can I breastfeed my baby on video calls, credit checks in job interviews, and more

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

1. Is it okay to breastfeed my baby on video calls?

I had a baby in late March and will be returning to work next week, which means working from home in my case. My mother will be watching him while I work. One of the few bright spots of the pandemic is that instead of pumping breastmilk like I was planning, I will get to feed my baby directly. I imagine that despite my best planning, sometimes his feeding times will coincide with calls. My question is whether it’s unprofessional to breastfeed while on work calls or video meetings (with the camera pointing away from the baby). It takes me less than 10 minutes to feed him directly vs more than 20 minutes to deal with the pump, cleaning parts, and storing milk. In my state, women are allowed to breastfeed wherever they want but I’m not sure if it will be frowned upon or just awkward for my coworkers. If I were pumping milk under normal circumstances, I would close my office door and do it in private while still answering the phone and doing work.

I’d love for this answer to be “yes, do it without hesitation,” but how it’s perceived may depend on the meeting and to some extent the culture of your office. If it’s a pretty routine meeting with colleagues who know you, you should be able to do this; point the camera strategically and you should be fine. (Do make sure you mute the sound if he’s a noisy eater though.)

If it’s a meeting with a client or other VIPs, or if you’re in a very conservative office, I’d be more hesitant — not because of the breast-feeding, but because I’d be more hesitant to be holding a baby at all during that type of work call, even with no feeding involved. If he starts making noise or squirming or so forth, in some office cultures that’s going to read as you not fully focused on the meeting. That’s not true in all work cultures, though, so that’s where knowing yours comes in.

If you’re in a meeting where you’re not fully comfortable doing it, one option is just to turn off your video for that call (or that portion of the call.)

2. My interviewer asked if I had any credit issues he should know about

I had a pretty embarrassing job interview last week and was wondering if I could get your feedback about it. I was interviewing for a role that is not in the banking or financial industry for a job title I’ve held before at other companies for years. During the meeting, the interviewer mentioned that part of the pre-employment background screening would be a credit check and he asked me if there were any issues on my credit report that he needed to know about. I was caught off guard and pretty embarrassed because I am rebuilding my credit and I’ve never been asked this during an initial job interview. I just gave a vague answer that downplayed some of the negative marks on my credit report. I sent an email earlier today removing myself from consideration for the role because I didn’t want to be embarrassed again after the credit and background check came back. This interviewer seemed to really like me, we’ve worked at the same company in the past, and it seemed I had a good chance of getting the job until this issue came up.

Is this normal? I’ve read that it’s not legal to ask about financial history during an interview but wasn’t sure if that was true.

Most of the time when you see pre-employment credit checks, they’re for positions that involve money in some way, although some employers have broadened their use as a way of assessing your responsibility in general (which is gross and hugely problematic, given how many Americans have poor credit because of medical debt or poverty).

At the federal level, pre-employment credit checks are legal with some restrictions (they need your consent before pulling the report, must give you a copy of the report if they plan to reject you because of it, and need to send you an official notice if they don’t hire you as a result). But some states do prohibit them or restrict them to certain types of role, and some prohibit inquiries in an interview like the one you received. So you’d want to check your state law.

Assuming it’s legal in your state, the way your interviewer brought it up was still weird and guaranteed to make you feel put on the spot. He should have waited until he was ready to offer you the job and then given you a non-pressurey opening to to provide any context you wanted to provide (and ideally would have that done by HR or someone else who wasn’t him, since most people aren’t super enthused about talking about credit issues with their would-be manager), not put you on the spot like he did.

3. No one hears me introducing myself on conference calls

I’ve just started a new job, and this is the first time I’ve ever been on conference calls with any regularity. I’m having issues being heard on audio-only calls — I try to jump in at an appropriate time to say hello, but I keep being spoken over or not heard, to the point where I recently was on a call where the call leader assumed that my number was a silent hacker eavesdropping on the call rather than me! I know part of this is difficulty interrupting people, and that if I wait for an opening I’ll never be heard, but what’s the best way to politely make sure people know I’m here?

Yeah, it sounds like you’re going to have be more aggressive about announcing yourself — to the point that you may need to interrupt whoever’s starting the meeting at the very outset to say, “Sorry to interrupt — I’m not sure anyone heard me say I’m here. This is Jane.” That might feel a little jarring to do, but if people are assuming you’re a silent hacker, it’s worth doing.

You also might be able to message whoever’s running the call to say, “Not sure if anyone heard me announce myself, so I’m making sure you know I’m on.” I would also pay attention to your voice volume — if you have a naturally softer voice, you may need to speak unnaturally loud (or what feels unnaturally loud to you) when you’re interjecting.

If you hate all these options, another one is to call in slightly early so you’re one of the first ones on, and thus don’t have as many people to speak over to be heard.

4. Should I reapply for a job that just got reposted?

I’m currently in search mode due to being let go right before the pandemic hit. I’ve applied to quite a few jobs, including one a few weeks ago I was really interested in. I heard nothing back from the company and then the other day, I got my daily “New Jobs You Might Want to Apply For” email and saw that the company had reposted the job listing. Should I bother applying again? I lean towards no, since I figure there must’ve been a reason they didn’t reach out before, but then part of me wonders if they see me applying again, maybe they’ll realize how interested I am in the position and give me more consideration. What are your thoughts on this?

Nope, don’t reapply. It would be different if you’d applied six months ago and saw the position reposted now. But you just applied a few weeks ago; it’s too soon. You’re either still in their candidate mix or they’ve already considered and rejected you, but either way, applying again so quickly would be odd.

Don’t read too much into them reposting — it’s common to refresh job postings because they expire or so they don’t seem old/out-of-date, and it doesn’t indicate much about how the search is going. But even if they reposted it because they’re having trouble finding the right person, if they wanted to interview you, your application is so recent that it would already be on their radar.

5. I want to keep reporting to my temporary manager

About three months ago I started working for a new company (incredibly lucky to have been hired at the start of the pandemic!) and have few complaints. When I started, I reported to Sally, a kind person that was pulled in too many directions to give me the onboarding experience I would have liked, but I got the feeling she did her best. A few weeks ago, Sally was put on a large project taking up more of her time so it was decided I would temporarily report to her boss, Jack.

I’ve been much happier reporting to Jack. Our work styles are more similar, he promptly answers emails, and has yet to miss a meeting (all issues I faced with Sally). I’m apprehensive about this temporary arrangement ending and am wondering if there’s a way I could ask to continue reporting to Jack.

Because I’m so new to the company, I don’t want to make waves or make Sally look bad to her boss, but I also know I can do my job more effectively under Jack. Is there a tactful way to approach this?

Talk to Jack. Tell him you’re enjoying working for him, feel your styles are well suited for each other, and would like to continue, and ask if there’s a way to make that happen. You can also mention that Sally has seemed really busy and you appreciate that Jack has more time to talk with you. (Say that without judgment about Sally’s responsiveness; you don’t want her to hear you were criticizing her, especially if you end up back on her team.)

There might be nothing Jack can do — it might not make sense structurally for him to take you on permanently, in which case this would be a hard sell — but it’s worth asking the question.

{ 511 comments… read them below }

  1. Courtney*

    LW#1, I would want to say something along the lines of ‘I need to turn my camera off for 10 minutes, but I am still here and listening’, then turn off my camera. I’m not a mother though, and don’t know the politics of your office. Would this be egregious? They don’t really need details, but maybe you could give you manager a heads up – ‘I will be doing my best to avoid having to feed Baby on calls, but it might happen. I will politely excuse myself from casting my video feed if it does come up but I just wanted you to know.’

    LW#3, I am naturally soft spoken, and often our clients struggle to hear me on the phone (mostly farmers who are deaf from years of heavy machinery use). I feel like I’m shouting into the phone each time I answer it, and I absolutely hate it, but it might be something you need to think about.

    1. LizM*

      I’m sure this depends on your office culture, but it’s not unusual in my organization for people to turn off their cameras when they’re not speaking. People do it to save bandwidth (I had an employee tell me she, her husband, and her kids were all on seperate zoom calls at one point, and her home wifi just couldn’t handle it), or just for some privacy on a long call. I wouldn’t think anything of it if someone turned their video off for a few minutes.

      The other thing that’s probably still impossible to imagine, given that you may still be in the throws of the 4th trimester (those first 3 months when the baby is still sooooo dependent) is that you’ll likely settle into a more predictible routine. By 4 or 5 months, I knew when my son needed to eat within about 15 min. If your organization is open to it, you may want to block out the some blocks, the same way you would if you were in the office and pumping.

      1. Courtney*

        This is WAY better advice than I could give, because I don’t have the personal experience to back up anything I say. Thank you :)

      2. S*

        My daughter is 6 months old, and possibly because I never ended up leaving her to go back to work, is more of a snacker than a predictable “every three hours” nurser. I have one day/week where I’m in constant meetings with colleagues and just turn the camera off to nurse when needed. On a larger scale, there are so many parents at home with kids right now, and I think expectations around kids popping up on calls despite parents’ best efforts have changed. (Or at least, I think this is true in many organizations.) Presence or absence of boobs does not alter this reality, but I agree that I’d prefer not to put them on display to all my colleagues!

        1. JSPA*

          Personal-politically, it should always be a) legal and b) not shocking to feed a kid who really needs to be fed, whether it’s sliced bananas for a rug rat, or milk from the source for an infant.

          But just as I would not use the vast majority of work calls to make a snack for a toddler, I would avoid breastfeeding an infant. (Certainly not in a more formal call where you wouldn’t be eating, either.)

          Now, if the calls are back to back, and you know you have hungry progeny, eventually you do what you have to, OF COURSE.

          If you’re in a very relaxed chat with your team where one person’s eating, another person’s got the cat on their lap, another person’s sharing popsicles with a 5 year old, I don’t see anything more distracting about breastfeeding.

          If you have a baby who has significant eating problems or failure to thrive, or if you let down your milk the moment you hear them fuss (some people have that reaction, others don’t), the feedings happen on demand, and that’s just how it has to be.

          But if the baby is fine, and you’re able to wait, and you’re terribly distracted by waiting, then agreed with Alison, it’s more professional to not have people knowing that you’re multitasking.

      3. Persephone Underground*

        Same- I’ll often turn my camera off without saying anything about it because, for example, my husband is in the room and needs to change or whatever (my home office is in our bedroom). People tend to get annoyed if everyone stops using the cameras all together, because that makes communication harder overall without body language or facial expressions, but individuals turning it off and on goes totally unremarked at my office anyway.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          I try to remember to turn the camera off when *I’m* eating. I figure it’s not fair to make people hungry while on a video call.

      4. Alice's Rabbit*

        Also, there are some really discreet nursing covers these days. 10 years ago, they were so garishly colored and patterned, you might as well have been holding a sign advertising that you were nursing. But I’ve seen a bunch out of plain, solid-colored or conservative print fabric that look like fairly normal clothes. Some even look like a lightweight, fashionable poncho.
        So if OP#1 does need to have their camera on, that can make things more discreet.

        1. Rachel in NYC*

          I also find- depending on the camera and so forth- but I’m able to make sure that the only thing that appears in my camera frame is my head, a little bit of shoulders and the wall behind me. Zoom at least shows you a preview of what people will see before you get on- so I always check because my clothing choices continue to devolve.

          No one needs to see that I’m wearing some t-shirt that I picked up on a trip someplace.

          1. AngstyAdmin*

            The preview is perfect for making sure the lighting is right and you don’t look like a jack o’ lantern, but for this scenario I’d definitely test-drive a full-Zoom call set up. IMO the camera captures a slightly wider view during an actual call than the preview would have you believe. I did a Zoom call next to a little bookcase in my apartment, and was surprised when another attendee complimented a random tchotchke that looked out of view according to the preview.

          2. Paulina*

            Anyone using Teams may need to be more careful. About 4 weeks ago a colleague in a meeting briefly shared her screen, and I was embarrassed to discover that the picture she had of me went significantly lower on my torso than the inset Teams was showing me. Nothing risqué about it, thankfully, but it was a significantly more casual shirt than I would have chosen had I thought the design on the front would be visible. And I have no idea how many similar meetings that would have happened for, with at least some participants; it seemed to be a feature of getting the full side of the display window, with a more vertical space to fill.

      5. Quinalla*

        Yes, folks turn their cameras off without announcement pretty frequently and no one batts an eye. It is assumed they are having network issues, kids came in, pet, etc. all sort of reasons and no one cares. So I would just do that, maybe give your manager a heads up if you feel it is necessary. As long as you have your camera on most of the time, I doubt anyone will care.

      6. PeanutButter*

        Yes, in the lab group where I work, the culture is to have cameras on during Zoom meetings, but turn them off (without any fanfare) occasionally when you need to. Nobody has ever said anything, we just assume the person had to go to the bathroom, answer the door, assume their crime-fighting alter-ego and save the city, whatever, and they’ll be back or pipe up if they have to.

    2. Something Clever TBD.*

      Agree. Turn off camera. Yes, breasts are for feeding, and yes, you can do that wherever you want. (I recently returned from maternity leave myself.)
      But, I feel like insisting on breastfeeding on video calls comes across as unnecessarily trying to prove a point and/or in your face

      1. Courtney*

        I hadn’t even considered it from a feminist standpoint (for lack of better phrasing), more as modesty and to avoid any accidental nip slips to your colleagues. Similar to how I would be embarrassed if I had my skirt hitched into my underwear accidentally.

        1. Something Clever TBD.*

          I’m a big feminist but a bad feminist when it came to breastfeeding. Put me on a top optional beach, and I’ll pick no tan lines any day. Put me in a room with anyone other than my partner or my mother/MIL and expect me to breastfeed – and I wish I was dead.

          1. Courtney*

            I’m not a mother but i feel like I would be the opposite? I can’t imagine getting my top off at a beach (body shame! woo!) but breastfeeding? In theory, I don’t care at all. Although maybe it would be different if it was colleagues rather than friends, family, or strangers? I wont ever know!

            1. Mystery Bookworm*

              I’m sure it varies, but for me breastfeeding could be kind of a tricky experience… I often had to pull out a breast entirely, kind of rub the nipple against my baby to start it lactating, and then massage and squeeze my breast to insert it into her mouth and get her to latch. It wasn’t so involved every time, but then sometimes it lol a few tries. No interest in doing that in front of others!

              Whereas I know other Moms who had less trouble with it and could just casually slide their baby under their shirt.

          2. Harper the Other One*

            That’s not “bad feminist” unless you feel like every other breastfeeding woman should do the same! Choice as always rules the day. I was comfortable nursing in most situations but even though I didn’t return to work until my children were school age, I wouldn’t have been comfortable combining my “breastfeeding mom” life with my “work colleagues” life.

          3. Jenny*

            I was perfectly cool with public breastfeeding but I wouldn’t want to do it in a video call (my toddler is weaned noe). I think it’s the idea of people you can’t see watching. I would just turn my camera off.

          4. Insert Clever Name Here*

            Wanting privacy to breastfeed doesn’t make you a bad feminist, it makes you a feminist who realizes that what’s right for one woman isn’t right for another. I had every intention of breastfeeding my child whenever with no regard for who was around, but then when I was actually breastfeeding I found it to be a really intimate time between me and my child and I didn’t want anyone not immediately in our circle involved. Seeing other women breastfeed in public? I give them a mental high five and keep my ear out for anyone being ignorant so that I can tell that person to buzz off.

            1. Third or Nothing!*

              Same! I was OK with breastfeeding my daughter in semi-private (so, like, an area that was still public but more out of the way because I don’t like crowds) but once she was old enough to be fascinated by the world, she got way too distracted if I didn’t find somewhere mostly private. I even had to stop watching shows while breastfeeding because she’d unlatch to figure out where the sound was coming from!

              LW 1, one big factor to consider besides things already discussed in this thread is how distracted your little one gets. Your nugget is about to reach a developmental stage where babies kind of “wake up” to the world around them and sometimes that means they become easily distracted when nursing. In that situation, you kind of have to find a quiet secluded area or else the baby keeps unlatching to investigate. A bunch of people on a screen might be too tempting if you’ve got a super curious child like mine.

              1. Greengirl*

                Yeah I have to feed my child in a dark room in monastic silence or he gets distracted. I tried feeding him during video calls but he wouldn’t focus. After one meeting where it just didn’t go well at all we switched to giving him a bottle of expressed milk if he needed to eat while I was in a video call. He loves zoom meetings too much to want to eat!

                I turned my camera off for feedings as I didn’t want to accidentally flash my coworkers and I’m someone who is not shy about breastfeeding in public generally. People turn their cameras off all the time so it’s not a big deal.

                1. maria*

                  Same here – I’ve tried to feed my baby (when muted) on video calls, and even once or twice while talking, but he wasn’t as good of an eater as normal with video/audio distractions. I’ve had better success when I put the audio into headphones (with the cord running behind my back so he doesn’t play with _that_) – it does make me wish for AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones occasionally, but I mostly just try not to nurse during calls as much as possible.

              2. PenicilliumIHardlyKnowEm*

                Yup. I had a kid like that, but he eventually focused on the boob because otherwise, it went away. The other was more focused, but loved pull my shirt up and down while he nursed, but refused any sort of nursing cover. I was fine with nursing in public but always had to face a wall or similar because he’d turn my shirt into a big waving flag and that was too much for me.

          5. Akcipitrokulo*

            Either is fine to do or not want to! I wouldn’t feel ok sunbathing but after gained confidence, happy to feed any time, any place.

      2. NotMyDayJob*

        ‘insisting on breastfeeding on video calls’? no one mentioned insisting, op is asking how to feed her baby, not making a political statement

        1. snowglobe*

          If she keeps the video on when she has the option to turn it off, it might seem like she’s trying to make a statement. Why else leave the video on?

          1. Lyudie*

            Because some organizations insist on everyone having cameras on all the time and will call out or otherwise side-eye someone for not having the camera on. There are any number of letters and comments here about bosses insisting on video calls all the time. If OP is concerned about this, I would assume she has good reason for that.

            1. WellRed*

              No organization in the history of organizations will insist on a breastfeeding mom to leave the camera in.

              1. Lyudie*

                I certainly hope not. But it is possible that OP doesn’t want to have to reveal why she is off camera. More likely they would tell her to wait to feed the baby, and as many have pointed out that’s often not a good idea or possible esp if it’s a long meeting. We don’t know all the details, but I’d assume if OP was concerned enough to write in, there are reasons for that.

                1. Something Clever TBD.*

                  You name it, and there’s at least one boss out there who is horrible enough to do it. But I think MOST bosses would never dream of objecting to a breastfeeding woman turning the camera off.

                2. Something Clever TBD.*

                  I had interpreted OP as asking if she could breastfeed during call bc she wanted to, not “I have to be on a call, I don’t think my boss will let me turn off the camera, and I have to feed my baby, so what do I do?” My interpretation was her saying, if my baby is hungry and it’s appropriate to breast-feed her in a park, or in a mall, or wherever, is it also appropriate during my video calls?

                3. Malarkey01*

                  The thing is telling someone you are turning off your camera to nurse is the LESS invasive thing when compared to nursing on camera. I don’t think it’s practical to say I don’t want to burn political capital turning off a video feed but think that it will not raise eyebrows to nurse on camera (and there’s going to be a baby hand or baby foot that hits the camera field at some point of getting the baby handed to you or back off).

                  I am very pro breastfeeding, but once ran into a male coworker at a restaurant while I was nursing and it was awkward.

              2. Lora*

                Dude. We’ve heard about the liver donation boss, graveyard-pestering boss, catered dinner interview bosses, urinating coffee cup boss, and any number of affair-related shenanigans. Somewhere out there, is definitely a boss who fusses about leaving the camera on while an employee is breastfeeding. This person definitely exists, we just haven’t heard about them yet.

                I am all the more certain because “being clueless about how women’s bodies work on an extremely basic level” is depressingly normal.

                1. Environmental Compliance*

                  “I am all the more certain because “being clueless about how women’s bodies work on an extremely basic level” is depressingly normal.”


                2. Akcipitrokulo*

                  I had boss that accidentally locked me out of room for expressing (glass fronted, so I had to hide behind door anyway, and when I discreetly found best place I could, in corner shielded from view by many huge conference banners (2m+ tall), carpeted me for being inappropriate and making others uncomfortable.

                3. Devon*

                  I turned off my camera for part of a team-wide meeting since I needed to eat lunch and stuffing your face full of food is pretty noticeable on camera. I didn’t think anyone would care since there were about 30 people in the meeting and I didn’t need to talk at all, and my boss was still like, “I see you’re in the meeting, but your camera is off, is everything okay?” Someone will definitely do this to a woman who’s just trying to feed her baby.

                4. valentine*

                  Somewhere out there, is definitely a boss who fusses about leaving the camera on while an employee is breastfeeding.
                  Probs the boss from Captain Awkward letter #1226.

              3. The Grey Lady*

                Probably not, but they may insist that OP leave her camera on and find sometime else to breastfeed. I don’t know how unreasonable OP’s boss is because she didn’t say, but some bosses are jerks about this. Hopefully OP works at a place where she can just turn her camera off for a bit with no problems, but every single company isn’t like that.

            2. JSPA*

              The term for that is, “technical difficulties.” You don’t need to specify what’s technically difficult ; )

              Seriously, even the clueless boss who says, “well, talk to IT about ironing out those difficulties” or “why are we springing for broadband if the connection still won’t let you keep video on” isn’t going to come over to the house and investigate in person.

              Technically correct answer, just in case: “The interference is sporadic and unpredictable. Must be high demand for something in the general area. I’ll see what I can find out.”

