companies that ban beards, hot flashes in interviews, and more

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

1. Interviewer told me they don’t allow facial hair on men

I just had a second phone interview yesterday for a part-time adjunct position. At the end, I was told that the institution was “faith-based” (which was not a problem for me; I’m queer but don’t necessarily see that as a conflict). As this was an on camera interview, I was also told, right at the end, that they don’t allow any “facial hair” on men and expect a neat, clean appearance as the candidate would be teaching camera. I was a bit taken aback, though I realize the college most likely has the right to do this. I most likely won’t take the position if offered because I do like my beard; I feel like it’s a part of me and I always keep it neat, trim, and tidy.

So I suppose it’s more of a thought than a question – do you think this is fair? It’s extremely hard to find a job right now on top of everything else, and I don’t think anyone should be policing anyone’s appearance, be it how they wear their hair, makeup, facial hair, etc. Or is this more common than I realize and I just happen to have not encountered it before? For what it’s worth, as you can probably tell, I work in higher ed, and beards are practically par for the course!

No, it’s ridiculous! Years ago, it did used to be the case that lots of employers required men to have clean-shaven faces (with exceptions if you had a beard for religious or medical reasons), and beards were widely considered unprofessional — the sign of a hippie or an Unserious Man. That’s changed so much that it seems incredibly odd today, but you do occasionally still run into workplaces that still hold to it. But it’s a very outdated stance.

(Obviously this is different when the rule stems from safety concerns, but that doesn’t sound like the case here.)

2. Should I be uneasy that my boss asked about my work history?

I had a weird interaction with my boss recently that I’m not sure how to interpret. He pulled me aside privately recently and asked me to refresh his memory on my job history and professional skills from high school up to working for our company that I’ve been working at the last three years.

He said his boss was asking him to investigate that, so I gave him a condensed, verbal version of my resume (which is in my employee file). He told me not to worry about anything, that it was just some investigating he was doing for his boss. We have had layoffs from Covid here and there, but I’m not sure how to take this kind of conversation and if it means that there may be a layoff in the future for me. As far as I know no one in my department has been asked the same thing, so that makes it look even weirder.

Should I be proactive in looking for work elsewhere or is this a non-issue?

Jeez, your boss — that’s pretty much guaranteed to alarm you, especially when he phrased it as “investigating.” He should have given you more context than that — and if he didn’t want to, he should have just looked up your resume in your employee file.

If I were you, I’d go back to him now and say, “Can you tell me anything more about why you were asking about my work history and skills? Not knowing the context, it rattled me a bit and I’d be grateful if there’s any context you can share.”

It’s possible that they’re planning on changing your team and wondering if you have the skills to slot into a different role, or they’re thinking about a different role for you totally separate from any other changes, or it could be something totally random like his boss thinks he once heard that you have some graphic design in your background and so maybe you could cover for the designer while she’s out next month, or who the hell knows what. I’d start by explaining that it left you uneasy — since he may have no idea it did — and go from there.

3. Dealing with hot flashes in interviews

A few years ago I decided to change careers completely. I went back to school after 15 years and just graduated with my new degree this spring. Being older than the average new grad and graduating into a pandemic has made the job search a little harder than I expected, but something new has popped up and I just don’t know what to do about it.

I had a health issue earlier this year that is fully resolved, except for one slightly horrifying after effect: early menopause. Setting aside the emotional burden (I’m too young!), I am really suffering with hot flashes. 10-15 times a day I’m suddenly flushed bright red, coated in sweat, heart pounding, convinced I’m going to spontaneously combust. When these happen in interviews, I don’t know how to address it. Depending on the context, I either look incredibly angry, unhinged, or just embarrassed. (And I am embarrassed; I feel betrayed by my body.) I know interviewers are noticing it, and I don’t want it to be the proverbial straw that leads to a rejection.

Luckily all my interviews have been virtual so I have been able to try a few things:
1. Lowering the lighting in my room during interviews — I look like I’m hiding something (because I am!).
2. Sitting with an ice pack — helps a bit, but my face still becomes visibly flushed and sweaty.
3. Wearing more makeup — all the makeup slides off in a beautiful sweaty flushed mess.

So, how do I address it in the moment? I don’t want an interviewer to, consciously or not, think I’m too old, or too angry, or too sick. Finding a job is hard enough right now, I don’t want the swan song of my ovaries to ruin it completely.

Sometimes when there’s something your interviewer is definitely going to notice and which risks coming across oddly if you don’t explain it, it’s easier to just address it up-front. Obviously you shouldn’t have to disclose a medical situation, but some very brief acknowledgment of it could make it a non-issue, and also give you the peace of mind of knowing your interviewer isn’t wondering what’s going on (and maybe drawing the wrong conclusions).

So it might help to say something at the start of the conversation like, “Before we get started, I want to mention that I’m dealing with a minor, temporary medical thing that’s making me flush. In case you notice me turning red, it’s nothing to be alarmed by!”

4. My boss wants to talk about my career goals — but I don’t want to advance

I’m a performer who works in an office for my “muggle job” (aka, my day job). I cannot support myself on what I make as an artist, but I’m a good office manager/administrator. My new boss wants to discuss professional development and my career goals, but … my career goal is to be an artist. I want to be a good employee, but I’m not looking to grow into a bigger role. I have a work plan meeting this week to discuss my goals, and I’m not sure what to say! What’re your thoughts?

“To be honest, I’m really happy with where I am and my goal isn’t to eventually move into another role. I’m a performer outside of work, and I really appreciate that this job lets me do a good job here during work hours and then focus on performing the rest of the time. My hope is to stay in my current role for the foreseeable future, and continue doing a good job in it.”

That might be all you need! But some managers will want to make sure you don’t plan to just stagnate in the role (because they don’t want a situation where you never make improvements or adapt to changing best practices) and will want to hear that you’re committed to growing within the role, so you might want to speak to that as well. More here.

5. How honest should I be with interviewers that I have another offer that’s been delayed?

I am finishing up a year-long job (think something along the lines of a residency or fellowship). Even before starting this job, I had my next job lined up at a company where I previously interned (usual in my line of work). Due to COVID, however, my next job pushed my start date significantly, so I am unfortunately looking at many months of no income. Naturally, I am job searching, both because I could obviously really use an income and because I’m not 100% positive that my next job won’t pull my offer entirely.

My problem is that I’m not sure how honest to be in interviews. My resume shows my internship, and I have had multiple interviewers ask why I am not planning on working at that firm (because it is generally the expectation that you received a job offer from these types of internships). Should I be honest and say I still have an outstanding but delayed offer there, or should I fudge the truth and say it wasn’t the right fit? Ultimately, I do feel like it might be in my negotiating interest for the jobs I’m applying to to know that I have this other job waiting for me because it gives me some small leverage; my outstanding offer is a well paying job, so I can probably only accept a new job for comparable pay or better work/life balance. But I also don’t want to risk implying that I might leave any new job when my other start date rolls around or that I don’t actually need a job. Thoughts?

Don’t say it wasn’t the right fit! They might ask questions about why, and then you’re going to be spinning a whole yarn … and plus, there’s a chance it could somehow get back to that other employer (you never know who your interviewer might know) and it could put your offer from them in jeopardy if they hear you’re saying you’re not going to be working with them because it wasn’t the right fit.

Instead, I would say, “They did make me an offer but because of COVID, it’s on hold. So meanwhile I’m moving forward with talking with other companies. I think they’d understand that if I accepted another offer, I’d withdraw with them.” (That last part isn’t really necessary, but it sounds like you want to underscore that you wouldn’t leave the new job if the old one eventually comes through.)

{ 344 comments… read them below }

  1. Not A Manager*

    LW3 – You didn’t ask for medical advice, and obviously your own health history might preclude this, but I’ve had tremendously good luck with a low dose of HRT during my menopause. One thing it almost eliminated was hot flushes.

    Otherwise, I like Alison’s wording and think you’ll be much happier getting in front of any issues rather than trying to hide them.

    1. Quandong*

      I agree it’s important to note that LW3 did not ask for medical advice here, although it seems like there will be…a lot of suggestions forthcoming.

      LW3 has most likely received advice (and pamphlets) from their medical professionals about what is suitable and safe for them in terms of medications and therapies to reduce symptoms of menopause.

      1. Wren*

        I wouldn’t count on it. We’re a generation into awareness of symptoms of (peri-)menopause, but I think we’re in infancy of awareness that symptoms can be mitigated medically, and also that HRT has come along way in the last 25 years.

      2. Queer Earthling*

        My spouse wasn’t told or given ANYTHING about their early menopause. They were barely told that it would happen. Maybe the OP doesn’t need any advice, but it might help someone else to read that options exist.

        1. boop the first*

          Indeed. 35-year-old here, and I for one, am somewhat curious. I’m still nervous about the sudden missing/late menses bit. Not sure I will be able to handle that particular type of stress every single month for who knows how long!

        2. AKchic*

          I hit peri-menopause at 27. Guess what I was told? “well, it happens sometimes”. That’s it. Nothing helpful at all. No referrals to specialists. No help whatsoever with symptoms. No telling me what symptoms to expect, if any. I get more help from my mom group and online research than I do from the doctor who was supposed to be helping me (but was more interested in getting me to break my pain contract with my *specialist* than treating me for what I came in to deal with).

          I haven’t gone back in since. It’s been nearly 10 years. I know I should see a doctor, but I am so tired of being seen as “patient with a pain condition I need to solve” rather than patient with X problem who is asking about X problem and is being seen for pain condition elsewhere.

          Having said all of that: this person didn’t write in for medical advice, so we should refrain from giving it.

        3. Nope, not today*

          The Standard Issue podcast (a UK based formerly online magazine) did a series on perimenopause recently – its fascinating and horrifying stuff that most people dont know (most I was familiar with only because of a friend who went through it early and basically made it her mission to tell every woman she knew what all the possible symptoms could be, as you mostly cant count on doctors for help with it). Worth checking out if you want more info/stories/commiseration.

    2. Old Admin*

      I agree, LW3 may not be able to use *any* kind of HRT, especially if the underlying condition is a serious one.
      Since my family is at risk for cancer and I suffer badly from hot flashes myself, I only use a cream with a wild yam extract at the lowest frequency possible instead of classic (synthetic) HRT. Just saying without wanting to get into a big discussion.

      And yes, I agree with the suggestions below – start a fan off camera right the beginning of the interview and mention A/C issues, get Dermablend or other professional makeup (scar coverup) that will not sweat off, and keep the cold foot bath ready!

      All the best for your next interview! You can do it!

    3. WorkNowPaintLater*

      I’m on a low dose HRT – still get occasional hot flashes.

      Is it possible to have a small (and quiet) fan set up during the virtual interviews? I keep a small fan at my desk, and have found that having some airflow helps keep the worst of the flashes down to a mild roar. Even a ceiling fan that is out of view of any cameras may help.

    4. Spontaneous Combustion*

      I appreciate the advice, but sadly HRT is an absolute no-go for me. But, hey, my doc said I’d only have hot flashes at this frequency for the next year or two, so I’ve got that going for me!

      I love Alison’s wording! Just having a proactive script has already reduced my anxieties about this whole mess.

      1. the one who got away*

        Hey there! I have craniofacial hyperhidrosis (basically my head is a furnace) and can get soaked in sweat from even very minor exertion, anxiety, stress, heat — you name it. A variety of attempts to treat it have been unsuccessful or had side effects that weren’t worth it.

        When I went to the interview for the job I have now, my now-husband’s company had flown us to town, I wasn’t authorized to drive the rental car, we parked in the wrong lot, it was 100 degrees outside, I was wearing a suit, I got super lost, multiple entries were locked, and now-husband ended up walking with me until we found the right entrance to the building. I wasn’t nervous about the interview at all but all this other stuff…wow, was it a lot.

        So I showed up absolutely DRENCHED in sweat…with my boyfriend. Who quickly said hello and headed out. But I was understandably horrified. They asked me if I needed some time to collect myself and I knew that leaving the office to go hide in the bathroom would just prolong things so I was like nope, this is a medical condition, not a big deal, it’ll settle down in a few minutes, let’s just go ahead if that’s okay.

        And we did, the interview was fine, I got the job, I’m starting my ninth year now, and everyone knows I get sweaty sometimes and it’s totally NBD. But I think the key in that situation was to be matter of fact about it and keep on rolling, as REO Speedwagon would helpfully advise.

        Here’s to hoping your interviews are significantly less dramatic and that you get the right job for you!

      2. Tidewater 4-1009*

        I’ll chime in a little here. When I was younger I sometimes had severe menstrual symptoms, and I found they improved greatly when I stopped eating dairy and sugar and started taking vitamin B-50.
        By the time I hit menopause I had been on that diet for more than 10 years, and my hot flashes weren’t very bad. They only lasted a second and weren’t every day – maybe 8-10 a week.
        So, maybe changing your diet would help? I’ve heard others say cutting down on sugar helps with menstrual-related symptoms. Maybe dairy too, or there might be other foods you could try avoiding. Maybe spicy foods?
        Maybe look online and see if there’s any consistent info.
        Good luck!

    5. designbot*

      As someone who’s also gone through early menopause, this was my first thought as well. My second is that before I found out this was irreversible and I was trying to get pregnant, acupuncture offered me a truly surprising amount of relief! I went in skeptical but like “well, I want to be able to say I tried everything, so here it goes…” and weekly treatments brought me from having 10–12 hot flashes a day, down to zero. I can’t claim to completely understand it, YMMV, all that, but I found it much more helpful than I expected, particularly around this symptom.

    6. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I have menopause issues (temperature monitoring on me? Good luck!) at age 40 odd and I’ve found that nothing the GP offers does help…but I’m getting good at saying to people ‘don’t worry, I don’t have a fever! It’s just a minor medical thing’ when I go into the ‘body in the tropics’ mode.

