my old boss trash-talks my new boss

A reader writes:

Until three months ago, I had major problems with my manager, who in my opinion bullied me. After taking the issue to her manager and to HR, I was assigned the same manager as she has, which was communicated as a reorganization. This has also meant that she has had product responsibility removed, although she is still managing a smaller team. Two more coworkers have been removed from her and now report to a different person. She did not like these changes and no longer speaks to me or makes eye contact.

Since then, she has started undermining her (and now my) manager behind his back, but very openly in an open plan office. She gossips about his apparent lack of competence, etc. to one of her direct reports, another peer, and people from other teams. I see our manager as a strong leader. She is creating a divide in the office between her followers, mainly recent graduates who listen and engage in the gossip, and those who do not. Due to the bad experience I had with her, I can see where this will go and worry that she may take her gossip to a higher level, tell lies, and somehow convince senior management that my new manager lacks skills. It happened to me and it took me a long time to realize this has been going on. Luckily my complaints were taken seriously and changes were made.

How should I handle this? Is there anything I can do to make someone else aware of this behavior and get it to stop? I am not friends with everyone in this office but strongly believe it should be possible to work together in a safe environment.

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • My tattoos will violate my job’s new tattoo policy
  • My manager wants to advertise for “rock stars”
  • Bringing kids to a job interview
  • My husband is applying for a job in my sister’s department

{ 258 comments… read them below }

  1. BadWolf*

    The question about bringing kids to an interview sent me down a thought path of using the information on parent/kid interaction to evaluate the interviewee. Did the parent bring an activity for the child or they blithely letting the kid run around the office. If the child knocks something on the floor, do they apologize and put it back? Or get annoyed that you have kid unfriendly stuff. Or just laugh about their cute kid knocking over the printer?

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      This is a really excellent way to look at it. You are sending your employees into peoples homes and businesses where there is the potential for items to break or go missing. How they handle little Jimmy wreaking havoc on your office will tell you a lot about their character. I wouldn’t want someone working in my home who was blase about their kid knocking over a $1500 printer at their employer.

      1. Clisby*

        If a kid can just accidentally knock over a printer, you clearly haven’t put the printer in a safe place.

        To me, the issue is – does the parent know she/he can’t bring the kid along on cleaning jobs?

        1. Engineer Girl*

          Um, kids have an amazing ability to reach on to counters and pull stuff down on themselves.

          You can put a printer on a table top in a fairly secure position and the kid can still pull it down.

          You shouldn’t have to child proof an office environment. And clients shouldn’t have to child proof their homes in case the housekeeper has kids.

        2. Foon*

          This was my thought as well. My grandmother was a housekeeper for many years, both in a professional healthcare setting and in a casual, “friend of a friend knows someone who wants their house cleaned once a week, cash under the table” setting. She never thought twice about bringing me or my cousin along when she knew we would be alone in the building we were cleaning. She even gave us a little money to help clean, with the understanding that if someone came in, we would immediately sit down and read a book. Her friends in the business did the same. It was awesome for us kids to earn some spending money, but not so awesome for the business and homeowners who didn’t know that they were facilitating child labor and the insurance risks that go along with that. If people are comfortable bringing their kids to interviews, they’ll be just as comfortable bringing their kids to work, if they can get away with it. If they don’t already have childcare, a minimum wage job isn’t going to change that.

          1. Observer*

            You’re flat out wrong – especially about the latter. There are some child care options that are only available if both parents are working. In NYC< for instance, you can't get a city funded daycare slot (free) while job hunting, but you have a good chance of getting in once you have a job.

          2. Cat*

            Uh, you really think people who are applying for minimum wage housekeeping jobs are necessarily “comfortable” bringing their children to an interview rather than just “desperate”?

    2. NoNoNoNo*

      I think this is a bad idea and really unfair. If this type of evaluation is necessary it should be built into the interview process. Can you imagine how stressful it must be to need a job so badly that your only option is to bring your child along to the interview? I honestly cannot. To the OP of that question, please consider Allison’s advice. We punish poor people enough.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Yeah, what NoNoNoNo said – bringing the kid along is probably the only option for at least most of these moms.

      2. PlainJane*

        Thirded. I came to this post with the view that bringing kids to an interview was never OK, but Alison’s response and your comment have helped me rethink that. Thank you.

      3. CoveredInBees*

        Yeah. Especially because kids, like adults, have good and bad days but zero say about coming along tp the interview and fewer emotional tools to express or deal with things. Some kids need immediate responses when they act out and others lose interest if their behavior is ignored. You aren’t going to know which type a kid is when just hanging out with them.

    3. MistOrMister*

      When I was looking for someone to do work on my house one of the contractors I was interviewing brought his young son (probably between age 6-10). I wasn’t thrilled by this but accepted it. However, the kid proceeded to run all over the basement, climb on things and climb onto an exercise machine which he then kicked repeatedly with shod feet. The contractor only half heartedly told him to settle down once and the child didn’t comply. I was having palpitations imagining him falling on something and them suing the snot out of me. Needless to say, I didn’t go with that guy. It wasn’t so much bringing the child as how when the child misbehaved he exerted no control. I was not willing to risk hiring him and his child being brought along when actual work needed to be done and possibly getting maimed and me be held liable!! I have had people bribg their kids in similar situations and either had them wait outside (with another adult) or told me in advance that the child was coming and the kid(s) were well behaved. I have no problem hiring someone in that situation. But rowdy children and adults not doing anything about it….no thank you!

      1. Totallyanon*

        Just curious – did you say anything? Because I don’t care whose kid it is – my house , my rules. And I would have NO problem whatsoever telling that kid to sit down, right now!
        And if dad had an issue with that? Then “I think that it’s time for you to leave”.

        1. nonymous*

          While I have absolutely no problem distracting or redirecting kids I have an existing relationship with, I am hesitant to do the same if I don’t know the parent/child well. That said, MistOrMister should have expressed their concern to the parent, and simply paused the convo with contractor until they had handled the situation well.

  2. KR*

    Love your answer regarding kids in interviews. This is the type of work that is perfect for mothers who might not have a lot of formal skills and it would be a real service if OP could make things easier for potential employees. If I were OP, though, I would make sure your policy regarding kids in the workplace is clear though. I hired a cleaner for a specific thing a few months ago and was surprised when she brought a trainee and the trainee had her baby with her. Of course it was fine because mothers need to make money too, but if I had notice I wouldn’t have been burning incense, my husband would have stopped vaping for a couple hours before they came, and we would have put my dogs in the yard (fortunately the baby was fine with kids and my dogs love kids, but I definitely am not set up for small children in my house by default).

    1. Contracts Killer*

      I echo your note about ensuring the company communicates its policy on children in the workplace. The company’s insurance policy may not cover damage done by dependents who are not employees of the company. Similarly, customers may not be ok with having children in their home, in particular while their parent is distracted by cleaning and cannot watch them 100% of the time.

  3. K. Ann Garoo*

    Finger tattoo can be covered with a finger cot. (It is a disposable finger “condom” that should be just fine.)

    1. TooTiredToThink*

      I was just thinking about this as I was absolutely positive I’ve seen them being used – and I want to say by nursing staff too. But my memory may be off as well.

    2. Jellyfish*

      I think it’s very reasonable to ask a company to deal with an employee’s existent tattoos. She was in compliance when they hired her, and it’s not like dyed hair she can grow out and cut, or jewelry she could stop wearing.
      Her body was fine, and now suddenly it might not be. That’s not the employee’s fault, and it wouldn’t be ideal to make a phlebotomist constantly fuss with hand coverings beyond medically necessary gloves.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I aboslutely think that she should start by asking for the grandfather clause, that’s for sure. They’re screwing themselves so hard with this archaic kind of rule as well but that’s not the OP’s problem. They should work with existing employees, however a lot of places that are this in the dark won’t make accommodations.

        This is a way to flush out undesirable employees sometimes, which is gross to say the least but it’s a thing that does happen in some places. Is it fair? No. Is it ethical? I don’t think it is. But they do it because you know, they’re ugly on the inside.

        1. lurker*

          I work “in a rural area” like the OP, and it seems like pretty much everyone who lives here has tattoos. If it’s like that there, they could be seriously limiting their future candidate pool … not to mention that all their patients probably have tattoos too so why would they care …

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Yeah, I’m originally from BFE and even the “good side of the tracks” has plenty of tattoos. [There’s a very distinct Money vs No-Money vibe there, always…yet yeah, money likes to express themselves too, shocker!]

            But I’m imagining rural Utah here kind of thing, tbh. Not just rural USA, rural Church Owns Us areas.

            1. Rainy*

              I see a lot of fresh out of high school kids these days who already have significant and really well-done ink, and businesses that want to hire employees who are under 60 but require no visible tattoos just aren’t going to be able to attract candidates at the same rates as businesses that don’t have a stick up their ass.

              I have a professional career and more than one degree and I also have visible ink, including a finger tattoo, and I cannot tell you how amused I am when I shop somewhere that I know pays its employees pennies and requires them to cover their tattoos. Laughable.

            2. calonkat*

              yeah, but the more rural you get, the smaller the pool of qualified health workers. Honestly, most people in rural areas would rather have a phlebotomist with a small tattoo than undiagnosed illnesses. I’m not saying that full on Goth (is that still a thing?) makeup and piercings everywhere would inspire immediate confidence, but it would sure be a topic of conversation (“Did you all see the young woman the health service had? Nice as can be, but WHAT was her mother thinking to allow that sort of thing”)

            3. Observer*

              In rural area, it’s just stupid to make these kinds of limitations. It’s hard enough to get qualified staff as it is.