      3. Bridget the Elephant*

        I found when feeding a newborn on video calls (my daughter was 2-6 months old at the time) it was pretty easy to angle the camera so only my face was visible. So long as I fed as soon as baby was showing hunger cues, there was hardly any baby noise (muting my mic and turning off the camera was not an option).

          1. blackcat*

            Nope, I did this, too. He was quieter while nursing than almost anything else, and super easy to point the camera so that it got me from the chin up, no baby visible.
            I did it and assumed no one noticed. No one ever said anything….

            1. Something Clever TBD.*

              I’m super jealous. We had “latch” issues initially, bc baby was “tongue tied” – so in my mind, breast-feeding involves multiple strangers in the hospital grabbing my boobs, and trying to stick them into mouths. Baby and I got better at it, but we never became pros.

        1. MCL*

          One of my dear friends often breastfeeds her baby when I talk to her on Zoom, and honestly even though I know she’s doing it I forget. She angles the camera toward her face and I think uses a dark cover-up. You just can’t tell she’s doing it. Her kid is pretty quiet.

          1. The Grey Lady*

            That’s what I was thinking. As long as her kid isn’t Captain Slurpy when it comes to eating, I would think she should be fine. And even then she could just mute herself. If she angles the camera a certain way, most people will probably not even notice. And, uh, I saw a Zoom call where someone was sitting on the toilet during the meeting. So…there’s definitely been weirder stuff going down than this.

            1. PeanutButter*

              Also if LW gets a headset and good quality mic, fewer baby noises will make it to the audio feed if she needs to keep it on.

        2. Mona Lisa*

          My PM sometimes does this on internal calls. She’s in back-to-back meetings nearly every day so, when she’s on a call with only our project team, she’ll angle the camera up more and feed her son. I was a bit surprised at first but was really thankful to get a cue like that about my new company’s assertion that they’re accommodating and family friendly.

      4. Aquawoman*

        All of the extra (and often conflicting) expectations of women add up to a significant burden that interferes with their ability to work. That’s what patriarchy is. She already said that the baby (and ergo her breasts) are not going to be on camera. She is trying to both feed her child AND get her job done, and you’re giving her flak for it. The added assumption that she’s keeping the camera on just to stick it to people and not because of stuff she knows about her workplace culture is also pretty derogatory.

        1. Something Clever TBD.*

          I actually misread this post, and thought Alison‘s first line about “I’d love for the answer to be yes” was written by OP. But I don’t think I was giving her “flak” either way.
          Gotta say, being accused of being part of the “patriarchy” for commenting on breastfeeding/workplace issues WHILE FEEDING MY OWN INFANT is an first for me.

          1. biobotb*

            Well, accusing someone who’s just trying to feed their infant while doing their work (which includes video calls) of being in your face and trying to prove a point isn’t exactly supportive and non-judgmental. And an odd stance to take if you’re also trying to balance working with breastfeeding.

            1. Something Clever TBD.*

              Except, that wasn’t my stance. Someone asked our opinion about something. I said that “I feel like” it would “come across” a certain way, so I wouldn’t do it.
              And, you read that as accusatory and I’m part of the patriarchy? Huh? That’s not even close to accurate.

              1. Myrna M*

                Good grief. Mom of 3 kids that I breastfed and I totally agree that it would seem political and in your face to insist on nursing on camera.

                1. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

                  It might seem political if the camera was focused on the breastfeeding. Not if it was focused on her face and shoulders, as is normal for most Zoom calls I’ve been on and as seems clear from context is what LW was talking about.

      5. Quinalla*

        For me, I’d look at it this way. Would I think eating on the video call would be rude? If so, I wouldn’t breastfeed with camera on on the video call. Also have no issues if someone wants their camera off, but honestly with my setup you would never see the baby or have any chance of a flash of boob, so that does affect how I respond here. But breastfeeding is equal to eating in my mind. So important VIP call, etc. as Alison says, I wouldn’t do it, routine call for internal meeting or 1 on 1 call for a quick update – not a big deal for me.

        And yeah, I don’t think anyone is insisting on breastfeeding on video, but for some it really is NBD. For others, they like to keep breastfeeding more private and nothing wrong with that either. But there shouldn’t be pressure to hide it like it is something obscene. It is a baby eating. Trust me, I get why people get weird about it, but an important way to remove stigma around it is if folks are comfortable just breastfeeding and not making a deal about it. Anyway, I’m long past breastfeeding now, but there is NO WAY I would pump in this pandemic if stuck home with a nursing baby. Nurse that baby for sure, it is so much easier. There are some unlucky folks with latching issues, etc. but if you have a baby that latches fine, so much less time and effort to just nurse than pump.

    3. Drag0nfly*

      Yes, just turn the camera off. There’s no actual reason to be hand wringing here; just turn the camera off.

      No one signed up to see your bare breasts. Breastfeeding is natural. So is urinating. So is sex. None of those things *need* to happen under the direct observation of your coworkers. It’s not “shameful” to use discretion. Where your bodily functions are concerned, discretion is *never* wrong, and is *always* appreciated, particularly in the workplace.

      And if your office has a culture where they don’t want the camera off for some reason, simply speak up. A reasonable person isn’t going to insist you nurse in front of them, let alone in front of a crowd, let alone in front of a crowd on camera. Just turn the camera off; you’re good.

        1. Mathou*

          No, it is not like urinating. But a lot of things are natural, not gross and normalised, and yet, are not acceptable in an office – or at least, they can be frowned upon or affect your capital.
          A few weeks ago, Alison advised someone that it would not be a good idea to eat during a work call because it would be too casual. Breastfeeding a baby is even more distracting, because you can’t put down the baby like you would a sandwich during a particularly important bit of a meeting.

          There are a lot of things that don’t require any brain activity from me, and that I can’t do in work calls : painting my nails, eating, tidying up, playing Animal Crossings…

          At the end of the day, if you wouldn’t do it in plain sight in a conference room at work, at least turn off your camera, because someone will definitely think you are not focused on work.

          1. Alice's Rabbit*

            That’s definitely a better comparison than bathroom needs. Yes, feeding a baby is much like eating your own lunch. If you’re in a setting where it would be rude to chow down on a full meal, probably not a good idea to obviously nurse.

          2. Natalie*

            “Casual seeming” and “distracting” are two completely different issues, beyond the logistical realities of nursing.

            Although based on your comments below, it’s pretty clear that by “someone”, you mean you. So perhaps you should just own whatever your issue is with working mothers.

          3. Uranus Wars*

            I did a one-one personal appointment yesterday and the other person was breastfeeding. I didn’t think it was an issue, we’re both women, we both have breasts (even if I never had kids) – do your thing!…

            but the thing was the baby was super fussy, and she kept bumping the camera, and then the camera moved so all I could see was her ceiling and then I felt like I had to scream over the child once it got very fussy.

            And she kept reassuring me this wouldn’t be the case in the future, it was a one-off. And I definitely did not let the affect my decision to set up another appointment.

            But I can’t help but think if I was that distracted – was she not? Or is it such background noise for a mother it doesn’t phase them the way it does someone who is an outsider?

            1. Caroline Bowman*

              That sounds like a very unfortunate set of circumstances – possibly the baby is normally not remotely fussy and / or simply wouldn’t be there in future, but I can imagine how distracting the whole scenario must have been!

              If it does happen again, then say something, but you don’t sound at all as though the breastfeeding is the issue… more the noise and knocking the camera and general distraction.

            2. Colette*

              Yeah, I think this is one of those things that depends on both the baby and the meeting. Is the baby a good eater? Will the baby eat quietly for minutes at a time? Is it a meeting where you’re listening most of the time or presenting? Are you meeting with people you know?

              There’s a difference between a presentation to the CEO or a big client and a meeting with your team.

        2. D'Arcy*

          I would say more facepalm than LOL, because this is the *absolutely predictable* canard that someone will always bring up when breastfeeding is talked about.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        It’s not equivalent to urinating. It’s equivalent to eating.

        A baby that age is completely dependent on milk feeds for sustenance. Pumping is an unnecessary additional step (I won’t get into the biological differences in process), and nursing parents are very adept at multitasking during nursing. There’s a lovely video going round where a mom is in the middle of a phone call or similar, then suddenly panics because she can’t see her baby. She checks the bassinet and the sofa beside her and the floor … and then realises that baby was nursing the whole time. LW can definitely give her full attention to the call.

        All of which is to say, treat it like any other unavoidable food situation, like a diabetic grabbing a sandwich in a 12pm meeting. Video and audio off, be as quick as you can. Simple.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          (when I say pumping is an unnecessary additional step, I mean that in most cases including LW’s it isn’t *required* to get milk to baby, not that it is never useful. And I’m speaking from the experience of having been a 100% pumping mom when my child was too little to take direct feeds. Pumping sucks.)

        2. MK*

          It’s not equivalent to eating or a diabetic grabbing a sandwich, because it’s not the OP consuming food. If you want to be pedantic, it’s equivalent to feeding someone else and I don’t think a parent giving a toddler their lunch is something that should happen on a work zoom.

          1. jules*

            I have a friend whose child needs to be fed by g-tube every two hours. She’s currently the only one in the household able to do those feeds. If feeding time happens to fall during a video conference, then she will do the feed during the video conference, because its got to be done.

            1. Mathou*

              This seems like a very specific issue that is not representative of the majority of parents.

              1. MayLou*

                But so is needing to breastfeed during a video call. Not as specific, but the majority of parents aren’t dealing with that.

              2. Perbie*

                But does she leave the camera on?
                Honestly not a big deal to me either way I think the point is we all may have to do various maintenance things during the day, but if it’s not directly relevant to work it probably shouldn’t be on camera / at a work meeting. And if the company is weird about turning cameras off well then, deal with that however makes sense but frankly i think it’s redic for companies to require it. But it depends ie patient teleconference i think it’s important for us to see each other; case conferences and meetings between staff not so much.

              3. Anononon*

                Except, to some degree, in MANY CASES, breastfeeding may be that urgent and/or time sensitive. It’s often not something you can wait to do until a more convenient time.

                1. Caroline Bowman*

                  So then ”I’m turning off my camera for 10 mins, nothing wrong, I’ll pop back up in a bit!” (I might tell my manager or the meeting organiser that there is the possibility of this, NOT ask permission, but simply give them a heads-up).

                2. jules*

                  This was my point. If a child needs to be fed, frequently, and only one person is able to make that happen, those needs take precedence. It’s very different from giving a meal to a typically developing toddler.

            2. snowglobe*

              The question isn’t whether it should be done, but should the camera be on. In your friend’s situation, I would also suggest turning off the video.

          2. Green great dragon*

            Toddlers can have set lunch times, small babies may not. And if my toddler were hungry on a long zoom call I would most certainly prioritise getting them something to eat over me facing the camera every single second.

          3. WorkingParent*

            I rarely comment on these, but this comparison is off-base. A baby needs to be feed when a baby needs to be fed. And if breastfeeding there is really only one person who can accomplish that. And you are completely ignoring the physical and health/medical implications of a breastfeeding mother not feeding or pumping when needed. It’s not the same as “feeding someone else” when we’re talking about a newborn and a breastfeeding mother. It’s a team sport, so to speak.

            1. Alice's Rabbit*

              And frequent delays can decrease the milk supply, too. So putting it off is a bad idea.

              1. blackcat*

                Or mastitis, which is THE WORST. So bad! I spiked a 105 fever and was nearly hospitalized with it.

                1. Alice's Rabbit*

                  Yeouch! I am so sorry!
                  But yeah, yet another example of what can happen if you delay feeding.

      2. MK*

        I agree. There is, I think, a difference between asserting your right to breastfeed in public, which was the subject of quasi-political debate, and doing it on a work video call, because in public no one has to watch the process, in fact they shouldn’t stare, they should go about their business, while in the latter your coworkers have no choice but to look, the whole point of a video conf6being that you can see your coworkers.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          I don’t know how far away people are from their cameras, but my breasts are generally not on view in video meetings anyway — it would be a minor change to shift the camera up a little more so they were totally off-camera.

        2. Elizabeth I*

          I wouldn’t really consider it a debate, though. Federal law grants women the right to nurse their babies anywhere that the women are legally allowed to be. That seems pretty settled to me.

          I mean, sure there are going to be a few people who will be uncomfortable with that, but there are lots of other legal activities that make some people uncomfortable, and that doesn’t mean those activities are at all up for debate (such as nude beaches, to repurpose an example mentioned somewhere above).

          1. AnotherName*

            I’m assuming that would be “anywhere that both the woman and infant are legally allowed to be,” right? Not to be pedantic, just clear. There are a lot of places a woman could be that an infant would not be permitted (e.g., very stringent clean manufacturing sites, where anyone present would have to have special training and wear special gear). Obviously, the workplace would have to provide an alternative site for breastfeeding.

            I’ve often wondered how this works in courtrooms, especially if an infant would not normally be permitted. I recall a letter from here (or maybe elsewhere?) about this, but I can’t remember how it ended up being resolved. It seems less clear-cut than when it is merely an issue of safety.

            1. AnotherName*

              But there is federal law for federal property, right? I think Public Law 108-199, Section 629, Division F, Title VI is the federal law that states a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a federal building or on federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.

      3. Forrest*

        Not sure you need to be quite so emphatic: I don’t think anyone’s desperately fighting for the Right To Keep Their Camera On. It’s frankly weird that you’re talking about breastfeeding mums as if we’re massive exhibitionists who want to wang our boobs at everyone andhave to be dissuaded.

        1. Tuckerman*

          I know, I hate that when a mom is trying to figure out the best way to meet all obligations, everyone jumps on her. Why? It is so isolating being a new mom, and hard to manage competing priorities. Why do people insist on making it even harder?

      4. LegallyRed*

        It is absolutely possible to breastfeed AND exercise discretion. I nursed my daughter in public all the time, and I can promise you that no one ever saw my bare breasts. And I didn’t use a cover either. (For those wondering, I used the two shirt method — one pulled up, one pulled down, with essentially only my nipple “exposed” but of course the baby’s head covered that.)

        To the LW, I agree that this is a situation where you have to consider organizational culture. I hate pumping milk and only do it when it’s absolutey necessary, so I like the suggestions of turning off your video, re-angling your camera, or blocking out feeding times on your calendar.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I agree that it is absolutely possible to breastfeed and exercise discretion. It does depend on the baby’s cooperation. I remember once I stopped the car to breastfeed my daughter while trying to work out which way I was supposed to have gone (pre GPS days). A guy walked past, I opened the window to ask for directions and my daughter broke off from feeding to chortle at the guy: he got an eyeful and was suddenly unable to give me directions (and I hadn’t even realised that my breast was hanging out for all to see!)
          I’ve seen babies ripping off covers and doing all sorts of things that will draw unnecessary attention, and their mothers have mostly been mortified.

          1. Caroline Bowman*

            My first 2 babies were horrendous feeders for a variety of annoying reasons and so our breastfeeding didn’t last very long, a few weeks at most. The 3rd one was a champion feeder and we got so good at it that I could be walking around with him latched on and somewhat forget that I might not be fully dressed… and yes, yes I did. I opened the door to a delivery person with a baby latched one side (thankfully), a shirt entirely open and my grotty bra, not properly done up on the other, stained with milk. He was so polite, simply avoided looking at me and did not mention it. I only realised when I got inside and saw myself in a mirror!!

        2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          re-angling your camera

          What about the prepared Zoom loop avatar that was discussed during the daily 3-hour Zoom calls from Hell? I think this would be another good application for that technique…

        3. KaciHall*

          I remember at a Halloween party, I was nursing my newborn and suddenly the host went, ‘Wait, where’s the baby?’ because he noticed the bouncer was empty rather than the fact that I was nursing him. I wasn’t even being as discreet as normal, given that I was in costume and not a nursing top, and my son was in a bright orange tiger costume. Still, no one noticed until the host asked about him.

          I wouldn’t have the video on for a work call while nursing, though. Or if I had to, I’d focus the camera on my face only. And use a Bluetooth headset so the mic was closer to my mouth than my chest.

      5. Mami21*

        Can we just… not call breastfeeding equivalent to urinating. Just stop. It’s not the same function and does not involve anyone’s genitalia. Just because you see breasts purely as sexual does not mean that is their function. A mother feeding her baby is not the same as either a man or woman urinating in public, and you know it.

        1. Anononon*

          I agree. In fact, let’s take it a step further and not use comparisons at all when discussing the “appropriateness” of breastfeeding because there really is nothing to compare it. The act is perfectly fine (of course based on the comfort level of the parent) on its own without needing to justify it against other acts.

          1. Alice's Rabbit*

            If one must make a comparison, it’s like eating. If there’s a good reason why one shouldn’t eat somewhere, then one likely shouldn’t breastfeed there, either. Like the server room at a computer company: might be private – if noisy – but it’s not a good idea to eat in there.

        2. Something Clever TBD.*

          The commenter did not say breastfeeding is just like urinating (or sex). That’s not a fair reading of the comment, in my view. Sorry I laughed. I was feeding my baby at the time and, frankly, I’m exhausted.

          1. Anononon*

            Breastfeeding is natural. So is urinating. So is sex.

            They were clearly comparing the three acts, though, and indicating that there is some equivalence. Otherwise, their comment is meaningless.

            1. Something Clever TBD.*

              They named three natural things. Three things can have something in common (being natural) without being equivalents.
              “Bananas are yellow. So are lemons.”
              No one would interpret that as “bananas and lemons are equivalent and interchangeable.”
              I think commenter was saying that there is more to the discussion that “it’s natural, so you can do it anywhere.” Just sticking up for commenter here, bc everyone jumped all over her/him, and I don’t think it was fair to do so.

              1. Ann Perkins*

                But he was implying that all those things are both biological functions, and as such should be done in private. It is completely appropriate to breastfeed in public and doesn’t have to involve “bare breasts” as he said.

      6. Not A Girl Boss*

        To me breastfeeding on camera is the same thing as pumping on camera. There’s a huge difference between closing your office door to pump while you multitask, and pumping in the middle of a cubicle you share with 4 people.

        I absolutely think you should feel fine to breastfeed during calls…. But I think you should do it with the camera off. Because honestly, what’s the downside to having it off for 10 minutes vs the downside to making your co-workers feel uncomfortable?

        (For the record, I mean uncomfortable in that sometimes it’s just kind of awkward to hold eye contact and carry a conversation with someone when you know something unusual is happening. Like if they have a stain on their chest and you’re actively trying not to look. Not uncomfortable like anyone has a right to tell you not to feed your baby in their presence. Because they don’t. But when you’re engaged in an actual conversation with someone they can’t just look away to feel respectful of your privacy like a stranger could if you had to pause on a park bench to nurse).

        1. Tuckerman*

          Do you have experience pumping? Breastfeeding and pumping on camera would look/sound very different. A baby is much closer/lower on your body than breast pump parts/bottles, unless you’re specifically using a pump that is designed to fit under your clothes.

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            I understand that pumping is more disruptive/loud/obvious. But LW specifically mentioned that if she was pumping she would have shut the door to her office. So it still felt like a better-than-average metaphor to me.

            I guess I could have said “would you bring the baby into the office for a visit and then sit down at the conference table during a meeting and nurse”? And that would have been a bit more similar.

            And who knows, maybe LW would do either of those things. If it’s accepted at her office, great. In my (generally fairly welcoming) office it would be a no fly zone.

            1. Not A Girl Boss*

              I guess my point is that I’ve been generally perplexed lately about how many things people are willing to do on camera that they would never do in person. So I think bringing the context back to “would you do this in front of your peers normally” can be useful.

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                If I had to have my baby with me at work all day, every day, you bet I’d feed the baby in front of my peers normally. I mean, what other choices would I have?

            2. Tuckerman*

              But being in a Zoom meeting is not the same as being in a face to face meeting. With a Zoom meeting you control where the camera points.

        2. Greengirl*

          Oh it’s not the same thing at all. I happily breastfeed in front of other people (when my kid would allow it) but don’t pump in front of other people. It’s much less discreet. It’s noisy and also there’s not a way for me to avoid showing my breasts while doing it. A baby’s head covers a lot more than a pump does in terms of sightlines. It’s also much more stressful!

          1. Greengirl*

            I have done phone calls with the video off while pumping and had to toss a blanket over the pump to muffle the noise.

            I also don’t plan on pumping during video meetings but will do so for impromptu meetings where someone needs to chat with me about something.

        3. UrbanChic*

          Hi there! I pump while on zoom calls all the time. You cannot see below my neck, and the sound is quiet enough that it is not bothersome or even noticeable to other folks. The average person will pump 60-90min in a 9 hour period, and if you have a meeting intense schedule, it’s challenging to schedule around that.

      7. blackcat*

        But it’s really not hard to angle a camera far enough up so that her face is visible but her boobs are 100% not.
        I’m a short person, with a short torso, and 100% did this when my kid was an infant. Hell, sometimes I tilt my camera pretty far up now when my cat sitting straight up in my lap and I don’t want his face in the call.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          I guess to me it’s just one of those things where we all know it’s going on, and what if something happens and she has to stand up or something? Heck I’m always paranoid when I wear shorts that someone will accidentally see. I just don’t get why anyone would want her to keep her camera on *that* badly, when turning it off is so not-a-big-deal.

          1. Metadata minion*

            But why would everyone know what’s going on? I have a couple coworkers with young babies, and they sometimes are holding babies in Zoom calls. If one of them started nursing during the call, I highly doubt I would notice unless they angled their camera so it was focused on the baby. I can’t see most of my coworkers’ chest areas during video calls, baby attached or otherwise.

      8. SometimesALurker*

        “So is urinating. So is sex.”

        You know that there’s a difference, and I don’t understand how you think you’re advancing the conversation by pretending there isn’t.