      (I’m just hoping it’ll settle down eventually. Fingers crossed!)

      1. Stephanie*

        I’m 36 and in medical menopause. The hot flashes were awful at first and after 3 weeks without a full night’s sleep my doctor put me on Premarin, which is a form of low-dose HRT. I went from having hot flashes a couple times an hour to a couple times a month. Worth talking to your doctor about, if you haven’t already.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Thanks for the advice, but hormone treatments and me are an exceptionally bad combination. I’m on a lot of other meds and the interactions would be severe.

          I am negotiating with th husband unit to have the windows open all night and for him to have a separate duvet. He feels the cold, I really do not!

    7. TardyTardis*

      Black cohosh and evening primrose oil (the evening primrose oil *really* helps with sleep quality, and has the fun side effect of prevent hangovers, at least with me).

  2. Dan*


    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but layoffs are coming. Whether it’s you or someone else, I donno, but they start asking questions like that if either 1) They think you fudged a job history and want to fire you, or 2) They’re trying to get a “complete” skills picture, so that they can straight-face claim that they let people based on “experience” or “qualifications.”

    The only other possibility is that they’re bidding on a new contract of sorts, and they need to present people in the beset light (e.g., most skills) possible.

    1. Anna Banana*

      . . . or the possibilities Alison mentioned or others. I’ve been asked this question when my boss was thinking about how to replace the skills gap being created by a co-worker who was quitting but the rest of us didn’t know yet. It’s not helpful to present these as the ‘only’ options when they demonstrably are not.

      1. Dan*

        To respond directly to OP’s question, I’d start looking, no matter what the boss says. The boss may not even know the “real” reason his boss is asking.

        I was pretty tight with my boss at my old job. I also work in a small niche field. I interviewed at a well-known company, and after I got back, I just said to my boss, “FYI, I interviewed with so-and-so at Company X.” He asked me why. I told him that I could read the writing on the wall. He said to me, “You? Things have to be pretty dire before we get to your name on the list.” Well, somehow I jumped the line because I was out six months later, and things hadn’t got dire yet. They let me have a few minutes with him before shoving me out the door, and he said, “this wasn’t my call” which I totally believe.

        In the era of COVID and companies shrinking (OP says there were layoffs already), my advice to the OP (since she asked) is to start putting some feelers out. Boss may not have the complete picture, or may not be at liberty to discuss it. In this forum, telling the OP not to worry seems like a disservice.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, it’s good to be cautious, especially right now. But given that the boss had a conversation with the OP that left her uneasy and confused, it’s wise to go back and ask about it. She might hear something like “Oh no, I didn’t realize you thought that and I’m so sorry I made you uneasy — I was asking because (compelling and credible reason).” Or she might hear something that isn’t conclusive, in which case, yes, she should start putting out feelers. But she shouldn’t skip that conversation because it could give her some useful context. (And I’d be mortified if I had a conversation with an employee that made them wonder if their job was in jeopardy and they didn’t give me a chance to clarify.)

        2. Picard*

          Giving your boss the heads up might have been the reason your name jumped to the front of the line. Just saying. I don’t care if the boss is my BFF from 25 years – I would never have told them I was looking.

          1. New Job So Much Better*

            Agree! If they know you are looking, it’s much easier for you to be moved to the top of the list.

          2. Anononon*

            Yeah, especially because the reasoning for choosing someone to let go who is job searching isn’t necessarily insidious, telling your friendly boss when you suspect layoffs may be soon is a bad idea.

          3. Former Govt Contractor*

            Totally agree! Dan put his name on the chopping block by announcing he was looking.

          4. Dan*

            The irony is that by getting laid off, I had bosses that give a rip work their connections and hook me up with a much better job than I would have had had I not been let go.

            So whether or not opening my loud mouth got me Door #2, I have *ZERO* regrets about it.

        3. Sara*

          This is question # 2’s writer again: I dont think this is bad advise.

          I just went and clarified with my boss, including asking if someone has complained about my work abilities, and he said “No, my Boss is looking at who does what in our department to see if people can take on more work or to shift responsibilities around, strictly information based research, so please don’t worry”

          I guess I won’t worry, but I am not going to sit on my hands to wait and see what happens

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Never hurts to job hunt, but there are plenty of other possibilities, MY first thought was opposite — this kind of question also gets asked when management wants to promote someone, give employee recognition, keep someone from moving on, rationalize their pay scales to make sure no gender/race/etc gaps exust, etc.

      1. V*

        Yes, exactly. I’ve been asked this twice and both times it was a precursor to a promotion and they just needed to make sure that the relevant checkboxes were checked.

    3. Not A Girl Boss*

      Or… not.
      I once had a conversation almost exactly like this. It ended up being that they fired someone senior to me and promoted me to his position. They were trying to use my work history to prove that I was qualified for the job.

      Sure, that happened during a time where the company wasn’t in a recession. But its still completely possible that this is good news. Or that layoffs *are* coming, but that will equal a promotion for LW. Which is still good news for LW.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        This also happened at my work once. They requested updated resumes from everyone in my department. The reason being, they were planning a long-term construction project that shut down my program area, and were looking for ways to a) cross-train some of us so we could temporarily shift into other departments for the duration of the shutdown and b) bring some of the employees who were working part time but almost-full time at 29:45 on full time at 40 hours.

        The whole thing ended up being a train wreck in the end and people left, but the reason for the updated resumes wasn’t nefarious.

    4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I agree that a layoff is a strong possibility unless OP’s manager has a history of being really bad at communicating clearly. If they were trying to assess skills for other projects, they would have said something along the lines of “refresh my memory, do you have experience with A?” and then provided a reason for asking. But a vague, “give me your job history” when OP’s resume is easily accessible is a big red flag to me.

    5. JohannaCabal*

      I’ve also heard of this happening. The logic is that if they can find that you lied on your resume and/or job application, they can fire you with cause and not have to pay unemployment, avoiding having to lay you off and paying for UE.

      Even if that’s not the case, I’d still keep an eye out for other opportunities because it’s just a very weird situation.

      1. Jaybeetee*

        Pardon me if this is too much of a tangent, but in the US, do employers pay EI? (I don’t mean pay into it, but actually pay ex-employees?) Because these stories do seem to come up periodically of employers actively trying to prevent ex-employees from receiving EI, and from my Canadian perspective it’s hard to understand why, apart from pure spite/maybe trying to ruin the person’s life.

        Here, everyone pays into EI, but it’s the gov that pays it out to those who have been laid off or fired “not for cause”. Someone “fired for cause” cannot collect EI, but my experience has been that most employers go out of their way to list a different reason for termination, specifically so the ex-employee can still collect EI. It doesn’t make a difference to the employer what happens to the person after they’re out of that job, so why look for reasons to keep them from getting it?

        1. JohannaCabal*

          For the most part (keeping in mind this can differ by state), employers generally fund unemployment insurance by paying a tax based on payroll. Again, this depends on the state but if an employer pays out a lot of unemployment claims, their rate goes up. This is why some companies will aggressively fight claims.

        2. Noncompeteguy*

          In the US employer’s pay for EI, EI rates are determined by how often you lay people off, if you lay lots of people off you pay more for the insurance.

        3. Oaktree*

          Yes, just anecdotally from another Canadian, a friend of mine had to release an employee because of the employee’s incompetence, but wanted very much to ensure the employee could still receive EI. My friend contacted me to ask if I knew anything about employment law (I’m a law librarian) in that area that would allow a mechanism for this.

    6. Rusty Shackelford*

      If layoffs are coming, it’s also possible that they’re considering whether to keep you if you can also do A, B, and C, even though your official job is X.

      1. Dainty Torkin*

        So why not ask directly if it’s possible? Questioning the employee about their resume seems a roundabout way to to find out past experience.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Maybe they don’t want to confirm that layoffs are coming. Sounds like nothing is official on that front.

    7. Artemesia*

      I once ignored flying red flags when some changes heralded a merger that cost my department and many others in ‘very secure jobs’ their careers. I managed to recover, but many of my older colleagues didn’t. It may be something benign incompetently handled; but they may be looking for excuses to lay you off. Since they have your resume, I would worry they were trying to find inconsistencies. And yeah the complete skills picture thing may be that they are looking for excuses why you don’t have the skills they need going forward.

      1. Dan*

        At my last job, we hired a lot of people fresh out of school at all degree levels. Apparently HR was somewhat sloppy with offers, because some people at the graduate level were starting work before completing their thesis (or whatever). The offers should have read that the offered salary was contingent upon successful degree completion, but they didn’t. The difference was material, based on contractual requirements with the government. So the company had to go back to some new hires and reduce their pay until the degrees were finished.

        One of my bosses (same job upthread that I got laid off from, but different boss) just had it out for me. One day, he asked if I had gotten my MS yet. I said nope. He then asked what I put on my resume. The dude literally pulled my on-file resume out to read it to me, where sure enough, it read “anticipated graduation at some point in the future”. *My* resume was accurate, so he shut his mouth and put it away.

        People upthread surmised that I found myself laid off because I told a boss I was close with that I was looking at leaving. The reality is, the jack arse I just described had it out for me and got promoted up the VP ranks.

    8. 9to4ever*

      It might be for a good reason, but this did happen to me before layoffs at my job. My boss made it sound like she was “trying to make me sound impressive” to the new CMO and flattered me about my education, but in the end, it turned out CMO already felt like he had someone else from a division that merged with my company who could do what I did. That doesn’t mean it will happen to OP. But I had gotten a creepy feeling when she asked that, and it turned out, my gut (or the hairs on the back of my neck) were right.

  3. IOCTL*

    (1) Would it make a difference if it’s fullbeard in something like a teaching position? It can be difficult to hear people through a fullbeard especially since often part of hearing in person is seeing their mouth movements. With video it would probably be exacerbate that issue.
    Many of us are currently wearing masks and it makes it more difficult to hear and understand each other. I have to ask more often that someone repeat themselves and am also asked more often to repeat myself.

    1. Eeeek*

      How is it harder to hear someone with a beard? The beard does not seal their mouth shut??? LOL

      1. Courtney*

        I think if it’s ateaching position, there will be a need to stand in front of a room and talk. If they can’t see your mouth, those with hearing impairments might not be able to fully understand what is said. I didn’t realise how much humans relied on lip-reading till I watched a dubbed version of Das Boot at 14 or 15.

        1. Sam*

          Outside of that very specific scenario, though, this isn’t usually a concern – hence audiobooks, podcasts, and the telephone. And if it is a concern, there are other ways to remediate it – amplification, subtitles, an interpreter – that I’d expect to come before shaving. Perhaps in a scenario where it’s a speech therapist or elocution teacher? But I don’t know anything about either field.

          1. Courtney*

            I wont pretend to understand the full reasoning for the company to say this, I was just trying to explain what I think IOCTL meant. I don’t agree with policing anyone’s body or appearance! But a lot of hard of hearing people rely on lip reading (well, the ones I know do, obviously that’s not universal) :)

          2. Oaktree*

            Yes, this. Deaf or hard of hearing students are entitled to accommodations for their disability, but that really can’t extend to the instructor changing something about their appearance. That’s not reasonable.

        2. Mookie*

          The LW says that the adjunct position is “teaching camera,” which I interpreted to mean “on camera.”

          I’d be interested to hear whether the LW thinks there is an actual connection between the policy and the “faith based” philosophy, or if both facts just happened to be mentioned next to each other as the interview wound down.

          As an aside: pace the LW’s own feelings on the matter, I think that if the interviewer was indeed trying to use “faith” to justify/explain the grooming standards there is some reason to be skeptical about how naturally queer-friendly this institution may be.

          1. LQ*

            Agreed. I’d be looking through the handbook for other items that may be unfriendly markers. Sort of like the brown suits yesterday being unprofessional. Places get to set whatever weird, weird restrictions they want. But I’d be hesitant to take a job at a place that conservative. (Small c, as in thinking that only clean shaven faces or only black or navy suits are Professional is a remanant of and call back to decades ago.)

            1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              I feel like “faith based” and “no beards” are already all the data points you need. At least if you are in the US.

              1. KayDeeAye*

                Why? I’ve never heard of any particular prejudice against beards, even in conservative faith-based institutions. Now, I haven’t necessarily heard everything (I’m a pretty liberal Christian myself), but you know, I read Christianity Today and I see photos, and if you Google things like “top evangelical leaders” and look at the images, several of them have beards. They’re almost all men, and they’re mostly white (although there are definitely exceptions), but some of them have beards and other facial hair.

                So rather than being religion-based, I think it’s a weird throw-back rule (it’s so very, very early 1960s!) that’s probably unrelated to religion. It sounds a lot more like “You must wear a dark suit and a somber tie” and “Women must wear hose” than “Thou shalt not…”

                1. ThatGirl*

                  Amusingly, Anabaptists (Mennonites/Amish/Church of the Brethren etc) have a historical prohibition against mustaches — they were associated with the military — which is why Amish men grow beards when they join the church but not mustaches.

                  But nowadays all but the most conservative/old order groups are cool with basically any facial hair.

                2. KayDeeAye*

                  Ah, I knew I’d seldom seen an Old Order Mennonite or Amish man with a mustache, but I had no idea why! Very interesting.

                3. That Girl from Quinn's House*

                  No, Brigham Young University has a ban against beards. I worked with an alum awhile back.

                  It’s likely the LW is applying to BYU or a satellite campus.

