my new coworkers embarrassed me in front of my old team, our new uniforms don’t fit women, and more

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

1. My new coworkers embarrassed me at a meeting with my previous team

I recently began a new position with a team that is just getting their feet under them in terms of industry standards, and as part of setting up our new organization, we are working with a number of established institutions in the region to learn how they’ve been successful. I have more experience in this industry than my colleagues do, so I offered to set up a meeting with a previous team who I’m still on very good terms with (I interned there during grad school, and would like to work there again given the opportunity).

Unfortunately, the meeting was a disaster. My new colleagues spent nearly a third of our time dragging previous employees, complaining about our administration, and generally airing dirty laundry that has absolutely no business in a professional meeting. I tried to steer us back on track several times, but had no success. It was clear from some of the looks I got that my previous team was at least as uncomfortable as I was.

Today, I’ve made it clear to my new team that this was wholly inappropriate, and my supervisor apologized to me for any reputational harm done to me by this, but I’m still mortified that I was responsible for their bad behavior in front of our industry peers. I’m afraid this has damaged my standing with my previous team, and I’m really looking for ways to mitigate this damage.

Would it be inappropriate to reach out and thank them for the meeting, and apologize for the inappropriate comments? Or would that just make it look like I also think it’s okay to throw people under the bus as soon as they leave the room? What is the best way to distance myself from my new team’s behavior?

Yes, contact them and apologize! You can frame it as, “I wasn’t expecting the meeting to go that way! I’d hoped we’d talk about XYZ. I’ve talked to my new team about what happened, but I wanted to apologize to you directly. I really appreciate that you were willing to lend us the time, and I’m sorry it wasn’t better used.” I don’t think you have to get into it beyond that — just enough to acknowledge that you know this was messed up and you won’t let it happen again.

Speaking of not letting it happen again — I would not set up more meetings of this type for your team. If you need those meetings, do them alone or maybe with your boss. But don’t risk the same thing happening with other contacts.

2. My company turned into a porn site

I went to work for a start-up company that said they were aiming to be a girl-power, female-focused website. I was a bit underpaid, but it was okay because I was learning a lot, logging big accomplishments, and getting all kinds of new things to put on my resume.

Then the CEO decided they could make more money if they became a porn site. Not a classy porn site … a sleazy porn site with ads promoting sleazy prescription drug companies. I’m fine with ethical porn, but this is not ethical – and I would not want a porn company on my resume due to the negative effects on my future employment.

This goes completely against my values, so I quit. But what do I do with my resume? I don’t want to point anyone to the company because yeesh. The CEO has offered to be a reference but I’m concerned about being linked to the site, and in addition she is noticeably drunk on phone calls about 10% of the time, which is a higher percentage than I’m comfortable with.

What name was the company doing business under before? That’s the name you should list. Don’t list the website address if it now contains porn, but there’s often a company name that’s separate from the web address. That’s what you want.

If you’re concerned about people googling the company and getting led to a now X-rated site, include a blurb about what the company did while you worked there, like “Media company that produced content for women on business, health, and politics.”

If this was your last job, you’ll probably get asked in interviews why you left. It’s fine to be straightforward and say, “The company decided to pivot into adult content. That wasn’t something I’d anticipated when I signed on or something I was interested in working on, so here I am.”

3. Our new uniforms don’t fit women

I am a woman and work in a male-dominated field. We need to wear uniforms. For the five years I have worked here, we have had shirts (women’s cut available) and jackets we are required to wear, and pants, shorts, or skorts could be whichever ones you bought as long as they were a particular color. They are changing the uniforms and now want all employees to wear men’s shirts and want a specific pant and short option that is men’s pants. I am okay with the shirts, but I am very hourglass shaped and can not wear men’s pants as the hips and thigh-to-waist ratio is way off. The brand of pants makes a women’s version. They just don’t want to offer the different option. How do I deal with this?

“These pants will not fit me, so I will need to order the women’s version. What’s the procedure for doing that?”

Say it matter-of-factly, like of course they’ll need to give you that option. If the person in charge of this pushes back, say, “These pants literally will not fit me. It’s not possible for me to wear them. Women’s bodies are shaped differently, and we need to provide options for women as well. Should I go ahead and order them directly and submit the receipt for reimbursement, or will the company order them? Or should I continue wearing my own pants?”

The most likely outcome is that they were being oblivious and will come up with an option once you point out the situation, but go over that person’s head if you need to.

4. Should I put being a Jeopardy contestant on my resume?

I was on Jeopardy last year. Since then, everyone who finds out says I should put it on my resume. Should I actually do this? Where would this even fit?

Yes! People will find it interesting and you’ll get asked about it. You could put it in a Skills section, an Interests section, or an Other Achievements section, depending on which makes sense for the rest of your content.

5. Should I follow up with an unresponsive person on LinkedIn?

Six months ago, my partner and I relocated to another state, where I have absolutely no contacts. We moved for their job, but I’ve been searching for a new position since we arrived. I’ve tried everything from job board sites to in-person networking meetings and cold-messaging hiring managers at companies I’m interested in. Still no offer.

Recently, I applied to a position I am very interested in and researched the company employees to see if I could make a personal connection via LinkedIn. I couldn’t find any of the managers on LinkedIn, but I did find someone who works in the department I applied to. I noticed he’d only been working at the company for six months and messaged him saying something like, “I’ve recently applied to Company X and see that you arrived there fairly recently. Would you mind telling me more about the work environment?” I was hoping just to make a connection and didn’t press that I had applied too much. This person “connected” with me on LinkedIn but never replied to my message. Should I message them again? Do I just let it go? I’m confused as to why they would add me without replying since my profile is already public.

Let it go. Lots of people don’t reply to messages like that — because they’re busy, because they don’t know you, because they’re not involved in hiring, because they think you’re trying to get an unfair advantage in the interview process, etc. Who knows why he connected with you — but it could be just because that was easier than responding to your question. But trying a second time for an answer from a stranger who’s already ignored you, when you’re already going outside of their hiring process, would come across as pushy and disrespectful of his time.

{ 514 comments… read them below }

  1. Approval is optional*

    LW1: Please keep in mind when talking to your ‘old’ team, that you were NOT ‘responsible for their bad behavior in front of our industry peers’. Your new team members are 100% responsible for their own behaviour.

    1. Approval is optional*

      Well, that was badly worded! I mean of course you were not responsible for the behaviour of your new team.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This is absolutely true, but if I were in OP#1’s shoes, I would feel the same kind of mortification and discomfort. Even if the Old Team knows OP isn’t responsible for the bad behavior, they’re going to wonder why OP asked them for this favor when the New Team wasted so much time engaging in unprofessional and inappropriate behavior. I don’t think OP will suffer as much reputational harm as the people who behaved badly, but I agree that Alison’s script may help them recover any credibility they lost with their Old Team by arranging this meeting.

      1. Approval is optional*

        Oh I’d be mortified too! I just think (hope) that remembering that the team members had 100% of the power when it came to choosing whether to act like twits or not, might ease the embarrassment a little.

        1. Devil Fish*

          Yuuup. If LW1 hadn’t done anything to try to redirect them or had joined in that would be different, but the coworkers chose their behavior and chose to ignore LW1’s attempts to bring them back to the purpose of the meeting. People have agency and they’re going to use it poorly sometimes, even if you’re their supervisor.

          Sidebar: Forcing people to be held accountable for their behavior or refusing to accept full responsibility for something you’re not responsible for is in no way “throwing them under the bus” and we need to stop it with this nonsense. (I was called out in a meeting for effing up a deliverable I wasn’t involved with at all and asked to justify the mistake by the head of the company; later I got written up for insubordination because I “threw the person who did it under the bus” instead of letting their mistake become my fault and trying to justify the decisions of a department I didn’t work for; I’m still very bitter about it.)

          1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

            This is the difference between a blame culture and an accountability culture. Unfortunately the blame culture is easier, quicker and requires very little follow-up action.
            I hope you have moved somewhere that respectfully treats you like an adult.

          2. TechWorker*

            My brother (who was a new grad and had been there less than a year at the time) got told off and told he wasn’t ready for a promotion because he was pulled last minute into a client meeting where they complained about a report he’d written and he tried to explain the reasoning behind it. I’ve no idea what his company intended by pulling him in but if they just wanted an apology then the senior folk could have definitely done that without pulling in a new grad to have a go at him (!)

            1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

              They wanted a scapegoat. Rather than the senior level persons admitting a wrong, it’s easier to blame someone further down the line who can’t push back.

          3. Important Moi*

            Yes, I really like the way you stated that. I’ve learned to stop volunteering to feel bad or be mortified because somebody else did something. Without fail, the people who insisted my credibility was somehow affected and I had philosophical differences about constitutes appropriate interactions and reactions. Total game changer for me in terms of how people treat me.

          4. Eadaz*

            To be fair though, this isn’t Apple being held responsible for the Orange team. OP used their relationship with previous team to get this meeting, and the meeting was unproductive/team’s time was wasted. Part of that reflects on OP. It’s not that OP is responsible for them behaving badly, but OP should still apologize for the embarrassment and time wasted if they want to smooth things over with their previous team. It’s like how a CEO will apologize on behalf of their company, even if they didn’t personally make the mistake. OP is representing the team in this case.

    3. Just a thought*

      So, we all live and learn with the new team don’t we?

      I guess I’d mention that for moving forward, I’d keep a focus internally and squarely on the new team and what needs to be developed there before looking outward. I may be very wrong, but it almost feels from some of your thoughts in initial letter that you may have jumped gun to perform for outsiders/old peers than what your new team was ready for at that moment.

      1. Sparrow*

        But considering the purpose of the meeting, this isn’t a matter of “readiness” – it’s completely about the coworkers’ behavior and professionalism. OP should be able to assume that they’ll conduct themselves as the professional adults they presumably are. I’ve experienced this same kind of embarrassment due to the behavior of a colleague, and it was never about how ready he was for the content of the meeting. It was simply that his sense of professional behavior was…off.

        As Alison suggests, meeting one-on-one with external stakeholders was by far the best solution – protected my reputation and we accomplished far more without him present.

      2. LW1*

        My boss had requested that I set up this meeting, since he knows my work history and that I had contacts we might be able to use. It genuinely never occurred to me that my new team would behave so badly; I assumed that they were professionals and would act as such. To complicate things more, I am the most junior member of the team (despite more local industry experience) so I’m not really in a comfortable position to be telling people how to act.

        Unfortunately, they’ve already scheduled more similar meetings –thankfully I don’t have any friends there!– and we’ve had some serious conversations about professional behavior. Hopefully that mitigates the issue…

        1. EPLawyer*

          This is complicated by the fact you are not the senior person. If you were, you could tell them flat out — you will stick the agenda. You will not complain about how we run things, but only search for ways we can better ourselves.

          Unfortunately you were brought in for your experience and knowledge, but not given the power to do anything. Sounds like TPTB wanted a quick fix instead of doing the systemic work that needs to be done to bring this team up to standards.

        2. A Poster Has No Name*

          I gotta say, it sounds to me like your company has bigger problems with these folks than “bringing them up to industry standards.”

          If this is how they act on a “first date” with people from outside your company, I can’t imagine how they act “at home.”

          1. LW1*

            Oh, the is really just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve made some new policies to try and address the culture problems, but they definitely exist.

            1. AKchic*

              As new as you are… at least your resume is still well-polished?

              Because you might be looking again real soon. Otherwise, you may be getting a promotion if your new colleagues don’t get their ish together.

        3. IT Squirrel*

          I almost feel like you being the most junior member of the team is a good thing here, since you can’t necessarily be expected to have control over the team and their behaviour.

          If you were senior or a supervisor and you brought a team to meet me who behaved badly, I might wonder why you weren’t controlling your team and what that said about your management abilities. Since you are a junior member, and especially if I already knew you as a good worker, I’d probably be more inclined to just feel sympathy at having to work with a team like that and not blame you in any way!

    4. TootsNYC*

      also–it doesn’t sound as though you are their supervisor or manager, just someone with more experience.

      So don’t take it too much to heart, and call them “my colleagues” or “the other people on my team” to sort of emphasize that you are not the boss of them.

  2. Orange You Glad*

    #3 – If there are other people in your office who will also be required to wear the new uniforms that won’t fit their body shapes, I encourage you to notify them that you are going to/have already pushed back and gotten something different for yourself.

    A not insignificant percentage of people won’t think to do what you did and will end up stuck wearing clothing that doesn’t fit them. You’ll generate a lot of good will with the other people in your office who also need different uniforms if you give them a head’s up!

    1. valentine*

      And be sure to mention if an ill-fitting uniform will cause safety issues or otherwise negatively affect your performance.

      1. Knitting Cat Lady*

        As an AFAB person who usually wears men’s pants (they have pockets!), I can confirm that pants that fit my butt will fall down because the waist is WAY too loose and that pants that fit my waist will not go past my butt.

        I don’t care, I have belts, but for a uniform the look could be awful.

        1. German Girl*

          Hooray for belts and sewing machines, but OP #3 shouldn’t have to resort to that. Their employer should provide clothing with a reasonable fit.

          I personally don’t like belts, but I like pants with pockets and I’m reasonably good with a sewing machine, so I’ll sometimes buy stuff that doesn’t quite fit and alter it, but that’s for fun and I wouldn’t want to do it for a work uniform, so I’d push back against this anyway.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            I have a 14″ difference between my waist and my hips. It’s just too much to take in without ending up with seriously misshapen pants. Even if I buy women’s pants, they’re never curvy enough to fit, but at least I can do less-extreme alterations.

            1. Librarianne*

              I have a similar issue. I’m so glad that workwear brands are starting to offer “curvy” fit options! They still require some tailoring to get a perfect fit, but it’s much easier to take an inch off of the waist than completely reshape the pants or skirt.

            2. Tiny Soprano*

              Me too! I also find that even if there’s enough room in the hips, the fly isn’t long enough to make the waist big enough to get over them. I’ve broken two zips in the past week…

            3. TardyTardis*

              There for a while, Frederick’s of Hollywood made daywear dresses that were civilized enough to wear at work (no extreme décolletage, proper materials, etc.) but were geared for women built like the old style Coke bottles. I don’t think they do that now, but back in the day when I was shaped like that, I nearly ordered some.

        2. Quill*

          I often have to alter my pants whether they’re women’s or men’s for precisely that reason. (That and clothing designers don’t seem to believe that women have thighs.) But that’s a cost that should be on the company if they’re making this a uniform, not on the employee.

          1. pugsnbourbon*

            +1 to “the cost being on the company.”
            I used to do uniform fittings for public-facing staff. We had men’s and women’s clothing at least, but the women’s pant sizes stopped around a 20 (and they ran small with zero stretch). We had folks who needed larger sizes, and I’m just now remembering some not-great emails from the HR assistant who ordered uniforms. Official policy was that the company would reimburse employees $20/pair for pants up to 3 pairs. Thankfully most staff were able to find something in that price range but boy HR made it more complicated than it had to be. She also sent out a pretty passive-aggressive email about the “uniform budget” to multiple departments.

            They also wouldn’t pay for maternity pants – at a tourist site focused on children. I told my pregnant staff the same deal – we’d reimburse them $20 per pair. I’m getting steamed just thinking about this nonsense.

            1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

              That’s super infuriating. $20 is not much for a pair of pants. I think I’d probably need to spend a couple hours at least hunting for good-fitting pants in that range, and I assume pants shopping wasn’t “on the clock.”

        3. Anax*

          Yep. Buttondowns are the worst for me. Most shirts that fit over my chest and hips hang like a potato sack, and the sleeves are six inches too long. It’s not a good look.

          1. Librarianne*

            Ugh, yes. I’ve tried a few brands’ “curvy” cut options and they still didn’t fit correctly. Luckily I can wear blouses and knit tops at work, or else I’d spend a ton of time and money fixing shirts.

          2. TootsNYC*

            I discovered that I am very short in the torso, and a little bigger in girth than most people my height.

            And so button-front shirts gap at the breast line–because they are TOO LONG in the armpit! Even in women’s shirts.
            (If you generally have trouble getting button-front shirts to not pull or gap, try lifting up the shoulder seam, and see what changes. Unfortunately, that’s not an alteration you can make, most of the time. )

            So if I bought a men’s shirt that fit around my chest, it would have to be a large size, and so it would be too tall in the armpit, and it would gap or pull.

        4. Autumnheart*

          And why is it 2019 and people are still deciding that it’s too much trouble to buy women’s clothing? WTF.

        5. Nobby Nobbs*

          I like “men’s” pants too, but I have to be so careful about cut. In the brand I wear for work, there are some styles that fit perfectly or well enough, and others that will not pass my hips. The same size I buy every pair of pants in, and I literally cannot squeeze my body into them. I can’t imagine requiring an entire workplace to wear the same cut of pants!

      2. Veronica*

        Another thing to mention is if your role(s) are customer-facing, the impression it will make if the uniforms don’t fit.
        If I knew a company was not providing female uniforms for female employees, I would not want to do business with them.

    2. Kimmybear*

      I encountered this problem with a “uniform”. The person that decided on the styles was of one body type and even though picked men’s and women’s shirts, they were in styles that didn’t work well for other body types. Polite feedback that these styles weren’t the best for some of us wasn’t acknowledged until the next year when a more forgiving style was found. I guess we did look that bad. I hope you have better proactive luck.

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

        That brings back horrible memories of a manager who chose orange and black as the new uniform colours. The workplace looked like a pumpkin patch. No one looks good in orange.

        1. Door Guy*

          While not quite the same, but when our leadership goes to the annual conference, there is a large store set up with branded shirts and jackets, etc. Our office uniform is any shirt that is logo’d appropriately (or a nice clean shirt, we’re not too picky) in any of the styles/colors/patterns they offer.

          The Vice President always has goes through and gets all the office workers new shirts (he collects sizes before he goes) and this year he came back complaining that they had (2) options total for women’s shirts, and both were, as his wife said, hideous, on top of poor size selection. One (a pink polo) was only available in one of the office staff’s size, and the other shirt (an orange t-shirt) didn’t have any of the woman’s sizes we needed.

        2. Sinil*

          I look fantastic in orange. But most people don’t. So I wouldn’t say no one.

          But I never wear orange and black b/c I don’t want to look like a hallwoeen decoration.

        3. Silvercat*

          I look great in orange. But yeah, pick colors that will look at least okay on everyone. Autumns and springs exist too, uniform-pickers! Not everyone can wear black or white without looking ghoul-ish.

      2. Marzipan*

        At my workplace, for a long stretch of time, the uniform was selected by a group led by one particular staff member, who happened to be very slim and chic. She was someone who often wore little neckscarves, which looked great on her! Unfortunately, they were then included in the women’s uniform, obliging lots of other women to wear them; women who couldn’t really carry them off in the same way. Many staff physically couldn’t fit the little square scarves around their necks, and therefore had to have the longer versions, which just trailed and scrumpled and looked awful. Happily they eventually moved to a uniform with a much larger selection of items overall, so nobody was stuck wearing things they looked awful in.

