him to his wife, and the wife is being asked to assume professional responsibilities that aren’t hers (and to kind of mother her husband at work, which is ick).”

        I have a couple of married-couple friends who have these exact roles (husband is not capable of feeding/pilling cats, or cleaning up after himself, or planning a trip, or changing a diaper, or or or….). I think in this same case it is ridiculous that this guy has so much freedom to be “forgetful” and such privilege to have his wife be his handmaid.

        My suggestion is to call the guy’s cell phone in the morning before he leaves for work to get the equipment back: “Dude, just ringing to remind you before you leave the house to grab the AV stuff now, thanks! Cannot do my job unless you return it today!” And do this every morning in a week if needed – you need the stuff for work, he has it. You direct him to return it. He is not a baby. I assume he gets himself to work most days, gets dressed – he can be prompted to do this. You are not infantilizing him here you are reminding him he needs to do a task so you can do your work. (others’ thoughts on this tactic? it is direct and how I would deal with it. I may be out of line.)

        1. Cassandra*

          I was married to a man like this. Key word “was.” He had an extended freelance assignment quite a few years ago that I had to manage him for, because otherwise he wouldn’t have met his responsibilities to the client. I’m bewildered to this day about why I thought that arrangement was okay.

          OP1, your workplace is not responsible for their marriage, but… it’s probably not doing that marriage any favors. Please tell the husband to deal with his own messes, and ask his boss to intervene if he doesn’t step up and do that.

          1. Yvette*

            “Please tell the husband to deal with his own messes, and ask his boss to intervene if he doesn’t step up and do that.” Exactly, it is not the wife’s job to make sure he does his job. That is what his boss is for. Someone else suggested sending him home to get it. If the company feels he needs help in returning the items, send a courrier to the home to pick them up. The onus is on the husband and the company to make sure the husband does his job.

          2. Parenthetically*

            No, don’t meddle in other people’s relationship dynamics. If his wife does a sweep of his scarves and tupperware once a week, what’s it to you or anyone else?

            1. Yvette*

              I was assuming by messes the LW meant the situation of not bringing back the corporate equipment. I didn’t mean the part about her picking up the scarves and Tupperware. That is why I said “…it is not the wife’s job to make sure he does his job.” Returning company equipment is his job. Not his wife’s, and the company needs to leave her out of it. She shouild not be part of his job responsibilites to his boss and co-workers.

            2. Yvette*

              If she is doing it because she wants to/needs her mugs, than that is fine. But if his boss is asking her to come in and pick up after him that is rididculous and needs to stop. Personally, I read it as her doing it of her own volition and again, if that is the case it is fine and the company should stay out of it.

              1. AnnaBananna*

                Yep, me too. the only time I could see getting involved and asking her directly were if I already had a personal friendship with her outside of work and/or it’s a super small and casual org where family and friends are more nebulous. Otherwise, heck no.

        2. Aveline*

          I’ve known so many “forgetful” husbands who were perfectly capable of remembering things at work, when they were paid for it and lauded for it.

          There’s an element of privilege and misogyny if a man can do this at work but is suddenly incapable of doing it in his married life. Please, please OP do not prop up this b.s.!

          I’ve also seen full grown men behave this way when married and then mysteriously they suddenly become competent and capable of remembering when divorcing and the judge was deciding about child custody and child support.

          1. Archaeopteryx*

            That’s why even in the wedding planning process my husband and I were really mindful of splitting the emotional/logistical labor. It’s so frustrating when you see women who are in charge of all the family’s scheduling just because they’re female. I know an amazing “supermom” who wouldn’t have to be super if her husband did his share.

          2. Pescadero*

            “I’ve known so many “forgetful” husbands who were perfectly capable of remembering things at work, when they were paid for it and lauded for it. ”

            Funny enough – at my house, that is my wife.

            She is a highly technical IT person who refuses to RTFM… at home. At work the exact same task would be easy, because she’d read the manual.

            She even outright admits to it – “If I was at work where they were paying me to read directions, I would.”

          3. AnnaBananna*

            I wouldn’t call it misogyny. It’s laziness/scatterbrain. I say this because I do this as a woman. I will admit that it IS disrespectful of my partners time/needs.

          4. SavannahMiranda*

            You’ve verbalized exact reason why I split from my child’s father, my former fiancee. I quickly realized that sharing a home and having a child seemed to suddenly mean I was responsible for his dirty underwear, mismatched socks, doctor appointments, and the household diet. While working full time and being a mom. And taking flak for all of the above if I pushed back or refused.

            Nope! Not gonna put a legal contract in place binding me to someone fundamentally untrustworthy to adult for himself! Marriage is a business agreement and I’m not going into business with someone who can’t take care of themselves. As an adult human being he washed his socks and made his doctor appointments just fine before I was sleeping on half of the bed. To suddenly be unable to do so was ludicrous. When I was told that wasn’t an acceptable stance to take on the issues, I left him to do it for himself.

            I will be a single mom with all the hell that entails before I ‘mother’ a grown man. Period. Every single day of the week. I will do for a child what they cannot do for themselves. And train them how to adult. I will never do for an adult what he can do for himself.

            The wife in OP’s office picking up the dishes and detritus once a week is a private decision. She has probably chosen which battles to fight and come to the conclusion it’s more functional for her personally to pick up his tupperware and scarves on Fridays than it is to nag him and fight about it. When they already work together and that’s stressful enough. But that is for her own peace of mind and a private detente she may have negotiated in her marriage. It’s not a public assignment coming from outside her marriage. And it’s wholly inappropriate for anyone outside the marriage to try to add assignments to it.

            It’s sort of comprehensible how the powers that be might observe her doing that and try to peg her with additional mommy work. Like making sure he returns equipment (the equivalent of making sure his homework is packed for school every day) even long distance while she’s on a trip (WTF) and other buffoonery that she should not involved in within the workplace. But it’s not acceptable. Period.

            If OP is in a position to push back on that, they should. By one or several of the other approaches recommended. Like asking the dude directly for the equipment. Repeatedly if necessary. OP doesn’t have to call a consciousness raising meeting with their management, prepare a PowerPoint, light candles, and lecture them on gendered emotional labor and appropriate boundaries. Just handle it differently theirself. If it secures results, problem solved. If it doesn’t, take a different approach. But unless the wife approaches OP directly and says, “Hey ping me when Bob doesn’t bring things back and I’ll remind him” then stay out of their marriage.

        3. blackcat*

          I was just talking to a bunch of female friends about how so often women don’t have the privilege to be forgetful.

          1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

            I was just talking about this with my mom, about how women aren’t allowed to “forget” anything. And I’ve stopped reminding my husband not to forget about some things – if he wants to jeopardize relationships with his side of the family because he can’t remember things like buying his brother a Christmas present, that is not my problem any more.

            1. Aveline*

              Yep. One thing that I see more and more for women is not tolerating getting blamed for their husband forgetting to manage their own families.

              So at least there is some progress there.

              1. blackcat*

                My husband’s extended family is still bitter that I didn’t send them thank you notes for the wedding presents they gave us.

                That shit was my husband’s job. I refused to do it. My husband agrees that this is 100% his fault. But that’s not the way others see it.

                (My family is much larger, so I wrote way more notes. I mailed those promptly. )

                1. boop the first*

                  Yeah this is the thing! My husband can come at me with the whole “sexism is wrong! The idea of my family judging YOU for the cleanliness of our home or my decision to never buy holiday gifts is just unreasonable so don’t worry about it.”

                  Except that saying words at me doesn’t change the fact that yes, if our home is untidy or our diet is “bad” or we forgot to bring something to family dinner, I’m certain that the blame will be quietly settled onto me.

                2. Archaeopteryx*

                  Exactly! And thank you notes is a huge task. My husband and I both wrote messages on each note and divided up who did the addressing and it still took two months.

                  Some people found it surprising/charming that he’d written thank-you messages too; I pretended to be confused as to why that would be unusual. (He doesn’t get points for doing what should be basic expectations!)

                3. blackcat*


                  Yeah. My relationship with my MIL totally blew up when she visited us ~1 week after the death of my grandfather, whom I was super close to. I told my husband that getting things ready was his job. I just couldn’t. I was working full time. Husband was unemployed, so he had the time.
                  He didn’t get it ready to her standards. And she was SO INSULTED I didn’t do it, she refused to speak to me for 6 months.
                  What gets me is that MIL was a mess. FIL did 100% of the cleaning in their house. Yet she still firmly believed that it was my job to clean.

                  TL;DR for this sub thread: expecting women to do shit that men can do for themselves is a really terrible aspect of the patriarchy. OP, DON’T DO IT!!!!

                4. TootsNYC*

                  Partly because of this, my husband and I swapped families when it came to thank-you notes.

                  He felt more obligated to write to MY family, but he might have taken his own family for granted.

                  Plus, we each got a great P.R. moment when people got a note from the person they were NOT related to.

                  (though actually, we set aside time and sat down to write them together)

                5. Rainy*

                  As the person in my marriage with the best handwriting, I did all of the thank-you notes except his parents (TOWARD WHOM I DID NOT FEEL THANKFUL IN THE SLIGHTEST BY THAT POINT), which was a little annoying but I felt like the thank-you notes being legible was important, and it’s not just that his handwriting isn’t as pretty as mine, it’s that his scrawl looks like chicken tracks in a horse paddock.

                  Everything else, though–his family, his problem to remember. I can’t wait till my MIL says something snide about that, too.

                6. AnnaBananna*


                  I purchased the thank you notes and collected addresses and everything and then set them aside and told him they were ready for *him* to sign and send to his family/guests. GUESS WHAT is still sitting in my pantry 5 years later? Yep.


              2. SavannahMiranda*

                My mom has tried to blame my brother’s wife for not doing traditional wifey family things like reminding him of certain dates, anniversaries, phone calls, or tasks.

                I’ve called her out on that by saying I won’t do it for my partner (we’re now split but I would not do it when we were in the same household). He has a living mother and father and multiple siblings and niece/nephews. He’s perfectly capable of picking up the phone on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, of stopping by Walgreens a week before that and buying a 99 cent card and putting a stamp on it, and of writing down when children were born so that he can be the cool uncle and call them on their birthday. Not doing it for him. Period.

                Once she heard my stance on it, she stopped complaining about my brother’s wife. At least to me.

            2. Penny Hartz*

              My husband and I got married hella young, but even then I guess I was savvy enough to know that if I didn’t lay out some “ground rules,” I’d be the one running the entire household, remembering every birthday and special event, doing all the scheduling, etc.

              I was willing to do most of it and I still do–I’ve got control-freak tendencies anyway, but I refused to be “responsible” for his side of the family. Grandparents’ birthdays, parents’ birthdays … my side was on me, his side was on him.

              When we first got married, I had a mom, a dad, and one grandmother left. He had a mom, dad, sister, two grandmothers, and a grandfather. Now I’ve got no one, and he’s still got his parents and sister, plus a brother-in-law and and a nephew ( whom I love dearly and certainly consider “our” nephew). We joke a lot about how I’ve got it so easy now …

          2. Baby Fishmouth*

            I hate this because, while I am usually really competent with most things, I am pretty forgetful about certain things like birthdays – and so is my husband. And yet, while we both take full responsibility when we forget someone’s birthday, I am the one who is made to feel bad about it.

            Women are made to take on so much emotional baggage in their personal life, that Forgetful Professor’s Wife absolutely does NOT need this at work.

            1. Aveline*

              I recommend putting this in a digital shared calendar with reminders sent to both of you with increasing frequency up and until the event.

              I have a friend with ADD and this has helped a lot.

              DH and I have a shared iCal calendar with everyone’s events on it and shared notes for groceries and other things. So there’s no claiming “I forgot” or “I didn’t know.” All he has to do is check the calendar every day/week/month and see what’s coming up.

              1. wittyrepartee*

                YES! I had to twist my partner’s arm on using his google calendar. Then he realized that if he used it I’d actually be able to remember plans.

              2. Turquoisecow*

                My husband puts every upcoming event in our calendar – he sets it up like a meeting invite and sends it to me. Dinner with the parents, lunch at midday, upcoming birthdays – it all goes on the calendar. And we have a shared Note we use for our shopping list. As we notice we’re low on things during the week we each add them to the list and then when we go shopping together there’s no burden on either of to remember things. It works great for us.

                There’s no reason the husband in this situation can’t set up a reminder or alarm on his phone to pack that equipment and bring it back to work. If he shows up to work without it, he should go back home and get it on his lunch break or something instead of just *shrug* oh well I guess tomorrow.

          3. Overbooked*

            So true. Back in the 70s, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, one of the founding editors of Ms., memorably wrote, “Remembering counts as work.” The context was managing household chores, but it’s broadly true.

            1. TardyTardis*

              It’s now my job because my husband has chemo brain, but at least he now uses a brain book to cover most of his medical appointments.

          4. I can't remember my screen name*

            I’m having a variation of this problem. My spouse and I pretty evenly split responsibilities and both try to be diligent about scheduling/planning/not forgetting things.

            My problem is so many of the kids friends, our families, the other parents, or the people running activities will only contact me. Yes, I get that I’m the mom, but if he’s the one dropping kid off at a play date or activity and picking them up, please include him on the communications rather than forcing me to relay everything. It doesn’t need to be either/or, it can be to both! Even when he explicitly tells them to contact him, they still come to me only. It’s getting better but it’s frustrating.

            Now I just need him to remember to tell me lol

            1. SavannahMiranda*

              I feel this so much. Mainly with daycare. They will tell me about All The Things and either won’t tell him or he won’t remember. So they end up short on clothes, sheets, wipes and other necessities. They end up paying for it (and by extension my child) rather than him. It’s freaking maddening.

          5. Anonymeece*

            I was just thinking about this. Forgetful men are often characterized as “brilliant, absent-minded professors”… forgetful women are often categorized as “scatter-brained, flaky” types.

        4. CDM*

          Calling him every morning (or any morning!) is way more hand-holding than I’m willing to do for another adult. He isn’t my toddler.

          I’d stand in front of his desk in the afternoon and tell him “Professor Magoo, that equipment MUST be returned tomorrow. What are YOU going to do to make sure that happens?” Make him come up with something, whether it’s setting a phone reminder, a note, whatever. Don’t accept “I will”, press for a plan. And call him out if his suggested solution doesn’t sound like it’s going to work.

          And when it doesn’t get returned the next day, call him on it again. “What are YOU going to do about this? This is professionally unacceptable. We need that equipment back. You need to figure something out to make absolutely sure this gets returned. Other people need it to do their jobs. What is your plan?”

          Return all that awkward to Professor Magoo, don’t tiptoe around it while protecting his delicate sensibilities.

          1. Manchmal*

            How about “Please go home and get it so I can do my job.” Why should other people be inconvenienced because of his forgetfulness?

          2. PeteyKat*

            I agree CDM – return all that awkward to Professor Magoo. I’m forgetful myself and I have to set up a routine the evening before work to make sure I don’t forget the things I need. It works for me (I tell my husband to not distract me unless it’s an emergency). The Professor needs to take responsibility for himself.

            1. Jadelyn*

              I have ADHD and am super forgetful as a result. You know what I do? Set alarms on my phone for 10 minutes before my departure time in the morning, title them with whatever I need to remember to bring, and when it goes off my rule is that I have to deal with it immediately – if I’m doing my hair or something, I set down the straightener and go get the thing and put it on my purse, then go back to finish doing my hair. Because I am a nominally responsible adult who has to remember things for myself.

              1. Parenthetically*

                “I am a nominally responsible adult who has to remember things for myself.”

                Yes, jeebus fork! I’m a super work-avoidant slob by nature, so I write things down and have a weekly layout of stuff I have to get done, and set alarms for time-sensitive tasks, because like most work-avoidant slobs in this life, I don’t have a trust fund or something to fall back on!

            2. Gumby*

              If there is something particularly important that I need to take to work – I put a post-it on the door either on the handle or right at eye level so I cannot ignore it when I leave in the morning. (This is for one offs that would fall outside of my normal routine.) Basically, set things up when I *am* thinking about it so that later, when I am not, I am prompted.

              This morning? The bag of recycling was blocking the door. It normally lives in the kitchen but I knew my chances of remembering that I wanted to empty it into the bins was only 50-50 so I moved it last night to make sure I *couldn’t* forget this morning. (“But,” you say, “why not just take it out when you notice in the evening?” I respond, “I did not have any desire to traipse through the condo complex to the recycling bins in a nightgown nor did I want to get re-dressed.”)

              1. RUKidding*

                I di the post it note thing to remind me to take an umbrella (“Umbrella? Yes? No?).

                Don’t laugh. I live in Seattle. The umbrellas live next to the door. I forget them every.damn.time and have had to purchase new ones more times than I can count. Because…it was raining and I couldnt go home, so yeah $20.00 I wasnt planning to sprnd that day…

                Eventually I put up reminders. On the upside I doubt I will ever need to buy a new umbrella. Oh I also put a couple in my car. Finally.

        5. yllis*

          I think it’s a hold over from “behind every great man there is a great woman” days. The days where the man is doing important, high level work and therefore cannot be expected to occupy his valuable time and energy with the mundane.

          1. Emily K*

            Ironically, in a way there was more credit given to the work women do – since we weren’t “suitable” for “real work” outside of the home, women were lauded for being such excellent support staff in the home, just as the expression you cite.

            Once we entered the workplace, the patriarchy didn’t want us to notice that we were now doing two jobs, so culturally we started to diminish and devalue the work of the second shift. Why, if women realized they’d taken on paying jobs without giving up any unpaid housework or emotional labor, they might ask men to start sharing more of that burden, and we can’t have that!

            1. SavannahMiranda*

              I agree there used to be a lot of laudatory praise heaped on wives and their important, excellent work and power behind the throne (still is in some circles).

              But what I’ve noticed is the higher the praise, the lower or non-existent the pay. It’s like it’s meant to be remuneration for being taken advantage of. For not being ‘suitable’ to ‘real work’ outside the home. Or for other judgments about the person’s incapacity for other kinds of ‘real work.’

              How often are teachers lauded as doing the hardest work in society, wearing multiple hats, pulling money out of their own pockets for supplies, and generally stroked and praised, with people saying gosh, they just couldn’t do that job, at least not so amazingly. (Unless they are vilifying teachers which is the other side of the coin.)

              What they’re saying is, *thank god* I don’t have to do that job, and I know you get paid next to nothing (or in the case of SAHMs actually nothing), so I’m really thankful I’m not you. Here, take this flowerly praise as thin recompense for being taken advantage of. It’s utter BS.

              Where there is sanctified praise, always look for low wages and work that in reality is not at all valued. Despite it’s true contribution.

        6. Artemesia*

          When he arrives without it, send him home to get it. I cannot imagine an office putting up with more than one day of ‘I forgot to bring back the widget everyone needs.’ And then make it a rule that he doesn’t take stuff home.

        7. AKchic*

          Don’t even call up before the start of *your* work day to remind him. He has a phone, he can program a friggin’ reminder into it himself. This is not rocket science. This is a basic concept. He has been allowed to play the “absent-minded professor” for so long, and everyone is so used to having these Missing Stairs in their own lives, that here we are *S T I L L* trying to find workarounds for him that include someone else infantilizing him (OP calling to remind him in the morning). No. Since the multiple reminders from peers have not gone heeded, get the manager to issue one last reminder, while on the clock. It must be in the office by open of business next day or there will be a write-up (yeah, this is predicated on the idea that the boss is willing to do this, but I’m also saying this for anyone who manages an “absent professor Missing Stair” type) for hindering workflow and blocking access to company property. Do it in person and as a follow-up email (“per our conversation…”). That is his only and final reminder. If it’s not brought back the next morning, write him up. His wife isn’t his personal To Do checklist. She’s not his maid, personal assistant, or anything else of the sort when the company is paying her to work for them.

          (Yeah, this subject is one I get twitchy on. Sorry)

          1. RUKidding*

            Dont apologize. You are 10000% correct.

            The problem I see *here* is that the manager is ok with contacting his wife, so…

            But yeah these missing stairs need to have consequences. If everyone would stop indulging this BS they would *have to* get it together or head on down the road.

            So many of these types are males and women (wife, female colleagues, mothers, sisters, etc.) are expected yo pick up the slack because the patriarchy likes it that way so women are still being socialized to be handmaidens. It’s misogynistic and sick.

        8. RUKidding*

          Agreed but the callung to remind him thing..maybe once. Like you say he manages to get to work, etc. he should be *expected* to handle his work stuff without his wife *or* colleagues hand holding his “forgetfulness.”

      2. JSPA*

        That’s a strange reading of the use of “must,” which in context is pretty clearly used in the (very common) sense of “it’s the method she has chosen, to deal with a super- predictable issue.” It’s only “compelled” in the sense of, “the stuff needs to come home to be of future use.” Policing what’s worth “the price of admission” to her in their relationship is a really bad boundary violation. (On some level it’s infantilizing her to suggest that she can’t and won’t say, “please remind husband, not me,” if a co-worker occasionally presumes on the dynamic. Very different and far worse from her boss.)

        Work should not presume. But it’s notable they generally don’t treat her as his support system (though her husband may!) Concluding this because a) OP didn’t know about the misdirected reminders, and b) OP explicitly says you wouldn’t guess they were married based on work interactions and c) she’s going to conferences for a couple of weeks at a time, which means work has, to this point, treated them as independent units (as it should).

        Distracting her from her conference (rather than telling male co-worker to expect a morning reminder call or take a lunch hour or half-day of leave to do an extra commute to get that thing) is, however, a MASSIVE imposition. Please don’t.

        more generally…

        Sounds like multiple employees have independently presumed on the observed dynamics of the relationship, which isn’t great… but it becomes a bigger problem with making it any sort of regular or quasi – official, acknowledged policy, or treating it as something that ever takes priority over her own job–or her time, or her other plans. Once acknowledged, it probably does have to be officially shut down (in favor of a pre- programmed morning reminder call, perhaps?) but i would not aggressively police new hires who see the same pattern and independently reach for the same “obvious solution.” Nor police the wife, if she chooses to tell people to reach out to her– especially if there’s an independent “outside of work friend” dynamic. (Conspicuously missing here: her stated preference. She’s allowed to have one.)

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Completely agree–it is not on anyone in the office to tell her not to come and find the lunch containers if that’s what works for her and having a reasonable supply of lunch containers at home. Doing so would be a creepy violation.

        2. Future Homesteader*

          This! I read it that way, too, and agree – the answer here is that work should stay out of their relationship on ALL fronts. My husband can be forgetful/not responsible in the same ways, but I’m also forgetful/not responsible in other ways. We each manage our parts of the relationship/household. That’s part of the beauty of our partnership – we get to offload things we don’t like/are bad at onto the other’s plate.

          1. Jennifer*

            Same! I can be forgetful/irresponsible as well. I can be messy too. I think everyone can be depending on the context. People are making assumptions about their marriage that may not be accurate. She could be irresponsible in other areas and he is the one picking up the slack. I don’t like the assumption that women are automatically competent in all areas and never need someone to pick up the slack. That hurts women too.

        3. Emily K*

          I also interpreted it as something they’d worked out between the two of them, not anything she’d been requested to do by his colleagues (hence why this letter was even a question, because currently they are not making requests of his wife).

      3. Zillah*

        I took that to be an example of how forgetful the husband is, not a formal policy or expectation from the office that the wife pick up after him.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Right– I read that as, “He keeps leaving his stuff at the office so she collects it to take it home.” Kind of like how I go around my house in the morning collecting whatever mugs and glasses didn’t make it into the kitchen the day before. (And those mugs usually belong to me.)

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        Tell him he’s now expected to tidy up daily, not weekly.

        This is exactly the sort of nit picking that drives off good employees. No one at work is being hurt by the scarves and mugs in his workspace. The one person who is conceivably inconvenienced by it has come up with a method that works for her, and other people don’t need to pop in and manage the work divide in her marriage.

        1. Quackeen*

          Seriously. Tell them no more maid service reinforces that very same boundary violation we’re talking about avoiding. I don’t tell my other adult friends and coworkers anything about how to manage their lives and relationships, unless it’s a work issue that impacts my deliverables. A coworker’s lunch containers are not in that category.

        2. Jennifer*

          Exactly. Who hasn’t forgotten a mug, lunch container, or scarf? How is that hurting the other employees? If she wants to come in and pick up after him, that’s her business. The only thing they need to worry about is when he forgets things that affect work and that should be addressed with him the same as you would address any other employee that made a fairly serious mistake.

      5. TootsNYC*

        I agree with the objection to the word “must.”

        She CHOOSES to do this.

        If she wants to, that’s fine–I think it’s her prerogative to do so.
        But I would say that the folks in the office need to NOT rely on her to do so.

        Lean on him, not on her. (different kind of “leaning on” for each of them, depending on whom you’re doing the “leaning on” to)

        1. ket*

          I think there’s a chance that we’re reading too much into the word “MUST”. Consider for instance:

          “He must really work out a lot!” “They must really be into Dungeons and Dragons.” “She must have a really good sense for football: her fantasy league picks were amazing.”

  2. Annette*

    Sounds like the husband is being coddled. Both by his wife and by coworkers who hold him to a lower standard. Brilliant people can also respond to emails. Start expecting more from him and stop expecting his wife to be his assistant.

    1. Mookie*

      Seriously. If there was any justice in the world, not only would his reputation tank but so would that of the manager who tried to unilaterally delegate more menial tasks and responsibilities to the absent Little Lady. I am just so sick of these kinds of people being loudly and widely credited as uncannily brilliant. Just as it’s expensive to be poor, it’s easy to be a savant when you farm out your own ass-wiping.

      1. Workerbee*

        “It’s easy to be a savant when you farm out your own ass-wiping.”

        Now there’s a meme I’d appreciate.

      2. Bunny Girl*

        Ugh yes. We have so many people in our department who are called “brilliant” and “special” and meanwhile those brilliant and special people can’t turn on the computer and rely on the staff to do every little thing.

      3. Jadelyn*

        “it’s easy to be a savant when you farm out your own ass-wiping.” That sentence is a thing of beauty.

      1. TootsNYC*

        and if he can remember all the calibers of the guns on every individual model of WWII tank, he can remember that we don’t recycle the plastic peanut butter jar. (well, we didn’t; we do now)

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I think it’s possible to be patient and kind and to also stop expecting his wife to be his assistant.

      2. sin nombre*

        There is really no evidence of this in the letter and even if there were it would not be actionable. No one is advising not being patient and kind but there is zero reason for his wife to be held professionally responsible for his failings.

      3. Mookie*

        No, the LW describes him as a “forgetful professor” stereotype, brilliant at what he chooses to be. That describes someone with certain character, of a predictable gender, exhibiting willful behavior, and usually in one if several predictable vocations.

        1. Dr. Glowcat Twinklepuff*

          Yeah… it’s possible that he never “forgets” important or prestigious stuff…
          But regardless of his reasons, I would find it pretty humiliating to be “the one who need his wife for basic stuff”. It’s OK to have some lighthearted jokes about it, in a friendly office, but the managers who organize work around it are infantilizing him. Remembering even the most menial things of his job is part of his job, and so far he’s not being held responsible for it.

        2. Mary*

          Yes, I had a full body shudder at “he husband coworker is kind of the forgetful professor type, brilliant at what he does but once a week the wife coworker ~must~ …”

          1. Mookie*

            Yeah, I question the characterization of their work relationship as “nobody knows they’re married.” But everyone, apparently, knows she cleans his room and returns the toys he “borrowed” from the other kids.

            He’s “brilliant” at cultivating an air of professional genius and equally “brilliant” at making his wife do things that, when mandatory, damage women’s standing in the workplace. Five to one, in a permissible environment like this, that same manager wanted to task another woman with managing Johnny Appleseed’s trail of lost, probably damaged goods when he found out she was away for business.

        3. RUKidding*

          Ding ding ding.

          “…may have some decline…”
          Nope. Just another guy expecting others to do the grunt work and getting away with it.