                4. Alice's Rabbit*

                  That Girl From Quinn’s House, I have several friends who attended BYU. Yes, they don’t allow beards on students or faculty but no, it is not a religious tenant. Simply a part of their dress code, which includes being clean and well-groomed, no shorts or skirts above the knee (for either gender), no sleeveless tops or dresses (again, for either gender), no bizarre haircuts or colors, etc. They also have strict rules against drugs, alcohol, smoking, or extramarital sex of any flavor.
                  And as a completely private institution, they are legally allowed to set those rules. Folks don’t have to like their rules, but if they don’t want to follow them, they can work or attend school elsewhere.

                5. Kares*

                  A local faith based K-12 school has a similar dress code for faculty and staff. Men must be clean shaven. Women’s sleeves must be 3/4 length. Interestingly the student dress code is jeans and school t-shirts for all students.

                6. HarvestKaleSlaw*

                  You know, I didn’t realize BYU had a no beards policy. No shade on LDS intended. I was thinking it was a thing with those hardcore right-wing evangelical schools for dominionist homeschoolers – the kind that don’t let women wear pants and prohibit interracial dating.

                7. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  Er, I’m not suggesting that in Europe we’re 20 years behind wherever you’re coming from, but when Disneyland set up in France in the 80s people were shocked to learn that employees had to be clean shaven. Pointing out that Walt Himself had a moustache didn’t help any applicants.

              2. lilsheba*

                Yeah…the “faith based” part would have me running the other way right from the start. As far as policing things like beards, hair color, tattoos etc I think it’s ridiculous. I personally don’t care for beards but if this guys keeps his trimmed up and it’s not slovenly looking what’s the problem?

            2. Mustachio*

              I’m pretty certain I work for the institution referenced in this question, and as far I know this policy stems from outdated ideas about dress and grooming. Trust me, there’s widespread opposition to this policy on campus. Pretty much every year students petition for the policy to be discontinued. It totally baffles me as to why the administration continues to cling to a policy that is really of so little consequence.

              Also, it is my understanding that exemptions are given out pretty easily to students (and I assume faculty and staff) who have a religious requirement for a beard, when shaving aggravates extremely sensitive skin, for students who need facial hair for a role in a play or film.

            3. Quill*

              Also, given that there are several religions where there are traditions surrounding facial hair, I would be wary that they are trying (consciously or not) to weed out adherents of other faiths

              1. Elizabeth West*

                That was my suspicion as well. A college run by a prominent evangelical church based in my old city had a disclaimer on their career site at one point that said they welcomed applicants from other faiths. But they also included a long list of requirements that very clearly indicated they preferred candidates who were already church members. These included no drinking, no homosexual activity outside work,and no dancing (really). And I know from a classmate at my university who worked at the church headquarters that women were not allowed to wear trousers.

                1. BigTenProfessor*

                  I once had a place like this contact me about an adjunct position, saying it wasn’t a problem that I’m not a Christian, and then sent me a job application that included questions like:
                  1) Describe your faith walk in 2-3 paragraphs
                  2) List three ways you would incorporate Christ’s teachings in your classroom
                  3) Please submit a letter of reference from your clergy member

                  On the other hand, I adjuncted at a large Catholic institution for several years with zero issues.

                2. Joielle*

                  All the homosexual activity you want AT work, though! (Just kidding, I know that’s not what you meant, but the sentence made me laugh :)

                3. Onyx*

                  “[N]o homosexual activity outside work”

                  It amuses me more than it should that that implies they’re ok with homosexual activity *at* work. :-p Their employees can be homosexual, but only professionally? No amateurs allowed? Just what kind of business *is* this?

                4. Librarian of SHIELD*

                  I was brought up in a no dancing religion. If you got married at the church where I grew up, there was no dancing permitted at the wedding reception. I changed denominations as an adult and the first time I received an invitation to the annual church dance, I felt like I’d gone beyond the looking glass.

              2. Alice's Rabbit*

                If it’s the school I think it is, they do allow exemptions to the beard rule for faith-based reasons. Also for medical reasons. And a few other reasons, handled on a case-by-case basis.

                1. Office Gumby*

                  I came here to say this.
                  The No-Beard thing is part of the dress code of this particular university, which hasn’t been updated much since the mid-20th Century.
                  But yes, you can get an exception to this rule. Definitely look into it and I hope you are successful.
                  One reason I once apocryphally heard for the banning of beards was that during the 1960’s, “decent, upstanding men” shaved, and “sloppy dissidents” grew beards willy-nilly. It was one aspect of the overall “neat and clean” presentation they prefer for their students.
                  Shame, really, that the beard ban is still A Thing, as I love a nice, full, neat beard on a man. I’m quite supportive of the 21st Century fashion of beards for men.

            4. sequined histories*

              Brigham Young University is the one place I know of that has this requirement. It’s ironic given that Brigham Young himself—along with a lot of other early church leaders—wore beards! It seems to be tied up with a mid-twentieth century image of “clean-cut” respectability that they’re trying to project. It is a very conservative campus, but with a lot of intellectually curious and interesting people (students and staff) around the edges. If it is BYU, there’s abundant information available about their standards, practices, and general atmosphere, so non-LDS applicants could probably get a good sense of whether or not the atmosphere would work for them.

        3. Summer Anon*

          Agree. I am hearing but I struggle in certain situations or with certain voice frequencies and so I lip read as well.
          If the beard is small and doesn’t obscure the lips then, for me, I can still “hear” well.

      2. Sakuko*

        I can listen and concentrate a lot better when I’m not watching someones face and so I never had problems understanding someone with a beard. Maybe it helps some people to watch the mouth, but it’s hardly a universal trait.

      3. Not Australian*

        +1000. If a man’s beard is long enough that it obscures his mouth he could certainly be asked to trim it, but that’s no reason to ban it altogether. It would be similar to asking a woman to wear her hair short because it sometimes falls across her face; no, it just needs to be worn in a slightly different way to meet a practical requirement.

        1. Imprudence*

          It’s also potentially disciminatory Certain skin types have ingrowing hairs aggravated by shaving so to require someone to shave could offend against some medical conditions and some ethnicities where ir is predominantly found. And some religions are against shaving too, I think.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            Yes but certain faiths also demand clean shaaved which this one did. It works both ways.

            1. Anononon*

              What religions have requirements for a clean shaven face? I read the requirement in this letter to just be a conservative grooming requirement to go along with their conservative religion.

              1. Anonymous Hippo*

                It’s more of a culty thing in certain religious groups IME. The kind that add extra requirement above and beyond their texts, usually predicated by one particular persons’ personal preferences.

          2. Liz*

            Yes, Sikhism for one, which forbids not only the shaving of any hair on the face or body, but also the trimming of hair (which would put a kibosh on even the notion of trimming a beard). The Sikh gentleman who came in as guest lecturer on this topic also said that most styling products were also discouraged, and the turban is worn to keep it out of the way.

            If a Sikh were to find themselves working in such an organisation, I would imagine (or at least hope) that their individual beliefs would take precedence over that of the organisation, but this raises an interesting question in terms of legality: if, in a case of religion x vs religion y, the rights of the individual are upheld, is this not applicable in cases of religion x vs no-religion. I can’t quite get my head round how an organisation can legally be permitted to impose religious values on employees, especially as religion and faith are such deeply personal things. Isn’t the employer essentially saying “for the duration of your employment, we’d require you to do an impression of somebody of our faith”. I mean, to me that seems the very definition of sacrilegious! But this might be a culture thing on my part.

            1. Colette*

              They’re not requiring the OP to practice religion; they have a standard for groom that they require (the way some businesses don’t allow facial piercings or visible tattoos.)

              1. Liz*

                Sorry, I meant in broader scenarios, as I’ve read a few cases where organisations were requiring far more stringent behavioral adherence. My mind just sort of moved on to a wider range of cases as I was typing but that might be a discussion for another day.

            2. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              So the courts have shifted legal precedent on this one lately. There was always a “ministerial exception.” Obvious examples are things like, “we won’t hire a Sikh as a Methodist pastor,” or, “we refuse to hire a woman as a Catholic priest.” Since 2012, that exception has applied more broadly, to jobs like private school teacher for a religious-affiliated school. That expansion of the “ministerial exception” was affirmed and expanded this year in another SC ruling. So the laws that protect against hiring bias essentially no longer apply for religious institutions where the employer can credibly claim that someone has a “ministerial role.” If you are applying to teach at a faith-based school, you probably fall under that exception and are considered a minister.

              The other interesting aspect is that a religious exemption from the ACA, which was for narrow situations like exempting convents from the birth control requirement, has been hugely expanded. As I’m sure everyone knows, post-Hobby Lobby, that now applies to any company. The company does not have to be faith based. It can be a regular, for-profit business in any industry sector. It just has to say its their corporation’s morals or faith mean it does not have to comply with certain parts of the ACA.

              So far, this is where things stand, but the trend is to expand the religious rights of the employer at the expense of employees. There have been a lot of lower court rulings saying that sexual harassment law, contract law, fair labor laws, etc. don’t apply to a faith-based institution, for example. However, so far, Hobby Lobby still can’t say that its faith won’t allow it to hire a Muslim cashier or pay time and a half for overtime. So far.

              1. Gazebo Slayer*

                Fair labor law, contract law (?!), and sexual harassment law (!!) don’t apply to faith-based institutions? Those are horrifying and truly bizarre court rulings. What is the argument *for* this, “it’s against our religion to abide by contracts”? “Our religion requires that we sexually harass people”?

                1. Oaktree*

                  The argument is, “conservative Christians get to do whatever they want and call it religious freedom”. The only rights that can be infringed on are theirs – no one else’s seem to count. That’s America in the 21st century for you.

                2. Gazebo Slayer*

                  @Oaktree: yeah, I suspect you’re right. Goes well with the kind of mentality where people get caught doing something heinous, then make tearful public statements that Jesus has forgiven their sins, so why won’t everyone else do the same and let them off scot-free? (Offer void for anyone who isn’t the right flavor of conservative Evangelical, of course.)

                3. HarvestKaleSlaw*

                  @Oaktree nailed it. We are a nation of laws, and the law in its majesty applies equally to all people… unless you’re a particular kind of politically-affiliated religious person. Then you can yell “RELIGION! NOT IT!” real loud, and the law doesn’t apply to you.

            3. Alice's Rabbit*

              If it’s the school I think it is, they allow exemptions to the beard rule for various reasons, including other religions’ beliefs.

        2. Donkey Hotey*

          I’ll be the pedant: “If a man’s beard is long enough that it obscures his mouth”… why is he teaching upside-down?

    2. A Teacher*

      I mean, in my entire education from kindergarten to university, I’d say the majority of the male instructors had beards! Teachers and profs with beards is a thing!

      1. Miso*

        Right? I’m honestly confused about this policy, isn’t beard the quintessential professor look?

        1. Black Horse Dancing*

          Depends on the institution and area. When I was in college decades ago, few professors wore beards, My spouse worked at a university five years ago, same thing.

    3. Still trying to adult*

      Oh, so many comments on this.

      IMO? This is the kind of restriction that gives ‘faith-based’ a bad name. It so often comes down to being just a groupthink bias in the organization, making totally inane rules.

      A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

      I can see a no-beard policy for places like semiconductor/medical/pharma clean rooms, where sealing is vital. But banning beards for ‘image’? Esp. when founding members of a group had beards, a la LDS?

      Red flag. BIG red flag.

      And BTW, it’s not the beard that covers the mouth, it’s the mustache, and it is a politeness for mustache wearers to keep it trimmed above the lip for deaf and hard of hearing folks.

      1. Tupac Coachella*

        I am really, really side eyeing this institution because of this. It wasn’t clear whether the “faith based” descriptor and the beard conversation were clearly connected, but I very much wondered if this was a quiet way to specifically exclude Sikh and Muslim men from their faculty and staff. There’s a whole lot of space between “you’ll need to make accommodations for hearing impaired students” and “you must be clean shaven,” so I have to wonder what biases, conscious or not, are in play here. I don’t think there’s enough info here to tell for sure, but I suspect they could be dancing on some legal issues here, too.

        I’ve looked at jobs and had colleagues at several institutions that describe themselves as faith based (I’m also in higher ed). The faith based policies I’ve seen range from “we’re going to talk about God sometimes, be excellent to each other regardless of what you believe” up to “we are a highly discriminatory organization that uses ‘faith based’ as a euphemism for politically super conservative, racist, and homo/transphobic.” Any signs during the interview that a school might fall closer to the latter could definitely scare me off. Based on what I’m seeing, OP will have no trouble finding other part time adjunct positions right now unless they teach a very niche subject (and maybe not even then).

        1. Quill*

          Yeah, my college was affiliated with a specific religion and the primary things were that the on-campus church had services affiliated with it and that we all took a “history of world religions” course as a mandatory first year class.

          We also had divinities students but you can ignore those pretty easily.

        2. Alice's Rabbit*

          No, it is not an attempt to exclude any other faith. If it’s the school we are all assuming it is, their honor code (which includes the dress code) allows exemptions for other religions, as well as for medical reasons and other factors on a case-by-case basis.

    4. Anonymous Hippo*

      It’s not unheard of for certain religions groups to ban beards altogether, I grew up adjacent to the ATI/IBLP cult and that group didn’t allow beards at all. I think BY didn’t allow beards for a long time either. I don’t find this surprising at all. However, I would HIGHLY caution anyone LGBTQ+ from working with any group that does, because they are almost bound to be extremely fundamentalist.

      1. Jack Be Nimble*

        I’m queer and the coupling of “faith-based” and “no beards” has my hackles entirely up. At least in the US, those two, taken together, are often a signifier of a particularly kind of virulently homophobic (and misogynistic, and racist) brand of fundamentalism.

        Now, it’s very possible that this is (say) an otherwise laid-back Jesuit institution with an outdated dress code, but the fact they brought it up during the interview process would spook me enough to seriously consider withdrawing my candidacy. Obviously, YMMV!