        (Personally I dodged ever having a neckscarf; I only had to wear the uniform very occasionally and scandalised my boss by announcing that, on those occasions, I would wear my uniform dress and shirt, along with the tie from the men’s uniform. “You can’t do that!” she said, so I got a colleague who was leaving to give me his tie and went ahead and did it anyway, whereupon she decided it actually looked pretty good and stopped worrying about it.)

    3. Cheese_Toast*

      And OP, depending on who made the decision, be prepared for even more pushback than Alison listed in her reply. We had a similar issue with some branded workwear. I am short and bottom heavy. I literally could not convince the person who chose the uniforms that women could not buy men’s pants and “just cuff and belt them.” It was like talking to tree moss.

      Eventually bought the pants, cuffed and belted them, showed up to a company event looking like a deranged clown escaping from a murder hut, and let HR resolve the issue with an email declaring “brand new gear available now!”

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        Ugh, I feel your pain SO much! I have very “non-standard” body proportions: short, bottom-heavy, narrow shoulders, very little boobage, short-waisted in front but not in back (because of the extra room needed for the booty). Arms are short with a lot of thickness in the upper arms and very slender forearms and wrists. There’s not a manufacturer in existence that makes clothes that fit me perfectly, which is why I live in loose fitted knit tops and elastic waist pants. Clothes have to have some give to them to accommodate the areas where I need extra room without being ginormous in the areas where I’m smaller. I couldn’t wear the uniform you describe without looking and feeling absolutely ridiculous, and I’m so glad your HR finally came to their senses.

        Uniforms should never be chosen by a single person, imo. It should be done by a committee made up of people with a variety of body types and sizes. People who have bodies that are easy to fit in standard clothing sizes can’t be expected to be aware of or understand all of the pitfalls that exist for those of us who are “too” short, tall, thin, fat, or have “non-standard” proportions.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    Oof, OP#3, your company is begging for an angry legal letter. It’s not reasonable to make you wear men’s pants and refuse to offer you an alternative (especially when the brand makes a women’s version). It’s like they took a page out of the Uber/Susan Fowler-leather-jacket book. Hopefully they have the good sense to let you order what you need once you raise the issue, but if they don’t, or if folks up the chain try to blow you off, I would begin framing this as a concern about violating workplace anti-discrimination laws. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

        1. CM*

          If you frame it more like, “Male employees have the opportunity to wear a uniform that fits their bodies appropriately and female employees don’t” it’s easier to see why it’s discriminatory.

        2. Anonymousaurus Rex*

          I would really love it if just one time a company defaulted to women’s clothes as a uniform.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would ensue? “But…you can’t make MEN…wear WOMEN’S clothing! The shame! They won’t be MEN anymore!”

            Please, someone do this so I can sit back with popcorn and watch the show.

          2. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

            A local tech conference did something similar a couple of years ago — the “unisex” con shirt was the women’s cut.

            Some of the men attending flipped, and the women were all like “gee, it must be horrible to have a ‘unisex’ shirt not cut for your body… I wonder what that’s like…”

      1. Faith*

        Is it discrimination to require everyone to marry a person of the opposite gender? Just because everyone gets the same treatment, doesn’t mean that this treatment is fair.

        1. Ra94*

          Yes, with some twisting of words, this could basically be separate-but-equal. Is it discrimination to require everyone to drink from water fountains that are labelled with their race? Well, yes, obviously

      2. Zennish*

        Requiring the same thing of everyone doesn’t mitigate discrimination. If they were requiring all the men to wear skirts and blouses, I don’t think anyone would question whether it was discriminatory.

      3. cmcinnyc*

        It’s classic sex-based discrimination. “Everyone” is not male, so “everyone” can’t fit in men’s pants. What if they only ordered women’s pants? I imagine the guys would find that impossible. And in a male-dominated industry, it could be interpreted as a hostile move–“Oh you can’t wear the uniform so obviously you don’t belong here.”

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          I’m imagining ordering only women’s tops and having the men wear them too. They’d complain that the fit is too small in the shoulders and too baggy at the hips, and heaven only knows what would happen if it was a tailored shirt with princess seaming or bust darts…

          1. Nephron*

            And they will know the frustration of the shirt being too short and riding up every time you reach for a high shelf.

      4. Jaydee*

        Yes, if the sameness of the rule affects some employees negatively and that negative impact disparately affects a group of employees based on gender (or race, national origin, religion, etc.).

        This is how a lot of dress and grooming rules at workplaces cause trouble. When the rules are based on norms for one group (men, white people, Christians) and are then difficult or impossible for other groups to comply with because of their gender, race, religion, national origin, etc. that is discriminatory in the illegal ways.

        1. Artemesia*

          It is the problem black women have around hair style issues. Requiring everyone to have a page boy or similar style doesn’t work for people with hair that doesn’t work that way and it is thus discriminatory.

          1. TardyTardis*

            And this is sad because rows are actually much safer than some other women’s styles in a factory setting…

      5. Bagpuss*

        I think the discrimination is that you are traeating men and women differently and women less favourably.

        Men are required to wwear uniforms, designed to fit men.
        Women are required to weatr uniforms designed for men.

        Women are therefore being treated less favourably

        1. Artemesia*

          I remembering reading about a high school coach who required the girls turning out for ‘boy’s sports’ when they were not available to girls to wear cups — because that was a basic uniform requirement. It is a way to highlighting that women don’t belong.

      6. Observer*

        Well, the actually are NOT requiring the same thing of everyone. Men are being required to wear a uniform that fits. Women are being required to wear a uniform that does not fit, merely because they are women and someone is lazy.

        1. Colette*

          The uniform may more reliably fit men, but there is no guarantee it fits men outside of the average size. Similarly, some women may find that the men’s sizes fit them.

      7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yes. It’s disparate impact discrimination within the meaning of Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Defaulting to “male” [clothing, equipment, etc.] is not a permissible form of discrimination under federal employment discrimination laws.

    1. Shadowbelle*

      Maybe OP can have a religious objection to wearing men’s clothes! s/
      Or (no snark) make the point that forcing her to wear poorly fitting clothes is humiliating and a form of harassment, contributing to a hostile work environment. (But try the reasonable approach first.)

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

        It reminds me of the pregnant letter writer whose boss wanted her to wear tucked in shirts with a belt instead of her tasteful maternity wear.

        1. Shadowbelle*

          When my best friend Brunhilda had her first job as a college instructor, her professor boss complained about the way she dressed. Brunhilda’s clothes were always neat and clean and appropriate. Brunhilda had also been the state debating champion in high school, so taking her on like this was not a good plan, as her boss was to learn.
          Brunhilda: I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware there was a problem. What’s wrong with my clothes?
          Boss: (unable to articulate the problem)
          Brunhilda: Well, can you point to someone I can emulate, as a model of the way you’d like me to dress?
          Boss: There’s Indira.
          Brunhilda: Indira is Indian and wears saris. I don’t really think that would suit me, do you? Is there anyone else?
          Boss: Well, you could dress like Sheila.
          Brunhilda: Sheila’s husband is a doctor and has a large income, so she can afford expensive clothes. My husband is a seminary student and we are living on a pittance. Can you think of a practical example?
          Boss: (gives up, as he is clearly outclassed)

          1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

            1) This is awesome.
            2) I know it is completely besides the point, but now I can’t stop wondering what the heck Brunhilda’s boss’s problem was.

            I wear a lot of skirts–they’re comfortable and they are easier to fit than pants, as I have a small waist and the hips et al are larger (I hate fruit- or timepiece-based descriptions of the female form, so I tend to go with “T-Rex shaped” as my body type descriptor). I have never had any issue with dressing professionally as everything I wear fits, is clean, and is appropriate. So I was shocked when a manager told me–in front of other employees–that I needed to dress more professionally while gesturing at my outfit (nice flats, a conservative white blouse, and a grey pencil skirt that hit at a demure, below the knee length). The exchange went as follows:

            Me: Excuse me? How am I not dressed professionally? What is wrong with what I am wearing?
            Her: Well, the skirt. It’s inappropriate.
            Me: It hits below the knee and fits correctly–it’s not too small or anything like that. How is it inappropriate?
            Her: Well… [long pause], well, the slit in the back.
            Me: Excuse me, are you referring to the one inch kick pleat? That is there so I can walk, because the skirt is below the knee. A kick pleat is not a “slit.” It does not come up very high at all, in fact it still ends below the length required for skirts according to the handbook.
            Her: Well… look… you just don’t have an appropriate shape for this type of skirt. You need to take that into consideration with your clothes.
            Me: Excuse me, did you just tell me that my body is an inappropriate shape for standard office wear? In front of my coworkers? We are discussing the appropriateness of my body right now? And how clothing that is okay on some bodies is not okay on my body?

            I did not stay at that job very long.

            1. Jadelyn*

              Holy hell. Good on you for calling that out for what it is in front of everyone else. That’s some stunningly unacceptable body-shaming and -policing.

            2. Parenthetically*

              Don’t you know that if a woman’s form is discernible under her clothes, she’s doing something improper?


            3. Shadowbelle*

              Brunhilda’s boss also objected to her name. He wanted her to use a nickname, rather than requiring her students to address her as “Ms. Sigfreid”. But this was part of her technique for maintaining control of her class, because 1. She’s quite short and her American Scandinavian students towered over her, and 2. She graduated early and was, on average, only a year and a half older than these young giants, and 3. 40 years ago, sexism and disrespect for women in authority was even worse.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        It’s probably insufficient for a hostile work environment claim absent additional gender-based discrimination, but it’s certainly a “discrete incident” of gender-based discrimination.

        1. Shadowbelle*

          I see your point, but I’d argue that it’s not a discrete incident if the employee is required to wear clothes that make her look ridiculous every day.

    2. Wintermut3*

      I think coming at this from a discrimination perspective is needlessly adversarial, and could backfire because the policy is completely neutral on its face, I think you might be able to tease out a discrimination issue here, but it would be a bit tortured. The result, then, is that they might go to legal, get an opinion that it’s probably not discrimination, and say “sorry you’re wrong, wear the pants”. Whereas if you frame it as “of course you’re not going to make me wear clothing that doesn’t fit”– there’s no room for them to say you’re wrong and must comply, fit and comfort are inherently subjective things!

      Their mileage may vary though, they might hear the words “discrimination” and recoil rapidly, some employers do, others hear “potential legal action” and decide that everything must now be handed off to legal department to determine what is strictly speaking legal, as opposed to a mutual negotiation about what is reasonable.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I find it difficult to believe that requiring women to wear men’s clothing because that’s what this company requires for a uniform is not discrimination. It is literally not acknowleding that women work there. It is also sending the not so subtle message — men only need apply.

        I can get the thinking of everyone wearing the same style pants, because it looks like the bottoms of the uniforms were a bit free for all. Which is not a uniform then. But to go to the extreme of “only men’s pants” because “of course, we’re all guys here” is going too far.

        1. Wintermut3*

          That’s the point that I would make, if I were arguing this, I can see a few arguments they might raise in response as well.

          It’s not that I don’t think think this is discriminatory, I think it’s far from a “slam dunk” where any legal team would take one look and go “are you nuts? stop this!” The fact it’s not a forehead slapper of a case means that if you make it a legal issue then you should be prepared to follow through, whereas if you make it an issue of obvious employee comfort and company image (do they want all their public-facing employees to look like they have ill-fitting uniforms, after all?) then those are arguments they can’t dismiss with a “we talked to legal, we’re going ahead with the plan”, those are arguments you can’t really refute without showing your ass (no pun intended).

          1. Colette*

            Yeah. If it were safety equipment, there would be clear discrimination (since it would be endangering the women, or keeping them from opportunities). But it’s a look/comfort thing – and plenty of people find uniforms uncomfortable or unattractive, regardless of their gender.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I don’t think it’s a tortured or attenuated claim at all. It’s a pretty textbook example of discrimination— it appears on the EEOC’s website in the context of national origin, religion, and disability claims.

            I’m also not encouraging OP to begin with the legal claim. I think she should use Alison’s script. But it sounds like her employers are doubling down on their misguided rationale. If they continue to double-down as she goes up the chain, it can be helpful to clarify that this is not just a policy or preference problem, but a legal liability.

          3. Jadelyn*

            …I mean, it is actually kind of a forehead-slapper to people who do this sort of thing, though. Just because it’s not forehead-slappingly obvious to the lay person, doesn’t mean it’s not immediately apparent that this is a Bad Idea, legally speaking, when someone who knows employment law is looking at the situation. And when companies get stubborn about something, it can be very, very useful to be able to pull out the legal basis for why they shouldn’t be doing the thing.

        2. Witchy Human*

          I think the argument is often that they’re obligated to give you a uniform that you can wear. There’s no real obligation to take how you appear into consideration unless how you present to the public is a factor in your job.

          So if you would be a women’s medium but the only way you can wear men’s pants is with an XL cinched ridiculously tight with a belt…well, there you go, you’ve got your pants.

          1. Shadowbelle*

            I think there is an obligation to take how you appear into consideration, if it makes you look ridiculous. As I mentioned, it puts you in humiliating garb for no valid reason, which can be considered creating a hostile work environment. And when it’s only women who are being thus humiliated, it’s definitely sex discrimination.
            Also, note the post downthread, where a woman has to do exactly that (wear oversized men’s pant’s tightly cinched), and it results in welts around her waist from the abrading cloth. So it’s a health and safety issue.

        3. Sinil*

          The line of cases from Price Waterhouse on are inconsistent. I have a friend who litigates this in the 9th. She says this is ripe for reassessment b/c the 9th knows they have gotten it wrong before and want a good case to law down the law on gender dress code policing and the inconsistent and often detrimental rules placed on those societally coded female. However, this isn’t the law at this point in time.

          Typically, however, the 9th has been more keen to uphold requirements that women dress in feminine ways (e.g., they ruled a casino can force a woman to tease her hair and wear makeup) than they are that everyone male and female dress the same no matter what.

          Even the 9th is retrograde on enforced notions of femininity.

          This case, however, might be the type they’d want to take to say “male is not the default,” but the case law simply isn’t there one way or the other.

          Price Waterhouse was rightly decided by SCOTUS, but courts do not follow it. And the rulings are inconsistent and disappointing.

          TLDR: Who knows if this is illegal discrimination b/c the courts haven’t been consistent on rulings.

          1. Sinil*

            PS: for those SCOTUS observers concerned about LGBTQ+ case, also read the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case. There are actually multiple lines of argument, only one of which is whether “sex” also means discrimination against non cis-het folks.

    3. I coulda been a lawyer*

      I’m CIS female but because my part time job makes us carry millions of things without providing a way to carry them or a place to put them, I get mens pants. The fit is better than the women’s pants anyway because I don’t have a waist. We got new uniforms and I was told I had to order the women’s pocketless pants because I’m female. I had to tell 5 different supervisory personnel that I identify as male in order to get men’s pants. Why can’t everyone just order the pants that fit? I’m just grateful they didn’t make me move to the men’s locker room!

  4. Engineer Girl*

    #3 Oh boy. We are now two decades into the 21st century and this is still happening.
    I agree with Alison’s advise. But I’d also go to the person that made the initial decision to see what they were thinking. Many times the women’s clothing is more expensive because it is made in smaller batches. That’s still not an acceptable excuse though.

    I should also note that it isn’t just the pants. Shirts are too tight over the bust or are so loose that you look slovenly. The hips are too narrow.

    And if they insist on the men’s clothing then demand that they pay for the tailoring to fit.

    And yes, go to HR if needed. Forcing women to wear ill fitting men’s clothing creates adverse impact.

    1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      Not only that, most mens’ pants, if not all, would be way too long for a petite woman. Even if I could make it fit hips/waist, the tailoring of the length might completely ruin the look of the pant.

      1. many bells down*

        I’m not even petite, but I have short legs. Half the time women’s pants are already too long for me, let alone men’s!

        1. Liz*

          Yes! me as well. I’m average height but have really short legs so pretty much anything is too long on me. And i’m curvy so petites don’t work for me either, as well, I’m NOT petite.

          I like Allison’s response. just matter of fact, how should i do this?

          1. Quill*

            I pretty much only look good in jeans for this reason: a jean “capri” or “highwater” looks the right length on me. Fortunately at my current office I can get away with darkwash and black jeans.

            Conversely I have problems with womens’ cut shirts because they are never wide enough in the shoulders… I’d rather get a men’s shirt that fits on top and then take it in around the waist than go through women’s “uniform” shirts forever looking for one with a reasonable arm hole size and shoulders where the seam actually sits on my shoulder.

          2. 5 feet tall*

            Petite refers to height (5 ft 5 inches and under) not weight. There are curvy and plus size petite clothes. Drives me nuts when people think petite means thin.

            1. Grapey*

              Petite clothes are made with overall smaller clothing forms, including waist and bust circumference.

              A 16WS (women’s short length) fits looser around the waist than a 16WP (women’s petite) in my experience.

              1. Kelly L.*

                I think a lot of it is crotch depth. I have short legs for my height and I try to wear petite pants, but I have more torso than wants to fit in there.

                1. emmelemm*

                  Yeah, crotch depth is definitely a thing that is different between “petite” and regular pants.

              2. Filosofickle*

                That depends on the brand. In some brands I wear the same size in straight or petite, the petite is only shorter. In other brands, they scale the whole thing and I wear a size smaller in petite than I would in regular. I’ve learned to ask in stores which way their cuts run. But that’s just Misses sizing. Women’s sizing (aka “plus”) has the opposite scenario of what you described, where the form is overall bigger. So I size down if there’s a W. I typically wear a 14-16 in straight sizes, and sometimes go +1 in P and always -1 in W. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                Having to wear men’s pants would be a disaster on me. Most women’s/misses’ pants are already too big in the waist, too narrow in the hip/leg, and too long. I see people in spectacularly ill-fitting uniforms and thank my lucky stars I’ve never had to do that. Bodies come in so many shapes and sizes, asking everyone to fit into one or two kinds of pants is unkind.

              3. Sophia Brooks*

                It is sort of both. As a person who is women’s petite, in theory it takes into account height AND bone structure- so I am short and have small shoulders, but I am still fat. I amagine there are some short people who do not have a “petite” bone structure, but I do. I also think it is hit or miss how thinks fit, but

            2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

              How can “Petite” go up to 5 ft, 5 inches, when the average woman is only 5’3″?

              By that standard, no one could wear regular sized clothing.

              1. Kelly L.*

                I think the cutoff is actually 5’4″. And yeah, it’s kind of silly! But some of us do fall into the 5’6″-ish range where we’re neither petite nor tall.

                1. Username Can't Be Blank*

                  I’m in that range, with long legs and short torso (but long arms), and I hate clothes shopping! Finding pants (especially khakis) is so frustrating.

            3. Autumnheart*

              It’s more than height, it’s body frame too. I’m 5’2 but am not a petite in clothes. The shoulders are too narrow, arms and legs aren’t long enough, stuff like that.

        2. Third or Nothing!*

          I’m 5′ tall and even the women’s short length pants are often too long! I’ve started going for the ankle length cut when I do bother to shop for jeans. Most of the time now, though, I’m in comfy skirts or dresses. No more feeling like I’m being cut in half when I bend over!