        2. TootsNYC*

          I saw a sign at a spa in Japan that said, essentially: “Tattoos are the symbol of gangsters (the Yakuza). Seeing them causes some of our guests anxiety, and we don’t want gangsters in our spa. We know that some people have decorative, non-gangster tattoos. But since we have no way to tell the difference, no one with tattoos can come in our spa.”

          1. tamarack and fireweed*

            But Japan is really a different culture when it comes to tattoos. The association with organized crime is overwhelming there while in North America and Western / Northern Europe there’s a strong trend to tattoos and other body ornamentation being more and more acceptable, if not having explicitly problematic messages WRT employment and discrimination laws.

          2. Nana*

            Cousin in the[American] Navy was invited to an onsen (Japanese spa bath) by a Japanese friend…and was assured that allowances are made for ‘foreigners’ aka American people who don’t know better!

            1. Helena*

              Well to be fair US navy personnel are hardly likely to be Yakuza! So that concern is immediately eliminated.

              Navy tats are a bit different – there’s a very long history of sailors getting tattoos. Apparently originally so their bodies could be identified if they drowned (not likely to be identifiable through normal means after a week or two in the water).

        3. Indigo a la mode*

          Even the Army grandfathers tattooed soldiers in whenever they make their policies more restrictive. Source: Was grandfathered in when they made their policy more restrictive. I hope most places would, since they have direct knowledge of your skill and professionalism!

          1. Indigo a la mode*

            I just read further down and learned about the racist history of grandfathering. Super appreciate the lesson and I won’t use it again like I did twice here.

            1. Crooked Bird*

              Is there an alternative term? It’s an instantly-recognizable term for such a specific situation, and I don’t know what other word one might use, but I’m certainly open to finding out.

      2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Seriously…I couldn’t care less if the lady taking my blood had visible tattoos, I just want them to find a vein and take my blood without having to re-position the needle 10 times, and then try and blame me when they can’t do their job properly.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Exactly. It goes for everyone, everywhere in a service oriented job. I don’t care what you look like, if you have tattoos, piercings or an extra arm sewn onto your body, I just want you to do your job that I’m paying you to do and do it well enough that I’m not in extra pain afterwards.

          But I’m from the PNW and if you don’t want tattoos…you’re gonna need to go completely out of your way to avoid them.

          1. emmelemm*

            Yeah, I was going to say, if you’re in the PNW and you want to hire someone without tattoos, good frikkin’ luck! (I actually don’t have any tattoos, but everyone should have the right to have them, and truly, they aren’t just for merchant marines any more.)

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              We could probably bus some people in from the hills of Idaho…and still they’d probably have tattoos.

        2. Hstrylvr89*

          Same! I have rolling veins, and i can’t count how many times they tell me they are amazing at it and 30 min later they are still stabbing and digging all over both of my arms. Only one times has an old dude actually followed through on his promise, so any time I have to get blood drawn I ask for him. Its nice not coming out of the hospital with bruises all over my arms, and people giving me concerning looks over them lol. I actually had someone come up to me and ask me if everything was OK in my life, I laughed and told her that my blood would not be drawn at the hospital, don’t think she believed me.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Amen. I walk in and go “I have terrible veins, even though I’ve gone through almost a gallon of water this morning, so please find me your best pediatric vampire, because a hyped-up six year old is easier to stick than I am.”

            They go “Oh, no, it’ll be fine, we hear that all the time.” After usually a half-dozen exclamations involving phrases like “deep,” “rolly,” “uncooperative” and “sweet Jesus it got away again,” I politely repeat “Pediatric vampire?” and they go get a pediatric vampire with a small butterfly needle and it works a treat. :P

            1. Kathlynn (Canada)*

              I love your phrasing, made me laugh (the vampire part). Hope you (and everyone else) get a good vampire right off the bat next time.

                1. CatMintCat*

                  They always get me an anaesthetist with an ultrasound machine. It’s the only thing that works. I have deep, flat, unco-operative veins. IVs are a nightmare – I am currently sporting six (count them) bruises on my arms from an attempted (and finally done by the above doctor witn an ultrasound) cannulation yesterday.

                  I blame my mother. She had the same issues.

                  My daughter has them too. She hates genetics.

            2. Lison*

              I have two places on my arms people can actually get blood from (don’t know why but thems the places everyone always does) so now I point them out. Got a new nurse one day who could not get left arm place to work and was all ” I can feel it there and I don’t know why it’s not working, I teach people to take blood from babies! I’m so sorry I’m doing it wrong.” She did get the other arm to work after saying she couldn’t try the left one again for fear of collapsing the vein. I did appreciate the it’s not your fault it’s mine part of it.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Twirling. You forgot to mention, “don’t twirl the damn needle”. I could not careless about the tats, but twirling- we are going to chat.

          Rural America here. I’d estimate that at least 75% of the people here have tattoos. If places could not hire based on tattoos, they’d be SOL. For the few cranky people who want someone without tattoos, tell them they will have to wait until that person is available. I remember back in the 80s, some folks did not want a woman waiting on them in a nursery. One woman explained this phenomenon to me, “Women are missing parts of their brain so it is not possible for them to learn about plants.” The way management handled it was to tell the customer they had to wait. Wait times could be an hour or more. Some folks adjusted their thinking and some folks did not.

          1. Zephy*

            “Women are missing parts of their brain so it is not possible for them to learn about plants.”

            What. And the person who told you this was, herself, a woman?? I just…Cooking? Medicine? Witchcraft? All involve knowing about plants and things one can do with them? And that’s been braodly considered women’s work for pretty much ever?????????

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Actually in the 80s in my area it was male dominated. Women were “supposed to be” relegated to the small stuff like annuals and perennials. When it came to trees and shrubs we found that both men AND women asked to speak with a man. It was right around that same time that there were discussions among business owners in my area that women were actually better with color coordination and garden layout than a lot of the men.
              It became a code we could use right in front of the customer. “This customer would like to speak with a man.” And the men would respond, “It will be at least a half hour, probably longer.”

              Sometimes it was funny, though. The customer would wait whatever time it took, and then ask the man, “What shrub is good for full sun?”. The man would say, ” [Nodding to nearest woman], oh Jane can help you with that and it will probably look nicer when she is done.”
              Here’s the kicker: We did this stuff and the customer still did not understand they had cause their own problem with getting service. When people are dense they can be dense in more than one way.

          2. Solana*

            Ooh, they would have been in trouble at the nursery I worked at. I’m a woman, my supervisor was a woman, the office manager was a woman… basically, they would have had to wait until my supervisor or I was off and the husband of the team that owned it jumped it. He was usually away on landscaping jobs.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              At that time I worked with a lot of men. And the men would all magically be busy when they heard this request because they knew the problem all too well. Because of the number of times it happened they knew the only real cure was to refuse to respond to the customer’s biased request.
              We were crazy busy, so it was pretty cool that everyone kept their presence of mind and stayed on track with this method of handling the problem.

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            I was very extra confused because I thought you meant a baby nursery. I was like, isn’t that pretty much the one place women have always been allowed/expected to work? Now knowing you meant plants… it’s still confusing and ridiculous. The 80s? Like… the 1980s? Or was this back in the 1880s? Maybe that’s what your username is referring to–you’re so not new that you’re over 100 years old? (I want to believe…)

        4. Zephy*

          If the person taking my blood has tattoos on her hands and I can see them, she isn’t wearing gloves, which is a much bigger problem than whatever ink she might be sporting.

          1. JSPA*

            Well, if the phlebotomist is gloved while prepping the gear and taking notes, and wearing those same gloves for the poke, the gloves are entirely for their protection, not mine or yours.

            FWIW, I’ve seen nurses / phlebotomists in several countries who can hit a tiny vein successfully with their hands placed 6+ inches from the patient’s skin. If they have that skill, then when there’s a glove shortage (which happens, in third-world countries) it’s arguably a lot safer to do that “long distance” poke gloveless (with frequent hand washing) than to reuse gloves.

          2. Observer*

            No it’s not. You want the gloves to go on after they have pulled out what ever supplies they are going to need. Because otherwise, they’ve just contaminated the gloves by touching a bunch of stuff that’s not sterile anyway.

            Which means you are going to see anything on the phlebotomist’s hands.

            1. Helena*

              Those gloves were never sterile in the first place. They come out of an open box. Sterile gloves are individually wrapped, are opened into a sterile field, and put on in a particular way to avoid contamination. Like in an operating theatre. That’s not what happens in phlebotomy departments, or certainly none I’ve ever seen. If your local phlebotomists are genuinely scrubbing in and gowning up like surgeons in order to just take blood, your hospital’s infection control dept has gone power-mad.

              We use “no-touch technique” instead of maintaining a complete sterile field. Nobody should be touching the sterile bits of kit at all, with or without gloves. No touching your skin after they’ve cleaned it, and no touching the pointy end of the needle at any point, with any thing (it can be laid down on a sterile field before use, but should still be sheathed). Nothing else (tourniquet, blood bottles, gauze, sticking plaster) needs to stay sterile.