    5. Artemesia*

      I think that is ridiculous. A beard does not cover the mouth. My husband has had one for decades – I love it – and you can certainly see his mouth. We have a friend who lip reads and it has never been a problem — until now with masks alas.

    6. Observer*

      Masks do obscure sound. Beards do NOT.

      I don’t know what your issue with beards is, but whatever it is, stick to that not fictional problems.

    7. HRArwy*

      Well, given that many faiths have beards and the maintenance of a beard as part of that faith this seems like a discriminatory policy. Bears can be altered so that the lips are not covered.

  4. Jane*

    #3 – Telling an interviewer I was having a medical issue would probably make me instantly flush from embarrassment! I’d probably keep a small fan on my desk, and if a hot flash occurred, I’d reach over and flip on the fan while saying “Pardon me while I turn on my fan — you might have noticed it’s a bit warm in my space and I was trying to keep the fan off for noise, I hope it’s not too bothersome.”

    1. LQ*

      Be really careful about fans on microphones they are brutal as far as sound, often rendering the speaker impossible to hear. It’s not a little bit of noise it’s I can no longer hear 50% of what you are saying. I understand that it’s a medical issue, but making an interview impossible for the interviewer to hear is not going to help you get hired. If you’re going to have one, stick it under your desk and test the audio with a friend who you trust to tell you that it sounds bad. Blowing across your face means blowing into the microphone which is louder than you.

      1. Spontaneous Combustion*

        Yep! I should have mentioned it the letter (I’m LW#3), but I did practice with a fan. It sounded like a jet engine :(

        1. Polar Bear Hug*

          Have you tried a necklace fan? I’m also in the 10-15 flashes a day club, and the small necklace fans really work and are really not that loud (and I’ve used them during Facebook Live videos and gone back to listen for the fan, so I know it’s not loud). Search your fav retailer for ‘necklace fan’ and you’ll find a ton of them. Super helpful (I’ve got mine running right now!) and not expensive.

  5. Cambridge Comma*

    OP3, as it’s summer, if I saw someone flushed on a video call I would just assume they were hot. I think you have a month or two where you can stop thinking about how it seems for others, though it must be very uncomfortable for you.
    If it weren’t summer I’d assume it was nerves and have sympathy rather than thinking anything else.
    Does it ever happen on video calls with friends who you could ask for an honest opinion? It could be that it isn’t very visible on camera.

    1. laura*

      This was my thought as well — it may not be as obvious on video as LW3 thinks. If she hasn’t already, I’d try asking a friend to test it out via a video call and see how noticeable the flashes really are when they occur.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I was thinking this too. You feel like you are glowing bright red, but everyone else just sees maybe a little redness, maybe. Although if LW’s makeup is sliding off, it might be worse than that. But we always think everyone is staring and noting every little thing about us. They aren’t.

        Keeping your room a little cooler might help. Just run the AC a little higher, that will be less distracting than a fan.

        I feel for you. I went through hot flashes a couple years ago. Standing in a suit in a stuffy courtroom was AGONY. I would literally open my suit jacket and fan myself with it during breaks.

      2. Kimmy Schmidt*

        I’m very fair, and I flush easily after exercising, being out in the sun, eating spicy foods. I find that I actually look more “natural” (as opposed to ghostly) on camera when I am flushed!

      1. Reba*

        Yes, I had the thought that a white lie about AC could be helpful.

        Of course, if OP3 keeps interviewing into the fall, it’s less apt (unless she lives in a place where the building radiators are turned on without residents’ control).

        Best wishes OP3.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      Also, you don’t have to wear pants, and no one will know if you’re sitting on an ice pack…

    3. Spontaneous Combustion*

      (LW#3 here)

      It is ridiculously obvious. I go from moderately pale to cartoonishly-angry red in seconds and it lasts for minutes which feel like eternity. Friends and family have commented on it; in one case someone thought I was literally enraged at a comment they made.

      I’ll be using Alison’s script to get ahead of it in future interviews and trying the ice pack for the wrists someone else mentioned.

      1. Joielle*

        If you find wrist ice packs too annoying, you could also try the Embr Wave – it’s a little device that cools (or warms) your wrist and apparently makes your whole body feel much more comfortable. I haven’t tried it, but a friend of mine actually uses one for hot flashes and loves it. Obviously much more expensive than ice packs but the convenience factor might be worth it.

  6. Amy*

    OP#1 – It sounds like perhaps the faith-based org you’re looking at is LDS. They’re pretty strict about facial hair (and women’s attire as well – a single earring in each ear, etc.). I’m not sure what your rights may be.

    1. Junior Dev*

      Well and they’re probably not the best organization to work for if you’re queer. Do your own research I guess, but I’d be worried about losing my job if they found out.

      1. Xavier Desmond*

        It’s a fair point. If they are that conservative that beards are a problem, I’m not sure you can guarantee them being welcoming to someone who is queer.

      2. Alli525*

        Yes, I came here to say that. I grew up in conservative-Christian circles, and “faith-based” is often (presumably not always) secret shorthand for “we’ll fire you if you violate any rules of our faith regardless of whether it has anything to do with your job.” Including being queer – if someone sees you holding hands with a same-sex partner, it could all be over. I knew students who were expelled for attending parties where weed was present, or suspended because they were playing rock music in their cars in the school parking lot.

        The beard is the canary in the coal mine.

    2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      Active LDS member here with several queer family members: while the Church and it’s subsidiary organizations have made great strides recently in becoming more open to people of all orientations, there is honestly still quite a ways to go. The Honor Code of BYU (which is where the facial hair prohibition is located) is currently being debated. I could see it being overhauled within the next year, if OP can think about going beardless that long, but that’s no guarantee. I hope it’s a much more accepting employer soon!

      1. Jill March*

        Went to BYU 20 years ago. In my experience, everyone thought the beard rule was dumb. Even sillier that you were allowed to have a mustache, just not a beard. It’s not a rule in the religion and the statue of the school’s founder shows that he clearly had a big beard.

        People could get “beard cards” which allowed them to have beards for reasons like religion or skin conditions. The only guy I met with a beard card was in the theater department and needed a beard for a role in a play.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Adding to Alison’s safety comment, I’m a lot more understanding of beard prohibitions in positions where covid19 masks are critical. Which makes it ironic timing unless BYU goes all remote.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I saw a clothes-maker-turned-mask-maker the other day who actually has cloth masks that are designed with extra fabric for a “beard pocket” and elastic under the chin that still keeps the bottom of the mask snugged up. (Not that that helps if the mask has to be a full N95 etc, but. I just thought it was cool for the folks with beards of size and expansion.)

            1. Quickbeam*

              I did fit testing Of respirators as an occupational nurse. It’s nigh impossible to get a good seal over a full beard. I did work with an Orthodox MD who achieved a good fit after putting Vaseline in his beard. Even then it took a lot of tweaking to achieve the effectiveness we needed (emergency room with a lot of active TB).

        2. Vax is my disaster bicon*

          My father was invited to speak at some conference or other at BYU, I think in the early 2000s? He had to get some kind of special dispensation for his beard even as a guest speaker! The administration certainly seemed very strict about that particular rule.

          1. pancakes*

            It’s so strange to me that they’d make a point of inviting someone knowing that their facial hair is barred by silly rules. I can’t imagine writing a letter or email inviting someone to speak while simultaneously insisting they change their appearance. It’s cartoonishly priggish.

        3. Also BYU Alum*

          Yup–also a BYU alum and everyone thought the beard rule was ridiculous.

          Fun quote from Dallin H. Oaks in 1971 about the beard rule “our rules against beards and long hair are contemporary and pragmatic. They are responsive to conditions and attitudes in our own society at this particular point in time. … The rules are subject to change, and I would be surprised if they were not changed at some time in the future.”

    3. Treebeardette*

      Just want to point out that there are other Christian organizations that do this other than LDS.

      1. Fabulous*

        Law enforcement has this facial hair rule as well, though they’re not religiously affiliated.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Seconding the PPG (personal protective gear) aspect in law enforcement for facial hair rules.

            I’m medical adjacent, and my boss made all the guys on staff shave for the duration of COVID so that we could full-seal fit everybody with N95 masks. And he lead the way by shaving his own full beard on camera in the background of the policy announcement. A few guys still grumbled, but when the boss leads the way and follows the same rules he’s enforcing for others it feels much more fair.

            (He ended the policy announcement by openly stating that all can go back to beards if they want as soon as the pandemic is over – which won’t come too soon for him for a variety of reasons.)

      2. Artemesia*

        It has always seemed so odd since in the case of LDS their own founder wore a beard and for Christians, it is pretty certain that Jesus wore a beard and he is certainly portrayed that way in portraits ancient and modern. This makes clear that it is about pushing people around rather than any religious imperative.

    4. D3*

      I have a family member who worked for a private company – not the LDS church or even directly affiliated with the LDS church. Just a company owned by a member.
      He expected all employees to follow a company “Honor Code” which prohibited beards, if women wore a dress they couldn’t have bare legs, etc etc. I think there was more to it than just a dress code but I don’t remember the specifics. He also lectured employees on the evils of democrats during staff meetings!
      It was truly bizarre, and not a good place to work. She didn’t stay long.

  7. SheLooksFamiliar*

    OP 3, I feel for you, hot flashes are awful. HRT wasn’t an option for me, and soy, black cohosh, evening primrose oil, etc., did nothing. However, I found relief in One A Day Women’s 50+ vitamins. I still had hot flashes but they were far less severe and sweaty. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I stopped taking them – and the intensity came back. There’s something in that orange and silver bottle that made things more tolerable. Maybe these vitamins could work for you?

    1. RB*

      My doc has said that acupuncture helps with hot flashes but I haven’t got around to trying that yet. Of course, with the LW’s medical condition that led to the early menopause, it might not make a difference. I’d be interested to hear if the acupuncture worked for anyone else (without getting too derailed from her question).

      1. Karen Tippett*

        I also have early menopause from age 33. I have found acupuncture works really well for me. There’s lots of options out there worth trying, as it’s definitely possible to get some improvement, even for people unable to take HRT (such as myself). Good luck!

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          I know a lot of people who swear by acupuncture for a variety of health issues, including menopause. It didn’t seem to work for me, but I still think it’s worth considering.

  8. BigLaw former clerk*

    I may be radically off base, but #5, you sound like someone about to finish a clerkship and head to a law firm. If that’s the case – absolutely do not hide that you have an offer that has a delayed start date. People will wonder what’s wrong if they think you got no-offered or cold-offered. We know what our peer firms are doing and what the market’s like – no one should be surprised you’re looking when you have a delayed offer, especially if your firm is not giving you an advance or stipend to get you through. We expect it. Assuming you go to a peer firm, I wouldn’t personally even be thinking you’d be more likely to jump ship than any other associate once you got here.

    Bottom line: Don’t say your current firm was a bad fit if it wasn’t – people will want to know why, and there are too many potential potholes there. Stick to the truth and you’ll be better off. Good luck!

    1. Julia*

      Yes this, and also, returning to your old firm is more flexible than you think, especially after clerking. Your old firm will understand that some people switch it up after their clerkship, and your new firm will understand that – it’s not unusual to do. Add on the fact that it was delayed due to COVID and the truth is very understandable.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      I got that vibe, too. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m married to one who got out of law school in 2009 (so a lot of her classmates had offers delayed). And I agree that people at peer firms won’t be too worried you’ll leave if the other offer materializes – law firms are not actually interchangeable, but generally if the firms do similar work and pay similar amounts they know it would take something more than an old offer coming back to make you leave once you’ve started to build relationships and have a case load. And having the offer delayed doesn’t reflect badly on you the way “it’s not the right fit” might be a red flag (especially interviewing at peer firms – what makes you think BigLaw firm B will be a better fit than BigLaw firm A was?).

      If it’s not a peer firm, that might be more of an issue. If you want to work in BigLaw but are interviewing with small firms that pay less while your offer is on hold, then they might rightly be more concerned you’ll leave soon after starting.

    3. Not Elizabeth*

      I interpreted #5 the same way. It can be a huge ding on your record not to have gotten an offer from your summer associateship, so don’t let them think that’s what happened!

    4. OP5*

      Op 5 here! Your hunch was correct. I didn’t include this in the letter because I didn’t want to get too in the weeds, but I made sure my resume says I received an offer so I could avoid any assumptions about a no-offer. I think the toughest thing is that I’m not really looking at peer firms because I’ve really been second guessing whether big law is even remotely for me.

      1. Ginger Baker*

        Hmmmm. If you are interviewing at smaller firms, I would strongly suggest putting together a short phrase you can use to explain that it’s not just COVID related. Something along the lines of “I do have an offer from BigLaw XYZ that was delayed due to COVID. This unexpected delay is why I started looking again, but I see this as a blessing in disguise; during my clerkship, I started to really rethink whether BigLaw is the path for me. I realize that I really value the [comraderie/chance to work on a higher level with clients right away/whatever the smaller-firm-perks are] that working for a smaller firm offers and I am excited to [_____]. I am especially interested in [the firm you are interviewing at] because of your focus on [_____, segue into question about the firm].” In other words, something that will address your reasoning and fears that you will hop back over to BigFirm the minute they open the doors again.

        1. Joielle*

          Agreed! Otherwise, yeah, you’re basically just advertising that whenever the BigLaw offer comes through you’ll be out the door. (Even if that’s not what you intend.)

        2. BigLaw former clerk*

          I generally agree with this very good advice. Most of Ginger Baker’s phrasing is great because it focuses on the positives of the other place instead of things you don’t like about BigLaw. But I’d avoid saying you’re not sure BigLaw is for you and stick to the framing of why you’re interested in other options rather than why you’re not sure you want to do BigLaw. Allison’s point on it possibly getting back is a real risk – and even if you don’t end up there, connections with your former firm may come in handy.