      4. stump*

        There is a very prominent and pervasive societal school of thought that believes that even though men can be brilliant at what they do professionally, they are helpless babies at domestic tasks (i.e. “women’s work”) and should not reasonably be expected to be successful at things like cleaning up after themselves, childcare, and cleaning their living space. There way too many of men out there (And yeah, I don’t know the numbers, but enough that it seems like mine and everybody’s straight married female coworkers joke about having to prepare freezer meals when they come go out town or coming back to a filthy disaster area when they get home and everybody laughs and jokes about it.) who 100% knowingly project this image of selective helplessness because it’s gets them out of doing tasks they don’t want to do. “Sorry babe, I ruined your favorite sweater in the wash. Again. I guess a ~big dumb oaf~ like me just isn’t good at laundry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

        Add in the “brilliant professor” archetype who’s “just so brilliant he can’t be bothered with piddly things like cleaning up after himself because he’s got important Brain Work to do” and a wife who’s his coworker who everyone keeps forcibly shoving into the “wives clean up after husbands because That’s Just What They Do” role because “Well, look, she’s right here! It’s so convenient! I can just dump the mugs on her instead of trying to get Professor Messy to clean up after himself!”, and yeah, it’s far more likely than not that this is just the same gender role tomfoolery that plays out all over the place every day than any sort of dementia; there’s just zero mention of other possible cognitive decline in the letter. But it does fall into the overarching societal pattern of “What men do is more important than what women do, so women get to do the boring stuff like cooking, cleaning, and childcare.” of which the “forgetful professor who’s hecking brilliant but can barely dress himself because he is just SO BRILLIANT that he can’t let his brain be sullied by such mundane frivolities” is an extreme subtype.

        1. londonedit*

          100% this. I know several married women who will post photos of their children on Facebook with the caption ‘OMG who would have guessed Daddy dressed the baby!!!’ implying that because said child is wearing (gasp) a floral top with stripy leggings, ‘Daddy’ is useless at childcare. Isn’t it ‘hilarious’ how he can’t even get an outfit right!!

          See also: people who refer to men as ‘babysitting’ their own children. One friend went away for a weekend and literally left her husband a list of all the tasks that needed to be completed in order to perform basic care for his own children, and was then all over social media all weekend with comments like ‘Eeeek can’t wait to see the state of the house with Daddy in charge!!!!’ and ‘Who wants to bet everyone’s still in pyjamas!!!’ Drives me absolutely mad, and of course there are men who play up to it because then no one is going to expect them to do this stuff.

          1. Karen from Finance*

            Also, it’s demeaning to BOTH genders. I’ll never understand why (these) men are so ok with portraying themselves as useless children, even if that is what lets them get away with not doing stuff.

            1. Michaela Westen*

              I think it’s because they like being taken care of and getting out of chores. They *are* children.
              I’ve only known such men at work, but that’s enough to form this impression.
              I used to know one socially, for some reason this thread reminds me of him. He was married and kept trying to kiss me, and I told him not to and he did again, in public, and I pushed him away.
              Poor baby.

            2. Jadelyn*

              I mean, it’s a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card basically. You get lavished with praise for the tiniest effort, automatically forgiven when you don’t even bother to do that much. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

              1. RUKidding*

                Husband: “I washed the dishes.”
                Me: “I cleaned the bathroom, did three loads of laundry, made the bed, did X, Y, Z …”

                Husband: “Why are you telling me all if that?”
                Me: “Why are you telling me you washed the dishes?”

                Only took a couple times to figure out I was not going to offer effusive thanks and genuflect every time he does something around the house.

            3. RUKidding*

              It’s precisely *because* pretending they are hopeless at domestic stuff, including taking care of their *own children* gets them out of those tasks.

              Either their wives feel sorry for them, buy into the learned helplessness BS, or (most likely) just get so frustrated that it’s easier/faster to do it than to argue/explain *again.*

              Inciting an argument/saying “can you just tell/teach me(again)” is just another tactic to get out of doing their fair share.

              Also see “I didn’t see it” and “tell me what you want me to do.” Because apparently they are incapable, for all their brilliance, of looking around and assessing what needs to be done.

              No, I’m not annoyed/angry/bitter. Why finyou ask?

          2. Emi.*

            People say this kind of thing about my husband, who does more childcare than I do, and it drives me mad. We do not need “dad-proof” diapers. We need poop-proof diapers, for heaven’s sake.

          3. furious mom*

            I called it babysitting not because I expected him to be terrible at it but because I was always the one who had to ask if he could watch the kids and if he couldn’t (or didn’t want to), I had to figure something out. I was never the one who could walk out the door without having to make sure that child care was taken care of. In other words, if you get to say no, then it’s babysitting.

              1. Pescadero*

                Eh… my wife and I BOTH called it babysitting when just one of us was responsible while the other was out for an evening.

                …but then – we both got to say no to caring for our kids when we needed to also.

            1. TexanInExile*

              I got angry at a TV show last night where the man, a judge, is walking out of the house with a bag.

              Wife: Where are you going?
              Husband: Wicklow.
              Wife: When will you be back?
              Husband: I don’t know. Maybe tonight. But if it goes long, then tomorrow.

              I wanted to scream, “How come you just get to walk out of the house without making sure someone will come to feed the cat, shovel the sidewalk, pick up the mail?”

              Must be nice.

              1. TootsNYC*

                For that matter, why is she just finding out that he’s leaving?

                My household’s dialogue would be,
                Husband: “I’m off to Wicklow–I’ll call you as soon as I know whether I’ll have to stay over. Are you sure you’ll be OK with dropping off the kids?”
                Wife: “Definitely. I’ll empty the diswasher while I’m at it.”

          4. Quackeen*

            Unfortunately some women do reinforce this by gatekeeping instead of letting husbands figure it out. My sister-in-law, when going on her first work trip since her son was born, pre-made every lunch the kid would need to take to daycare, because she didn’t trust her husband to do it “correctly.” She set out 4 days’ worth of outfits, with spares to pack in case of an accident. She could not leave any detail unmanaged just in case he “messed up.” It wasn’t my business at all, so I didn’t ask, but I really wanted to know…so what? What if her husband did pack a less-nutritious lunch? Surely it wasn’t going to be pork rinds and beer. What if her son wore plaid and stripes one day? (Hey, mixing patterns is in now!) She’s about a year into being back at work, and I’m not sure how it’s going (again, not my business).

            1. Ralph Wiggum*

              100% agree.

              So much of child care is learned through trial and error. You have to be tolerant of your spouse going through the same learning experiences you did.

            2. Bee*

              I do think sometimes it can be misdirected stress about leaving the baby, especially when it’s the first time you’ll be apart overnight. Hyper-controlling the practical elements gives you a way to feel like you’re still there. But if you’re not careful, you’ll establish a pattern that’s still going on when the kid’s a teenager!

            1. Yvette*

              Yes, babysitting is something you do for someone else’s children, either as a favor or for compensation.

          5. wittyrepartee*

            I know someone who constantly talks about how her husband wouldn’t eat enough if she wasn’t around. I always assume this is just what turns their crank, and I’m an unfortunate bystander in a long drawn out flirtation.

          6. Rainy days*

            I know. I have so many friends who tell me, “My husband just can’t keep track of…(kids, appointments, chores).” I tell them, “Your husband has a MASTERS degree. It’s about what he thinks deserves his attention and what does not.”

            1. TexanInExile*

              Exactly. My husband is brilliant and we are partners in our home, but – he is only just now beginning to understand that there is a lot of work involved in some of the things I do. He does his share of the work around here, but I am the person who finds someone to shovel the sidewalk and feed the cat when we leave town. He did not understand – until I began to tell him over and over and over – that it’s not just asking someone to do it – it’s developing and maintaining the relationships that let you ask for those kind of favors. (Even if you are paying someone to do these things, which we do when we can, it’s still a favor.)

        2. Lynn Whitehat*

          I once went on a “girls’ cruise” with ten other women. The lady organizing it wanted us all in the port city a whole day in advance. I thought it was a strange request, but I thought maybe she didn’t want any drama about people getting there late.

          Nope. Other than me, all the women were getting frantic calls from their husbands. “How do I pill the cat?” “I have to work today! What am I supposed to do with our daughter?” “Where is the soccer gear?” The extra day was to give the husbands a chance to adjust before the wives got out of cell phone range.

          1. TechWorker*

            ‘I have work today! What am I supposed to do with our daughter’ – like wtf? Did the woman forget to inform her family she was on holiday or did the man forget he has children..?!

            1. wittyrepartee*

              Figure it out! Her needs are pretty basic- food, water, entertainment, being watched so she doesn’t shove a screwdriver into a socket.

          2. Karen from Finance*

            I have the growing suspicion that it’s precisely because we plan ahead for this level of incompetence, that they keep pulling this. They are still relying on the women in their lives to help them deal with it, even remotely.

            1. RUKidding*

              Yup. A couple years ago I was gone for six months for an academic thing. Husband had to figure it out. Shockingly, he didnt starve or not have clean clothes and the house didnt crumble to the ground!

          3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            My children’s dad did all these things and more: sent a toddler to daycare in the same pajamas Toddler had slept in; brought one of the kids to the ER and told the ER nurse that Kid was in second grade, only to be told by Kid, “dad, I’m in third”; and so on. But that was not because he was absent-minded or genetically unsuited to take care of children or any of that stuff. It was because he really and truly believed that household and childcare were women’s work, and nothing and no one (including his own parents) could talk him out of it. I found out too late, when we already had two kids. It never came up when we were dating, because at least for me, it never crossed my mind that someone could honestly think these things, so I never thought to ask. It was not endearing or cute, it was embarrassing and infuriating, and also I am no longer married to him. I have no idea what possesses women to cultivate this or to post about it on social media as if it’s adorable or funny – it’s not. Then again, maybe I have such a strong aversion to this “helpless dad” thing because my own dad was never like that when I was growing up. I put in a lot of effort trying to make sure that my sons do not see this behavior as something for them to model in their own families. Hard to tell yet if it worked, will soon find out when they start families of their own.

            1. Michaela Westen*

              I have an aversion to it also, and it’s the reason I’m single. I’m too old to have children and for about 10-15 years it seems most of the men who show interest in me are looking for a babysitter. It’s not about loving me as a person and considering what I need, it’s all about what they want from me – and they want me to take care of them as if they’re children. If only one good, competent adult man would show some interest… I’ve been waiting a while for him.

            2. Trying for equality*

              My partner and I don’t have kids and we talk frequently about what we can do to make sure we share responsibilities when we have them. Our plans include: him taking a longer leave than I take to give him experience caring for the baby on his own, mixing breastfeeding with formula very early on so he can take some responsibility for feeding them; and the condition that I have a job that pays similar to what his pays before we try (I am preparing to go back to school and enter a new field to make this possible) so I don’t end up feeling pressured to leave my career. Only time will tell if it works, but talking about it early and often is the best I can do for now.

              1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

                The spouse and I talked about it, but him following through on sharing responsibility didn’t always happen. He said he’d take night feedings with formula, and he did…except that I had to spend ten minutes waking him up, and then he’d keep coming to me and asking, “Is this the right temperature? How about this?” Ad infinitum, ad nauseam. All of which defeated the purpose of me getting a bit more sleep. I don’t miss those years.

                1. Zombeyonce*

                  My husband did that exactly once during my maternity leave and I snapped “figure it out!” at him when I was trying to sleep. He did, so I got my sleep and he got his bonding time and felt more confident about parenting. Win-win.

            3. RUKiddings*

              My dad (back in the dark ages 60s… 70s) cooked, cleaned, ironed, took care of his own kids without feeling like he was not a man or that it was all my mom’s job.

              A girl/woman rsised by a man who I would describe as a as close to a feminist as males can be was not about to let anyone get away with dumping gender role expectations all over her.

              Even with society doing a damn good job trying to do that I managed to more or less not knuckle under.

              I cant imagine what it’s like for women rsised with parents who buy into the idea of women doing all thingd domestic, child, and emotional labor related.

        3. Yvette*

          “… who 100% knowingly project this image of selective helplessness because it’s gets them out of doing tasks they don’t want to do. “Sorry babe, I ruined your favorite sweater in the wash. Again. I guess a ~big dumb oaf~ like me just isn’t good at laundry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” ”

          This is a favorite trick of teenagers/children when it comes to chores as well. Doing it badly in the hopes the responsibility will be taken away.

          1. TootsNYC*

            My son did some chore very badly, and I said, “Is this one of those passive aggressive tactics to get out of having to tackle a responsibility? Do a shitty job so that I’ll never ask you to do it again? That’s classic textbook passive aggression.”

            He was SO OFFENDED!

            I was like, “Hey, what else am I supposed to think?”

            And he went off and did it right.

          2. AKchic*

            Yup. Both of my ex-husbands pulled that “trick”, my current husband tried (and got called out on it), and my own boys tried it at one time or another. It doesn’t work.

            There are a few things in the house that nobody is allowed to do. Namely – wash my delicates and touch the medication lock box. That’s it. My delicates simply because I am tired of having my $75-100 bras ruined because they don’t notice them and toss them in the washer/dryer, and because I’m picky about how I put away my clothes and they aren’t so it’s just easier (and cheaper) if I do it myself.
            The medication lock box is something nobody is allowed to touch because of the meds in there and I have the keys. It is all my medication and they have no reason to go in there anyway.

      5. Juli G.*

        They are being patient and kind. However, work is being delayed due to his forgetfulness. That’s not okay.

      6. Jennifer Juniper*

        @Kat A:

        Huh? OP didn’t mention anything about the husband being elderly or sick. That being said, however, the husband could have executive dysfunction issues.

        Also, being “patient and kind” does not require interrupting the wife at her conference! A reminder to the husband would be better.

        1. Autumnheart*

          I have executive dysfunction issues, that’s why I create notes and reminders and lists. I don’t get to brush it all off on one of my colleagues because I’m so ~brilliant~.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Right? I have ADHD and depression. My executive functioning is crappy on my best days, nonexistent on my worst days.

            I have notes, a planner, three different apps, reminders on my phone, etc. I make a point to ask my coworkers to put requests in email so that I can track things via folders in my inbox. I actually am, not to put too fine a point on it, brilliant, and have literally been described as a “rock star” employee multiple times by multiple people – but I’m still responsible for setting my systems and processes up to help me stay that way, and I don’t get to farm that out to my coworkers. (Gee, I wonder if gender might have something to do with that…)

          2. Rainy days*

            Yes. My husband is terrible with remembering dates and appointments and…he relies heavily on his calendar! Especially now with all the technology we have available for reminders, there’s no excuse.

      7. Aveline*

        It’s far, far more likely that either he’s just learned to be this way b/c he thinks it’s his wife’s job to manage this OR because he has ADD. Unless he’s older and this is something fundamentall new. But as this was not mentioned in the letter, it’s a safe assumption that’s not the case. It’s safer to assume internalized sexism or ADD.

        If it’s internalized sexism by the wife in helping her husband, OP should not reinforce that.

        And if it’s ADD? Most ADD sufferers I know figure it out at some point in their lives and develop coping mechanisms.

        Studies show that men do have more ADD and related disorders than women. So they are, on the whole, more forgetful. But we also know that too large a percentage of men get married and expect their wives to be their social and personal project managers.

        So, even if it’s ADD, it’s not OPs job to help manage this for him. And if she wants to, she should go directly to the man and not through the wife.

        The only scenario in which she should work directly with wife is if wife comes to her and asks. She hasn’t done that.

        Forgetfulness due to something like ADD is difficult to manage. It’s really hard for a lot of men who have the issue. But it’s also true that a lot of them develop coping mechanisms.

        This is squarely on him if and until he’s went to OP or other coworkers and said “I have ADD/other disorder, I need help with X, can you do Y for me?”

        Until then, PRESUME COMPETENCE.

        Let me repeat that. Presume Competence. The worst thing those of us with reasonably normal cognitive systems can do is presume someone else isn’t competent. Be kind and help where needed, but don’t take over and don’t run roughshod over another’s ability to make decisions just b/c we want to help.

        Nothing in this letter indicates this man is not competent to ask for help if he needs it.

        1. Aveline*

          Also, presume competence applies even for the elderly in cognitive decline.

          I have so many clients whose children come in and want to take over b/c “dad’s making poor decisions!” Guess what, if dad has even a shred of competency, he legally and morally gets to make those decisions – even bad ones.

          We should never, ever take over for someone unless we know that they are truly incapable or that they are truly a danger to themselves and others.

          It is NOT A KINDNESS to assume someone needs help or for us to take over or for us to make a decision for them. It is not a kindness to substitute our judgement about what a person needs or should do for their own.

          One of the only things we humans ever really possess is the ability to maker decisions about our own daily lives.

        2. Baby Fishmouth*

          Yes, I have a mild suspicion my husband has Adult ADHD… it’s certianly not to the point that he needs to see a doctor about it, but he has some other symptoms (and told me the other day that coffee calms him down and makes him focus on things better which… is definitely the opposite of what happens to most people I know). He is definitely forgetful, but *I don’t take responsibility for that*. It is NOT my job to manage his life. And as he gets older, he has better coping mechanisms for it. I am not his coping mechanism.

          1. Aveline*

            Hugs you through the screen (if you like hugs, if not high five).

            It’s so tough to not do this if you love someone.

            Here’s hoping he continues to learn to cope.

            1. Baby Fishmouth*

              Thank you! We are doing fine and he is soooo much better than he was when we first moved in together (his parents let him get away with way too much growing up, so he never learned how to cope). I’ve just had to learn how to change my way of communicating with him when it comes to tasks – but I try very hard not to actually do work for him, because that would make us both unhappy.

              1. TexanInExile*

                My husband’s mother did everything for him – even made his bed. I was appalled when I learned that. I figured it out when I realized he was not making hospital corners when he made the bed.

                Don’t worry – I am happy to have someone else doing the laundry and changing the bed and if the bed doesn’t have hospital corners, oh well. But I was so shocked that someone would leave her child so unprepared for adulthood. Fortunately, he taught himself how to be a functioning adult after college.

                1. Turquoisecow*

                  My father-in-law’s parents basically did everything for him and his wife after that and now his second wife. My mother-in-law, his first wife, still is happy to take on the “do everything for my kids” role. She travels halfway across the country to see them and while she’s there she jumps in and does their laundry or vacuuming or ironing or whatever. My husband was never asked to help with dinner so he hasn’t the slightest idea how to do most cooking. I ask him to help me grate cheese or peel apples or potatoes and I have to show him first (he’s happy to help but has no idea what to do) and I’m just appalled. How did she think he was going to survive after he left home?

                2. Jadelyn*

                  I had the same issue with my fiance when we first got together. His mom was a germophobe and had control issues related to housekeeping as a result, so he made it to adulthood without ever doing laundry, dishes, cooking, anything. Even after he started work, he made it to his mid-20s without ever paying his own bills – his mom had access to his bank account and dealt with it on his behalf.

                  We had to have a few come-to-jesus moments early on where I had to remind him that I’m not his mother and I expect him to behave like a functional adult who handles his own shit.

                3. RUKiddings*

                  My MIL had seven children. She didnt have time to coddle the boys. Even if she had time, knowing her as I do…that wasnt gonna happen anyway.

          2. wittyrepartee*

            Hey! Just so you know though, even if he doesn’t NEED it- going to the doctor and getting some amount of treatment made my life a lot less stressful. It also brought a lot of things into focus for me: I suddenly understood why I had struggled with basic things for so long (I once lost 4 wallets in a year. FOUR.) If he’s not opposed and you’re well insured, it might be useful to go and figure this thing out?

          3. Jadelyn*

            Holy shit the coffee thing…I never made that connection. I love coffee and caffeinated sodas, but they don’t make me wired and they don’t keep me up – I can have a Mtn Dew at 11pm and immediately go to bed. I never realized that was an ADHD thing. I just thought I was weirdly immune to caffeine?

        3. Emily K*

          *clears throat* Well, actually… (sorry, couldn’t resist)

          Men and women appear to suffer from ADD at similar rates, but women are frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as having anxiety and depression instead of ADD. This is because most ADD diagnoses happen in childhood, via teacher referral. Boys with ADD are more likely to act out in a disruptive way, while girls with ADD are more likely to struggle privately and quietly, so young boys get far more referrals for ADD evaluation than young girls because they’re the ones driving teachers batty enough to make a referral while the girls who do all their homework when they arrive at 6 AM because they forgot the textbook at school the day before go unnoticed.

          By high school, girls with undiagnosed ADD often develop significant self-esteem issues stemming from what they feel is an inability to live up to expectations – they can’t seem to remember things or work diligently the way they know they’re supposed to. At this point, they end up in therapy and get diagnosed with anxiety and depression, often without the psychologist noticing that ADD is the underlying issue causing anxiety and depression.

          Among adults who self-present for evaluation, rather than relying on a teacher or parent to recommend they be evaluated, men and women are diagnosed with ADD at similar rates.

          1. Karen from Finance*

            Interesting. This is aligned to something a therapist said to me in my early 2o’s. She said that she thinks I have mild ADD but it went undiagnosed because of my depression and anxiety (which have been more severe) and because I had good grades in school without putting in much effort. Also because I seem to have picked up coping mechanisms that therapists actually do recommend for people with ADD, so because I was managing it well, no one really noticed.

            What you are describing makes an awful sense to me, and it kind of validates to me that therapist’s theory.

          2. Tammy*

            This. Also, ADHD exists in three subtypes (inattentional, hyperactive, and mixed). The hyperactive subtype is generally the one that triggers diagnosis when we’re young, and it seems to be more common among boys than girls. As an adult, I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD (mixed subtype) and I’ve access to medication and better adaptive skills to help me. But as a younger person, I struggled mightily with focus, organization, deadlines, etc. as well as with intense self-esteem issues and anxiety as a result.

            I specifically sought out an ADHD diagnosis in my early 40s partly because I hoped that knowing for sure that my struggles were related to ADHD would help me let go of the “brain weasels” that tell me I’m screwed up, worthless, undeserving and broken because of how my brain works. And it’s helped a lot…but I suffered a lot to get here.

          3. Andraste's Knicker Weasels*

            I’m a woman with inattentive ADHD who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 28. You totally nailed it with this post. I also wanted to thank you for including this

            while the girls who do all their homework when they arrive at 6 AM because they forgot the textbook at school

            I always felt such deep shame at this and didn’t consciously connect it to my ADHD, even though it’s incredibly obvious.

            The first time I was prescribed Adderall, my psychiatrist called me the next day to check in. I actually started crying on the phone because it was such incredible clarity. It was the first time in my life that I could even just sit and watch an episode of a tv show without having my phone/laptop, or a book, or knitting with me. This is what it’s like for most people? I really do have a brain that truly works differently than the norm and it’s not just an excuse for me being a sh*tty, lazy, horrible person?

            Without my ADHD diagnosis, I couldn’t have worked on the severe anxiety and depression that I had (have). It’s literally changed my life. If anyone here has thought they might have ADHD but figured it was too late to bother dealing with, it’s never too late.

            1. Sir Freelancelot*

              I’m here for your nickname… I LOVE IT!!! I hope the Maker will smile upon you! Or that it will give you a Mabari At least.

            2. Jillian*

              This was exactly my experience – I’m a woman who was diagnosed at 29. I also was brought to tears by the validation of it – like “oh, so I’m not just useless and disorganized…”

              I had the exact same experience with not being able to do one thing at a time – like I could never sit through movies without also reading articles on my phone. Being able to sit through meetings without doodling, zoning out, or writing unrelated lists has been a trip.

              Medication has been an absolute godsend for me.

          4. wittyrepartee*

            I’m… very very ADHD (subtype inattentive). This described me to a tee. I was able to coast through a lot of school on other aptitudes and inherent interest in most subjects, but it was HARD. Like, sometimes the teacher changed the test day, and I would just come into class and go “whelp, guess I’m getting a pop test today!” when I saw people clearing their desks and last minute studying. I really wanted to do well, and just couldn’t keep things straight.

            I got diagnosed when I had a really intense schedule while studying Mandarin abroad, and it was clear that I would get screaming headaches if I needed to pay attention for longer than 1 hour in small group settings. This was not the case for other people.

            Life is way better now with a diagnosis, drugs, more forgiving timetables at work (because school is so arbitrary), and a lot of (mostly electronic) coping mechanisms I’ve cooked up for myself. Naming it was amazing.

          5. Sar*

            Thanks for explaining that, Emily K, it adds so much context to my own experience and actually explains a lot for me. In the ’90s I *was* a girl diagnosed with ADHD-I in middle school and put on Ritalin, which made me very focused and then gave me suicidal ideation nine hours later like clockwork, and also made me the rare teenager who barely slept. After a year of that I refused to go back to the doctor or take the medication ever again, despite having stronger-than-usual academic success. The following year I didn’t come home and contemplate the block of kitchen knives every day, and I was much happier. Fifteen years later I received a diagnosis for panic disorder, at which point my therapist was astounded that anyone would have ever thought I had ADHD, even at the height of the trend. And I’m pretty sure my struggles with organization were mostly due to a lack of practice on my own behalf since my mom’s OCD was also undiagnosed. (Life is much better these days!)

            1. Michaela Westen*

              Wow, glad you survived that!
              My favorite was the doctor who prescribed me theophyllin for allergies and when I told her it was causing heart pounding and shakes she said “try taking a half dose”.
              Fine, and then in a few days you can treat me for the resulting heart attack…
              I refused to see any non-emergency doctors for 15 years.

            2. Jessen*

              Yup, I was also on the list where I got suicidal ideation from ritalin and adderall. In my case the doctors didn’t really want to do anything about it, as I was supposedly too young for that to be possible (the theory goes that children before age 10 or so can’t understand death well enough to have suicidal ideation). That said, while I always found schoolwork pretty easy, I struggle a lot with any sort of organization even as an adult. And I was always in trouble around housework as a kid because I just would miss things – like I can look around a kitchen I was supposed to tidy up 10 times and still legitimately not notice that there’s a spoon sitting on the counter. My brain just blocks it out. I wouldn’t be surprised if I do have some variation of the disorder.

              1. whingedrinking*

                I’m inattentive ADHD and I’ve been known to remark that I found school frustrating because everybody spent so much time trying to teach me things that were clearly easy and obvious (how to read and do math) but nobody would teach me how to do things that were hard (remember to bring my homework, be on time, get started on an assignment before it reached emergency status).

                1. Michaela Westen*

                  I had trouble with those things also because no one taught me. I still struggle with being on time decades later.

                2. Jessen*

                  I know, right! For me, there was the constant assumption that because I was a “smart kid”, the stuff I did struggle with must be because I was intentionally being lazy or difficult (because it was “easy”). Apparently that’s a common struggle with ADHD kids – adults see a generally intelligent kid suddenly not doing what are perceived as easy tasks and assume the child is choosing to act out.

              2. Jennifer Juniper*

                I tried to freeze myself to death when I was eight. I want to tell that to the person who came up with that stupid theory that the under-ten set can’t understand death that well.

                1. Jessen*

                  Yeah poking about online I’ve found a fair few people who’ve said they had either ideation or attempts in early childhood, and said that medical professionals didn’t take it seriously.

  3. Annette*

    For part time jobs – look at job boards geared toward University students. I see many 20 hour jobs ideal for area students.

    1. CastIrony*

      In my alma mater (the only university in town), only those with work study can get those part-time office jobs. All there are for people like me are jobs in food service! **sniff sniff**

      1. Annette*

        Those are jobs at the University. I’m referring to jobs in town – advertised to University students.

      2. Astrea*

        Yeah. My alma mater college is so small that *all* of the entry-level jobs — basically everyhing except faculty and high-level administrative staff — go to students needing work-study. That was good for me as a student because my work-study job jump-started my chosen career. But I believe I’ll never have any prospects of working there again, at a place I love dearly, miss terribly, and hated to leave.

    2. JR*

      Or job boards for freelancers and independent consultants – they vary depending on your professional background, but check out Catalant, The Mom Project, Upwork, etc. OP, if you want to share your industry/function, maybe we can help you brainstorm.