      9. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        If you had said something like “no one wants to see others eating on camera either”, I could at least work with it, by making the argument that, when a baby needs to eat, the baby is going to either eat, or cry, and no one on the call wants to hear a crying baby either… But in the best Puritan traditions, you went straight to sex and urinating. I… don’t know what to say to that that hasn’t been said thousands of times over the last 50 years already. Educate yourself?

        Where your bodily functions are concerned, discretion is *never* wrong
        And yet you probably do not hesitate to breathe on camera. The indecency!

        Honestly, y’all, this is cultural. Both of my sons were born in my home country, people didn’t have much privacy, and walked or took public transportation everywhere. When our babies wanted to eat, we sat down and nursed them and guess what, no one around us batted an eye. I never paid attention or noticed anyone else doing it. It was normal. Then I came to the US and found this… ridiculousness happening. Just why?

        1. whingedrinking*

          I think the weirdest accusation I’ve heard levelled at nursing parents in public is that they’re doing it for attention. Which…I just…I mean…what?!

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Back when my younger son was 21 months old, I mentioned it on an online forum* that he was still nursing, and was promptly accused of incest. ?!?!?!?

            * The Dear Prudence message board. Year 2000.

      10. Urbanchic*

        Actually those are not the same. The OP is legally able to breastfeed anywhere where she is located. Urinating and and having sex in public are usually not permitted by law.

        Also – for those saying that someone is going to think the OP is distracted or not focusing on work, I would just flag that not too long ago many people thought pregnant women or women with kids couldn’t appropriately focus on work either.

        I nurse during zoom calls and pump during zoom calls, and since only my face is visible and my baby is quiet I have never been concerned about it. But I also eat sandwiches on zoom calls, so maybe I’m in the minority.

    4. LifeBeforeCorona*

      Turn the camera off completely and give your boss a heads up whenever you have to. Another advice column recently had a letter about a male co-worker who was taking screenshots of a nursing mom whenever there was an accidental flash and then showing them to his fellow corkers. It was gross on so many levels.

    5. AzaleaBertrand*

      Totally depends on your office and culture, but since the pandemic I’ve breastfeed my toddler on camera several times. My husband is our primary caregiver and was always standing next to me ready to take her as soon as she finished, but honestly sometimes there’s nothing that will fix a toddler tantrum faster than a feed.

      Once was actually a public session that was recorded and is now on YouTube – I was answering questions about a grant opportunity my org is offering. I received a number of private messages afterwards from other mothers thanking me for showcasing flexible work and had no negative comments.

      That said, I’m very comfortable feeding and didn’t show the tiniest sliver of skin, all anyone could see was the back of my toddler’s head. Not sure how I would have gone when she was younger and fussier on the breast.

        1. AzaleaBertrand*

          Aww shucks! I’m lucky to be in a team full of hands on parents, we have a great culture.

    6. KayZee*

      Breastfeeding mom, is the platform mainly Zoom. I don’t really know too much about the others. But turning off the camera in Zoom will still allow everyone else to understand you’re still on the call. I’d say just do it.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        We use Skype, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams at work and all three of those show a square with either initials or an avatar when you turn off your camera, so LW1 is covered in that aspect on 4 of the most used platforms!

    7. MicroManagered*

      This is the solution.

      I’m lucky that my office doesn’t do video unless someone’s giving a presentation. Even then, there are times when someone will throw into the chat “I need to go on mute for a few minutes but I’m still here!” which can be for anything from a rowdy toddler, barking dog, or loud lawncare or construction… Nobody thinks anything of it.

      1. Mama Bear*

        We tend to not use cameras and if we are not actively speaking, we stay on mute. We use Teams so we are still showing as on the call. Not using video all the time would be a reasonable accommodation.

    8. me, in Canada*

      I’ve been working from home for the entire pandemic. I am always surprised by all these video calls. At MPOW audio only is the default.

      On to my advice — my workstation at home is set up so that my back is to a large patio door. With all that back-light no one can see me on the camera even when it is on. Can you rearrange your setup so that all they see is a glowing shadow, then after a while, tell them you are turning off the video as no one can see you anyway???

      Twice a week I am in a small manager’s “coffee” meeting and I move to the kitchen where they can see me as we often show each other strange things, like a new hat, or pets, or odd hair cuts.

    9. HannahS*

      If you get into a situation where you need to do it privately but with video on, go ahead and angle your camera so that only your head is visible. I’ve been knitting on zoom calls for weeks and no one has noticed so far.

    10. Pensive Athena*

      LW#3 Consider a headset (earphones/microphone). I had a similar issue and it turned out that my laptop’s microphone was in an odd spot and was blocked by a part of my standing desk set up.

    11. Mama Bear*

      Even if LW was pumping, pumps are not entirely silent. Given that babies as they get older get more squirrelly while nursing, LW may want to pre-feed the baby before big meetings or pump the occasional bottle to have on hand. LW can also start adding solid food soon (following dr’s guidance, of course) so perhaps her mom can give the baby cereal if hunger hits during a meeting.

      Also, even though LW will not be in a physical office yet, she should still discuss nursing/pumping with her boss at least on a high level. Will she need breaks? How will it be handled when they resume working in an office? Etc. She can check her state laws for help.

  2. Kimmybear*

    #1- As Alison said, depends on your office culture but I did plenty of late night/really early morning calls overseas when my son was little and no one ever knew I was breastfeeding during calls. I would just keep your camera off to avoid issues with coverage. And have a backup bottle just in case because sometimes it won’t work out to interrupt your call to take the baby. And congratulations on the little one!

    1. Granger*

      I agree! A bottle just in case and if not, turning off the video is far better than pointing it away from the baby because turning it off wouldn’t really be noticed whereas turning the camera away would draw attention (which is distracting to others and can be considered unprofessional – speaking to video call norms, not a commentary on breastfeeding!).

    2. Insert Clever Name Here*

      I’d also just turn off the camera; since LW1 says she would close her door to pump while continuing to work if she was in the office, turning off the camera is the closest approximation to that. If anyone asks why your camera is off, saying “I needed to feed the baby” in a matter-of-fact tone should be enough (assuming you work with reasonable people). I had a jerk of a boss when I went back to work after my first child and used that approach when telling him I’d be going to pump twice a day, and even *he* didn’t push back. Good luck!

      1. Something Clever TBD.*

        My not-that-great-or-reasonable-or-accommodating boss also tripped all over himself to “make sure I had everything I need as a mother.” We had a bunch of really awkward, beating around the bush conversations when I return from maternity leave, where he would dramatically shut my door, and then say something like “ Are you feeling supported? Is there anything else we need to do to support you?” It was super awkward, and I had no idea what he was getting at, until eventually I realized – he did not know if I was pumping at work, and if I was pumping, he didn’t know if I had everything I needed because he didn’t really know what one would need if pumping. And he also felt uncomfortable asking me because it’s personal, I mean the decision to breast-feed or pump or formula or whatever, and so I think he just didn’t know what to do with it.

    3. The German Chick*

      Four months of breastfeeding on Zoom meetings under my belt and no one ever noticed. Just tilt the camera so it shows only your head or turn it off completely- though most colleagues I talked to loved seeing a baby every now and then.

      1. Hydrangea McDuff*

        My colleague’s baby visited a big zoom the other day and I saw the happiest faces I’ve seen in months. I got tears in my eyes I was so happy to see a sweet babe smiling at our group!

    4. Cat*

      My baby WILL NOT take a bottle if she knows I’m in the house. She also learned very early in the pandemic that she could make her hungry noises and be brought to me even if she wasn’t actually hungry, clever little minx. Now I drop her off with my mom and drive home most days. (I turn the camera off if I’m breastfeeding on a video call but yeah, I’ve done all sorts of calls while feeding her. It’s fine.)

    5. Glitsy Gus*

      Yeah, overall I think you can take care of this if you need to with come careful camera positioning or just turning off the video feed.

      I might also suggest using a headset with an attached mic, Judy the Time Life Operator style. Having the mic close to your mouth, rather than trying to use the mic built in to the computer or ear buds with the mic dangling from one of the ear cords (which will put the mic right next to Baby instead of next to your mouth) will really minimize any noises the baby does happen to make.

  3. nnn*

    #5: Inspired by Alison’s “it might not make sense structurally for him to take you on permanently”, another thing you could think about is whether there are any reasons why it would make sense structurally for you to work directly for Jack. I don’t know if you can see that sort of thing from where you’re sitting, but, if you can, coming up with an actual business case is more compelling than just personality/management style compatibility.

    1. Amy*

      I’m #5 and thank you! I will think about that and bring those points up when I speak to Jack about this.

  4. PJ*

    Re LW #2

    I did have a company decline me for a position because my credit score was low. I don’t remember exactly what the score was at the time (this was the late 90s and scores weren’t as easily accessible as they are now) but I think it was in the high 500s, mostly due to snafus with my student loan which were repaired soon after.

    It was a bank, so I suppose I understand why. But the company that did hire me a few weeks later was also a bank – and a much larger one – so I guess it depends on the individual company and the emphasis they’re putting on that piece. I would hope it’s not a dealbreaker for most candidates unless it’s one of several red flags.

    1. Something Clever TBD.*

      That is so problematic, as Alison mentioned. Credit scores can be problematic for so many reasons. I spent a few years before law school working for a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. I’d say at least 30% of people were in bankruptcy bc of a medical issue of some sort, most commonly either an unexpected acute illness/accident of some sort or cancer, and they quickly found themselves so in debt that anyone upper middle class or below would never be able catch up without bankruptcy. That’s not irresponsibility. It’s bad luck and poor healthcare policy. (There are other reasons a credit check for employment is a bad idea)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        They are really going to have to rethink using it after the pandemic since so many people are struggling right now, or will have to pay hospital bills for themselves or a family member. If they keep insisting on only hiring people over a certain score, they won’t find anyone.

      2. Batty Twerp*

        Credit checks should not be a hiring thing unless you are specifically being hired to look after someone else’s money – and even then we’re talking client’s money.
        I’m in finance. I’ve never had a credit check because I’m a financial analyst. I get to play with spreadsheets, not real money, but I work with several people who do and needed the appropriate checks done when they were hired. Given that they are responsible for paying bills on the client’s behalf a credit check is a prudent thing to consider (and was a factor in the client contract with us), but it’s a teeny tiny section of the sector. Unless this was the specific job being applied for the hiring manager was being skeevy

        1. doreen*

          I think restricting it to roles where you are looking after clients’ money is too restrictive – sure, you can work in finance and not have anything to do with real money but conversely, you can work in an area other than finance and have some part in deciding which vendor gets a contract.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I think there are sometimes credit checks for jobs where bribery could be an issue more generally.

            1. sunny-dee*

              I had a friend who had terrible money problems and tried to get into officer training for the Navy (since she already had a degree), and was denied because of her credit scores. It was considered a bribery risk.

            2. Rachel in NYC*

              I was going to say- the military takes money issues VERY seriously. The gov’t in general takes debt seriously because it is considered that it opens you up to bribery- potentially in a variety of ways.

              1. Something Clever TBD.*

                True. But…should they? My wife has a high security clearance, for a high ranking civilian position with a quasi military sector of federal gov’t. She is obsessed with our credit (which is excellent) out of fear that it could effect her security clearance. But, the thing is, I’m puzzled about what scenario would result in someone trying to bribe our family for…what exactly?
                Some woman shows up on our doorstep with a briefcase of cash and a mouthful of demands, she’s going to be sorely disappointed.

                1. sunny-dee*

                  There are a ton of things that could be valuable. I work in software, and encryption algorithms are restricted from export to a lot of countries. Doesn’t seem like a big thing, until it is. There are people who have been prosecuted for taking pictures of their workstations on nuclear submarines. There are a million other things that could provide access points to technology information we simply don’t want some people to have.

                2. Something Clever TBD*

                  To be clear, she has valuable information. But, there would be SO many ways to bribe or extort someone. The idea that bad credit is the thing to look for is silly. Show up with a suitcase full of cash, and we would laugh in your face. Send us an anonymous text that says nothing but the name of our kids school, and I’ll change our names, throw all of us into the station wagon, burn down our house, leave town, and never look back.
                  Are you going to disqualify everyone with kids? Everyone with a loved one? Everyone who is not a psychopath? The idea that bad credit is The Thing is silly.

            3. Drago Cucina*

              Yes, I had a friend who had been tentatively offered a position with big aerospace company and it was withdrawn due to his credit. Granted he was very irresponsible with money. He and his wife declared bankruptcy and he didn’t disclose some of his credit cards because he didn’t want her to know. He would have been dealing with international agencies and the company didn’t want to have a bribery risk.

              At one of the interviews for my current job I volunteered that I have good credit. Same reason, while I don’t work directly with classified information, I could have access. I could see the visible relief that I brought it up.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          It’s not just the financial industry that does this, it’s also information security areas. Credit checks are a part of security clearance – the government considers you more at risk of being bribed or blackmailed if you have financial problems (not saying that’s fair, but that’s their position). If you work in an industry where you may have to deal with government information, you may be credit-checked so that if you have to obtain or maintain clearance, they know you’ll clear that hurdle.

          They may also be part of licensure requirement for professions with ethics requirements, under the same theory. I believe a recent law graduate friend had to submit to one for her bar application.

      3. StrikingFalcon*

        It’s actually much higher: a recent study showed that 66.5% of all bankruptcies were related to medical issues (58.5% cited medical bills themselves as a factor and 44.3% cited loss of income from illness or injury). In addition, 25.4% cite student loans as a contributor and 24.4% cite divorce. At a time when 40% of Americans would struggle to cover a $400 emergency expense (and that was before the pandemic!) credit scores don’t tell you anything about responsibility.

      4. Imtheone*

        The overuse of credit checks for employment are a way to screen out people from a lower socioeconomic background. (This is unlike credit checks for positions where the job involves handling client money.)

    2. Tempanon*

      I am in the financial sector so credit checks are a thing in my business but even here, are secondary to criminal background checks and complaint history with regulatory authorities. I am fine with being checked, as someone who is trusted with client money a heightened level of scrutiny makes sense. I also think typical jobs should NOT be allowed to use credit as a factor in hiring, and I’m glad my state was among the first to prohibit it (financial sector jobs excepted).

      It seems like this interviewer either was a jerk or was using this question to see if he could rattle you. If someone is a good candidate otherwise then the credit check comes in later and barring major issues, is pretty routine.

      With that said, I think you shot yourself in the foot and torpedoed your chances unnecessarily. I get that you were feeling ambushed by the question and it’s a sensitive topic but really you shouldn’t pull yourself out of consideration for fear of a credit check. What’s the worse they do? Not offer you the job? That’s the same boat you’re in now.

      And yes the credit crisis of 2008-9 and the pandemic are going to mean companies are going to have to rethink how they use this information or they will be eliminating many great potential hires.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        Is the thinking with financial hiring that credit checks indicate someone is generally “good with money” or is it more looking for people who might be incentivized to commit fraud, etc?

        Credit checks are not used at all in my industry, so I’m just curious.

        1. wheels up on thirty*

          I used to be a financial auditor, and the concern is definitely fraud.

          No matter how valid the reason to be in financial trouble (e.g., paying for expensive medical treatments), the risk of someone committing fraud or getting involved in unethical dealings, potentially out of desperation, is much higher for people in a position to misuse funds. Of course, a ton of jobs don’t pose this risk, and shouldn’t be holding bad credit against applicants.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I used to be a financial auditor, and the concern is definitely fraud.

            I’ve always been told fraud and bribery. Someone who’s already underwater may be more susceptible to an under-the-table incentive (where a higher credit score might just be tempted by greed without desperation).

            1. hbc*

              I worked for the CIA credit union for a summer, and we were shredding some old paperwork. I happened to see a very well-known spy on the list of people with overdrafts of their accounts. I don’t know for sure if that’s part of what got him found out, but he was clearly more open for shenanigans than the average agent.

              1. Tempanon*

                Robert Hanssen was probably the spy that caused the most damage and somehow sailed through many checks that should have sent off alarm bells from a mile away. Gambling problem, alcoholism, huge debts, profligate spending (he drove multiple fancy new sports cars to work on a kid-level government salary. A brilliant guy he was not).

                People who get into a hole with debt are more likely to be tempted to skirt ethics rules for cash. It’s something the Soviets used to target but if you handle client money the temptation is always there.

        2. Granger*

          Seconding wheels up’s comments about the concern being mainly fraud.

          There are three main factors for fraud / embezzlement that are nearly always present in those cases: 1) need (perceived or real) 2) opportunity 3) rationalization (usually it’s “they owe me” or “they don’t pay me enough”).

        3. Ann Perkins*

          I work in a compliance role with financial advisors and we generally do not hire someone with a significant amount of delinquent debt. The idea is that those with a bad background with money, a) probably aren’t qualified to be advising other people about money and b) are going to be more incentivized to break rules in order to make a sale.

        4. EverybodyHasOne*

          Credit scores don’t really tell you if a person is “good with money”. If I’m good with money, I might not have a high credit score because I don’t have credit cards. If I close a card – my score drops. If I file for divorce, my score drops. If I co-sign a loan, my score drops. If I consolidate debt, my score drops. If I’m a from another country, I don’t have a credit score. None of these things mean I’m back with money.

          It’s a misguided tool.

          1. Western Rover*

            Pulling a credit report does not necessarily mean the employer is looking at the score. I frequent a forum used by landlords, and many landlords don’t even pay to get the score, just the report, so applicants to those types of landlords aren’t generally penalized for not having cards, closing cards, etc. (They also use the report to see how much of the applicant’s income is committed to debt payments.)
            Perhaps some HR person could enlighten us as to whether employers look solely at the score or do their own analysis of the credit report that differs from the kind of analysis done for a lender-oriented score.

          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Came here to say this – the US credit score is a weird thing that drops if you look at it the wrong way. And don’t get me started on being from another country. We spent our first two years in the country trying to just open a credit card. Any old card just to build a credit history. First our requests were being denied because of no credit history (i.e, you can’t get a card because you don’t have a card). Then for too many inquiries (you can’t get a card because you keep applying for a card). My first card ended up being one with a $300 limit and a $60 annual fee. Then 15 years later, I closed an old card (not the one with the fee – that one was long gone by then) and all of a sudden my score dropped by 100-150 points. Turned out, it was counted in the system as my oldest, and without it, the length of my credit history became shorter by several years. I did not even have the dang card anymore and I was penalized for closing the account.

            1. Drago Cucina*

              Yes, the way credit scores drop is bizarre. My husband was upset because we had a life insurance policy that became too expensive to keep. We took the money and paid off two car loans. He was livid that his credit score dropped below 800. Mine’s not as stellar as his due to my former job’s credit cards having to be in my name and the city being lackadaisical about paying bills.

        5. Tempanon*

          What wheels said, but also consider potential liability for the employers.

          When clients are ripped off, the agent/advisor is liable for civil and criminal charges. The employer is responsible for supervising their financial advisors, especially if they are registered with the SEC etc. They need to show they were diligent in hiring and supervising the crooked rep or they can be held liable also.

          A jury hearing that advisor Snidely McSleaze was hired despite having opened multiple businesses that went bankrupt and stiffed creditors many times is likely to think the employer should be forced to reimburse the old widows he stole from because they should have known better.

          This is why I am AMAZED people with track records of bad complaints (not bad credit—records of wrongdoing, fines, malfeasance etc) manage to bounce around from firm to firm. They must bring in $.

          FYI anyone can check the records of any firm or registered rep for free at
, I recommend it. Note that the hurdle for someone to make a complaint is deliberately low, look for repeated complaints and complaints where fines were levied.

      2. Harper the Other One*

        Second the interviewer was a jerk part. At this phase of interviewing, the most that should have been said is “we require a credit check before offering the position/whatever, so you should know that is a requirement.”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, or they could even put it in their ad for the position thereby saving people from further entanglement if they want to opt out of a credit check.

          It can feel like a trap. A friend applied for a position at a well-known retailer. She jumped their hoops and got the job. She gave notice at her old job. Then one day she gets a call, “Whoops, we have to do a credit check!” Since her credit was bad, because of life events, she had no choice but to withdraw, leaving her jobless.
          If I can avoid spending money at this “establishment” I make sure that I do.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            If I can avoid spending money at this “establishment” I make sure that I do.

            I would avoid it, too; they totally screwed up. If employment is contingent on the credit check, it needs to be done before the offer is made.

          2. SomebodyElse*

            Silly question… why didn’t she go through the credit check. If she got turned down because of her credit that’s one thing, but it sounds like she opted out before that even happened? She didn’t have anything to lose at that point did she?

            1. Amy Sly*

              Especially because those background credit checks don’t count against your score as “requesting credit.” Let them tell you whether your history of paying bills is too spotty to trust you.

              Also, as a note, most medical providers do not report unpaid bills to the credit reporting agencies. Rather, if you don’t attempt to pay them, they send them out to collections and the collecting agency will report you if you don’t pay your bills. So if you have medical debt, reach out to the hospital or agency and set up a payment plan, even if it’s as small as they’ll let you, and pay it. The only negative effect it will have on your credit will be your debt to income ratio.

            2. Insert Clever Name Here*

              My reading of the letter was she felt she was going to be embarrassed when the check came back and was not-awesome. She says she’d worked with the interviewer at a previous company, so while I may have made a different decision, I can understand why she pulled herself from consideration.

        2. SomebodyElse*

          At the interview way back in the stone age when I came to my current company, it was an entry level position. The hiring manager informed me/asked me no less than 4 times during the course of the interview that there would be a drug test/could I pass a drug test.