          3. PlainJane*

            I expect that it would be “any visible tats,” not just “tats visible while drawing blood.” The gloves are disposable and only go on while you’re actually drawing and would not be on all day, and therefore, the tats would be visible to the bosses… who are the only ones who actually care.

            1. Observer*

              who are the only ones who actually care

              That’s the heart of the issue. I can’t imagine most patients getting bent out of shape about this, and giving in to unreasonable people is not good policy.

        5. Marie*

          From the PNW and at my last blood draw my phlebotomist had a really cool tattoo that was the tree of life in blue and red based on arteries and veins, in honor of her job.

          1. Observer*

            So uncomfortable that you’re going to have an issue with a phlebotomist who has one?

            I’m from a community where tattos are a MAJOR no-no. But I can’t imagine worrying about that.

        6. MistOrMister*

          I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be. I have huge veins. Like, seriously huge can be seen from across a football field in a blizzard veins. Blood draws are usually super easy for me. One time I had a nurse look at me and was wondering where my clearly visible vein was. I must have been just outta school because no way would I let anyone poke me now who couldn’t find my vein which is sticking out and practically poking them in the eyeball! The dang thing looks like a speed bump in the crook of my elbow and this lady was saying she hoped she could find it. I’m surprised she didn’t somehow accidentally amputate my toe with a spoon while trying to find the vein…

          1. Artemesia*

            They really differ in competence. When my daughter was very small she had a condition that required many blood draws — on one occasion the person doing it at the hospital poked and poked and just mangled the kid and she was absolutely still – 5 years old and as still as a statue with tears running down her face and I got a nurse, who said what seems to be the trouble? And the blood drawer said ‘well she won’t hold still’. I thought I would throttle her. The kid was a champ and this jerk not only hacked away at her but then blamed her.

    3. Dahlia*

      …forever? I mean, I imagine they’re wearing gloves when dealing with patients. It seems a little excessive to wear something like that constantly when you’re just typing up results or whatever.

    4. Linzava*

      While this is a great suggestion for most lines of work, it might not work for a phlebotomist. They can only wear gloves over clean hands. She may not have to worry about this applying to her, state regulations top company policy for that line of work.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Also if they’re wearing gloves, aren’t they mostly the ones that are opaque…so this would be moot? Nobody can see it if they’re putting them on somewhat askew from client view? I dont’ look that intensely at my medical care providers hands while they glove up, so who knows if they’re actually hairy paws of doom or what.

        So I wonder if a finger tattoo in reality, if it’s for “Optics” for the customers POV, really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal thinking of that aspect.

  4. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    I’ve been applying for jobs at universities and they ask if you have any relatives who work at the university, and what their job/department is, and how you are related to them. It’s part of the application.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      +1 Same at my university. We have tons of family members working across the campus including faculty members who are spouses. I think that the only thing the university cares about is ensuring that they don’t report directly to each other, and the same with students and employees being related. Although I know specifically of one instance where a student was married (previous to being a student) to a faculty member, who would also have to be their professor at some point in their major program. I’m not sure how the school handled that one.

      1. vanillacookies*

        At my university in that type of situation, if there’s no reasonable way to swap teaching assignments, the most likely procedure would be that someone else grades the spouse for that class, or reviews the grades that they are assigned.

      2. tamarack and fireweed*

        I’ve had the boyfriend of my co-instructor in a lab class I taught. It was set up (and the situation disclosed to me) that way, and unlike his fellow students he was not assigned by his choice or randomly to a group — he couldn’t be in hers. It was a complete non-issue after that.

        I’ve also seen cases where people in pre-established partnerships encountered a situation where one needed to take a class taught by the other, and the normal course of proceeding is for the student to meet whoever oversees their degree program, and they either get a substitution class authorized (“ok, your spouse’s class is the only one you could take this semester to fulfill your missing science requirement, so we’ll organize an independent study with $DIFFERENT_PROF instead”, or if that would put the student at a disadvantage (“a MS in computer science really needs to have taken Algorithms 2”), assign a different instructor to grade/review grading of their evaluations.

        Among reasonable adults, these are all manageable situations.

    2. Lime Lehmer*

      Also work at a university and disclosing relatives is part of the Conflict of Interest Policy. Disclosure would be required and may or may not effect hiring depending on the organizational structure. Better to disclose at the beginning.

    3. tamarack and fireweed*

      Yes, same here. You’re asked on the application (about family members who are employees or vendors to the institution), and it’s also extremely common. Whenever you have an institution of higher learning in a somewhat small place, it is completely normal that it becomes, along with local government, utilities, and a select handful of businesses in a regionally important industry, THE main generalist employer for people with qualifications. It’s completely commonplace, when you change groups, for example that your new project officer is married to the person you shared an office with a year ago. Hearing that someone’s close relative works a few hallways over would be of just as much interest to a typical hiring committee as that they hold the record in the local annual marathon or that they breed a rare variety of angora goats.

      Now as for reporting into the same senior manager, it may depend on how closely. Alison’s right, though, that the sister’s desire to be open about it with her manager should take precedence and she would be within her rights to go ahead. If the manager just conceivably might want to know beforehand, she has prima facie more to lose given she’s on a contract. (This would be mitigated or even reversed if, for example, the sister is a tenured professor and the applicant pretty desperate for a relatively subordinate job … if she had a great level of autonomy and protection. Given she is worried, though, it doesn’t sound like it.)

  5. NotSettledOnANameHere*

    Hey, Allison-
    I know it’s a common word, but the term ‘grandfathered’ has some really racist and problematic history, which a lot of people aren’t aware of. I’ve put a few different links in below that talk a bit about the history and why it’s not a great one to use. The first one offers the idea of using legacy as an alternative. I’m sure other readers may have options here too.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I had no idea but at the same, this is not shocking because a lot of terms like that tend to be…especially after reading about it. Thank you for this.

    2. Tree*

      Today I learned … thank you! I had no idea, and I use that term a lot. I’ll be using ‘legacy’ here on out.

    3. President Porpoise*

      Do you know of a good way to phrase that concept without using the offensive term? I also had no idea.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I really like the term “legacy” that they suggested. It makes so much more ef’ing sense too when you think about it.

    4. emmelemm*

      I sort of vaguely knew this (or just that things like that always seem to have racist connotations), but it’s good to see it explained. I will try to remove it from my vocabulary. Thank you.

    5. Lizabet*

      I think our use of the term has deviated so far from the original offensive meaning that it’s fine to use. Terms like “Long time no see”, “rule of thumb”, “hysterical”, and “eenie meenie miney mo” are also incredibly offensive if you go to their history. At some point we have to realize that the connotations have changed so drastically over countless years that they have taken on a new meaning.
      Tl:dr, loads of things are offensive if you look hard enough

      1. Commenter*

        I’d agree that the fact that “our use of the term has deviated so far from the original offensive meaning” means not everyone realizes the history of the term and that people should be given the benefit of the doubt when using the term.

        However – I also think it’s worth listening when people mention that particular words/phrases have unpleasant connotations, and when it’s simple enough to swap in an alternate phrase, why not give that a try?

      2. Arts Akimbo*

        I had always thought that about “rule of thumb” as well, but it seems that the problematic history attributed to the phrase is untrue. It in fact comes from the first joint of the human thumb being approximately one inch and thusly used as a makeshift ruler. So that’s one everyone can still use in clear conscience, at least! :D

      3. Mr. Shark*

        I agree with this. I certainly understand the concern with racism-originated words, but at some point, the words definitely evolve to something completely different, and I don’t see the need to wipe out words that have been developed into something new.

    6. BossLady*

      We use “grandparenting”, I believe in an attempt to be more gender inclusive. Not sure if that’s distant enough from the racist history of grandfathering though.

      I have to say, I don’t love “legacy” as a solution. It rings the same bell for me, but for college admissions instead of voting.

  6. She's One Crazy Diamond*

    LW3: I get the feeling that if you advertise for rockstars you may fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect. Competent applicants will second guess themselves (“well I can do the work but I don’t know if I’m a rockstar, I’m still learning all the time!”) and mediocre candidates who interview well will have no qualms about describing themselves as rockstars. I’ve never worked at a place that advertises its jobs that way, but in my experience, when an applicant or new colleague acts like they’re fantastic and know everything, it’s pretty much always a red flag that they’re terrible and will be fired in a matter of months.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      It’s not just this. Many women tend to undervalue their skill set so won’t apply.

      “Rockstar” has a bro culture about it. So that will filter against women and POC.

      And it’s so out of date.

      You need to be careful that your job ads aren’t signaling that you only want white males.

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        It’s not just women that undervalue their skill set that won’t apply. It’s also women (like me) who assume it means the bro culture you mentioned, and want nothing to do with it.

      2. She's One Crazy Diamond*

        Definitely. I’m a female PoC in my 20s and I’m always shocked that my colleagues think so highly of me.

      3. tamarack and fireweed*

        Totally. I would have to be extremely desperate (or have overriding insider knowledge of the hiring company’s culture) to even consider applying to a job that has “rock star” in the application, and for my spouse (a highly experienced engineer in her 60s who currently has “principal architect” in her job title) it would be a complete dealbreaker.