          1. Veronica*

            Me too. ~5’7″ here.
            I recently bought some Gap jeans that work by getting the high-rise (so they’re not falling off my butt), cheeky straight, Tall. Tall so they actually come down to my feet instead of stopping above the ankle.
            So the regular length would be about right for you.
            What we have to do these days to get a good pair of jeans!

            1. Third or Nothing!*

              Looked them up and even the largest size available in that style won’t fit my hips. :(

              1. Veronica*

                I’m sorry to hear that! Hmm, I don’t have any suggestions. That was the first pair of jeans I’ve bought since 2005.

      2. Tau*

        Oh yeah. I sometimes have trouble finding small enough sizes in the women’s sizes. T-shirts cut for men? How nice of you to give me some new pyjamas. Trousers? Noooot going to be happening.

        I love Alison’s scripts for things like this. Just, “the obvious reading is so blatantly unreasonable that I’m not even going to engage with it. Please tell me the appropriate form to sign so I can get a uniform that actually fits, thank you and goodbye.”

        1. Another worker bee*

          YASSSS on the pajamas! I work in a male dominated field and my coworkers tend to wear their tshirts often. I wear all of my tech company tshirts to bed, because my torso isn’t shaped like a rectangle and I feel so sloppy wearing them!

        2. Tiny Soprano*

          I used to have a colleague who was 4’9 and delicately-built. Management just ordered her a shirt in the appropriate size, even though that meant sourcing a custom-embroidered child’s polo shirt. It’d be silly to try and make her wear something that’d look like a circus tent.

      3. blackcat*

        Yeah, I have exactly one pair of pants that is cut for a male body. They are some really cute pajama bottoms. In BOYS medium. Like… for a 10 or 12 year old boy.
        There is no universe in which men’s pants would fit me. I’ve met maybe half a dozen adult men ever who are as small as me, and I’m sure they have a hell of a time finding clothes because the default for men’s clothes is to start at sizes that fit someone roughly at 5’5″ and 130lbs. But I’ve met plenty of women who are shorter than me (fewer who are more petite overall, but still quite a number). A fair number of women are going to be either too short or to narrow for men’s clothes, even ignoring issues of cut.

    2. Emily K*

      Say it louder for the folks in the back: “male” is not a genderless default nor unisex. It’s just men’s clothes that women have been expected to deal with because to ask for properly fitting clothes makes us fussy. As if the men wouldn’t be fussy if they had to wear women’s cut.

      Male is not the default condition and female is not an abnormal condition.

      1. whingedrinking*

        I once argued at a student union event that if we were only going to order one style of t-shirt, it should be the women’s shirts, since there were more women/AFAB people in our department than men/AMAB people. I was irked to get pushback from more than one guy who said, “Well, some women can wear men’s shirts just fine.” I replied, “Yeah, and some men can wear women’s shirts just fine too.” We ended up ordering both styles.

        1. Linguist*

          I think I finally know what the expression “mind-boggling ” means, because I distinctly felt mine boggle when I read that. Good for you for making a stand!

        2. Myrin*

          Yeah, I know two very slim men and have one coworker who is chubby with emphasis on his chest area and all three of them prefer women’s shirts (although they don’t much care for this style which makes the arms of women’s t-shirts super short and tiny so that it’s really just two little scraps of fabric barely covering your shoulders at all – I hate those as well, though).

          1. ellex42*

            Those are called “cap sleeves”, and it’s difficult to find women’s t-shirts that don’t have them (at least at any reasonable price), and I despise them.

            1. Lissa*

              I prefer cap sleeves because I find the additional material bulky when it comes to layering, but I work in a lot of places outside the US where it is okay for me to where short sleeves in the office where the staff are used to working with Western women but need to have long sleeves outside year round so I always have a lightweight cardigan with me.

            2. All monkeys are French*

              I despise them, too. I work in food service and most companies’ shirts for women have tiny sleeves. The thing is, in food service, if you need to cough or sneeze, the advice is to do it into your sleeve. What sleeve?

            3. Veronica*

              I refuse to wear them. At one point I bought men’s t-shirts and had the waist taken in.
              Luckily manufacturers caught on and now there are some options in “elbow sleeve” blouses. LL Bean makes some nice ones.

      2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        Actually embryonically “female” is the default condition and we all develop as female until about 5 weeks.

        This letter makes me so mad. Can you imagine the outcry if the men had to wear women’s pants? For the women, who cares, right? All pants are the same and the women as just being difficult. /sarcasm

        1. Agnodike*

          That’s actually only true if you define “female” as “absence of external male genitalia.” Embryos don’t develop vulvas, ovaries, uteruses, etc until after five weeks. In the early embryonic phase, everybody’s got nipples and not much else in terms of what will later be used to identify their gender; internal and external genitalia develop from a common series of structures that are neither male nor female.

          I actually don’t love the idea that “female is the default condition” because it reinforces the idea that “female” is just the substrate for “male.” Like male is “female-plus.” I would argue that “female” is its own thing, not the absence of maleness, just like “intersex” isn’t “sort of male, sort of female,” but its own independent category and experience.

          1. Sinil*

            Well, I know a biologist who says all mammals essentially start out female. He, as a man, likes to say that being born male is a birth defect.

            So the default being female doesn’t meant that it’s a subset of male. It could mean that male is the aberration.

            Also, one can look at birth rates in the natural order. More female mammals than male. So, irrespective of how we start out, female should be the default.

            Honestly, female and Asian should be viewed as the default human just based on numbers alone.

      3. londonedit*

        Yes! It’s the same with running events – all too often, the ‘unisex’ t-shirts are actually men’s. So as a woman with hips that are larger than my waist, I have to choose between a t-shirt that fits me on the hips, but is huge everywhere else, or one that fits my body but clings irritatingly to my hips. Is it so hard to produce two styles of t-shirt, and give everyone a choice between them?

        1. Delta Delta*

          Or worse, the women’s shirts are all so small that they’re not wearable again. I didn’t just run 13 miles to be handed a clingy v-neck that I can’t wear to the gym without fussing with it every time I do anything.

          Sorry – I know that’s not work related but apparently this has been bothering me.

          1. Just Elle*

            Seriously. Even when I try to order MYSELF some cute saying shirts off etsy or whatever. Mens options are perfectly reasonable 100% cotton T shirts. Women get those super clingy low cut polyester V neck not-shoulder-covering t-shirt-things, or worse, the scraps of cloth they try to pass off as tank tops these days.
            I know that women seem to have more variability to their shapes that makes a ‘basic T’ much more difficult than for the average man. But thats not an excuse for downgrading the quality THAT much.

          2. Liz*

            We had this one year for the annual breast cancer fundraiser. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details but i think they ordered shirts for us to wear, optional though. however, the women’s sizing was actually juniors so even though i ordered my normal size, it was way too small and tight to be appropriate for work.

          3. AnotherAlison*

            How about we offer options and let people order what they want, regardless of gender? I’m a 5′-4″ 120# small-topped woman. I fit the “women’s cut” shirts fine, but I don’t like them–I don’t like the curvy cut. Why do event organizers assume what people should wear? I did a big bike ride over the weekend, and they let you order the shirt in advance. I got a men’s small long-sleeved instead of the women’s. I appreciated having the option.

            1. londonedit*

              Which is why I said ‘Is it so hard to produce two styles of t-shirt, and give everyone a choice between them?’

            2. Jules the 3rd*

              So, as a supply chain professional:

              Yes, it is actually hard, even in our fast fashion world, to customize shirts for everyone. There’s a triangle of resources – cost, time, quality. Customization is a quality factor, increasing it increases the other two. Usually most of the increase is in cost.

              This is true for pretty much any physical product: the more you standardize the lower the cost. You can mitigate it with accurate forecasting (like your advanced order – major kudos to that org – but they spent time and money on that) or limiting customization (which is where the ‘only men’s’ is coming from).

              I would also argue that in many cases, such customization is the cost of business, and if you can’t afford it then get out of the business. If you *have* to have uniforms (eg, protective gear, which employer is in the US legally required to provide), then they need to be uniforms that all of your employees can wear. If you can cheap out on it, there’s the Target route (specify a color scheme and let employees pick the fit) or an overlay, like the Home Depot aprons, but if you pass the cost to employees, employee pay should factor in these expenses (eg, I’d expect Target to pay a little more than a no-uniform corner store).

              last note: state laws on who has to pay for uniforms that are mostly uniform but not branded by the company (eg, nurse’s scrubs or mechanic’s overalls) vary.

              1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

                Yes, I used to buy staff shirts and this is exactly the issue. I can get a stack of unisex/men’s shirts with the designated lettering at a low price with a bulk discount, but if I divide the order into men’s and women’s, then I lose my bulk discount because I’m ordering two different items. Plus, women’s t-shirt blanks cost more than men’s, and on top of that, often have an unpredictable fit and shrink in the wash more than the men’s. We typically had the same problem with men who wear 2XL or larger, since there’s an upcharge for the extra fabric: those would be a special order requiring special permission as well.

                It’s much easier from a budget perspective to just give everyone a shirt that fits like pajamas (except the men who wear 2XL or larger, theirs would be too tight) and call it a day, everyone looks like a slob, that’s the uniform, which was the standard at the place where I worked. Granted, it was not a particularly professional place so looking sloppy was OK.

                1. Silver Radicand*

                  When I managed outdoor uniform purchasing for 60 folks, simply keeping enough for new hires to be able to given 5 shirts and coat was hard. When we (rightly) started offering women’s shirts, it got much harder to track and order twice as many size/types. We ended up having to make women’s sizes upon request. Thankfully we didn’t pay a significant per order shipping charge or it would have been even harder.

                2. 1234*

                  Were you able to get the vendor to ship you sample shirts? I’ve had vendors VOLUNTEER to do that for me just to be able to feel the material, see if the color matches what we are looking for and of course, sizing. For example, “women’s small” varies so much depending on brand, material, what type of shirt…

              2. Sinil*

                Having shirts that are too big and bulky is a very, very different thing than having pants that don’t fit your shape no matter the size.

                A lot of women wear polo shirts at work or in a club, etc. and grin and bear it b/c it’s cheap. But pants don’t work the same way.

                This is honestly apples and oranges.

                1. Silver Radicand*

                  Agreed. This was a big reason we stopped providing pants and went to a “provide your own pants matching these specifications” dress code.

          4. Third or Nothing!*

            YES!!!!! I prefer the women’s cut but I have to order a XXL when I’m normally a L in men’s. Why are the women’s sizes so much smaller? Especially in the tech material? Can someone PLEASE make some decent running gear for us bigger runners that doesn’t cost a fortune?

            Clearly this has been bothering me as well.

            1. Jaydee*

              I’m right there with you! I have many race t-shirts that I don’t wear because my choices were an XL men’s cut shirt that fits the size of my body but not the shape or a XXL women’s cut shirt that fits the shape of my body but only fits the size if I stand absolutely still and don’t try to move or breathe.

                1. Shadowbelle*

                  I have never seen “Madmen”, but I’ve streamed other shows set in the Fifties. Oh, the clothes. So flattering! Though oh, the underwear. So torturous! I am looking forward to when I retire and never have to wear a bra again except maybe to funerals and the opera, and that’s modern bras.

                2. Veronica*

                  I had a dress similar to Peggy’s in the scene where she faints when the guy injures his foot.
                  It was very comfortable, and I got compliments too!
                  Back then most places weren’t air conditioned, so they didn’t have to bundle up in summer.

              1. Eadaz*

                Darts take effort and skill and time. They’re not common in stretchy/knit fabrics. So you’ll have to look away from fast fashion, at shirts with no give (so they either fit or don’t), and look at paying more for them.

                1. Veronica*

                  Fast fashion is so poorly made it isn’t worth a dollar. Look for companies/brands that are still making quality clothing and if money is tight, wait for sales.

        2. Whoop*

          Argh, yes! I’ll order a ‘small’ shirt when I enter half-marathons, only to be given a men’s small that absolutely drowns me. My friend orders a medium or large, because in men’s sizes those are the only ones that will fit over her chest, and they’re enormous everywhere else.

          It shouldn’t be a minor miracle to have the option of ordering a women’s shirt when entering a race. It’s not as though the majority of runners are men (not that that would make it acceptable) – there’s no excuse at all.

        3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

          There’s a tech conference I go to regularly, and like most tech conferences, you get a free T-shirt. When I started, they were all “unisex”.

          Then they decided to offer women’s cut shirts. Great, right? Nope, they just looked at the gender box on your registration, and gave you a shirt based on your selected gender. Which meant I ended up with a very tight T-shirt that year, since I’d picked a size that would fit based on the “unisex” sizing of previous years.

          I made a very specific complaint in two parts to the organizers:
          First, when you offer multiple cuts in your shirts, tell people this and let them pick their cut, same as you do with size
          Second, link to a size chart for the women’s cut shirt you’re offering, since no two manufacturers cut them the same and without the size chart I have no clue which one will fit me properly (anywhere from M to XXL)

          They offered the choice of cut and a link to the size chart the next year.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            Yeeeeeesssss – doing customization right! Accurate forecasting! Providing information to the forecasters (ie, race participants) so that they can forecast accurately! Again, kudos!

          2. Alpaca Bag*

            Off topic: If I’m correct in thinking that your user name is referring to Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, I love it! (Otherwise, I still like it a lot.)

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yes the sizing is a whole separate issue. I prefer the “women’s cut” shirts that come in a bit at the waist but for some reason they tend to be sized way different than other clothes. Sizing varies all over of course but in most women’s clothes I am a Medium or Large. When I order a “Women’s” tshirt online I always start with XL and I have a couple of times had to send that back for an XXL. I don’t understand why they are always so much smaller than everything else???

            1. SarahTheEntwife*

              Yes! And it varies SO MUCH. I once picked a large because I’m a medium if I want it figure-hugging and a large if I want it roomy. I physically could not get the large over my shoulders. There is no universe in which my shoulders are extra large.

          4. Filosofickle*

            Last year I was at a tech conference that had a custom silkscreening operation up. Each person could choose from two different cuts , 3 colors, 4 designs. Voila, you get a custom shirt. Honestly, that’s the best fitting women’s T I’ve ever had. If I could figure out how to order more of those, I would! It was such a nice idea.

          5. Jadelyn*

            Bless size charts. I almost won’t order clothes online anymore unless I can see specific measurements in a size chart, bc I have huge boobs and in some brands that means a 5x, while in some I only need a 2x.

            1. Filosofickle*

              There’s one UK clothing brand offers actual garment measurements (not generalized body measurements) for every size, every item. It’s amazing. I wish every retailer had that!

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                So many times have I envied the way men”s pants are ordered with a specific inseam!

              2. Helena*

                Bravissimo (another UK company) sells tops for various chest/waist ratios. You size it to your waist measurement, and pick the curvy, really curvy or super curvy options to get a shirt that also fits round your boobs properly. It’s a complete revelation, I can tell you.

      4. Kimmybear*

        Playing devil’s advocate here because I agree this is wrong… could the people ordering assume that men’s pants are more flexible because they come in different length and waist measurements? Still ridiculous.

    3. Sleve McDichael*

      I agree with the tailoring option, especially if they insist on only buying from the limited catalogue. It also opens the door for any other women who perhaps might fit the pants but not the shirt to get their shirts tailored, for the reasons mentioned by Engineer Girl above. Furthermore, not all men are the same shape and if there are any tall-but-skinny or extra short etc etc men on the team they too would probably appreciate tailoring.

      It is more expensive however, so they might compromise by just buying you the women’s pants. (Still a sort of win though.)

      1. Quill*

        I’m 5’4 and wear, if we’re going by mens’ sizes, a 36/32. My brother is six feet tall and can’t find a 30/36 anywhere, fortunately my mom taught us both to sew… not that he’s under the same pressure to have things fit well rather than “acceptably.”

        This thread is reminding me to buy elastic the next time I’m out and about someplace besides Hobby Lobby that sells it, I’ve had to put elastic in about half of my pants to prevent the dreaded butt gap.

    4. Arya Parya*

      Yes, push back on the shirts too. I am an AFAB large busted woman with an hourglass figure and men’s shirts (and sweaters, coats,…) just look really weird on me. Everyone at my volunteer job was given a nice windbreaker as an end of year gift last year, but they only got the men’s version. It being a gift and a nice gesture, I never commented on it. But I never wear the coat, because it doesn’t really fit me properly.

      1. Washi*

        Yes, men’s shirts tend be as long as a dress and have billowy arms that look super silly on me! I’ve dressed in men’s clothing for plays and stuff, and even when it’s the “right size” I definitely look like I went and borrowed my dad’s clothing.

    5. doreen*

      I want the OP to be able to order women’s pants – but I just want to point out that uniform clothing generally does not come in multiple fits. There’s typically one cut of pants for women and another for men and that’s it. Which in my experience means an awful lot of men and women wear somewhat ill-fitting uniform pants. ( and shirts, too)

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yep. Those women’s pants that will solve some of y’all’s problems would just create a different problem for me.

    6. CupcakeCounter*

      100% agree on the shirts.
      I worked for a bank for a short time and the required uniform was a branded button down shirt and khakis. We were given 2 shirts at training – it was actually quite nice because they had this HUGE closet of the shirts so you could try them on and find the right fit. Well I’m a former competitive swimmer specializing in the butterfly and have shoulders equivalent to a female linebacker PLUS full DD’s. I had to go up to a XXL to button appropriately and my normal size was a Medium. The trainer told me to get my normal size and wear a modestly cut tank top underneath and just leave the top several buttons undone. So I did.
      Got written up on my second day of work for a dress code violation since I did not have my shirt buttoned appropriately (no cleavage showing at all). I explained what the trainer told me to do and boss said that was unacceptable and I would have to order new shirts in the “right” size and pay out of pocket. I contacted corporate and my trainer and explained the situation. They were incredibly understanding and said they would send me 2 new shirts in the XXL size free of charge and when I received them just return the medium shirts. I showed up to work the next day still in my original size and get reamed out for not following instructions. I showed boss the email from corporate and said as soon as I received the shirts I would wear them. Not good enough and I got written up again. Not sure what she expected since the corporate office was 4+ hours from our branch, she didn’t write me up until the end of my shift 30 minutes before corporate closed, and I was scheduled to work with the opener the following day. I again notified corporate because 2 write ups in 3 days was going to be an issue both short and long term and SURPRISE! The regional manager showed up that day for an inspection and brought my new shirts as well as the notes from the training session that specifically noted the dress code guidelines they gave me and he nullified the 2 dress code violations. I went and changed into the new shirt to avoid any other issues with boss and when I returned I was told by boss I looked sloppy and that didn’t jive with the brand and to “fix it”. Regional manager overheard, came out from the back, and told me to change back into the original shirt as it looked much neater. As I walked away trying to decide if this crap was worth the $12/hr I overheard regional manager telling boss that unless I was showing all the customers my nipples or thong he never wanted to hear about another dress code write up from them.
      I still didn’t last long there – for reasons I cannot fathom boss took a real dislike to me…

      1. pleaset*

        “SURPRISE! The regional manager showed up that day for an inspection and brought my new shirts as well as the notes from the training session that specifically noted the dress code guidelines they gave me and he nullified the 2 dress code violations.”