      2. Another JD*

        If you can’t get a comparable offer, would you leave for the new job if/when it was available? Training up new lawyers is no small task, and I’d want a firm commitment that you wouldn’t jump ship.

        If you want lots of money but not much work/life balance, hit Big Law hard. I have several friends who did it to pay off loans, but few have stuck with it because of the burnout and time commitment. Average days are 12+ hours.

        1. Legal Beagle*

          This is the question. You’re really unlikely to find a BigLaw salary at a mid-size or small firm, but there are other potential benefits to look out for when making a decision (work-life balance, more interesting assignments, less hierarchy, faster advancement, etc.). To echo what Ginger Baker said, I’d be clear about why you determined BigLaw wasn’t for you, and why Potential Employer isn’t just a stopover while you wait for BigLaw Firm to come knocking.

      3. Binky*

        If you’re looking at smaller or more specialized firms or public service orgs, you can definitely include that answer. Definitely lead with getting an offer that’s been delayed. But when they ask you why you’re interested in them, you can tell them about your hesitancy about big law and express why you think they might be a better fit.

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      In These Difficult Times, I think any potential employer would understand “yes, I got a job offer, but then Covid happened.”

      1. Chris*

        My thought on reading #5 was that if the OP didn’t want to go into detail, all they have to say is, “COVID”.

        1. Guacamole Bob*

          Well, yes and no. The OP has admitted to being in law, and there are very standard hiring timelines for new law graduates, and many people get offers from wherever they intern after their second year of law school (and they get those internships through a flurry of on campus interviews and flyouts that have coordinated timelines). Generally, hiring managers at law firms will know if other firms in their tier/city/practice area are deferring offers. You might have to be willing to talk in a bit more detail about why you’re looking than in an industry with less structure around new grad hiring.

    6. Eleanor*

      Current fedclerk here, also deferred.

      My sense is that most of biglaw, lit boutiques, and AmLaw firms paying anywhere close to market aren’t hiring clerks/junior associates (unless you’re, like, a bk clerk looking to do restructuring, or whatever). So, if you’re looking for a similar job, you won’t find one. But the VAST majority of deferred biglaw/lit boutique offers are reasonably secure (my firm has already set start dates, paid out stipends, paid for movers, etc.). At least, these offers are much more secure than other non-legal jobs that have indefinitely pushed back start dates without any indication that the job is there.

      So, since the law firm monolith has mostly pushed back to January, I think switching firms will be hard unless you are looking to do something very different (a MUCH smaller firm, government work, etc). The good news is that, if you are looking at small firms or government, it’s easy to explain why you are looking to do that, using a similar script to what was said above — focus on positives, etc.

      Best of luck! I think we are, all things considered, quite fortunate– a 3-month delay in start date is a lot better than many job-seekers’ circumstances right now. (I say this as I balk at the cost to do COBRA and while I would need to empty out my savings to pay rent for the time between clerking and starting at the firm had the firm not sent a deferral stipend).

  9. Lizzie*

    Workplace bans on beards also operate to exclude men of colour, for whom shaving may cause painful skin conditions. There are articles on line as far back as 1993 (which I don’t personally consider the dark ages) about this; such bans can also work to discriminate on religious grounds. I remember as a kid that men with beards were seen as either sailors and/or untrustworthy, this was in the sixties!

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      If this is the school I think it is, they are very understanding about exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

  10. Andy*

    LW1 I would double checked what faith it is and how exactly operate. If they have rules about beards, they are very likely to be on the more christian radically conservative side. While you don’t have problem with fait-based organizations, some of conservative faith based organizations have issues with a lot of things including queers.

    1. Queer Earthling*

      Came here to say this. I’m queer and attended a faith-based university (didn’t realize I was queer yet) only ten years ago, and while it didn’t to my knowledge ban beards, it did pick some weird hills to die on to emphasize that they were “different” from our sinful secular world or whatever. We had required chapel attendence, which often involved such speakers as an “ex-gay” gentleman talking about how Jesus and conversion therapy helped him stop sinning.

      In other words, friend, just uh…be careful please?

  11. TechWorker*

    Personally for #4 I think I’d be tempted to avoid going into too much detail on the performer thing (or even mentioning it at all, depending on your boss). It’s totally reasonable to not want to progress for all the other reasons Alison mentions (‘enjoying your role and the work/life balance’) whereas if you mention performance there could be a wrong (right?) assumption that you’d quit as soon as you make enough money from that.

    1. Tyche*

      Seconded! I wouldn’t it too, if possible.
      It could seem that your day job is somewhat a second choice from your performer career and not your priority. While it could be true (and there’s nothing wrong!) that’s not something I’d say to my boss

    2. Hare under the moon with silver spoon*

      Yep totally, as Tyche mentions it places a seed of doubt, some workplaces have a great environment and understand creative passions, some workplace cultures really don’t and only conceptualise things in monetary/utility purposes.

      My current workplace sees my external creative work as a hobby – a framing I’m happy with as easier all round. If you’re worried about unwanted professional development you could start prepping some low key suggestions (eg learning new software) things that would make your current role more efficient to help steer away from taking more responsibility as such.

    3. M*

      I think that the key to mentioning it would be OP’s relationship with the employer. I work in an office, after I had a performing/teaching job for five years. My performance background was something my current boss was really interested in hearing about, and when I’ve been in shows locally, my coworkers come out to see them (if their schedules permit). The couple of office jobs I’ve had in my life have understood that I do good work, but that I also have things that are important to me outside of work. I think that, if your employer seems supportive of the endeavors, they would understand about the work/life balance, and that people who perform aren’t all just looking to get out of the day jobs ASAP. A lot of us know that that’s unrealistic in a lot of places.

      Of course, OP, if you don’t think your employer is supportive/understanding, or if you think they may look down on your interest in the arts, I would maybe downplay the performer part of your work/life balance explanation. But otherwise, I agree with the scripts Alison gave, with the caveat above.

      1. Hare under the moon with silver spoon*

        Yes individual relationship/company culture is key. I’ve worked in so called “creative workplaces” but the company culture is such that only the bottom line mattered they were just production lines. I’ve also worked in more “conservative” organisations (banking, insurance) where my colleagues were all in bands, artists etc and there was a much better understanding why someone would be happier not to progress.

      2. The Rural Juror*

        I agree with this advice. My dad has been a musician for most of his life and worked pretty steadily in various bands. He worked for a state government office full-time, but his boss thought it was so cool he was in a band on the weekends. If he used vacation on a Friday to travel to a gig, she had no problem with it. If the show they were playing was local, we would see half his coworkers and their families there. No one ever thought he had one foot out the door at his government job. They just saw that it was the job that kept his family fed and allowed him to follow his passion in his time off.

    4. Gazebo Slayer*

      Yeah, and some people have unrealistic ideas of how likely it is that you’ll make enough money from your creative side gig to quit your day job. I’ve had some fiction published, and while the people who mattered most at my jobs didn’t assume I was going to quit, I got a few comments from other folks along the lines of “so, you’re pretty set for life, huh?” Ha, not even remotely.

    5. Agnes*

      Late here, but I’ve actually been advised to hire just this sort of person for certain types of jobs (administrative or technical staff at a university). Otherwise it’s difficult to find someone good who won’t want to leave quickly.

    6. ActingAsAdmin*

      Thank you all for the responses. I really appreciate the script, Alison. Fortunately my predecessor was a bit of an actor too, so they have confidence I could be reliable like she was. I am <1 year at this company, so I'm still learning its culture and my manager. Acting opportunities have dwindled due to COVID, so it won't be a conflict any time soon.

  12. Lady Heather*

    LW1, your letter reminds me of a thing I read once where, in response to such a rule, people went to their doctor for a medical exemption because they had a history of ingrown hairs. Or a history of having had one single ingrown hair at some point in their life.

    Also, clean-shaven rules have a disproportionate impact on Black people because they’re more prone (60 per cent of people) to ingrown hairs or razor bumps, which, if you continue to shave, can cause bad facial scarring.
    (Though I guess they would qualify for a medical exemption as well, and credit for your workplace on mentioning up-front that they will honour exemptions.)

    1. Liane*

      Since medical beard exemptions have been brought up several times, having one doesn’t necessarily mean you can have any style of beard you please. It will depend on the policy of theemployer, university, etc. For example, my husband (US Air Force vet) says the US military exemption allows only the shortest beard possible that prevents the condition recurring.

  13. Ellena*

    OP 1 : my brother even grew beard because he was feeling out of place among all his colleagues having one. It is odd indeed to police men about this nowadays. I think you have rightfully decided not to take the job, since if that is a problem, it’s likely they are rigid about other very common things as well :)

    1. Risha*

      I did a six month contract at a huge corporation you have heard of that had this rule. I’m a woman, but I first heard about it through the grapevine when they cracked down on one of my coworkers. It was, indeed, a miserable place to work, and if I wasn’t so desperate for a job I would have been happy when they suddenly decided not to renew my contract with about a week’s notice in order to make up a budget shortfall. My understanding is that there was a lawsuit winding its way through the court at the time about them not even allowing religious exemptions.

      (I later saw them listed in an article as a top employer if you have tattoos. Maybe if you’re in one of the warehouses! I’d really love to know what that writer was smoking.)

  14. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    OP3: Going through something similar, panic attacks causing me to flush significantly. I just say the AC is out! (Which, here in Germany is true because nobody has air conditioning and we’re in the middle of a heatwave)

    1. Old Admin*

      I’m currently working in Germany.
      Even the office (facing west with large windows and wonky blinds that automatically *roll up* if the wind blows) has no air conditioning.
      Even without Covid, we would be demanding to work from home after I had a stroke in the office last summer…

        1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

          Oh my goodness! I send my sympathies! We’re in the middle of moving from Solingen to Chemnitz this week and I’m just praying it cools down. I was in the Notaufnahme last week with heatstroke from sitting in my third floor flat! My husband’s Omi told me to stick my feet in a bucket of cold water

          1. Former prof*

            This week it rained in the morning and was 112 degrees in the afternoon – that’s 44 degrees for you Euros. And now wildfires mean the air is toxic. Life in California… but we do have A/C! With a supduper filter to keep out the smoke.

      1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

        I have many clients in Germany, and we spend at least 5 minutes on each call complaining about the weather and how they lack AC. You have ALL of my sympathies on the weather front.

        As it is I have a fan and dehumidifier running in my home office that I need to turn off whenever I’m on a call. Depending on the time of day this can become agony.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      Do Germans tend to go to air-conditioned public spaces during heat waves? A lot of people in the northeastern US who don’t have AC go to restaurants, shops, malls, or movie theaters when it’s hot, but that’s not much of an option this year. My sympathy.

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Some do, but if you’re stuck at work you can be miserable because even public offices aren’t usually air conditioned. I stayed at the mall for two hours this evening just to manage it. A few buddies of my husband actually set up their gaming systems and home offices in the cellar, which here is usually just a concrete room but at least it’s cooler!

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          At least our offices are usually air-conditioned. But this year most of us haven’t been going there, considering how bad the pandemic still is in the US…

  15. Riley*

    #3 – I know you said you’ve tried makeup, but has that included a primer & setting spray? I ask because I used to have similar issues with sweating off makeup but found using those two things really helped lock it in.

    1. UKDancer*

      The Urban Decay setting sprays are awesome in this respect. I dance a lot and find they’re fantastic for not sweating make up off.

      If they sell these wherever you are, I’d recommend them.

      1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

        Yes! There’s a cooling mist one – it kept my makeup on during my brother’s wedding on the hottest day of the summer, outside, on a beach, at noon!

    2. MK*

      Eh, maybe they would help, but not if the sweating is heavy. I naturally sweat more than the average person, as in droplets of sweat down my face and neck; nothing is proof with sweat like that.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, me too. My issue is that my face is the part of me that starts sweating first. I can be cool and dry otherwise but my face is dripping, and that’s just one reason I mostly quit wearing makeup a few years ago. I’m hoping I’ll have an easy menopause like my mom did. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 50 and had to go on estrogen blockers. She said she had maybe one or two hot flushes but that was it. My paternal grandmother and my dad also had breast cancer, so I suspect HRT won’t be an option for me.

        1. Carlie*

          Me too. All the heat comes out my face. People start worrying that I’m about to pass out when really I’m just a bit warm.

      2. Anon for Sweat Talk*

        I have hyperhidrosis of the face and scalp (excessive sweating) and I have found that a good primer (ideally with a green tint to diminish redness), Mac Pro Longwear waterproof foundation, and Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray will get me through a special event if necessary without sweating anything off. I can’t wipe my face, and I would never bother with that amount of makeup for work or anything other than a wedding or interview, but it works in a pinch.

      3. Spontaneous Combustion*

        (I’m LW#3) You hit the nail on the head. I don’t get drops of sweat running down my neck, but the hot flashes cause intense, sudden sweating that just overwhelms everything.

    3. anonforthis*

      I don’t know that this would necessarily help with redness, but I’ll share my makeup “hack” that I learned from a youtuber. I don’t wear any foundation at all — I moisturize in the morning and then use a light application of a “tanning” spray like the sephora name brand one. Lightly mist face and neck, then rub into the skin with a few swipes of a kabuki brush or similar. I can’t guarantee that it would stay “on” if you sweat a lot, but it does soak into the skin more like a stain, rather than a powder or cream that sits on the surface of the skin. I’m fairly pale so for me, it just helps even my skin tone and give me a touch more color without having to cake on foundation, and my skin has been healthier since I stopped wearing foundation. I don’t know if that would work for your skin tone, but just thought I’d throw this out there in case it might help someone else on this thread :) If I don’t scrub my face I can apply every other day because it does stay on pretty well.