    2. Artemesia*

      Competent people will also say — do I want to work for a bunch of clowns who don’t know how to run a business as the term is both outdated and one that was used by the young start up types who didn’t get too careful with the accounting or actual management.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      I’m a middle aged woman in STEM, and if I saw rockstar or ninja in a job advertisement, I wouldn’t apply. It’s just too strongly associated with bro-ish startup culture, and I’d take it as a red flag that this was not the kind of place I wanted to work for, and a place that wasn’t really interested in hiring women or people over 30.

      1. AuroraLight37*

        Same here. It’s not about undervaluing my skill set, it’s that those terms have a serious “we’re a bro-culture place that only wants young white men” connotation to me.

  7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    As a high-performer myself, I will never in my life apply to anywhere that advertises the positions and requesting “rockstars” or who describe themselves as “dynamic”. These kind of cruddy buzzwords are just that, cruddy.

    Also people are often awful at self evaluations, they think they’re banging no matter what they really are [and when searching for a job, they’re going to fake it until the make it because they need to pay their bills, which you can’t blame them for!]. I’ve hired a few overly confident people with decent looking resumes only to find out they’re awful to work with and had to cut them loose pretty quickly.

    When we’re hiring I always remind hiring managers we don’t know a darn thing until we hire them and bite the bullet. You don’t know anything until you see it, so you have to go on such limited things and trust in your gut, etc. So to stop trying to shoot for the moon and look for solid people who aren’t selling you a line of crap to get a job they clearly need. Buzzwords will not flush out the real “rockstars” out there, they will chase them away because we’re not in the mood to wade through the shenanigans.

    1. animaniactoo*

      I also would not apply to a “rockstar” position, because that reads to me like “We plan to abuse you and if you’re a rockstar you’ll be able to make that work”. So, even if I am a rockstar, I don’t want to work for that company thank you very much.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yes! It can read as “we expect you to bring us the moon, every single day and then put the moon back at night…if you’re ever lucky enough to get back up there to put it back because you’re gonna live here now.”

        You know where I see that language a lot? Retail jobs. “Look for dynamic rockstar baristas!!!!!!!!!!!” Get. Out. Of. Here.

        1. Autumnheart*

          Yeah. Translation: “You’ll be the only employee behind the bar, good luck! don’t forget to be profitable”

    2. irene adler*


      My understanding is that “rock star” and “ninja” are terms implying that they want to hire a man- not a woman- for the job. If nothing else, I wouldn’t bother to apply for the job as I’m just a normal person who takes the job seriously. Clearly not in the same league as a “rock star”. **shrug**

      How about a more precise description of the actual job duties? That would help with finding the solid people who will perform well as they will understand exactly what the employer is looking for.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I could also go on a rant about how I feel about how I feel about the vague “many hats” description as well. I’m used to many hats but the last time I fell for it, I ended up in a mad-hatter situation and I didn’t get along with the frigging march-hare in the end. Ugly.

        I don’t think rock-star or ninja mean men, that never even pops into my mind. Since I’m used to never thinking about gender unless it’s very blatant. Even if they say “Right man for the job!” I’m like “that me!” if the description is on point. I’ve grown up with too many males and in a male dominated world in general, I just tend to bulldoze in and go along with the motions. People use outdated gendered language all the time without truly meaning to. I call everyone “bro”, so who am I to even talk at that rate.

        1. Autumnheart*

          Yeah, but even if a female candidate thinks, “I’m a rock star!” there’s a pretty good chance that the hiring team wouldn’t be thinking that about female candidates.

      2. techRando*

        I don’t generally assume that they’re consciously trying to hire a man by using those words, but it does tell me that this isn’t a company actively trying to increase diversity in their hiring. It seems like EVERY article about doing that says to avoid words like “ninja” and “rockstar”, because they tend to discourage non-white and non-male applicants.

        Then again, I don’t know when this letter was originally written. Maybe there weren’t dozens of articles about this then. But now, I’d consider it a solid yellow flag.

    3. Antilles*

      Also people are often awful at self evaluations
      In my experience, there’s an enormous overlap between people who (a) willingly self-describe themselves as “rock stars” and (b) are wildly overrating their abilities.

      1. voyager1*

        Also high performing is really relative too.

        I equate it sports. A star quarterback or swimmer or runner at one school could be barely varsity at another or in a different division or state etc.

        Or another example Mad Men’s Don Draper was the highest performer at Sterling Cooper however he was just another cog at McCann at near the end of the show in box lunch scene.

        I have been labeled high performing in some workplaces but where I am at now, I am a small fish in a big pond. I know it and fine with it. However if I went back to some of those previous employers, I would be probably a double high performer because while I am “average” where I am at now, being with truly great folks has made me better too. When you are around great folks you get better too, if are willing to learn.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        What’s that effect called? The opposite of imposter syndrome? That’s what you attract in this situation, for sure!

        This is why I’m always extra careful about talking about myself in an interview. I have learned not to really lean hard on the humbleness side of things and downplay what I’ve done. But I’ve learned to back that sh*t up. I’ve also learned to talk about how I’m transparent and understand “you don’t know me” and I have not earned your trust and that I could essentially tell you everything you want to hear, if I really wanted to. [My honestly to a fault is typically a good thing when it comes to having your hands deep into the finances, so if they’re spooked by it, byeeeeeee you’re probably getting embezzled from, call me later.]

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          Dunning-Kruger. Those know know a little don’t realize how much they don’t know, and those who know a lot overestimate what’s left out there to know.

      3. Kathlynn (Canada)*

        This has been established as fact. The more competent you are the less competent you think you are. The less competent you are, the more competent you think you are.

    4. Goldfinch*

      I do not apply to jobs that want rockstars, ninjas, or evangelists. I can not sight read, nor handle a katana, nor convert people. Just use the actual job description with a list of skills, like normal people.

      1. Quill*

        Why do you need a ninja to do math on a computer anyway? It’s not like I’m going to have to assassinate anyone with a spreadsheet, so you can stop evaluating me on my frankly terrible balance and sneaking skills.

        1. Ophelia*

          Look, after 15 years of office work in cubicles and six year of parenting, my sneaking skills are ON POINT.

        2. Arts Akimbo*

          It’s an accounting firm with a certain set of skills– skills that make them a nightmare for people like, um, other accounting firms?

      2. AuroraLight37*

        There’s an article I read a while back which talks about the weirdness of “ninja” at work.

        “Why a ninja?
        Honestly, I’m not sure ninjas are all that efficient — yes, a ninja’s throwing star will cleanly sever your trachea before you even knew that a black-clad assassin had you in his death sights.
        But you know what the movies don’t show? The two hours the ninja had to spend hanging upside down from your ceiling before you got home. You know what ninjas can’t do? Know ahead of time how long you were going to spend at happy hour before coming home to be assassinated. This is not efficient.”

        Also, given that I’m not Japanese, ninja in this context feels pretty off to me.

    5. Not one of those rockstars*

      I can name one industry where a lot of the postings look for those “rockstars” or “ninjas” who “work hard and play hard.” I’ve also learned that those terms mean nothing to job candidates looking for a role. After all, we apply and then forget about it unless we’re asked to interview.

      Sometimes I wonder if employers use those buzzwords to make their job opening sound more appealing than “We are looking for the right candidate to paint teapots. Must be well-versed in X, Y, Z.” I always assume that anyone posting a job opening is looking for a quality candidate. It doesn’t need to be stated.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        These job posts always make me feel like we’re going to have to wear bedazzled Team Gear every day and do trust-falls on day-one. They’re so much hype going on.

        Then you get to the description and it’s like “You’re an EA, you do EA stuff. And we pay you in table scraps!”

      2. voyager1*

        I wrote a really long response that the system ate. Anyway short version:

        High Performing can be relative. I have been labeled before as that at different employers but where I am at I am just average. Why? Because before I was a big fish in a small pond but now I am in a much bigger pond so not so big anymore. However I have grown much in the last few years despite that so if I went back to some of those former employers they would be probably blown away. I do not consider myself a rock star or high performing and I am okay with that where I am. If you are with high performers you will grow too if you put in the effort.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          That’s true too.

          It’s like the high school QB that everyone thinks is the best thing ever but will never get into college sports. Or the college players who are great but can’t hack it in the pros.

          But you can see that in a resume. You can see if someone is coming from a small pond usually. Or at least you should be able to if you’re doing your research.

          This is why I constantly stay within my small-medium ponds, I know what they expect and what’s great in that terms. Whereas I know I’d be swallowed whole in some places, especially ones that want me to follow rules that are not to be bent, ever. Not where I’d shine, so I won’t bother. Which is really just self awareness, which oddly is never advertised for ;)

          But my own ego won’t allow me to be average, even though I appreciate average more than most. It’s the vast majority of the world after all.

        2. Not one of those rockstars*

          THIS. My first”real” job out of school, I had a boss who was only the Department Head because one of her siblings owned the company. She had ZERO experience at What Dept Does and her background/passion was Some Other Unrelated Field. So of course, since I had some experience at What Dept Does and she lacked that experience, I was seen as High Performing. SHE asked me things like “What do you think I should do in regards to X situation?”

          However, if I had a boss who had more knowledge in What Dept Does, I would be seen as average.

      3. juliebulie*

        The “rockstar” postings always make me think either there’s going to be a lot of cocaine or the successful candidate is going to need it.

    6. Anonym*

      Yep, I find that kind of language red-flaggy and will not apply. I’m looking for an organization that really has their stuff together and offers/expects a high degree of competence and professionalism. Not sure why, but “rock stars” makes me think of a disorganized startup that’s going to underpay you and try to take advantage of you, covering it up with snazzy buzzwords and social pressure. Poorly thought out at best, abusive/coercive at worst.