        This is both a sad story and a great story. Glad the higher ups were so understanding; sad the local boss was such as asclown.

        1. Quill*

          Regional manager is a boss.

          Local boss is a word I’m not sure I can type out here, but it starts in d and ends in canoe.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            No, regional manager (RM) only got it half right by failing to protect Cupcake Counter (CC) from the *entirely foreseeable* resentment of local boss. They needed to also have some serious conversations along the lines of:
            w/local boss: this had better not affect CCs ongoing experience here. If you have a problem with what I’m saying, then bring it to me or my boss, don’t take it out on CC. If I hear of problems, it’s [fireable / demotable / prevent promotionable / insert consequence here].
            w/CC: I’m going to check in with you in two weeks and then at three months to make sure that this has not caused a problem between you and local boss. If you feel there’s a problem, write it down (w/ date, time, witnesses) and we’ll talk about it.

            In a retail store, I might give RM a little more slack, it’s really hard to get managers at all and there’s so much turnover that it’s hard to put time into correcting one jerk. But in a professional environment they have the time to actually manage and train, and RM didn’t.

            1. CupcakeCounter*

              That did sort of happen until Regional Manager got a promotion and was assigned a different division. Once local boss realized the new RM wasn’t given the full details of the situation just a “Cupcake has permission from corporate to wear her shirts like X” they started nitpicking other things that were obviously retaliatory. I got fed up and left voluntarily (in addition to the local boss thing there was some bait and switch issues at play – hired to be a teller/personal banker but they wanted me to do cold calling and walk about sales since this branch was in a well known super center) which put local boss in a bit of a pickle since I made sure to time my notice period out to screw up her vacation (the other teller was at mandatory corporate training that week and there had to be 2 people working at all times and only 4 people worked in that branch).
              She got fired not too long after for violating many, many policies and even a couple of laws! This was when the Do Not Call list was a major thing and instead of paying the $100 or so fee for the approved listing of phone numbers specific to our area (which was company policy and HQ would reimburse the branch for the cost), she handed us a phone book and told us to start dialing. Since I was a whole month out of training I reminded her that was against company policy…and got written up for dereliction of duties or something like that. I started a lot of documentation after that as did the other 2 employees of that branch.

    7. Minocho*

      I worked in a food making factory during college, and we had to wear generic shared clothes washed in the factory laundry on the floor to ensure no dangerous clothes washing chemicals got near the food. we only had men’s pants available, and since no outside clothing could be worn, no belts were allowed.

      it was awful. Thank goodness it was only for that summer.

      1. JustaTech*

        At my work, if you go into the plant you have to wear these nasty polyester scrubs. But they’re not like regular scrubs, they’re long-sleeved and the arms and legs have elastic cuffs. So basically they’re pajamas. No one has ever looked good in them, but they do at least come in a lot of sizes, and the cuffs stop the pants from dragging on the ground or the sleeves from covering your hands.

        And then you put on a big white biohazard suit and well, now you’re both totally unfashionable and relatively uncomfortable.

        But even if no one will see you in your uniform it needs to at least stay put!

    8. Dust Bunny*

      I wonder if this is a job where poor fit could translate into a safety issue? Because that might give the LW extra leverage.

    9. Seifer*

      It’s friggin’ ridiculous. I went to order coveralls since I’m about to be embarking on some construction and was so excited to see that Dickie’s makes women’s coveralls now! I could do all my work and then still have them afterwards to do stuff like car work and bathroom tiling and my kitchen remodel… And then I read some of the reviews saying that the material was significantly thinner than the men’s ones and there was no way that you could do any actual hard labor in them. As soon as you rub them against any rough surface, they’ll rip. AND! They cost $20 more per pair than the men’s ones!

      I just think it’s ridiculous that yeah, it’s 2019 and there still isn’t a good solution. Get men’s clothes and they don’t fit right and I hate that. Get women’s clothes and they’re fragile but more expensive and I hate that too. Wear my actual clothes and it’s like well I’d like to be able to take off my mortar covered clothes and throw them somewhere and not have to sit around them while I drive home.

    10. Let's Bagel*

      Yes, and I mean, all the talk about the different problems with the logistics of why tailoring it this way and that would be problematic is really missing the point — this is just so absurd. Let WOMEN (who want to) order WOMEN’S clothing! Period! It shouldn’t even need to boil down to some crazy algorithm of which is more logistically easier. Plus, how would that conversation even go?

      Bob: “So I’ve been reviewing the specs for the new uniforms, and the men are set–we’ll just get them pants. But I can’t figure out what to do with these ‘women.'”
      Jim: “Oh? We employ women?”
      Bob: “Yeah, they’re always carrying on about how they want equal treatment or some other nonsense, blah blah blah.”
      Jim: “Oh yeah, I think I heard something about that somewhere. Anyway, what’s the uniform problem?”
      Bob: “Well, I’ve run the figures three times, and I just can’t figure out what’s more of a pain in the ass [pun intended]–should we order the men’s pants and then have each woman try to take in the waist, let out the hips, do a crotch adjustment, and hem the bottoms? Or should we … just order women’s pants?”
      Jim: “Hmmm….I really can’t decide which way would be more economical or efficient. Maybe we should bring Dick into this.”

      Geez. What a way to keep pushing the message that women really aren’t people. Thanks, guys!

  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#2, I’d be tempted to quote what you wrote here:

    I went to work for a start-up company that said they were aiming to be a girl-power, female-focused website. . . . Then the CEO decided they could make more money if they became a porn site.

    But Alison’s script is probably better, unless someone figures out the subject shift to the point where you feel like you have to be frank in disabusing them of the idea that you worked for an unethical porn site.

    1. Just Elle*

      Haha yeah, I’m kind of with you. I mean, the two things are so diametrically opposed that I almost feel you’re going to have a really hard time getting your foot in the door to even discuss in an interview unless you address it up front.
      If you can definitely get from ‘original female power name’ to ‘porno site’ with a quick google search, then I’d consider attaching an addendum to your resume explaining this.

    2. Venus*

      I think you could start it off that way, and then be more vague at the end. Alison has numerous suggestions about how to address reasons for leaving one’s job, and I feel like “They initially described themselves as wanting to empower women, which is important to me, however they have since completely changed direction”

      1. Venus*

        … might be a good balance between honesty and subtlety. I would want to at least provide a hint which addresses what happened, in case they googled the name. I also like to determine how a company feels about empowered women, as I want to increase my chances of working in a healthy place, so the interviewer’s reaction to the comment would be useful to me.

        Although that vagueness might also cause them to ask more questions, so I’m not sure if it would be the best idea.

  6. earl grey aficionado*

    #5: I’ve uprooted several times and had to build new social and professional networks, and I’ve been guilty of being pushy via online messages a lot. It ultimately harmed my networks quite a bit (people have told me later, once they actually knew me, that they’d been creeped out by my initial intensity). Alison is right that you shouldn’t follow up.

    When sending unsolicited messages to strangers, I’ve found it’s best if I move on immediately, just like moving on from a job application. I pretend I never sent it and try very hard not to obsess over whether or not I get a reply, and I don’t send an unsolicited second message.

    The fact that this person connected with you makes the message harder to move on from (I would find this situation absolutely maddening and I feel for you!) but I think you’ve still got to move on and forget it if you can. My outsider networking improved so much once I started mentally moving on as fast as I could instead of projecting some future connection that might or might not come to pass for all sorts of reasons (most of them not personal).

    1. German Girl*

      “most of them not personal” – that’s the key for me.

      If people don’t follow up with me, it’s so much easier to let it go if I assume it’s because they’re too busy and/or don’t have anything helpful to say at the moment.

      It’s kind of an extension to Hanlon’s Razor (never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity): Never assume a personal slight if it can be adequately explained by not enough time.

      I’m so much more relaxed about my interactions with other human beings since I started seriously applying this razor.

      1. earl grey aficionado*

        That’s a brilliant way to put it. Now that I’ve been an “insider” myself for long enough that “outsiders” are trying to connect with me, it’s much easier for me to understand that other people are likely just busy and don’t secretly hate me (which was always my worst networking fear). I barely have time to connect with very dear old friends and professional contacts, much less with potential new ones, and it’s not a judgment on them at all.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I’m very curious as to whether it’s possibly a coincidence that they added them as a connection? If OP has been doing a ton of networking in the field in the area it seems possible that they would have just showed up in the list of recommended connections. Don’t know if that’s too unlikely but it’s almost easier to believe that for me than the idea that he would open a message he didn’t want to reply to and then add the sender as a connection.

      1. earl grey aficionado*

        I think whether or not one explanation or another is likely is almost beside the point. It’s good practice to envision a few non-personal reasons this might have happened just to stop the social anxiety from taking over and then move on, IMO. (But this is definitely possible!)

      2. Julie*

        That person sounds just like me. I’ll be honest, I would be driving OP crazy as well with the way I use LinkedIn because I probably would’ve done the exact same thing. I accept every connection request I get because I like knowing my professional network is expanding in case I ever want to change positions. However, I’m happy in my current job and I tend to ignore any messages that come to me on LinkedIn (especially from strangers). I feel that if I respond, there’s a good chance it’s someone trying to recruit me somewhere else and they will get more persistent in messaging me which I just don’t have time or interest to answer.

  7. Carrie Oakie*

    #2 – As an employee within the adult business for the past 15 years (whoa…) there are some companies that will have an issue with the adult content. Using Alison’s text is perfect and should smooth it over. It’s been my experience that in non-adult businesses, a lot of people will ask me what I did (never on camera work) and I explain it as I would any other job. You’ll find some people may have a more active curiosity about the industry, but as long as you’re open and draw them back to your qualifications it should be fine. (Personally it has been my experience that people are comfortable about their curiosity as long as I’m open and friendly – I’m happy to share knowledge I have that can dispel the myths/encourage them to see it as just another job. Because, at the end of the day, that’s all it is. I still come home mentally exhausted and have meetings and schedules and targets, etc.)

    I’ve been fortunate to work with companies that have either 1) a well known in mainstream name or 2) an alternate business name that I could use. If your company has a different name prior, you can list that. I’d also do a search online to see what comes up for that company, and see if there’s a year they started online. You can always cite that your time there ended as their time in adult started.

    1. PG Rated*

      Hi Carrie! Thanks so much for this feedback. I really appreciate the reassurance.

      Unfortunately, they are using the same name as a porn site as they did for their previous incarnation, so that is not an out for me. The only workaround I can see is to use the “holdings” business that owns the porn site as the business I was working for. (The “holdings” business is not a unique business name; when I search them there’s at least five businesses with that name that rank higher.) I don’t know if that will get me in trouble or not. About half the people who worked there used the email address for the holding company but I was not one of them.

      1. triplehiccup*

        I wonder if you’d be better off taking the opposite tack and being very upfront and matter of fact. Use the real name and put a quick, neutral line in the resume like “Left when they pivoted to adult content from girl-power, female-focused content.” If your work was a visible part of the site (writing, design, front end development) and you have your own portfolio site with samples from this job, you could add something like “See relevant samples here” with a hyperlink, to actively give them an alternative to visiting the website.
        My thinking is that it tends to be obvious when someone is trying to hide something, and you don’t want someone imagining something worse than the reality. Nobody reasonable could expect you to control or predict the direction of the whole company, and even if you had stayed on after the pivot, I think most people understand that a job is a job. If it comes up in an interview, I would stick with the cool, matter of fact tone – no need to get defensive or outraged.
        And I would consider the CEO to be a last-resort reference. If there is someone more reliable there, or you have enough references from other work, leave her out of it.

        1. Washi*

          I agree, I think it might be easier in the long run to just be upfront about what happened. Otherwise I would worry that people would think you had worked for a porn site all along and are just trying to hide it now. (Not that I think there’s anything inherently wrong about working in an adult industry, but I think the unexpected discovery of hiding + content of website would give a lot of people pause.)

          Hopefully you have samples of your work before the porn transition, or maybe the Wayback Machine has archived versions of the site?

        2. just trying to help*

          Being upfront about it in interviews could work well, if you practice some interviews with people you trust. Get your answers straight, honest, and focused on the work you did. This way, you would not come off as defensive, outraged or hemming and hawing for an answer.

      2. Junior Assistant Peon*

        Perfect! If the holding company has some bland, generic corporate name like “Consulting Associates LLC,” use that! You can explain the situation in an in-person interview, while avoiding anything controversial on your written resume.

        I’d be wary of hiring adult industry veterans not because of any moral qualms about porn, but because the industry is notorious for dishonesty – scammy billing practices, etc. I have a friend who worked in the industry in an off-camera role, and he has an extremely low opinion of almost everyone else he encountered in it.

        1. Phony Genius*

          Based on the dishonesty that you cite, I wonder if the CEO didn’t have this planned out all along, and not as a sudden decision as they may have led the employees to believe.

          1. Junior Assistant Peon*

            This might have actually been legit. New entrants often fail in this industry. It’s plausible to me that the founders might have honestly intended to start a feminist porn site, failed to make a profit, then turned into a regular porn site in order to survive. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they misrepresented the feminist angle in order to recruit higher-quality employees.

            1. Phony Genius*

              Except that the writer says that it was to be a feminist non-adult site. This is kind of a big leap for the company to make.

                1. PG Rated*

                  Questioner #2 here! When the site started it was said explicitly “we will handle sexy topics but we are NOT PORN.” Think Cosmo-esque. But then adult stars started getting banned from social media sites and it was viewed as an opportunity.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I wouldn’t let this kind of thing get into your head too far.

          Yes, it’s full of bad practices. But unless the person coming from that industry is a high ranking individual, where you’d know it was up to them to be scammy/con artists, then really, most people who work there are just people who need a paycheck.

          Think about the cold-calling telemarketers out there. The pushiest pushy sales forces that telecom companies will hire on. The debt collection agencies out there.

          They are staffed with people who are just scrapping by usually. So when they are trying to leave it’s usually to escape that awful racket that they’ve found themselves in. It’s not because they themselves are scummy, they are just hungry.

          So I’d still speak with them if their background and skillset were a match, I don’t care about the reputation of the company they worked for because they themselves are not usually the people in charge of their former employers company practices. Yeah, they engaged in bad behavior but most don’t know the rules and regs they’re actually breaking.

          If this is the case, never hire anyone who worked at Wells Fargo because yiiiiiiiiiiiikes that history there! So please, don’t let that kind of bias creep in when hiring.

      3. Carrie Oakie*

        Hi PG!

        Ugh, in this case, I’d go with listing it as is, just like a regular job. You can add a disclaimer or “reason for leaving” note like “company restructured in June 2019 to a different concept that was not in line with their original philosophy. I chose to voluntarily leave at that time.” As long as you’re truthful you should be fine – this industry isn’t built on liars – it’s not the heyday of 1972-87! If possible, for a reference there, you can always talk to someone you’re most comfortable with and explain that you’d like to use them as a contact, but would appreciate if they didn’t focus on the adult content aspect of the business. Most people will understand and be respectful of that. You can also do what I did – at one job, the person who replaced me, I asked if she’d be my reference because my boss was a major douche. She had no problem being that person for me.

        I worked with Hustler for 4 years and most jobs I interviewed at did not care. Some asked me about the industry with general curiosity, others tried to ask me gotchya style questions. The industry has a bad reputation because of a few small bad apples, but as a whole, it’s very regulated on the performer side and it’s just another business on the non-production side. We’re often underpaid because this industry isn’t the booming business that it used to be unless you’re web-based. That’s been more harmful, IMO, to finding other jobs than the business itself – I have a harder time researching market value for my salary & position.

        1. Junior Assistant Peon*

          I should clarify that my friend who got a negative impression was a video editor, and didn’t interact with the performer side of things. The shady people he worked for were running websites, and would prey on customers too embarrassed to dispute a porn charge with their credit card company. According to him, the performance/filming and the websites were usually separate businesses, so my negative comments apply to the latter.

  8. HS Teacher*

    I agree with putting Jeopardy on your resume. I was on last season too, and it’s one of those things people find interesting and want to discuss. It’s on my resume.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Congrats! Good for you! ;)

      Seriously, that’s quite a feat and worth mentioning on a resume. My BF and I play along with Jeopardy every night, it’s a ritual we love. I am so impressed by the knowledge contestants have, and so quickly accessed. He sometimes says I should be on it, but he’s absolutely wrong — I know maybe 1/3 of the answers, and that’s with a pause button lol.

    2. tamarack and fireweed*

      Good for you, I’m sure.

      But this answer from Alison really threw me and weirded me out. Game show participation on the resume? And which ones? “I ate bugs on ‘I’m a celebrity – get me out of here'”? I guess Jeopardy is one of the more long-running ones, like The Weakest Link or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? There are many people with serious amateur achievements — chamber music, chess, competitive dictation etc. — who wouldn’t put it on their resume. I can see it for a job in which self-promotion is somewhat relevant, but that’s not what I have ever hired for.

      To be honest, I wouldn’t count it exactly against someone, but it would raise a slight yellow flag and I’d probe if this person expects to be treated like a TV celebrity.

      (I rather see people put something that speaks of their social or environmental engagement, like being on the board of a birding association or a literacy charity, which I think is quite relevant.)

      1. April*

        tamarack – in case you’re not trolling, it’s very hard to get on Jeopardy and shows a certain level of in anything, ability to memorize and think fast. It would raise no yellow flag and 95% of people would not think it meant the person wanted to be treated like a tv celebrity (the heck?).

        1. FairPayFullBenefits*

          +1 Jeopardy is so very different from most other game shows (and not just because it’s been on a long time), it’s really not comparable. I don’t think Alison would suggest including “game show participation” in general.

          1. AMT*

            I guess the rule of thumb should be something like, “Does my participation on this TV show demonstrate my quick thinking and wealth of knowledge, or does it demonstrate my ability to bean someone in the back of the head with an empty margarita glass from 10 yards?”

        2. TechWorker*

          I doubt they’re trolling – they say for them it would raise a yellow flag, which isn’t really something you can disagree with (even if you think that reaction is highly unusual it’s clearly out there!)

        3. Teyra*

          To be fair, until I read your comment I had the same thoughts. I don’t watch much TV so I wasn’t really sure what Jeopardy was (I’d heard of it before) or how it differs from other game shows.

        4. Ruth (UK)*

          I admit I was also baffled why a tv show appearance would go on a resume until reading further comments – but I have never seen jeopardy myself and have only vaguely heard of it (though I’ve just googled it and it’s an American show so maybe that’s why).

          I wonder if tamarack is also from the uk based on the other game/tv shows they’ve listed – and therefore that might explain why we both had the same thought on this.

          1. londonedit*

            Yes, I had no idea what Jeopardy was beyond ‘TV game show’ so without further context I’d think it was a slightly odd thing to put on your CV.

            1. Lando*

              I think it’s safe to assume that OP is American and is applying for jobs in the US, so it doesn’t really matter that someone who isn’t American thinks it’s slightly odd.

              1. londonedit*

                I think we were just trying to clarify the reason behind some of the ‘No, it’s weird’ comments here.