    3. MintHartkeLavendar*

      I would say, also, keep an eye on nonprofit job boards! Their tighter budget constraints often mean they’d be interested in hiring people part-time, either explicitly or if you ask. It’s true that the majority are going to prefer full-time, but I think there’s also a strong bias in the other direction too; orgs presume that they won’t be able to find a good part-time person, since that pool of people is just generally going to be smaller, and it’s an especially tight labor market now, so they wait until they can afford full-time even if in their heart of hearts they might prefer part-time. If OP has the luxury to try applying to places and noting part-time availability in their cover letter, I think that might be more successful than we’d assume.

      1. Washi*

        Yeah, I worked at a nonprofit that was always hiring for certain part time positions and I usually had the opposite problem – half the applicants were planning to take the job at my org and leave as soon as they found a full time gig. I was thrilled every time I found someone who actually preferred part time.

        That said, it sounds like the OP isn’t just looking for any part time job, but for high-paying part time jobs in her field, which is a whole different animal. OP, do you still have any connections in your field who you could ask to do an informational interview to get a better sense of whether the type of position you are looking for even exists? It may be that in your field, there’s just not a lot of part time work, and that would be worth knowing so you can have a sense of how you want to proceed.

        1. OP #5*

          I don’t mind sharing a bit about my work history and what I’m looking for. Here’s the deal: I have just under 10 years of experience working for a couple of different non-profits in general office roles. I did a lot of different things, all loosely centered around communications (which is my degree): database management, mass mailings, email with clients, press releases, social media, volunteer recruitment and management, and (since these were religious organizations), a fair amount of religious teaching, both to adults and children.

          All this variety as made me very much a ‘jack of all trades’ – at the admitted risk of also being master of none. But I think I’d have a lot to contribute to a small organization (either non-profit or in the business world) as a solid utility player.

          When I say “high paying,” I mean $15-20/hr. I’ve recently (as in… last week) relocated to Central Florida. My husband found a good job here that pays enough to cover a moderately frugal lifestyle, so I have the luxury of being picky about where I work. I currently have a side-gig as a technical writer, both with a regular publication and with a book that will be published in July (hooray royalties!). I appreciate the writing gig and the money is great, but I like talking to people and find technical writing to be rather boring. I don’t want to do more if I don’t have to.

          1. Heather*

            Hi OP#5! I haven’t read through all of the comments but I came here to say that I am a branch manager at a bank and also live in Florida! Without disclosing my company name I can tell you that most banks pay part-time tellers in the range you’re looking for, if banking happens to interest you. Not sure how you can get in contact with me but we can email if you’re looking for advice on getting into banking! I’ll put my email on this and if it’s possible for Alison to get us in touch I’d be happy to help.

      2. CM*

        Great idea, and also consider local nonprofits that might be too small to post on job boards — I’ve worked with several who would love to have a part-time person to do stuff like administrative work, marketing, PR, grant-writing, and other office work.

      3. LeighTX*

        This is a great idea. Here in Houston, the United Way maintains a job board with a lot of non-profit postings that don’t show up anywhere else. It’s possible there’s something similar in your area.

        1. Sandman*

          +1 to this – we have a nonprofit association in our area that posts these kinds of jobs, too. You might have to be patient depending on the size of the community, but I bet something great will pop up eventually. I’m active in this nonprofit association, and we even have several part-time EDs around here – so all sorts of levels. Good luck. :)

      4. Rainy days*

        Yes, +1 to nonprofits, especially small ones. We love finding people who are truly interested in part time.

    4. University Employee*

      I wouldn’t apply to part-time jobs geared towards students. They are usually entry level and considered a professional learning opportunity for students. Not to mention they are also low paying- some even offer college credit in lieu of a regular wage. Many hiring managers wont even consider someone who isn’t a student for these positions.

      That said, I would start looking at general (non-student) University admin jobs. My employer has plenty of part-time positions advertised in several areas. The pay is decent and I believe that even PT employees still have access to certain benefits like tuition reimbursement.

    5. Anonymeece*

      Seconding this! Check out your libraries too, academic or otherwise. There are a lot of opportunities for part-time work that are open to anyone, not just work-study.

  4. CastIrony*

    OP #5, I’d do the other half of your job if it was completely remote!

    Also, be prepared to negotiate a lower salary. I am so sorry and hope for the best in your job search!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I suppose if OP5 can find a job-sharing partner they could send in a pair of resumes and hope for the best.
      I always wondered how to find job-shares.

    2. DivineMissL*

      Lower salary, yes; but remember that an employer who’s hiring a FT position is budgeting not only for salary but possibly for benefits (health and otherwise) that they may not have to provide if the position is PT, which can be a great savings.

  5. Anon anon anon*

    #5 – I went to an interview for a full time job, knowing it has to be outstanding and absolutely perfect for me to take as working FT would require many sacrifices from my family. The hiring director asked me at the end what would make me the happiest. I said a PT 24-30 hour a week job. He did Done!

    1. Lucy*

      I had a similar experience – got to offer stage before I said actually I didn’t want to work more than 30 hours, and it was absolutely fine.

      I think LW needs to have done the math to work out what p/t needs to look like for her before she gets to that stage. She says 20-25 hours but does she mean short weekdays, or three full days, or full time during school but not during school vacations, or some other combination? The needs of the business may mean they want someone in every day, but not necessarily all day. Commuting factors and childcare timing/costs may play into this, especially depending on whether paid childcare is calculated hourly or daily.

      1. quirkypants*

        I’m so glad to hear this worked out for everyone in this thread…

        That said, this would really frustrate me as a hiring manager if it came up at the offer stage. I would feel really mislead and be very annoyed. It’s likely I would have passed on a candidate who WAS available full-time and quite good but was perhaps just a little less perfect than the candidate who is now asking for part-time work. I realize this might be different for different companies/industries/job roles/etc. though.

        I think bringing it up in the cover letter is best but if for some reason that doesn’t work, I’d probe about the feasibility in the first meeting. Offer stage feels way too late to me.

        1. Casual Fribsday*

          I would love to hear more opinions on how people would see this and when / how they would want to find out. I’m in the same boat right now.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            I would want to know in the initial phone screen with HR. If someone got through the whole process and then announced that they could not work full-time, we would not only pull the offer but probably put them on a do-no-hire list for not being forthcoming. The type of work that I hire for is not a good fit with part-time, though we’ve made it work for existing employees in extenuating circumstances, and it’s not a good fit with people that are 100% schedule-bound. We are transparent about these things both in the posting and in interviews, so it would be a big shock if we got to the end of the process and someone asked for a part-time schedule.

          2. JR*

            I think it depends on whether it’s a deal breaker. If you wouldn’t consider the job on a full-time basis, bring it up way before the offer stage – cover letter or phone screen. (I’d prefer the former if I were the hiring manager, but I’m sure you’d be way more likely to be screened out at that point, and I don’t think waiting til the phone screen is too annoying if you have some reason to believe they might say yes.) If you would prefer to work part-time but would still take the job on a full-time basis (as in, it’s one of many factors you’re weighing as you assess the job), I think it’s fine and maybe wise to wait until the offer. But then make it clear that it isn’t a dealbreaker so they don’t feel like you’re changing the terms last minute. Also, I think waiting makes more sense if you’re asking to work, for instance, 80%, not 50%, or you have a clear reason to believe that you can meet their needs in the reduced time (even if that’s a plan for using the money saved on your salary to outsource some functions to a lower-cost provider, etc).

        2. Washi*

          Yeah, and there’s a big difference to me of saying you want a 30 hour week (75% of a full time week) vs. 20-25 hours (50%ish). I think depending on the industry and how common part time work is, it could look a little naïve to, at the offer stage, ask if you could actually work only half of the hours planned for the position.

          1. quirkypants*

            This is a good point. I probably wouldn’t be thrilled with 30 hours but would be a little less peeved and if I believed they’d be amazing, I might be ok with it. 20 hours, I probably wouldn’t be able to entertain it at all.

        3. Name Required*

          Same, quirkypants. If working less than 40 hours a week came up at the offer stage, I would likely retract the offer unless the candidate was miles ahead of everyone else. If you’re looking at 30 hours a week, then that makes sense to me to bring up in the first interview. Anything less than that? Please don’t apply to full-time jobs.

          1. Psyche*

            Yeah. I think if you wait until the offer stage to state a preference that could be ok, but you would have to be willing to consider a full time offer.

        4. Sam.*

          Fully agree that waiting until the offer stage is quite risky. In every office I’ve worked in, people would’ve been very frustrated by a candidate who wasted our time like that. Obviously, the candidate would be treated politely and respectfully, but the answer would be no, and there’s a good chance it would taint their candidacy if they applied again in the future. Better to mention it in the cover letter so they can decide right away whether or not it’s a deal breaker.

        5. Quackeen*

          Same here. Many years ago, I was hiring for a position that was strictly part-time. We were grant-funded and that’s what we could afford. I was very explicit about that in the online ads and the screening calls.

          I got to the stage where I was having candidates come in for 2nd interviews with other colleagues, and 2 of the 3 finalists asked my colleague, “Do you think I could talk Quackeen into making this a FT position? I really need full-time.”

          The guy who did get the position said he would love to eventually work full-time and was I open to him seeking out other grant opportunities to fund this, if the work justified more hours.

        6. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes. It’s one thing to bring it up early. It’s not okay to wait for the offer stage if it’s a deal breaker for you. I’d be annoyed for the same reasons.

          1. Lucy*

            In my case I could have accepted the role at full time but wanted less. 30 hours was 80% of the 37.5h working week and part time is common in tbf industry.

            So yes I can definitely see that going into negotiations with a firm “I can’t do full time” would be pointless if the position has to be full time. LW will need to assess whether her target fields are pt-friendly (as retail and food service definitely are).

        7. BananaPants*

          If I’m hiring for a full time role, it took me a lot of time and effort to get the hiring req approved in the first place, and it’s just not open to modification to part time. Part time jobs at the ~20 hour/week level are rare in our industry and are almost impossible to negotiate as a new hire (versus an established employee wanting to make a change).

          To have a candidate waste our time and money on interviews and an offer negotiation process when she knows all along that she’s not looking for a full time role would be incredibly frustrating – I’d withdraw the offer and blacklist the candidate.

        8. Anonymeece*

          I’m with you. I actually had that happen several times, but our job doesn’t allow us to split F/T into two part-time jobs, and the job was definitely for a full-time position (they needed to be available to open at 8/close at 5).

          This is something to bring up in the cover letter. It may work to wait for an offer, sure, but more likely, it will burn some bridges with the hiring manager.

      2. Tammy*

        As a hiring manager, this would frustrate me greatly too. It would come across in much the same way as if I’d posted a job at a salary of $X, had our recruiting team communicate that salary to candidates during initial screening, and then had a candidate come back to me at the offer stage and say “I really need a salary of $3X” or something. I’d feel like the candidate had pulled a bait and switch on me, and wasted a lot of people’s time by concealing a material piece of information. There are some people, and maybe some jobs, for whom this would work, but I suspect it’ll be a problem a lot more often than it’ll be successful.

        My advice, for what it’s worth: If you have non-negotiable requirements (part time, work from home, relocation assistance, etc.) disclose them early. If it’s going to be a dealbreaker in the initial conversation, it’s alsmost certainly going to be an even bigger dealbreaker at the offer stage, so you don’t gain anything by waiting. And, if it’s a dealbreaker, you won’t become “that person who wasted hours and hours of our time and then dropped a bombshell at the last minute.” I’ve had candidates like that, and it dramatically decreases my likelihood of being willing to consider them again in the future.

        1. Astrea*

          Not relevant to the OP, but I’ve been told that a need for disability accommodations would be an exception to that, and shouldn’t be disclosed until the job-offer stage because they won’t want to hire anyone they know will cause them any additional hassle.

    2. [insert witty username here]*

      I’m hiring right now for a very junior position that, quite frankly, I don’t have full time tasking for (I’m being told to hire this position despite not having full time tasking, and we’re doing the same with 3 other positions…. but that’s another story). Right now, I would 100% interview someone that only had PT availability and make my case to the higher ups on this, if I thought they would be a good fit. So, you just never know! It definitely depends on the job, but sometimes, companies might only need PT to FT-30 hours, but figure they’re not going to get good candidates that way and so they don’t bother to advertise for that. Personally, I would say it’s worth it to at least ask – if your cover letter is compelling and your resume shows relevant experience, they might be glad to know someone would be interested in part time. The worst that will happen is they say no.

      All that said, we could have a whole different thread on why companies should assess their needs better (ie, do we really need/want a FT person or would PT be better?) and how to do it, but we all know that “best practice” and “what actually happens” are often not the same thing!

      1. AnnaBananna*

        Well, in my experience (a lot of non prof/higher ed), if you get approval for a FT headcount – YOU TAKE IT, because it may not happen for another 5+ years. So I can see why an org might not actually need FT and it appears like they’re not aware of their own workload coverage.

        I’ve hired a bunch in my past lives and I would be pretty pissed to learn during the offer stage that someone is pulling the rug from under me and suddenly wanted only PT hours without a good excuse (childcare changed due to layoff, health of parent changed, etc).

    3. Anon anon anon*

      Just wanted to emphasize I didn’t go into the interview with the intent of asking for a PT job. He asked and I answered. I probably would of turned it down if he didn’t ask me what would make me happiest. The hours were 50-55 hours a week and involved more traveling than noted.

  6. Annette*

    D+D – “nerdy” is not the issue. This game is mainstream and popular. But like many mainstream and popular pastimes – not resume worthy.

    1. Anonandon*

      When I was a kid, my mother ran into something like this. She was a teacher, and one day a co-worker said something disparaging about D&D. My mom immediately defended the game be enumerating all the different skills it practiced: Math, reasoning, social interaction, creativity, assessing probabilities… etc etc

      But the fact that the game does have its virtues as far as teaching and practicing certain skills still does not mean it belongs on a resume. Unless, of course, your employer is Wizards of the Coast.

      1. Liane*

        “Unless, of course, your employer is Wizards of the Coast.” : )
        D& D isn’t on my resume & my job description is “Writes articles about roleplaying games and edits articles about games.”
        Next question: When a prospective employer insists on a personality or psychobabble assessment can I save both of us some time and trouble by telling them I always come back as Chaotic Good?

        1. DudgeonMaster*

          No, you need to lie and pick something on the lawful axis.

          Good for nonprofit, Neutral for finance, and Evil for sales or HR.

          1. Jadelyn*

            So…as HR in a nonprofit financial institution (credit union)…what the hell am I supposed to be???

            (I kid – I know my alignment, I’m usually chaotic neutral or true neutral.)

          1. SusanIvanova*

            There’s probably money to be made in the personality test market by sanding off the serial numbers of the alignment system and pitching them to the sort of companies who think the color of your parachute is a useful metric. But I’m not Chaotic Evil so I’ll leave that to someone else.

              1. Pippa*

                I’m in, too. We could def sell this to my university if we set ourselves up as a consulting firm and called it something like “the metrics of values-aligned change agents.”

                I used to be lawful good but years in academia have made me realise there’s better money in being a chaos muppet.

        2. Perse's Mom*

          I always wanted to be the CG rebel type but I’ve realized over the years that I’m probably actually LG.

          1. oknazevad*

            If you’re not actually sure if you’re lawful or chaotic, you’re probably neutral. Nothing wrong with neutral good.

      2. Vicky Austin*

        I think D&D could be appropriate on a resume if you were applying to a store that sold fantasy and sci-fi books or to be a video game designer. Otherwise, leave it off.

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      It can depend… GM for a game maybe not. And not when you’re further along in career. But when I was starting out, and only had a couple of jobs, one of which was working for my uncle… I’s also been a co-ordinator for sections of a global larp, responsible for cash handling, book keeping, grievance procedures, H&S and event organisation of up to 100 delegates… yeah, that went on!

      But now I’ve got many years’ experience and over a decade in chosen field, there isn’t room on CV for it!

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        Ah, but if you were organising for a large event – even as a volunteeer – I think that’s very different than organizing for an informal gathering.

        Many, many people have done organising for informal gatherings of 30ish people (basically, lots of people have hosted parties, whether D&D themed or Oscar themed). But once you start getting into events, organized by mulitple people, in the hundreds (especially if people are paying to attend) then you’re moving into territory that you can reasonably cite on a resume.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          Yes, exactly. The ones I put on CV were local games between 5 and 40, and regional events of up to 100 – all were open to public, not just friends, and people paid to come to them. The table-top games I ran for friends didn’t get a mention.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I think that’s an important distinction–large size and for strangers. Organizing a family reunion for 100+ is a huge job and takes certain skills–but what are people going to do if it’s sub-optimal, join another family? Add a passive aggressive signoff to the Xmas newsletter?

            Also, a lot of this informal organizing stuff can be a boost if it comes up naturally in the interview conversation, but would be weird to “cold call” by putting it on the resume.

    3. Mystery Bookworm*

      Yes. OP, I don’t doubt the effort you’re putting in. But as with many hobbies, there’s no way to independently verify D&D or know what sort of standards you were held to. It was often played in my old house in university and while some events were very smoothly organized and ran for hours, others….weren’t so much. In fact, I think more so than people thinking you’re nerdy is running up against people who have casually dabbled.

      In the same way that the woman who wanted to put being a bridesmaid on her resume — it’s not an uncommon life responsibilty, and even though it sounded like she was really going above and beyond in her bridesmaid duties, there’s far too many people who are only expected to show up in a nice dress for any employer to really feel confident her experience shows any skill.

    4. gawaine42*

      Nerdy is kind of an issue, depending on which generation you think will read your resume. And that’s really the problem here: You don’t know who’s reading it. I’ve been running games for the last 34 years, and was firmly a member of the “don’t admit you game, because nerds are unpopular” generation until it became OK again. So I instinctively flinch when I see gaming on a resume.
      I don’t really want to see hobbies on a professional resume unless we’re talking about an intern or college hire who’s desperate to fill space. If you are going to list hobbies, things that are pretty emotional content neutral but show that you’re a team player are good, or things that show hard-fought for skills (like painting or playing musical instruments – not like memorizing Rolemaster’s crit tables). I’d leave off anything that’s a niche hobby, whether it’s gaming or collecting custom teapots, unless you know exactly who’s reading your resume.

      1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

        There’s also the off chance of running into one of those people who bought into the “D&D is the gateway to Satanism!” hoopla from back in the 80s. Don’t know how prevalent that mind-set is these days but it’s worth considering.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          You know what? If a hiring manager believes D&D = Satanism , I’d be perfectly happy self-selecting out of working for them. Because they would probably disapprove of my science fiction/fantasy reading list as well. (I know people who argue that Harry Potter is evil… can’t imagine what they’d say to Harry Dresden, Sabriel, Kate Daniels, let alone Anita Blake…)

          1. Fact & Fiction*

            I write urban fantasy and adore the genre. Some of the people in my family are deeply conservative Christians who used to harp about how they would never let their children go see Harry Potter movies. I very pointedly walked over to their movie shelf and went over the very many Disney fairy tale movies they had and started dissecting why, if one sincerely believes Harry Pottery is problematic, one should ALSO take issue with the Disney movies.

            They couldn’t really argue the points I made. Why are fairies/witches in fairy tale movies okay but witches/wizards in HP not? Do you teach your children the difference between reality and fantasy? Why do you think they are more likely to believe HP is real than the Disney movies? Do you really think your children (pre-teen age not super young) are too stupid to realize HP is fantasy just because it’s live-action versus the animated Disney movies? Do you know how disturbingly dark the actual fairy tales these movies are based on, like WAY darker than HP? Etc. I don’t know whether it changed their views at all, but they stopped giving me crap about the Harry Potter movies.

            1. Fact & Fiction*

              I forgot to relate this back to the original post. I agree that it’s not practical to put this on your resume unless you either got paid for it or were running extremely large events as an official volunteer. Smaller campaigns among friends and/or family comes off more as a hobby, even if it does result in transferable skills.

            2. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

              I’ve also heard of people who wouldn’t let their kids read the Narnia books because one had “Witch” in the title. Never mind that the series is Christian allegory!

              1. Traveling Teacher*

                Truth! That was MY parents.

                Even at 7 years old, I knew that it was a great book but that they would seriously disapprove. Of course, one of my parents caught me slipping The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in my bookbag when I was sneak-reading it under my bed instead of doing my homework.

                My dad had a Very Serious talk with me about how we “don’t read books about evil things” and made me return it to the library, forbidding me to read it. And I didn’t…til our church library got the audiobooks many years later–ha!

                Funny enough, when caught, I had just finished reading the chapter where Edmund sneaks off to tell the Witch about his siblings being in Narnia. I felt haunted and like I’d been as bad as him for years afterwards!

              1. Fact & Fiction*

                They didn’t! I was just trying to get them to stop lecturing me that everything I enjoyed was Satanic given that they had many movies that were extremely similar to the ones I enjoyed. :) I knew them well enough to know they wouldn’t take them away from my cousins.

              2. Fact & Fiction*

                Also, I worded it differently than I did here! I was just giving them food for thought. More like, “Well, I have a pretty firm grasp on the difference between reality and fantasy, and these movies are just another version of good triumphing over evil like those Disney movies over there.”

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I’ve been running games for the last 34 years, and was firmly a member of the “don’t admit you game, because nerds are unpopular” generation until it became OK again.

        It’s not about D&D being nerdy, it’s about it being a game.

      3. OP2*

        I am tragically in the boat of the recent college grad with precious little to put on her resume, and wasn’t super worried about the “nerds are unpopular” or “D&D is the work of Satan” angles because A) I really wouldn’t be a good fit for people who follow those philosophies, and, B) my future field is in software development, where not being nerdy is far more unusual than being nerdy. Still, I take the point! I’ll save that information for later. (And maybe not reveal it at all, now that I think about it. In the past, revealing that I’m a dungeon master has lead to a whole bunch of people coming out of the woodwork desperate to play….)

        1. Troutwaxer*

          I would have to respectfully disagree with Allison and the other commentators, but with the caveat for OP2 that I’m quite unconventional in my thinking, and you should take note of the issues others have raised despite what I’m about to say regarding the issue.

          My own list of negatives goes like this: First, running a dungeon is not something you want to discuss with employers who don’t get nerdy passtimes. Second, don’t put it on your resume, even as a hobby, if you’re over 25 unless you’ve worked as a paid DM:


          Third, the big issues you’re hearing about from Allison and other people are essentially matters of convention and socialization, but IMHO they are not terribly logical. Nonetheless you need to pay attention as they strongly effect how such a resume inclusion will be received. Fourth, know your audience and don’t be afraid to rewrite your resume for each job you apply for. Since you’re a software person, Dungeon Mastering/Mistressing is probably a big plus if you’re applying for a gaming company, and certainly a big minus if you’re applying for a bank.

          That being said, it’s worth noting to everyone that a well-made D&D scenario is something between 50-100 pages of careful writing, which must be updated after each gaming session, and the game master/mistress needs to keep track of multiple complex interactions both mathematical and social, while creating – sometimes on the fly – believable characters and battles, while managing both the real-world social setting and the in-game-world social issues simultaneously. (My current group has 4 trans people in it, and I have to keep track of preferred naming conventions for the group -she, he, they- plus the naming conventions for the characters.) Doing the job well requires reading multiple books and being able to quote their content on demand, as well as keeping up with new material and new versions of the rules. (The applications of all this reading and keeping-up should be obvious to anyone doing hiring.)

          Our group had to counsel some people last year, then “fire” them and start over with a new campaign, but the core group has stayed together for 4-5 years now and is still enjoying ourselves. Our group alternates DMs, and I’ve also had to retrain a failing new DM running by running “example” scenarios as a live game… this was not easy. Last week I had to carefully shush a couple people, then draw two of our introverts back into the game after the evening suffered an unexpected interruption.

          I regard my DMing work as a real commitment. I work on scenarios for our group even when I don’t want to. I drive an hour each way to get to where I DM. I go there even when I’m tired or otherwise unwilling…

          So I feel a strong need to argue with convention here. If someone lists Dungeon Mastering/Mistressing on a resume, take it seriously and ask the usual questions: How long has your group been together? What challenges have you faced? How do you handle socially disruptive people? Do you write your own scenarios, and if not, then why? How do you keep things challenging and fresh? What resources do you use that don’t come from the gaming company? If there are children, how do you keep things age-appropriate when two characters have a romance? Have you had to deal with racism, sexism, or sexual harassment either in or out of game? You’ll probably learn a lot about your potential hire.

          1. Elsajeni*

            But some of the things you’re listing are just part of ordinary life (remembering people’s and characters’ names and pronouns, for instance), a lot of the others are optional (keeping up with new material and rule changes and having them near-memorized may be legit work-relevant achievements, but many, many campaigns go just fine with the DM looking stuff up frequently and sticking with the rules that were in place when they started), and none of them are really verifiable or assessable other than by asking you to assess yourself. Convention and coming off as “weird” is part of the reason not to list it, but as Alison said, another big part is that lack of accountability and the difficulty of getting any actual meaningful information out of it.

        2. nonymous*

          I would say that the caveat to what gawaine42 has advised is if you demonstrated some sort of highly visible leadership. And while I understand there is a wide range of skill levels across dungeon masters (and a superior one is certainly investing quite a bit of effort and time), there’s a dungeon master for every session so it’s not really a special role at the 10K foot view. If you grew your small meetings into a multi-year regional event with a large budget and advertising and vendors, that would be resume-worthy but even then only when applying to jobs that have a community-building/event planning need.

          One thing to keep in mind is that during the application process you want a ready portfolio of “don’t tell me, show me” experiences. Like how well do you learn new programming tools/concepts outside of the classroom, create/document/evangelize/teach programming tools, write at a professional level. Your D&D experiences will be great talking points when you get to that level of the interview, and you can steer them in that direction by having a polished online presence.

        3. Ralph Wiggum*

          As a former software developer hiring manager, I’m happy to give some advice for moving into the software dev role.

          There’s a sizable emphasis in the industry to favor practical application over credentials, so I get the frustration at the entry level where you may only have the credential. However, I think you can build up a suite of example projects at pretty low cost, and this is really valuable for you own growth, too.

          In my mind, projects that solve a real-world problem are worth 10-20 times what a class assignment is worth. I recommend taking anything you have to do in your life that requires frequently looking something up, a repetitive action on a computer, or a decent amount of calculations and automate that in software.

          Some actual examples from myself and candidates I’ve interviewed include:
          * Auto-tabulate your personal budget
          * Script the generation of your secret Santa assignments
          * Track tasks needed to complete before you sell your house
          * Auto-generate personalized email responses

          D&D is rife with possibilies. Everything from calculating damages to planning out your campaign to scheduling your sessions.

          Oh, and there may be a tendency to believe that it only counts if you use a “real” programming language, like Java. That’s nonsense. Software is a tool to solve problems. Develop the software in the most cost-effective way. Most of my valuable automation is written in Google Scripts to build spreadsheets, etc.

          A note on gaps in knowledge: Fresh out of college/bootcamp/etc, you have a lot of holes in your knowledge. That’s fine. Those holes never go away, they just get gradually smaller. Be comfortable with saying, “I don’t know, but I’m happy to look that up.” Not even the most experienced developer knows the tenth part of every language, framework, OS, CS concept, etc.

          The one completely transferable skill is troubleshooting. No matter what language or system you’re using, you’ll want to be good at troubleshooting and debugging. Get very comfortable with debuggers; understand stack traces; understand how to decompose the software to isolate problems; and develop good habits like reviewing what the software looks like when running correctly, so you can tell when something is wrong.

          I typed way more than I had intended. Hopefully this is useful. Good luck!

          1. Troutwaxer*

            I agree completely and would add that one of the very cheap and fulfilling ways to get experience is to participate in an Open Source project, usually one written in a popular language.

            1. Ralph Wiggum*

              I know we’re getting off topic here, but I’m legitimately curious if that strategy has worked for you or somebody you know.

              It’s hard for me to imagine succeeding as an open source developer as a beginner, since I find it intimidating to add the social aspects of open source (defend your design in the pull request conversation, hound the owner to review your change, etc) on top of the technical work.