      OP may wish to remind her boss that they’re selling the company and role when they create that posting, and using cutesy, formerly-trendy language makes them look like a poorly run shop that many high performers will avoid.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s so generic and also the term “rock-star” in real life often means “diva” and “difficult”, there’s so much mixed communication here. [This is my background as a music industry person, you don’t hire a rockstar, you create a rockstar].

        1. Anonym*

          That’s a really good point! If someone described a potential boss or teammate as a rockstar, I’d be leery, too. Are they really great, or a pain the neck, or the favorite Golden Child who will get all the support with none left for anyone else?

    7. AndersonDarling*

      Yep, in my last job search I saw some adds for “Rockstars” “Master of …” and “Jedi’s” and I did not look past the titles. It shows they do not know how to communicate professionally. The company could really be relaxed and hip, but if they can’t articulate the job role and duties, then I don’t want to work in that mess. As soon as I’m hired as a Rockstar of Data, I’m betting I would be given additional duties not listed, I’d find out the job was not in the environment described, and I’d be blessed a pay cut. Fantasy titles = fantasy work ethics
      If you want a rockstar employee, make a solid job description and look for people who are accomplished and enthusiastic in the interviews.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’m screaming inside over the alternatives to rockstar that we’ve listed here.

        Jedi’s? Ninjas? Are you 10? What is wrong with you? This isn’t Halloween.

        If you want Ninja, I’m tempted to apply and show up in a TMNT costume. Try me. Try meeeeeeeee.

        1. Archaeopteryx*

          I will admit, having been a high schooler in the early 2000s, ‘ninja’ does give me a bit of nostalgia- it’s right out of the MySpace era, along with pirates, bacon, teh hax0rz… but that does not at all mean I want that job!

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Oh see, you’re thinking about those years [I was there too, same age range] with fondness because you ended up growing up probably and moving away from it all over time. So it seems like a fad and a joke of the era.

            But I’ve learned over the years that lots of people are life-time deep into those things and really believe in it. I know a pirate [mentioned him a few times before here] and he’s actually Gen X age. And it’s all about that subculture and the life itself.

            Lots of people don’t grow out of it and so part of me really does believe that some of these people still embrace that behavior and way of life. I stopped laughing it off and assuming they’re joking at this stage in life. The Crust-Punks all still are crusty AF for the most part, they never grew out of it, so why would a Ninja or Turtle Whisperer, etc!

      2. irene adler*

        Maybe if they offered the pay of a rock star they might find the candidate they need.
        Funny how they never think to include that in the job ad.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          87 blue M&M’s, coffee flown in from Tunisia and a zebra in my office, every morning. I need a NEW zebra every morning, I have marked the previous one and will know if it’s the same one.

          Make it happen or I won’t be showing up!

      3. AuroraLight37*

        Jedis? Really?

        I bet they don’t want Anakin, but I kind of feel like people who advertise like this deserve him. Or Kylo Ren.

    8. Blue Horizon*

      Ads asking for “rock star developers” are such a cliche that the Rockstar programming language was invented in order to parody/subvert it. (Programs in Rockstar read like Meatloaf lyrics).

  8. Me*

    Government jobs typically ask on the application if you have a relative employed and in what capacity.

    Generally it’s only an issue if there is a direct reporting relationship. But there are jobs where even the perception of special treatment/favoritism needs to be avoided. Often employers have rules governing the employment of relatives.

    It really is best upfront.

  9. QCI*

    Tattoo policies are so archaic. I get that you wouldn’t want to hire someone with clearly offensive tattoos for a customer facing job, but a “no tattoo visible, ever” rule is outdated.

        1. Dahlia*

          I would say that’s changing? I’ve been watching the most recent Project Runway and in one of the challenges, they had a model who was absolutely covered in tattoos. Chest, arms, legs.

          1. QCI*

            For advertising modeling I could see a desire for models that are “blank”, so as to not take attention away from the product and save time on photoshop.

            1. Agent J*

              Nowadays, you can cover tattoos in makeup. Lots of actors have visible tattoos but have them touched up or covered in makeup when they’re shooting.

              Basically, it’s easier than ever to cover them while also a lot more people have them.

            2. Dahlia*

              Mmm let me clarify. I don’t think the requests of a specific gig equals the same thing as an industry-wide policy banning something.

        2. Quoth the Raven*

          And even then, there are “alternative” models and Suicide Girls who have extensive and visible tattoos most of the time.

      1. Gaia*

        Yes in all industries except those that have very specific physical appearance requirements (like modeling, acting, etc).

    1. Antilles*

      Since this is marked as “from a few years ago”, I was wondering when the original post went up – there’s been a huge shift in the social acceptability of tattoos even in the past decade.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        Yeah, I’ve been noticing that hospitals are lessening their rules about tattoos. It’s now down to 1. No face tattoos, and 2. No offensive tattoos.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Last year my hospital went from “no visible tattoos” to “no offensive tattoos,” aye.

    2. juliebulie*

      Usually you can’t donate blood if you’ve gotten a tattoo recently, so maybe it was an “image” thing. But it’s silly; they’re not the ones donating. Last time I donated, the woman who did most of the blood stuff had tattoos all over the place. (It was the easiest donation I’ve ever done. I know that isn’t because of her tattoos; I’m just saying I might not have had such a good phlebotomist if they’d excluded everyone with visible tattoos.)

      1. Gaia*

        Many states allow blood donation post tattoo if the place you had it done meets Nevada standards (the highest tattoo hygiene standards in the nation).

        But also blood donation standards are ridiculous and should not be used as an example or reason for any other standard.

      2. Kali*

        I believe that rule is because of communicable disease. No reputable shop does this, of course, but there are some “stick and poke” “artists” who do not sterilize their needles or use proper sanitation procedures. Blood banks test for all those diseases, of course, but it takes some time for some of them to show up in the lab reports. The wait period is so that they’ll register in the testing.

    3. Three Dogs in a Trenchcoat*

      I agree. I actually ask about it during the hiring process, and it’s a red flag for me if there’s any tattoo policy beyond “nothing extremely violent or offensive”. It might look weird to ask, but it is relevant information to me, since I have tattoos that might not be visible in interview clothes but would be day to day. Same with overly restrictive dress codes not based in safety protocol. I’ve never not taken a job because of a tattoo policy or dress code, but (anecdata alert!) of my previous employers, the one who was most regressive in those areas was also the most regressive in other, more professionally substantive and troubling ways. The reason those policies were still in place was ossified management and a lack of meaningful HR, which bled over into every area of operations.

      Also I used to work in the PNW and GOOD. LUCK. finding an entire public library staff without tattoos.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yes, I agree fully on your point about overly restrictive policies on appearance overall. It does typically signal that they’re regressive in other troubling ways. When someone is so focused on “appearances”, they are starting the process of removing your liberties and individualizes, which is rarely a good thing. Even schools are getting rid of dress codes now!

        I’m not focused on what my employees look like, even in front facing jobs, as long as you’re giving great customer service. If a customer is “offended” by how my staff looks, they better have a damn good reason. Did their tattoo ink suddenly come out of their skin and get all over you? Did their piecing stab you? Did their green hair get in your food? Just stop! We don’t accept the whole “Get me someone of another skin tone to help me!” or “get someone who speaks English” these days, I’m sure not getting you someone who fits your cookie cutter style that you’ve come up with as the only appropriateness. Go away, spend your money elsewhere, bye gurl bye.

        1. Three Dogs in a Trenchcoat*

          I loled at the idea of tattoo ink squirting out all over someone. For some reason it made me picture that little squid (?) from Finding Nemo: “Aww, you guys made me ink!”

  10. CupcakeCounter*

    Yeah the OP writing from the maid service needs to be a lot more open minded about prospective employees bringing their children with them to the interview. Obviously in an ideal situation they would be able to arrange for temporary childcare for the interview but without a job, how are they supposed to pay for that? Its happened often enough that you should have realized they aren’t being deliberately unprofessional (especially since some of them might have never held a “professional” job) but quite literally have no other choice! Instead of crossing them off, make it clear that the office is not set up to provide childcare so in order to be able to concentrate on the interview it would be best if mom/dad could bring some toys or a book for them to entertain themselves with.

    1. Laura H.*

      In addition, the nature of scheduling these (First round) interviews isn’t conducive to finding childcare quickly. It’s usually in my experience within the week that they contact you about the interview. I don’t have kids but I deal with other factors that make this model complicated too.

      Further interviews may be more defined or presented with a more feasible time range for making arrangements. It’s annoying that flexibility isn’t more valued in the interview process (on both sides).

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I’m on board with being flexible but I am surprised that it sounds like they mostly have people just showing up with kids or telling them they will rather than asking if it’s okay. I feel like if they need to bring their child along there should be some sort of “I’m really sorry I know this isn’t ideal, but I didn’t have anyone who could watch them while I met with you today” comment or something. Maybe that’s happening and just wasn’t part of their letter but it didn’t seem like it.

  11. MLHD*

    THANK YOU for the response about applicants lacking child care. It’s ludicrous for someone hiring people at $8 an hour to expect their applicants to be able to pay someone $10-15 an hour to watch their child for an interview.

    Our country needs to do better by working parents (and those who are TRYING to work).