                For what it’s worth, I’m a little baffled as to why Jeopardy in particular is OK to put on your resume, because every time the question of hobbies has come up in the past, it’s seemed that readers in the US think hobbies/interests have no place on a resume, whereas readers in the UK/Europe think they’re perfectly fine to include if they’re relevant to skills that might be useful to the job. But it seems Jeopardy goes beyond ‘a hobby of appearing on TV game shows’, in the same way as ‘Member of the 2003 winning University Challenge team’ might in the UK.

                1. Washi*

                  Yeah, I think because it has an intellectual reputation and is competitive to get on, it’s not the same as putting like, Wheel of Fortune or Ninja Warrior on your resume.

                2. Monican*

                  American’s do not have one unanimous opinion about resumes. I think the people who are saying that its ok to include Jeopardy on a resume are people who think its ok to include a hobbies/interests section in general.

                3. Anononon*

                  The hobbies/interests question really isn’t so cut and dry. It’s not uncommon to see that section, depending on the field. For example, in law school, it’s generally recommended to include it on your resume.

                4. MCMonkeyBean*

                  I may be off base but from previous letters and answers I think the general gist is that a hobbies or achievements section can make sense if you have something really good to put in it, as opposed to if I had a section that just said I like books, TV and cross-stitch which probably wouldn’t really be worth the space that it takes up.

                5. Washi*

                  @MCMonkeyBean, I agree! I don’t think this advice is quite as contradictory as people think. The general advice is that your resume should focus on accomplishments, and that occasionally, being accomplished enough in a hobby can be resume-worthy. Many people consider being on Jeopardy or being an Eagle Scout to be a huge accomplishment and great talking point (and there are definitely cultural/gender bias issues with that, but it’s still true in a lot of cases.)

                  So having a critically acclaimed novel would probably also be resume-worthy in a way that writing a little in your spare time wouldn’t be.

                6. Jules the 3rd*

                  Just want to say – there are multiple industries in which ‘American Ninja’ contestant would also be relevant! Personal trainer or firefighter, for example.

                  Some shows are just luck or general knowledge (Wheel of Fortune or Price is Right). Some are actually hard and demonstrate serious skillz (Jeopardy / American Ninja) .

                  I would put them on my master resume and include them sometimes, based on the target job. I’d probably include Jeopardy on a tech manufacturing supply chain or consulting application, but not on a govt supply chain one, and it would be one of the first things I pulled if I had space limits. It’s cool, but there’s a lot of people who don’t understand how hard it is to get on. (I’ve tried 3x, never made it, I get stuff right but I’m just too slow)

                7. smoke tree*

                  I think it makes sense to include extracurriculars or somewhat unrelated professional accomplishments if they’re unusual or noteworthy enough that they add some interesting context about you. To continue the TV theme, if a candidate had competed on the Great British Bake-Off, I, for one, would want to know about it. It is enough of an achievement to be worth mentioning, and it’s interesting.

                8. Richard Hershberger*

                  FWIW, I am American, and a serious amateur historian of early baseball. The emphasis is on “amateur.” I write scholarly articles on the subject, and have a book out, but this isn’t how I pay the mortgage. I do have it on my resume: not prominently, and I couch it in terms of establishing that I can write. It is also a conversation starter, for some interviewers, hopefully making me interesting beyond my directly work-related skills.

              2. EventPlannerGal*

                The OP might be American but this blog does have an international readership, so I think it’s more just clarifying why this specific US gameshow is resume-worthy. Obviously the OP will already know but a lot of readers here won’t, and without context it does seem kind of odd.

              3. Eadaz*

                I think it’s helpful for everyone else who reads this site and ever applies to jobs outside the US, or the hiring manager happens to not be American. I get “most readers are American so” but the dismissiveness of international viewpoints feels unnecessary here.

            2. Lucette Kensack*

              I’m very familiar with Jeopardy but still think it doesn’t belong on a resume. “Coming up with answers to trivia quickly” (or even “knowing much more than most people about a lot of different topics”) just isn’t a skill that’s relevant to most jobs.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s not that it’s supposed to be a job skill. It’s that it’s supposed to be an item of interest that builds rapport — the same reason people include things like mountain climbing or other hobbies/interests.

                (Obviously lots of people choose not to have such a section and that’s fine! I don’t particularly recommend them for most people. But there’s nothing wrong with having one, it’s really common, and no one is getting rejected for having one — and in some field (law) they’re actively encouraged, and in many cases do provide conversation fodder that builds rapport.)

                1. Lucette Kensack*

                  Interesting — especially to hear that they are common or even expected in some fields.

                  To me, interest or activities sections read as “green.”

              2. another opinion*

                I think that in a lot of industries, “knowing much more than most people about a lot of different topics” is actually very useful. I have solved some very niche problems in my current role by knowing things that are pretty tangential to my core responsibilities. Also if you have client-facing interactions, knowing a little about a lot is a great way to connect and build rapport.

                (Never tried to get on Jeopardy because I know I would choke even though I am the right kind of person for it otherwise.)

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  I am a paralegal. Knowing a bunch of stuff about a lot of different topics is extremely useful. I once, for example, advised my boss against agreeing to a particular arbitration firm because their website contained coded Evangelical language that I, a non-Evangelical Protestant, recognized, but which my boss, a conservative Jew, completely missed, and the case was one where we absolutely did not want such an arbitrator. I can’t say with certainty that I saved the case, but I persuaded my boss it would be a terrible idea.

        5. LizardOfOdds*

          I don’t think a lot of people know this, though. I certainly didn’t and would find it really oddly braggy and misplaced on a resume if it hit my desk. I definitely disagreed with the advice on this one. Resumes should be for showcasing job skills and abilities, not moments of fame.

      2. Cheryl*

        Agreed. Almost all of the common feedback to putting any non-job related items on a resume here has been “don’t”. I don’t know why Jeopardy would be any different just because it’s hard to get onto and it’s a well-respected game show – it’s still a one-time TV appearance and is likely to come off as a sign that the candidate is seeking the wrong kind of attention.

        1. Bob*

          If you were on Jeopardy, most people will think of it as a sign that you are very intelligent — and that would be seen as a plus.
          I wouldn’t put many other game shows (like Wheel of Fortune). There’s something special about Jeopardy and being seen as requiring high-level intelligence. I think that’s the difference.

          1. blackcat*

            Yeah, Jeopardy involves a lot of testing and such.
            A friend of mine was a tournament of champion-level Jeopardy contestant and he actually finds that he NEEDS to put it there since a not insignificant number people found it odd that he didn’t–he got recognized!

          2. SheLooksFamiliar*

            ‘If you were on Jeopardy, most people will think of it as a sign that you are very intelligent — and that would be seen as a plus.’

            Well, not necessarily. Being on Jeopardy means you passed tests most people can’t, and it does mean you have a level of intellectual curiosity many do not. It also means you are good at recalling memorized information in a pressured environment. Sounds like my daily grind, too. However, it does not necessarily mean you are good at application of logic, or turning information into actual knowledge, or relating to people who are not as ‘smart’ as you are – or even that you’re able to handle the day-to-day elements of most jobs out there. FWIW, I’d say the same things about a Mensa membership on a resume, as well. I’ve interviewed several Mensa members who were engaging and intelligent, but most of them challenged our job descriptions. They were so intelligent, you see, that they just HAD to know better about our role and industry than we did.

            Intelligence itself is valuable, but I would not use Jeopardy! as the yardstick by which I measured intelligence. Being on the show is interesting and an accomplishment, absolutely! But I think most employers would find it an interesting but not a valuable job-related experience.

            Finally, there’s this to consider: I personally know 3 people who appeared on Jeopardy! and 2 of them are insufferable about it. They manage to mention it all. the. time. and are visibily upset when people don’t ask lots of questions about their experience. One fellow still brings it up in his annual Christmas letter! I’m not saying the OP is doing this at all – but it could be that someone reading the OP’s resume knows contestants like that, too. Just a thought.

            1. Autumnheart*

              It doesn’t. Think of every meathead you ever met who can recite a bazillion statistics about baseball, or Batman comics, but can barely find their butt with both hands and a map when it comes to actually doing their job.

              I understand that people work hard to appear on Jeopardy!, but it wouldn’t impress me to see it on a resume, and I’d wonder why they included it instead of experience relevant to the position.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s not going in an experience section. It’s the same kind of thing as listing mountain biking or other interests. I wrote more about this above.

                1. Confused*

                  I’m confused though that if you discourage putting “hobbies” or “personal interest” sections why you would encourage putting Jeopardy on at all.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I don’t discourage it; it’s just not something I recommend, but I tell people it generally doesn’t matter much either way.

                  This particular thing happens to have a very strong track record of drawing interest from interviewers.

              2. Richard Hershberger*

                The difference is that Jeopardy requires a broad knowledge base. The guy who has baseball statistics memorized but doesn’t know anything about anything else would never get on the show.

                I wouldn’t equate it is intelligence, but I would equate it with a solid knowledge base from a wide range of interests. Is this an asset on the job? It depends on the job.

        1. Lynca*

          And honestly I love games shows so I would be sufficiently bemused. I’m honestly shocked at the amount of people in the comments that think sharing this kind of personal novelty is a negative thing.

          1. NonaM*

            But on the resume? Maybe it could be relevant in an interview question, and obviously it can make good small talk (or a great answer when playing two truths and a lie), but I thought resumes had to be all specifically related to the job, not including ‘personal novelties’.

            1. Lynca*

              I have people list their charity work/advocacy/professional organization membership all the time on resumes where I work. Which has no bearing on whether they can perform the job. I’ve seen people list their athletic accomplishments like marathon participation or climbing grades.

              They’re just hoping that it connects/stands out with the reviewer in some way that makes them seem appealing. Now I’m not saying it’s always 100% something you need do in your field. But in mine these are very common things to see.

              1. Third or Nothing!*

                Man I’d love to put my half marathon on my resume, but I’m in a fairly conservative industry so I think it would look too weird. It takes a lot of grit and perseverance to train for a big race like that and I’d love to incorporate it somehow. At least I can bring it up in conversation…you know, like all runners do LOL.

                1. Missy*

                  I don’t know what industry you are in, but having been involved with hiring committees for legal and financial jobs, you’d be surprised by how many people love seeing athletic pursuits on there. There was one time that the fact that the person was a former Olympic athlete got them the job over someone with much more experience because the person making the hiring decision was so impressed by how much dedication and work that must have taken.

                2. Third or Nothing!*

                  @missy The difference though is that being an Olympian is extraordinary while being a half marathoner is much more commonplace. Millions of people do it every year.

                3. pancakes*

                  @Missy The idea that dedication to one’s favorite sport will transfer to or is otherwise applicable to office work is pretty strange though, no? It seems like very poor reasoning to me.

      3. AnotherNerd*

        Yeah, I agree with this. I’ve been on Jeopardy, as have a substantial minority of my friends, and I don’t know that many people who would list it on their resumes.

          1. StrikingFalcon*

            I thought AnotherNerd made a fairly factual statement that was relevant to the discussion at hand. Maybe they could have phrased it differently, but Alison has asked that we not nitpick the language of others.

            1. SheLooksFamiliar*

              I don’t think AnotherNerd was humblebragging, but a lot of people would and do. I mentioned upthread that I know people who appeared on Jeopardy! and bring it up all the time. I promise it’s in a very bored yet humblebraggy way.

            2. Anononon*

              To be more specific, my issue with these statements is that getting on Jeopardy is an exciting, difficult accomplishment, and it can be eye roll-inducing to hear people who made it argue that it’s not that big a deal or act like it’s rather run of the mill.

        1. Mainely Professional*

          I’ve been on the show and I wouldn’t list it. For one thing, I didn’t win, I came in second. So I’m not a Jeopardy! champion.

          Also, let me say something based on my impression of the audition process: there were lots of male lawyers over 45 trying out. My feeling was that the audition was as much about appearance and personality and ability to “play” a Jeopardy! contestant as a theater audition is about being a right fit for the role. So being under 40, female, and able to speak loudly and clearly and seem confident, plus a semi-unusual job, not from a major east coast or west coast city…I think those all played into the type of person they wanted to put on the show. If you’re a 35 year old woman urban planner from Salt Lake City who is comfortable speaking in front of people, I think you have a better shot than 50 year old male lawyer from Boston who can’t speak above a whisper. Is that fair? No. But it’s also TV.

          1. Muriel Heslop*

            Second this. I went dressed and made up for TV when I auditioned and was a 25 year old female high school teacher. It was commented upon by a Jeopardy team member that is was nice to see a potential contestant come “camera ready”. Thanks, high school TV station!

            1. N*

              I’m not sure what this is supposed to be inferring. That airline pilots are expected to make it? That being an airline pilot is a semi-unusual job? I don’t really associate that with being an uncommon job, or one of especially high intellect (any more so than most specialized positions) – so it’s not clear to me.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            I applied for it about thirty years ago. I lived in southern California, so the process was to make the initial appointment by phone and then show up at the appointed time at their studio in Burbank, along with the fifty or so others. The first round was essentially a short answer test, answering questions Alex Trebek had taped. They were hard questions, and came fast. It was not at all an easy test. Then they collected the answer sheets, assessed them, then called some people in for a second round. I didn’t make that cut, but my understanding was that at the second round there was more concern over how the candidates presented themselves. In other words, yes and no: Presentation was part of the process, but only once you established your knowledge chops.

            This was long ago, and the process may have changed when they did the traveling auditions. I can’t speak to that.

      4. AS*

        Since you’re from the UK: “Jeopardy” is more on par with “University Challenge” or “Only Connect.” The only “yellow flag” that raises is cleverness or nerd-dom.

      5. Lucette Kensack*

        I agree — I was really surprised by this answer, given Alison’s typical advice to leave off unrelated hobbies, and to avoid “interests” sections in general.

        If I were putting Jeopardy on my resume, the only place I can imagine it would be in an “other accomplishments” section, but that section doesn’t seem valuable enough to include at all. (I have a “civic leadership” section, which includes board and committee service relevant to my work, but it wouldn’t fit there either.)

      6. fhqwhgads*

        It’s not about just any TV show or any game show. The situation is really specific to Jeopardy – which has a difficult test to pass to even be in the pool of possible participants. It shows at minimum that you’re a smartypants, basically. Quantifiably. It’s not about “which games shows” or “are they long running enough”. I think Jeopardy is basically the only one I might consider resume worthy because of what it is. I wouldn’t suggest the same for Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Weakest Link or basically any other quiz type programs.

        1. Lucette Kensack*

          I guess I just don’t agree that it shows that you’re a smartypants. It shows that you know a lot of trivia and can access that knowledge quickly. That’s not nothing, and I certainly don’t mean to disparage it! But it doesn’t tell me anything meaningful about any kind of intelligence that I care about at work.

          1. N*

            It speaks to an incredible level of commitment and dedication, which I think is relevant in the workplace. I think getting on Jeopardy is a slightly more (although still imperfect) measurable way to show those skill sets since the portion of people that qualify is incredibly small.

            1. Lucette Kensack*

              I just… don’t agree (that it speaks to an incredible level of commitment and dedication).

              I have several friends, colleagues, and family members who have been on Jeopardy!, and their level of commitment and dedication (to Jeopardy! and to other things) varies. Like, one person took the test on a whim, was invited to audition, thought it sounded fun, and was selected. Another spent decades honing his skills and trying to get on the show. They both had the same result, y’know?

    3. DCGirl*

      I have also appeared on Jeopardy! (two-time winner). I don’t list it on my resume, but I do list my Twitter account and it’s in my brief biography there, so it’s very find-able to hiring managers if they check my Twitter presence. It never fails to impress people in a way that other outside activities (I actually think that genealogy shows off a lot of research and critical-thinking skills) do not.

    4. Meredith*

      Hey there, I’m also a J! alum. I have had many people tell me, my husband, my mother, etc, that they are wowed I would “put myself out there” because “they would never think to do that.” It does show a certain self-confidence and determination. It can relate not just to intelligence or quick recall, but preparation and goal setting. It’s a dream of many who were ever on a high school quiz bowl team, or enjoy playing bar trivia.

    5. Quill*

      When we had eagle scouting I didn’t think it was a good idea, but Jeopardy I can see being a bonus because it’s sufficiently unique (dozens of people have been on Jeopardy, as opposed to thousands of scouts reaching eagle scout,) and because it’s sufficiently public and might demonstrate your camera savvy as well as your trivia skills.

    6. Call Me Dr. Dork*

      It’s on mine as well (1-time winner). My last job hunt was about a year and a half after I was on, and it really was a great icebreaker with both recruiters and interviewers. Since I’m quite introverted, I really liked having something simple and straightforward to chat about, and it made my unconventional path to software development somehow less mysterious for them to understand (because *thinking*! *puzzles*! *smart*!).

      I don’t know if it would be as compelling now that it’s been several years since my appearance.

    7. BigTenProfessor*

      Another J! alum here — I put it on, because I have an academic CV, but I’m not sure it would make the cut if I went to a one-page resume. The local paper interviewed me and asked if being a professor helped me get on the show, and I think they were expecting an answer like, “yes, I had a lot of knowledge,” but the real answer was, “yes, I am great at speaking in front of an audience with absolute confidence even when I’m unsure of myself.”

    8. Muriel Heslop*

      I was on Jeopardy 18 years ago and it definitely is the most talked about item on my resume by a wide margin. (And I’m pretty sure it was the clincher in my last two job interviews.)

      For comparison, I do not include my participation Price Is Right.

    9. Choux*

      Now I’m wondering if I should my appearance on a Food Network competition show on my resume. I don’t work in anything food-related though, I just bake as a hobby and used to have a blog, and it caught a producer’s eye.

      1. Hope*

        I think if you were applying to something in the restaurant industry, it wouldn’t be too crazy to include it, but otherwise i wouldn’t.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          It depends on the space you have for your resume, how normal ‘hobbies’ is, how well you did, and whether cooking or the blog had some skills that are transferable to your job. Chemist? YES. Social media mgr? YES. Project manager? Yeah, actually.

          In some industries, ‘hobbies’ is still used to give a feel for personality, and if you have room (ie, just switched to two pages at mid career), there’s not really a down side. But I’d put it as ‘Cooking, including _Choux’s Foods_ blog and appearance on “Great British Bake Off”.

          There’s a surprising number of skill based competitions in video now. So You Think You Can Dance, Great British Bake Off, Food Truck Race, & other cooking ones, Project Runway and other design ones, American Ninja, The Apprentice. I wouldn’t include Amazing Race or Survivor, but Blown Away (glass blowing, on Netflix) was *amazing* (Deborah, Janusz, Momoko especially, but none of them were bad).

    10. six*

      Another Jeopardy alum here. I came close but didn’t win in my only appearance; nonetheless it’s been on my resume since I went on the show and gets about a 50% discussion rate in interviews. I have no doubts that there may be a very minor downside for some interviewers, but the upside of the easy ice-breaker/conversation starter has been too apparent for me to ignore. People who like Jeopardy really like it!

      Remember that the job of the resume is to stand out from the crowd, and to leave the reader saying “hmm, I’d love to talk to this candidate and hear more about X and Y.” There are a lot of job-unrelated items (someone mentioned marathons, volunteer work, all good possibilities) that really help give you a little more character to a resume reader than just strictly job-related items would do.