              I don’t want to discourage OP2 from open source, here. I really want to know if people have moved into the field that way. I grew up in the Microsoft stack before the internet was A Big Thing, so this may be largely cultural.

      4. RUKiddings*

        But…but what about the five year long game of Vampire the Masquerade that I ran? It doesn’t count? :-<

    5. CRM*

      I completely agree that the “nerdy” association has nothing to do with it. The advice would be the same if OP were running a book club. Running a book club (well) takes lots of planning and preparation, but ultimately an informal gathering among friends is not comparable to the pressures and stakes of real-life work experience.

    6. pleaset*

      I played it a lot and think it’s pretty nerdy. That was the first ten years after it came out back in the day.

      Maybe it’s different now.

      1. OP2*

        I think it’s still pretty nerdy. Less niche, maybe, but certainly not quite as mainstream as, say, comic book heroes, or Star Wars.

    7. Trout 'Waver*

      I actually had a resume for a paid summer internship come in last week with D&D listed on it. And then there was a sentence afterwards talking about how it taught teamwork and logic skills. cringe Huge red flag about professionalism.

      1. RUKiddings*

        Well interns aren’t usually imbued with innate professionalism so… but yeah.

        I would look less favorably on a 50 year old who listed it than I would a 20 year old intern/first time worker.

        I mean it does teach/reinforce things like logic and teamwork plus other stuff like organization, critical thinking, logistics, situational assessment, skills assessment, problem solving, how and when to delegate…etc.

    8. But you don't have an accent...*

      The non-“nerdy” equivalent would be putting planning your wedding on your resume. Yes, you worked with multiple vendors, coordinated time lines, were in charge of procurement and hiring, built a website, and then hosted 50+ guests, but I would rightfully expect to be laughed out of the room if I tried to put those skills on a resume based only on planning my wedding.

      1. Psyche*

        I don’t know if I would equate it to wedding planning. I would say the non-nerdy equivalent could be organizing a kayaking trip or (if strangers are involved) a softball team.

    9. Polymer Phil*

      Planning a D&D event for 30 people could be a good interview story that demonstrates transferable skills. That said, I’d keep it off the resume because of the negative stereotypes around D&D – the reader will likely get a mental picture of the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.

    10. TootsNYC*

      I loved that Alison pointed out the problem is that there’s no formal structure to validate it or set standards, etc.

      In Ye Olden Days, we used to put hobbies on our resumés, and putting it there might have been OK. But that’s not really the culture for resumés anymore.

  7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    Yeah—I’m side-eyeing the husband. It’s not great that his wife is already picking up his slack as the “absent-minded” guy in the room. But she’s traveling? Put the responsibility on him and apply the same consequences that all employees who don’t work with their partner would experience. Don’t institutionalize his wife having to pick up his mess at work.

    1. Asenath*

      Exactly. Don’t pester his wife (especially when she’s out of town!!) about his responsibility for returning the equipment.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Seriously. What is she even going to be able to do about it from range if she wanted to?

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        Right. If she didn’t work there would anyone call her to try to get her to make him do his job? No? Then they need to act as if she doesnt work there. To be clear…Even if they *would* call her if she didn’t work there they shouldn’t call her.

    2. EPLawyer*

      “apply the same consequences that all employees who don’t work with their partner would experience” this right there is the advice in a nutshell.

      What would you do if his wife didn’t work there? Do that.

      LW you said they are good at keeping their relationship out of the office. Let them continue to do that by NOT involving the Wife in the Husband’s job. I mean would you ask random co-worker to remind the guy to bring in the equipment? If not, then don’t ask the wife. Treat them as co-workers, not as a couple.

    3. PM Punk*

      I’m a little conflicted, because I’m wondering whether this is an academic setting. At my university this is an unfortunately common dynamic, sometimes even if the spouse doesn’t even work here. The attitude is often, “whatever it takes to get Professor so-and-so from point A to point B.” Admittedly, with the exception of one case I’ve only this happen with male academics. I’m not defending this practice, but I have seen it treated as fairly normal.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I think that’s the right balance–don’t institutionalize that it’s her job to remind him of stuff; don’t interfere with the method she’s come up with to have enough lunch containers and travel mugs migrate back home if it works for her.

      No one should email her about how Bob needs to bring the scanner back in, or how Bob is out of travel mugs and doesn’t know what to do–where do travel mugs come from?

    5. Le Sigh*

      If I were the wife, off on business travel, busy with lots of my own things, and got this email…I might genuinely lose it.

      Getting her husband to bring in work equipment isn’t in her job duties to begin with, but what the heck is she supposed to do about it while traveling? So now she has to balance all the stresses and extra work that come with work travel … and she gets an email asking if she can wrangle her husband?

      I’m getting annoyed just typing this.

  8. AcademiaNut*

    I was thinking about what sort of hobby stuff you could list on a resume, and I think that at a minimum it needs to be something that can be verified independently and is much more directly connected to the job you are applying for than simply demonstrating work ethic or organizational abilities. And generally, if you’ve got enough work related experience, you don’t need to list hobbies.

    So for the D&D stuff – DMing a group, even if you do it well and on a regular basis, shouldn’t be listed because it’s too generic, unless you are actually applying for a job at a game store that involves running campaigns. But if you were applying for a job with a writing component and you had published adventure modules, that might be appropriate. Or if you were applying for a coding job and had written and released software tools for DMing. But if you had paid experience in writing or coding, those would push the hobby stuff further down the page in importance.

    (I wouldn’t explicitly list D&D related stuff on a resume, but if a potential employer followed the link to my GitHub repository, they actually would find software tools for DMing, and could look at the code to evaluate my skills)

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I’m trying to think of analogous hobbies, and I can’t imagine that including them would be useful on a resume for most situations. (Although I agree with your standard for whether to put it on your resume.)

      For example, a friend was “Commissioner” of the local softball league, which required scheduling, sending out the team schedule, and sending regular updates (in addition to making sure field reservations and insurance were covered). But even though he has transferrable skills from that experience, he wouldn’t list it on his resume because he has other professional examples that do a better job of illustrating that he has those skills. And for the industry he’s in, it would read as very “new to the workforce / naive” if he’d put his softball stuff on his resume.

      1. Danger: GUMPTION AHEAD*

        One of my friend’s does lighting for theater productions and has on their resume community and volunteer theater stuff if they are from prestigious/well known community/volunteer theater groups. Another friend plays cello and puts her unpaid performances on her resume when applying for teaching positions. So I can see it, but less for transferable skills and more for doing the thing you are applying to do in certain cases

        1. Patty Mayonnaise*

          This is a good point, but I think the arts are different from general hobbies – it’s SO common for artists do unpaid work early in their career, and it’s not going to necessarily be evident on a resume whether someone was paid for a certain performance/piece of work, or not.

      2. NotTheSameAaron*

        I geocache, but I wouldn’t put it on a resume, because I’d probably have to give a little lecture as to what it is if they’ve never heard of it or if they had, to dispel any rumors about it (ie that we’re, lazy; trespassers; vandalizers; creepy etc.) and it might put them off if they didn’t believe me.

    2. Nikara*

      I have a single line on my resume about my long term (decade plus) volunteer experience with a Rose Parade float. I manage decorating crews of 40-50 people, who have to do meticulous tasks on a tight time schedule, sometimes 20 feet up on scaffolding, with a very specific deadline, almost none of whom have ever done such a thing before. I mention it briefly on my resume in one line, and sometimes bring it up at the end of an interview during the “anything else to add” section if I’ve already discussed all of my major work responsibilities prior to that point.

      The reason that this works is that my career is in disaster response, and it is a real potential work responsibility to manage lots of volunteers doing technical, hazardous work who have little to no experience at that work. The skills are directly transferable, and it can add little bit of an interesting bit of color to the end of an interview. I don’t go into any detail about it on the rest of my resume/cover letter- just that one line in the resume. Some of it is about knowing your audience- I’m largely working with non-profits/government, where significant, long-term volunteer experience, no matter the organization, can be highly valued. There could definitely be jobs where the D&D role really adds to your resume, but I would want to be really confident that it would be well received, discussing it in detail with people you trust in your field beforehand.

      1. EtherIther*

        I would love to hear more about your volunteer experience with the Rose Parade in the open thread! Which also I think is relevant in terms of putting this in work… I imagine that might get a different reception than D&D, in general (and I say this as someone who plays it).

      2. Lily Rowan*

        I do think talking about it in an interview is different from including it on your resume, and the LW could potentially use D&D examples, if they are the best she has to use in a behavioral interview. Especially when I’m interviewing very junior people, I try to explicitly say your examples don’t have to be from work, if I’m asking about negotiation or something.

    3. Engineer Girl*

      I have a couple of hobbies that are heavily science/engineering. I’ve even presented papers at international science conferences. I still wouldn’t list them on my resume because they’re not skills directly related to my job.

      I did list my hobbies on the company internal skills website because they wanted to know about it. But it was listed under “hobbies and other information”. External stuff? Never.

      The only time I’d mention it is if the interviewer asked about personal info. Sometimes they do that over lunch on all day interviews.

      1. Elmer Litzinger, spy*

        I have a friend who is a heavy duty wargamer. It helped them get a post-PhD, PhD required job because it showed they were used to reading and analyzing rules.

        That said, that was probably a one-off type of thing.

    4. Dr. Glowcat Twinklepuff*

      Just as a fun fact, European CVs typically have a slot for hobbies, and you are supposed to use them to showcase special skills: for example, listing team sports to show you can work with others, volunteering for responsibility, any artistic stuff for creativity… But they are just used to have a more rounded idea of who you are as a person, they obviously don’t substitute actual work skills and experience.

      1. Lucy*

        Yes, I am surprised by this advice as it’s very different from my experience (in the UK). I would expect to see hobbies of some kind on any non-senior CVs. More experienced candidates wouldn’t have space without making their CV unbearably long, but I would still expect to see anything significant such as marathon running or being a school governor or similar.

        In particular, any “extracurricular” activity that involves certification such as first aid or safeguarding, or responsibilities such as accounting, scheduling, chairing meetings, etc, is considered a CV boost, at least for positions below management. I was very frequently asked about this kind of CV point during interviews (though I haven’t had to interview since I turned 30) even just as an ice breaker.

        I wonder where the precise line is between “hobby” and “volunteer position” because Alison normally encourages mention of relevant unpaid work. Additionally, some DMs are paid, after all. Would you include D&D on a resume if it were actually a paid side gig?

        1. Dragoning*

          Well, no, probably not, because it still wouldn’t be relevant.

          Paid DMs do them under a larger organization which takes most of the “organization” out of the hands of the DM and participants. You can say you organized and scheduled a program when…you didn’t actually do that, because it was already scheduled.

      2. Asenath*

        I’m in Canada – I don’t think I’ve put hobbies on my resume in many decades, if ever. They never seemed relevant to what I was applying for, and I don’t think it has been standard in applications for jobs like mine (office/admin type work) for a long time here. But there are other positions, and for a some, applications always include information on “personal interests” – carefully selected and reported to show how well-rounded the candidate is. If they can manage it, they’ll put something in the arts area (balanced lifestyle), sports (leadership and/or interest in healthy lifestyles), charity work (more balanced lifestyle and also civic responsibility). This isn’t a big proportion of the application or the separate resume many attach – most of what we get is a very detailed academic history, references, research projects, and work history. But the “personal interests’ are always there, in a way they aren’t any more in applications for a great many jobs.

      3. Val Zephyr*

        I’m glad this isn’t standard in the US. I wouldn’t want employers judging my fitness for a job based on my personal life. Also, it seems like it could be a slippery slope into discrimination territory.

        1. londonedit*

          Hmm…that’s not how it works here. It’s really just about employers wanting to get a sense of the person as a whole, and any non-work skills that might make them a great fit for the job. It’s all very well someone ticking X, Y and Z boxes on a job description, but employers want well-rounded employees with life experience as well as work experience. As I mentioned below, mine (which I think fits the norm for the UK) is not so much a ‘hobbies’ section as an ‘other interests’ section, which is a space for things like whether you’ve been on the committee of your sports club, or you’ve set up and run a successful book group, or you enjoy volunteering at your local park or whatever. It’s more than just ‘my hobbies are reading books and going to the theatre’, it’s ‘Here are some things from my non-work life that give a hint of who I am as a person and showcase skills that are also useful to me at work’. In the UK, a CV is more than a simple list of employment history.

          I’m not really sure how anyone would be able to discriminate based on an interviewee’s hobbies or interests.

          1. Val Zephyr*

            There’s potential for discrimination because a person’s hobbies are closely associated with their socioeconomic status, race, and family values– factors that should not be taken into consideration when making hiring decisions. In the US, employers generally steer clear of asking about candidates’ personal lives because they want to avoid even the appearance of discrimination. I prefer it that way.

          2. Rusty Shackelford*

            I’m not really sure how anyone would be able to discriminate based on an interviewee’s hobbies or interests.

            Picking someone because of their non-job-related hobbies is discriminating against people who don’t have those hobbies. And surely you can see that “mmm, these two people both have sufficient skills and experience, but Chas likes to ski in the Alps, just like I do, so he gets the interview” could be problematic.

          3. Lora*


            There was a study done comparing resumes that listed upper class hobbies vs. working class hobbies; the upper class hobby resumes were much more likely to be hired than the working class ones. Also, sexism as usual.

            Short version: if your hobbies are sailing and playing cello, list them. If your hobbies are playing Led Zeppelin covers for your garage band and fantasy football, leave it off.

          4. Hold My Cosmo*

            I’m not really sure how anyone would be able to discriminate based on an interviewee’s hobbies or interests.

            Listing that you lead your church youth group, that you mentor your alma mater’s Young Republicans chapter, that you are a volunteer escort for Planned Parenthood…etc., etc.

          5. RUKiddingMe*

            The thing is that someone can be well rounded but their personal, private, non-work life is just that…personal, private, and non-work. Particularly the private part. Either I have the bona fides and you like me…or not. Full stop. If I choose to accept a job offer you* may get to know me better over time.

            *The general “you” of course.

        2. Asenath*

          I don’t think including such personal information as hobbies is common in Canada – as I said, I haven’t done it, and I can’t see that such information would be useful in selecting someone for my job. But in one particular setting I know, it’s the norm. I don’t want to get into identifying specifics, but it’s very important that the successful applicant be able to maintain a balanced life under a lot of stress – so they show that they do have active interests outside work. I can’t see it as being discriminatory – there’s no particular advantage to putting in particular sports or charities – for charities in particular, applicants support a wide range of causes – the point is, they’re active in something other than work. Other possible sources of discrimination in the process are handled with policies controlling the preliminary review of applications and the content of the interview itself.

        3. Holly*

          Just FYI, this actually is semi-standard in the legal field in the U.S. at least the way it is in my major city – law school career offices tell us to put in a hobbies section and big law firms ask about them in interviews.

        4. Allison*

          I’m in the US, and in college we were encouraged to have a hobbies section on our resume, and list clubs we were involved with as well, since we didn’t have much work experience. In hindsight, I should have ignored that advice. A lot of hobbies are irrelevant to the jobs you’re applying for (yes, you COULD make the argument for why any given hobby might boost your candidacy for any given job, if you’re clever and creative, but it’s a stretch roughly 95% of the time), and some of them may actually bias the resume-reader against you in ways you might not realize. In this case, D&D might convey “I’m an intelligent, quick thinker with proven abilities to honor my commitments, show up on time, and see projects through to the end” but to someone with a negative view of geek culture, it might say “I’m an immature, socially awkward weirdo” (please note that I do not share this view, please don’t be angry with me, but there are people who do have this assumption about people who play games like D&D).

          Now, if someone with that negative view of geek culture finds your actual work history sufficiently relevant to the job, and really likes the version of yourself you put forward in the interview so much that they end up hiring you, and somewhere down the road they find out you’re into D&D, they might side-eye you a bit or be somewhat surprised, but it probably won’t be a big deal if you’re good at your job and fit in well with the team.

          The issue is that your resume doesn’t need to be a full snapshot of who you are. As others have said many times on this blog, it’s a marketing document you use to convince people you can do the job(s) you’re applying for. Putting hobbies like this on there can send a weird message, makes you seem inexperienced and clueless about work norms, and it shifts the focus off your actual work skills.

          1. Jennifer Juniper*

            I was told to never list anything personal about myself on a resume. It would scream that I was unprofessional.

        5. Indie*

          No it’s not that much of a formal requirement in the UK. It’s not like anyone’s ever going to decline someone for a high stress job because they don’t do yoga or have any relaxing hobbies. It’s really just more of a conversation starter; if you’ve got two equally well qualified candidates, a conversation might help you suss out the person best suited to the culture. This section gets lopped off when you become more experienced but it is a godsend to school-leavers.

      4. Seeking Second Childhood*

        AH that will be why pen&paper RPGs turned up on my husband’s resume — he spent a summer on a post-doc in Europe. For what it’s worth, he was hired for by a very conservative US insurance company with that on his resume.

      5. sofar*

        It’s pretty common in the U.S. too, to have a section for “interests and volunteer work.” And, in Austin (where so many companies emphasize “community involvement” ) it can be wise to list them. I always list my volunteer gig that I’ve held for 7+ years (one line only). At some start-ups I’ve applied to, the job listing included all sorts of stuff about being “well-rounded” and having “passions outside of work.” So, if that’s the case, I also list my martial art and belt level.

        But I’ve noticed, in general (and I could be wrong) that, in the U.S., resumes are supposed to be shorter and hyper-tailored to the specific job, where CVs are more of a bird’s eye, holistic view of you as a candidate.

        Which interests/hobbies/volunteer work I do (or whether I list it at all) depends on the vibe I get from a job listing.

    5. londonedit*

      I have a short ‘other skills and interests’ section on my CV, where I list the fact that I’m an active member of my local running club (including three years on the committee) and a qualified FA football (soccer) referee. Without fail, interviewers comment on either or both of these, and in particular the refereeing is something I can use to highlight job-relevant skills – if I can deal with 22 hungover thirtysomething men playing Sunday League park football who all believe they should be playing in the Premier League, I can deal with any difficult people I might encounter in my job! It’s also something memorable that makes me stand out from other candidates. I wouldn’t just put ‘I like baking and watching football’.

      1. magic dave*

        I think a hobbies section is more expected in the UK. At worst it’s a good ice-breaker even if your hobbies are totally irrelevant to the job (so, you’re into baking? what did you last bake?)

        1. londonedit*

          True – I feel like it’s quite normal here for interviewers to want to know a bit about you as a person as well as about your work. At every interview I’ve had there’s been chit-chat about where I live, interests outside of work, travel etc.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Maybe it’s an American thing, or at least this American, but that kind of questioning feels…intrusive to me.

    6. Daisy*

      “even if you do it well”
      I think that’s an important if though- my main problem with putting something like this on is, how would the interviewer know if you’re good at it? How do YOU know if you’re any good it? I’ve heard plenty of stories about terrible DMs, and in most cases they don’t get told they’re terrible, if it’s a casual group. That’s the difference between this and job experience, or this and more formal volunteering.

    7. RC*

      Not on a resume, but I have mentioned my hobby during an interview.
      I build scale model airplanes, and was able to use that as an analogy to my approach to problem solving.
      I told the interviewer that, much like the instruction steps that allow me to complete a model, breaking down a large problem into easily resolved components allows me to come to an effective resolution of that problem.
      (The interviewer liked that analogy, and I got the job!)

    8. OP2*

      Ooh, listing stuff on Github is a great idea! (I’m moving into software development shortly, which is actually why I asked.) (And also that I’m in that unenviable position of being recently out of college and having not a whole lot worth putting on a resume, but knowing for sure “don’t do this thing” is actually super useful!)

    9. Rainy days*

      I think for the hobby skills, you find a way to apply them at work and list that. My husband runs similarly nerdy and campaigns and he builds analytics tools for his players—which he doesn’t list on his resume but finds a way to put his knowledge to use at his day job and build tooks that would be useful for his employees.

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, these folks did not treat you well. It’s not reasonable to expect someone to figure out where a side door is. If you’re at the main entrance, and if they didn’t provide directions, they can’t then fault you for using their main door. I’m sorry that they chastised you and made you feel like you made a mistake—you didn’t. I would have the same reaction as Alison and take this as a sign about how they treat their employees / the work environment.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      When you invite someone to visit your campus it is your duty to let them know how to access the area. That usually involves time of meeting plus special instructions.

      OP, you missed out on a toxic environment. They are disorganized and they blamed you. Then they got all rigid for their mistake.

      1. valentine*

        Even if you know there’s a side door, its being open before hours to the public is unlikely enough not to try it.

        1. Micklak*

          I’m curious why the interviewer expected the LW to know there was a side door. Was it communicated somewhere? If not, I would expect every person coming for an interview to have the same problem.

          Either way I agree with others that the LW dodged a bullet even if it feels crappy in the moment. As Alison always says, interviewing is a two way street and the LW learned some valuable information about the organization.

    2. Tau*

      Agreed. OP, your letter made me really sad because you’re taking so much blame on yourself that belongs to other people. You acted perfectly reasonably – you got there on time, you called your contact when you still weren’t inside at the interview time, you grabbed someone and asked as soon as you could. This was not a “dumb rookie mistake”, and I do not think you needed to “apologise profusely” because it was not your mistake. Definitely don’t e-mail another apology because they didn’t even deserve the first one!

      I mean, what should you have done? Tried random doors in the building to see if your interview happened to be hiding behind one of them? I don’t think they’d have been particularly impressed by that either. It is a reasonable expectation that when you get an e-mail confirming interview place and time, that e-mail contains all the information you need to be at the interview at the time.

      1. Quoth the Raven*

        When I interviewed people, I would actually give them a little leeway if they called and explained they’d gotten lost (I worked in an office that was notoriously hard to find once inside the building, even with instructions). For all I knew, I might not have been clear enough, they could have taken a wrong turn, the elevator could have been out of order, what have you — all things that are perfectly understandably.

        This holds specially true if they didn’t give you any additional information. I think everyone’s first instinct would be to try the main door first!

        1. Asenath*

          That’s like me (with the hard-to-find office)! I always put up plenty of signs, and let the applicants know in their email confirming the interview arrangements that they should email or phone me if they can’t find the location. That doesn’t happen often, but every couple of years (including this year) I get one of those calls, and go to find the wandering one. It’s very easy in an unfamiliar building with multiple entrances to go in the wrong entrance or, once in, take the wrong turn. And we’re not interviewing to find people with great skills at finding their way around strange buildings. It’s the interviewer, not OP, who was unreasonable.

          1. SwingingAxeWolfie*

            This! Some people are just really bad at navigating (myself included) and I just don’t feel it’s a strike against them in any way for the type of work we do (which require offsite travel maybe once a year tops). If their getting lost makes them late I expect them to acknowledge it, but then everyone moves on with their lives and we start afresh. OP doesn’t even fall into this category (they were expected to be nothing short of a mindreader), so the employer’s reaction was really out of order.

          2. Autumnheart*

            At my employer, people meet candidates at the main entrance and walk back to the interview location with them. I’m amazed that anyone would let a candidate wander around the building when it’s so easy to just escort them.

        2. Washi*

          Totally agreed! I worked in a warehouse building that said “Random Electric Company” and very much did not look like the kind of place where you would find our nonprofit. I always warned people of that and was sympathetic if it seemed like they had planned appropriately, but just gotten confused.

          Also, I suspect that the interviewers were trying to teach the OP a lesson, not that they didn’t have time to interview her. I can’t imagine having put less than 30 minutes on my schedule for an interview (why have someone come in for only 15 minutes?) so they probably could have squeezed her in and done an abbreviated interview at least. Bullet dodged, OP!

        3. CupcakeCounter*

          This. I’ve been late for an interview twice and I ended up with one of the two jobs.
          The first one was because they were in a temporary building and the scheduler gave me slightly incorrect directions (go one mile when it was really almost 3 miles and GPS wasn’t really a common thing yet). I called and got better directions and THEY apologized to ME when I arrived.
          The second was for a final interview so I’d been there a couple of times before. On my previous trips there it was either late morning or early afternoon so no rush hour. The last interview was at 8:30 am and happened to coincide with the start of a massive construction project. I called when I realized I would not make it in time and they told me no one coming from my direction had arrived yet. I actually walked in from the parking lot with the hiring manager. I didn’t get the job but after that drive I wasn’t all that fussed about not having to drive there every day. I got a job 7 minutes from my house a couple months later.

        4. Michaela Westen*

          I was late for my first interview with my boss because the front desk person directed me to a different office, then someone walked me from that office to the correct one. No one blamed me or gave me a hard time in any way, and my boss still interviewed me.
          That’s how it’s *supposed* to be.

      2. DudgeonMaster*

        Or: if you were interviewing someone, and instead of them coming in the obvious front entrance and reporting to reception, they snuck in through the delivery back door or the smokers’ sally port , what would you think ?

        “Thank you for not fouling the Directors Entrance with your vile proletariat fug”



        1. Polymer Phil*

          Some companies are extra-paranoid about security. Sneaking in the “back door” because the front one was locked might be no big deal at one company, and might trigger a police response at another one. Waiting at the locked front door at an unfamiliar company was a good idea.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            When my cousin was working in law, she was once visiting a client in a prison for the first time, and she hadn’t been given any proper instructions for getting in the building, but when she arrived she saw this big group of people approaching and followed them in. The people held the door open for her and let her in quite happily, but as she wandered through the building and there appeared nowhere obvious for visitors to report to, she realised she was lost and stopped the next person she saw for directions. This guy was horrified that someone had let her in the staff only entrance just like that without question.

        2. Michaela Westen*

          “Thank you for not fouling the Directors Entrance with your vile proletariat fug”
          LOL! :D

      3. londonedit*

        I totally agree with Tau. It wasn’t a ‘dumb rookie mistake’ – they didn’t provide the information you needed. It’s on the person setting up the interview to make sure interviewees have the relevant info before they arrive, and if there’s any scope for confusion then the details should be clearly outlined. How hard is it for them to say ‘Please note that you should report to the side door of the building, which is to the right of the main entrance – not the main door on X street’? Otherwise, how can they possibly expect anyone to turn up at the right place? Without any further information, anyone’s natural inclination would be to go to the main entrance. You don’t show up for an interview and skulk around the building trying all the doors.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Totally agreeing here, OP.
        This is not a dumb rookie mistake, this is stupid employer behavior.

        “Read my mind, guess which door I expect you to use. Keep trying doors, even the employee’s only doors. After you start the job, I won’t be showing you where your desk is either. You will need to try each desk to find out which one is yours.”

        Bullet dodged, OP. Interviewing is a two way street. Watch how they treat you on the interview. Their behavior will NOT get better once you work there.

      5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I mean, what should you have done? Tried random doors in the building to see if your interview happened to be hiding behind one of them? I don’t think they’d have been particularly impressed by that either.

        Right?! I can imagine everyone’s reaction at my workplace if we saw a job candidate running around our building trying to open random doors.

    3. Sherm*

      Yup, celebrate your bullet dodged. I don’t think it’s ever appropriate for an interviewer to lecture an interviewee. I mean, if the interviewee was acting really egregiously, they should be told to leave. But I can’t think of a situation where anyone should be scolded like a naughty schoolchild.

      I once had an interview where the interviewer lectured me for being nervous, then later lectured me for not bringing something that almost no one would have brought. I certainly listened to my gut telling me that it was a horrible place. They wanted to hire me, but I said no, no, no.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Probably ear plugs. The only way anyone could get through that and still accept the job is if they weren’t listening.

    4. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

      Yes, consider this a bullet dodged. Unfortunately, the business world has too many people who attempt to absolve themselves of their responsibility to provide you with the information you need by blaming you for not asking the question. It’s unacceptable, but pretty common. You did nothing wrong here. They should have told you where to enter.

    5. Karen from Finance*

      Agreed. If I was setting up a meeting in our office and they asked me “is there a side entrance I should use, or what are the specific instructions to reach your office?” I’d find it an odd, and oddly specific, question. This is not by any means expected professional behavior.