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, really. Applause here. We often talk about the view from a position of privilege. Anyone who has or can afford child care is very fortunate. Sometimes people forget The Struggle to get where they are or perhaps maybe it did not seem hard to them. It’s good to remember all it takes is one catastrophic illness or other serious event and many of us could lose that financial security that we take for granted. Some folks never had that security to begin with.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      Not everyone has a spouse. Not every spouse is available to watch the kid while they go to a job interview, since you know, they’re probably working to support the family. Not every single or partnered set of parents have babysitters on standby for this kind of thing, etc. You can’t expect so much out of people who are trying to get jobs, especially these jobs that regularly pay minimum wage.

      It reminds me of having to explain to our executive that he has to lower his expectations in some cases. When we fill a position in production, the “interview attire” may be less than he’d like to see. Some people will show up in suits for a minimum wage paying job but most of them are going to show up casual wear, they don’t own a GD suit or nice clothes because why, they work dirty jobs and don’t have any highbrow social life events, you rent a tux or a suit for the wedding or funeral that pops up in life at that stage in life a lot of times.

      Stop focusing on these kinds of things at that level. We can hold each other up to higher standards when it’s a higher tiered job. Yeah if you’re interviewing to be someone pulling down well over living wages, you should be able to spring for that $20 babysitter. But you will probably also get an interview scheduled out a week or so in advance.

      Lots of low paying jobs like a maid service wants people to drop everything and come in now. They’re trying to fill spots and get their schedule all solidified ASAP, so you want them the find a babysitter in how much time exactly?! And it costs money. So yeah…yeah. Yeah.

    3. Observer*

      And even where the minimum wage is higher than the Federal rate, it’s STILL not reasonable or realistic. If you are paying minimum wage or close to it, for a job that has no growth potential, it’s REALLY unreasonable to expect people to have the ability to pay a fairly large amount of money for a SHOT at the job.

      Keep in mind that your applicants are not just paying for the time to interview, but for travel time – and need to factor in the possibility that you won’t be running on time. So they could easily be out a full day’s take home pay by the time they are done. That is a LOT to have on hand for someone in that wage level.

  12. voyager1*

    Can we please retire the term “rock star” for anything employment related unless you hiring a musician who does that genre.

    1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      Also, have these hiring managers never heard of Van Halen?

      I am not Sammy Haggar. I can never replace your departed David Lee Roth. And I refuse to work with your Eddie Van Halen, who is obviously staying put. (But put me in touch with David – maybe I’ll join him on tour later.)

      1. juliebulie*

        LOL. Are they saying that they want us to demolish the office and get my hair dye everywhere? Because I totally can. Also, my need for specially-colored M&Ms could become expensive.

        1. valentine*

          my need for specially-colored M&Ms could become expensive.
          Only if no one noticed they left in the brown ones.

        2. Zephy*

          I feel like Van Halen’s M&M clause is to the world of rock star diva behavior what the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit is to the world of frivolous lawsuits (Stella Liebeck actually suffered third-degree burns and needed skin grafts after spilling a 190-degree-Fahrenheit cup of McDonald’s coffee in her lap). The M&M clause was put in their contract to ensure that promoters actually read the whole thing, because oftentimes, someone didn’t. And Van Halen had so much gear and set pieces and various bits and bobs that they needed for their shows that, if someone skipped over something important, it could and did pose a threat to the band or the audience’s safety.

          1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

            I agree. In a work context, the brown M&M clause is more like the procedural rules that seem trivial and unneeded, until things break terribly when you try to do without them. Details vary by industry, obviously.

            (My original reference was to their revolving cast of lead singers who eventually ended up touring with each other after they’d both left the band.)

          2. Observer*

            Yes to both. Apparently, they actually had a fire one time and that’s when they started doing this.

            Also, McDonalds had been warned to serve their coffee at a lower temperature several time. So, while it’s true that she was responsible for where she put that cup (it was a bad idea, even without the fact that the liquid was too hot) they were being careless about the temperature of their coffee.

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        Eh, given that “rock star pay” is just as likely to mean “looks good at first, until you realize most of it is going to your manager and producer and record label”, I’ll pass.

    2. Pipe Organ Guy*

      No one has come along who can replace Birgit Nilsson or Kirsten Flagstad; Vladimir Horowitz and Artur Rubinstein were not interchangeable, nor are they replaceable; no one has replaced Jascha Heifetz. And none of them were rock stars! No one has replaced them, but they don’t need replacing. New talent constantly comes along with unique gifts.

    3. Bunny Girl*

      I used to work for a certain restaurant that advertised that they wanted “rock stars” but at the time I worked there, they didn’t allow visible tattoos, piercings, or hair of unnatural colors (you ever tried shoving waist length hair up into a hat???) and I always thought it was slightly ironic.

  13. Kali*

    My job had a no tattoo policy in an industry rife with ex-military guys. Lots of tattoos. Then after one complaint, we got a no-visible-tattoo policy… but everyone that already had one was grandfathered in. So there were tons of tattoos visible, but not on any of the younger hires. The policy hurt recruiting to the point that they started saying, “fine, just cover the tattoos” (we have short-sleeved uniforms). This resulted in tons of guys with grandfathered-in old tattoos who had to wear sleeves in order to cover new tattoos. Some managed to cover the new ones while leaving the grandfathered ones uncovered. *headdesk*

    They just repealed the no-visible-tattoo policy. Now, you just can’t have them on your hands/neck/face and nothing offensive. Finally, common sense has prevailed!

    I’m getting my forearm done before they change their mind again though.

    1. Three Dogs in a Trenchcoat*

      Covering up the new ones while showing the old ones! I can’t. I just can’t. Face, meet palm.

    2. Norm*

      I am sincerely struggling to understand the tattoo issues. Why are folks against policies that ban all tattoos, but are OK with policies that say no face tattoos? I don’t get the difference. Tattoos is tattoos, right?

      1. Kali*

        I think face tattoos are different because of the current culture. Maybe some day it’ll change, but right now, face tattoos are still considered extreme and anti-establishment, which can affect perceptions, especially if you work with the public at large.

  14. PoppingINForThis*

    Forgive me if this is off-topic, but in relation to the “rockstar” terminology: my husband recently re-did his corporate resume and he mentioned that “delight” is now a common term on resumes and in mission statements?! As in, “Our mission is to educate, grow, and delight our customer base.” Or, on a resume: “Successfully delighted clients with superb front-end service” , etc. I am APPALLED, but I don’t work in corporate. Can anyone tell me if this is common?

    1. Antilles*

      I haven’t encountered it much. It sounds like lame advertising speak (“we don’t just serve customers, we delight them!”) and would definitely get an eye-roll, but wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

    2. Delightful*

      I’ve seen this a lot on mission statement type things, but in resumes it reads as extremely vague to me so I wouldn’t include. Measurable outcomes are better than “delight”

    3. What's with Today, today?*

      I’m a board member for a Chamber of Commerce, our recently departed Executive Director used “delighted” at least once in every public release. Or more often, “It is our delight to…”

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Earlier today I got a blood draw, picked up a prescription and got my flu shot. I picked up meds from the pharmacist (the actual pharmacist not a tech because my meds require her to dispense them/talk to me every.single.time), and checked in with a receptionist for the flu shot. The phlebotomist took the blood and an RN did the shot. I interacted with (::counts::) four different women working at one medical center location and every single one of them had at least one visible tattoo.

    4. AndersonDarling*

      I’d accept it if the statement was based on survey results where 1 = Poor and 10 = Delighted
      I’m a stickler for tracking quality/performance, so I would go with “Used superb front end service of ___, ___, and ___ to ensure all customers needs are met and exceeded.

    5. Autumnheart*

      I swear there’s a Board of Directors convention somewhere where they distribute all the new trendy words for the following year.

    6. AnonAcademic*

      I’m in silicon valley and yes I’ve heard of this. It’s basically trying to manufacture the feeling of “wow, that was so much easier/more fun than I thought!” when people interact with products, apps, etc. I find it really cringey that developers are trying to make me feel “delighted” as if it’s a manufacturable emotional experience.

      1. Filosofickle*

        It may make you cringe, but in fact you can manufacture an emotional experience! That’s what Disney was built on. Usually attempts to do so fail, but sometimes they succeed for some people. Designers aren’t going to stop chasing that possibility because it can happen.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          This is what movies and music do too: create an emotional experience for the viewers/listeners to engage in.

    7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This isn’t that shocking.

      A lot of these buzzwords are essentially someone with too much time flipping through the frigging thesaurus looking for something that stick!

      Note to self, make “Dazzle” happen.

    8. Filosofickle*

      I’m in the brand biz — please, no throwing things! — and “delight” has certainly been en vogue for the past few years. It’s best used internally, though. Your mission can be to delight customers, but it’s eye-rolly to say to customers they’ll be delighted. Job ads fall somewhere in the middle, they are for future employees and should reflect the company’s values and personality. I would never use it on a resume, though, that feels weird.

      Connecting emotionally and going above and beyond for customers helps brands create loyalty, it makes sense this is happening. “Design for delight” is taught as a customer experience principle, right or wrong. Brands like Zappos led the way when they started “delivering happiness”.

  15. Little Bobby Tables*

    I can think of a few job listing that would need the words “rock star”, but they also typically include “awesome guitar solos” under the required skill set.