    11. glitter writer*

      See, I’ve been on Jeopardy, too, and my immediate first response was, “Oh god, no, don’t put that on your resume!”

      It’s a good conversation-starter for sure, in icebreakers or interviews, but I felt like I was one very small piece in a 40-year machine — unless I was, like, Ken Jennings or James Holzhauer (spoiler: I am not), I wouldn’t feel like a big enough part of it to claim it for my own.

      1. ChallengeYourself*

        I’m with you. I’ve also been on Jeopardy and I rarely bring it up myself. It was recent enough that people can figure it out from my social media. In the job hunting context, my references know and might bring it up but I wouldn’t put it on my resume.

    12. Marion*

      I’m a three-time Jeopardy! winner, and I don’t put it on my academic CV, even though I’m in a field where I think it’s pretty relevant. (I’m a librarian, so a broad base of general knowledge is very helpful in having context for the random research questions patrons ask. “You know, that book about the guy who disappeared in Alaska?” “Oh, yes, you mean _Into the Wild_”, etc.) Honestly, it just feels too pretentious to list.

      It is, however, the ideal fun fact about yourself for icebreakers.

  9. Heidi*

    Hi LW5. If it helps at all, I know people often go long periods of time without checking their LinkedIn accounts. It’s pretty easy to accept a connect request on your phone, but answering an open-ended question is more work and it’s easy to put off until you totally forget. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course (ha!).

    Also, say what you will about academia, but our mission pretty much never switches suddenly from girl power to porn. It sounds pretty unstable what with the 10% drunk CEO and all. If any other senior staff left the company, could they be references?

    1. PG Rated*

      Hi! I’m LW2. The CEO kept a flat structure in order to be involved with all aspects of the business and also kept a lot of people siloed from each other. The other senior staff that have left are not people I had a lot of contact with. Many junior people have left, and they’ve all offered to write me references because they felt that they were mentored and that I helped them grow their skills significantly, but I’m not sure that matters as much.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        Do you have other senior staff from other jobs as references? If you have a couple of solid references from other places, you could list them first, and then use one of the more junior people from the porn site as a third reference.

        When you talk to the reference checker, you could say something like “the CEO from is often unavailable, but if you need a reference from there I can offer A or B person instead.”

        If your prospective new company is at the point of checking references, it’s because they want to hire you. So assuming you have enough of a job history to have senior references from other places, you should be fine with a more junior reference from here, or they might decide they don’t need a third reference at all.

    2. Dana B.S.*

      Agreed on LinkedIn. I ignore messages because I only get vendors trying to sell me something, so I would likely never even see a networking question. Other people may just never check messages for other reasons.

  10. Sparkly Librarian*

    Eh, I was also a Jeopardy! contestant, and I don’t think it adds much to a resume. (I wouldn’t want to be seen as bragging about something relatively common in my field.) Would you put your AP test scores on a resume? Or some other media appearance? If you had a winning streak, it might be a conversation starter, but how would it improve your candidacy? What does it demonstrate about your skills?

    1. Xavier89*

      I guess it depends on industry because we work with a woman who was on jeopardy and everyone loves that fact and wants to talk about it with her

      I think it would deff give someone a boost if they were applying with us

    2. MK*

      I have to say I was very surprised by Alison’s enthusiastic response to this. I was expecting her usual ”It’s unlikely to significantly help your candidacy, but sure, put it in the ‘other’ section of your resume, it won’t hurt”.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I did not expect that at all – it seems weirdly gimmicky to me and really only serves the purpose of a “Hobbies” section in that it might serve as a stepping stone for an interviewer to find out more about an applicant’s personality. I wouldn’t view it as bad but, like you, more as an “eh, I guess” thing.

        1. Katherine*

          I’m a former Jeopardy contestant (2012) and have had it on my resume ever since. It comes up in more than half of my interviews. People are enthusiastic just to hear what it was like, because it’s a show they’ve seen a thousand times and they want to know what it’s like behind the scenes. It’s a way to grab attention that is (to most people) impressive, intriguing, and safe/non-offensive.

      2. German Girl*

        Yeah, when I read the question I was thinking the same thing and was very surprised by the answer.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It’s similar to the Eagle Scout thing from a couple of weeks ago, frankly. For whatever reason, this is something that our culture says rises to the level of resume-worthy. Like with Eagle Scouts, it’s something that people will ask about excitedly if it’s on your resume (as people here who have put it there confirm) — it’s a conversation starter/rapport builder/slightly impressive.

          It’s not about issuing a ruling on how impressive either of those things are. It’s solely about whether it gets good results if you list it there.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            One thing I’d add: Look at the number of people here who have Jeopardy on their resumes and report it goes over really well with interviewers. That’s all this is about — it works.

          2. Scion*

            But should it go under the Skills section? That’s the part that I was surprised about. I don’t think that it’s going to be a relevant skill for most jobs. Like, I learned a lot of knot-tying and first aid skills in Scouts, and I’m pretty good at board games, but those aren’t relevant to being an engineer.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It depends on the resume. I wouldn’t create an entire Other Interests section just for this, so if you already have a Skills section, it’s fine to put it there. No one is scrutinizing the meaning of the header label that closely.

      3. LaLa*

        I was surprised too… I’m wondering if maybe I’m missing something in the cultural context (I’m not from the US) about how Jeopardy is perceived…

        1. Monican*

          Well, yes. It’s an American game show that only airs in the US, so if you’re not American, you are missing the cultural context…

          1. Bree*

            This seems a little harsh – lots of American things are familiar to people outside the US.

            Also, it definitely airs in Canada and Canadians can compete.

            1. Myrin*

              And, I mean, it’s not like “long-standing, well-regarded game show which is very competitive and hard to get on and showcases your trivia knowledge and how you present yourself im front of an audience under pressure” is something that is unique to Jeopardy or the US.
              (I can think of two shows like that from my country and I’m still “meh” on including them.)

              1. MsSolo*

                Yes, I think this is the stumbling block – the equivalently hard-to-get-on UK game shows would only really be worth including if you won, and if it was relevant to the job.

          2. MK*

            This may shock you, but we have tv game shows in Europe too. We also have the internet and we know what Jeopardy is. What we might not know is that this particular show is so well regarded that participation might get you a job, ot at least an interview.

            1. Monican*

              This may shock you, but despite the internet, there are things about the US that a non-American cannot fully understand. LaLa’s comment came off as really dismissive, as if it’s ridiculous to ever include a game show on your resume for any reason. If you are a not from the US, but are reading an American website, OF COURSE there is going cultural context that you don’t have. If you don’t have the cultural context, maybe you shouldn’t try to add to the discussion. 

            2. Anononon*

              “What we might not know is that this particular show is so well regarded that participation might get you a job, ot at least an interview.”

              Well, yes, that’s the point. Jeopardy is probably the most respected game show in the US, an institution. It is generally seen as a very impressive feat to get on the show.

              1. MK*

                I don’t want to keep this up, but that’s what I was saying. If someone is wondering whether they are missing cultural subtext (especially about a very well-known/pervasive culture), it’s appropriate to tell them “yes, you are, this is a big thing here”; telling them “of course you are, you are a foreigner” and leaving it at that is off, and not the response that I, as a long-time non-US reader of this blog, am used to from other US commenters.

        2. MK*

          I did wonder about that. Back in the 1980s there were two shows in my country, one talent show, one linguistic/literature quiz, that had very stringent entry bars and incredibly renowned judges; having participated in those was something to boast about, though it still wouldn’t belong in a job application.

        3. Missy*

          Are you from the UK? It might be a little like being on University Challenge, except it is a solo game instead of a team.

    3. SS Express*

      Including it isn’t a way to demonstrate intelligence, it’s a point of interest. I think it could demonstrate certain skills/attributes – confident public speaker, comfortable on camera, not easily flustered when put on the spot, a sufficiently motivated person that they’d bother to go through the process and appear on a TV show instead of just watching it – but that’s not really the point of it, it’s just an insight into their personality/hobbies and something the interviewer can make small talk about.

      1. Mookie*

        Agree that what Jeopardy contestants and winners have in common is not intelligence but very often class and race and the education, opportunities, careers, and leisure time afforded to them. (Moreover, Jeopardy has a stock viewer, and is not a program that enjoys universal respect or acclaim.) This is one of the reasons I find the hobbies and interests section of resumes and CVs so fraught with problems. It’s actually a very easy way for the ‘right’ applicants to game a hiring system if that system is not built to be “blind” but functionally favors and assists the maintenance of a homosocial work culture. A false meritocracy will reward people for the privileges they took advantage of, the plum and prestigious opportunities they enjoyed, rather than the work they have produced and are judged as capable of producing in future.

        1. Grandma Mazur*

          Ooh, I’d never thought of the hobbies section in quite the way you put it (I mean, beyond the whole golf=old boys‘ network). Thanks for this insight! (Feeling stupid that it hasn’t previously occurred to me…).

          As an aside, from the brief reading I’ve done around Young‘s invention of the term „meritocracy“ (which he didn’t think was a good thing), this all fits right in with what he meant – the veneer of equal opportunities/based on merit, while disguising the privilege and advantages inherent in constructing those opportunities for some but not all.

        2. pleaset*

          I object to your suggestion that my making the varsity lacrosse team was did not require hard work and leadership skills!!! I worked hard for everything I’ve earned.

        3. Katherine*

          Another thing Jeopardy contestants and winners have in common is they chose to channel the privilege you’re so sure they were all born with into working hard to get selected for Jeopardy (it was a lot of hard work, thanks for asking) instead of The Bachelor. Yes, a lot of them may have had a leg up but there was still significant effort involved and that’s something worth noting on a resume.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            All that’s true and, yes, an accomplishment. As an employer, I don’t see competing on an intelligent game show is a safely relatable, useful job skill. I can infer the candidate is smart and confident and committed. But I can also infer they are very competitive – hey, I’ve seen the show! – or combative, or arrogant about their intelligence.

            Note I said, ‘safely relatable.’ I really think there are better, career-specific ways to demostrate the same drive and effort used to succeed at getting on Jeopardy! on a resume.

        4. smoke tree*

          I think there was a previous discussion here along these lines, mentioning that in some professional circles, including such hobbies as sailing or skiing or punting on the Cam can give you a substantial leg up. It is an interesting question, but from a candidate’s perspective, it’s probably still in their best interest to include accomplishments that provide interesting talking points, although it might make more sense for interviewers to try to avoid taking those sections into consideration.

          1. Helena*

            Even if they aren’t “exclusive” hobbies, they can signal that you are a certain “type”. A heck of a lot of doctors in London teaching hospitals are triathletes or runners, for example. High-achieving and self-disciplined.

      2. Junior Assistant Peon*

        I’d include Jeopardy for the same reason I put my degrees on my resume – it might not really demonstrate intelligence, but people think it does!

    4. Kendra*

      Just because it’s (relatively) common in library land doesn’t mean it’s not of note; if anything, that actually makes it MORE useful to us. “Knowing random bits of trivia” is an incredibly important job skill for anyone doing even the tiniest bit of reference work, but that’s hard to list on a resume; being able to put “Jeopardy contestant” implies it strongly, and is therefore useful.

      And in any field, no manager’s going to see it and automatically want to hire you, but if they’re trying to decide between you and another candidate for the interview pool? I can see it making a definite difference there.

      1. Mookie*

        Jeopardy/prestige quiz shows hinge upon the ability to cram and memorize the shallower trivia of the humanities and master the process of rapid recall—not analyze, contextualize*, or even use useful information beyond reciting it—and then anticipate and strategize answers and wagers. It certainly involves skills (and a great deal of leisure time and rehearsal) but they aren’t universally professionally advantageous.

        *in the traditional sense rather than contextualizing (locating where, when) a datapoint was learned and memorized for easy priming

        1. yala*

          Maybe not universally, but like Kendra said, in a library-related field, it could be pretty useful. I’m not Jeopardy-contestant level, but I’ve got loads of shallow trivia floating around in my skull, and it’s come in fairly handy when cataloging random, obscure things.

      2. Allison*

        I mean if nothing else, if your team does a lot of outings at trivia nights, it’s probably super useful to have a former Jeopardy contestant!

        (not that you should hire based on that alone, but y’know, it’s a plus)

      3. LibrariAnne*

        I’m also interested in what library circle this person runs in. I’m a librarian who goes to conferences multiple times a year and have spent nearly the entire calendar year on hiring committees and haven’t met anyone to my knowledge who’s been on Jeopardy.

        For the record, I’ll say – this would have zero impact on my decision to recommend a candidate for hire, most likely even down to the last two, but I would like seeing it on the resume. It’s a fun conversation starter for the interview lunch break if nothing else.

        1. Myrin*

          In the same vein as your first paragraph, I’m somewhat amused by the fact that it’s apparently quite hard and special to get on Jeopardy and yet we have more than a dozen people commenting here who have actually done it!

          I’m chuckling, not in a mean way or to discredit anyone’s achievement, but really because it’s amusingly interesting – is this a keyword former contestants search for regularly? Is there just a weird correlation between being a person who’s good at high-calibre gameshows and being a person who reads workplace advice? Are there just way more former Jeopardy contestants out in the wild than anyone would ever think?

          (Not only have I never met anyone who’s been on a high-profile TV gameshow, I’ve never met anyone who’s ever even seriously tried to be on any gameshow at all. I’m now wondering if gameshows as a whole just have a different status where I am compared to the US.)

          1. Katherine*

            There’s a Facebook group for former contestants and it linked to this question this morning, maybe that’s how some of them found their way over here.

            “It’s apparently quite hard and special to get on Jeopardy…” “I’m chuckling not in a mean way.” Would hate to hear you say things in a mean way. It is actually quite hard to get on Jeopardy. It’s something like 0.5% of the people who take the online test.

            1. Myrin*

              Ah, that would actually make a lot of sense!
              And I’m not quite sure what you mean by your second paragraph – I was being very serious in that I found it quite amusing that so many of the – as per pancakes’ numbers below – only about 24,000 people have found their way here today.
              It’s the same thing like when I find it fascinating that misophonia is apparently a very rare condition and yet I can name three regular commenters off the top of my head who have it. It’s a numbers thing I find cool, not a strange roundabout way of me trying to say “Haha, you only pretend to be special!”.

              1. Katherine*

                Oh, I’m sorry for misinterpreting your words. “Apparently” and “special” in the same sentence came off sarcastic to me, but I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.

            2. pancakes*

              How many people who aren’t passing that online test have a realistic sense of their own aptitude? It could be quite hard; it could also be moderately hard and a magnet for people afflicted by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

                1. pancakes*

                  My point is that the number of people who don’t pass a test isn’t in itself indicative of much.

            3. Richard Hershberger*

              FWIW I am a regular reader and occasional commenter here. I tried and failed to get on the show about thirty years ago. I personally know about three or so people who did get on. I tend to run in circles where the idea is considered both attractive and plausible. So why only three or so? Because it is in fact difficult.

              1. pancakes*

                The test is to qualify for an audition, yes? There are almost certainly a lot of factors producers look at during the audition process in addition to test performance. Whether someone is telegenic, for example.

          2. pancakes*

            A quick search indicates that over 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy have been produced over the years. With three contestants per episode that’s a lot of contestants! They’re not all new contestants, but still.

            1. Sparkly Librarian*

              Each game has 3 contestants, one of which is the champion who held over from the previous game. 5 shows a week. Between 10 and 14 new faces each week. So that’s over 500 people a year. About 150 of those in the last decadeish (2005 – 2017), according to American Libraries magazine a couple years ago, were librarians. It’s common enough that it’s a in-joke… “Which of the librarians on your hiring panel was on Jeopardy! that one time?”

      4. Librarian1*

        I disagree with this. As a librarian, I think it’s more important to know how to find information than it is to actually know the information. That’s what we’re trained for: finding information. You don’t spend library school cramming a bunch of random facts into your brain.

        1. Kendra*

          Okay, so here’s a story: a patron came into my library when I was just starting out, asking if we had anybody books on “Crone’s disease.” I’d never heard of it at that point, and wasted quite a bit of time hunting around for anything I could possibly find that might help this person out, all to no avail.

          Now, imagine the exact same encounter, but this time, I know it’s actually spelled “Crohn’s disease.”

          THAT’S the kind of thing I’m talking about; to a librarian, it’s a random bit of trivia. To my patron, it was the difference between learning about and understanding her scary new disease that the doctor who diagnosed her hadn’t adequately explained to her.

          1. Eadaz*

            I’m not sure that’s a good example, as when I googled “Crone’s disease” Google immediately suggested “Did you mean Crohn’s disease?” So your example sounds more like using trivia knowledge to make up for not knowing how to find the information. Whereas if you know how to find disease names when you don’t know the spelling, you don’t need to know what each one is.

            1. Kendra*

              It does that now; it didn’t do it in 2005, when this story happened. Knowing the correct spelling WAS the only way to find the information at that time.

      5. Mr. Shark*

        I’m not putting down someone who actually made it on Jeopardy, but I don’t think I’d put down “Jeopardy contestant” on my resume if I hadn’t at least won a day or two. If I just participated, I don’t think it means nearly as much.

    5. StaceyIzMe*

      I agree with your take on this! (But if it goes under the “interests” section, it should be fine.)

    6. Lee*

      Agreed – I’m also a former Jeopardy! contestant and a librarian/information specialist, and I have never even considered adding it to my resume (or LinkedIn profile). Sure, the ability to retain and regurgitate random bits of information while maintaining your poise could be considered relevant to library/reference work…. but the J! experience, unless you went on a huge winning streak as Sparkly said, likely lasted for a day or two, tops. I’d rather have my resume reflect my 20+ years of expertise in the field rather than my 22 minutes of “fame.” That said, J! gave me some awesome cocktail party conversation material, and it never fails to intrigue people who learn that I’ve been a contestant.

  11. Lonely Aussie*

    OP3 you have my sympathies. My company only provide men’s clothing; I’m an hourglass shaped cis woman and I hate it so much. It’s a manual job and wearing clothes that don’t fit my shape properly seriously impact on my ability to do my job. The physical discomfort (I have a row of welts around my waist from cinching in pants that fit my butt but not my waist) is like a constant reminder that I don’t “belong”.
    Please, if possible push back on this.

    1. Shadowbelle*

      Okay, that’s a health and safety issue. Alison, can you check with your OSHA expert contacts?

    2. Eadaz*

      That’s awful! Could you take your pants to a tailor and have them add darts or elastic so you’re more comfortable while you sue their butts in court?

  12. Don’t get salty*

    OP1, your team is just getting their feet wet in the industry, as you’ve said. I think the next time you introduce any new team to your network, it might be a good idea to prime them before they go, letting them know what standards you expect of them. I’m not sure if your team, being new, thought this was more of a “making new friends” or “shooting the shit” opportunity, rather than a networking, collaboration and possible mentorship opportunity.

    I’ve definitely made this mistake in the past as a newbie, especially when I had little experience and nothing to talk about in group conversations. I’m not sure how you’d feel about giving them another chance sometime in the distant future, but I think it would go a long way to helping them learn industry norms (sometimes the hard way) while they’re still in the development stages.