          I finally asked him if he had a problem with people not passing drug tests that he mentioned it so often. He told me that it was common enough that he started emphasizing multiple times in the interview so people would get the point and self select out before going through the trouble of failing the test. I laughed when he told me he’d been experimenting with the number of times he had to mention it and apparently 4 was the magic number. Either he’d get a sigh and a “Thanks I don’t think this is going to work” or someone would ask and he would explain like he had with me. Either way, at 4 times the candidate would know he was serious about the clean drug test requirement.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            I have to be really desperate to take a job that requires a drug test. Not because I’m a stoner, but because I see it as crossing the personal/professional privacy line. I don’t mind rules against being “under the influence” on the job. I do mind a test that can trigger on some prescription that forces you to disclose disabilities during the hiring process, or even just eating a poppy seed bagel.

      3. GreyjoyGardens*

        Unless it’s a super-duper wonderful opportunity in other ways, I think the LW was wise in removing herself from consideration, because of the jerk way the interviewer conducted himself. Asking intrusive, unnecessarily personal questions during the interview doesn’t bode well for the working environment.

      4. former road warrior, beyond thunderdome*

        The only time I had an employer run a credit check was because there were rules around which kind of company credit card you could get (on the issuing card’s end). Higher scores got AMEX and those whose scores didn’t qualify got some other brand. (Although ironically, given how many places don’t take AMEX, they had an easier time of things!)

      5. Curmudgeon in California*

        After the crash in 2000, I was out of work for over a year. I was in debt, creditors calling me and very nasty, telling me to hit up family and friends for money to pay them, etc. I finally got an answering machine and stopped responding.

        The first job after that did not ask for a credit check, which was good because my credit was so shot and my finances were such that I couldn’t even afford the filing fee for bankruptcy. It didn’t mean I was willing to commit fraud or anything, however.

        Fast forward 9 years. By the time the “great recession” rolled around, I had fixed my debt problem, so when I got laid off *again* I didn’t have to deal with the creditors. I was out of work around the same amount of time, living on UI, stock sales, and stored food. But it was hard.

        I’ve allowed myself to get a little in debt lately – but my main liability is my house now. I can still pass a credit check, which is good because I have access to PII and they use that to see how vulnerable you are to being bribed. If I end up laid off or with medical debt, I’ll just have to disclose it.

    3. Nervousnelly*

      I have had a my credit checked a few times, but thankfully I have never been turned down for it. For a long time I simply didn’t have a lot of credit.

      However I did go on a strange interview and they asked me if I had a credit card. No mention of score, just a credit card. At the time, my husband and I made the decision to not have credit cards. We both struggled with our spending habits, so paid them off and closed them. I said no, due to personal reasons and never heard back from the place. I was disappointed, because a friend recommended me for the job. I was super excited about it. He never said why the question was asked. He had a very judgmental look on his face, after I said no.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        Ugh there’s no way to win that question. He probably would have judged you if you said yes, too.

        1. Western Rover*

          Reminds me of some ridiculous advice I heard (from the 1950s?) about eating lunch with a prospective employer: Order a drink, so they don’t think you’re a prude, but don’t drink it, so they don’t think you’re an alcoholic.

          1. MassMatt*

            I have heard variations on this! “Don’t order a soft drink because they may think you’re an alcoholic”. Umm, what? Ridiculous.

            1. AnonPi*

              oh yeah when working out in the field once, one of my coworkers mentioned going out and partying (aka getting sloshed) and invited me, I passed (not just for the drinking but for several reasons, including them being postdocs while I was an employee) and mentioned I don’t drink anyways. So “insert foot into mouth” guy said “so how long have you been a recovering alcoholic?” which shocked the hell out of me. Then I had to explain that I’ve had all of three alcoholic drinks in my life, didn’t like it, so don’t drink. He actually said something like “wow I didn’t think there were people who didn’t like alcohol”. Funny enough, I get the same kind of reaction over not eating red meat a lot, lol. But yeah I generally just avoid the pretense by not going to events where that’s the main purpose (which unfortunately most of our work get togethers feature going to drink), or the few I go to I say I’m not drinking in case someone needs a ride home.

          2. Eukomos*

            Order an alcoholic drink at a business lunch? Even if you only drank half for appearance’s sake that’s, um, a lot. If that was normal in the 50s I can see why there were so many concerns about looking like an alcoholic, a ton of people must have been just from having so many martinis at lunch!

            1. Indigo a la mode*

              I mean, I’ve been to a hundred business or business-adjacent lunches where people had a beer or a glass of wine and it wasn’t out of place in the least. An alcoholic drink doesn’t have to be a Minnesota Tidal Wave.

            2. Curmudgeon in California*

              Half of one drink is a lot? Not everyone is a lightweight. One drink is one glass of wine, one beer, or one cocktail. If you happen to be large/heavy, that is not enough to even get you tipsy. As long as I don’t have to drive (personal policy of zero drinks and drives) within 2 hours, or work with prudes, one drink is fine.

            3. Not A Girl Boss*

              Lol jeez. When I worked in the adult beverage industry we’d drink 4-5 a piece and go back to work. I get that that isn’t a thing to brag about. But if you were obviously inebriated you would have been razzed and sent home for the day. They took not being drunk at work oddly seriously and had a breathalyzer on site we had to pass before we could return to work.
              But even in my current buttoned up industry one drink is no factor. Obviously you have to know your own tolerance.

    4. Not A Girl Boss*

      I just had to have a credit check done to qualify for a wildly unrelated job and I really, really hated it. Why could you possibly need this private information??? Especially because mine isn’t bad enough for them to reject me from the job, but is bad enough that they’d probably silently judge me about it. And as others have mentioned, mine is on the worse side because my socioeconomic background made it impossible to graduate without a ton of debt. I’ve always paid my bills on time but my debt to income ratio is whack and I have credit card debt.

      On the other hand, at my last job I had to get a credit check because I was dealing with sensitive stuff and they needed to make sure that I wasn’t a blackmail/bribery risk. But that was an entirely different process run by an impartial third party government agency. My boss only knew if I passed or failed, not the finer details of my embarassing life moments.

    5. Amy Sly*

      I’ve had several credit checks done for employment at a bank and for a bar exam character and fitness test, and I passed whatever they were looking for even though I had a tax seizure, a car repossession, and a home foreclosure on my credit. The trick, as far as I could tell, was to be able to demonstrate that the problems were over and that I had consistently paid my bills for the last several years.

      As someone else noted, they’re not evaluating whether you’re going to pay back a loan, but whether you’re a risk for fraud — and while obviously a person working in a financial institution is a risk for fraud, folks working at all kinds of other jobs could defraud the company or their customers. The person who has an enormous debt to income ratio, a bankruptcy, or other big hit to their credit but pays their bills every month is a much smaller fraud risk than the person who has a large income but can never pay a bill on time. Both people may have low credit scores and be unable to get a new loan without an exorbitant interest rate if they can get one at all, but the former will likely be hired.

      Also, having been there and done that, my experience is that almost every lender will work with you to reduce your payments if you contact them, agree that you owe them money, and explain how much you can pay. Lenders for your revolving credit may close the account; the IRS will let you pay debts with any payment you can afford so long as the balance is paid in five years — and they charge very low interest rates. (Honestly, the IRS are probably the best people to owe money to in terms of how they treat you so long as you agree you owe and make a genuine effort. Never borrow from anyone else to pay them.) Debt collectors are much the same way — agree you owe and offer to pay what you can on a regular basis, and they’ll love you.

      1. Khatul Madame*

        This. I’ve been a hiring manager for positions that required a pre-employment credit check and unfortunately some of the candidates’ information passed my inbox, even if I didn’t want it. The context was “candidate has 2 weeks to provide explanation about his debt owed to ZZZ, we are in week 2, where is their input ?” so the recruiter or I had to follow up with the candidate and they would send the information to us instead of the credit-checking org. It wasn’t great.
        However, I can confirm that in cases of bad credit the employer was satisfied with the evidence that the candidate is paying off the debt/addressing the credit issues.
        LW2’s interviewer should have just told him “This position requires a credit/financial check. Poor credit does not mean that you are automatically disqualified. If you have credit issues, you may be required to provide additional information.”
        In response to the interviewer’s a-hole inquiry LW2 should have said “I have some credit issues and I am working on addressing them.” and not gone into details.

    6. Lauren*

      They also don’t move forward if you have a lot of student loans plus a mortgage, excessive credit card debt and bankruptcies. Usually its only for companies in finance, access to money jobs, or law firms. Some are just stupid hold overs from decades ago.

      They pull the report so not just the score, I passed for a big finance company even with defaulting on student loans 10 years prior.

      OP #2 – Just say that you haven’t had any bankruptcies, no defaults on loans, but have the usual mix of open credit cards, mortgage and student loans. It is more likely, that the company had to revoke this particular job due to some major infraction. But if they know any issue might kill the offer – ask the recruiter now.

  5. Coco*

    For #3, when this happens to me I usually Skype/ im or email the person leading the call so they know you tried to announce yourself but wasn’t heard.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’ve been in Zoom calls where people announce themselves in the Chat. Would that be an option?

      1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

        Yes, use in-meeting chat if others are using it. It’s good to have everyone know you’re on.

        I’ll add that it’s likely that in the future many of us will be on calls even more than in the past, so I think it’s worth working to improve call technology and practices. This includes looking into sound. There is a really good Youtube video about this at

        And for #1 but also everyone, I think it’s important to try to set up your video call accounts so you can show a headshot if you turn off video. This may not always be possible, but if you can, you should do it. It makes turning off your video much friendlier.

      2. Anne of Green Gables*

        This was essentially going to be my suggestion. My department uses the chat on calls a lot, and when it’s not clear by the name who someone is, they type it in chat. (We’re also using Webex Teams instead of Zoom and Webex gives you a list of participants on the call down the side of the screen, which I like, and you can make the chat visible the entire time.)

        1. Em*

          That’s also an option on zoom.

          It sounds to me like op’s meetings need a facilitator who are making sure everyone is heard and accounted for. In meetings I attend, we do a quick round of introductions where you just list pronouns and your role and then call on the next person. I do a lot of meeting facilitation and we almost never have an issue with people not being able to speak. The best solution imo is someone is designated the facilitator. When people want to say something, they type stack in the chat. The facilitator calls on people and can change the order based on if someone is being talked over etc. It’s on the person facilitating to pay attention to this. I’ve facilitated meetings with up to 35 people over zoom this way.

      3. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

        I do that when I join a call that already has a large group of people. It works well.

        Seconding Alison’s suggestion to join the call early if you can.

      4. cmcinnyc*

        Was coming here to recommend this. It has the added advantage of not interrupting anyone.

      5. Mockingdragon*

        I came to give the same suggestion, so hopefully I’m not piling on! I haven’t yet seen a video chat program that doesn’t also have a text chat attached.

    2. Insert Clever Name Here*

      That’s a good idea. If a hearty “Hi (Organizer), Insert Clever Name is here” doesn’t result in a response from the organizer, IM’ing “good morning” in the chat could be what it takes.

      1. RestroomTimeExtraordinaire*

        also, if the participants list includes the phone numbers, I would say – Good morning, RTE here and I’m the (737)-XXX phone caller. Depending on the content of the call, that could allay concerns of unintended / uninvited participants.

    3. qj*

      Yes, chat is the best option by far! Even my family calls have had to start doing this, because we all like to interrupt each other, and my sister’s voice is like a foghorn in the best of times so it’s like the Sister Show… people don’t realize that when they talk, others just cannot, and voices are lost. Better to use the chat and affirm your presence than be lost.

  6. BronzeFire*

    #2, We’re working on getting debt-free and plan to have no credit score in a few years. I would just handle that question as them asking if you’re a responsible person that follows through on your obligations. If your current report doesn’t reflect that because of Life Happening or past mistakes, you could provide some context for what they’d be seeing. But, yeah, it’s crappy that they put you on the spot like that and asked at this stage of the process. The practice in general seems like a bad idea outside of finance positions for so many reasons.

    1. Finland*

      Unless they’re planning to issue a credit card/line, a credit report is absolutely useless. I think this is just another one of those litmus tests that employers use to make it easier to reject a candidate if they’re having difficulty deciding who to hire. I would answer the same (i.e., responsible user, on-time payments, life events caused a decrease in credit worthiness).

      Even at the interview for my federal job, they didn’t ask me anything about my credit before they checked, and my credit profile at the time was not great. Ultimately, I received an employer-based credit card with a very low starting limit.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        “Let’s come up with arbitrary practices as a way to make it easier to reject people” isn’t really a common driver for this stuff. More typically, bad practices like this are rooted in “we’ve always done it this way,” or overly rigid/misapplied HR stuff that no one has pushed back on, or genuine if misguided belief that it’s a useful screening mechanism.

        1. Finland*

          Thank you, I’ll be more considerate of those reasons from now on. I’ve never been a manager and it shows.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Well, there’s a reason so many people assume nefarious intend behind things like this! It speaks to how opaque and illogical hiring stuff can feel on the job seeker side, and to the power disparity too. I see a ton of comments in this vein here — but the vast majority of the time, it’s just incompetence in hiring more than anything else.

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              Who’s philosophical quote is it? “Never attribute to Malice what can be explained by Incompetence?”

                1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                  Thank you! I’ve heard it attributed to so many, I get confused where the truth lies.

              1. KatieZee*

                Definitely. Unrelated to this topic, I saw a post about COVID numbers where from one date to a later one, the map legend/scale had been changed, and the argument was that “[state] is trying to mislead us! they’re trying to hide that cases are going up”. But from my glance, it was apparent that they were using the auto-generated bins, probably from ArcGIS. Not malicious, just someone who was told “Make that map again” and used the default settings without thinking “oh wait, this needs to be comparable to the previous map”.

        2. Not A Girl Boss*

          Yes. For me credit checks have always come after I’ve accepted the job offer.

          In my case I genuinely think the company hired to do the background screening was like “and look! For the low low price of $9.99 you can also find out their credit score! All the responsible companies are doing it!!!”

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            “and look! For the low low price of $9.99 you can also find out their credit score! All the responsible companies are doing it!!!”

            The Highway to Hell isn’t actually paved with good intentions; it’s paved with upsells!

            1. Curmudgeon in California*


              (I hate upsells, and a pushy upsell makes me reconsider the initial purchase.)

          2. hbc*

            I’d say it’s at least 90% defensive. If credit checks are a thing and I don’t take advantage, then is someone going to say I didn’t do everything I could if this person ends up stealing? See also: drug tests for non-safety-related positions.

            1. GreyjoyGardens*

              Years and years ago, I had a job where I had to get a drug test AND a credit check. I did handle money, but it was totally a desk job so no safety concerns. I agree that the company was covering their butts in case someone wanted to sue “we took all the precautions!”

              (I remember going to the testing site with another newly-hired coworker and being appalled that the techs were handling the pee jars WITHOUT GLOVES. We look at each other and say, “well there goes lunch”)

              1. Not A Girl Boss*

                I’ve literally never held a professional (intern or post graduation) job that didn’t require a background check, drug test, and in most cases credit check. And I have a desk job that is completely unrelated to finance.

            2. MassMatt*

              Yes but still, it makes no sense to hire someone and THEN test them for drugs or check their credit. Barn door, fire; make your own cliche.

              I’m curious whether drug testing for non safety related jobs is common outside the US but I’ll ask in the weekend thread.

        3. CM*

          I think the last — “genuine if misguided belief that it’s a useful screening mechanism” — is actually worse than “intentional malice.” Intentional malice in hiring is rare. But having guidelines for what makes a person respectable or trustworthy, which are often class-based (credit checks, psychology tests, looking at your zip code, testing people on their “professionalism”) is far more nefarious IMO, because it pops up so often and it’s much harder to convince people that they’re being biased or unfair.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            IMO, “cognitive ability tests” also are discriminatory against people with disabilities (like stroke or learning disorders.) It doesn’t mean that they can’t do the job (lots of work-arounds for cognitive issues, IMO), but that the company only wants “normal” people, not neurodivergent or disabled folks.

      2. Hiring Mgr*

        A good friend of mine works for a company that does background checks for companies.. according to him, often the credit check is just part of the package that the company buys when hiring his co… In other words what many employers really care about is the criminal check, and credit is just some extra info that they get as well but they don’t do anything with it..

        Obviously that’s not always the case, and I’m getting this second hand, but I’m sure sometimes this is what happens.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        We credit check for certain positions because they are likely to require the ability to obtain at least a low-level clearance. The government may choose to run a credit report for clearances (I know I had to sign off on one for my TS) – because, fair or not, heavy debt is considered in clearances to have a higher likelihood of susceptibility to bribery – so we don’t put people in front of them that we already know are unlikely to pass the government check.

    2. Grey*

      We hired a woman with good credit. We later caught her embezzling money to keep up with her credit card debt. Go figure.

      1. Do I need a hard hat for this?*

        We had a guy who had a company credit card for getting gas in the company vehicle (he was the one who would go out to jobsites and whatnot). It had a very low limit and we had some idea of how much he should be spending in gas depending on where he needed to go in a given week. Then he started “forgetting” to turn in receipts. Turns out he was going inside the gas stations, getting food and drinks and whatever, then buying $50 worth of gas at the register. It would show up as a charge from the gas station, even though he wasn’t paying at the pump. I think someone else found a receipt in the truck that he had forgotten to throw away (so he could “forget” to turn it in), and that’s how he got caught. There was like $12 worth of Red Bull on the receipt!

    3. I'm A Little Teapot*

      An aside – just because you don’t have debt doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have a credit score. It just depends on the specifics of what you’re doing.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yes, if you are debt-free and have a solid, on-time payment history on bills, you should actually have a high credit score.

        Even if you have debt, as long as you’re making payments on time, you credit score shouldn’t be too bad – they do consider debt-to-income ratio, but they also look at on-time payment history (which is why, for a time, my spouse and his debt had a better credit score than I did – he had no late payments; I missed a few on-time payments one year had a lot of personal stuff going on, which lowered my score even though they were each paid less than a week late).

        1. The Rural Juror*

          I had a friend who was doing pretty well at his job and been given a raise. He decided he wanted to buy a house instead of renting. Problem was he had very little credit, so there wasn’t much to go off of. He didn’t have any student debt (must be nice), had never purchased a car (lived in a walkable area), and rarely used his credit card. He started treating his credit card like a debit card (making purchases, paying them off immediately) just so he could show some sort of credit and get to the point where he could qualify for the home loan. I think he ended up waiting about a year to build up the credit and finally purchase a home, even though he could have “afforded” a mortgage the whole time. I know that probably seems like a non-problem, but sometimes you’d be surprised at the roadblocks people run into when it comes to credit.

          1. Northerner*

            Yes, this was an issue for me when buying a house! I had made it a priority to pay off all my student loans as soon as possible and had never had a credit card or a car to pay off, which gave me an OK but not great credit score. My partner was in the same situation, except that she hadn’t had student loans to begin with—she actually had so little credit that I ended up being the only one on the mortgage. And I’m sure I could have gotten a better interest rate had I applied less urgency to paying off my loans.

            Both of us now maintain credit cards solely for the sake of building our credit scores, which seems ridiculous to me, but I guess it makes sense that banks prefer to see evidence of paying off debt at a rate that is predictable and profitable to them. Credit score should definitely not be equated with financial responsibility!

            1. Nocreditcarrie*

              This was also me. When I left for college, my parents insisted on paying for everything. Tuition, room and board, rent (when I had an apartment), my car, spending money everything. Looking back, it was very sweet of them (and not expected by me) but my credit was awful til I was like 25-27. I simply had none.

        2. specialK*

          Actually a credit report does not include a debt/income ratio. The credit bureaus do not have access to your income information. A financial institution may calculate your debt/income ratio based on the debt listed on your credit report but would have to obtain income information from other sources such as tax returns or W2s.

    4. Lantern*

      What do you mean by having NO credit score? As far as I know, you’d still have a score, but it would be higher than it is now.

      1. MassMatt*

        It’s increasingly difficult to get by in life without somehow using credit, but yes there are people that have no score because they have absolutely no credit history.

      2. Uranus Wars*

        This is something I got out of a Dave Ramsey class. He presents as getting an “error” when he tried to run his credit because he went from edge of bankrupcy to millionaire who doesn’t need credit for anything. was able to build up so much wealth over time.

        I know lots of people who have eliminated debt and built up good savings using his methods, but they all keep one credit card to pay it off monthly.

  7. Finland*

    LW1, I imagine that it would be fine to breast-feed during meetings depending on how long they are. If it’s a 30 minute or less meeting, would it be better to just wait? I’m not a parent, but I do take breaks from long meetings to visit the restroom, to grab a drink of water, etc., and no one notices it. The only exception might be when you’re presenting, but I imagine that you’d pump on those days.

    1. Gatomon*

      Babies don’t really understand waiting. :) In my (admittedly extremely limited) experience, they will just cry louder and harder.

      1. Finland*

        Well, in that case, it sounds like it’s better to do it whenever it’s necessary, no matter the meeting length, as long as the camera is off. I’ve gotten more than enough laughs when management forgets pants while the cameras are on.

      2. Jenny*

        Yeah, little babies really don’t wait. The whole concept of wait for lunch is something we do with my toddler but that is totally different.

      3. Bridget the Elephant*

        Also, if baby gets to that point is going to be much harder to settle them for the feed and much much harder to be discreet about it.

    2. Who the eff is Hank?*

      Mom of 2 and lactation consultant here. Waiting generally isn’t an option with newborns- they eat ALL. THE. TIME. and delaying a feeding by 30 minutes could cause a host of issues for both mom and baby. I won’t go into the nitty gritty details about how milk production works, but let’s just say it could cause pain and potentially an infection if they waited that long.