  16. that one girl with a tattoo on her foot*

    I will be honest if they suddenly adapted a no tattoo policy, I would probably proceed as normal until someone told me, I absolutely needed to have them covered. I am not normally a person who would disregard work place rules, but honestly it sounds like this persons tattoos would be really difficult to cover.

  17. Bunny*

    I understand the point but I take a little bit of issue with the idea that someone is accountable for their sister-in-law in any capacity and that any conflict and/or favoritism should be dealt with the same way you would with anyone else without a familial relationship.

    I barely know my sister-in-law, I don’t even know that she know exactly what I do for a living or where I work. We have a fine relationship but it’s generally just fluffy chit-chat at family gatherings

    1. valentine*

      any conflict and/or favoritism should be dealt with the same way you would with anyone else without a familial relationship.
      Would the way you deal with it depend on their closeness?

      1. Close Bracket*

        You can get conflict/favoritism between people who have other close relationships, like office friendships and office romances. One needs to develop strategies for resolving things between people with all levels of closeness, which goes back to dealing with it the same way one would deal with anyone else who did not have a familial relationship.

        1. Bunny*

          That was my point. There are just two of us in my department and we have an absolutely fabulous working and personal relationship, we definitely know each other better and would and have gone for bat for each other than me and my sister-in-law.

    2. myug*

      I don’t have strong feelings on this subject but “any conflict and/or favoritism should be dealt with the same way you would with anyone else without a familial relationship” doesn’t really make sense. Even in your example, you don’t know your SIL but you do know the sibling they are married to. There is already an outside of work connection (you > sibling < SIL) despite the lack of closeness between you two personally and there is a potential for that to come into the work place.

      Some people can work with family just fine, but I can see why an employer on a small team would want to consider the dynamics of the people beforehand. There are plenty of letters on this site alone where friend or family conflict between coworkers have bled into the workplace after years of harmony.

      1. nonymous*

        I think the issue is less about personal conflict (perhaps my work experience has been particularly drama-free?), but bias. For example, someone might refrain from reporting a fireable offense b/c it would affect sibling’s household income.

  18. Marcel*

    It’s funny how when someone above pointed out ‘grandfathering’ is a racist term Alison thanks them, but previously when (at least) two other posters informed Alison about the connotations and incorrect use of the term ‘totem poll’ Alison did not thank them, pointed out she would not stop people from using it and banned them from posting. Interesting how some forms of racism are acceptable here vs. others.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think that’s right; I’ve not banned people for pointing out this kind of thing unless they repeatedly ignore requests to stop (in line with the commenting rules), are horribly hostile to people in the process/etc. Even then, they’d likely not be banned, but just put on moderation.

      In any case, I don’t actually think there’s inconsistency here, since I’m also not banning people from using “grandfathering.” I thanked the poster for telling me because I didn’t know and will try not to use it now that I do. The only real language bans for commenters here are about language widely understood to be bigoted; otherwise I ask that we just flag it and move on. (If you have an example I’m forgetting though or I’m otherwise missing something, please let me know. I’m not infallible and would want to see what happened.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Thanks! That seems to actually confirm what I said above — that I ask that it be flagged and then we move on, not that I ban it unless it’s widely understood as a bigoted term.

        2. Perpal*

          I think the way it was brought up here and there is different. Here it’s a polite FYI. There it was “you have been offensive” to someone who was just confused as to what was going on. So allison’s response there was emphasized the “please move on” aspect. There was nothing to move on from here.

      1. JSPA*

        The two usages are also not strict parallels. “Totem pole” is an outsider’s description of someone else’s ritual item / cultural item. It comes from an era of relatively limited understanding (thus the idea of being low on the pole being somehow lower status than being high) but it’s not a celebratory use of a term that sprung from something horrible, nor a intentionally-degrading use of something sacred. It is rooted in a good-faith attempt to approximate the actual role, meaning and purpose of the item.

        In contrast, the whole idea of “grandfathering” implies the set up of, “a good exception to an otherwise good rule.” And the source is nasty.

        Even the OED and Australian sources agree that the term comes from exempting men whose grandfathers had been voters from having to take onerous tests to be able to vote. These tests were designed, tweaked and very intentionally used to prevent black men and newcomers from voting in the South, after the civil war. And what’s more, in that original case, if I understand correctly, the “grandfather” aspect of the law actually set up a self-perpetuating voter class and a non-voter class, by birth. So first of all, it’s gross; secondly, it’s misleading.

        Mind you, “legacy” has much the same weakness. It’s already in use, in college acceptance, to mean special consideration given to the offspring of alums. And that favoritism rolls over, generation after generation, creating two classes of applicants.

        I keep bumbling my way back to “grandfather.” (Probably because of the sociological equivalence of false etymology: it makes sense that people cut the old farts with seniority some slack, when making new rules. And it seems like that’s what a “grandfather clause” should be.) “Legacy” won’t bust me loose.

        Pretty sure that “old fart” clause won’t work.

        Can an other language help out? French uses “clause d’antériorité.” “Anteriority clause” could work. Spanish uses “clausula de derechos adquiridos” (“acquired rights,” presumably in the same way that we have adverse possession or squatters rights) or “clausula de precedencia” (precedence, meaning, preceding, being before, being anterior to).

        We already use “precedence” to mean something somewhat different, legally and colloquially, in english. Anyone want to weigh in on whether “anteriority clause” has some other meaning, or would work? Or throw in a suggestion from some other language, that can back-translate into English? Can someome dig up what England used for this concept, before the US created the phrase, “grandfather clause”?

        (Unless this needs its own thread, which it might.)

        1. Close Bracket*

          Re: legacy

          Yes, it does have the definition of a familial relationship to a school alum or a member of an organization. It also has definitions of carrying over from a previous era, esp. relating to technology, e.g., legacy designs, and something left by person, usually money but also knowledge, e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy. Those definitions fit the use of “legacy” to replace “grandfather.” I like the term, and I’m going to use it!

        2. Observer*

          Legacy is used in enough other contexts that I think it makes a pretty good substitute. As Closed Bracket notes, it’s the standard term for older (often out of date) systems in the IT world.

    2. Mymyne*

      I don’t know a lot about the other time you are referring to. But I’d agree. It’s difficult if a word is offensive. There’s so many words that are.

    3. myug*

      I used the search function for ‘totem pole’ and ‘totem poll’ and I can’t find an instance of someone explaining that it’s offensive, just lots of people using the term.

      Since I am not up to date on it, I searched online since I wanted to know. FYI for anyone who is curious: “Those from cultures that do not carve totem poles often assume that the linear representation of the figures places the most importance on the highest figure, an idea that became pervasive in the dominant culture after it entered into mainstream parlance by the 1930s with the phrase “low man on the totem pole”[26] (and as the title of a bestselling 1941 humor book by H. Allen Smith). However, Native sources either reject the linear component altogether, or reverse the hierarchy, with the most important representations on the bottom, bearing the weight of all the other figures, or at eye level with the viewer to heighten their significance.[27] Many poles have no vertical arrangement at all, consisting of a lone figure atop an undecorated column.” (From Wikipedia).

      1. myug*

        It might be helpful to have a post about these terms that are really common in the corporate world (grandfathered, totem pole, especially freaking ‘pow-wow’ to describe any sort of meeting) to help break the cycle. It’s super jarring to see the term so many times now that you know the origin – a real reminder of how ingrained bigotry can get…

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I had a friend in college whose ancestry is Romany, and she was bitter about the continued acceptance of the word “gypsy”.
          I have since tried to discourage people from using it, and some of them have taken offense! Including one person looking to use it in a business name of all things…she just can’t see it.
          Frustrating to me who isn’t even Romany.

  19. Non-profiteer*

    I am, like Allison, inclined to be more compassionate, and think of the disparities implications, for the interviewees who are showing up with their kids. BUT if you are not, why don’t you at least let people know ahead of time that they can’t bring their kids – so at least no one wastes their time. After you’ve agreed on a time and place for the interview, make it a standard line in your confirmation email/phone call: “And FYI, we are not able to accommodate children being present in our interviews, so please find other arrangements for them if that is applicable to you.” something like that.

  20. Box of Kittens*

    On the kid question, is the interviewer’s behavior not discriminatory? The LW writes, “Whenever an applicant comes in with their child, I immediately cross them off my list.” I do understand where they are coming from, because it definitely is not ideal at best and rude/unprofessional at worst. And I know the LW only mentioned one specific candidate that was a mother. But like Allison, I assumed most candidates they were talking about were women. If a candidate were to bring her kid in and then not get the job, wouldn’t she have the standing to sue? Genuinely curious about others’ thoughts on that (so sorry if I missed where someone else brought this up).

    1. phgirl*

      I don’t think it’s discriminatory because the LW is not rejecting applicants for the mere fact that they have children. She’s rejecting them because they’ve brought their children with them to the interview.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      She’s not discriminating against mothers, since she’s fine with them being moms. She’s just not fine with them breaking the “norm” and bringing a child to an interview.

      If she was asking women if they were parents in an interview and using that to decide if they’d be employed, that’s different. But even then, family status and children aren’t protected but it’s still usually skewed at gender discrimination, however here it’s a mostly female staff so they’d be able to fight a gender based discrimination case pretty easily.