      OP you did nothing wrong, and it sounds like you dodged a bullet here.

    6. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      It’s like what I tell people about dating – I love it when my dates save me time by telling me early on, “I Wrote, I am a terrible person. I will be a terrible partner. For the love of dog, do not date me.” Of course, they never say it in these exact words, but they do get the message across. OP, this is what this employer did. They told you, “please do not come work for us, we are a terrible employer and you’ll be miserable here.” I’d take them at their word!

    7. OP #4*

      I’d love to reply individually, but I’ll just sum up in the threads. Thank you for the helpful words! I wrote this in the car down the road after a good cry, coz I was floored at how someone could treat me, an adult with a Master’s, like that. And then had the nagging feeling of “was I wrong? wait, wasn’t it them?” And emailed from my phone. From what I pieced together, the HR person (Judy) set up the interview and when I accepted, her next step was a Google Calendar invite with the address, but no extra notes. I think Judy was excited to use this technology, not knowing the limitations and issues that may come from it. The person who lectured me looks to be the boss who oversees the employees when they are hired, and was a separate name on the invite and not HR. She was totally put out that I argued about being late and probably why she felt the need to lecture me. She also stayed a good distance away so that I could not read her nametag. My husband was pretty supportive and pointed out that while she lectured me on wasting their time, she was willing to waste MY time as well (or at least say she would to be petty).

      1. Karen from Finance*

        Still means she’s a terrible boss, if she’s willing to lecture someone who doesn’t even work for her without hearing her out first.

        Glad you seem to be feeling better about it, because you shouldn’t waste a second feeling bad about this.

      2. GreyjoyGardens*

        If “Lecturing Lori” was to be your boss when you were hired – or even just overseeing you while you get on board – then you *dodged a great big bullet*. Imagine how she’d treat you when you made the *inevitable* rookie mistake! Thank your stars you saw their true colors, and don’t take an y blame on yourself.

        1. Fergus*

          I had once and only once a person who recruited me and it took a month to get on board. Day before I had a short phone conversation where they needed to verify some info. She must have misheard something. The recruiter then sent an email that chastised me. My opinion was if he already had a negative opinion of me before my first day without asking what I said, since it was a miscommunication then there was no reason to be there, so I ghosted that job.

      3. Blue_eyes*

        They were in the wrong. You totally dodge a bullet. You do not want to work for people who will blame and lecture you for their own mistakes.

        I work in a building that has two “main” entrances. One that goes to our business, and the other goes to another business. And there’s a service entry in the back. I ALWAYS send people instructions about which side of the building they need to enter from including which street it’s on, what the stairs look like, and what signs are by our entrance. It’s legit confusing if you haven’t been here before, and I’m the one in a position to make it less confusing.

      4. Karen from Finance*

        PS. you can totally put extra notes in a Google Calendar invite. It gets sent as the body of the email when you get the invite in your inbox, and it shows up as text in the meeting in your calendar. This was not a limitation of the tool, it was all 100% on Judy – and on your would’ve-been-boss.

      5. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        Bullet dodged. For real.

        Plus, I’ve got a hundred bucks right here that says she would have been equally as teed off if you had actually done what she said you should do and Batmanned your way through a skylight or a loading dock entrance then wandered the halls until you found someone.

        Seriously, what a jerk.

      6. Ellex*

        Oh, Google Calendar. So good for some things, but only when used responsibly.

        Last year I got an invite to an interview, scheduled through Google Calendar (I guess they felt they could do that since my personal email is Google, but personally I think it’s an iffy thing to do to someone outside of your workplace). It was scheduled for 9 am the next day and I had received the invite at 4pm. First red flag: less than 24 hours notice of the interview.

        When I got there the next morning – at 8:55 – the interviewer was not ready for me and I ended up sitting around for half an hour. I wouldn’t have bothered to stay except I really needed a job. Second red flag!

        At the end of the interview, which otherwise went very well, the interviewer told me that they weren’t ready for me because the interview was scheduled for 8:30. I pulled up the email on my phone to show them that I was told to show up at 9, only to find a new email – received at 8:45 *that morning* – rescheduling the interview for 8:30. Third red flag!

        I debated sending an email to the HR person who had messed up the interview times, but decided it wasn’t worth it. I’ve seen and heard about plenty of companies where other departments are great but HR is wholly dysfunctional. I never did get a call back about that job, but happily about a month later I got an interview for another – much better – job and landed it.

        1. Marthooh*

          So first the interview was scheduled with less than a day’s notice, and then it was rescheduled with … negative 15 minutes’ notice? Well, at least it’s easy to dodge a bullet that was fired before you even walked into the building.

            1. Ellex*

              More like the job of professionally banging your head repeatedly against a brick wall. It was for abstracting – researching real estate ownership – which is like being a cross between being a lawyer, researcher, genealogist, and crossword puzzle compiler, with regular forays into converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. It was interesting work for a while, but now that I haven’t had to do it for nearly a year, I’ve discovered that I don’t really want to do it anymore.

        2. Michaela Westen*

          Oh, I think I can guess what happened there. The HR person in charge told a support person to schedule your interview. The staff was spread too thin and communication was dismal. The support person probably scheduled the interview as soon as she heard or shortly after, but wasn’t told in time. Or was told at, say, 1pm, but was too busy putting out fires to do it sooner.
          Next morning the HR person told the staff person to change the time – and if the staff person pointed out it was too late, she would have gotten in trouble for arguing or something like that. So she changed the calendar invite and hoped it wouldn’t screw up your day too bad.

      7. CM*

        I think it’s great to learn lessons from your mistakes — but I don’t see any mistake you made here! The door was locked before 8, so you waited. You called promptly at 8 and said you were there, and nobody responded. Then they got angry and treated you like a child for not knowing something that you had absolutely no way of knowing.

        It’s not really a normal thing to follow up with an interviewer to ask if there is anything extra you should know about getting in the building! As long as you have the address, you should assume that you’ll be able to show up and find it unless they gave you specific instructions about how to get there.

      8. bluephone*

        Bullet dodged, you didn’t do anything wrong. It might have started out as an innocent mistake (Judy not putting entrance notes into the GCal invite) but at every point, the company went out of their way to make things worse. I hope Ms Lecture can’t keep this job filled for more than 2 weeks at a time for the next 18 months.

      9. Snack Management*

        Only rookie mistakes were coming from their side. I hate how companies forget that they are also being interviewed! It’s on the company to provide important info like that (I even go so far as to suggest to candidates where to park in an email ahead of time since not everyone may know the specific area). Since candidates are already in a stressful situation (interviewing), it helps both parties to remove the stress of those little details if you can. Sorry you experienced that, OP!

    8. Half-Caf Latte*

      I used to work at a place that had volunteers staff the front desk. The volunteers would hand applicants the phone, and tell them to call our department to let us know they were there.

      I hated that (but had no power to change it), because I felt like the least we could do was be welcoming to our applicants, and I always thought it was SO AWKWARD to make the applicant announce their own arrival.

      I did make it known that I thought it reflected poorly on us, and that if I were a candidate with options, I’d be counting that as a strike against the org.

    9. LQ*

      Strongly agree. I had a fairly similar situation. I went to the front door. No one there, door locked. When I called my contact there about it they ran to the door and were profusely apologetic. They explained why the door was locked (someone was at lunch). They immediately got me in with the interviewer who also apologized profusely.

      That was an appropriate response. It wasn’t my fault at all. And OP it’s not your fault. They are being weird and you dodged that bullet.

      1. catwoman2965*

        I once had a job interview, many many moons ago, and when I arrived, I found the entire building evacuated due to a bomb threat! Oops. Somehow I found the HR person i was meeting with, and we kind of did an impromptu interview out on the street! Not their fault at all. That was probably my weirdest interview to date.

        1. JM in England*

          Once had a fire alarm and subsequent building evacuation in the middle of an interview many years ago. Took advantage of the situation and used it to relax and formulate (in my mind) a good answer to the question asked just before the alarm.

          1. voluptuousfire*

            Hah. My now boss had to take my call with her to offer me my role during a fire drill. She was outside the building, offering me my job. LOL

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      I think most new hires don’t realize the crazy until they’re deeper into it; OP dodged a bullet.

      I get how OP is feeling, especially since I think OP is young and new to the work world–but these people are jerks who don’t give clear directions and get mad when you don’t realize the secret rules.

    11. Oxford Comma*

      Always remember: you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. This is a big red flag that there are problems in this organization.

      They’re disorganized for not telling you where to be and/or having a person to meet you; inconsiderate because that’s not how you treat an applicant; and rude because it sounds like they chastised you for not being psychic.

    12. catwoman2965*

      I agree. I generally assume, anytime I’m going for an interview, I enter through the “main” door of wherever I’m going. But if say it was a small company, and they generally only used the side door, i’d also expect to be TOLD that when setting up the interview. Its been like 900 years since I’ve had any job interviews, but I can recall being given some specific instructions as to where to park, go, who to ask for, and so on, if it was something out of the ordinary.

      they were rude, and yeah, if that’s how they treat potential employees, I’m pretty sure you dodged a bullet on that one.

    13. CanuckCat*

      Agreed. Oldjob was originally based out of a care facility that had coded access and unfortunately when I came in for my interview, they 1) had forgotten to give me the code and 2) accidentally booked my interview when the staff who monitored the door was on lunch. However when I called to say I was at the building but couldn’t get access, they were immediately apologetic and came out to fetch me, instead of making it my fault that I couldn’t get inside.

      1. CanuckCat*

        ETA: Forgot that the same thing happened at my current job too. It’s an NGO and we don’t have a receptionist to cut down on overhead but there is a phone in the lobby to call the staff member in question. Except when I came in for my interview, neither person was at their desk so I was stuck out. Thankfully one of my now-co-workers was heading to lunch and let me in to the lobby and then went and tracked down my interviewer for me!

  10. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#3, does she tend to show up for official send-offs? I had a boss who insisted on an official goodbye thing, and I really didn’t want her to attend. Thankfully, she bailed on the day of, and I later learned she never shows up. Maybe Martha is the same?

    1. OP #3*

      She doesn’t usually show up to official goodbye things unless she has a close working relationship with the employee. My fear is that she will attend for the appearances of it but I will be very happy if she bails the day of. :)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Do you have a good work friend? I am thinking of someone who would volunteer to pull you away from Boss if she shows. Or someone who would at least redirect the conversation from anything attention seeking that the Boss might come up with to do.

          1. 8DaysAWeek*

            This is exactly what I was thinking. Having someone who knows the situation to run interference if they see her getting too close for too long. And you can always say “hey I need to go say hi to so-and-so…be back soon.” And then escape.

            1. Lily Rowan*

              This is actually an argument for getting as many people there as possible, not just your friends. The more people, the less time you have to spend with Martha, because everyone there will feel like they should say at least good-bye to you!

          2. Workerbee*

            What I am about to say is not a fool-proof system.

            One thing I’ve noticed in the going-away parties I’ve had and ones I’ve attended for other people: Your coworkers who are actually friends can outlast you at your own party! –But the person responsible for you leaving, if that person is toxic, doesn’t tend to stay very long.

            I just witnessed this at a colleague’s leaving party. The (terrible) boss in question showed up, had a quick drink, conveniently had Another Place To Get To, and bailed. Also palpable was a circle of space around him, because nobody felt comfortable around him.

            So I’m hoping that if Martha does show up, it’s only for a brief, lonely appearance. Or as Alison said, celebrate seeing the back of her. :)

            1. OP #3*

              So I’m hoping that if Martha does show up, it’s only for a brief, lonely appearance.

              I’m hoping for this as well!

            2. Reluctant Manager*

              That happened to me as well–except my friends wound up picking up the tabs of some of the managers…

          3. Sara without an H*

            I think this is an old Miss Manners trick for managing difficult relatives at social events. If you have a good work buddy who can serve as Martha’s “minder,” it may help.

            And, frankly, if the crowd is big enough, you may see less of Martha than you think. If she tries to chat you up, you can always natter for a few minutes, then say, “Oh, there’s Harriet from Marketing — I really have to say good-bye to her, she was so helpful on the Medusa’s Head project.”

            Repeat as necessary.

        1. TootsNYC*

          My thought as well.

          Also engineer the seating at the bar (get Jane on the case) that puts you surrounded by chairs so the boss can’t really get to where you are. And then you can sort of tune her out.

    2. Similar situation*

      I had almost the exact same situation as OP #3. I ended up allowing the boss I hated to host a going away party for me (which was miserable but at least over quickly), but then I waited until I had left the company before I did my actual happy hour and I did not invite the boss to that. Could you do the “fake” going away with your boss and then host a “real” happy hour later on with your select friends?

    3. Reluctant Manager*

      How about saying, “Oh, I think Jen might have been planning something? I’m going with the flow, but you can talk to her.”

  11. Seal*

    #4 – Same thing happened to me back when I was an undergrad. I had an interview for a position at one of the university’s libraries, got there a few minutes early, found the service point in question closed with no one around and sat down to wait. The person who was supposed to interview me finally came out to fetch me almost 10 minutes after my scheduled time. During the interview, she made a point of telling me how important it was to be on time and inferred that I had screwed up by not letting her know that I was waiting exactly where and when I was told to be. Never regretted not getting that job.

      1. Seal*

        I tried to, but she rather abruptly blew me off and went on to the next question. That incident is the reason I always make sure to give very clear instructions to candidates about where to report for interviews all these years later.

    1. OP #4*

      I tried to keep my post vague as possible, but it was indeed a library system. The admin office was in the back of one of their branches, which was not open until 10am. I was able to get inside because someone coincidentally walked out the front and the doors were slow to close. TY for confirming that this place was bananas.

      1. Seal*

        Having worked in libraries for over 30 years both as a staff member and as a librarian, I’m appalled but not sadly not surprised by your experience. There is a remarkable lack of common sense amongst my profession and far too many people who think mind reading is a thing. The same people who assumed you should have known where the staff only entrance was would also have told you off had you blundered in there of your own accord at any other time. Not everyone who works in libraries is like this, but enough are that it gives the profession a bad name.

        1. PB*

          Yep, fellow librarian here. In my last job, I kept getting told things that were not at all common sense and were not documented anywhere. Like, “We always abbreviate Yankee Book Peddler as YBP!” And they’d look at me like I was crazy for not magically knowing it. For the first few years, I thought it must be my fault. Eventually, I asked where it was documented, and coworker confirmed that it was more “oral tradition.”


          OP4, this is not at all your fault! These people are jerks, and I’m sorry you had such a negative experience.

      2. Oxford Comma*

        Fellow librarian here. Look back on this experience as a blessing. That their doors weren’t even unlocked at opening is a sign that they’re not on their game here. And the person who set up this interview should have been aware of when they open and given you proper directions, and frankly, been there to greet you.

      3. Mrs Mary Smiling*

        My first snarky thought was “man, sounds like a library.” The fact that my gut was correct is tragic and hilarious. Dying. Fistbump of officious solidarity.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I had one (at a software company) where my only contact was not answering his phone when I got there, and their main entrance was an empty lobby with no glass doors or windows, so no one could see me standing there. There was a landline phone on a wall and out of desperation, I ended up picking up the receiver and dialing zero. Someone answered, let me in, and was able to round up everyone I was supposed to interview with; except for my main contact, who was out to lunch and finally came back an hour later. (!!) At least he apologized. I did not get that job, and have no regrets. The interview was weird in a lot of other ways, and ended with my contact, who was their corporate recruiter, answering my question about annual reviews and raises with a “hmmm, I don’t know, we don’t do that here, I guess if you do really well, we might give you a bonus?” (Mind you, we’d already discussed that they’d give me a paycut if they hired me, in exchange for the “cutting-edge tech experience” I’d get with them.) By far the strangest interview I ever had.

  12. Beth*

    Re: #2: I agree that hobby stuff (nerdy or otherwise) generally doesn’t have a place on a resume, but I bet it can reasonably come up in an interview situation. I’m thinking those “Tell me about a time when…” questions–if you have a work-related answer, it’s probably better to use that, but if you don’t, hobbies can be a great backup option.

  13. EtherIther*

    #2 – I think it would be more reasonable to put D&D on your resume if it was a more formal position. Say, organizing and running all the games for a publisher at GenCon. Or really any more formal volunteering. Getting people together for D&D is analogous to lots of social gatherings and not necessarily verifiable, or resume appropriate.

    Not to mention, I’m not sure if the average person would assume that a DM is good at improvising just because they DM… My friend who DM’s is awesome, but I’m not sure if that would make him better at his job. Not to mention, who knows, maybe your interviewer has a grudge against DMs after an untimely death ;)

    1. Lissa*

      Also…some DMs are really bad. I have absolutely had storytellers and DMs who I would be *less* likely to hire after playing in their games, and there’s not a good way to get feedback on this. It’s also something that many many people are not going to understand. Even if they aren’t automatically biased against a hobby it just isn’t going to translate all that well.

      1. EtherIther*

        Haha, yes, I was thinking that too. There’s really just no external culpability for hanging out with your friends, at the end of the day. It’s why I think it would mean more if it was a volunteer position.

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      Yeah. As mentioned uothread I was a co-ordinator dealing with the ooc side – was also storyteller for a while for the ic side. I did mention C stuff earlier in career but only touched briefly on ST side (if at all). And that’s because of things like cash handling, H&S and resolving conflicts could be directly relevant. Also had very little else for CV :)

      I’m pretty gamer friendly :) but putting running your own game for 3-8 of friends down isn’t something I’d recommend as a good way to show experience. Maybe in interests/hobbies section.

    3. Liza*

      I included my geeky hobbies on my CV because I was part of larger organisations. I ran charity events and small conventions, as well as being part of a theatre group. I also included these on the basis that I had been out of work for seven years and wanted to demonstrate that I had done something with my time. I figured these groups at least demonstrated that I could contribute and commit to a project, show up on time, organise things, etc. I had references from those groups who could also verify my reliability and contributions. However, had I been in work for all those years, I definitely would have bumped those hobbies from the CV in favour of paid work entries.

      1. EtherIther*

        I agree, but assuming this was on resume (which it shouldn’t be anyway) that’d probably be easy enough to include… though I suppose I’d use storyteller, dungeon master might give some folks the wrong idea about what sort of gathering it is!

  14. Bilateralrope*

    #4: You got lucky. There are bound to be many more rules within that organization that they don’t tell you about until they are telling you off for breaking them.

    You don’t want a job there.

    1. Rebecca*

      Agreed, this was just the tip of the iceberg. I found out about the “unwritten rules” thing too late once, worked there for about 3 months, and was applied back at my old company. OP should be thankful.

  15. Marzipan*

    #5, are job share arrangements ever an option in your part of the world? This is a formal arrangement for splitting a full time job between two part time employees. At my workplace, for example, there are policies in place around this approach and how to set it up, and they’ll specifically advertise appropriate roles as being suitable for a job share arrangement. It might be worth looking into whether this is ever an option with employers in your area?

    1. Queen Anon*

      That’s one of those arrangements that I’ve heard of (remember the movie 9 to 5? there’s a brief shot of two job-share employees exchanging greetings as one took over for the afternoon) but have actually never seen in practice. Never met anyone who job-shared, either. I wish it were an actual thing – though it may well be in cities where I don’t live. (I live in a small, sort of backward Midwest city that wants to be on the cutting edge but would have to spend a month with the knife-sharpener to even get near it.)

      1. JR*

        I’ve most often come across it in teaching – two teachers sharing a classroom (e.g., one teaches M/Tu, the other Th/F, and they alternate Wednesdays). I had several years with team teachers growing up and I know people who do this now.

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          Yes, it’s not at all uncommon for teachers in my neck of the woods. One teacher who has tenure ‘owns’ the job and opts to work a certain percentage. They then find someone who is willing to take a term contract for the remaining percentage. I’m Canadian, so health care benefits don’t really come into it, but other benefits (i.e. pensions) would be calculated based on the percentage you work (If you were working 70%, your pension contributions would be 70% of a full-time person). The only difficulty is that it’s a little tenuous for the term contract person, as the tenured teacher is free to decide to return to full time each school year, or to pick another job share partner if you aren’t a good fit. It also slows down the contract person’s trip to tenure. How important that is may depend on how tight the job market is, though.

  16. seira*

    #3 – I was in the EXACT same situation. I was quitting because of a terrible manager and she absolutely insisted on helping to plan my going away party with my coworker friend who was organizing it. I asked that coworker to tell her I had said I didn’t want a party (she kept pushing but the coworker remained firm) and she finally gave up. She made a big deal of presenting me with flowers on my last day, and then a couple days later we had a small happy hour (11 people) that I believe she never found out about. It was honestly bizarre how she insisted on wanting to be involved with my going away party even though she had actively trash talked me to other people the entire time I was there and made my working life largely miserable and she had to have known she was part of the reason I was quitting.

    1. Not My Monkeys*

      Do you think it’s more about control than any regret or well wishing for you? I can imagine a manager who trash talks her own reports may want to be at the going away event to make sure the ex-employee doesn’t have a chance to trash talk the manager.

      1. OP #3*

        I hadn’t considered this but it makes a lot of sense. I’m sure she knows how I and other staff members feel about working with her. Being so pushy on the subject makes the goodbye party more about her, which just infuriates me even more.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I think it’s about making themselves feel better. “Yeah, I treated OP like crap, but I made up for it by going to her farewell party and now we are good friends.” I think it’s purely self-serving.

      3. JudyInDisguise*

        I think she knows about her bad reputation and showing up at Happy Hour is an attempt to dispel the myth. This way she can convince herself that her employee turnover rate is just bad luck – not bad management. After all, she keeps getting (self) invited to the goodbye parties! Look at me! I’m not difficult to work for, people like me! It’s definitely all about her trying to salvage her image. Find yourself a wing man to run interference. Hopefully she won’t stay long!

    2. OP #3*

      Ugh, I’m sorry this happened to you too. It truly is bizarre. Having the happy hour a few days after my last day is a good idea.

    3. Sara without an H*

      Maybe it’s about control, or a last-ditch attempt to disguise how horrible she is, but I have to ask…does it really matter?

      OP#3 (and anyone else in this situation): You’re leaving. You’ll never have to work with Martha again. So, if she wants to organize a party, let her. Encourage her to invite absolutely everybody and put on the biggest shindig she’s willing to fund. She brings you flowers? Accept them.

      Her reputation as a lousy manager is known by everybody in your organization. (Trust me on this.) Having her organize the party doesn’t “make it about her” or redeem her reputation for unprofessionalism. Everyone will just smirk cynically and help themselves to the drinks/sheet cake/whatever your organization likes to provide at these things.

      Afterwards, organize a separate happy hour with just those co-workers you’re closest to and want to stay in touch with. You can trade Martha stories and tell them how excited you are about your new position.

      Congratulations and best of luck.

      1. OP #3*

        This is a good perspective to have. I’ve been so happy to leave and get away from her that I’ve been super resistent to this goodbye party as a way to reinforce some control back over my working life. But you’re right; soon, it won’t even matter. Let her eat cake (and buy a couple rounds of drinks).

    4. KTB*

      Same for me, but my terrible boss was the ED of a teeny nonprofit, so she was going to know everything whether I liked it or not. Everyone went out to happy hour, she paid for it, and every time I walk by that bar now, I smile and remember it as the last farewell to a terrible job. It’s become a very pleasant memory!

      And to be clear–she was a horrible boss and I almost quit multiple times without something else lined up. So it’s not all rose colored glasses!!

  17. MommyMD*

    I feel that for a good portion of employers, if you put D & D on your resume, it’s going straight into the trash.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        Yeah, I think straight to trash is a bit harsh. I could easily see a cocked head or a raised eyebrow, but I really don’t see that many people straight up binning it. I also don’t really see the inclusion as all that helpful 99% of the time, which would make it wasted space on a resume.

        1. Colette*

          Yeah, I don’t think it should be there, necessarily, but people do put hobbies on their resume, so trashing an otherwise good candidate would be an odd reaction.

          Now if the candidate tried to hide what they were actually doing (like a SAHM claiming she was the CEO, for example), that might be disqualifying, but not just the presences of D&D.

    1. Ceiswyn*

      For a different portion, putting roleplaying games on your CV will get you the job.

      I work in software development, and my roleplaying hobby was a factor in getting at least two of the jobs I’ve had.

      HOWEVER, what was on my CV wasn’t DMing a small tabletop D&D group; I was running monthly LARPs for up to 50 people as part of an international organisation, including reporting up the line, coordinating with assistants, and co-running a regional event for over 100 people. Which is a rather different kettle of fish.

      1. Grapey*

        Yeah I was going to say, still leave D&D off your resume. But I bet if you slide in a “dexterity check” joke if you trip or something, you will get a chuckle if you’re applying to be a software developer.

    2. OP2*

      I wouldn’t have considered it if I wasn’t already aware that the field I’m moving in to (software) was extremely nerd-positive, but I was also pretty uncertain, hence sending in a question! I never would have put it on an application for a business position.

      1. Ralph Wiggum*

        If you’ve built any software to manage your D&D responsibilities, that would definitely be worth including for a software role.

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        If it’s common where you are to have a hobbies and interests section, definitely put it there! Also if you’ve ever run games for strangers… especially paying strangers…. then may be worth a mention as saw you’re at start of career.

  18. GingerHR*

    No. 5, it’s worth looking for recruitment agencies that focus on part-time work and returning mothers. I know there are several in the UK, as it’s a strong market, and I can’t imagine they are unique.

  19. Lissa*

    2. I get it. I really do! I am a big gamer and this comes up a lot, people sometimes jokingly, sometimes not listing all the potential ways to frame various types of gaming as work experience to make it work on a resume. Some people are going to say no never ever and that’s the safe answer. In my experience I have only ever seen this kind of thing work when it’s a fairly entry-level job AND the volunteer experience is something involving big crowds of people, not less than 10 of people you probably are friends with.

    So, yes, I have seen friends put things like anime convention organizer, or long-term running a larp/improv theatre group on a resume as volunteer experience and had them get the job. But I can’t see it ever working for a tabletop game. Not because it’s nerdy, but because it’ll read like someone putting hanging out with their friends on a resume. You wouldn’t put “Movie Night Coordinator” or “Organized Kaitlyn’s Birthday Party” either. In general I think if you have to be sort of “cutesy” about what a role entails it isn’t going to come off well. It’s like arguing being a mother is “CEO of your family” and listing each thing you did. Even if it’s technically true it is going to backfire more often than not.

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      Yes. Also gamer who has put it on CV – when I was running public events which for one game was 20-40 people monthly and once planned and ran event for 100 people. Plus book keeping/cash handling and sending in financial reports, admin with memberships, etc.

      Running your own tabletop game isn’t worth putting on. It’s like arranging a family member’s party dinner vs arranging a fund-raising dinner for a charity.

      Main things it needs to have to be more relevant I’d say are

      – large groups
      – open to public not just your friends
      – preferabky answerable to/reporting to someone higher up in organisation

      And don’t forget that a lot of people are turned off by roleplaying. I used “interactive theatre” ;)

    2. WS*

      Yes, convention-running experience can be relevant! Major LARPs can be relevant! My brother created a website and ran registration for a con with over 200 volunteers (with a very complex schedule) and over 10,000 attendees, and that was definitely on his resume. Another friend dealt with the public liability, insurance and security needs of a large, ongoing LARP and put it on her resume (and got a job involving management of public liability out of it). In both cases they could point to very specific skills and experiences in a public setting, not something they were doing for fun just with friends.

  20. Not Australian*

    #4 It happened to me, too. I went for a job interview but hadn’t been told to use the side entrance so I blithely walked in through the front – with a security guard shouting “Girl! Girl!” at me, but he didn’t leave his post so it wasn’t until later that I realised what was going on. Inside a lovely receptionist kindly explained that I’d come in through the wrong door; this was the Directors’ Entrance – although there was nothing to indicate that, and it was the street address I’d been sent to. I did get the job, although I later wished I hadn’t, but I’m firmly of the opinion that if an organisation wants to direct you to a particular entrance they need to provide that information before you set off; nobody here is telepathic, we can’t be expected to know these things unless we’re told.