    4. Massive Dynamic*

      Also: powder, powder, powder. And powder some more. Powder foundation. Powder before and after primer, foundation, concealer, setting spray. Source: perpetually oily, usually looking normal because, powder.

  16. Admininja*

    LW3: I was thrown into early menopause at 32 thanks to a medical condition, & I spent some time researching how to minimize hot flashes. I hope some of this helps! Synthetic fabrics are known to set them off, especially shirts, so cotton/linen/silk,etc are your friends. Loose pants & skirts help (not warming large muscle groups), as do looser tops. Keep cold water handy & take a sip as soon as you feel warm. You want to cool your throat (thyroid) to cut off the flash. For video interviews, you can keep a cold, wet cloth in a dish off-camera that you can stick your wrist on discreetly to cool your blood quickly. Lighter makeup is cooler & less likely to be noticeable if sweat makes it run. Pulling your hair up off your neck (if possible), such as with an updo, helps. Set up a fan to blow on your face & neck. Avoid sugar leading up to the interview- it also sets them off. Find your calm beforehand- meditate, take a walk, play with your pet/kid, etc- because nerves & anxiety make it worse. Finally, in my experience, people follow your lead. If you’re calm & just keep going with the day, people realize it’s no big deal & move on, too. There’s only one other woman in my office, & she makes a huge deal of every flash. Only she is teased (gently, in the way our team shows love- nothing mean), whereas I get the occasional “you hot?” when I’m bright red, which I answer with, “yep!” Then we move on because no one expects me to run around adjusting thermostats & trying to climb into the freezer, however tempting it may be. Good luck with your job hunt!

    1. Caroline Bowman*

      where I live (South Africa), it gets… hot. Very hot. My little home office gets… extremely hot. What helps me – and this is nothing to do with hot flashes per se – is to put my feet in ice water, literally with blocks of ice floating around in it for 10-15 mins. It makes a massive difference and of course would be completely out of sight of the interviewer. It’s just an idea that might possibly help.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      +1 Admininja advice. Some I have heard/experienced, but it is so nice to see it put together.

  17. Treebeardette*

    LW 1 – it’s actually not that odd for religious schools. Some religions have beards and some rather use a clean shaven appearance. I went to one school that had a dress code with no beards unless it was for a medical or religious reason. There were plenty who had exemptions. Is it out dated? In some ways, yeah. However, we had a lot of students who grew beards and didn’t keep them nice at all. The school was trying to maintain a more professional atmosphere. Some faith based schools want their student body to feel like they are dedicating their life to God and to have clean and tidy appearances to show their dedication. It’s not that different from someone wearing long skirts or clothing to cover themselves up.
    I know many people will disagree with this, but that’s the reason behind beards. I don’t mind beards though. I would encourage you to look more into their policies and teachings and see if you truly want to work there though, because I guarantee that isn’t the only policy they have that would seem weird.

    1. DammitMeredith*

      Eh, I see what you’re saying. The policy could require appropriate maintenance and upkeep, as opposed to restricting beards wholly. Just seems like an odd way to look at it, considering Jesus most likely had a beard.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        Jesus most likely had a beard in a time and place where shaving was much more difficult and expensive than it is now. Completely different cultural norms.

    2. Actual Vampire*

      This makes sense, and it’s probably an important perspective for LW to think about. He (they?) isn’t just getting a job at a place that happens to be named after a saint or whatever – he’s joining a religious community. He’s literally taking on the responsibility of educating young members of the religion, at a university that many of them probably chose for its religious affiliation.

  18. agnes*

    since we’ve gone remote, we have a few men who have grown beards that honestly make them look like the unabomber. They are long–down to their chests–extremely bushy, wiry and unruly, scraggly, etc etc. There are beards and then there are beards….

    1. MK*

      Beards need grooming and maintanence to look polished, it takes time and effort and usually special products. I think banning beards is ridiculous, but asking that the people wearing them present a neat appearence is not.

        1. Observer*

          Untrimmed and unkempt are not the same thing.

          I live in a community where untrimmed beards are the norm, for religious reasons. The neat guys have neat beards. The guys whose bears are a mess are not so neat in other ways as well.

      1. Observer*

        No, they don’t need special products as a general rule. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there is no reason to use the, but most of the time it’s quite possible to keep a beard looking fine without special products. But you do have to do some BASIC grooming.

  19. Ubi Caritas*

    Regarding breads: years ago, my husband (a well-known software analyst) was recruited by Famous Software Developer. They told him that he would have to shave his beard before they interviewed him! Seriously? THEY recruited HIM! That was a hard no. Husband went on to have a glorious career, beard and all. I mean, come on.

    1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      Shave his beard before he interviewed? In software? There’s a stereotype of the bearded computer nerd, and while (like most stereotypes), it has some Unfortunate Implications, the beard itself is pretty darn common.

      (I will refrain from speculating on which company had such a ridiculous requirement.)

      1. No Tribble At All*

        Right?? There’s even the joke picture that goes: unemployed software engineer vs employed software engineer

      2. Cactus*

        I work in the tech sector in an admin-HR role. One time I invited a guy to interview for a technical position and in his response he said (paraphrased) “I have a beard! Is that okay?” And I’m just thinking, dude, it’s tech, it’s the Pacific Northwest…beards are kind of a given.

    2. mbk12*

      Yikes. That’s ridiculous! LW 1, being asked to shave for an adjunct position seems equally ludicrous because adjuncting is already such a thankless thing. To not even let you have a beard??? Several bridges too far in my book.

    3. Observer*

      Having that requirement for an INTERVIEW is insane to start with. When they say that to someone THEY APPROACHED, that’s just downright delusional.

      I’m SO curious what org this was.

    4. Arvolin*

      In software? That’s ridiculous. What they aren’t telling you (and they may not know themselves) is that their policy (especially if it comes with a dress code and/or set work hours) is driving away good people, meaning that the general ability level is likely to be mediocre and it would be very difficult for your husband to find people better than him that he could learn from. Your husband definitely made the right call.

  20. Duke Flapjack*

    1.) “Faith Based,” at least in the US, often means the management is overbearing and restrictive without any good reason why. My gut says you avoided a toxic work environment, OP.

    1. Tupac Coachella*

      I mentioned this in a comment above, but it bears repeating here: for US colleges and universities, describing themselves as “faith based” could mean a lot of things. The faith based policies I’ve seen range from “we’re going to talk about God sometimes, be excellent to each other regardless of what you believe” up to “we are a highly discriminatory organization that uses ‘faith based’ as a euphemism for politically super conservative, racist, and homo/transphobic.” For many of them, it’s simply their way of saying that anyone who works there needs to be on board with their core values (usually things like servant leadership and radical compassion) and needs to be ok with religious language/principles being used prominently to shape and express those core values.

      Now, the ones that do have discriminatory policies and beliefs seem to go all in on that, so “faith based” does still raise a yellow flag for me. I agree with you that policies like this are often a sign that they are the bad kind of faith based. I’ve definitely seen schools that are really proud of stances that most decent people wouldn’t touch with a 39 1/2 foot pole.

      1. GothicBee*

        Yes, and as someone who has worked at a faith-based organization, it can even vary widely among individual departments (especially in a larger school/organization). Though, in this case having such a strict policy on appearance does raise up some flags, and I personally would at least take it as a sign to be on the lookout for other problematic aspects if not just write it off entirely.

  21. Richard Hershberger*

    LW1: Run, don’t walk, away. They are speaking Evangelicalese at you. “Faith-based” does not necessarily mean Evangelical, but the bizarre obsession with beards does. This is a classic trait. I once read about one that banned beards among faculty and students, with the exception of if the person was preparing to participate in a Christmas pageant and had a pastor’s note to prove this. This is especially weird, as this crowd enjoys imagining itself to be “Bible-based,” but this one pretty clearly tips their hand, that this is all about American culture. In any case, while you may not see your being queer as a problem, I can absolutely guarantee that they will, and you will be out the door within two minutes of when they figure it out. There are liberal church-affiliated institutions that would not regard your sexual orientation as their business, but this is not one of them.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, from the description, this sounds like a “niche” Evangelical school. I can guarantee that, aside from the ban on beards, being queer will not go over well. LW1 will have to stay so deep in the closet, he’ll come out in Narnia.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Also, Evangelical schools are notoriously horrible employers, even apart from sexuality and facial hair.

  22. Black Horse Dancing*

    Yes but certain faiths also demand clean shaaved which this one did. It works both ways.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      This is where it gets weird. I don’t know of any version of Christianity that forbids facial hair, not even the whitest of White Jesus worshiping Evangelicals. After all, the canonical painting of White Jesus shows him with a beard. The obsession with facial hair is entirely cultural, and outdated culture at that. They are still fighting the 1960s (I initially mistyped 1860s. Perhaps I should have left that…) Beards are what dirty Vietnam-War-hating hippies wear. It is very important to this crowd that they establish that they are not hippies, hence the ban. I doubt that the current generation of leaders consciously think this through. At this point it is merely a cultural tic, but all the more important for it as an in-group identifier.

      1. Treebeardette*

        I agree that it’s outdated. The thinking is of the world, not in the world if you get that biblical reference. I always thought it was weird because I’m pretty sure Jesus had a beard. Lol

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          But that’s not the religion itself–there’s no scripture prohibiting beards. It’s a not-uncommon policy with some institutions associated with LDS, such as BYU.

      2. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

        1860s would have been fine with beards. :) That was Civil War, think about Stonewall Jackson and Ambrose Burnside’s sartorial choices. The men who didn’t grow beards apparently all grew large mustaches instead.

      3. ThatGirl*

        As I noted above, the Amish ban mustaches (they were associated with the military) and many Anabaptists still don’t grow them just as a matter of tradition — but beards are A-OK.

  23. Hiring Mgr*

    Surprisingly (to me at least), it’s not only faith based orgs that can have beard bans – even today some companies in the financial sector have policies prohitbiting facial hair.

    1. Observer*


      That would be hysterically funny if it were fiction. In real life? Sheer insanity. How did the junior HR person think she could make those policies and make them stick?

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        Some non-HR folks think HR’s word is law, and see workplace policies as inherently arbitrary and tyrannical. (I mean, sometimes they are, but sometimes there are very good reasons they exist.)

        Apparently there are HR folks who think so too, and think that’s a good thing. Give a certain kind of individual a little bit of power, and they’ll abuse it.

    2. ...*

      That is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, but I’m weirdly defensive about beards I guess? Nothing more manly than forcing other people to shave their beards so you dont feel threatened……

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      Yikes! I get the sense that OP in that story said some insensitive stuff (kinda racist and probably also patriarchal/toxically masculine ideas about what REAL MEN should be) but “beards are racist!!” is one of the dumbest HR responses possible. Especially considering that, as several people have pointed out above, a no-beard policy actually can discriminate against Black men, who are more likely to have follicular conditions that make shaving painful.

  24. Llellayena*

    #5 – A simpler version if you don’t want to scare people off because you actually have an offer is “Covid happened and the internship-to-hire pipeline was affected. I’d have been happy to continue there if the position had been available when my internship was complete.”

  25. Jellybean*

    #5, I’m having trouble understanding why you would say “it wasn’t a right fit” when the truth is that you received an offer that is delayed due to the pandemic? The truth indicates you are a candidate who is desirable, whereas “not the right fit” can be anything from “not the right fit” to “I’m not welcome back, but I’m trying to dress that up”.

    Sometimes we get too hung up on dressing up the truth in job interviews. Sometimes, blunt honesty truly is the best policy and makes the candidate more desirable! This is certainly a good example.

    1. Nonprofit Nancy*

      Well, OP is concerned that if she admits that she has a job offer on hold, this new role will hesitate to offer her work on the assumption that she’ll bail for this original job as soon as its available. Having had people do this more than once, I agree it could be a concern. But I agree that OP’s goal should be to dispel that concern by explaining why they want this job they’re applying for – not get caught up in some unnecessary lie. And honestly if you can find a better job than the original one you should take it and stick with it, so it’s not a lie.

  26. CupcakeCounter*

    My best friend gets hot flashes from her allergies – been happening since she was a teenager so definitely not age based. She tends to lead off with “as a heads up I have environmental allergies that tend to make me flush bright red”. Also helps when she gets embarrassed!
    Like Alison says…lead with it so its off the table using a benign reason.

    1. WorkLady*

      I agree – just briefly and casually mention it. I have interviewed many people and several have mentioned issues up front (quavery voice, hand tremors, etc.) and it always makes it a non-issue. Then you can think about the interview questions rather than wondering if your interviewer is noticing your red face! As an interviewer, I would be glad you mentioned it, then give it no further thought (and feel relieved that I don’t need to ask “Are you ok? or do you need a quick break?”) Disclosing lets us both know it’s nothing, and doesn’t need to be commented on. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that, what a pain.
      (I do NOT recommend a fan, I’m sorry. It can really interfere with audio on a call.)

      1. Spontaneous Combustion*

        (I’m LW#3) The advice to casually mention it upfront is obvious in hindsight, thank you! It’s been such a huge issue for me that it’s been nearly impossible to think about it dispassionately.

    2. SukiBella*

      I have rosacea, and certain foods or drinks make my flush beet red. On the rare occasion I have dinner or drinks with “new” people, I will lightly say “hey, this glass of wine will likely make me go red in the face, but be assured, I’m not drunk, it’s just my rosacea flaring up from the drink”. That way I don’t feel self-conscious when it does happen.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I have rosacea as well. My triggers include heat, cold, and anxiety. *sigh* It made teaching fun, in a 95F lab with students who really meant well but also weren’t yet socially aware enough to drop a topic.