  21. PrgrmMgr*

    Tangential to the bringing children to an interview question, if this happens can you ask the applicant about their planned childcare arrangements? Or just welcome them and when telling them about the job mention that employees are not allowed to bring children along with them when working? My organization’s HR has trained us not to ask about an applicant’s family or child rearing plans during interviews, wondering if the rules change when there is an obvious concern.

    1. Bunny Girl*

      That’s a good point. If they couldn’t find childcare for a probably 30 minute interview, what are their plans for childcare in the long term? I think I would definitely point out to them that they are not allowed to bring their children to work, but I think this would put a huge red flag in my mind and I would probably be thinking about it a lot. Are you allowed to ask them about their future plans?

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This is assuming a few things. That they were given ample notice of when the interview would take place to find child care services and that they’re currently in a spot that can afford childcare. Whereas when they’re employed, they’d have a planned schedule to work in child care options, along with the funds to pay for them. Since when you’re working, you can often get assistance with childcare costs whereas when you’re not employed, you’re not afforded that assistance.

        You can’t talk to people about family plans because it’s a history of weeding out women over all. Gender is protected on the federal level and all stages. Marriage status and parental status isn’t protected across the board, some states do, some states don’t. So it really depends on the area if it’s dicey or not to bring up. Since if they tried to say you discriminated against them on the basis they had kids, they’d have to be somewhere that’s protected. They couldn’t say it’s gender discrimination when they’re going into a company with the vast majority are women because that doesn’t make sense. It’s that loophole that’s still out there.

        You can ask them about their future plans usually if they showed up with their kid and you had to tell them that you couldn’t bring them to work with them, that’s for sure. There is most likely a policy in place for this, I’d hope so at least. Many housekeepers have brought their kids with them over the years and it seems to be not that abnormal in the end.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        It’s not the duration of the interview that usually prevents people from being able to secure child care. It’s more likely to be because the interview was scheduled with short notice and the parent didn’t have time to secure a provider, or as Alison mentioned, a person interviewing for a job may not have the necessary income to pay for a babysitter or childcare facility.

        If it really bothers you, I’d recommend using a blanket statement with every interviewee that makes it clear only company employees are permitted on client property and leave it at that.

  22. Be The Change, My Dude*

    You are hiring for a position that, historically, has been seen as viable career option for a certain socio-economic cross-section. Disqualifying a candidate because they bring a child in to their interview is, at the very least, classist – and I’d wager your house cleaning company doesn’t provide daycare for your employees while they’re on the clock. This is a “you” problem. It’s not just rude to “educate” your candidates, it’s perpetuating a frustrating and systemically wrong cycle.

    1. JSPA*

      I’d want to give someone a pass on this if the interview is outside of school hours, and most of the working time is inside school hours.

      Alternatively, I’d try to hire at a hiring fair that includes day care. And/or offer a very broad range of potential interview times (including evening hours) so that people have a better chance of finding someone who can watch their child(ren).

      What of someone who’s so bereft of a personal network as to have no friend/family/neighbor who can watch the kids, every hour of every day of the week? Ideally, we’d have enough of a governmental social safety net that someone in that situation would not need to be looking for a job, frankly! Putting the onus on the employer to hire that person is (IMO) basically misdirected, and also sets the hiree up for failure: you’re probably not going to pay all of your workers a signing bonus large enough, long enough in advance, for them to set up childcare during job hours. And I’m not going to class-shame someone for wanting to hire people who have their logistics worked out. It’s not some sort of improper moral judgement to prioritize the hire who shows up looking like she could roll up her sleeves and jump into the job that minute. She may be just as poor, need the job just as badly and have just as many kids as the woman who shows up with a child in tow.

      Offering makeshift daycare during the interview (as has been suggested elsewhere in the thread) is all sorts of insurance risk.

  23. EvilQueenRegina*

    Although there are details in this letter that make it clear it’s not my ex boss, I can see some of her in that letter about the gossip. “Umbridge” and “Molly” had started as peer managers together following a restructure, although the restructure had left them in different divisions of the department.

    A few months on from the restructure it became clear that “Fudge” the manager responsible for it had cut too much (that’s an AAM post in itself) and Molly’s team needed to be restructured again rehiring for the posts which had been previously cut. After this restructure, Umbridge and Molly ended up on bad terms, and Umbridge used to tell her staff all these stories about “Molly used me to get to where she is today” (the second restructure resulted in a promotion for her), “I wrote all these reports for her and she just chucked me aside and turned her back on me”. She went on and on about it to people she managed. Some people actually got sucked in by it. My reaction to it at the time was that I wasn’t going to judge Molly on that because a) I knew I didn’t have the whole facts and what Umbridge was saying may not necessarily be the whole story and b) I thought it was a bit unprofessional on Umbridge’s part to be bad mouthing Molly to her staff in this way.

    In yet another restructure, Umbridge then came under Molly’s management. She made it clear she wasn’t happy, kept going on about how strict Molly was and how awful it was there in her team. After a few months of coming under Molly’s management, Umbridge ended up going off sick before resigning (in circumstances not dissimilar to what OP describes – again, an AAM post all to itself) and Molly and her team took more of an active role in overseeing us. After more direct contact with her, it became clear to me that Umbridge was wrong about Molly. When I needed support from her, she came through and helped. She will help any of her staff who need it, she’s fair, she actually wants to develop her staff as opposed to Umbridge who held people back.

    Do these new graduates have much interaction with New Boss to be able to judge him for themselves?

    I would like to think that senior management would have the sense to take Old Boss with a pinch of salt. However, we hear enough stories on here about senior management who are loons, so I can’t say for sure!

  24. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House\*

    If I hired a housekeeper and they dragged their kid along, they’d be fired immediately. No, kids shouldn’t be brought to the interview. Period. I disagree with Alison here–work is not a place for someone to bring their children unless you are a daycare and you have a spot there for your child. I would not more want a kid of any age at a job interview than I want a pet. (Actually less because I love pets.) Still, your Rottie wouldn’t belong at a job interview. Neither does your kid. Don’t have childcare? Then how will you work properly”?

    1. Dahlia*

      Average cost of daycare here is $35 a day. If you’re unexployed why would you spend several hundred dollars a week putting your kid in daycare? So you’re relying on someone being able to baby-sit with very short notice, again, with what money?

      But, funnily enough, having a job means having income that you can then put towards childcare costs.

    2. Blueberry*

      Not everyone has the resources you seem to require of people who need to do such an onerous and low-paying job as housekeeping.

    3. Cam*

      This might blow your mind, but childcare costs money unless you have some generous relatives. People who have a job tend to get paid for their work and can therefore more easily pay for childcare.

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        I am a poor person. I have scrounged, begged, and bartered to get to job interviews. I’ve never brought my dog, cat, relative, etc. You have to prove you can handle a job. Again, how will you handle the work if you can’t find a place for your kid? I mean, it’s not as if you get paid a week ahead of time. Where will the kids be that first week or two?

        1. Ariaflame*

          Arranging something you know you will get the money to deal with soon is different to turning up to interview after interview with no guarantee that you won’t be even more out of pocket. And pets and relatives do not apply since you do not need to keep an eye on them as much.

          Or are you really saying “I had to suffer, so should everyone else”?

  25. vanillacookies*

    We need work to pay for childcare, but we can’t get work unless we already have childcare. What a world.

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        If you choose to have a child, you should have plans and back up plans ahead of time. You have time before a child arrives. It’s rare indeed the a child appears from nowhere. Have your lans and back up plans made.

        1. nonymous*

          Ideally yes. But I want to point out that even those of us with plans on plans can see things fall through. I spent my twenties listening to my mom pine for grandkids. She would retire early! How fun!

          Well, my cousins started having kids, and she went to visit her sister, who does grandma-daycare and came back with a bunch of stuff about how nannying as a grandparent is an awful life choice, don’t do that to her, blah blah blah. And it turns out that the wait list for childcare at my grad school was > 9 mos and licensed daycare outside the university system costs >50% of the grad stipend. My peers who had children in grad school were on food stamps or heavily subsidized by their own parents to make it work. More than one sent their newborn off to live with grandparents to make it work.

          When people get grumpy about how certain parents are organizing their lives, I want to gently point out that it’s not possible to roll the clock back and un-born kiddo. So what next? As a society do we want structures in place that low-skilled workers are incentivized to stay on public assistance indefinitely? Do we structure assistance in a way that helps people become taxpayers? What does it do for the development of the child if they are inadequately housed/fed? How does that affect the future tax base?

          1. Batgirl*

            I actually met someone recently who was all for the social support of fallen-on-hard-times adults but didn’t think kids or parents of kids should be supported because they personally don’t want kids. It was a really fascinatingly impressive logic fail on her part to fail to consider where adults actually come from.

          1. Ariaflame*

            Because birth control never fails, or plans based on assuming that one partner has a steady job and no health issues will always work out. /s

            1. Batgirl*

              I’m also really heartened to hear that upon getting pregnant some people can arrange and pre pay not one, not two, but will box off a dozen years of childcare, and that there exist utopias where nine months is plenty of time for a childhood’s worth of arrangements. Childcare, too, which is so cheap that you would maintain the arrangement while unemployed. I want to move to the place where life runs this well.

          2. Oof*

            I took it to mean that since reproductive choice is available, all children are chosen. It is best to have some sort of plan/assessment if one is actively conceiving – but no plans are fail proof! Natural disasters, economic downturns, etc. Much of life is beyond what we can control.

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