    1. Approval is optional*

      It doesn’t sound to me as if the LW is their supervisor/manager though, so I don’t think she has the standing to remind them how to behave.

      1. Don’t get salty*

        That’s true. I could have more carefully worded it to communicate that. She’s not responsible for their behavior. It’s their choice to recognize opportunities and not squander them.

      2. LW1*

        Yeah, unfortunately I’m the most junior member of the team currently, and not really in a position to tell people how to act. My boss requested that I set up this meeting, since he obviously knows my work history and that I had contacts that we might be able to use.

        Even more unfortunately, more such meetings are already on the books–not set up by me, thankfully! But we have had some serious meetings about professionalism and behavior standards, so hopefully things will get better going forward.

  13. Mikado*

    Re: LW #2, what if the company kept the same name? Alison’s whole answer is predicated n the company having changed names, which is logical to consider but far from guaranteed. If the company has the same name as before, the answer is largely off-point.

    1. PG Rated*

      LW2 here! Thanks Mikado, that’s exactly what happened. There is a larger “business entity” that owns the company in question, and about half the staff used email addresses from this larger business entity, so I do wonder if I can use that as the name of the business I worked for.

      1. Just Elle*

        I think you can do that. Don’t worry too much about the technicalities of it. Just explain in more detail once you get the interview.

      2. Bree*

        I also think you can do that – you did technically work for the larger company, so it’s not dishonesty. And any interviewer or boss would understand if you had to explain it to them!

        Also, this situation is so bizarre – what an odd decision to keep the name, etc. Surely they weren’t hoping to retain the audience through brand recognition?

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Just guessing here but more likely they knew they had virtually no brand recognition and made the switch early enough that it meant not redoing enough things with a new name that the owners saw that (the not redoing) as a win.

      3. Witchy Human*

        On my resume, because I’ve worked for some pretty obscure places, I give every job a small-font subtitle explaining what the organization is. Like:

        Schoolhouse Rock – Cartoon Character – 1975-1985
        An animated musical educational TV show
        -Job description

        Could you have a brief description like “from [date] to [date], functioned as a feminist news and blog site” or something like that? Or you could have the larger business name, and use “parent company of a feminist news and blog site from [date] to [date]”

      4. Solar Moose*

        LW2, keep in mind that you don’t need to list this company on your resume forever. It might be helpful (to show employment) while you get your next job, but you can drop it from your resume after that. It’s not going to stick to you forever. After another job or two, no one’s going to care what you did years ago – they’ll care more about your more recent experiences.

      5. Kramerica Industries*

        I also worked for a company that sold ads for adult content and diet pills! It was actually the over-promising diet pills and green tea capsules that got me ethically. I always put the business entity on my resume and talk about the company being a startup or agency. I worked in marketing, so I did valuable things like email campaigns and A/B testing.

        Some people may dig past the big entity, but I’ve never been asked about adult content. I’ve always hoped that my experience would shine through the sleaze.

        1. PG Rated*

          I am SO GLAD you said this. I worried that I would be being dishonest. You set my mind at ease.

  14. pantsless in Abbadon*

    Good luck on the pants front LW3. Where I work, I am the only woman on a team of nearly 40 men. My pants are actually a safety issue because I must have a fire retardant uniform. Our uniform supplier’s catalog list women’s uniforms as available, but they will not cough them up. I eventually gave up and took a man’s shirt, although I have to fold the cuffs back. The pant-war is still going on, though. I’ve ran it all the way to corporate Health and Safety and the best they came back with was “why can’t you just wear men’s pants”. I’m actually excused from doing a large portion of my job because I don’t have the correct gear to work safely. Men’s pants come up over my ribs and I have to get 3 waist sizes larger to fit my hips…and they are so, so uncomfortable. I told TPTB that I would wear men’s pants if they would wear their wife’s pants for a year, but they just laughed at me.
    It is yet another daily reminder that by being a woman in my field, I’m an aberration who is failing to conform properly.

    1. Rebecca*

      If I’m reading this correctly, you’re being held back from your job responsibilities due to your body structure, because they won’t provide the correct safety equipment for you? How is this legal? And I don’t think this has anything to do with you conforming as a female into a male role, I see this as a company willingly not providing safety equipment to an employee, and thus holding that employee back.

      1. pantsless in Abbadon*

        Pretty much. I reminded them that they got uniforms for the guy who needed a 5x and didn’t try to shame him into trying to wear a 3x because “that’s what we have.” I can still do a substantial portion of my job because it just involves low voltage or computer work, but there are times I have to tell my boss to assign someone else to a job because I still don’t have uniform pants. He doesn’t pressure me to take the men’s pants, but gets just as frustrated as I do that it’s still a huge issue as we approach the third decade of the 21st century.

    2. Just Elle*

      Check out HauteWork “Hot Stuff” fire retardant clothes! Such a cool startup aimed at addressing just this.

      But, the company should still definitely buy them for you. They’re literally not even that expensive.

      Its completely ridiculous that you are not able to do your job because of clothes. Can you imagine if a tiny person was asked “why cant you just wear regular length pants”? Because thats exactly how idiotic it sounds, and I bet you’ve got a discrimination suit on your hands. (although, as woman in male dominated industry, I understand not wanting to further ostracize yourself)

    3. KR*

      I’ve been trying to find FR pants as a petite female and am having difficulties. Just ordered some to try out. Fortunately my company will cover it. So sorry your employer is being such a jerk over it. That does sound like pretty basic discrimination considering they won’t provide you with a uniform to safely do your job that fits you and I think you might get somewhere pursuing a discrimination case if you wanted. I’m not a lawyer.

      1. Quill*

        I had to hunt up very small and narrow women’s work boots for a previous job but at least I didn’t get any flack about them!

        … took me all day though, but the plus side was reimbursement and the fact that those steel toes are still kicking, if absolutely gnarly looking.

    4. Nanani*

      This should be all kinds of illegal. I hope it actually is so where you live and work.

      For everyone above whose like “Well why can’t you just” – this why she can’t just.

      Being unable to do parts of your job leads to not getting promotions and raises, because you didn’t do parts of your job. It’s textbook.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would speak to an employment lawyer in your area about if there’s any legal recourse you have. Seriously. They’re refusing to put you in proper safety gear even though it’s readily available. It’s holding you back from doing all the job duties and therefore you cannot move up in the ranks if you can’t do everything necessary in a position. This is blatantly gender discrimination and also just a straight up OSHA violation. So I’d also report them to BOLI about it. Then they can go ahead and fire you…so you can get them for retaliation.

    6. CheeryO*

      WHAT in the actual hell. I thought it was bad that I had two pairs of women’s steel-toed boots to choose from within a 30-mile radius of my office. This is insane. This is totally malicious compliance territory – you better believe I’d be hacking up those pants and DIYing my way to something that fit (assuming you can do so without sacrificing the protective features).

  15. Nas*

    LW5, if you sent a message as part of invitation (where you can write a short note or leave LinkedIn’s default invitation) he might have not read it. I often respond to requests to connect directly on the site and simply delete the mail w/o opening it. If he’s the same, he missed it and it makes sense to send the same message again. If you already sent it to inbox separately from the request to connect, then I agree with Alison.

    1. Horseshoe*

      I came here to say this. I often find that when I get an invite to connect on LinkedIn, I see the short note with invite right before accepting, but it doesn’t show up in my “messages” list the way a normal message would (unless they have changed this recently), so it is really easy to not see the message in the first place, or even if you see it’s something different than the standard message, but didn’t read it thoroughly, you can’t re-read before replying.

      My approach on LinkedIn is to send a the request, and then follow it up with a direct message that is essentially the same message.

      1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        A personalized invite is now the first of the message string on LinkedIn (or at least it is for me).

        However, the notification about a message will come off the little menu bar if you’ve peeked into your message list … and you might have left a message unread/unresponded. A quick follow up might be handy just to light the notification up.

        Better would be to check out the person’s profile, see if they have current activity, and, if so, consider joining in the conversation with a comment on one of their posts. You might trigger a more natural conversational moment.

    2. Marissa*

      I agree. Plus, I’ll usually just click accept in the email LinkedIn sends and not actually go through the site. Unless I’m looking for a job, I’m not paying that much attention to my profile to be honest and barely open the thing. Too many recruiter messages and obviously copy/pasted intro messages from people I don’t know. I think it’s a difficult place to try and send a message to a stranger that rises above the noise.

  16. triplehiccup*

    The first letter has me wondering what more the LW could have done – not in a critical way, bc it sounds like she kept her cool in a really trying situation, but for my own edification and worst-case scenario planning.

    At some point can you pull the plug early, say, “Thanks so much for having us – I think we’ve taken up enough of your time,” and sweep your team out of the room? Or would you have to wait for your boss to do that? (Why didn’t the boss do that?!)

    1. LW1*

      Yeah, I would love some more advice on handling things in the moment! I know it was already an uncomfortable situation; it felt like calling it out explicitly would have made it even more awkward. To make things worse, I am the newest person on the team, and one of the more junior members (there are several department heads involved, who specifically asked that I make this connection…) so I don’t really feel like I have the standing to interrupt things that dramatically. Ugh!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Without knowing exactly how the conversation went, sometimes you can shift the conversation with something like, “Well, what we really wanted to talk about today was X! Can you tell us ____?”

        Or if it’s really bad: “Well, I know you’re busy and didn’t come here to hear about Y and Z! What we really wanted to talk about today was X!”

        But it depends on how determined your coworkers were to focus on the wrong thing.

    2. Marissa*

      I think LW1 handled it well given the circumstances. As a junior teammate there wasn’t a lot she could do at the meeting besides setting a professional example and working to get the team back on track. Alison’s script strikes a good balance of giving a professional apology without making it into a bigger issue than it needs to be. It is embarrassing for sure, but the follow-up apology and LW1’s behavior in the meeting I think shows LW1 was caught off guard and had not intended to put old colleagues in an uncomfortable position.

      I wonder if the new team needs some internal sessions to vent some serious frustrations before heading out to more meetings like this, so that they get a chance to be heard without an outside audience. They really need to be able to get into a headspace of listening to advice and finding solutions when talking to others in the industry, and if they can’t move past internal drama they’re not ready to talk to outside people.

  17. MAB*

    I feel like it is so rare that we get a “should I put this on my resume” question with a “yes” answer. What an exciting day for AAM! Good job OP!

  18. Not a man*

    Hi, I am the writer of the question about mens pants. In the weeks since, I asked for the matching womans style in my size. The other woman and work did the same. A few of the very large men objected also due to a lack of very large mens waist sizes. Management has said they are not sure, they may go back to the idea of just wear any black pants you like or do either mens only or mens and womens in the closest style.

    1. Squeeze of Lemon*

      Not a man, I hope they will reconsider!

      For a while I taught at a school with uniforms not just for the students but also for the teachers. They decided to go for cheap and had pants made from the cheapest reasonable material they could find – cloth made for protective work aprons, not pants against your skin. I don’t remember if they had different cuts for men and women, but it didn’t matter because NONE of the sizes fit my very apple shape at all. Then the best thing happened – they ran out and couldn’t get the company to make more. Instead, they just gave me the fabric, and I very happily took them to a tailor and had made-to-measure pants – with extra pockets – shaped to fit me perfectly.

      They were still rough and uncomfortable though. By the end of the year, many of the official pants had mysteriously vanished and the teachers seemed to be wearing pants that were the right color but obviously not the thick and scratchy ones!

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      A few of the very large men objected also due to a lack of very large mens waist sizes.

      Well, at least you know their stupidity does not discriminate. What do they expect men to wear if they literally can’t button the required pants?

        1. Brett*

          As someone who is in the 1st percentile for one of the dimensions of size…
          I am well aware that size discrimination is perfectly legal.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          I mean their stupidity about clothing is impacting both men and women, not just women.

      1. Aquawoman*

        Discrimination is about impact, not intent. Not taking women’s different body shapes into account is discrimination by itself. And discriminating against two groups of people does not cancel out both. They think men are the default–that discriminates against women. The fact that the default man they have in mind is below a certain size does not eliminate the discrimination against women.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I thought for a second you were saying the large men were objecting to you getting women’s pants but then I reread and it all made much more sense haha.

      I hope they go back to letting you wear whatever pants you want!

    4. Lyudie*

      I wonder if it would help to frame wearing your own pants as a cost-saving measure. If they insist on everyone’s pants matching or being a certain style, maybe you could bring them in/show a picture for approval and still be able to wear something that fits you properly. And properly fitting pants on everyone are going to look more professional than everyone wearing pants that match but fit some people really badly.

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      So, yeah, per my ‘supply triangle’ post above, the company’s trying to get out of a basic cost of business, cutting cost by cutting customization. If they’re going to cheap out, letting people get their own clothes in a pre-set color (eg, ‘just wear any black pants you like’) is a *much* better option than cutting customization. The employees will look better in better-fitting clothes.

  19. Meredith*

    I was also on Jeopardy! last year, and the resume question comes up a lot among former contestants. Most people have been doing the “mention-it-in-a-skills-or-interest-section” thing, so it’s nice to have Alison’s blessing!

    1. Lynn Whitehat*

      I know people say not to have an “interests” or personal section. But I still am keeping mine. I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry, and it is useful to have a list of small-talk topics for people. “Here are some ice-breaker topics to start with!”

  20. Justin*

    Letter 2 is basically the plot of a novel called Citizen Girl, by the author of the Nanny Diaries. But I think Alison’s advice works, get ahead of it and it should be fine. They know people work there in regular jobs and the fact that you left actually might make you look really good overall.

    “and in addition she is noticeably drunk on phone calls about 10% of the time, which is a higher percentage than I’m comfortable with.” This is both horrifying and cleverly written, kudos.

    1. PG Rated*

      LW#2 here – I need to read that book! Thanks for the rec.

      RE: drunkenness – I honestly thought the drunkenness was all in my head on conference calls and I was being mean to someone who had an occasional speech impediment until another staffer called me after a 10am conference call and said, “Was [CEO name]…drunk?” That was when I realized it wasn’t just me.

    1. PG Rated*

      I swear at first I thought I was being mean in my head to someone who sometimes exhibited a speech impediment. Then someone else called me afterwards to ask if CEO was drunk and I realized I was not a mean, bad, judgmental person.

  21. Nilla*

    #3…. good lord who thinks of this stuff?

    Who says “We currently offer women’s cut uniforms but that doesn’t make any sense so from now on women will wear men’s clothes?”

    I feel like highlighting this absurdity would be worth it, when you bring this issue to your supervisor. “My previous uniform fit great, looked professional, and was comfortable. I have to ask why the company no longer provides uniforms for women?”

    1. CM*

      I know who says that! I know who says that!

      Fun story: I used to work in a lab where the most sexist manager (who literally refused to speak to women or acknowledge we were there) incinerated all the women’s lab coats and ordered men’s coats instead. They weren’t true unisex coats — they were cut to be wide in the shoulders and narrow in the hips and, if you had an hourglass shape, it was impossible to get a coat that covered the areas of your body it was supposed to cover for safety. It took 8 months for the health & safety committee to make him buy women’s coats again and, when he did it, he refused to buy a normal amount, and instead said each individual woman could have ONE. Meaning, if it got splashed with something or you had to have it laundered, you no longer had safety equipment.

      1. Kes*

        Wow, I can see clueless or sexist management ordering “unisex” or men’s uniforms and assuming they can work for everyone, but incinerating the women’s lab coats really takes it to another level and it’s infuriating that it doesn’t really sound like he suffered any consequences from his behaviour, just that they eventually forced him to accommodate you at a minimum level

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        Please tell me that manager is fired or at least retired… please? It’s bad enough for aesthetically desired uniforms, but for safety equipment….

        flames. flames on the side of my face.

      3. smoke tree*

        This is the professional equivalent of a kid hiding their parents’ shoes in the hope that they’ll give up on leaving the house.

    2. BadWolf*

      I was wondering if the new shirts/pants were listed as “unisex” and the person in charge was like, “Perfect, we only have to order the unisex line. No need for different cuts.”

  22. Mona Lisa*

    With regard to #4, would you recommend doing this for other television appearances or just because of the name recognition of Jeopardy? I’ve done a few games shows, some household names and others not, and it never would have occurred to me to put them on a resume.

    1. Ruby314*

      I think it’s key that Jeopardy is a trivia show where contestants are proving they have knowledge and it’s super work friendly. So if you were on a show that used a skill or intelligence, I think it could be good. If it was Match Game and you made bawdy puns with Alec Baldwin, maybe not.

    2. Chili*

      I think Jeopardy works because it’s a quiz show, well-known across most demographics, and family-friendly. If the shows you’ve done don’t fit into that scheme, I’d maybe include it as a fun fact during on-boarding? Or work it into interviews if you think it’d be applicable (e.g. “I’m good in front of audiences– I have appeared on several tv shows, such as …”)?

      1. Mona Lisa*

        I’ve always included them as “fun facts” during an inevitable ice breaker, but it never occurred to me that it would rise to the level of resume inclusion. (We’re talking shows that hit a similar demographic.)

    3. Phony Genius*

      It depends on if there is relevancy for the skills required. For example, Survivor could be relevant if you are applying to be a guide for overnight hiking and camping. Pitching an invention on Shark Tank if the position requires selling a new product.

    4. Missy*

      It’s funny because I went to school with someone who ended up going on The Bachelor. They mention it on their resume, not because it is a factor in his job (he’s an attorney) but because Bachelor Nation (the fans of the show) are somewhat fanatical and he often gets stopped by people who recognize him. He is somewhat of a local celebrity because of his appearance on the show and that fame is sort of a plus in his industry because it brings in business. If he was a government tax lawyer it isn’t the type of thing that would matter, but if you are working for a firm that needs you to bring in clients, then being in the paper as a “Bachelor expert” every new season certainly helps. But so does something like being a former college football player for a popular school, or bring on a show like Survivor. If you are in any job where sales or other type of networking is important then I can see putting shows that aren’t as high brow. Honestly, in his position Bachelor or Survivor would probably be better than Jeopardy.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m still being reminded of the letter we had about someone questioning if they should hire someone who was on a reality tv show. So it can be a double edged sword when it comes to tv appearances.

  23. Quill*

    And we’ve broken our streak of at least one #2 related post a week with… a CEO who took Avenue Q (the internet is for porn) songs literally.

    #2, I keep people from contacting my worked in-a-startup (not porn or internet) ex boss by mentioning that they likely won’t be able to get ahold of him, and obviously not listing him as a reference. I’ve been quit of that place for two years and good on you for bailing when things ended up being not what you signed up for, I waited an extra year to do that and it sucked.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Avenue Q is the best. I’ve seen it 3 times! Now I can sing those songs to myself all day. (Don’t worry, I work at home.)

  24. Buttons*

    OP1 – I am really curious as to what the response was from the new team, and if the supervisor addressed their behavior? Is there going to be some professional training to avoid things like that in the future? I wonder what their motivation was to complain about their company. It is such a weird thing to happen with people who are on the outside.