        I’ve used a “Sorry, my rosacea has decided that today is a lovely day to be out and about” before and generally people have been very kind. To be honest as well, while my face may feel like it’s on fire and everyone must see the “obvious” flames jumping off my nose…. it’s way, way less obvious visually than it feels.

  27. Grumpy Lady*

    LW4: I suggest at least coming up with a few minor goals like a training course that you have been eyeing or cross training for some other position in the company. Don’t be like me and answer the question with “Money!” when your boss asks you what motivates you. LOL.

    1. The Spinning Arrow*

      I -wish- I had the gall to answer with “money”! LOL. My current company is putting major energy into goals suddenly and 1) I’m like OP4 in that I’m there to pay bills while I figure out what other career to pursue and how, and 2) I’m an admin, so all my goals boil down to “I want to do my job quickly and effectively to provide excellent work for the people I support” but nooo, I have to make up some individual goals too (don’t get me started on the one that’s for an “emotional or behavioral health goal”…. Eye roll of the century when I saw that one on the list.)

      1. Melewen*

        Can you say something about improving or maintaining a strong work/life balance for the emotional or behavioral health goal?

        1. The Spinning Arrow*

          Hm, that’s an interesting idea that I hadn’t considered! Especially as my company is also facing a bit of blowback given how overwhelmed everyone is (and thus how much night and weekend work they’re doing), this could be a good thing for me to emphasize! Thanks for the suggestion :)

    2. cmcinnyc*

      When I got a new grandboss she went through this painfully earnest process with each and every employee in our dept about what about our mission speaks to us and why we work here blah blah. I honestly told her I was here for the health insurance. I’m very good at my job, have zero interest in moving up (I too have a thriving Other Life), and I was afraid that if I waffled on the truth she would have me signed up for some managment training la-la in a flash. Nipped that in the bud. I am probably not her favorite person, though!

    3. ActingAsAdmin*

      I’m definitely going to mention work-life balance. Fortunately my manager sees this year as time for me to learn and get good at my role (still <1 yr at the org).

  28. Jennifer*

    #4 I’m in the same boat. I echo mentioning small attainable goals that will help you do your current job better like a training course, or learning more about the tasks of a coworker so you can be of more help if they need to take time off or quit. I wouldn’t mention your artistic goals simply because if you really need this job to support yourself, you don’t want to risk putting yourself on the chopping block if layoff time comes around. They may view you as not really needing the job or not being invested if you mention your other goals. That at least has been my experience.

  29. HailRobonia*

    I vaguely recall there was a pretty popular religious figure who was frequently depicted with long hair and a beard.

    1. Reba*

      Lol. This was a favorite zinger among my Rebellious Teens But Still Going to Youth Group peers.

  30. Jennifer Juniper*

    LW3: I’m glad you don’t have to disclose that you have early menopause! Some people still react weirdly to hearing about female issues.

    NOTE: I know that not everyone experiencing menopause is female. So don’t @ me about gender, please.

    1. Spontaneous Combustion*

      (I’m LW#3) Right? And it’s also tied into age, which some people react doubly weird about.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        My one grandmother was spontaneously thrown into menopause at 21 due to a medical condition. She said ice water (both cups and foot baths) were a huge help.

        We had a family that was very open about talking about medical issues, the only things that were off limits were things your personally didn’t want to discuss.

        1. DarthVelma*

          The ice water thing reminded me of my mom’s solution to hot flashes.
          1. If it’s cold outside, open the front door and stand there until you cool off.
          2. If it’s hot outside, open the refrigerator door and stand there until you cool off.

  31. BlueBelle*

    LW4- I am going to disagree with Alison (which never happens!) on this one. “I’m a performer outside of work, and I really appreciate that this job lets me do a good job here during work hours and then focus on performing the rest of the time.”
    My advice would be to leave out the performer part and say “I really like where I am at and I would like to continue to grow my skills to excel in this role. I am not looking to move on to another type of position.”
    Often managers are required to have developmental conversations with their employees and for employees to have development goals. Development goals do not always have to be for future positions they can be for current positions.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I dealt with something similar at work, and I handled it similarly, but added an “at this time” to my answer.

      As in, “at this time my priorities are on continuing to grow and get better in this part time position. For right now, this works best for me, but if that changes I appreciate the opportunity for growth that is here.”
      I’ve been here for just over a year after having to take some time off due to issues my kids were having – this is the perfect combo of work for me, but still allowing me to be a parent (and even more crucially when all the schools closed, my shift is opposite of my husband’s shift so we weren’t as affected as others around us by the loss of childcare). I have no plans to move on anytime soon, it really is a good fit for my family.

  32. WantonSeedStitch*

    OP#3, if you are wearing makeup for interviews and are concerned about it melting off your face, have you tried using a primer under your makeup and a setting spray on top of it? There are some good options all along the price range from inexpensive to pricey, and they have done wonders for keeping my makeup on my face even when I’m hot and sweaty! NYX makes inexpensive, quality options for both (that’s what I use), but there are many others out there too.

    1. Spontaneous Combustion*

      (I’m LW#3) I appreciate the advice! My problem is the suddenness of the attacks. I haven’t found anything that can hold up to the equivalent of walking into a blast furnace.

      1. MistC*

        I used to do cosplay full body paint AND I sweat hideously. A little gold bond directly on top of the makeup did a lot to keep it on my face with minimal reapplication needed.

        I would also recommend (and this only works on a Zoom camera for obvious reasons) a cool washcloth at the ready and then placed on your femoral. Any major blood vessel will do, but I find carotid and femoral work the best. (I have the ability at work to quickly place a cooled washcloth on my neck, but I get its different when interviewing.) It literally cools the blood down and work wonders for bringing body temperature down within seconds.

  33. Not for academics*

    1. It’s an adjunct job, teaching online only?

    Pshh.. Shave it off now to get the job, then immediately start growing it back. None of them will ever see you again, and may very well forget you exist. It’s the nature of adjuncting.

    1. Jellybean*

      Unfortunately, that may not be true. As an adjunct that teaches online exclusively, our online webinars are always recorded and posted each week as part of the learning design. Supervisors and stakeholders can, and do, review them at any time – not saying it happens often, but is does happen sometimes, especially for classroom observations.

  34. Wine Not Whine*

    LW4, I was just asked in an interview with a hiring manager “where I saw myself with the company in five years” and found myself fumbling for the same answer! Putting aside the fact that I know nothing about the company’s internal structure and opportunities (much less whether I’ll want to still be there five years from now), I too am not at all interested in climbing the metaphorical ladder.
    I finally said that I expect to continue to grow my skills in the position as the company’s needs change and grow, but have no real desire to move up into a management role in the near future. If that response takes me out of the running for that particular job, I’m probably better off not getting it anyway.

    1. The Spinning Arrow*

      Ugh, that’s a bad enough question when it’s just “where do you see yourself in five years”, let alone adding “with the company”! My truthful thought to the former question is usually, “Somewhere that isn’t here, probably,” so adding ‘with the company’ would be an even greater stretch of my prepared ‘better’ answer. I just want to be able to pay rent and eat, people, please stop making me tell you how great I think working for your company will be!

  35. Summersun*

    #3 I have mild vascular rosacea, and as I’ve delved further into peri-menopause, I blame everything on the rosacea. It’s so much easier, because even vaguely referencing a female medical issue is fraught. (And that really sucks, but I need to put food on the table. Fighting the patriarchy will have to wait.)

    I say something like “Excuse my blush, I inherited my grandmother’s ruddy cheeks!” and people usually let it go. If they push further, I just say that rosacea tends to looks worse than it is. (Which is completely true, though not necessarily the cause of my flushing in that exact moment.)

    My point is, there are ways to talk in circles that will satisfy people without delving into too-personal details.

    1. WorkLady*

      I like this – or the allergy suggestion. Get it off the table, but you don’t have to directly invoke *gasp* lady stuff.

      1. Spontaneous Combustion*

        (I’m LW#3) I love all the suggestions to dispassionately address it proactively. Menopause sucks. Early menopause sucks. And even though we’ve made great strides forward, some people are super weird about “lady stuff,” especially when it’s tied into age.

    2. SukiBella*

      I have acne rosacea, and feel your pain. I’m glad that I can at least keep the acne to a minimum now, but still flush when I drink certain alcohols (red wine, some rums).

  36. RozGrunwald*

    LW3 – I am so sorry; I started having hot flashes at 37 when I went into perimenopause far earlier than I thought I would. They are terrible. And embarrassing.

    Few things that have helped me:
    – Realizing that clothing made of thick polyester, acetate, lined wool, etc. are not my friends any more. I bought cotton and linen tops and always dress in layers as it’s easier to put something on or take something off than it is to sit sweating, realizing too late that what I’m wearing is not breathable. Fortunately the new movement toward ultra-casual dressing has really helped with my own move to not wear uncomfortable, formal clothing any more. On that same tip: no more pantyhose ever, and if you can find decent cotton underwear and bras, that helps a lot as well.
    – Sitting in front of a fan, as other folks have mentioned. I kept a small fan in my office.
    – I bought some small ice packs – the kind they sell for kids’ injuries, yes they have cartoon animals on them – and when I worked at work, I kept them in the office freezer. If I felt a hot flash coming on, holding the ice pack to the back of my neck helped a lot to at least shorten the flash. I would also sometimes use them pre-emptively if I was going into a big meeting and was worried I might have one.
    – I have not done any medication but when I was having frequent flashes I did drink 3 soy lattes a week, as recommended by my OB/GYN. She said different women have different needs and different things will work, but that was her recommendation for a first-line treatment before we tried other things. Might be worth a shot?
    – My mom took wild yam supplements and thought it worked well for her.
    I’m sorry you’re going through this, but also am glad your health situation is fully resolved. Also want to say, at the end of the day you are healthy and you are going through something all women experience if they are lucky (because the alternative is dying an early death). So if people don’t understand, that’s a them problem, not a you problem.

  37. leozombie*

    LW5 — it sounds like you may be in law (finishing a clerkship/starting at one of the biglaw firms that delayed start dates until 2021). if so, know many firms aren’t hiring new general associates right now (opposed to filling specific practice groups like bankruptcy or needs). And of course, be cautious because there’s a lot of instability that’s hard to suss out, even for current associates. You may want to think outside of law firms — could you find a position on a political campaign or something to fill the time?

  38. BlueBelle*

    Hot flashes. I take a medication that makes me have hot flashes 3 times a day, I can practically time them. I bought a few cooling hankerchiefs. They are filled with beads, you soak it in water and put it in the refrigerator over night. I don’t put it around my neck if it can be seen, but I will put one around my wrist under my suit jacket. My neck or a wrist being ice cold seems to keep the flushing at sweating away. I will still feel warm, but it won’t be as visible to others or as uncomfortable to me.
    Good luck!

  39. employment lawyah*

    1. Interviewer told me they don’t allow facial hair on men
    …So I suppose it’s more of a thought than a question – do you think this is fair?

    Yes, of course! It’s so obviously fair that I’m surprised you’re asking.

    One marvelous thing about economic freedom is that every business can run the way the owner wants; every employee can choose where to work; every customer can choose where to shop; and so on. Some businesses may choose to adopt a style which doesn’t appeal to you–in which case, you should not shop there or work there. Other businesses may be more to your preference, but be entirely unappealing to other folks.

    You like beards. But that’s merely a preference like anything else else, and it’s not at all “unfair” for other folks to exercise THEIR preferences, especially if they’re also taking the risk and work of owning the business in question.

    The nice thing is that you can prove them wrong: In that area, you may find a lot of folks who are functionally under-compensated because they don’t want to shave their beards. So you can start a competing business and hire them.

    2. Should I be uneasy that my boss asked about my work history?
    If you lied on your resume, you should be uneasy.

    Otherwise, they’re probably trying to find out if you have a certain skillset. I’d approach like AAM says. But also, it may well be that you have (or have acquired) a skillset which is NOT clear from your resume, since your resume may have been more tailored: If so, be prepared to bring it up if you’re interested in expanding your role.

    3. Dealing with hot flashes in interviews
    Obviously, try to hide it if you can: Age discrimination is wide spread and hard to prove, unfortunately. But otherwise, assigning it to a “temporary medical issue” may be OK, though I’m always leery of bringing up medical issues in interviews (again, that can also lead to discrimination which can be very hard to prove and–if it’s temporary and fails to qualify as a disability–might even be legal.) Sorry, it sucks.

    1. Sara*

      Thank you do much.

      No I never lie on resumes. That’s stupid haha

      Are you really an employment lawyer? That sounds like a neat job

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      If you truly don’t understand the power imbalance between employers and workers, which you seem not to judging from the laissez-faire free-market propaganda you uncritically parrot, you must be pretty bad at your (alleged) job as an employment lawyer.

      (“Just start your own competing business!” With the capital everyone has ready access to.)

  40. Potatoes gonna potate*

    Re #2 – is it really common for employers to ask about someone’s resume once they’re hired and have been in the position for a while? At my last job, no one ever questioned or looked at my resume after my start date.

    The only time my resume came in to question was when the owner was ranting, went into his office, took out my resume and said that it was a sh*tshow.

    To me, unless it’s like a situation above, it seems unusual.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I had a new manager want to see my (and my teammates’) resumes, but that was because she was new to the job and wanted to get a sense of our backgrounds.

    2. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I should clarify that the screaming manager was at a different job than the one i mentioned in my first paragraph. But pretty much all jobs I’ve held since 2008, and my current one, no one has ever inquired about my resume after I started – maybe it’s an industry thing?

    3. Sara*

      # 2 asker:

      I agree with you. Like Alison mentioned, he could have gone to my employee file since my resume is there. There have been lots of changes lately within the company so it may have something to do with that for whatever reason. I don’t dare ask my other coworkers in the department if they have been asked the same, nothing like having your worst fears of being the “odd one out” realized

  41. Spontaneous Combustion*

    (I’m letter writer #3). Thank you for answering my question! The whole issue is so emotionally fraught for me that having a dispassionate script will make a world of difference.