      1. Emi.*

        Yeah, I would never hear “Girl! Girl!” and assume that anyone needed my attention for a legitimate purpose.

    1. magic dave*

      a “directors entrance”?? like a special door for 5 people? Crazy. Was your interview at, like, a palace?

      1. Not Australian*

        A big, old traditional factory/office complex where nothing much had changed since Queen Victoria’s time – so, very similar to a palace!

        1. DerJungerLudendorff*

          I’d be very suprised if people of color were ever made director there.
          I mean, they have standards to uphold! Can’t just let the proletarian riff-raff in!

    2. EPLawyer*

      Most people showing up at a business who do not work there use the front entrance. it’s so normal it doesn’t even register.

      If interviewees are to use another entrance they need to be told. Otherwise they will use the default entrance – the main one.

        1. Alianora*

          By yelling ‘Girl!’ though? If I heard someone yelling that, I wouldn’t think it was a professional trying to get my attention.

        2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          It would never even catch my attention if someone yelled “girl!” at me. Excuse me, hey you, yo! might work. I certainly would not expect to be addressed that way in a professional setting.

        3. GreyjoyGardens*

          Yelling “Girl!” is NOT the polite or professional way to get someone’s attention. I know how much many women hate to be called “Ma’am” but if the guard were to yell “Ma’am!” it would at least be an attempt at courtesy.

  21. cierta*

    OP#5, I’ve seen people apply for full time jobs as a unit, ie ‘there are two of us, but we will do your full time job with both of us working part time to make up the full hours, and here are the ways this can work really well, and here is how we handle the inevitable handover issues’. Of course, that does mean you need to find someone else who wants to work part time with a similar skill set, and who you want to shackle yourself to professionally and logistically, but it is an option.

    1. Everdene*

      I know of a couple of twins who job shared a role and ‘job shared’ their child care. It worked really well for them for 2 or 3 years. Although there apparently were a couple of unobservant collegues who thought they were the same person.

    2. Alianora*

      How do they handle salary and benefits? The job presumably offers benefits since it’s full-time, but you can’t exactly split benefits in half.

    3. OP #5*

      I wish my sister lived in the same town as me! We could totally do this – we balance each other out professionally and could really pull this off.

      Sadly, my sister lives 1,200 miles away – and I’m new to town and don’t know anyone I would trust in this way. Seems like job-share things are typically something a company arranges for people who are hired as FT and then want to transition to PT? Or maybe it’s just something I’d have to network my way into.

  22. WS*

    5. While I agree that you shouldn’t apply for full-time jobs, there are a lot of office-type jobs that are job-shared – at my workplace there’s four people filling two positions, and there used to be five filling two. All of them are mothers of school-aged children; one has since transitioned back to full-time work. This seems to be particularly common in industries like healthcare where there are lot of female staff, so that might be a good place to look. The downside of course is that female-dominated industries tend to have lower wages.

  23. Mystery Bookworm*


    Without knowing your motivations for working again, it’s hard to say too much, but I do want to observe that if your wariness about restaurants and retail has to do with lost potential, it’s arguably better for your resume to have that sort of experience than a large gap. So if you do plan on returning to full-time at some point, even if you can’t find an office job now, some time working in general will likely help.

    If money is less of a concern (and the concern is more regarding experience) then consider looking into volunteer opportunities.

    That’s not to say you can’t try for part-time work, of course, but if it it doesn’t pan out.

    Good luck!

    1. this way, that way*

      Also if you are good at being a waitress working at the right restaurant can be more lucrative than many full time jobs. When I graduated college my entry level job paid very little and I picked up a weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) waitress job at a restaurant that had live bands and made more money there weekly than I did at my degreed office job for years.

      1. Marion Cotesworth-Haye*

        Agree that she might make more with a part-time restaurant gig, but if she has children and/or significant family responsibilities, weekend evenings (the lucrative tipping hours) may not be an option.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      Maybe it depends on the field, but I would basically consider working as a waitress (eg) the same as being a stay-at-home-parent: irrelevant to the person’s qualifications for the position.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        I think you’re right that it depends on the field (if she’s a lawyer, for example, I hardly imagine it will feel significant). However, for many, many roles, any work experience is going to be better than a gap.

        Being a waitress (or a sales clerk) even part-time, can still allow OP to demonstrate customer service and other professional skills that are relevant in lots of workplaces.

        So it really is YMMV, but I would venture that in most cases, it’s preferable to a resume gap.

        1. JC*

          It doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s a difficult field if it’s unrelated to the field in which they’re applying, though. I hire in a field unrelated to customer service and feel the same on this issue as Lily Rowan.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I have a manager (in a professional services firm) who strongly prefers candidates who have had retail or food service experience. She feels that those candidates have experience working under pressure, with customer service, and dealing with surprise issues that crop up. Her predecessor used to tell me that people who’d had to work with the general public were not going to have problems handling attorneys’ demands.

        It’s not directly on-point experience, but I’ll always take someone with any work experience over someone with none. They usually at least know they need to show up on time, how to work with a manager/coworkers, and some of the basics.

    3. Half-Caf Latte*

      Many retail/restaurant positions have really terrible scheduling practices, with no consistency, let alone any rhyme or reason. I immediately assumed that the issue was the scheduling practices of places like that.

    4. OP #5*

      This is a good thought. While I’ve never been a waitress, I have enough experience in customer service-type roles to be confident that I could do a really, really good job (and make good money). But the hours and scheduling are the holdup – I really only want to work during daytime business hours, 3 days a week. That’s not prime restaurant time.

      I’ve typed and deleted this next paragraph a dozen times (using up valuable naptime! Grr!) in an attempt to not sound like an entitled goofball – but I’m having a hard time wording it right and my kid is starting to wake up…. so please read this next part in the most kind, sympathetic way possible:

      I don’t need to work for the money, I’m just bored out of my gourd as a SAHM. My husband makes enough for us to live frugally, but money for extras would sure be nice. I want to make enough to pay for top-notch childcare, which means $15/hr is about my bottom dollar. I’d work for ‘break even’ money in a role that’s in my field and low-stress and that I really love, but I wouldn’t just break even in order to get yelled at by angry customers and/or put up with the nonsense that’s so prevalent in customer service and restaurant jobs. I’ve done that before and am really thankful to have clawed my way into a more professional field. I’d rather live frugally on my husband’s salary for another year or two until kiddo starts preschool (and childcare becomes more affordable). I also have the advantage of a steady freelance contract that keeps me from having a total resume gap.

      I understand – and even feel a bit guilty about – the immense privilege of my financial position. The guilt part is probably something I should discuss with a therapist (yay growing up poor!), and I’d kindly ask that it not become a feature of the follow-up discussion here. All other topics are fair game, though!

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Can you give a sense of what fields/industries you’re targeting for work that would be worthwhile for you? Absent that information, I think people are just keyed in on office jobs and not necessarily those that would make sense for you to take.

        I get both the boredom (love my kids more than anything, but I was glad to go back after maternity leave both times) and the “break-even” philosophy, but having some sort of job, even if you take a small hit on childcare, can keep you connected to your industry (which you may not need with your freelancing), keep you paying into Social Security and earning credits there, and also keep abreast of what’s going on so you’re current when you’re ready for full-time work. I feel like people often look at the income v. childcare without also considering the time out of industry, retirement, and skills stagnation, and, if finances aren’t your core driver, you’ve got more options.

        1. OP #5*

          Yes, I’m happy to share more details. The short story is that general office work is what’s most interesting to me. I’ve previously worked for two small non-profits as a jack-of-all-trades office admin type, and I’ve most enjoyed the parts of the job that focused on client communications and volunteer recruiting / management. As it turns out, I also have a knack for the logistics of mass mailings, database management, and grantwriting. While I’ve enjoyed the nonprofits I’ve worked for in the past, I’d also be happy in the for-profit world.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            I think that’s good news! I could see a non-profit being more open to considering a part-timer, particularly someone with someone who’s good at mass mailing and DB management. As a hiring manager, I’d like to know up front if someone was not available to work FT, but, from some anecdotes up-thread, it sounds like some people have presented it later in the process once the employer was “hooked” and had success. Since that’s not my industry, I’ll defer to their expertise! I think you could sell yourself with a great cover letter, though. Are there any flexible volunteer opportunities that might help you get into that circle, if nothing paid is popping?

            Personally, I think an office manager type role would be harder to staff part-time, if not specifically advertised that way. In my experience, a the office manager can be the right-hand person who can step in when something goes awry, and, if you’re only there half the time, it might not be when the conferencing software goes on the fritz or two people have double-booked in the only meeting room.

          2. JR*

            I think this is also work you could do as a consultant/contractor. Volunteer management would be a little tricky as a contractor (since it’s so much about relationship management), but the rest of these could easily be and often are handled by someone external to the organization. You could position yourself as a consultant advising clients on strategy and best practices related to these fields or a freelancer who manages the work on a contract basis. Checking out the Facebook group called “Nonprofit Consultants Virtual Network” might be a good place to start in seeing how people position themselves in this area.

      2. Half-Caf Latte*

        I was very lucky to be able to take extended time away from work when small fry was born, and I was grateful for it. I simultaneously realized that while I love my child, FT SAHM would have been a bad fit for everyone in my family.

        We also could have survived on just spouses’ income. My job covers childcare and then some, but in discussing options initially, I was not opposed to break-even/very small profit money, for a few reasons:
        -keep resume current/avoid future losses
        -opportunity to increase retirement savings through workplace vehicles/matching programs
        -continue to earn social security credits

      3. Half-Caf Latte*

        I know a SAHM who teaches group music/activity classes geared towards toddlers. She brings her toddler. While you’re looking for other options, maybe something like that? Swim, gymnastics, yoga, music- if you’re even mildly talented at something, it’s probably sufficient to teach to little kids.

        1. OP #5*

          Yes, probably. The freelance thing is super-strange… I do technical writing in my sister’s name. She’s a big deal in a very niche technical field, but lacks the patience to write. I started by blogging a bit for her and last year it blossomed into a book deal – we publish in July. Her/my writing is popular and I could get more pieces published without too much trouble…. it’s just REALLY, REALLY boring. Like seriously, my husband doesn’t even read this stuff.

          On the plus side, I get paid (yay!) and have something pretty legit to put on my resume. Especially now that we’re signed on with a recognized-in-the-field publisher, I’m not super worried about the resume gap.

      4. Mystery Bookworm*

        I think you worded that perfectly, and I think it’s absolutely reasonable to not want a group of internet strangers to parse out their thoughts on your financial situation.

        Thanks for weighing in!

      5. Sandman*

        OP5, I’m in basically the same situation and was not in a good mental place as a SAHM, either. I can tell you what I did, but can’t really say if it’s paid off yet. When my kids were littler, I worked PT in an admin role at our local transit agency. I broke even until I had my third child, and then I paid to work until my hours changed and I had to quit. (I was really disappointed not to be able to make that work.) Then I small-time blogged for a year or two, which opened up the opportunity to lead the launch of an advocacy nonprofit. I’ve been leading that on a pro-bono basis for the last four years, VERY PT at first and more now that my kids are in school full-time. Oh, I also did kind of an internship at a local government office in that time period, too. I’m just beginning to apply for FT jobs now, and even though my resume is unconventional I’ve realized that I do at least have relevant skills to put on there. I really do think that you’ll be able to find something in the nonprofit sector, unless your area is completely different than mine.

  24. JulieCanCan*

    OP#4: The only things you should mention if you decide to send an email to that interviewer are the facts that you were there on time (early!), you were extremely inconvenienced not only because you had to take time off from your current job for the interview, but they then pulled the opportunity out from under you (at no fault of your own!)! You wasted your time and energy waiting around pointlessly because *they* didn’t inform you of the alternate side door entrance you needed to use to gain entry to their office, and they then made you feel idiotic when in reality they should have been apologizing profusely and ushering you into the office! Lastly, the fact that they had the gall to act as if you were at fault for all of these things when it was 100% their wrongdoing, well, they really need to eat some donkey balls.

    I’d be livid if I were you but truth be told, you should consider yourself lucky. I know you don’t feel lucky, but you learned very quickly that this company employs irrational, inconsiderate and poorly trained people who are careless about very important details and don’t respect other people’s time and effort. Some poor schmucks have to endure 2-3 interviews at a company and waste countless hours only to learn what you became aware of in under an hour. The person we should all feel sad for is the unlucky bloke who ends up landing that job.

    I know you probably don’t want to burn bridges, however you should absolutely send them an email encouraging them to include specific instructions about the side door entrance when sending out their interview confirmation details in order to prevent future job candidates from having to go through the same major hassle you did.

    You got to see how poorly they deal with innocuous circumstances that a “normal” organization would have quickly amended and apologized for.

    Good luck on your job search – the right position and company is out there, I promise!

    1. Zona the Great*

      Oh lord, OP, use the entire first paragraph of this straight to the donkey balls part. Please.

      1. Mookie*

        I accidentally scrolled past your first comment, but this one really caught my eye. The lede was not buried, basically. Donkey balls.

    2. Sivi*

      I agree! Even if it was the side entrance they should come and check the front entrance in case anyone waits there. Just sound like they lack common sense. And then to chastise you is rude. I would express myself in an honest way… and be polite but also say something about the door issue.

      1. londonedit*

        That’s so true – you’d think (hope…?) that in any sensible organisation, if it got to 8am and the interviewee hadn’t turned up, someone might think ‘Oh, maybe they’re at the main entrance – I’ll go and check’. And then, once they’d retrieved the interviewee, they’d just say something like ‘Sorry about that – we actually use the side entrance, but you weren’t to know that. We should have said!’ and that would be that. No need to chastise someone who couldn’t possibly have known which door to use.

  25. PABJ*

    #3 – No, you definitely can’t ask her not to come to an official good-bye party without coming across as terribly rude. You could do an official one and a more unofficial one to appease her desire to come across as the good boss and have one with only the people you are close with.

    1. Asenath*

      I’m thinking about useful scheduling, but that wouldn’t work if she insists on organizing it. That is, the only possible time is when she’s out of town, or in an important meeting with senior management or something. Failing that, refusing to have one and organizing a private night out or dinner or something with your personal friends after you leave might be the way to go. For what it’s worth, our farewells are usually organized by our co-workers, who ask first what we want. Choices generally include a kind of snacks and soft-drink reception to which everyone is invited (I find that choice a bit tedious, but it does seem popular), a small-scale coffee hour (usually with only the closest co-workers) or possibly a lunch at a restaurant, which is kind of between the coffee hour and the reception in the number of guests who attend.

      1. OP #3*

        The goodbye send-offs are usually after work at a local bar to not take people away from their work during business hours. I think having separate events might be the best way to go.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      OP, you might be able to convince her that you are not much on good-bye parties anyway and “Please don’t go to that trouble for me. I don’t want anyone going out of their way.”
      I have been able to dial things back by convincing the person that it is not of high value to me.

      1. OP #3*

        I tried this approach after the second time she asked me about the goodbye shindig. Her response was, “Well, people want the chance to say goodbye!” *eyeroll*

        *Eyeroll because in a 50-person office, everyone knows where I sit so they can say goodbye whenever they feel like it.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          In this case, I’d just let her plan something and then you can have your own private get-together with the people you actually want to invite. I get not wanting to spend time with a boss you don’t like, but it’s just a an hour or two out of your life, you won’t burn a bridge, and there’s a chance she won’t show anyway. As Alison said, just pretend it’s a celebration of the fact you’ll no longer have to deal with her.

          1. Fergus*

            It’s your life let her plan anything she wants and then don’t show and have your party somewhere else

  26. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP4 – I’d consider it a bullet dodged, count my blessings they let me know before I started there how they treat people, and move on!

  27. Wintermute*

    #1: I don’t think being a local DM is showing significant transferrable skills but that’s not to say NOTHING to do with the hobby is. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact it’s pretty common, you get 20 people from some demographics in a room I’d venture at least 20-25% will have some sort of tabletop game-running experience.

    If you do something exceptional and uncommon though? that’s different– especially if it shows a skill you want to highlight for a potential employer. As an example, I do logistics and onsite support for an organization that runs various roleplaying and live action games at national conventions, we typically get a few dozen people running games for us, and we typically hope for is over 10,000 player-hours over 4 days. That? well, there’s a lot of transferable skills to any event management, handling a lot of moving parts, dealing with scheduling conflicts and unforseen events . If I was going for a job where putting on successful events or conferences was part of it, or the ability to handle short-term high-chaos events, or even something where handling upset or confused customers in a gentle manner was required, it would be part of what I highlight for sure. In the first two cases it would be high on my list because I’m not a great candidate for those types of positions with a proven track record, in the last case I’d put it way under the relevant training I have from my call center days and experience taking escalated billing calls.

    Even for the people running under us, I think it might change something because all our DMs are held strictly to performance and accountability standards. We’re a partner of the con and have an obligation to deliver something worth the price of admission, literally! In a situation like that I would say it depends what your objective is in including it. What takeaway item do you want them to get? Just running a game says you can corral six to eight friends into a room for four to six hours and run a game they enjoy enough to come back to, that’s not easy, don’t get me wrong but it’s also, as stated in the response, not something that has a huge transferability. If I were to highlight my con game-running experience it could be to focus on the fact I was able to sell out all my seats in the pre-sale period by writing an effective pitch blurb for the event catalog, or that I maintained top quality marks and repeat business across several years of the convention, or that I ran an event with six sub-staff and 80 players for three nights and coordinated all the staffing.

  28. Green Great Dragon*

    #5 I wonder if larger companies would be more likely to be open to a part-timer where there are several people doing overlapping jobs? We often pick part-time internal candidates for full time job postings; you wouldn’t expect every job to require exactly 40 hours, and we can’t predict a team’s future workload to within a few hours per week anyway. I’ve also applied for a FT role as PT (in UK) and got an interview (I failed for other reasons).

    I found Alison’s answer disappointing – I’m sure she’s right, but I hope more employers will start to think more flexibly than ’40 hours or nothing’. Work seldom arrives in 40 hour/week blocks.

    1. quirkypants*

      I wouldn’t say Allison’s answer is the problem. Whether employers are right or wrong in how they define their roles, I don’t see this as any different than an employer who doesn’t want a remote worker or wants someone to work specific hours when the work can be more flexible than that.

      If someone is hiring for a role in-office, even if the role can be done remotely, it’s better to be up front when you apply and know it could put you at a disadvantage in the hiring process. (It might also work out! Which I hope does for the OP)

      1. Green Great Dragon*

        Alison’s answer isn’t the problem, too many employers not being open to considering part time workers is the disappointing part. A good 30 hour worker can get a lot more done (for less total pay) than a below-average full time worker, in my experience.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      To be honest the vast majority of job seekers don’t just desire full time, they need it to survive. It’s different when you know someone through the internal channels to know they can handle a job at PT instead of a FT position.

      It’s hard enough in this economy to find a true part timer, so it’s rarely sought after.

      Though sometimes it is negotiable. I took a full time job,due to other circumstances I had to go back and say “can we do it part time for a year? Then full time after that?” It worked out perfectly in the end but they couldn’t find anyone else for 6 months prior and they knew they snared a unicorn with me. It’s always worth a try if you’re willing to hear “nope, sorry” in the end and understand business isn’t about any one person at any time.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Not only this, but, because healthcare insurance is typically tied to employment, many people can’t afford to take a part-time job because it is unlikely to offer the fringe benefits they need.

  29. Wintermute*

    #2: I don’t think being a local DM is showing significant transferrable skills but that’s not to say NOTHING to do with the hobby is. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact it’s pretty common, you get 20 people from some demographics in a room I’d venture at least 20-25% will have some sort of tabletop game-running experience.

    If you do something exceptional and uncommon though? that’s different– especially if it shows a skill you want to highlight for a potential employer. As an example, I do logistics and onsite support for an organization that runs various roleplaying and live action games at national conventions, we typically get a few dozen people running games for us, and we typically hope for is over 10,000 player-hours over 4 days. That? well, there’s a lot of transferable skills to any event management, handling a lot of moving parts, dealing with scheduling conflicts and unforseen events . If I was going for a job where putting on successful events or conferences was part of it, or the ability to handle short-term high-chaos events, or even something where handling upset or confused customers in a gentle manner was required, it would be part of what I highlight for sure. In the first two cases it would be high on my list because I’m not a great candidate for those types of positions with a proven track record, in the last case I’d put it way under the relevant training I have from my call center days and experience taking escalated billing calls.

    Even for the people running under us, I think it might change something because all our DMs are held strictly to performance and accountability standards. We’re a partner of the con and have an obligation to deliver something worth the price of admission, literally! In a situation like that I would say it depends what your objective is in including it. What takeaway item do you want them to get? Just running a game says you can corral six to eight friends into a room for four to six hours and run a game they enjoy enough to come back to, that’s not easy, don’t get me wrong but it’s also, as stated in the response, not something that has a huge transferability. If I were to highlight my con game-running experience it could be to focus on the fact I was able to sell out all my seats in the pre-sale period by writing an effective pitch blurb for the event catalog, or that I maintained top quality marks and repeat business across several years of the convention, or that I ran an event with six sub-staff and 80 players for three nights and coordinated all the staffing.

    1. Nonny*

      But even the part about repeat business isn’t necessarily useful– if you attribute it to your well-written copy it potentially is, but knowing that people like roleplaying with you and want to come back isn’t necessarily a job-relevant skill/achievement.

  30. Boo*

    #4 – just wanted to reassure you that you did nothing wrong! You can’t reasonably be expected to know about a side door, and personally I wouldn’t have tried that anyway as companies usually take a dim view of people who are not employees finding ways around reception/security into the building.

    Also, some perspective from someone who emails candidates to set up interviews – my org is a little odd in that we are spread over two floors in a building shared with multiple other companies, and we don’t have a proper reception area on either floor. I explain everything in my email confirming the interview arrangements to candidates, including directions from the nearest tube station, our accessibility report for folks with disabilities, and tell them where to wait and who to speak to on arrival. Interviews are hard enough without making people play weird guessing games about exactly where they need to go.

    1. JM in England*

      Many years ago, interviewed for a summer retail job whilst I was at uni. The invitation letter did not state which entrance to use, so naturally used the shop’s public entrance. Went to the customer service desk to say I had arrived and was then curtly told to go to the shop’s rear entrance which was out in the street, outside of the mall. Result was being 5 mins late plus a frosty attitude from the interviewer! Needles to say, didn’t get job and embarrassment factor was 110%!

      1. Boo*

        This is just so infuriating and so weird on every level! I mean, surely you can’t be the only person to do the most logical thing?!

      2. Tiny Soprano*

        Ugh, maybe they only want to hire psychics. That’s the only explanation I can come up with besides them being ridiculous and unprofessional.

      3. I’m actually a squid*

        That’s ridiculous! At my retail job the side entrance is ONLY for bringing shipments in and everyone has to enter and exit through the front entrance. It has something to do with where the cameras are. A candidate who went skulking around and found the side door and tried to use it wouldn’t get disqualified but it would come off as strange

      4. Jennifer Juniper*

        Maybe they reserve the front entrance for the customers and they make the employees use the servant’s, I mean side, entrance?

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is how employers should handle it, right here, OP.

      As I am reading along here, I am thinking of younger me. Stuff like this happened often enough. I thought it was a bit of a power play by some people. It’s happened to me less as I have gotten older, that only leads me to believe I was probably correct. Typically I was the substantially younger person and the person treating me like this was older.

      If you think of this as being invited to a friend’s house for a party and they don’t tell you the party is in the barn waaayy out back behind the house. You stand there ringing the bell at the house and no one answers. After a bit you give up and go home. At this point you figured out this isn’t much of a friend.

      In your setting, she could have put a sign on the front door saying, “Interviewees please use side door.” So simple yet so difficult for HER to do.

      1. Antilles*

        In your setting, she could have put a sign on the front door saying, “Interviewees please use side door.” So simple yet so difficult for HER to do.
        This. In every office I’ve ever been in, you’re expected to use the main entrance and go through reception (or ring the ball if it’s too small to have a dedicated receptionist). If you *aren’t* supposed to use the main entrance, then the main door will have some kind of clearly marked sign about “Visitors, please use side entrance”, “Deliveries use rear entrance” or etc.

        1. Coverage Associate*

          I just encountered the bell thing for the first time. My interview was at 9am, so when the door was locked 10 minutes before 9, I waited down the hall (and looked for a second entrance that might have been the main entrance). I didn’t see the bell. I went back to the door just at 9 and finally saw the bell. Maybe if I get the job, I will suggest putting a sign on the door pointing to the bell.

    3. irene adler*

      Boo- Thank you for your kindness towards job candidates. You’ll never know how much it means to the folks you encounter. But rest assured, it is appreciated.

      Recently I dealt with an HR recruiter who most certainly takes after your ways.

      After we set the date/time for interview, she went on to explain where the visitors parking was located, and assured me that I was welcome to park anywhere in the lot. Even explained that the building entrance I needed was nearest the flag pole (it was a multi-building site).
      Then, a couple of days prior to the interview, she alerted me that the company was bringing trailers onto the parking lot. I might want to plan extra time for finding a parking spot. Then she assured me that if the lot was full, it was okay to park on the street. But she felt that would not be necessary.

      I felt so cared for.

      The whole interview went well.

      Now I’m waiting for the ‘wheels of HR’ to turn.

  31. Betty*

    #5: I would recommend finding someone in a similar position and applying as a package for a jobshare. You’ll have done all the legwork on finding someone with complementary skills and a complementary schedule, and on discussing thoroughly how the jobshare would work to minimise disruption. It’s still a gamble but the right company will recognize that they’re getting twice the experience and skills for (roughly) the same pay as one full-timer. You have to be scrupulous about splitting the job and pay fairly, though, and trusting that your sharer will hold up their end of the bargain.

    1. valentine*

      They couldn’t split the pay and, even if the employer agreed to pay them the same to start, what happens come review/raise time, when one has done perhaps much better/worse? What if one needs to go one leave or they want the same vacation time?

      1. Green Great Dragon*

        They just go on the books as two part timers. They both get paid for the hours they work, they get reviews and raises according to their own contribution, if they both go on leave at the same time that’s no worse than if one full time person went on leave, and actually one of the benefits of a job share is that often they don’t both go on leave at the same time.

        There’re a lot of job shares out there these days.

    2. WellRed*

      Eh, I think the company would prefer to find its own candidates, full time or part time, rather than having one handed up to them. What if they want you, but not the other person?

    3. BananaPants*

      This is very industry-dependent. In mine, job-sharing and part time work (<32 hours/week) is rare and typically never considered as an option for new hires. Such arrangements will sometimes be considered for current employees looking for more flexibility, but only if they have a skillset that isn't easily replaced.

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      I have never worked somewhere that would go for this. As Alison notes, hiring and managing two people for one job is unnecessarily difficult when one person is what you’ve advertised for. Absent some pretty substantial leverage – like niche experience that is hard to come by, this is not going to be an attractive option to a lot of employers. My work tends to also require in-depth knowledge of the project and the status all the small tasks within it, and the amount of hand-off time (plus the risk that one forgets to loop the other in on something) that would be involved to make that work with two people give me a headache. I could see it working for data entry, word processing, or more discrete projects, but none of the teams for which I provide support staff would go for this.

    5. Betty*

      Um, OK naysayers, but I have actually done this. I applied for a full-time skilled contract job with a friend and we got the job. We were both paid half the wage and sorted out who was doing what between us. We invoiced separately. We jointly had much better availability than a single full timer would have done (as Great Green Dragon notes).

      WellRed: That’s a risk you have to take – that you’re picking someone equally competent and desirable. If they want you but not the other person, they can offer you the job and it’s up to you to either accept their offer or say “It’s both of us or neither” – so yes, you might end up worse off in your job search because of the other person you pick. It’s a risk you have to take.