      1. HBJ*

        Eh, I disagree with this. I’ve never heard of someone getting mastitis or whatnot from delaying a feeding by 30 minutes. Certainly, if you delay too long, but not 30 minutes. Every mother I know, including myself, has occasionally made their baby wait for half an hour or so for various reasons – anything from just trying to finish dinner to trying to get to the next rest stop during a car trip. Or has had their baby go to sleep earlier or sleep longer than expected and so have an extra half hour or hour tacked on between feeds.

        Certainly, I think this mother should be able to feed her baby with the video off or angled up so it only catches her face, but if a meeting is going to be over quickly, the baby will be fine for a few minutes, and that should be a viable option as well.

        1. Who the eff is Hank?*

          Certainly not every mom is going to get mastitis from a 30 minute delay, but some women are more susceptible to plugged ducts that can then lead to mastitis (myself included). I’ve had a number of clients who experienced multiple plugged ducts after a short feeding delay and some of those cases did turn into mastitis.

          It’s great that you and other moms you know haven’t had that experience! I can tell you from personal experience that it’s NOT fun. Since I don’t know who is and isn’t susceptible to that, I like to err on the side of caution and advise as minimal a delay in feeding as possible (or better yet, no delay at all).

          1. Jenny*

            I had mastitis once and it was awful. Think having the flu plus massive pain in your chest. Thank goodness for antibiotics.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              yeah, massive pain in one of the most sensitive parts of your body (at least equivalent to male jewels) that gets stimulated at every feed, and newborns tend to feed a good dozen times a day.
              For a mother who tends to have these regularly, 30 minutes definitely can trigger this. The diabetic who needs a quick sandwich NOW is a great analogy.

          2. blackcat*

            Yep. Until a lactation consultant got me on the magical substance that is sunflower lecithin, I would literally get a clog if I so much as thought about waiting. I got mastitis 3x, even with doing as much as I could to prevent it. I’m just really prone to it, apparently. But sunflower lecithin helped a ton.
            Weaning was also really rough for me–trying to reduce feedings always lead to clogged ducts.
            So when people say they can’t wait… they may be like me. Some moms/babies are more flexible. Some aren’t. And most of that is determined by biological factors outside our control.

        2. Nervousnelly*

          If your milk supply is really established and you are already engorged, then yeah 30 mins would be a pain (literally). Baby would be angry and less likely to latch. Mom could have a strong let down bc she’s engorged. Take it from someone who had an oversupply. If I had to wait another 30 min and a point in my breastfeeding journey, I would be in misery.

        3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Eh, I disagree with this.

          Women get to be subject matter experts about their own bodies. If Who the eff is Hank? says it, good faith is in order.

          Babies don’t really understand waiting. :) In my (admittedly extremely limited) experience, they will just cry louder and harder.

          @Gatomon, +1. My experience is also that children learn to say “patience” before they understand it.

    3. Chalk Paint*

      It depends on the age of the baby and how far in the meeting the baby starts fussing. In my experience a baby under 9 months then no, it would be better to start before they start screaming. A baby over a year old is more on a schedule and you usually know when they are going to need a feeding ahead of time and they take longer to get worked up. But then again personally I would rather have a mom breastfeed anywhere than listen to the hungry baby cry.

    4. Generic Name*

      Heck, sometimes my 13 year old doesn’t “just wait” for things (even though he totally is able to). He’s burst into more than one work call, even though I’ve told him I’ll be on a call and have a sign on my door. Kids are not at all like adults in this respect, and babies even less so

      1. Ryan Howard’s White Suit*

        Yes, this. Although the letter really did transport me to the days when I nursed my two and all the memories there (like how excited they both got when they knew they were about to nurse—like full body wiggles and smiles). Good luck, OP. Enjoy that sweet time with your little one.

    5. Ann Perkins*

      A young breastfeeding baby is unlikely to be able to wait. They’ll get more and more fussy and loud and it’ll be harder to calm them down at that point. And the mom might not be able to wait any longer before either feeding or pumping. Most moms will block times off on their calendar if needed but if you have an all-morning or afternoon meeting, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

    6. Niktike*

      Plus, pumping is also distracting. My newborn could breastfeed pretty silently, but the pump made a loud sound (even though it was one of the quietest on the market). If I were in a meeting and my camera was off, the newborn would have been much less distracting than trying to pump.

      And you have to stay on schedule for pumping too. When I was first getting pumping established, it was every 3 hours, on the dot, night and day. I could sometimes wiggle by ~5-10 minutes or so, but any more than that and my supply would start dropping.

    7. Jennifer Thneed*

      Here’s a thing you don’t know about breast-feeding moms: bodies know how to lactate! It’s not just from the baby sucking. When a baby cries, the boob starts to release milk. It’s called “the let-down reflex”. Women will sometimes leak from the nipple not being used. In fact, it is not uncommon for a woman who weaned her own babies a couple of years ago to have that reflex in reaction to hearing someone else’s baby’s hunger-cry.

      In other words: baby’s cry makes mama’s shirt get all wet on the front. Better to nurse the baby (or pump ahead of time).

      LW1: you might want to pump just a little and let your mom bottle-feed the baby just a little, just so that he *will* take a bottle if the need arises.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        I love Johnson & Johnson nursing pads for leakage. They fit more comfortable than any other brand, including reusable ones, and keep your clothes dry.
        Let down can be painful, though, if it’s not quickly followed by nursing. Best equivalent for the guys out there: blue balls. So once baby starts crying for food, there are uncontrollable biological processes that start happening. Best to just nurse and get it done.

  8. Julia*

    #3 – it stood out to me that this has just started happening at a new job and you’ve never had to use conference calls much before. I feel like it must be something about the technology – your new system mutes you by default, or your volume is set really low.

    In my experience, compared to in-person meetings, people on conference calls are actually *less* likely to knowingly ignore someone who’s trying to introduce themselves. So if you feel like that’s what they’re doing, it’s probably really because they literally don’t hear you and it may well be a tech problem.

    1. Jonquil*

      If it’s over the phone line, and you are using Apple AirPods, they can have terrible sound. They’re great on video calls but terrible on the phone, for some reason.

      1. CheeryO*

        Yeah, I was told that I sounded super tinny and quiet when I was trying to use my AirPods for calls. Super frustrating considering how expensive they are!

    2. TechWorker*

      +1 please check this!

      The software my company uses refuses to use my laptop microphone approximately 1/3 of the time, so more than once I’ve chipped in on a call only to realise the reason people are ignoring me is they just can’t hear me :(

    3. Pennyworth*

      I had to do Zoom lessons with schoolchildren in April, and one was very hard to hear – she had a soft voice and she used to sit too far back from the laptop she was using. I needed to make sure she was sitting as close as possible to the microphone (‘please come closer until you face is filling up the screen’)’ which helped a lot.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        For a while I was doing a weekly Zoom call with friends where we played trivia. There was one couple who would play together on their couch. I had to tell the woman several times she wasn’t sitting close enough to the microphone. I could hear hear husband loud and clear, but could never hear her at all. She just ended up telling her husband the answers so he could repeat them…so I started forgetting she was even there! I felt bad because one night I asked where Rachel was, “Is she not feeling well tonight?”…turns out she was sitting next to him, just slightly off camera! Oops! She’s just too quiet! Seems like she was still having fun, though :)

    4. Mystery Bookworm*

      Yes – if you have a friend at the workplace maybe do a test call with them? You can check the tech and also work on calibrating an optimal volume level if it’s not a tech issue.

      1. Mongrel*

        Came in to say this.
        I’ve been using voice chat for gaming for many years and it can be really hard for people to judge how loud they appear to other people.

        A couple of things to also try;
        Most chat software has the option to self-test in the audio settings, it’ll record you then playback – try that first.
        If you haven’t already, get a headset. Even a cheap one will make a huge difference and noise cancelling microphones are a boon for everyone. If you don’t appear on video look at the lines offered as ‘Gamer’ headsets there’s a wide range of price points for those.

        1. Lyudie*

          Seconding gaming headsets. I did some research when I bought mine (wanted them for both games and work) and my Razer headset was cheaper than the Plantronics etc. ones I was looking at and it sounds great.

    5. The Rat-Catcher*

      I don’t know what platform you use, OP, but we have WebEx and it defaults everyone’s mics to 25%. Might be as simple as turning that up so you’re heard better. (We have on person who clearly has theirs on 100 and they would have been heard fine at 25, and it’s painful, so adjust in increments.)

    6. Anja*

      I know that with our technology we have some people were sometimes it takes a bit of time for the volume to phase in the first time they speak in a meeting. That you can hear their volume getting louder through the first sentence or two as…something…calibrates? Someone having that issue trying to speak only a few words while others are speaking could definitely get lost.

      So I fourth or fifth or whatever the recommendation to check technology. Would be nice if it was a simple technical fix.

    7. EvilQueenRegina*

      A technology problem was my first thought too, I recommend looking into that.

    8. JM60*

      I was specifically wondering if latency might be causing the OP to be talked over. If you have too much latency on your end during a real-time phone call, people are likely to accidentally talking over your (or you over other people without realizing it). If you have a 0.5 second latency both up and down, you won’t hear people stop talking until 0.5 seconds after they stop talking, and they won’t hear you talk until 0.5 seconds after you’ve started testing.

  9. MollyG*

    #4 I would say go ahead and re-apply. There are many reasons you did not get a call back that would not prevent you from getting one now. You could have been close to the top then, and if you reapply you could be higher. They could have gotten so many applications that they randomly picked some (this does happen sometimes). What they are looking for may have shifted a bit and now you would look better. You have little to lose. What are they going to do? Reject you again? The only downside is that there is a chance that you may annoy them (probably not after just two) and that would hurt you in the far future if you reapply.

    1. Anna Banana*

      I have had applicants do this and I would not recommend it. If she’s still under consideration then sending in a second application a few weeks after the first will look desperate or like she cares so little that she doesn’t remember she already applied. It hasn’t even been a month, she needs to accept that they have her application and there’s no second bite at the apple this quickly.

      1. MollyG*

        Ok. I modify my answer to say that it is ok to re-apply after the hiring process for the first application is done (or it has been a few months at least).

      2. Mel_05*

        Yeah, my husband hired people a lot and when he gets multiple applications from the same person, he assumes they’re just applying to so many places they can’t remember them all.

      3. mph student*

        It would be helpful to send rejected applicates an update so they don’t apply again! or send a status update that their application is still being reviewed. It can be confusing on the other end.

    2. mph student*

      I’m also unsure about this…I applied to a job in March, and it was taken down, and then reposted last week, so I applied again. I did make changes to my cover letter and resume. I assumed they took down the origial posting due to covid hiring freezes, and then reopened it. I applied again because March and Now – seems like a long enough time it may be possible someone who applied in March is not interested anymore.

      I hate this judgement of being viewed as “desparate” job seekers, or being so unorganized we cant remember what jobs we wrote a custom cover letter for! It is condensesing and incompassionate. We are trying our best.

      1. Evergreen*

        Yeah, I also want to know about this. I had applied for a job in January, made it through 2 rounds of interviews, then they went with someone I know fairly well. She told me they were still hiring for the position (multiple people same role) and I should re-apply (I had emailed the hiring manager and asked him, but didn’t hear anything) so I did. Of course this was March and they went into a hiring freeze. I just noticed they’ve reposted the position and don’t know what the appropriate course of action is for just these sorts of reasons

      2. snoopythedog*

        Your scenario is different than the LW… reposting a job a few months (and the start of COVID posting vs a few months in) is very different from a few weeks. 100% reapply. And I love that you tweaked your cover letter and resume. If I noticed your CL and resume in March…and I would also likely pick up a few tweaks now and it would bode well for you. Best of luck in your search mph student (from a fellow mph).

        Quite honestly, in the start of my search, I forgot to save job titles and advertisements and descriptions that I poured hours into a cover letter for. Which meant that sometimes I forgot what I had applied for (beyond the job title and reference # in my cover letter). And having now been on the hiring end of things….there are people who throw their hat into the ring without much thought or care.

    3. Mike Engle*

      LW4 I’d be inclined to apply to the vacancy you see. You’re a job seeker, you see a vacancy, go! You don’t know the company’s individual system. Maybe it’s the same job, but a different vacancy, and the vacancies don’t “talk” to each other. Maybe the job got taken down and all the data got lost. Maybe…any other reason. It shouldn’t be your job to interpret “body language” in an internet portal, and it’s ridiculously unfair to penalize a job seeker for just seeking a job.

    4. Georunner*

      I agree, I would absolutely re-apply. Sometimes jobs postings are taken down and reposted due to errors in the posting. Sometimes they may not get enough applications to meet the requirements for having enough people to interview, and have to scrap everything and start over. I would also see if they have a point of contact for HR/someone involved in the application process that you could reach out to and ask if the first round of hiring is still happening – I’ve seen a lot of job posts list a contact person for any questions. Best of luck to you!

  10. Squidhead*

    #3, I am new to digital meetings but can you set your user name when you login? For one meeting I participate in, in which I am present as the rep from another group, I set my name as “Squidhead, [group] chair.” I’ve used both Webex and Zoom with chat enabled for large meetings and usually the moderator is pretty good about saying “oh, here’s a question from the chat” when someone can’t break in or doesn’t have a headset in their area (lots of people in our org are doing things like using a personal phone for audio and a spare office desktop for the digital content but don’t have camera availability.)

    1. Mockingjay*

      We use Webex. The mic on my laptop isn’t very clear, so I mute it and dial into the conference line with my phone. When your number shows up in the sidebar attendees list, right-click on it and rename it so everyone knows you are present.

      1. Squidhead*

        Yes, I do the same with Webex…connect to the meeting via a desktop computer that has no camera, and then use my cell phone to call in for audio. (Thus does mean I need to make sure to mute/unmute in 2 places since I use the mute function in my phone app.) Appreciate the tip about right-clicking to rename…I just have been putting in a new name when I log in each time.)

  11. justabot*

    LW #2 – The credit question just feels crappy. I feel like it can also discriminate against people who entered the work force without family wealth or savings, who took internships or low paying entry level jobs in high cost living cities because of the job opportunities – and then could never catch up. I moved to NYC right after graduation, took a low paying entry level job in a competitive, but “dream” field – and was drowning financially. I wasn’t irresponsible with money – but in over my head with rent and bills, even with roommates and living outside of the city. I was young, naive, and opened up ridiculous store credit cards just to buy professional looking clothes for the office and fit in with my peers. It took me years to dig out of the debt and financial mess. Looking back with the benefit of perspective, I would do so much differently — mainly not staying in NYC on a non-living wage for so long. Meanwhile, my well connected peers had the ability to take unpaid internships or be able to survive on low paying “dream” jobs without living in perpetual financial stress or opening up terrible interest rate credit cards or throwing away years of money in rent. I made some poor decisions, but it was all with trying to build a long-term career in mind – not frivolous spending. I simply didn’t make enough money to live in or near the city where I wanted to work. It just feels like an ugh way to judge someone on how well they could do a job, especially one that’s not budgeting the company’s finances.

    1. Batgirl*

      Yes another fun initiative from the church of ‘Poor People are Bad People and did something to deserve it!”

    2. Nervousnelly*

      Also some people just make dumb mistakes when they are 20-25 and don’t know any better. I don’t think that should be held against someone for several years.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I think a lot of times people in their late teens/early 20s don’t necessarily fully understand credit. I remember in college seeing credit card companies with tents giving away free t-shirts for anyone who did an application, and throngs of kids doing it for the free shirt, not realizing there might be a long-term impact (then people got smart and gave fake info in order to get the t-shirt or the blanket or whatever).

        I also recall the only actual advice I got about credit came from one of my sports coaches, who sort of casually mentioned on the bus after a game that she built her credit by getting 1 credit card, using it sparingly, and always paying in full.

        I hope “kids” are getting better credit education than we did in the 90s.

        1. londonedit*

          Definitely – when I went to university 20 years ago the banks all offered student accounts with better overdraft terms and whatnot, and there were all sort of incentives on offer. I remember one bank offering a free student railcard (which usually cost about £30 and gave you 1/3 off all rail travel in the UK) and my bank offered £25 in book tokens to switch to its student account, and another £25 in book tokens to take out a credit card (we have separate credit and debit cards in the UK). I did take out the credit card because my parents said it would be good to start building up some credit in my name, but I only used it occasionally and always paid the balance off straight away. I definitely knew people who took out all the credit cards they were offered (and that was a LOT, all the card companies were desperate to get students to sign up) to get all the various incentives and discounts, and a lot of people got themselves into trouble with debt.

        2. GreyjoyGardens*

          I agree! I think there aren’t enough good lessons around money and credit for young people who don’t have parents who teach or model good decisions. My parents were good with money, BUT they also believed that finances were for adults and children shouldn’t “pry” or “be rude” and ask. Then, of course, they were SHOCKED when I made financial missteps – after all, didn’t they model good financial decisions? :/ And didn’t I take “home ec?” (yes this betrays my age)

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      Ugh, “dream” fields! I think that is something that is not properly conveyed to young graduates with stars in their eyes – how “dream” fields pay so poorly you need wealthy parents or a wealthy spouse or a trust fund or any combo of the above to be able to succeed. I’m reading a book called “Paying for the Party” which discusses (among other things) this phenomenon.

      It’s a tough lesson to learn but you did, you didn’t try to hang on for years and years, and I don’t think it was your fault at all. Nobody says, “you’re smart but middle class with no trust fund, don’t even THINK of $GlamourField!”

    4. LegallyRed*

      I agree. I think this practice is discriminatory and gross. I also question whether it is evidence-based. Claiming that people with bad credit are more likely to steal or are more susceptible to bribery sounds like one of those things that *should* be true, so people take it at face value. But is there any data to actually back it up?

      I also think that if we worked to de-stigmatize financial hardship, the bribery concern (to the extent that it exists) would dissipate. I mean, some people will always choose to do the wrong thing, but it won’t be because they are worried about “exposed” for having bad credit or experiencing financial problems.

  12. Amy Dancepants*

    LW3–I have had a lot of Zoom meetings in the past four months and one thing I have noticed is people’s body position when they are talking can really affect their sound quality. Is there a way you can have a practice meeting with a friend or something and see if that might be an issue for you? Often just leaning forward a little can make a huge difference. If you have earbuds or headphones with a microphone, those work well, too. For some reason, people seem reluctant to mention when another person on the call can’t be heard. (I’m guilty of this too and I have no idea why I don’t feel comfortable speaking up. Presumably if someone is speaking they want to be heard.)

    1. lazuli*

      You could even just record yourself on the webcam to hear for yourself and play around with it a bit.

    2. Get On Your Feet*

      I had a similar experience to #3, and switching to earbuds with an attached microphone helped with both volume and eliminating a delay in my voice coming through, so I was no longer being talked over. I hope this helps!

    3. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      Yes, here are four things that can help. The first one is really key in sound transmission in general:
      – Get closer to the mic
      – Adjust sound settings
      – Use a different mic
      – Talk louder

  13. Mlle*

    I don’t understand the advice about the baby. If you wouldn’t pump or feed the child during an in-person meeting, why would you do this during a virtual one?

    1. lazuli*

      Same reason I wear pajama pants during virtual meetings but wouldn’t do so for an in-person meeting. They’re not visible on camera.

      1. Mlle*

        I mean, I could also do laundry during a meeting from home, but I don’t because I’m, you know, in a meeting.

        If you wouldn’t leave a meeting at work to feed your child, I don’t see why you’d do so during a meeting from home—especially when you have someone else there to look after the child.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          She explained why — it saves her significant time.

          If people can’t see and she can still participate in the meeting, why the strong feelings that she shouldn’t? In general, we should be looking for ways to make lives easier for working parents (and especially new moms who are breastfeeding), not putting up obstacles that don’t need to be there.

        2. Julia*

          That most likely used to be Alison’s stance, too, until COVID. These days, parents who have kids in the house are more likely to need some leeway to do parent-things during work. Where before it was expected that WFH parents arrange childcare, now that’s just not feasible. Alison has noticeably switched up her advice on these issues, which shows she is sensitive to context and gets that work has fundamentally changed.

          1. Mlle*

            If that’s the standard, there’s lots many of us could do during meetings that would save time. Hell, I could clean my whole house during some of them. But this person has in-home childcare. She presumably has more time at home following her maternity leave than she would were she still commuting to the office. I don’t understand why the default advice is to partially tune out of work when there are alternatives (that she would be using were she back at work in person).

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s generally acceptable for women to pump while they’re on work calls; many, many women do that and it’s long been accepted. Why is it different when it’s the actual baby rather than a breast pump?

            2. Willow*

              If she was at work she’d be taking breaks to pump breast milk. Considering she’s at home with her baby she might as well cut out the middleman.

            3. Renee*

              I’m currently caring for my 11 month old son while working a full time job that involves 3-4 hours of meetings each day. I disagree that breastfeeding while on a call is equivalent to tuning out. I also disagree that quickly and quietly addressing the needs of someone who depends on you for their food is the same as cleaning your house during a meeting.

              Also, the person who is caring for her child is not lactating so yes, this responsibility falls uniquely to OP. My husband and I both work from home right now, and between us balance caring for the 11 month old and our 6 year old. I’d say we’re pretty successful at splitting kid time and work time equally – except when it comes to ensuring the baby is fed. That’s basically my job for the time being. Yes, my husband could feed the baby a bottle (and he does frequently, when it makes sense to and works with our schedule), but where would the milk for the bottle come from? If the baby has a bottle instead of nursing, you need to replace that nursing session with a pumping session (as someone mentioned earlier, it’s a supply and demand issue.) So if my husband gives him a bottle, the baby takes 10 minutes to eat while I then have to spend 20-30 minutes pumping, cleaning, etc.