    I’m also reading all the tips from commentators. Sadly, HRT is right out for me, but I can’t wait to try the ice pack on the wrist trick. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!

    1. BlueBelle*

      The cooling bandanas won’t melt in the traditional way and won’t leave you or your clothes wet. You can find them on Amazon by searching “cooling bandanas”. They are filled with what I think are silicon beads that absorb water and stay cool without melting for hours. I work for an international company, when we still traveled for work, the headquarters is in a country that doesn’t really use AC and it is always hot in the conference rooms. There it is acceptable to wear one visible around your neck. I would have melted into a sweaty pool if not for those.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        We use the cooling bandanas onsite – foundry – and our staff that work in the hottest areas only need to switch them out every 4 hours for recharging. They last a very long time, even when working with 1600F furnaces, and don’t drip everywhere. I think wrist versions are available, too.

    2. BadWolf*

      Cold on wrists (and neck and stomach) really help me when I’m having a heat/digestive meltdown issue.

      If you don’t want to bring something up at the beginning, I’d go with the “Oh boy, my office suddenly got really warm. Sorry about that, heat can make me flush.” I have definitely been on calls where someone’s all “I’m baking in my office, let me check the fan.”

  42. Susie Q*

    #2 Do you work for a contracting company like Booz Allen or Northrup? When I worked for a defense contractor, my boss would ask about my past job and help me update my resume as a requirement for bidding on government contracts. They had to prove that they had the staff to do the work.

  43. Pidgeot*

    LW2 – is it possible that someone on your team is in the process of renewing their visa? Often times employers need to justify keeping a visa employee by comparing their background to existing team members in order make the case for renewal. This may not be the case for you, but I have had this happen to me in the past.

  44. A thought on beards*

    I can’t speak for any employer rights or violations due to facial hair restrictions. But it is concerning that these restrictions can lead to excluding Black male candidates and certain religious groups. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of some very big employers that have a strict no facial hair policy, and I wonder how much that could’ve been tied to racism. For more info tied to this:

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      If this is the school I think it is, they are happy to allow exemptions for health and religious reasons. No need to jump to the worst possible conclusions, okay?

      1. A thought on beards*

        Oh, I certainly wasn’t jumping to conclusions. As I put in my comment, sometimes these policies “can lead to” excluding people, I didn’t specifically imply this employer was doing that.

        I just wanted to highlight that strict, unnecessary facial hair policies can be found in even larger corporations. I also wanted to see if anyone had direct experience with that issue. I’m a white woman, so I was hoping to hear about other people’s stories while also share something related to the LW’s question.

  45. JSPA*

    I once had a disgruntled…someone…claim that I didn’t have a doctorate (I did) and that I didn’t have the work experience I had. Might have had to do with flunking some well-connected frat brothers on an assignment for plagiarism.

    If there’s anything in your resume that’s at all “enhanced,” it’s time to worry about being caught; if not, it’s still time to ask whether anyone has suggested that your experience and education were, in any way, mis-represented in your resume. Because in my case, the campaign didn’t end there, and it would have been REALLY nice to find out about the whisper campaign at the time (not a couple of years later).

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      I’m so sorry. Being falsely accused of lying on your resume is awful. I’ve been there, and it left me permanently paranoid about job hunting.

  46. moql*

    OP # 2 – I had something similar and it turned out they were preparing for a promotion. This was pre-Covid, so I wasn’t super worried, but it was very weird and I just did my best not to think about it! I hope it is only good news for you!

  47. Elizabeth West*

    #4– Ooh, that’s me. I have a lot of admin experience but absolutely NO desire to move up in admin work, which usually means accounting, sales, or management. It would be a terrible fit for me due to my math LD, plus I like being able to shut off workthink at the end of the day and concentrate on writing.

    OP, maybe you could say you’re not really invested in moving up, but you would be open to working on new and different projects at your level. Depending on what your company does, it might have opportunities for contribution that don’t necessarily mean a change of role but would allow you to be engaged in company growth and development.

  48. Sara*

    I am the asker for question # 2, and I appreciate you taking the time to answer. My boss isn’t the best of communicators, so there’s a lot of interpretation room when he says things.

    Thank you so much giving me something to stand on in figuring out the issue, I will try to send the resolution (if anything comes of it, or if it was totally random).


  49. Sara*

    No my resume is pretty much everything I’ve ever done and where I’ve worked.

    I’ll keepthat in mind though, I hadnt thought about that

  50. Kiki*

    OP #2: Something similar once happened to me and it turned out my boss’s boss was just trying to give some examples of the “diversity in backgrounds” of the engineering department. It could be something more worrisome and I definitely think it’s worth following-up on, but there is the possibility your boss just bungled the messaging while doing something innocuous!

  51. Free Meerkats*

    A question for Alison re: #1.

    Assuming one has a religious-related beard and went through the interview listed, at what point would one bring up the reason for the beard? Bring it up toward the end of the interview or wait until offered the job as one would with a medical issue?

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      I would wait until the offer has been made, though if this is the school I think it is, it wouldn’t count against a candidate no matter when they mention it. They’re very supportive of the religious beliefs of others, not just their own. They also allow medical exemptions, for those who need one.

  52. Introvert girl*

    LW 1: You can always let them know your beard keeps you closer to God and that unfortunately you can’t shave it off for anyone. ;)

  53. Pobody's Nerfect*

    OP#3 re: Hot Flashes. I’m sorry, I really have to disagree with Alison’s advice and most of the comments on this topic saying to hide, cover up, and white lie about it. Perimenopause and menopause are not “minor, temporary medical thing(s)” – they are a completely natural part of life for 50% of the world’s population! Why are we STILL perpetuating the “crazy menopausal woman” stereotype by trying to hide it at all lengths instead of just being upfront and honest and matter-of-(scientific, biological)-fact about it? This natural life process (it’s not a medical problem in and of itself) is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about! Women usually start experiencing the effects of perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause) – which if natural and not surgical – in their late 30’s or early 40’s up until menopause (the point at which a woman has gone 12 months with no period), which is usually in their 50s. So it’s not temporary for many women, it’s usually a decade or longer of oftentimes very debilitating and very numerous effects, including the hot flashes the OP mentions. (And it’s not just hot flashes, there are 40+ challenging effects of perimenopause and menopause that many women have to deal with – it’s the major issue in their lives for a long time.) It is fair and just that women start to own and share this part of their lives with comfort and normalcy, saying something like “I’m just dealing with the effects of (surgically-induced) menopause from time-to-time; they are manageable and there is no cause for alarm, but you may notice sometimes that I start sweating. It’s normal.” At some point we have got to stop catering to other peoples’ embarrassment and discomfort about what is completely normal and natural. If other people gasp and say “I can’t believe she admitted she’s in menopause!” that is THEIR problem – although I’m not naive to the fact that men and other people in positions of power over women of all ages still are glad to use that discomfort to do horrible things (like not hire women who may be older). So many women suffer in silence with perimenopause and menopause, or think they have to hide it, and it is just not necessary. There are menopause education specialists and doctors now that can help women through this transition. Once women are more educated about the process and the options, then we can also start to educate those around us when necessary – men, children, parents, coworkers…anyone who could benefit from knowing what’s happening and what women need to be successful.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      In an ideal world – sure. But we’re talking about job interviews, when age discrimination, medical discrimination, and gender discrimination may be issues, even if the organization is nominally committed to equity in hiring, and even with people who may consider themselves to be anti-discrimination.

      The OP is female (obviously) and has had a serious medical condition that has caused early menopause – the very last thing she is going to want to do is to address any of these issues in an interview, when she’s trying to be evaluated on her merits as a candidate.

      1. Pobody's Nerfect*

        Being in early (or otherwise) menopause and dealing with the effects of such does not affect her merits as a candidate. And it certainly should not detract from her merits. Does that mean every woman age 40-55 is considered a less valid candidate with fewer merits than women who aren’t going through active peri/menopause?

        1. Two Dog Night*

          Well, by some employers, yes. Age discrimination is a thing, unfortunately. It shouldn’t be, but it’s reality. As a woman over 50, I’m sure not going to do anything to draw attention to my age. Once I’m established in a job I ‘m more open about things like this–to the extent that it’s anyone’s business–but in a job interview? No way.

        2. Observer*

          Yes and yes.

          You are absolutely correct that menopause, early or not, has absolutely no bearing on someone’s fitness for a job. Nevertheless it is also absolutely true that many people will definitely look at a candidate who is over a certain age or who is going through menopause as definitely lower quality and potential.

          Are you really pretending that all people, including employers, are are always completely reasonable about this stuff?

          1. Pobody's Nerfect*

            If you actually read my post, you would see the answer to your own question: “I’m not naive to the fact that men and other people in positions of power over women of all ages still are glad to use that discomfort to do horrible things (like not hire women who may be older).”

    2. mreasy*

      Let’s not tell women what they need to “start to own,” implying that age discrimination and sexism brought on by a discussion of menopause is the fault of women. Let’s, simply, not.

      1. Pobody's Nerfect*

        That’s absolutely not what I was doing and you completely missed the point of my post.

  54. Vox*

    Mr. Vox works for a company whose main customer is restaurants. The restaurant chain he works with requires clean-shaven managers and employees because of customer perception: people don’t want beard hair in their food. So Mr. Vox’s company requires all corporate desk job employees who work with the customer to also be clean-shaven, even while working from home.

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      My cousin works for The Rodent. He also has to stay clean-shaven for work. He was annoyed by it at first, until his girlfriend pointed out that no one was forcing him to work there. Free market economy at its finest; if he didn’t like the dress code, he could find another job where facial hair is permitted. He chose to keep performing at the park.

  55. Girasol*

    #2 Our large company downsized by 25%. A consultancy guided them through the selection of hundreds of employees to lay off by defining which skills indicated a “keeper.” The algorithm put excellent, critical employees on the layoff list while saving people who wouldn’t be much missed. Your description matches what I saw happen then. When a manager wanted to keep someone who was headed for layoff, he would grill them about skills that they weren’t using in hope of finding some critical skill that would justify moving them from the layoff list to the keeper list. So your boss’s odd behavior might indicate that your job is at risk but he’s trying his best to retain you.

    1. Question # 2 writer*

      That may be possible. I clarified with him today and he said his boss is looking at what everyone in our department is doing to see who can take on additional roles/move tasks around, but I do not know if that is manager-speak for “hey they are looking at our department for layoffs”.

      Several others here have mentioned the layoff thing, and while I’ve experienced layoffs before, this is a new experience compared to most “red flags” I am familiar with.

  56. Mr. Beardy (Letter 1 OP)*

    Hello everyone!
    I’m the letter 1 OP, and I want to thank you all for your thoughtful and very interesting responses! I really love this page — Alison’s advice is always so helpful, and the comments section is so great. You’ve all given me a lot to think about.
    So, after a bit of research, I do think that yes, as some of you asked, this is an LDS institution. (It’s not BYU; I know a few were wondering). I want to also say that I very much understand what many of you were saying; as a queer person, I do tend to be wary of these things, but my personal experience with LDS people has been wonderful. They have been social justice minded and very welcoming to me. (But I live in a very blue state, so maybe that has something to do with it.).
    To be fair, the two folks who interviewed me were very, very nice. I don’t want to give a wrong impression. But as some of you pointed out, it is my personal belief that my “queerness” and the beard subject were brought up together for a reason. There was no “safety or medical” reason, per se, given during the interview, rather it was about professionalism and appearance. I do respect their right to religous freedom, but I also think it shows a bit of a sense of outdated thinking. (Especially, as many of you pointed out, traditional images of Jesus almost always show him with a beard!)
    As for the topic of hearing impaired students, I’m very glad that was brought up! I’ve been teaching for years, and it was never an issue, but that doesn’t mean that some student of mine might not have had an issue. I’m going to make sure that this is a consideration going forward, as I want to make sure all of my students can understand me clearly. Thank you for this.
    Again, thank you to everyone who commented. It’s very helpful and I feel secure in my decision, though I wish them the best with their search. To be fair, I’m glad that they let me know early so I could make a fair decision based on that.
    Thank you all again!

    1. Killer Queen*

      Active LDS here and I am so glad you have had good experiences! I feel most of us (at least most everyone I know and myself – and I’m in a red state) are accepting of the LGBT community, but I know that’s, disappointingly, not the case with everyone. Also just wanted to add that I think the beard ban at some institutions is silly! My husband attended BYU-I and has grown a beard since he graduated I love it!
      Anyway, good luck with the job search!

  57. Daune*

    I’m in menopause and I also have anxiety. I take a 20mg dose of citalopram for it. Turns out low doses of citalopram can help eliminate hot flashes! Yay for me! Maybe yay for you too!

  58. Tan*

    Oh #1 my friend had this in an interview for a marketing /sales type position- he was told we don’t allow beards in customer facing positions. My friend thinks he has a ‘weak chin’ so said “I guess that ends this interview then, wish you could have told me that policy from the start and saved us xx minutes” and then the interviewer got angry and upset because they were looking to hire my friend but after a bit of follow up my friend said something like “your job isn’t worth having a shave for”.

  59. moneypenny*

    I once worked for a company that was old school and family-run. They too had a “no beards, no visible tattoos, no peircings beyond ears for women. Women must wear nylons, collared shirts, and have no obvious or dark painted nails”… etc. They had never updated the handbook, but I can tell you that those ideals were still part of the way the place was run. Super traditional, talking over and excluding women, unprofessional in spite of how much they thought they were, all those kinds of things. It’s a red flag in a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” sort of way.

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