      I think part time work and job shares is (or ought to be) the future. It’s a much more sensible way to arrange an individual’s life and it’s the only way people are not going to lose skilled workers to parenthood or health conditions or life events.

  32. Sir Freelancelot*

    OP 5, My last terrible Boss wanted as well to organize my goodbye party after making my life a living hell while working with her. I politely declined and said I didn’t want a party and kept the point (I admit it was childish but so, sooo satisfactory to see her spending time every day at my desk talking about tradition and being unreasonable and why don’t I want a party?). After I left, I threw a private party at a restaurant contacting directly my coworkers (I had all their numbers and they were a great team). I don’t care if she ever found out, the point is that I wasn’t working anymore for her so, fudge off Carol! Anyway, maybe you could wait to be out of there and then organize a party that you want? And good luck with your new job!

    1. OP #3*

      Thank you! Yes, I truly want the satisfaction of not letting her perform like she is a good boss. But I am also trying to balance that with the satisfaction of knowing she will struggle a lot to do the job without me. So if she wants come and perform while everyone else knows the truth, maybe that is good enough?

      1. Colette*

        I understand wanting that, but this is a cutting off your nose to spite your face situation. Have the happy hour, go and say goodbye to all of your colleagues. This is what you want to do, and if there are 20 people there, you won’t have to have much to do with your boss. She’ll probably be there, but so what? You don’t ever have to see her again after that one event.

        The other options (not having a happy hour at all or having an alternate event) will just cause more problems. Either you don’t get the event that you say you want, or you’re asking your colleagues to spend twice as much while risking that your boss finds out and refused to be a reference for you in the future.

      2. CR*

        At my last job I had to go to lunch on my last day with all my coworkers including my supervisors who were the reason I was leaving. Honestly, it was fine. I was so happy it was my last day. I barely talked to them. I think you should just suck it up and look forward to your next step.

      3. WellRed*

        As another commenter posted above, if she even shows it’s likely to be for a quick drink and then she’ll duck out. Don’t let her take up so much space in your head. You’re escaping. Congrats!

        1. OP #3*

          Yeah, I’m realizing now that she’s taking up way too much of my headspace. I can survive an hour or two with Martha, knowing that I won’t have to work for her ever again. I appreciate your (and everyone else’s) perspective on this to help me get unstuck.

      4. Sir Freelancelot*

        It could be good enough indeed! Also, I pity her if she thinks that acting as the good boss At a party will make the rest of her team look at as if she was a good boss for real. Thanks for your reply!

      5. Bunny Girl*

        You might just say “Hey I appreciate you wanting to plan this! Just so you know though, I do have another obligation that night that I’m unable to get out of and I will probably only be able to stop by for an hour at the most.” And then plan another thing with your closest coworkers on a different night. Your boss might not want to take the time to plan something that you’ll only be at for about 45 minutes, and if she does then you have an excuse to leave early and then you have something to look forward to with your other coworkers.

  33. DinoGirl*

    #4 I think it’s easy to get caught up sometimes in wanting a job and achieving a goal without paying attention to whether or not it’s a good fit. This is one of those times you should take a step back from the sting of their behavior, realize it’s not you, and move on content you dodged a bullet.
    Perhaps if it happens again you’ll feel more secure telling an interviewer “this doesn’t appear to be a good fit.” I’ve had two interviews I regretted not simply leaving due to rude interviewer behavior.

  34. The Doctor*


    They deliberately withheld key information from you FOR THE INTERVIEW. What else might they withhold from you after you’re hired?

      1. Decima Dewey*

        “It takes three pay periods for your direct deposit to kick in. Oh, did we mention the actual checks are written from an out of state bank?”

        1. Mrs Mary Smiling*

          Haha, based on library–I vote for “We don’t do direct deposits–you have to walk in and get the check in person from Sally who leaves at 2 and locks her office”

  35. Jl*

    #4 has happened to me. They gave me information and who to ask for but when I got there i got lectured by some… idk she was quite young… maybe 22 yr old about how I should have used blah blah door and asked for blah blah as they had told me. I was 31 at the time. I took out the printed email and told her I followed the instructions to a T. It was some kind of power play on her part so she felt she was above me I believe and completely unecessary, even If I had been mistaken. It was strange and hostile. I had the evidence though and I decided not to take that role. It was a managerial role and she spoke to me like that… it was pretty shocking. I would never speak to a potential hire that way and I’m an experienced interviewer. She treated me and scolded me like a child.

  36. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #1

    So, did anyone actually email/text/call the guy to ask him to bring the equipment back? It seems like that would be the first thing to do. I don’t see it mentioned in the letter that anyone did this.

    1. WellRed*

      They are all too busy tip-toeing around the absent minded professor, whispering and wringing their hands.

      Note to all the absent minded out there: If you drive to work every day, stick a note on your keys.

  37. Sleepless*

    LW 5, I’m going to dissent. I would apply to the FT job and just ask. You never know. They might have already heard from another potential full-timer, or they don’t really want a full-timer but they aren’t sure anybody will want PT. I actually did this with my current job, but in my case I was looking for 30-35 hours a week so it was a little more than what you’re doing. I can’t remember whether I brought it up in my cover letter or the phone screen. They were completely fine with it!

    I would frame it as “I’m actually available for X hours a week/X days a week, would that schedule be possible? I know it’s not what’s in the ad, and I understand if it won’t work” Instead of “I want a job, but I can only work during school hours and need every school holiday off.” SAHMs easing back into the workforce do this a lot and it comes across like they don’t know how businesses work.

  38. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #4

    I agree that the interviewer was rude and it’s their mistake; however, in the future I’d ask when the interview is scheduled if there’s anything in particular you should know about the building: location, entrance, security check-in, etc.

    I recently had two interviews with the same company (got the job!). One was at an operations center and the other at the executive offices. When the interview was scheduled at the ops center, the HR person told me that there are two of entrances in front: one is for the branch (on the left) and the other is on the right on the side of the building, which is the one I should use. I was also told that he would meet me at the entrance. I did a drive-by the night before and it looked as though there were three entrances so I emailed to clarify. The door I was to use was actually not on the side of the building and there is no reception area there. Had I not clarified, I would have been wandering around wondering where to go, or ended up in the branch. When I went for the second interview I made sure to ask if there was anything I should know about that building. Glad I asked! I was told I need to park in back, use the side entrance and ring the bell. When I got to the side entrance, the sign said to use the front door during business hours. Had I not asked, I would have ended up in a branch having to ask where to go.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Just wanted to clarify that I don’t think this is OP’s fault at all–the interviewer was a total jerk. I just mean that I think sometimes employees take it for granted that others will know where to go. They’ve been going to that location for X months/years and probably don’t give it a second thought or realize it’s confusing to someone visiting for the first time. I don’t know if that’s what happened here, of course.

  39. Bree*

    Unless I’m missing something, LW#3 has already sort of tried the suggested solution, without success. Certainly worth another, more firm, try.

    If it doesn’t work, you can do the big event, but say Jane has already started planning it like close co-workers usually do. Then, sit as far as you can from Martha and grin and bear it when she talks to you. Later, once you’re settled into a new job or post-Martha life, get together with the co-workers you were closest to and celebrate how great you’re doing now.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Worst case scenario, if Boss came to the party, I would just act distracted and fail to have any meaningful conversation with her at all. “Oh so many people here! Hey, there’s Sam, oh it’s great that Sam came. And there’s Julie, I have to give her a hug ….” And so on. Allow yourself to be distracted by the goings-on around you.

      1. OP #3*

        Both of these are great suggestions. The bar we usually go to is busy and loud, so it will be easy to be distracted by what’s going on around me. Or loud enough where I can nodd and smile and pretend I hear what she’s saying. :)

    2. Indie*

      This is a really great suggestion because you don’t want to give Martha control over the environment. If she tries to plan an alternative just say “Thanks but we’re going to be at Moe’s. It’s all arranged. (If you want to put her a leetle bit more in her place, away from Boss of Everything, add “Everyone already knows about it. Hope you can make it too!”)

  40. ssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    In my town, based on a job posting website I used to frequent, there is a high need for part time administrative support in the non-profit/NGO/para-government sector. I would start there. A non-profit might give you the flexibility you need too.

    Note that pay scales varied widely and some were looking for part time support for six months or less and a lot of that, I suspect, was due to “We got funding! Let’s get help!” A unionized shop will pay more, of course.

    My feeling, though, is that part time work = lower pay.

  41. LGC*

    I actually find it interesting that the podcast is about deference in interviews…and so is letter 4, in a way. (As always, please go listen to it immediately. Even if you’re on the subway.)

    I’m in complete agreement that this says way more about the company LW4 was interviewing for than LW4. Also, because this bears repeating: LW4, you didn’t so much dodge a bullet as you did an ICBM. They expected you – a total stranger – to just know that you were supposed to use the poor door for your interview without being told, and basically yelled at you for not knowing because you’re not psychic.

    It’s probably really painful right now and I’m not the one who just lost out, but you deserve better than that evil beehive. And I really hope that you do find a wonderful job soon.

  42. Bookworm*

    #4: I’d take that as a sign to run. Years ago I was condescended to/lectured by an interviewer who deigned to give me a chance because while she didn’t think I quite met the requirements, we could “try this out” (it was for an internship and I was still new to the workforce) at the internship after consultation with her colleagues (which meant the interview stretched out far longer than it should have).

    I was really upset by the entire thing because I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and put into words at the time as to what was happening to me or how to respond to someone who was really was super patronizing. I heard through the grapevine she was a terrible boss and left that same organization not long after. Good riddance!

    This could be different for you. But I’d really take this as a sign that this is not a good organization to work for if they treat potential employees this way. Maybe they had an off day, maybe there was other stuff going on. But there are other places and other people who are likely better fits for you. Good luck!

  43. T*

    IMO spouses should not work together, unless they are total professionals and it doesn’t get weird. I worked with a married couple and it was beyond bizarre. They actually shared one cell phone, drove to work together, and it was really a strange set up. The wife was completely overbearing and bossed her husband around at work, with was cringeworthy having to watch. I once had a very minor disagreement with her, and her husband, who I had no issue with, started getting an attitude with me over small petty things. Plenty of people at our work talked about them due to all the weird things they did and the strange dynamic of their relationship. They were the most bizarre couple I have ever worked with and a great example why hiring spouses is often not a good idea.

    1. Anononon*

      I work with several sets of spouses (and several other family pairs, like siblings and parent/child), and it’s generally not been an issue where I work. For most of them, they do a normal amount of socializing with each other during work, but nothing awkward or uncomfortable.

      1. CheeryO*

        +1, I work with two married couples, and I often forget that they’re married because they operate completely independently at work (other than commuting together, but that seems pretty normal – why waste the gas?). I also work with a divorced couple, and they keep things pretty professional as well! What is way more awkward to me are the younger couples who meet at work and go through the honeymoon phase at work, because that kind of thing is impossible to escape.

        1. WellRed*

          And of course, there’s been at least one letter here about lovebirds working together in cringeworthy, PDA fashion.

      2. T*

        That is good to hear, I think my encounter was just a case of two weird, unprofessional and unpleasant people who happened to be married and employed together. The fact that they were married compounded the friction and drama and they reacted as one unit to each other’s problems.

  44. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I disagree with Alison’s advice on #3. Unless the goodbye happy hours are paid for by the company, there’s no obligation to invite everyone, including your boss. I hate fake sentiment, and boss is doing this to make herself look good. Just tell her you don’t want her to plan anything. If she asks why, just say “I just don’t want it”. Rinse and repeat. Then plan something small for your closest co-workers, and maybe go somewhere different.

    1. Colette*

      I don’t think there’s an obligation, but I also don’t think it’s in the OP’s best interests to break with tradition in a way that will likely result in hurt feelings. Some of the people she leaves out may be in a position to work with her or help her out in the future – why leave on a bad note?

    2. OP #3*

      I hate fake sentiment as well, which is why the situation grinds my gears. But to Colette’s point below, there are some coworkers who I would like to keep in touch with, even if we aren’t super close / friendly on a personal level. Maybe looking at it from a networking standpoint will help me see it more objectively.

      1. Going anon for this one*

        I’m going anonymous for this one because I have first hand experience. My office literally just did this – my boss drove off one of my team mates so she wasn’t invited to the going away meal.

        Since then she’s been even more obnoxious, blown up one of our highest functioning teams, and retaliated in writing in people’s 6 month performance reviews. She’s probably on her way to getting fired for that last one, but she’s causing untold damage while she’s still here.

        So as horrible as it is to feel like you “have” to invite her, you may also want to consider the ramifications for the co-workers you’re leaving behind if you don’t and she finds out they attended.

        1. OP #3*

          Yeah, I can totally see my boss being a little nastier to my colleagues if she’s not invited and finds out. She hates being left out of things (even when projects don’t directly involve her), and I don’t want her to unleash her wrath on them.

  45. Lulu*

    FWIW, I have had two job interview experiences, both leading to job offers that I took, that involved a discussion of hobbies. Never listed on my resume, but in one I was able to use maintaining a hobby related blog as an example of computer literacy/comfort, and they seemed more impressed with that than previous job-related computer use, perhaps because it was easier for them to understand what it was? I don’t know. The job didn’t require a great deal of computer expertise, but did require that I was comfortable with basic applications and some other stuff that was on the same level as updating my “fancy” blogspot blog.

    The other job interview where this came up was basically a culture fit interview with an owner of the company as they were preparing to make an offer. Basically a last step to be sure kind of thing. And let’s just say that participation in hobbies like the hobbies I participate in was a big plus in terms of culture fit. They explicitly asked about that kind of thing, and I think were mostly looking for well rounded people who were passionate about and involved in something. Again, not on my resume, but good to have thought about how I’d present it to a potential employer.

    1. OP2*

      I’ll keep this in mind! I was definitely thinking to keep this under my belt as a good hobby to mention if they ask about them in an interview.

  46. KR*

    D&D… I’ll just say I am not a D&D player. I have friends that play but I am not familiar with the game or have an inclination to try it. If I saw that on a resume it would not mean anything to me because I have no grasp of what the different roles and responsibilities in the game are and frankly do not care. I feel like it wastes space on your resume.

    1. Rainy days*

      Yeah, this. DM may be a lot of work, but you have to have a lot of insight into the game to appreciate it and most people don’t.

    2. Public Sector Manager*

      The only time I’ve seen hobbies on resumes is from brand new attorneys (1) who were told by their career services to put a hobby on the resume “to stand out” and (2) they don’t have enough relevant experience to fill their resume.

      I’ve seen it all: anime fan, vegan cook, runner, wrestler, kubb enthusiast, D&D, Settlers of Catan, improv, stand-up comedy, and so on.

      For the one chance in 1,000 that the person reading your resume will think that your hobby is interesting enough to ask about in an interview, the OP will run into 999 people who have no idea what the hobby is about or will be completely unimpressed with the hobby.

  47. 653-CXK*

    OP #4: You certainly DID dodge a bullet. This is most certainly not your fault…it sounds like Judy was on a power trip and if you had gotten the job, [insert deity here] only knows what else was in the works.

    I would have written them right back and said the following: “I understand there are certain doors that employees have to go through for safety and security reasons; however I found your response to entering through the front without prior knowledge before this interview rude and appalling. In the future, I suggest you give potential candidates clear and concise directions so there is no confusion. I have decided to withdraw my application to your company and I do not wish to be considered for future positions.”

    1. Workerbee*

      Very tempting! Could have repercussions beyond this one company, though.

      Also, we’ve received scolding emails before from job candidates and, warranted or not, they are usually just passed around and laughed at. A reprehensible practice, yes, but a true one. Because of course the company can do no wrong. :/

      I feel for OP#4. This was a rare, honest, uncomfortable look at what that company allows to go on.

      1. 653-CXK*

        Agreed…this would be one I’d write as sort of “spirit of the staircase” catharsis, but not send it. Maybe it would be better for OP to give a nice little heads-up on Glassdoor – polite, of course, but anonymous.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I wouldn’t do the scolding part.

      I might write to any HR type person who wasn’t the rude one, and say, “I was scolded for not coming to the side door and was bumped from my interview slot by the delay. However, there was no sign at the main door indicating that a side entrance was to be used, nor was the side entrance visible–and nowhere that I’ve ever worked would it be OK to use an entrance other than the main one (most times they were locked!). You might consider clearer communication with your candidates in the future–a sign on the door, or instructions in the email.
      “I am withdrawing from consideration, and I wish you luck in hiring.”

    1. Misleading title #4*

      Again, the letter writer was never lectured about “not knowing how to use a side door”

      1. Dust Bunny*

        That just makes it dumber: They didn’t tell her she needed to use the side door. They probably didn’t even tell her there *was* a side door. She was there on time but couldn’t get into the building because they gave her incomplete instructions, and then the interviewer was a horse’s patoot about it.

        None of this was the OP’s fault.

      2. Ceiswyn*

        Again, the letter writer was lectured about being late despite not having been late; the only reason the interviewer claimed she was late was because she didn’t know to use the side door.

        This boils down to ‘the letter writer was lectured because they didn’t know to use a side door’.

      3. LGC*

        This is an extremely weird hill to die on, and I have to wonder why you’re so insistent on this.

        The LW was technically lectured for being late, yes. But she was “late” because she used the main entrance, not the employee entrance. (In fact, she arrived on site before 8, called HR at 8, and asked around the moment the main door opened!)

    2. Misleading title #4*

      Again, the title SPECIFICALLY SAYS “I got lectured at an interview for not knowing to use a side door”, when in fact the entire letter says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about being “lectured for not knowing how to use a side door”

      1. CheeryO*

        This is purely semantics… obviously LW knows how to physically operate a side door. She was lectured for being late, and she was late because they didn’t tell her to use the side door.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        The Wizard of Oz barely appears in the movie, yet the whole thing is named after him. Sometimes titles are just that and it’s the content that matters.

        But for what it’s worth, the whole story is about going to see the Wizard, so the title is fair. The OP’s story is that she was late because she didn’t know that she was supposed to use the side door, so this title is also fair.

        1. Misleading title #4*

          Again, if the interviewer DIDN’T “lecture” you for “not for not knowing to use a side door”, then the letter should NOT be titled “I got lectured at an interview for not knowing to use a side door”

      3. Arctic*

        It was the reason she was “late” it’s the “but-for” cause of the whole lecture. The title isn’t misleading.

      4. Manders*

        Are… are you the interviewer? I cannot think of any other legitimate reason for why you’re so UPSET and NITPICKY. Reasonable adults realize that she was lectured about her lateness… *because she was not told to use the side door.* (No advice for the OP, just congratulations on your narrow escape from crazy job!)

    3. Misleading title #4*

      Again, “lectured for being late” and “lectured for not knowing how to use a side door” are 2 different lectures. The letter SPECIFICALLY SAYS only 1 of the 2 “lectures”. They “lectured” the letter writer only for BEING LATE

      1. Holly*

        I think we can all understand OP 4’s post and the title when read in concert, and it’s not diminishing anyone’s understanding of OP 4’s situation. It’s confusing as to why you’re allowing this to ruffle your feathers.

  48. CupcakeCounter*

    #1 – do you have the husband’s cell number? Trying texting him in the morning before work as a reminder -Hey we need X back! He might still forget but it will greatly increase your chances of seeing it before the wife gets back.

    #2 – yeah don’t put it on your resume but you could probably reference it in interviews as more of “well I haven’t done that in a work environment yet but I help run a local hobby club (or whatever generic name you want to put on it) and have planned X event for Y number of people, etc…

    #4 – what a bunch of asshats. Glassdoor review here you come! Also, why do you still want to work there??? That we be a deal breaker for me especially since you called at 8:00 letting them know you were there and having issues getting into the building. There is absolutely NO WAY this is your fault – they screwed up or have some kind of “if they really want the job they will jump through all these hoops and instinctively know to use the hidden back entrance instead of the main entrance”.

  49. Alfonzo Mango*

    LW5, it sounds like you’re looking for a unicorn, and I’ll be curious if you find it and how it shakes out. Finding a part-time job that’s over $15/hour can be really tough.

    1. Chocoholic*

      I was going to suggest looking into temporary placement services. I used to work for one years ago and we had many opportunities for part-time work. My background is with non profits, and at least in my experience, there may be more opportunities for part-time work with a NPO. I have worked as an HR Manager, part-time, for the last 15 years at different places. You do have to look for the right opportunity though.

  50. Minocho*

    I used D&D for personal and professional improvement (as well as having a ton of fun). I, like many software developers, could be fairly characterized as socially awkward. I used being the Game Master and running a group of fellow nerds through adventures as a way to improve my ability to be social. In a lot of ways, a Game Master is like a team leader, trying to accomplish a goal without having any direct supervisory authority.

    I don’t put it on my resume though, because like many of the life experiences that help us improve our abilities at work, it’s not really part of my work history. I try to highlight my improved soft skills through work accomplishments and references instead.

  51. Dust Bunny*

    I had an interview one time at a location that turned out to have a gated parking lot that could only be accessed with an employee code. The street parking looked sketchy, but even if it hadn’t, I couldn’t get to the building without getting into the parking lot first. There was no gate attendant or outside phone, and this was before everyone carried cell phones. I finally managed to slip in when somebody left, but the interviewer was annoyed that I was late. I told her I had not been told about the gate and had no way to call anyone to let me in. At least she had sense enough to shut up about it after that.

  52. Not So Super-visor*

    #4 This is why I always offer to email directions to our candidates. We have an employee door (easiest to find from our parking lot) and a main entrance that’s easier to find if you drive around to the visitor lot. I still get plenty of people who call me from outside the employee doors

  53. Goya de la Mancha*

    5. My company has done the split job thing, but it’s always been for two current employees and there is usually a lot of details that go into it such as health insurance, retirement funds, etc. I’ve never seen them take on a hire and keep searching for someone willing to do the other half, YMMV though.

  54. Dust Bunny*

    OP1 Just tell your boss. I would bet this guy can remember to bring stuff in when his supervisors put the squeeze on him.

  55. Half-Caf Latte*

    On the one hand, I totally get that hiring/managing two people is more work than one person. And why wouldn’t businesses want to be as cost conscious and efficient as possible?

    On the other hand, there’s probably lots of people for whom 40 hours of work is unrealistic, but part time would serve them well. And I guess I feel like if so often the advice to the employer is to be flexible and accommodate diverse needs, I wish that were the standard here as well.

    I know Alison is responding to the letter writer and not employers, ergo the advice, but still. Maybe it’s just because so so many of my peers (parents of small children in general, moms especially) have expressed that they would LOVE to work 80% hours for 80% pay, but don’t have those options in our chosen careers.

  56. Powercycle*

    #4 Something similar happened to my spouse. They arrived 15-20 minutes early to an interview only to find a huge queue of people already at the security desk due a to an unrelated event starting at the same time. The interview still happened but my spouse was eliminated afterwards in part because they were “late”. Some people just aren’t reasonable.

  57. Moonshadow*

    #2 I would avoid mentioning it at all at work unless you know you work with progressive types. There are still a lot of people who have religious issues with fantasy role-playing games. I know quite a few in my own family, and they are still working. That one 1980’s movie didn’t help matters.

    1. OP2*

      If someone has a religious objection to a harmless hobby that’s so severe that they won’t hire me over it, then I would count that as a bullet– nay, a cannonball– dodged! :)

  58. Boba Feta*

    RE: #4, I feel like I just had a similar kind of experience, only via Skype. 5 minutes in advance I dutifully prepped my laptop, silenced my phone, and waited for the call. And waited. And waited some more: I look up at about 11 minutes past and see a missed text ca. 7 minutes past the start time: “We’re trying to call you but is says you’re not online.” Um, but I am? A quick return call revealed they were trying to call the wrong Skype account, despite my having previously provided the correct email address as well as Skype handle.

    We started 15 minutes late, and they decided to speed through all the questions rather than extend the window. I was so flustered and put off my game I fumbled the most important answers. I did not make it to round two, and there really is no coming back from this (academia).

    I so badly want to send an email with my “real” answers to those vital questions, the ones I spewed in haste during that one crucial chance, but I’m sure it will not only get me nowhere, it may even hurt me.

    I’m taking the advice to focus on being relieved that I’m not going to work in a place that would handle the situation by rushing through, rather than offering to take a breath and start over. I hope that advice can help you too.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Oh, that stiiiinks. I hate Skype interviews for this very reason– the technology sometimes just doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s them, sometimes it’s Skype. It takes so long to get everything up and running, and then you have to put your “interview face” back on. I’m sorry. :(

      1. Boba Feta*

        Thank you. It’s extra hard because this really was the last-ditch attempt for this line of work for me. Now I face career change at 40 with the last 15 years my resume entirely tied up in academics. But so it is. Wish me career change luck.

        OP, I am rooting for you to bounce back from this aberration. That manager really sounds like she would have been a nightmare to work under, and even if not, her mode of handling the situation does her such a disservice that, with no evidence to the contrary, you may as well believe she would have behaved like this all the time. Good luck!

        1. voluptuousfire*

          Skype stinks. I once scheduled a candidate whose email address was somehow attached to 4 different Skype user handles.

          If you can, Zoom or Appear.in are miles better. Appear.in is good since it’s free and you can create a link for the room. You just click on it and you’re in.

  59. Rusty Shackelford*

    Re #1 – I work with a lot of people who are related or married, and I regularly end up sitting on my hands resisting the urge to call one coworker and ask her to walk down to her mother’s office and change her Outlook default from “reply all” to just “reply.” This is a good reminder that I should continue to squelch that urge.

  60. Rhymes with Mitochondria*

    I sure hope #4 was not some attempt to test the candidate’s problem solving ability but I have heard of companies setting up situations like that intentionally.
    Definitely not a company anyone wants to work for!

  61. She's One Crazy Diamond*

    OP 2: I actually did mention that I play D&D in an interview because it asked about my abilities to be creative on the spot, and they later said it made them want to hire me. But I think it only worked that time because they’d already determined from my application materials that I was a strong candidate and I didn’t mention D&D there.

  62. OhGee*

    I would, at minimum, interview anybody with a decent resume that included being a dungeon master on it.

  63. MuseumChick*

    Late to the party today. #2, I agree with Alison. Don’t put this on your resume. The only time this is even remotely OK is if you are very early in your career and the hobby is related to your college. Think “President of the Tolkien Appreciation Club of ABC University”.

  64. Delta Delta*

    #4 – This reminds me of a bad date I went on once. Guy invited me out for ice cream; we were going to meet at his parents’ house because it was within walking distance of a good ice cream place. Here were the directions he gave me, “Drive down the street Bob’s Ice Cream is on. Directly across from Bob’s is a street. Turn down that street. We’re at the end. There will be a yellow house with a gray car and a green van in the driveway.” I was familiar with the area so this seemed like it would work. When I got to Bob’s there were actually TWO streets across from Bob’s. I didn’t know which street it was. I drove down both. There was no yellow house at the end. I drove around the neighborhood a few times and finally a lady came out and asked if I was lost. Turns out she was related to the people I was looking for and told me where to go. The house was a) not actually ON the street across from Bob’s, but on an adjacent street; b) the house was not yellow.

    When I arrived the front door was open and I could hear people inside watching a baseball game through the screen door. I walked up on the porch and knocked on the screen door. Guy shouted from inside he’d be right out (meanwhile I can see his dad sitting on the couch 4 feet away from me through the screen door). Guy comes out the side door and lets me in that way. I meet his parents and it’s all fairly pleasant. As we walk to Bob’s Ice Cream, Guy says, “well, this probably isn’t going to work out because you’re always going to be known as the girl who came to the front door.”

    All this to say that bullets get dodged when inaccurate directions lead to blaming someone who really isn’t at all to blame.

    1. Half-Caf Latte*

      Also people who are unsure of their house’s location and color? there’s a flag there, it’s purple, I’m positive.

      I once had someone tell me that their house was “on the left, there’s a mailbox out front.” In the suburbs. They meant the large blue ones, but didn’t specify. I was SO confused.

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

        We have new suburbs here with cookie cutter houses, each slightly different with the street number in the same colour as the house for the artistic effect. A nightmare to find anyone.