              Also, in my experience, pumps are far louder than a baby nursing – other participants on the call would likely hear a pump but not a baby. Honestly, if the baby is fussy and I can tell he’s getting hungry while I’m on a call, the best way for me to keep my focus on the call it to turn the camera off and nurse. Babies can’t cry and nurse at the same time – so it’s a win-win situation (I get to participate in a quiet call and the baby is fed).

              1. allathian*

                This. I’m fortunate enough to live in a country with long paid maternity and parental leave, so I never had to try to balance working and caring for my infant. But I wasn’t able to focus on anything except my baby’s immediate needs if he needed to be fed. A particular kind of hunger cry also made my breasts literally ache and getting him to nurse was a physiological need. It’s not something you can delay for 10 minutes, let alone 30, except in a dire emergency, like a need to get out of the house immediately because it’s on fire.

                1. Hamburke*

                  Hungry crying baby + delay = sweating + a weird bit of panic + leaking + singular focus on feeding
                  I would not be focused until baby was nursing.

              2. Mystery Bookworm*

                Yes, seconding that pumps are generally louder and more distracting than a baby breastfeeding.

                1. Jenny*

                  I could never get the pumping bras to work for me so it required more active attention too.

            4. Pomona Sprout*

              As a working mother who breastfed her baby back in the days when there weren’t even things like pumping rooms at work, I have to take exception to the phrase “partially tune out of work.” No “tuning out,” partially or otherwise, is necessary when breastfeeding. Believe it or not, you can actually be fully engaged in carrying on a conversation (or participating in a meeting) while nursing a baby. I’ll admit it’s hard to do much with your hands (or at least with both of them at once), but brain, ears, and mouth are all fully available for use while the baby is getting fed.

              Whatever objections you may have to nursing a baby during a zoom meeting, the idea that it necessitates that one “partially tune out of work” is simply inaccurate and unrealistic.

              1. General von Klinkerhoffen*


                Once baby has latched on, it’s pretty automatic. The amount it distracts you is similar to someone mowing the lawn a few houses down- you only really notice when it starts and stops.

              2. Forrest*

                Being able to latch the baby on and then carry on normal adult conversation or read a book is one of the best things about babies! They’re 5 and 2 now and I barely remember how grown-up conversations work.

              3. Mel_05*

                I don’t have kids, but my friends *often* nursed their babies while while we chatted. The only time they were distracted is when they tried to use covers. Once they gave up on that, it was the same as if they weren’t nursing at all.

              4. blackcat*

                I think this is a person-dependent thing. I’ve known women who can’t really multitask when nursing or pumping or else their milk will stop flowing.
                And when my kid was like ~6mo, he DEMANDED constant eye contact while nursing. It was really obnoxious, but not something I could fix.

                But yeah, when he was tiny, the *best* way for me to be able to focus on work with him around was actually to have him nursing. Then I wasn’t concerned about when he’d wake up or starting crying or whatever. If he was on my boob, 9 times out of 10, he’d nurse and then fall asleep, and I could do my own thing. I also learned how to set up with the baby carrier so that all of this was hands-free and I could work as usual.

              5. Alice's Rabbit*

                Agreed. I never had problems paying attention to whatever else was going on once baby was latched. But if I tried to ignore the hungry cries, the body’s natural responses kicked in and made it impossible – and physically painful – to concentrate on anything but baby.

            5. Forrest*

              If you could clean your house whilst participating in a meeting with no loss of concentration, what’s stopping you? I would totally do that!

              I really recommend loosening up your ideas of what’s acceptable on a video call and when working from home. My first working from home contract specified that we should feel free to do things like hang washing out and take the dog for a quick walk during the working day, because they recognised that sitting still for 8 hours in the same place was super bad for you, and they actively didn’t want us to artificially try and stick to the same “rules” as working in an office. You’re already missing out on a lot of the enforced breaks and movement that you’d have in a normal office environment—moving to other rooms for meetings, commuting, chatting to colleagues—so it’s really important from a H&S point of view to find other ways of breaking your time up and getting some flexibility into the day.

              I wouldn’t be able to do a meeting whilst moving around because I don’t have a Bluetooth headset, but I knit, change position in the house (if the kids aren’t at home), have the radio on, take breaks for chores etc. I really recommend you try and think about this a bit more flexibly: even if you personally find it helpful to recreate the rigidity of the office at home, it’s very bad for most people to try and do that!

              1. Cat*

                I fold laundry during conference calls regularly. It’s fine; my hands are busy but I can certainly talk. (It doesn’t work if I need to be looking at documents, obviously.).

                I also breastfeed my baby which is also fine.

            6. Green great dragon*

              I often clean the house during work calls. I actually find it easier to concentrate on a call if I’m doing something else that occupies my hands but not my brain. So why not?

              1. Mel_05*

                Yup. I’ve always drawn during work meetings for the same reason. If I don’t it’s harder to focus.

                I’m a graphic designer so people don’t blink at this, but it’ll not just artists who pay better attention if they have something to do while they listen.

                1. Quill*

                  I can only stay awake in long conferences if I take notes or have something to draw. Because if there is ANY way to distract my brain from the ongoing mumbling + bad audio quality of people’s connections it will happen, unless of course I can concentrate a significant part of my non-words brain on something else.

              2. Lily Rowan*

                Absolutely — I had one remote team member years ago who always ironed during our staff meetings (she was the only person on the phone).

            7. Ann Perkins*

              Physically you have to either pump or feed when that need arises, and it’s much faster and easier to feed directly than it is to pump.

            8. BBA*

              In addition to what everyone else has already pointed out, I don’t understand why the default advice would be to make things more difficult for someone when there are alternatives (that we would trust her to manage her attention to the best of her ability and support her however we can as she deals the unique challenges of caring for an infant during a pandemic)

        3. Baffled Teacher*

          Congratulations on not bending the slightest bit on office norms while working from home during a pandemic or understanding why anyone would! I’ll design you a Followed the Rules certificate on Canva while I’m muted and off video during my next faculty meeting.

        4. Mystery Bookworm*

          I mean, why wouldn’t you have laundry running while you’re in a meeting? Neither laundry machines nor breast feeding are particularly disruptive. Provided it’s not an especially sensitive meeting, this feels like a nonissue.

          1. Mathou*

            Because the laundry machine is not going to start crying, spit and then have to be put back to sleep ?

            1. MayLou*

              I do laundry during the workday, but try to time it so the machine isn’t actually running during calls – there’s no door between my washing machine and my desk so it is very audible. It’s one of the main advantages of working from home – instead of taking a short break to chat to a colleague and eat a biscuit, I can do a bit of housework. Then my evenings are free for relaxing and downtime. Why would you not take advantage of that flexibility?

            2. Mystery Bookworm*

              I’m responding here to Mlle’s suggestion that if someone is breastfeeding on a call, she may as well do laundry. I can’t imagine many of her colleagues would object to her having the laundry on while she works, so I think it’s an odd comparison.

              I also think breastfeeding is unlikely to be a meaningful disruption. Most babies zone out post-feed, and it sounds like OP has someone available if the baby does need more proactive comfort… But breastfeeding itself is pretty quiet and doesn’t (generally) require much focus.

            3. Insert Clever Name Here*

              All of which OP’s partner would presumably deal with. The part OP’s partner cannot do is feed the baby with their body. Geez.

            4. Altair*

              Which is all the more reason to feed the baby, so they are happy and full and quiet rather than hungry and angry and screaming.

        5. Project Manager*

          I guess it depends on the meeting…some of mine don’t require my active participation, so I will sometimes take the laptop with me and watch slides/listen while I make lunch or fold clothes or whatever. (Obviously, no video, and I’m muted. Unlike some of the other workplaces mentioned in the comments, mine expects everyone muted unless you are talking.) I don’t see it as any different from working on other tasks during a meeting, and in fact it’s probably better because I’m more likely to be actually listening to the discussion if I’m folding clothes versus if I’m emailing or working on charts.

    2. Forrest*

      The only reason I wouldn’t have fed a baby during an in-person work meeting was because the baby wasn’t there! When I worked at home and the baby was downstairs with my partner, I fed the baby. When I took the baby into work for my Keeping In Touch day, I fed the baby. Nobody made a big deal out of it!

    3. Altair*

      When I was in education I had more than one coworker come in during maternity leave for a planning meeting, bring her baby, and breastfeed during the meeting. I think that happened… three times? With two different people.
      Somehow it didn’t cause the school to fall down or whatever.

      Besides, the alternative, as people discussed in threads above, is a hungry angry baby and often physiological issues for the mother.

  14. Jonquil*

    I’m still breastfeeding my one year old and I have fed her during a few audio/video calls. The first thing I will say is that Alison is spot on when she says you need to read the room. With my immediate team and boss, they are delighted if the baby is on my lap for a few minutes (I try to really keep it to a few minutes only, though), but when I have a call with my grandboss or people i don’t know I do the “I am switching off my camera for a few minutes but I’m still listening” thing when I need to feed. When I have done it on a team call I also positioned my camera up high and made sure I was wearing clothing specifically designed for nursing (rather than just pulling up my shirt like I normally would). At four months, you are going to have an easier time than I did with my 8+ month old. Once babies hit about 5 months they get quite wriggly and distracted while nursing, so it’s not uncommon for them to pop themselves on and off your boob multiple times during a feed. It was that, more than anything that is the main reason I only did it a couple of times and more often than not just turn off my camera.

    The real key is what is your culture like? I’m in the public sector, not in the US, and in a workplace that is supportive. I have also worked for the organisation for a long time, so I have a record of credibility with my teammates that means I’m able to bring a bit more of myself to work than I would in a new job.

    1. Mathou*

      Not to be a debby-downer, but is it really that easy to read the room when it comes to babies ?

      I personally don’t like it when people think it is okay to bring in their babies or children during a work call. It is noisy, distracting and time-consuming. But there is no easy way to say that without coming of like a terrible person, so of course I will smile and say hello. I am not delighted at all, though, I just want to finish the meeting.

      It is risky to assume that everyone is just peachy with children interrupting work calls. I would definitely advise the OP to turn off her camera in order to do whatever she wants without disturbing everyone.

        1. Mathou*

          Sure. It doesn’t mean that the people taking part are “delighted” to see them. They just make do.

          You can be a decent human being and cutting them some slack without loving the fact that your meeting will be interrupted by children. So I wouldn’t assume that by default, the presence of children and babies is appreciated by everyone.

          I don’t say this to make a point, but to remind that mitigating the disruption made by babies and children is a courtesy to one’s colleagues. So, video off, and mute on if there is noise. Because it is not easy to say “hey your children are so annoying”, so people will generally not say anything.

      1. Batgirl*

        There are also people, like me, who are genuinely delighted though! I wouldn’t worry about being misread: I wouldn’t read a smile and a hello as anything other than politeness. Being thrilled to see someone is more unmistakable. Sometimes there are unavoidable distractions with meetings from home and politeness is a good enough response. It doesn’t mean a thrilled response doesn’t also exist.

      2. Natalie*

        I’m confident your coworkers know you’re not delighted. Most people can tell the difference between “smiling politely” and actually being interested in something.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        You don’t have to be “peachy” as you put it, but you can cut them some slack and exercise some patience when childcare is not available during a pandemic! And breastfeeding mothers need to breastfeed, and breastfed babies need to be breastfed, and it’s the best thing ever for the baby’s immune system, and if the mother has had covid-19 her breastmilk will contain antibodies that fight it and that will help her baby fight it (the only food known to do this), so it’s more important than ever for mothers to breastfeed their babies. They need support and encouragement. We’re not saying you have to actively support and encourage them, but you should at the very least not make it hard for them to juggle work and breastfeeding.

      4. The German Chick*

        I don’t see how a baby would be noisy if one can simply mute the mic. Just like everyone else should mute their mic when they are not talking to avoid background noise.

      5. Georunner*

        I have numerous coworkers with children of all ages, and they are all having to balance parenting, schooling, childcare, along with their own work during this time. Nobody has been upset by a child in the background on a call. We all keep our phones muted unless we are speaking anyway, and background noises happen. Just like nobody scoffs if a dog barks or a bird chirps in the background, or a phone rings or an appliance makes noise. We’re all trying to navigate this strange shift in what we’ve known as the norm, and at least in my workplace, have decided to just all be kind and understanding instead of taking issue with every little thing.

      6. Altair*

        You’re probably not disguising your disgust as well as you think you are, but I should say it’s polite of you to try.

  15. Finland*

    LW3, I am a serial interrupter and one of the most difficult things about conference calls is that there always tends to be a sound delay. I can’t imagine the difficulty one would have trying not to interrupt. I never know whether someone has finished speaking. If you’re constantly having people speak over you, probably the best thing to do is either join slightly earlier or slightly later than the start time so that your presence is noticed and you’d have to introduce yourself. Otherwise, you could have a colleague introduce you once you join.

  16. Waving not Drowning (no longer Drowning not Waving)*

    LW1 – we have a team member breast feeding her baby (6 months old) in some of our Zoom sessions and we have no idea she’s doing it until she says she needs to put him down (and none of us would care – we’ve all done the hard yards juggling expressing so glad that things are changing).

    She has her camera positioned so only her head shows. We are in academia, and also not based in the US, but I could not see it being a problem in the last few workplaces (Mechanic, IT, Medical).

    Breasts are for feeding babies. That is their purpose. (and I say this as a mum of 4 who successfully breastfed 2, and successfully bottle fed 2, so not a militant breast fed is best person – I’m a fed is best person).

    1. Batgirl*

      I had a friend breastfeed recently and many of the people who were in the same room as her had no idea she was doing anything.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        I breastfed standing in line at an amusement park, and nobody noticed. Seriously, even family members would ask if we needed to plan a break so I could nurse, and I had to say, “He just ate while we stood in line. He’ll sleep in the stroller now, so let’s get in line for the big roller coaster!”

    2. Sabrina*

      Thanks for saying this! I have a toddler and frequently still nurse him if we have zoom meetings at awkward times (right when he wakes up from nap and will scream if not nursed for example). I don’t have to turn off the camera, I just position the camera to my face and mute myself unless I’m talking. I’ve even texted a colleague a few times to check there’s no visibility and she says she’s never even noticed. But I’m in academia too so when my son was younger I would occasionally nurse him in person at meetings. I’m seeing a lot of comments that seem pretty anti-nursing while on a call and just wanted to chime in that norms really are industry specific.

    3. Blarg*

      I have a coworker who breastfeeds on calls. No biggie. Can’t always even see the baby or know she’s there. But even if we could see the baby or even done skin — who cares? She’s feeding a human child. What the heck am I doing with my day??

      On the other hand, maybe don’t burp the baby on camera. ;)

      Seriously though, go forth and feed your baby when your baby is hungry. Yeesh.

  17. Jessen*

    LW#4, I would mention one exception to this is government jobs that have different job codes. I was told that in order to be considered I had to apply to the specific job with the code for that position, even if I had applied to the exact same job before (they had 2 of the same position open). I don’t know if I would have been informed of this if I didn’t have a family member who had asked the hiring manager.

    1. Paul J Springer*

      I can confirm, this is 100% true. As an individual who has conducted many candidate searches for government employment, I am only allowed to consider individuals who have applied to the specific job posting that is under consideration. So, if we get authority to hire 4 people, for example, it might be under 4 different job codes, even though it’s for the same type of position–in that case, we’d advise applicants to apply for all 4. (Sometimes, the position listing will say that up to 4 people might be hired from the same listing–in which case, a single application is all it takes.)

      1. J*

        I would say this can hold true outside of government. We have a support function in our department (NGO) and we often have similar listings come up close to each other. Unless the hiring managers are really on the ball and sharing top candidates, they mostly look at their own pools.
        So – if it’s a possibility that it’s a second role with the same title, I’d say apply. If it’s the same job re-posted, then don’t. If you can’t tell – err on reapplying (maybe with a note in the cover letter?)

  18. Lady Heather*

    LW3, this sounds like a technology issue. Are you using your computer’s inbuilt microphone, can you replace that with a headset?
    Is there a way to adjust the sensitivity of your mic- either in your computer’s Control Panel or in Zoom settings?

    1. Morning Glory*

      Yeah this is what I was thinking too. Some of my colleagues have poor mics and I have to strain to hear then on calls. I could see them being talked over in meetings and it has nothing to do with how timid their personalities are.

      Also, it sounds like your calls need better leadership. Instead of accusing a phone number of being a hacker halfway through the call, someone should be asking phone numbers at the beginning to id themselves and then not moving on until they know who is on the call

      1. sugar free*

        Right?! That was so bizarre to me, that they jumped to HAcKeR! Instead of just checking who it was. I’m wondering what this manager is like otherwise?

  19. Mathou*


    Just turn the camera off. It is really common to do it, completely normal. You don’t even have to announce it, but of course it depends on your office. You can also pretend that your bandwidth is low if turing your camera off is frowned upon.
    This is really not a good idea to breastfeed a baby during a work call. There is no way you will come off as focused on the meeting.

    I have a direct report who has her baby near her during calls ; she doesn’t breastfeed but she regularly has to soothe the baby because it is crying or making noises. She comes off as not caring at all and it is really distracting and annoying to have to repeat myself because she is doing something else. So if you breastfeed, it will be even more distracting because the baby would be closer to the camera and to you.

    I really wouldn’t risk it, especially when you have an easy technological solution as your disposal.

    1. Lost academic*

      You sound like someone who hasn’t ever actually pumped and also didn’t read what the OP directly said about the difference for her in direct feeding vs pumping. Your problems with your direct report are not related to this.

    2. Green great dragon*

      Mathou, how are you expecting your direct report to demonstrate caring about work in this situation? Leave the baby to scream its head off, which is fine for the baby and wouldn’t be at all distracting? Magic up childcare in a covid world, prioritising work over any health risk to her family? Put baby in a convenient cryogenics chamber? I guess all of these are far more palatable than you having to repeat yourself sometimes. /s

      I suggest you think about how you would like her to act *given she has a baby*, discuss reasonable changes (would you rather pause the call till baby settles? do more by email/IM?) and if you can’t think of a better solution, stop framing it in your head as “she doesn’t care because she can’t think of a solution”.

    3. Mary Connell*

      “She comes off as not caring at all”

      The person who comes off as not caring at all in this anecdote is not the mother who all of a sudden has to do childcare and her paid job during a pandemic.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        “She comes off as not caring at all”

        Some people just have that vibe to their modus operandi. If it weren’t the baby, I’m sure there’s something else this employee doesn’t panic right about that would lead to the same conclusion.

    4. Khatul Madame*

      If you didn’t know (about breastfeeding/baby handling), you wouldn’t judge.

    5. sugar free*

      Mathou, I’d reevaluate whether you have too many calls or other expectations of employees right now. And for the record, a baby fussing and crying during calls would annoy me too, but you need to look at the bigger picture for now. Maybe there’s a meeting time that works better for her, for example.

    6. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Your report is having to deal with a fussy baby, she needs you to cut her some slack, there’s a pandemic on and childcare is hard to come by. If she’s not breastfeeding, her baby needs soothing more often with cuddles – breastfed babies get their cuddles along with their food and often nurse themselves to sleep.
      She probably does care less about her work than about her baby and there’s nothing you can do about that (apart maybe from tripling her salary ha ha!). But she is still trying to get her work done and if you accommodate the fact that she has her baby to deal with, by having fewer meetings and more emails for example, or being patient while she soothes the baby, she will probably still try to do her job as well as possible.
      OP on the other hand has somebody to care for her baby, the only part she can’t delegate is the breastfeeding. It can be done discreetly, either by turning the video off or tilting the camera so it’s not angled at the chest area. It’s the best possible thing she can do for her baby’s immune system, and it’s not something you can schedule. Babies nurse best when they are just starting to get hungry, so you have to breastfeed them as soon as you notice their cues for breastfeeding.

    7. Niktike*

      It’d probably be a lot LESS distracting if she were breastfeeding during these calls. Feeding babies are silent, cooperative babies.

  20. BlueFairy*

    LW #1: If you don’t have a Bluetooth headset that works with your computer/however you call into meetings, I would look into it. My 12-month old is too wiggly to breastfeed while I work now, but when she was a bit younger I definitely fed her on calls occasionally, and the headset made it less likely that soft noises would be noticed. Also the amount of time and energy I gained for work by removing pumping/storing milk/prepping bottles/cleaning pump parts and bottles from my day is nothing to sneeze at. (Still sleep-deprived, though, writing this comment at 1 am because this teething toddler won’t sleep.)

  21. Oh Fiddlesticks*

    OP3, some systems like WebEx also allow you to first log in online with your name, then give your phone number and have the meeting software call you. That way when you pick up, your name, rather than just your phone number, will appear as one of the callers.

    1. Khatul Madame*

      Yes! I run a lot of conference calls, and self-announcements are extraneous to me as the organizer because I see everyone on my call dashboard (and so does every participant logging in from their computer or phone app). And I recognize the audio-only people’s phone numbers, even though I’d prefer they went the route suggested by Oh Fiddlesticks.
      If LW’s self-intro is not heard and the call organizer accuses them of being a”silent hacker” (LOL) – just explain politely that you announced yourself at the start of the meeting. It’s not your fault they didn’t hear. If they want to tighten up the call security, there are additional codes and passwords they can designate.

  22. HedgeSparrow*

    I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet but there are a number of major information security certifications (like many of the the ISO certs) that require all staff to be checked for financial stability. These are not specific to banking or financial sector, and are more common in industries with technical IP. The rationale is that companies who only hire staff who have no financial incentive to leak information or take bribes of some kind are less likely to experience a data leak. This is not a comment on the morality of that, just a possible reasoning for the info being requested outside the financial sector.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      [Shaking my head.] … because wealthy or even financially sound people never, ever run scams. That just doesn’t happen./s

      I have heard more than one story of an ordinary person, just suddenly snapping one day and stealing money. An ordinary person, who had a home and solid finances. What happened? Boredom may have been a factor or there may have been a huge underlying discontent with life? No way to know.