    1. LW1*

      Since the incident I’ve had some talks with my boss about company culture (spoiler alert: it’s not great) and that I think the negativity needs to change. We’ve put together a set of new departmental guidelines that we’re hoping will help change the way we interact, especially at meetings, and ideally help us move in a more constructive direction. The complaining isn’t unique to this situation, unfortunately; it is rampant pretty much any time there are more than 2 employees in the room. I’ve only been here a month, but it is honestly making me want to look elsewhere.

      Meanwhile, my boss has notified the other departments who had members at this meeting of how their folks behaved, and it is being “addressed internally”…I’m not overly optimistic; one of our issues seems to be a lack of spine when it comes to managing, but I know everyone seemed pretty sheepish at our debrief.

  25. StaceyIzMe*

    LW1- I’m so sorry that happened to you! It unfortunately does reflect back on you a little, by association and the advise to apologize will hopefully fix that. You’ve made your point to the team and hopefully to your supervisor, but I kind of wonder about the dynamic that would allow for them to get so out of hand and then refuse to be steered back on track? It sounds like your workplace might be a lot more dysfunctional than you thought, because people tend to show up in ways that feel “normal” to them. For there to be so many who think that “normal” in a meeting with another group is gossip and graceless complaining in place of dialogue and taking advantage of an opportunity to learn from a more established team, something about the organization’s culture or the team’s culture where you are is way out of whack. I don’t think that it would be an overreaction to start looking quietly for a better opportunity and to take the first reasonable lateral transfer or step up that presents itself. It’s not that the antics from that meeting are insurmountable, it’s more about how the team came to believe that this was acceptable to begin with and how leadership is “done” (or “not done”) where you are currently employed. If you take some time to reflect, you might notice other incidents that had similar overtones that got tossed into the “getting their feet under them in terms of industry standards” pile, but which more accurately go under the “my coworkers are not practicing a very conscious professionalism or even much social intelligence…”.

    1. LW1*

      I’m absolutely already looking! This is far from the first issue, and I’ve already had talks with my supervisor about the culture here. I admit that I’m trying to be a bit generous in assuming that this is a reflection of inexperience instead of lack of anything resembling social awareness, but I suspect that you’re right and this is more emblematic of an overall issue of professionalism and negativity.

      The complaining and gossiping starts up pretty much any time more than 2 employees are in the same room, and I’ve tried to distance myself, but being the most junior member of the organization makes it difficult. I’ve been working with my supervisor to try and enforce some new standards regarding positive dialogue, but I’m worried that these behaviors may be too entrenched to change (lots of these people have been here 10+ years!).

      As for leadership….it’s chaos. My direct supervisor is not particularly assertive, although he is getting better. He’s currently the newest person other than me, so maybe it’s just taking some time. There is an overall lack of respect for authority though, made especially clear in how other employees talk about our administration. The big bosses admittedly make some weird calls, and there is definitely room to push back on bad decisions, but I don’t like being in a place where the director is routinely referred to as “The Idiot”.

      So yeah. I’m definitely looking.

      1. Kes*

        Oof, yeah, I would definitely be looking in that case, it’s not a culture you want to be part of or associated with

      2. Sunflower*

        My 2 cents- it sounds like the reason your team did this was because they felt the need to defend themselves. IME, the majority of teams that don’t function well or run efficiently are usually that way not because they don’t know what it takes to be successful but because internal issues are bogging them down. When I worked on a team at a law firm that was super slammed with minimal support, our team was constantly told that we just weren’t doing the job right. It took 3 managers quitting and 2 managers needing to come from literally overseas into the office themselves to see what we were dealing with for anyone to believe us. If someone had suggested we have multiple meetings with teams at other law firms to hear what they were doing, I would probably react in a similar way. Having someone try to tell me how to do my job when they have no idea the factors I’m dealing with…would not go over well.

        Your manager sounds like a problem here. I wouldn’t be shocked if your manager expected this to happen but didn’t want to be the bad guy so he let you do it. If I was you, I’d try to get out of setting up any more meetings with your contacts even if it means lying about being able to get in touch with them, availability, etc. Keep your head down and good luck searching.

  26. Aquawoman*

    I don’t even fit well into most women’s pants and try to find brands that have “curvy” versions. Men’s pants would be so loose in the waist that the crotch would be halfway to my knees. I’d have a similar problem if the shirts button all the way down — to fit my bust, the rest would have to be huge, though I could probably manage a polo shirt ok.

    1. Shadowbelle*

      Me too. Also I have broad shoulders and am very long waisted- tall with short legs. AND I loathe tight clothes and cannot stand modern skintight styles. Women’s clothes suck. So I shop exclusively at Goodwill. It’s less annoying.

    2. Filosofickle*

      Yeah, I’m the same. Even women’s pants are usually too big in the waist, and I’m grateful the “curvy” cut has gone mainstream. Men’s clothing? Not a chance with my hourglass/pear shape.

  27. SheWoulf*

    @ doreen – Absolutely not true. I work for a uniform company and we absolutely provide a woman’s cut pant in every style of pant we offer. We also provide multiple woman’s shirts in every style we offer. If you work for a uniform company, or have previous experience with a uniform company, I can tell you it’s not the one I work for!

  28. HailRobonia*

    Regarding uniforms: My mom used to work at a university dining hall and one day a shipment came in labelled “Fancy Plastic Skirts.” These were table skirts, but my mom jokingly said “oh look, our new uniforms are here!” Her coworkers didn’t realize it was a joke and were ready to riot over the prospect of having to wear “fancy plastic skirts.”

  29. Jennifer*

    #2 I must admit I laughed when I read, ” in addition, she is noticeably drunk on phone calls about 10% of the time, which is a higher percentage than I’m comfortable with.” What percentage is acceptable? Five percent? Inquiring minds want to know.

    But in all seriousness, the advice here is great. Many will understand that you didn’t want to work there anymore. You went there because you wanted to work at a place that empowers women, and they decided to follow the money and work in an industry that exploits young women and girls. You basically had the rug pulled out from under you. If anyone asks why you left, I’d use Alison’s script word for word.

  30. This one here*

    From my resume, under “Other”:
    One-day “Jeopardy!” Champion, December 31, 2008

    In 2010, I was asked about it during an interview, and the ensuing conversation showed I was comfortable with the two attorneys I’d be working for. I got the job.

  31. Database Developer Dude*

    The idea that one can add an appearance on Jeopardy! to their resume, but not add other things that actually demonstrate skills and experience that help in jobs is the second strangest thing I’ve ever read in this column.

    A stay at home mom manages a household. Task organization, financial matters, laundry, child care, maintenance, etc, etc, etc. If she tries to put that on a resume she’ll be laughed out of existence, if she even gets an interview. It doesn’t matter if she’s going for jobs where the skills translate well, she didn’t get paid, therefore it won’t count.

    But “I appeared on Jeopardy!” is okay? Wow…shows the complete and total power imbalance between employers and job seekers. I don’t have one single nice thing to say about this……

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Culture is strange, and conventions are strange. Much of what we talk about here isn’t about logic, but rather “here is what has evolved to be considered okay in a work context or not okay in a work context.”

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        I’m the current presiding officer of this club I’m in. I manage the organization to include budget for the year, meeting planning, arranging for speakers, and coordinating food and schedules, along with managing subordinate officers.

        If I were to put this on my resume, it would *not* go over well. The fact that Jeopardy contestant is okay, and this is not is a crying shame. Sometimes management sucks.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not sure why you’re saying you can’t put that on your resume. You can. Unless there’s something specific about the subject matter of the club that would make it inappropriate.

          Regardless, there’s no one person making the rules on this. It’s just how stuff evolves, and sometimes that’s illogically.

        2. six*

          Depends on the nature of the club perhaps, but try putting it on your resume! I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the reception.

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Is it because it’s D&D or something like that?

          I like that geek culture is mentioned and tied into Jeopardy but people laugh and toss resumes that list their LARP groups.

          My friend does history reenactments and that’s another thing that has a very narrow minded view and only acceptable if you were to say be applying to do live characters at a historical monument.

          1. Arts Akimbo*

            Couldn’t they (and Database Developer Dude) put something like:

            “Social club president, 2017-present
            Duties: Managing organization to include budget for the year, meeting planning, arranging for speakers, coordinating food and schedules. Management of 4 subordinate officers.”

            Just put the accomplishments and duties and not tell that it’s a LARP group or a BDSM club or whatnot?

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think it’s strange as well. And I’m a huge fan of the show myself.

      You do have to apply and be chosen for a spot. So I do see it as an achievement but it’s a stretch to put it down professionally speaking.

      But plenty of shrugs were given to adding “Eagle Scouts” and such prior as well.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        The strangest one was not related to this. It was some guy who regularly smacked womens’ butts, and got continually caught playing with himself, but wasn’t fired.

    3. MatKnifeNinja*

      That’s because of the nerd glam and Alex Trebek.

      What’s the difference between that, Wheel of Fortune, The Bachelor or whatever challenge game Nickelodeon had on? Just because someone knows ancient Turkish battles, obscure Shakespeare factoids and how many angels can tap dance on a pin head is okay on a resume, but Eagle Scout isn’t. *shrug*

      I have relatives who have been on both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. They won a little bit of cash. They sunk tons of time to hone the skills to make it. But I would be much more interested listening to a person tell me about their experience competition in a world championship of any sport, than the person who make it to day 2 on a television game show.

      Dressage>Curling>Greco Roman wrestling>Skeet shooting>Jeopardy

      You put down your special interests, you take your chances. Lol..

      1. Jennifer*

        I’d be more interested in hearing about what happens behind the scenes on The Bachelor. Did you accept the rose or not? Spill the tea!

      2. pancakes*

        People do put Eagle Scouts on their resumes, though. The reason I know that is because there’s been lots of discussion of it here. Every time it comes up, there are multiple people defending the practice and/or reporting having some success with it.

      3. PB*

        But Eagle Scout was okay to put on your resume.

        Honestly, as a hiring manager, I wouldn’t care about either Jeopardy or Eagle Scouts on the resume. It would neither help nor hurt their application. It would be a boost for enough people that it’s worth including, but you’re not likely to be rejected for including it.

    4. Meepmeep*

      There is a stigma against SAHM’s, but we kinda already know that. Anything that doesn’t involve “women’s work” is fair game, though. I put “ragtime piano player” on my resume once, and got a job because of that – apparently the future boss was a music fan.

      1. Clever Girl*

        Because “ragtime piano player” is interesting and unique. Cooking and laundry and dishes are something everyone does. You wouldn’t put that you brush your teeth on a resume. SAHPs don’t do anything that the rest of us (with kids) don’t do–they just do more of it.

    5. Clever Girl*

      “A stay at home mom manages a household. Task organization, financial matters, laundry, child care, maintenance, etc, etc, etc.” Sure, except most employed parents ALSO have to manage their households. (Unless they are super rich and can pay someone else to do it.) So the fact that you’re good at laundry and paying your bills doesn’t really make you special. Everyone does that. Very few people are on Jeopardy so it’s something unique and interesting about a person. Some people put hobbies on a resume and I don’t see it as any different than that.

    6. Jackalope*

      I have a coworker who got her job at our agency at least partly through listing her years of SAHM experience (which was what she had been doing right before this job). She apparently wrote it up in a very impressive way: research, schedule coordinator, planning and carrying out X, Y, and Z, and so on. She was honest about the SAHM part, but emphasized the relevant job skills. So depending on the employer, it might work. Probably not all the time, but sometimes.

    7. Betty (the other betty)*

      Most people do the things that stay at home parents do (manage home tasks, finances, laundry, child care, home maintenance, etc) even if they have a job or are self employed at the same time. Those unpaid tasks, while very valuable, aren’t unique to an individual. I think that’s the difference.

  32. Lab Manager Guy*

    OP4: I’ve had “3-Day Jeopardy! Champion” in the “Awards and Honors” section of my resume for more than eight years now (since my episodes aired). It’s a great conversation starter at interviews, and everyone always remembers it.

  33. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #5 Lots of people don’t fully use LinkedIn. They’ll connect with anyone but never check their messages. I literally only see messages when I log in to pull receipts to reconcile the accounts. I’ll accept a connection from the app without seeing anything other than your name. Then forget about it until I log in to get copies of receipts and maybe glance over the messages that are 99.9999% recruiters.

    So just assume they don’t use the site much and don’t take it personally!

    1. Red 5*

      Oh my gosh, I’m the same way. My previous career wasn’t the type that used LinkedIn at ALL, and so I have no idea how to even use it or what the point is. I do not get it and I’m so bad at it. I don’t even know how to check my messages…

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’m all over social media but Linkedin gives me weird feels, so I just kind of “Have one” but don’t “go there”.

        I still remember when my old boss was “invited” to the service and he was just like “WTF is this, is this facebook for business? That’s stupid, just use Facebook.” LOL

        It seems to be mostly recruiting or vendors that want to connect with me there, so I’m just like “cool.”

        I only use mine because I’m attached to our company profile so we can post job ads and we do sponsored ads just because it’s super cheap exposure.

  34. Earthwalker*

    #3 Can you model your ill-fitting uniform to management? We had a similar problem with uniforms once. We were required to get uniforms from a particular company which, while it offered both men’s and women’s, could not fit all body shapes. Several of us complained to no avail. Management thought we were just grousing that the uniforms weren’t stylish enough for our taste. So I (a woman) and a tall man took the opportunity to “try it on and bring it back if it doesn’t fit.” We modeled the best fit the uniform company could offer in front of our managers. His pants hems didn’t quite reach his socks, and the crotch of mine sagged nearly down to my knees. Realizing that we were awful representatives of the company image in the required uniforms, management relented and allowed us to buy slacks of a specified color and style from wherever we could get a good fit. Sometimes show works a lot better than tell.

    1. Jennifer*

      If she can’t pull it over her hips, I don’t think that’s a viable option. Besides she shouldn’t have to do that. She’s an adult, and they should trust their employees when they say something doesn’t fit them properly.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Well, of COURSE they should trust their employees on this topic. But (a) “it doesn’t fit properly” is pretty subjective and someone with a standard-issue body is not likely to truly understand *how badly* things can fit. Showing them gives them information they apparently don’t already have. And (b) “should” is not worth a lot in the real world where we have to deal with how things actually are.

        1. Jennifer*

          I’m not walking into a meeting with bosses with pants around my knees. “It doesn’t fit properly” should be sufficient and if it isn’t for them she should continue to stick to her guns as Alison suggested. I realize that things don’t always work out the way they should in the real world but this is non-negotiable. It’s unreasonable to expect anything else.

  35. Red 5*

    I worked at a job once that had uniform shirts, but we could wear our own pants.

    The shirts were awful and unflattering and generally uncomfortable. But it was especially a problem because they were men’s dress shirts and generally just felt uncomfortable for about half the women on the team. All the men that worked there would just get ready at home and show up to work already dressed. All the women would wear a different shirt and change in the bathroom when they arrived. We would even take off the uniform shirt just to go to the fast food place to get lunch. I remember mine came down almost to my knees before I tucked them in, which really didn’t work no matter how I tried to deal with it, because by the time I got the right width, the length was out of control.

    One day the boss remarked about how we were all so “obsessed” with not going outside the building in our shirts and the time we were taking to change and speculating that it meant we weren’t dedicated to the job or something. I pointed out that they were men’s shirts.

    He had no idea what I was talking about. Several of the women spent like an hour trying to explain to him that everything from the shoulders to the length were different and that it made them fit poorly and on top of being unflattering they were uncomfortable. I don’t think he even realized men and women’s dress shirts tend to button from the opposite sides. He had absolutely no concept how clothing could be different.

    So I would say that it’s possible that the company just doesn’t realize that men’s pants just aren’t going to work because they might just think pants are pants. I would think it’s how they react once they know the difference that matters.

    My boss in particular did not handle it well and thought that our issue was with the fact that they were dress shirts. So we just got switched to cheap polo shirts instead, but the uniform company offered the polo shirts in women’s sizes so it worked out okay I guess.

    1. Cheese_Toast*

      When “unisex” caters to your body type, it’s easy to ignore how much difficulty other people have finding clothes that fit.

      I have started to get a rage twitch in my eye whenever I hear jUsT wEaR tHe MeNs CuT!

  36. Jenny*

    I once interviewed a guy who listed that he was on a dance competition show on his resume. The job wasn’t remotely arts or dance related, but it caught my eye in a positive way. Put Jeopardy on!

  37. HailRobonia*

    “I see you were a Jeopardy contestant…. that explains why all your answers in this interview were in the form of a question.”

  38. Goldfinch*

    Not to be a bummer, but I’m wondering how the perception of Jeopardy contestant-hood will play out in the coming years, considering that the host may not be with us much longer. My guess is that it will become more prestigious in the future, until it reaches a tipping point where it becomes an age signifier.

  39. The Horse You Came In On*

    OP #3 – I sympathize. While I don’t work in a male-dominated industry, I have worked in one where the default uniform shirt is “unisex” aka male fit and often times, the sizes available are “unisex medium to XL” I cannot recall the number of times when I am handed a unisex/men’s large and expected to make it work. I carry rubber bands to tie the shirt so that it at least looks a bit more fitted/less like a nightgown. For reference, I am generally a women’s medium shirt and size 6 or a 28 in pants.

    However, I have never had anyone think that men and women fit in the same style of MENS PANTS. I really hope your company sees how ridiculous this is and lets you order the women’s pants again. In my industry, they rarely order bottoms for us but last time, they ordered basketball shorts for men and leggings for women and asked for our sizes. I was so thankful when I got there and they told me “I know we asked for your sizes but the uniforms actually ended up running really small. Here’s a medium legging and a large legging so you can see which one would work for you.”

  40. Augusta Hawkins Elton*

    I can’t tell from the letter, but I think it’s possible that the website and company from #2 did not change names, and could still be easily findable. I agree with Alison’s advice about providing a description of what the company did while you were there, but I do think you also need to put “the company has since transitioned to other content” or something that makes it clear that *you are not lying* on your resume. If I were reviewing a resume, saw that note, Googled the company, and realized they were actually adult content… well, I might assume that you were trying to hide what you had really been doing all along. I would play it extra safe by putting an explicit note on the resume itself that the company had changed directions.

  41. CoveredInBees*

    OP2 if you’re doing web development or other tech for this site, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Porn sites have been on the leading edge of web development in many areas, so it isn’t seen as smutty but a place to work on unique problems. My partner works in tech and is often asked to review the previous coding work of interviewees, including porn sites. I get not wanting to work for this site, but it won’t brand you with a scarlet P for having worked there.

  42. Pippa K*

    Letter #3 reminds me – there was recently a great thread on twitter by Mary Robinette Kowal, who wrote The Calculating Stars, on accessible vs optimised design for men and women astronauts. Her point was that suits and equipment in space are (now) accessible for both men and women, but it’s optimised for men – and particularly men of a certain height. It’s partly down to legacies of the early designers, but it persists in ways that make some things physically less easy for women to do. Happily, the presence of more and more women astronauts is shifting this.

    (Terrestrial workplaces have absolutely no damn excuse for defaulting to “male” uniforms, of course.)

    1. WS*

      Yes, and it worked against some male astronauts too, in that they were too tall – or in the case of Australian-American astronaut Andy Thomas, his spine decompressed in space more than they thought it would and he became too tall! Total standardisation is harmful to most people.

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