        1. LaDeeDa*

          I had someone tell me once “We are the big green house on the block” EVERY single house was a big green house- just various shades of green.

    2. JM in England*

      Your story reminds me of a high-maintenance woman I dated briefly some years ago. She was always complaining and when I asked what was wrong or what she wanted me to do differently, she said that I should KNOW!! *sigh*

  65. OP2*

    Thought this would probably be the answer, but now I won’t need to lose any sleep over it. (“Oh God, what if they would have been super duper impressed by my commitment to D&D and I only missed out because out it?!??”)
    And, next time someone suggests I do it, I have a handy link to send out!

    1. Arctic*

      I think it could be brought up organically as an answer to an interview question though. That way you can feel the room a bit before doing so. And narrowly tailor your answer to how that experience is relevant.

    2. KillItWithFIRE*

      I’ve got to say, finding things like that on applications isn’t a bad thing in my view. I don’t play D&D but the kind of dedication and interpersonal involvement it takes to set that sort of thing up is a plus for me. Granted, I am rarely in charge of hiring anyone (like once a year I get to select a Masters student for a co-op position under me, and I am a nerd otherwise), but it’s too bad that a similar commitment in a more socially ….. widespread activity would be a good add, but because it’s D&D it’s not a great idea. C’est la vie I suppose.

    3. LaDeeDa*

      If it comes up naturally in an interview, that is one thing. But also be really careful — it is a passion of yours, and not everyone understands it, or is that interested. So just make sure you are aware of the responses you are getting and not talking about it too long. People start to glaze over if one talks about a hobby that isn’t shared.

      1. OP2*

        Oh, believe me, I’ve developed a hair-trigger for when I’m boring people! Years of being the nerdiest person in many rooms will do that to ya….

  66. LaDeeDa*

    My father was a “forgetful professor” type. My mother would go to his office 2 Saturdays a month and CLEAN it! She would take home his empty food containers, throw out coffee cups, file things, she would even write/type reports for him. She also managed his expense reports, after he once neglected to file it in time and had to pay $10,000 on his corporate credit card. My mom and his admin would coordinate and help each other manage him.
    I guess she did it because otherwise his inability to do anything but his work drove her insane, and this made her life easier?? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t do it.

    Also– gaming, hobbies, leave it off. Unless you are on a board of directors for a non-profit that is directly linked to your field, please for the love of all- leave everything like that off. I don’t want to see it, I don’t care, and it actually irritates me. I will look past it if it is an intern, because likely, someone gave them bad advice, but anyone else I would have a hard time looking past it to focus on the rest of their resume.

  67. V*

    OP2 I do think there are some exceptions. I wouldn’t file it under the professional or volunteer experience, but it could definitely be included in a hobby bullet point. I think the question is whether or not you want to specifically work someplace where the hiring manager will connect with the fact that you play D&D. It could in theory lead to a better culture fit (I personally have been brought in for interviews because my wacky hobbies stuck out to the hiring manager).

    It may also be relevant to very specific types of positions that involve creativity or in the gaming industry. But if you want to get as many interviews as possible and are OK working at a place that doesn’t have a nerdy culture vs. fewer interviews which may be a better culture fit, I would leave it off. Might also depend on your physical location (the big tech/startup hubs like near where I live maybe more likely to embrace these sort of non-traditional resume items).

    1. OP2*

      In theory, I would definitely prefer to work someplace where nerdiness is embraced– which I also don’t think is going to be a huge issue as a soon-to-be software gal living in the Boulder, CO area– but I’m also okay with being less enthusiastic about the work culture and getting a job sooner rather than later!

  68. PMeIL*

    #4 — I GOT A 1.5 HOUR LECTURE LAST WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!

    I went on an interview and every answer I gave the Director replied with a lecture about why I was wrong.

    He then lectured the woman who would possibly to be my manager when she asked questions!

    The kicker? At the end the interview he tells me I was the first person they’d ever interviewed for that newly created job.

    As soon as I got home I received a rejection email.

    I feel sorry for whoever ends up with that jerk.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Please please please remember you’re not a captive and to go ahead and excuse yourself if you have a crazytrain interview like that.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        Yes- It’s totally fine to leave an interview for any reason if there are alarm bells going off in your head.

        I applied to work for Target when I was younger, and multiple times I had put on the application that I didn’t want a seasonal position. They called me in for an interview about a month later – and less than a week after I had a hysterectomy. I got there after I had been at work part of the morning, so my painkillers had worn off and I was pretty tired. They kept me waiting almost 40 minutes after the interview time, and the area they kept me in had no chair so I was not in great shape going in. And I finally go in and they start talking about the great seasonal position that they had open and I just cut them off and said “I didn’t want a seasonal position. I put that multiple times on my application. I just had an organ removed and you were almost an hour late to the interview. This is bullshit and I’m not interested.” And I got up and hobbled my way out.

  69. MaureenC*

    Dear OP#1:

    Hi, I have ADD. I’ve had to figure out various systems for getting all of my stuff together in the morning–this morning, for example, my phone didn’t charge during the night, so I plugged it into the charger in the living room. I also put my purse right next to the charging phone so I wouldn’t forget to grab it. (It’s heavy enough where I’d notice not carrying it.) This is because I commute an hour each way by public transit, so if I forget something, I’m not going to have it for the rest of the day.

    In your case, I’d just ask the guy to bring the thing back. If he doesn’t bring it back the next day, then ask him to set an alarm on his phone and put the equipment in the trunk of his car that night, or put it in front of the door he uses to leave the house on the way to work, or put his car keys on it, or SOMETHING. (He’ll probably need a reminder to do the placement that evening, like a phone alarm or a neon sticky note on his wallet or a pink ribbon on his wrist.) If that still doesn’t work, ask him what time he leaves for work in the morning and call him ten minutes before that time. (He’ll need the extra time to find it, probably.)

    1. Winifred*

      Ugh, that’s still considerable “taking care” and problem solving for someone who is apparently able to get himself to work every day and do an acceptable job.

  70. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #4, if they have a random side door, it’s their duty to tell you when setting up the interview.

    We have a secured entrance with a buzzer. I explain it along with detailed directions to our place because it’s not all self explanatory and of course new people to our office won’t always just figure it out.

    I’m sorry they were incredibly rude and you were embarrassed. They are stinkers.

    1. LaDeeDa*

      Recruiters send a map to candidates and notify each building/entrance security that we are expecting someone at a specific time, and if they show up at the wrong door, someone runs over to get them and escort them to the right building. We also allow extra 15-20 minutes because our huge campus is confusing.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Oh goodness gracious, campuses scare me because of how complex they are, I’m glad you’re so understanding and proactive. That’s incredibly well thought out and as another hiring professional, I appreciate that others are doing it right!

        I’m used to working in industrial complexes, we all look the same and yes we have a ton of locked doors everywhere. I have signs up where necessary as well “not an entrance” and such because a stranger shouldn’t be bothered to figure out the maze, it’s hard enough after you start a job to learn a new layout, let alone just for an interview, ick!

        1. LaDeeDa*

          We call it a campus, but it isn’t a school. We have 7 buildings, each building has at least 2-4 entrances, and the building that has the pretty fountains and the big fancy awning, that any sane person would consider the main entrance is only used for clients/sales. From one corner building to the opposite corner building is a 27 minute walk!

  71. Light37*

    My dad is a mostly retired college professor and he finds the whole “genius who is totally absentminded abut practical stuff” thing incredibly annoying. He is quick to inform any grad students he works with that this won’t fly with him. Amazingly, those absentminded geniuses get it together when dealing with someone who doesn’t accept excuses and is willing to hammer guys (it’s always been guys, big surprise) who want to pass the buck.

  72. Anonymous36*

    #3 – From scanning the comments, I seem to be the only one who thinks there’s nothing wrong with asking your boss not to come (or at least strongly suggesting that she’s not invited). I used to work for a HORRIBLE manager who made my life so miserable that I was literally starting to get physically/mentally sick from it. I had to leave that place for my health, and her mere presence at any going away event would have been enough for me to be a total wreck. I would have gladly told her to keep away.

    If you feel just as strongly and you don’t mind burning the bridge, then just say “sorry, it’s really only for work friends.” If you’re not as viscerally against her presence as I would’ve been for my manager, then your best bet would be to deal with it for one more night without feeling the need to talk to her or give her much if any attention.

    1. Jennifer*

      I agree with you if she’s not planning on using this woman as a reference. If she was a horrible boss I don’t know how great of a reference she would be anyway. But if she is planning on using her, I’d treat it the same as if you were having a party and only inviting a few work friends instead of the entire office. It’s on a need to know basis. Be adamant, but polite, with the boss that you don’t want a formal party, and tell Jane and the others to keep quiet.

      1. OP #3*

        I think I can muster up one last social occasion with her and, as Alison so accurately said, mentally reframe her presence as the thing I’m celebrating never seeing again.

        Something I hadn’t considered was how this would affect future references. I hope I don’t have to use her as a future reference, since there are senior staff here who would be happy to be a reference for me. But if I do, because a future job requires to speak to former managers, I would like to leave on a generally positive (if only faking it) note.

  73. Indie*

    OP1 I might go with “Being this forgetful is damaging your professional reputation. You don’t want to be seen as the man who has his wife collect his things for him. I know some people have even contacted your wife about doing things for you!
    I’m not going to do that, even if I really, really need the Thing, because I think you otherwise have a great reputation and we are going to develop some new habits as part of some new goals.”
    Then maybe look at general ADHD tips online; not because I am diagnosing him (!), but because there’s some generally useful stuff for the disorganised in the same way that ramps are also useful for the able bodied.

  74. Jennifer*

    #4 I have been there! I called as soon as I tried the door and it was locked so no one could try to say I was late. Boggles my mind that people schedule appointments for interviews at the time their business opens, knowing people will be arriving a few minutes early. At least tell them they can do to another door. You did nothing wrong.

  75. Baska*

    #2: While I wouldn’t put my weekly D&D game on my resume, I do admittedly have a section under volunteer experience in which I list myself as “logistics coordinator” for three large live-action convention games I helped run. But the reason those are on my CV and my weekly game is not is because for those three games…
    – It was 1-2 years of preparation for each game, with a planning team of 10-13 people each time, for a player base of 40-60 players
    – I did actual logistical planning: creating timelines for milestones and deliverables, preparing agendas and minutes for monthly planning meetings, sent out progress updates, etc.
    – I also did writing and editing work: I wrote about 200,000 words just for the game we ran in 2017 and ensured consistency across 60 character backgrounds; for the 2019 and 2020 games, I read everything that’s been written, send copy-editing notes to the other storytellers, do some writing/editing myself, ensure consistency both internally to the other character backgrounds and externally to the setting we’re playing in, etc.
    – I help run the on-the-ground planning meetings for the dozen storytellers before each of the three nights of game

    Like, these are the sort of things I do in my day-job as an office manager and in my previous job as an editor, just transferred into a volunteer/hobby setting. But, again, it’s under “volunteer experience”, not work experience.

  76. MCMonkeyBean*

    I think 99% of the time spouses should not be asked about something the other needs to do, and if the wife is out of town then certainly there is no reason to reach out to her on this. But I do actually think that if she were in town and the problem was that the husband had something at his home that needed to come in to the office… well that is also her home, and I don’t think it would be unreasonable to mention to her that whatever was at her house needed to make its way back to the office somehow.

  77. Martha*

    Something similar to LW1’s situation happened to me, with my sister, who worked in a different department. Her boss was someone I’d worked on a project with in the past. My sister started dropping the ball at work, and when her boss tried to contact her, she avoided the calls and emails.

    So her boss contacted me and asked if there was an emergency that prevented my sister from responding? I said I would check (I was worried!), reached out to my sister, and my sister STILL didn’t contact her boss. So her boss emailed me again to ask if I had been able to reach her? I said, “Yes, I told her you needed to speak with her, and if she doesn’t contact you herself, I would rather not know about it.”

    The boss said she understood. Unfortunately, the result was that my sister no longer is employed here AND her boss is no longer friendly with me either.

  78. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    Why am I thinking that other applicants made the same mistake with the entrance? And that they hired the person who hunted around the building for another way in? Because it showed gumption or desperation?

  79. Alicia*

    #5- check out flexjobs.com. I believe there is a fee but I have heard good things about the site (they make sure the opportunities posted are legitimate, flexible/remote/part time jobs and not scams)

  80. That Girl From Quinn's House*

    Part time: I worked at a community fitness nonprofit, it was really common to have people in lead staff roles who were only part-time, because there was no budget for benefits and not enough staff to cover the holiday/vacation/sick time that full-time staff were legally entitled to.

    That’s the only place I can think you’d be able to get a professional part-time role.

  81. Dee*

    I’ve been thinking about #2 independently of this post, actually. My spouse is the coordinator for our region’s Adventurers League (organized DnD hardcover and pre-written modules, played at gaming stores) for our region. He has 6-8 store coordinators who “answer” to him, a couple dozen volunteer DMs who run games, and if someone doesn’t show up for their “shift” he has to fill in. He manages inter-personal conflicts that come up (player v player or player v DM), creates community standards, and manages the Facebook page. He also has to maintain good relationships with the store owners and manage donations, because they give us the hardcover adventures at the beginning of the season and get paid back over the course of the adventure. He probably spends at minimum 10-15 hours a week on all this. Would you still leave it off a resume/CV? (He wants to go into academia so obviously research and teaching assignments carry more weight, but I think there’s a lot of overlap between skills for a classroom and the skills he needs to keep our region’s games running.)

    1. Nonny*

      Like people above have described, because he has accountability to a system of people, I think there would definitely be a way to frame this for a resume. But as someone in academia, I will say that jobs that theoretically come with “teaching skills” aren’t particularly valued in terms of getting a teaching position– they just want actual teaching experience.

      1. Nonny*

        ETA: “classroom skills” I should say, obviously anything that’s directly related to teaching is useful

    2. LaDeeDa*

      Here is my perspective- that is coordinating people who are committed volunteers and have a shared interest, which is very different than managing employees. Managing employees is not just coordination, it is about leadership, development, difficult conversations, coaching, goals, competencies…
      If he has zero other management experience then maybe mentioning it in the cover letter as something that has given him the experience they are looking for. Unless it is for an intern position, it would hold very little weight to me, same as with PTA, same as church leadership, same as a soccer team.

      1. Rainy days*

        In my experience, volunteers are rarely that committed and are much more difficult to manage than employees because there are no consequences. However, agree that it’s not worth mentioning unless it’s one’s only management experience.

        Probably not the answer that LW is looking for, but volunteer experience will carry more weight when applying for less attractive positions that have fewer applicants, not when applying for that killer position that everyone wants.

  82. Paige Leitman*

    Every year my husband and I run a volunteer effort. We have to coordinate and train about 70-90 volunteers to provide entertainment for about 3,000 guests over Labor Day. That also means we have to train our volunteers in conflict resolution and customer service, as well as safety and anti-harassment policies. We have to get paperwork to them, and run several online training sessions before the event. We start planning 9 months ahead of time to get it all done.

    Because we coordinate the Dungeons and Dragons games at DragonCon in Atlanta.

    We also run several smaller conventions (about 100 people, only lasting 3 days, about 20-30 volunteer DMs) throughout the year. For these conventions we also have to write or adapt content.

    Additionally, we’ve written adventures for D&D, which is it’s own project management challenge. Maps, editing, proofing, timelines, working with other authors, marketing – you name it.

    This is absolutely fine experience to include on a resume. I mean I get it, I’m an environmental scientist – I work with engineers, PhDs, and lawyers, all super quantitative people. My career is built on brains, skills, and hard work. And having experience managing large volunteer teams is STILL worthy of respect.

    A good friend of ours has created a nonprofit called “Jaspers Game Day” that organizes D&D games across the nation to raise funds for suicide prevention. She is absolutely including this on her resume.

    Another good friend of ours has created and organized a D&D group for LGBT+ and nonbinary folks in Philly. That’s a lot of coordinating, community outreach, advertising, and tireless advocacy. She is including this on her resume.

    While just one home game with friends of D&D isn’t necessarily resume-worthy, I feel that there are ABSOLUTELY some D&D organizing experiences that are.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      There are some (including yours, Paige, or so it seems to me), but not very many. There are lots of things we do in our private lives that require a great deal of planning, expertise and coordination – raising children, for example, or organizing a large wedding or family reunion or teaching Sunday School – but that still don’t belong on our resumes. That’s just something we all have to consider on a case-by-case basis.

      The problem isn’t that D&D and cons and so on are geeky. The problem is that many *personal* activities just don’t, at least in potential employers’ eyes, demonstrate *professional* expertise. And the reason is, I think, that the consequences just aren’t the same.

  83. Kevin*

    #4, one time for a job interview I went to the wrong door in the warehouse (wrong building) and all the employees just stared at me and nobody told me it was the wrong door until a third woman came down and told me I was in the wrong building. Then I went to the right door in the building across the parking lot and the receptionist said “oh I heard about you they thought you were trying to break in and almost called the cops on you.” I should say my instructions for the interview didn’t specify what building or door to take and I also didn’t unlock anything everything was open and they acted like I was broke into the place. I ended up not getting the job (good riddance).

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m screaming internally as I read this.

      I’ve worked in industrial complexes like that for many jobs and it’s so bizarre how obtuse people are about that kind of nonsense. I would have laughed a neighbor out of the door if they tried to act like you were a threat.

      People who wander into warehouses are rarely a threat and I’ve worked in them by myself, that’s why I lock them if that’s the case. If I think you’re there to rob me, I won’t be just “thinking” about calling the cops either. Jeez.

      1. anonymous 5*

        Heh, years ago I was lost on a college campus (at night, solo) that was unfamiliar to me. I saw a door marked for campus police, so I went in to ask for directions. Two cops screamed at me–without bothering even to ask why I was there–for coming in through that door. I can’t actually say I’m surprised that the workers in the (wrong) warehouse didn’t think to ask why you were there. Sigh.

  84. Coder von Frankenstein*

    D&D doesn’t belong on a resume, not because it’s nerdy, but because it’s a hobby. My two main hobbies are D&D and ballroom dancing, and although I could make a case for either of them providing skills that are transferable to work, a 2-page resume is not the place for that.

    Now, if you’re in an interview, and the interviewer gives you an opening to talk about your hobbies/personal life, that would be a good time to talk about D&D and its inherent organizational challenges. :)

    1. Kathleen_A*

      Exactly. The problem with hobbies isn’t that they don’t require skills, experience and discipline, because of course many of them do. The problem is that the consequences of either success or failure of a hobby just aren’t the same as the consequences of success or failure at a professional job.

  85. mf*

    #3: If I were you, I’d tell my boss that I don’t want a going-away happy hour, and then I’d plan my own get-together after my last day. If Boss insisted on planning something after I told her not to, well, that’s her prerogative–doesn’t mean I have to show up for her happy hour. You can be perfectly polite and professional while also refusing to be pushed into attending a social event that you don’t want to go to.

  86. voluptuousfire*

    #4–Unless this is your platonic Dream Job, move on. Any company that doesn’t give you specific instructions to get into their office when it’s an unusual entrance can say a lot about them. The fact that they got pissy with you because you were “late” is just silly.

    I had a similar incident once. I met with an agency for temp work and their entrance was a good third of the way down the block. In Manhattan, it’s not uncommon for an address to be on an avenue (say 1400 Broadway) but the actual entrance for the building is on the numbered street (i.e. 1400 Broadway’s entrance is on the corner of Broadway and west 35th street). Either way, they never mentioned this and I ended up being a few minutes late because Google Maps had it right on the corner of the avenue/street. I asked if they routinely had people who got lost because they couldn’t find the building and the receptionist was like “yep” and went back to her work.

    In the end it was a total and utter dud meeting, so it was par for the course with that agency.

  87. pomme de terre*

    I have a hobby that has a somewhat negative stereotype attached to it and I’ve never put it on a resume.

    BUT I have brought it up in interviews, often at the very end when they ask a “Is there anything else we should know” question. It’s often quite successful, if you can tie it to the role!

    Here’s how I usually phrase it: “It’s not something I’d usually think to bring up in a professional context, but since I know now this role has some public speaking and event planning aspects, I should mention that I’ve been really involved in local beauty pageants* for the past 10 years, serving as an MC and stage manager. My current role as a Teapot Engineer doesn’t necessarily involve those skills, but I do have them.”

    *not my actual hobby

  88. Sleepytime Tea*

    OP #3 – Alison is spot on that you can exclude your boss if you make this a more select gathering than having the whole team/company go out. When I left my last job I had a coworker with whom no matter how I tried I could not build a positive relationship with. She was judgmental, rude, had zero boundaries, and pushed her religion on everyone. I wanted to have a nice lunch out with my coworkers on my last day and I didn’t want her to come. I felt really bad about that, because I generally want to be inclusive, but I also wanted to have a nice goodbye with my team (who also all had the same issues with her). We didn’t invite her, and we had a great time.

    One option you could play with is have the big traditional happy hour but make it short, then have a select group meet up elsewhere to continue on without your boss. So everyone leaves at 6, you say your goodbyes, and then a smaller group continues at another location. Your boss will get to be there and do the whole shebang, and then you can have the happy hour goodbye that you really want.

    1. OP #3*

      After speaking with a coworker today (and reading all this great commentary), I think I’m going with this option. That way, everyone gets what they want (as much as I want to tell my boss to kick rocks).

      1. Sleepytime Tea*

        It’s worth it not to burn a bridge. You just never know with petty people whether or not something like not being invited to happy hour will change their reference from positive to negative. Being the bigger person isn’t always fun, though!

  89. Jim*

    #4: When I interviewed for my current job, the instructions they sent out were detailed to the extent that they even included a video showing how to get from the parking garage to the office itself. Definitely gave me a good impression of the company.

  90. Eirene*

    OP4, may I suggest informing someone further up in the chain of the library system? I’m not sure if you were dealing with the branch manager, but if not, it’s worth saying something to him/her. That’s totally unacceptable behavior on the interviewer’s part, especially if they’re a staff member who works with the public. Imagine how they behave to their coworkers and even patrons!

  91. Dawn*

    To the D&D LW … I was in a situation a lot like yours. I have run a respected and successful website for fanfiction for the past fourteen years. In the course of doing this, I have learned not only a lot of tech skills but leadership skills that, as a young newly graduated twentysomething, I had not had a chance to develop in a “real” job.

    However, my fanfic website isn’t really something I can put on a resume. And yeah, that sucks. Running a website (like running a gaming group) requires a level of leadership and self-direction that volunteer work–the kind I could put on a resume–usually does not. What I’ve done is used the heck out of those skills I have learned while running it. For example, I’ll volunteer for tech or leadership roles/projects that use my fandom skills, with the result that I now have professional accomplishments using skills I learned in fandom. For example, I’m a teacher, and I now teach tech-related professional development to colleagues and work as a teacher-leader in my school and district. No one knows that my strengths in these areas comes from my work in fandom, but it totally does, and a day does not pass when I am not grateful for what I have learned in running that website.

  92. Zachary Penner*

    #5 – I found an excellent freelancer that way! I had a posting up for a FT graphic designer and I had an applicant email his interest and say he could only do part time. At the time I said that wasn’t what I was looking for. However our business needs changed and I reached out to him for one project and we’ve been using him for 3 years as a freelancer. So you never know what potential employers might say!

  93. Blunt Bunny*

    #1 I wonder if they were just roommates if the responses would be different. I don’t think you should contact his wife on this occasion because she is out of town and is busy so it will be futile. But if something is urgently needed and say it was the spouses day off I don’t think it would be a terrible idea to ask them to do it bring in critical document/equipment in for a one off. But regularly expecting them to follow up is inappropriate and should deal with it how you would any other slacker directly with them. It’s not clear that it’s been spelt out to the person that he is neglecting his responsibilities to the project and is the major cause of delay that has now been reported to senior staff. If that doesn’t give him a kick up the ass then I think it needs to be brought up in performance reviews I know you are not their supervisor but maybe you can give feedback if it is a reoccurring thing.

    1. LGC*

      Eh – I think it should actually be the same. I think a small part of the reaction is because of the gender dynamics at play, but the real problem is that LW1’s job is routinely leveraging the out-of-work relationship to get stuff done. I think you could probably ask rarely, but as you yourself note they’re well past that stage.

      And yeah, Fergus’s (the husband’s) manager should be addressing it instead of just using Fergus’s wife to step over the missing stair.

    2. nnn*

      Yeah, I was thinking in general that Husband’s and Wife’s performance reviews should reflect what they are/aren’t doing. Husband sometimes doesn’t remember things he needs to do without a co-worker’s help. Wife is taking the initiative of handling logistical tasks that another co-worker forgets to do. Their performance reviews (and, hopefully, compensation/advancement/etc.) should reflect this.

  94. Greenfordanger*

    My work colleagues are holding a going away tea for me tomorrow. I had the senior position at a government department on an acting basis for two years, eked out in three or four month appointments and at acting pay ( 5% above my substantive position) while holding on to some of my previous responsibilities. We instituted many much needed reforms and brought in a lot of new legislation. My boss was a Minister of the Crown and I thought we had a good relationship. I worked hard for her and as she admitted by all metrics we did well in the department; we accomplished a lot and we substantially increased employee engagement and satisfaction ( measured through an anonymous survey of all government departments. She actively encouraged me to apply for the job on a permanent basis. I did so and she decided she “wanted a different profile” ( as I was advised by the senior public servant for our government) and hired a friend of hers – whom I actually like very much – instead. That is her right but (1) she never told me what type of profile she wanted although I inquired of her several times over the two years nor gave me much other guidance as to the direction she wanted to go in, (2) she did encourage me to apply, (3) gave me a big hug the day before I was advised that I didn’t get the position and said, “I enjoy working with you so much” and and (4) acted surprised when I left and never reached out to me in person to explain that she had had to make a difficult decision . Instead she ignored the fact that she had raised my expectations and treated my decision to leave as if it was inexplicable. Sure I was miffed about the fact that I didn’t get the job but my real beef was the fact that she was disingenuous with me and relieved herself from the responsibility for having made a decision that was hurtful. If she had been honest with me I would have understood. So I felt really good when my colleagues – specifically the person who had got the position – told my old boss that she should not attend at the tea. It would have been awkward and unpleasant for everyone except her. Alison is right that sometimes you don’t want to burn bridges but sometimes you have the luxury of doing so. And while nursing a grudge is ultimately self-defeating, so is rushing into a forgiveness at the expense of your own sense of self-worth.

    1. OP #3*

      Wow, I’m peeved for you! I’m glad the person who got the position spoke up on your behalf. I agree that she should have just been honest with you—it was the pretending and raising of your expectations that feels so unnecessary.

      While several staff members have tried to speak up on my behalf, ultimately their and my concerns fell on deaf ears. But if one day I’m in the position to speak up for someone else, I will do so with courage and confidence.

      Wishing you the best in your next endeavors.

  95. Hot Chocolate*

    I had a similar story to #4.
    I had an interview at a bank, and they told me 9am. I rocked up at 8.45am to find them closed. They opened bang on 9am, when I immediately found a staff member and told them I was there for an interview with my contact. They bade me sit in a chair in the main room and wait. For 15 minutes. Then the boss came out and said, “Hot Chocolate hasn’t turned up.”
    “I’m here, actually,” I said. “I was here at 8.45 but you weren’t open.”
    Didn’t get the job because I didn’t bring a piece of ID they didn’t ask for beforehand. Dodged a bullet there.

  96. Lynne*

    Regarding situation 3 with the manager you don’t want to see: I can see Alison’s point about not burning bridges, but having done something similar myself, I will also say there’s a certain relief in just being brutally honest the next time your boss asks about it. When I had a boss I hated and was quitting over ask about my after-work party, I flatly looked her in the eye and said “Since you’re the reason I’m quitting, do you really think that it’ll benefit either of us for you to be there?” She still showed up, but she stayed FAR away from me the whole time. (To be clear, I told HER boss that I was planning to say as much, and he said as long as I kept the language professional, I could say what I liked.)

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