      1. pbnj*

        Seriously. Also aren’t some common causes things like because “it was too easy” or because they got disgruntled or thought they deserved it.

        Interesting about the ISO thing, I didn’t know that.

      2. GreyjoyGardens*

        I was reading a story the other day of a woman, born into wealth, married into wealth, a socialite, the whole nine yards, is now under investigation for embezzlement. I thought “why? She had the perfect life! She didn’t need the money!” I guess either greed, thrill seeking, or just uncaring, gets the best of people who don’t “need” to embezzle.

  23. Batgirl*

    #2 genuinely horrified me. How is an interviewer snooping into your finances anything other than an abuse of power? It seems like a pile of red flags, unless the company can explain why they do it. I agree it’s better coming from HR when necessary, but I would argue the reason the manager brought it up in person was so that he could snoop in person. I’d also be worried that whatever they are discovering on people’s credit is affecting their salary offers.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Good point about the knowledge about the credit rating impacting the salary offered. “Hey I got this one over a barrel!”
      While I am sure this is rare in reality, why would any company want to allow that doubt to exist?

    2. LadyByTheLake*

      In fairness to the hiring manager, who knew and worked with the OP, they might have been trying to be helpful — in a ham-handed and inappropriate way. For example, they might have been thinking that they wanted to hire OP, if the credit score was going to be low due to divorce, medical issue etc, then the hiring manager would be ready with the reasoning and could still get OP the offer. But the way they did it just made matters worse.

      1. Batgirl*

        That’s a good point I hadn’t thought of, but is benevolent snooping much better? It is definitely better, but it is still very nosy and personal of the company who require it, and even if the manager was well-meaning, he’s using power thoughtlessly to overstep and is being really really privileged to assume the OP is cool with discussing her finances.

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      Yes, under the circumstances, it’s probably a good thing that LW2 withdrew herself from consideration. Unless this was a fantabulous opportunity that would be hard to find elsewhere, LW can find a job where they don’t grill her on personal matters.

  24. George*

    Regarding not being heard on calls … You would be surprised at how often somebody in my office forgets to take themselves off mute. Just something to double check. It happens at least three times a week in my group.

  25. Lost academic*

    #1: I did 8 months of pumping at work: in the office, working from home, at client sites and sometimes in my car. Taking calls during that was something I usually tried to do because it was easier to handle a call than other work. I didn’t turn my camera on for those and pre COVID no one ever did. Post COVID camera use became more common but not required or expected. More of a nice to have. There’s a lot of reasons to keep a camera off and I think a couple times I simply said “I’m pumping right now so I’m not going to do that”. If I’d had a feedable baby during this time I’d probably say the same. People accept that you can’t always have a camera on.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Same here. As an alternative, I put up a photo of myself, but don’t turn the camera on. Unless it’s a Toastmasters Zoom meeting, then you have to have it on. But it’s not generally required for work where I am.

      2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I dislike being on camera at all.

        Agreed. Isn’t the mirror enough?

  26. cncx*

    RE OP2, I live in a country (switzerland) where there is no score, our credit checks show what kind of claims are against the person and when- e.g. if it’s health insurance related, tax related, or bad financial habits. So it’s just a list of the bills this person didn’t pay or defaulted on. i guess it would be like giving a full credit report to an employer rather than just the score. Late payments arent part of it- just bills that were not paid.

    Usually for CFO or head accountant or other money positions, this credit report needs to be blank. more interestingly, it usually needs to be blank to rent an apartment. But for a lot of other jobs it isn’t asked for.

    You can tell by the piece of paper and the creditors if this is a person who had a run of bad luck or a person who has a history of not paying for stuff for fluffy reasons. Like in America, a lot of times young people will have hits to their credit because their parents had bad credit and took out stuff in their kids names. when the debt is paid off, it is shown as paid on the report and you can sometimes pay a creditor a little extra to have it removed (for “admin costs”).

    there’s a cell phone company infamous here for not removing people even when they settle up. if i was a hr person and i saw a hit on that person’s credit from that cell phone place i would be like ok this is a non issue. My friend has a ding from them because a bill got lost when she was studying abroad and she paid it when she got back and they refused to remove the citation.

    Anyway, my tl;dr is i feel like a credit report is more useful than a score if someone is really going to ask for it for a job, even if it causes confidentiality issues. But it should be for roles where there is higher level bank authority or signature authority and it should be HR snooping and not the hiring manager, just like HR can sometimes be privy to health or family stuff that may have confidentiality issues that one’s boss or colleagues don’t need to know about.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I’m in the US. My mortgage approval got held up for a $35 medical bill that did not exist. The doc had waived the bill for the visit but somehow this non-bill went into collection. I called the investigator and said, “Gee, if I was going to screw someone out of money, don’t ya think it would be more than $35?” He laughed and agreed, however he could not let it go through because of “rules”. I would think that a report showing no other problems would telegraph that there was a problem with the doctor’s billing, not the payer.

      The doc’s office gave me the run around, promising to write a letter and then not writing the letter. Finally, I went to the office one day and said that I would sit in the waiting room until I had that letter in my hand. I probably sat there for several hours waiting for this letter that I had requested on four previous dates.

      If the bar is so low that a $35 medical bill stops a process, then many of us are hosed here.

      1. Nervousnelly*

        This happened to us when we bought our house 2012. It was right after the recession in the US. So creditors were super weary. We had to explain silly things to our lender. My parents gifted us some of down payment and you would have thought it was the end of the freaking world. (it added to our down payment so I was just like extra). People freaked out, we needed letters from our parents banks, our bank. All for a 3 bedroom ranch.

        1. doreen*

          To be honest, the gift letter thing isn’t so silly ( it was required when I bought my house over 30 years ago). I’ve known people who decided not to give a “gift” because of the gift letter requirement. See, it wasn’t really a gift, it was a loan that the parents expected to be repaid. They weren’t willing to call it a “gift” in writing in case things went south later.

      2. Batgirl*

        I lost a refinancing mortgage during my divorce over a £15 mobile phone bill from a company who had never provided me with service and claimed theyd waived the bill. That was a fun day.

  27. Green great dragon*

    OP1 you could ask your manager. Phrasing it as ‘when I breastfeed my baby, would you prefer I kept the camera on and pointed at my face or off entirely’.

  28. Bookworm*

    #4: You can but I’m pretty much in agreement with Alison’s answer. If you never heard from them it’s more than likely they simply passed on you the first time and there’s no point again. There’s always a chance they missed your resume but don’t bet on it. I’ve also found that 6 months isn’t enough time other–if I’ve ever had luck in reapplying to the same place or same position, it had to be years (ie, different staff and maybe more experience on my part) to get a look.

    As someone who is now on the other side of this: my org continues to repost because there are a lot of issues in play–we didn’t get enough or a diverse enough candidate pool and want to reach as far as possible, people dropped out of consideration for whatever reason, etc.

    Unless you know for certain that they didn’t see your application the first time around (technical issue, perhaps?), I wouldn’t bother.

  29. Sugar Cookies*

    #1 If you do breastfeed during a call and show it on your screen, be aware that your co-workers kids and household is also likely to see (husband/wife, kids, elderly parents). Our system puts the person making noise or moving in the big picture and the mom/baby was making noise and she was on the big picture most of the call. Our new mom was very upset that another co-workers younger kids saw her on there parents feed and yelled out to their dad that “That woman on moms work has her boobies out” and he looked up and said “What the Hell”. Our breast feeding co-worker was not aware that other people may see her, but we are all home together right now. So be aware that your co-workers household right now may see anything the screen sees.

    1. Metadata minion*

      That sounds like an excellent opportunity for the coworker to have educated her kids about what breastfeeding is, something they would be seeing out in the world if they weren’t in l0ckdown.

      1. Sugar Cookies*

        The child’s mom was embarrassed as well and yes she educated her three year old and called the new mom privately and let him apologize for yelling. She has at least another year or 2 of her son embarrassing her or so in my experience.

        1. Myrna M*

          That new mom sounds ridiculous. In about 3 years maybe she’ll be more understanding that a pre-schooler doesn’t have the sense of discretion of an adult. She’s the one choosing to nurse on camera!

  30. Heat's Kitchen*

    #1 – we’re a very cameras-on office and it isn’t uncommon for people to go off camera occassionally. We us the chat function in Zoom to let people know we’re still there but off camera. We usually say why and in your case, I’d just say “still here, feeding the baby”. obviously use your judgement if you’re not supposed to be with your kids at all (big eye rolle) or what. But if your office are decent people and you still participate, I think it’s fine.

    Also, if you have talked to your manager before about your nursing needs (i.e. pumping), I’d just ask her what she thinks of it too.

  31. Amy*

    I’ve breastfed three kids. I’ve certainly spent considerable time breastfeeding on park benches and on department store couches. I also used to pump in our company lactation room.

    But I still wouldn’t do it on camera. For one thing, many of our video calls are recorded. For another, the idea is often that if you feel uncomfortable seeing someone breastfeed in public, you should look away. But there’s really not much of an option to look away on call. The participants are a captive audience.

    With three little ones in the pandemic, I’m constantly going on mute and turning my camera off for a variety of reasons – tantrums, diaper. I find the less my colleagues and company know about the inner-workings of my home, the better. I prefer a boundary and as capable as I am, breastfeeding my kid in my home is more intimate of a view of my private life than I want to provide.

    1. Natalie*

      I’m pretty sure every videoconferencing platform allows you to hide specific participants, which would be the videoconferencing version of looking away. The LW’s coworkers are no more a captive audience to breastfeeding than anyone in public would be.

      Although by and large I agree the LW should just turn off the camera, mainly for their own comfort and the dreaded “optics”.

      By and large I agree it’s easiest for the LW

  32. HR Bee*

    #2 – This was definitely poorly done. I am in HR/Payroll so I’ve pretty much always had a credit report done for every job I’ve had. But also, I’ve only ever run credit reports at the companies I’ve been apart for individuals in HR/Payroll, Finance/Accounting, or the Executive Team. Basically, people have access to company/client/vendor funds.

    But at no point have I ever been asked, or have I ever asked someone, in an interview how their credit was. That’s beyond bizarre and I’m glad you withdrew from consideration because thats a giant red flag to me.

    1. Lexi Kate*

      I’m in Finance (CPA), and I’ve had my credit run lots but never any feedback/questions from employers. Until my late 30’s (sadly we are a year in to paying off our debt, Snow balling now) I was more of the those that can’t do teach others on finance. At one point I was changing jobs because we needed more income because my husband was drowning us in debt starting his new company. So this is very odd.

    2. Brett*

      This struck me as strange too. If a credit check was going to be run, the background investigator would have access to it but probably not the interviewer. Which, to me, means the interviewer should not be asking this question at all; it gives them access to information that they normally would not have.

  33. Sam*

    I can’t believe how aggressively anti-child/anti-family some workplaces are. Seriously? We have parents breast-feeding on calls. Parents feeding toddlers in high chairs on calls. Parents holding preschoolers who are colouring in their laps on calls. It’s wonderful!

    The alternative to parents caring for children in a meeting isn’t a fully attentive attendee, it’s a parent not attending at all, since the meeting is now and the child’s needs have to be addressed now. Especially in COVID times!

    I am so, so grateful to work at an office that sees children as a normal and wonderful part of life, and allows parents to meet their kids’ needs when necessary. Trusting parents’ judgment and giving them room to care for their kids makes them more productive, not less. I can’t imagine how unproductive a parent listening to their unfed baby scream in hunger pains would be.

    1. Altair*

      Honestly. Reading the discussion, I wonder if some people think they sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus rather than ever having to be fed as babies.

  34. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    #1 – it’s less about the breastfeeding and more about the distraction. Yes we all need to be more flexible in the current situation with most people working from home now and daycare not being available, but you say your mom is helping take care of the baby. So I wouldn’t recommend doing anything with the baby during a meeting. I work with a lot of multi-taskers and having to repeat myself 20 times during a meeting because people aren’t paying attention is beyond frustrating and ends up wasting people’s time.

    1. Ugh*

      Her mom can’t breastfeed her baby. Forcing the baby to wait until the call is over will probably make her breasts ache and distract her mentally quite a bit from the actual call.

        1. blackcat*

          But then she has to pump, which is more distracting and louder than nursing. If she’s got 2 hours of meetings straight through, waiting to empty the boobs is likely not an option at 4mo old (maybe would be at 8 or so months).

          1. Batgirl*

            Yeah I would consider it to be incompetent management if I heard a breastfeeding coworker had to pump rather than simply turn off the camera for ten minutes or subject people to the sight of a baby.
            Obviously that’s an extra job you’re giving someone really needlessly. Pumping is fine and a clearly necessary job, when you’re physically away from a baby.. When someone’s at home you’re going out of your way to avoid giving someone freely available slack. My experience is that when parents get that type of slack, a kindness of attitude, the kind that doesn’t impact anyone else, they more than repay it and the whole team benefits.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              yeah, I can’t believe all this hostility to babies’ needs here. A happy baby makes a happy Mum and a happy Mum will work better than a stressed-out, frazzled Mum. How is that so hard to understand?
              agggh sexism of course how could I forget?

        2. Forrest*

          Doesn’t work on all babies! Mix-fed my elder one from 6 weeks, but my younger just never, ever accepted a bottle.

  35. Kate*

    Credit checks, even for financial positions, are ridiculous. If you’re going to be able to commit financial fraud, you can still make your credit score look amazing!

  36. Ross*

    With regard to #3, one other item I’d suggest is having a good microphone or headset, particularly if you tend to speak softly. I see many people on Skype/Zoom calls these days using their laptop mic or a set of earbuds from their phone. Invest in a decent, USB (or bluetooth) headset with a boom mic. The last part is critical and makes an enormous difference in being heard. I understand why people don’t want to spend personal money on something like a USB headset for work, but it was money well spent for me given the volume of calls I am on (and perhaps your employer can reimburse you). If your headset does not have a boom mic of some kind, it simply won’t be as effective in most cases.

    Alternatively, if you want to go all-out and have truly phenomenal audio on calls, get a USB microphone designed for podcasts and such (and a pair of headphones to avoid echos). I have a Blue Yeti and I’ve been told many times how clear and good I sound on calls (one guy asked how I sounded like a radio announcer). However, that is overkill for 99% of cases, a good headset with a boom mic is all you need.

  37. Minimal Pear*

    OP #3 it sounds like you might have an issue with mic ducking? (And/or mic sensitivity, which other people mentioned.) That’s when your computer automatically makes you quieter when noise is coming through your speakers–noise like your coworkers talking. It’s super annoying, and I had to turn it off on my computer because it was interfering with recording the podcast my friends and I run. I’ve completely forgotten HOW I did it, but if you look up how to do it on your OS, you should be able to find instructions.

  38. Delta Delta*

    #2 – If the job doesn’t have anything to do with money or finances, or handling other people’s money or finances, or something with a high security level, I’m not even 100% sure why an employer would want to do a credit check, other than to use it as a way to exclude a candidate. How someone handles their affairs seems almost as arbitrary to me as asking about dietary habits. “We don’t hire people with credit scores under 600” feels like “we don’t hire pescatarians” if the job has nothing to do with either. Maybe I misunderstand why some employers do this.

    #3 – Conference call announcing is weird. I assume OP is writing about phone calls and not video calls where it’s visible who’s there or not. I struggled with this, too and do it like this: wait for the chime admitting me to the meeting, immediately say “hi, this is Delta Delta!” If someone else is talking they’ll probably stop when they hear a new voice. Wait for the break, say it again. Hit mute. Do a crossword puzzle.

    1. Tabby Baltimore*

      And I’m the complete opposite, but only if I’m late getting into a meeting. When that happens and I’m phoning in, when the system prompts me, I announce my name very quietly, so as not to disrupt the flow if someone’s talking when I’m announced on the call.

  39. Forgot my username*

    Re: LW 3 – I have the same issue and feel so uncomfortable interrupting someone just so say, “Hi! I’m here!” I wish more people I work with would follow best practices for conference calls and video meetings. In the best ones I’ve attended, the host will give some direction for introductions, like, “I’m going to read the names of everyone who RSVPd – say if you’re here” or “I’ll do a roll call by office/city/etc” or “I’m going to acknowledge everyone in the order they appear on my screen.” The opposite of this is when the host is like, “Let’s all introduce ourselves . . . .” with no direction, which leads to 10 minutes of alternating silence and interruptions.

    1. Atlantian*

      OMG, so much this. Just take roll. It’s easier for everyone and doesn’t take up that much time. If attendance is important, take roll the same way the substitute teacher did when you were in 4th grade. If the call is so large, that that would actually take up too much time (like, more than 25 people), set up a survey ahead of time for people to respond to and announce it on the call. Ask people to ID themselves in the chat and download the transcript afterwards. Send an e-mail and announce to attendees that their time-stamped response is necessary to be counted as present.

      For the love of god, don’t just start a call with “Who do we have on the line?” and then allow a free for all for the next 10 minutes. Ugh.

    2. Mimmy*

      Oh god yes!! When we do phone or video conferencing, there are several people who immediately announce themselves when they come on. We do take attendance most times, but these same people still announce themselves. It interrupts everything and it very jarring.

      What do you recommend for people who arrive after roll call is taken?

    3. Amy*

      On both Webex and Teams, there’s a list of attendees who are present. So at my company, we neither do roll call nor introduce ourselves. We just get started.

      It’s understood if you don’t see yourself on the list (maybe because you’re calling in from an unfamiliar phone and it’s “Call in User 2”), you message the group “Amy’s here.”

      1. Mama Bear*

        We also have a waiting room so the host needs to allow you in if you aren’t working from your company account. Otherwise we also don’t announce ourselves on Teams.

  40. Senor Montoya*

    OP #1: speaking from personal experience, you would NOT be pumping while on a phone call. Even the quietest pump is not silent. In addition, pumping is more successful when you are not focusing on (possibly stressful) work and phone calls. You would not be able to focus on the phone call while disconnecting from the pump, capping the bottle, cleaning up yourself and the equipment.

    1. Insert Clever Name Here*

      I pumped on calls frequently, whether they were vendor calls scheduled during my pumping time or times I stepped out of hours long meetings and called in. The key is to wear headphones with a mic if you need to be unmuted. After the first time I stepped out of a meeting and then called back in while pumping, I even asked a trusted coworker if she could hear the pump and she couldn’t.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      I’ve often heard mothers say they are able to produce more milk if they’re not focussing on the pumping, so it actually can be more successful if you’re taking a call. It sounds weird, but as a breastfeeding counsellor I’ve talked with plenty of women about this issue, and I’ve heard plenty of mothers saying this. When you’re pumping and watching the bottle fill up, you can start stressing about whether you’ll have enough to feed your baby. Stress (in the form of the stress hormone cortisol) can inhibit the letdown (when the milk comes in). But if you’re thinking about other stuff entirely, it just happens as a reflex response to the pump stimulating the breast.

    3. Cat*

      I actually do pump during calls. I have an Elvie, which is pretty easy to use and wireless which definitely helps. It does make a little noise but nothing that seems to carry over to the phone.

    4. Ann Perkins*

      I have a job where I’m on the phone quite a bit and have spent lots of time on the phone while pumping. People who know what that sound is don’t care, and people who don’t know probably just think “hmmm that’s a strange background noise” and move on.

      And for a lot of women, sitting there and staring at the bottle is counter productive. Most people are going to scroll on their phone or text someone back or some other distraction, if they’re not working.

  41. Granger*

    #3 Alison wrote, “… call in slightly early so you’re one of the first ones on, and thus don’t have as many people to speak over to be heard.”

    I don’t have a problem being heard, but I do this because it eases my social anxiety! You just have to not get there so early that you’re the only one and are then forced to chit chat with the presenter!

  42. Zuzu*

    LW #2 – I work in HR for an industry that does pre-employment credit checks. Personally, I find it ridiculous for roles that have no access to confidential or financial information, but it’s not my call. I do let everyone know during the hiring process that we do a credit check. For us, we’re not looking at your credit score number, but if you have a history of very late payments, loans that have gone into default or collections, bankruptcies, etc. I try to tell job candidates this information upfront, and do ask if they anticipate there being any issues on the credit report when it’s run. If this comes up again, I would recommend asking the hiring manager/HR (it really should be HR) what types of items on the credit report would be found derogatory. For us, there’s a sliding scale of what will cause someone to fail, similar to a criminal background check (DUI, ok. Conviction for assault, nope). You were late on a few payments, or have $500 that went to collections with your cell phone provider? Ok. You defaulted on your student loans or have a bankruptcy? Probably won’t pass.

    1. Bertha*

      I was going to say, a friend of mine with not-great credit recently had a credit check and was concerned about it because being unemployed really hurt his credit and he had numerous late payments, etc. But, he still got the job. I imagine the employer didn’t see a larger pattern as it was all after he lost his job?

  43. Anonymous mom*

    May I just interject… my baby was colicky. I envy those of you who had a chance of doing something like this. Best wishes & best luck to all infants. (Hang in there parents of colicky babies – this too shall pass, and you’ll get to embarass your teenager with stories.)

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      My second had thrush for nearly 2 months before we cleared it up. We finally had to resort to gentian violet, which stains everything a dark purple. Like, really dark.
      I’m right there with you!

  44. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP5, If nothing else, Jack is Sally’s boss — telling him she’s been problematic might just get her some management training that he didn’t think to provide!

  45. LQ*

    #3 a lot of folks have mentioned getting a good gaming headset with a microphone will make a world of difference and I cannot second that strongly enough. Second all of the vocal tricks that people use to get attention in person rarely work on audio only calls because of delays and because of the way audio through a call works, it’s unmixed so your “pay attention to me I’m trying to cut in without interrupting” sound which is extremely effective in person with all but the worst people, won’t work on phones.
    The best thing you can do is start and keep going. Especially for introductions. If the room is going around and everyone is introducing themselves pick a point after someone, start, and keep going. It’ll be uncomfortable, but if you’re having a hard time being heard you have to do it. If someone is starting to move onto the next topic, or the next section I’ve been “Sorry I have to go back for a second, (which is mostly about getting the other person to stop talking so the thing I actually need to say comes across) This is LQ and I’m with Company and Whatever Else.”
    If you just say “This is LQ” it’s not long enough for others to stop talking and hear you.

  46. Karo*

    #2 – This won’t help OP much, but I used to work at one of the largest background screening companies in the nation, so I wanted to provide a little context for Alison’s comments on the use of credit checks.

    First and foremost, everything Alison said is true – they’re typically only used for positions that handle money but a lot of people in the industry try to push all the types of checks for all the people because it’s more money in their pocket.

    That said – companies should be restricting all of their background checks to the items that actually matter to the job. They should be going through a workbook for every single job class and determining whether a given type of check is really necessary and, if it is, what’s the threshold where they want to learn about it (e.g. if they decide to do a crim check, do they care if it was a misdemeanor, or do they only care if it was a felony).

    I’ve been out of the industry for a few years now so I don’t remember the specifics, but the short version is that – because of the systemic racism in America – if they ban everyone who has a misdemeanor charge from working at their company, or ding everyone who has a poor credit report, they are going to wind up with a very white workforce and could end up in trouble with the EEOC.

    So yes, it is technically legal (and definitely shitty), but if you are a minority, undergo the background check and get denied a job because of something that shouldn’t have mattered, and you can make a case for why it shouldn’t have mattered (for instance, you’ve worked at these types of jobs for years and never had an issue), it may be worth talking to a lawyer.

  47. itsokayformetohavemyboobsoutatwork*

    OP #1

    I only have internal calls with people who know I have a baby, and have a culture where people, really like babies.

    My suggestion, if it’s an internal call, just turn your camera off, and use mute, if you’re not speaking. You can make a general announcement, once, and then just proceed as usual. I basically used a “private moment” and then kept myself on mute/camera off.

    I have pumped several times, while on a call (where I was speaking) no one said anything. My baby has attended many a call, which my co-workers find amusing/adorable.

  48. Banks need paper trails*

    That’s not unusual in my experience – large sums of money need to have a paper trail. I had to do the same in 2015 and heard plenty of stories from folks who had to do the same thing both before and after the recession.

  49. Ray Gillette*

    LW1, I will obviously never be in a position to breastfeed anyone, but I turn my camera off if I need to eat on a call. It’s distracting to everyone else. I would apply the same logic to breastfeeding.

    1. SarahKay*

      I don’t think the two are directly comparable. The camera looks at your face, as a general rule, so you eating is directly visible, and thus a distraction. A baby latched on to one’s breasts, below camera-level, should be pretty much unnoticeable if the camera is aimed reasonably high.

      1. Fresh Cut Grass Smell*

        Its still a much better comparison the normal comparison of my baby eating and someone going to the bathroom.

  50. kjib*

    LW1: it’s the same as if your pet keeps jumping on the table during a call, you’d lock the door so they can’t get in because it’s distracting. so don’t do it, or turn the camera off.

    1. Quill*

      Thing is, her husband is as capable of feeding the cat as she is. The same is not currently true for the baby (because although formula is wonderful and often life saving her body is producing milk that will need to be taken care of sooner, rather than later, and demanding that she not nurse or pump can have medical complications AND is pretty significant overreach on the part of her job, since lactation isn’t a lightswitch that she can turn back on after her meeting. )

    2. SomebodyElse*

      Do you have pets? Hahaha… if I shut mine out the cats stick their paws under the door so they can rattle it and the dog whines and barks.

    3. Niktike*

      The pet will be fine if you leave it alone for the length of a call, the mom will not be. Delaying breastfeeding is how you get mastitis.

  51. Jennifer Strange*

    LW #5 – If Sally was stretched thin even before she took on a big project you might even be doing her a favor by talking to Jack about continuing under his supervision, and you could frame it that way: “I feel like Sally has a lot on her plate even with the project done, and it may be helpful if I continue to report to you so that she can focus more of her attention on supervising Lock, Shock, and Barrel*” I say this as someone who was stretched thin in a previous job and was not believed by my supervisor when I tried to tell her (then I left, she had to do my job for the 7-8 months it took to replace me, and ended up leaving without another job lined up…but that’s none of my business).

    *I assume the Jack and Sally names were for a Nightmare Before Christmas theme.

    1. valentine*

      I feel like Sally has a lot on her plate even with the project done, and it may be helpful if I continue to report to you so that she can focus more of her attention on supervising Lock, Shock, and Barrel*”
      This is a huge overstep. OP5 should stick to why it’s good for their work and not mention Sally at all.

  52. OP#2*

    Hey y’all. Thanks for the kind words and thanks to Alison for answering my letter. For the record, I don’t think the hiring manager is a bad person. He’s a very kind man. The company is just a bit set in its ways. “This is the way it’s done” and all that. I think he asked the question about credit in a backwards way of trying to help me so that he could help get me on board even if I had credit issues, but the way he went about it really embarrassed me. I don’t really want to work somewhere where my boss and my boss’s boss (I met with her too) know about my credit score.

    The whole thing was just strange. The same day I withdrew myself from consideration, I get a letter in the mail notifying me that a credit and background check was done on me. They must have requested it the same day I interviewed. I’ve never worked anywhere where the background check was run before an offer was even made. I guess he really wanted me to work there. I withdrew myself from consideration to save them the trouble of paying for the check but I guess I was a day too late.

    I felt comfortable removing myself from consideration because I had a few other interviews that seemed promising and got another offer last week. I also get to work from home and the other job would have required me to be on site. Everything worked out anyway.

  53. Fellow Traveller*

    Re: LW #1. Babies feed in a wide range of ways. Some are loud, some are quiet, some thrash around, some are quite passive, etc. I don’t think there is a blanket statement for what breastfeeding a baby on a video call would be like for the participants (including the nursing parent). It seems, like, however, from the wide range of comments that are qualified by “I’ve never breastfed, but…” type statements, that it would be awesome if breastfeeding were more normalized and not regarded as this mysterious thing for people to make assumptions about. There are ways to breastfeed on a call discreetly, without being secretive, and every nursing mother should know whether or not it is something they are comfortable with and have the bandwidth to do. I really like the idea of, if you are going to do it, letting your colleagues know in that “no big deal” type of tone that Alison often advises. And, yes, “know your workplace” is of course really important and there are definitely situations where it wouldn’t be appropriate. But maybe if more people feel like it is not big deal, we can create a supportive culture where there would be fewer letters like this to Alison.
    (I’ve breastfed all three of my kids at some point at work and in meetings, and pumped in meetings (thanks to my Freemie pump), but then again, I work in the theatre, so I realize I am fortunate that my colleagues tend to be more blase about these things.)

    1. Altair*

      “It seems, like, however, from the wide range of comments that are qualified by “I’ve never breastfed, but…” type statements, that it would be awesome if breastfeeding were more normalized and not regarded as this mysterious thing for people to make assumptions about. ”

      Oh my goodness, this. I have never understood the squeamish, puritanical American attitude towards breastfeeding, and it is such a shame that creates such unnecessary burdens on breastfeeding parents.

    2. Ann Perkins*

      This. I really wish pumping and nursing were more normalized. I used to make it a point to be very matter of fact but also casual about it in the office. A good spinoff post to this, for those who want to be allies of working moms, could be things you can do to support them and things you shouldn’t do (i.e. suggest they skip a pump or delay!).

  54. Blagosphere*

    LW #1. I have an 8-month old that I am breastfeeding and I actually find that I am MUCH MORE productive on days when I pump vs days when I nurse during work hours. A couple of factors you may not have considered: 1) I find it nearly impossible to type while nursing because you need to be holding baby with at least one arm, but typing is easy while pumping. 2) As others have mentioned, babies get VERY wriggly and distractable around 6 months. I used to love watching TV while nursing but now my baby is just too distracted by any other person or noise in the room so it really needs to be a quiet environment for him to nurse. I think a zoom call would be a hassle. 3) Yes, it takes 10 minutes to nurse vs 20 for pumping but I get a lot more milk pumping – typically around 8 oz – so I have to do it a lot less often. I find it really hard to get into the flow of work when my nanny has to pop into the room once an hour because the baby is fussy. Babies nurse for comfort as well as food and the comfort nursing can really take over your day if you don’t set limits. 4) Also, it’s pretty hard to predict who is going to be cool about nursing on camera. It makes lots of people uncomfortable and it can be awkward to be worried about the camera angle if you have to stand up or hand baby off when your top is down. I might do it if I have a one-on-one with another mom, but any larger group, I’d avoid. So all this is to say that of course you may find that nursing works best for you, but returning to work and baby getting older may change the dynamic, so I would at least give pumping a chance and see how you feel.

    1. blackcat*

      I do think there’s a transition with an older baby. I only nursed mine during (remote) meetings until around 5 months old, precisely for the distractable reasons you point to. But whatever works for LW1 and her baby is what works for them right now!

    2. Alice's Rabbit*

      I had exactly the opposite experience. I could do plenty while nursing, because once I got baby settled and attached, he was mostly supported by the nursing pillow. I typically went with the football-hold position for nursing. So my hands were free.
      But with the pump, it would not stay properly in place unless I was holding it. And I had a much harder time getting let down and a good flow, so the often required both hands, and all my attention.
      Breastfeeding also went much faster. 10 minutes or so on each side, and done. Pumping took forever! Then, I had to clean everything and put it away. It ate up hours and hours of my day.

  55. I'm just here for the cats!*

    #3. I’ve been in similar situations where it’s hard for me to speak up. Along with Alison’s suggestions I would try using a head set if your not already. I’ve find that mics on computers have a hard time picking up Soft spoken people.

  56. HailRobonia*

    I suddenly imagined “breastfeed my baby on video calls” = “the baby has an office job and is in a Zoom meeting” a la the movie Boss Baby.

    1. Forrest*

      Ha! I mean pretty sure Boss Baby wouldn’t be let s little thing like needing to feed get in the way of firing a subordinate.

      1. valentine*

        pretty sure Boss Baby wouldn’t be let s little thing like needing to feed get in the way of firing a subordinate.
        He would not. But he’s not breastfed and he drinks a special formula so he won’t grow up.

  57. drpuma*

    LW4, especially if the “New Jobs” email came directly from a job board rather than the company, it is likely that the job re-posted or refreshed on the 3rd-party site but not on the company’s website. I would check the job posting on the company’s website (many are dated) or the URL on the company site to confirm it is the same job. I would only reapply if the company’s metadata confirms the posting is for a different role.

    Whenever I’m job-hunting I do a very low-tech select-all and save the posting and URL to a Word doc (followed by my cover letter in the same document) for everything I apply to. It helps me avoid repeat applications and also guarantees I still have the details if I’m asked back for an interview, as many companies take down the posting once they get deep into interviewing.

  58. blink14*

    Op #1 – I don’t think video is necessary, and I actually refuse to use it for meetings. It makes me extremely uncomfortable and I also find it more distracting for myself.

    When you return to work, I would set your parameters for these calls right away. I would say something like you may have your baby with you at certain times, so you will keep your camera off and stay on mute until you need to speak. I’m living with my parents right now, due to the virus situation, and there’s always some kind of background noise going on, even if I’m in a closed room. I feel better keeping myself on mute until I need to speak if I’m in a bigger meeting or our daily (and painful) group meetings. If it’s a meeting where I have heavy involvement, I try to eliminate excess noise by closing the door, turning off a fan, etc.

    A headphone/mic set may also be a great option for you. It will cut background noise.

  59. UrbanChic*

    LW #1 – Congratulations on your baby! I am the CEO of an essential service nonprofit working much more from home in the pandemic. I nurse on zoom calls all the time. Most of the time people don’t even know my baby is there because the camera does not see her, although she pops up in some moments. If other workers have their kids pop on video occasionally, my guess is people won’t even know you are nursing.

  60. OP#3*

    Thank you all for the recommendations and tech recs! I have mostly had issues on phone conference calls– I’m getting seen fine on Zoom and other similar web things where I can set a name, thankfully. I was definitely thinking it was just an issue of me not being assertive enough, but yesterday I had my microphone cut out entirely for a few calls, so it’s possible that I’m having cell service issues or that I’m having mic issues that could be fixed with a good headset. I’ll have to fiddle with my tech setup and with my interruptions going forward. Thanks for the heads up that this might be the issue!

    1. Quill*

      Thing I just thought of: check your attenuation settings in the program you’re using for these calls. I always have trouble with that on discord.

  61. WFH_Mama*

    As a mother who just weaned after a 14 month breastfeeding journey and a mother who has always been WFH (once I returned to work with baby was 6 months), I think it really depends on the nature of the call. If it is a call when you need to give your full attention and be on point to present, add comments, ask questions- I would not BF during the call, just because having your LO with you will cause inevitably cause distraction. If it is a meeting where you are listening in or one you would normally multitask through, I think it would be fine to breastfeed. I would turn off the camera, but that is really personally preference and knowledge of one’s work place.

    I will also add, as my LO got older, probably around 4/5 months, he became more aware of his surroundings and breastfeeding with the TV on or anyone, even my husband, around became more difficult because baby would get distracted. He was always turning his head to see what the sound/noise was (I also expected my LO would be distracted by the light from the computer). Things got more routine as he got older and I knew when about he had his naps. I feed him directly almost every feed, but if I had a important meeting that conflicted, I had my sister (and our nanny) give him a bottle and I pumped before/after the meeting.

  62. Yikes*

    What would be disqualifying on a credit report? I took a bankruptcy in 2015, but perfect since then and score at 700 now until it falls off in 2 years.

  63. Betty*

    LW 1, I also had a baby in late march (pandemic mom solidarity!) and have been back for a month (remotely, husband is caretaking). Here’s how I have handled this:
    1. If I’m primarily listening in on a meeting (i.e., not presenting something where people really need to see me when I talk), I’ve kept video on for intros, then say that I’m going to turn off my video for bandwidth/reliability while others are presenting/talking. (Also, uploading a professional-looking headshot to whatever account you’re using seems slightly friendlier than a black square.) Make sure you mute your mic, too — beyond just being a basic video call courtesy, I forgot to do this during a conversation when I was burping my son post-feed, and my boss paused and asked if someone was doing work on my house, or what the thumping sound was. And then a few minutes later, when I had just said “yes, it sounds like an excellent plan to bring Fergus into the loop on this”, my son let out a “Wheee!” and you could tell my boss was trying to figure out if I’d actually just exclaimed “wheee!” about Fergus joining the project.
    2. I have been using a haakaa to collect let down from my off side (especially overnight/morning feeds when I have the most supply), and have built up a decent freezer stash so that my husband can do a bottle if I am on a call where I really need to focus/unmute/have video on. This may not be an option for you but it’s been AWESOME for us, and I have felt the need to evangelize about the wonders of the haakaa to basically anyone who will listen. (Pro tip– easiest if you’re doing a football hold on the baby so that your other breast is free.)

    Good luck!!! You’re going to do great.

  64. Tidewater 4-1009*

    #1, do you know about nursing covers? They cover you and the baby while you nurse. You could use one if you can’t turn the video off.
    Here is an Etsy search to get you started

    I’m not a mother myself, and I was very impressed when I saw a colleague use one that has a stiff top that holds it out from the body. She and the baby could see each other, but no one could see them. Similar to this

    1. dawbs*

      I used one because my baby was ‘distractable’ (and she would start looking around. Either she’d remain latched and do it [ow] or she’d let go and look around [and leave me hanging in the wind]. Neither had a good outcome).

      Don’t feel (at all!) that you have to use one, but, I found it useful. I also used them to pump in public (car pumping), because it kept it all very g rated.
      A blanket would have worked, but the strap helped hold things in place, the thing that held it out from my body meant I could see, and I wasn’t especially good at getting myself tucked back into my shirt tactfully, it let me do that.
      (somewhere in Chicago is my first hooter hider, I lost it on vacation there. Which made the train ride home w/ the baby a tad harder, because she and I had a system and I messed it up by not having it. Ordered the replacement the day I got home)

      I hope you find a good solution, and you shouldn’t HAVE to have anything at all. But, I will say I found this useful and worth the money I spent on it.

    2. Alice's Rabbit*

      A friend gave me a dark, lightweight poncho. It makes a perfect nursing cover, better than any actual nursing covers I ever used (and I tried all the styles). It covered more, but the fabric was thin enough for baby to still get good airflow. And it looks far more discreet than a traditional cover, which is, quite frankly, so obviously just for nursing, you might as well hold up a sign that says “bare boobies here!”

  65. RozGrunwald*

    Coming in very late on this but just want to say, as a former breastfeeder:
    – I do not think people should have to hide their breastfeeding in any context. It is a beautiful and natural thing and one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
    – If I was the LW I would turn off the camera while I was breastfeeding because if it became evident I was BFing on a call, that would become a distraction and may affect my career, and thus, my ability to provide for my family the way I would like to. I would like to be known at work as “that person who is amazingly competent and confident and good at her job” and not “the person who was breastfeeding on camera and accidentally had a nip slip in front of the entire executive team in a Zoom meeting.” Those kinds of reputational stains are hard to wash out once they set. Regardless of the LW’s opinion or our opinions, someone she works with probably has a problem with her breastfeeding on camera, so don’t let that become a focal point, vs. excellent work and a great attitude.
    – I would have no problem, however, telling people who asked “my camera is off because I’m breastfeeding my child.” My bet is, the vast majority of people won’t ask and if they do ask it will be through IM or a private convo and not on-camera.

  66. Jubilance*

    LW3 – are you announcing yourself as soon as you connect to the call? Or are you waiting until the meeting host kicks off the meeting and is seeing who all is there? I got in the habit of saying “Hi, this is Jubilance joining” when I started having conference calls, and it really helped! Maybe you can try that, that way (hopefully) you don’t have to interrupt or talk over someone to announce yourself.

  67. Michelle*

    Re: Breastfeeding during video calls:

    I am our organization’s Board Secretary and need to be somewhat on-call during our quarterly Board Meetings and Frequent Executive Committee Meetings. When these were in-person, I would ask another team member to sub-in for me for 30 minutes; but in quarantine-land, I can now express breastmilk while I have my camera off and microphone muted. I generally let someone on my team know, so that if I get called-on unexpectedly during the meeting that I don’t need to scramble to get presentable, and that they can handle the issue.

  68. LW1*

    I am grateful for the helpful comments and also fascinated by the ensuing discussion regarding feminism, patriarchy, and office norms! On the one hand, I’m asking this for purely practical reasons. Baby needs to eat. I gotta work. But I also realize that this symbolically can be a big deal. I was recently promoted to senior management in an organization run by men and in a field known for being hostile to women (economics). Luckily, I’ve never felt oppressed or anything like that at work but I think it’s good for the women I manage and others to see that yes, I am a mother and making it work. But I also don’t want to make a huge deal out of it. Anyways, it turns out after I started working, I realized half the people on our calls weren’t using video anyway and the excuse that your internet is too slow for video is common. Baby hasn’t yet lined up his feedings to my calls but I decided to take a middle road and if needed, give a little heads up that I’m feeding the baby but still listening and then turn my video off with mute. (He can be slurpy) Also, I advocated for fewer calls overall because I find most of them inefficient and a waste of time.

    1. Luna*

      Good that there was a simple solution, and that it turned out there wasn’t much of an issue to begin with.

  69. Lies, damn lies and...*

    I was on a video call with someone nursing and I didn’t realize until she popped the baby over her shoulder to burp. I’d be more concerned about a nip slip than anyone knowing I was nursing and would suggest just turning off your video (or get a slider for your camera!).

  70. Matt Quartermain*

    If you want to make sure you are heard in a conference call, don’t be afraid to call out, “I say, can anyone hear me?” in a clear and audible voice, and perhaps drop a hint that you may be having technical issues with the link. It guarantees that your presence is noted.

  71. Luna*

    LW1: I would say to not breastfeed while on a call. It’s absolutely normal that the baby needs to eat, and you are feeding it with what nature gave you, but that doesn’t change the fact that I would consider doing that while on camera during a meeting to be… not just unprofessional, but also rather rude.
    I do not care for your baby, nor your baby’s eating. Hence, I do not care to see it, nor part of your exposed breast.

    And I would feel the same if this were, say, a man sitting shirtless in a webcam meeting, or someone eating rather ‘messy’ food. Eating a sandwich is fine, for example. But not things like spaghetti or something. I just find it rude. Not to mention, also a bit disgusting to hear the slurping of food or such. It’s a business meeting, not a nice, relaxed lunch with pals.

    I would suggest to have some breastmilk pumped and keep it around, so that if the case occurs that a meeting runs into the baby’s feeding time, you can be ensured the baby gets its food, and you can concentrate on your job.

  72. DS*

    LW #1, think about etiquette and not what you can or cannot do.

    Today I had a bad headache and did not shower before my first video call. I kept the camera off. People asked why once- I stated because I felt a little sick and “looked green.” No one asked again. After two cups of coffee I went back on video by mid-morning

    Unless there’s something I don’t understand, video is not required in video conferences

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