planning a party for a holiday you don’t celebrate, explaining an error on your resume, and more

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

1. Is it weird to offer to plan a party for a holiday you don’t celebrate?

We are a global team, with the majority of team members based in North America. We always acknowledge holidays no matter where people are in the world (India, China, Australia, etc.) by wishing people a “happy [insert holiday as appropriate here]” but the team members who actually celebrate the holiday arrange the celebration.

As we are nearing the end of the year, our coworker in India told us she will book a Christmas celebration for the team in the U.S. Note: she recently celebrated Diwali and did not include everyone. Question: Am I wrong in feeling this is overstepping bounds, as well as not being inclusive of our coworkers who may celebrate other holidays in December? I wouldn’t presume to arrange a holiday party for a holiday I do not celebrate—I would offer my help instead of controlling it. I asked a couple of other people and they feel the same. Do I just go along with it or say something? If say something, how do I approach it without causing drama?

I don’t think it’s weird that she’s offering to organize a Christmas party even though she doesn’t celebrate Christmas. The weird part is that she’s offering to do it from halfway around the world, when presumably it would be much easier for someone in your local office to plan and manage local party logistics.

Is she an assistant or someone who normally organizes events for your U.S. office? If she is, then none of this is weird and it sounds like she’s doing this as part of her job duties. But if she’s not, then it would make sense to say, “Oh, thanks for offering but we’ve got it — it’ll be easier to organize from here.”

But for the sake of argument — if she were in your same location, then the fact that she offered even though she doesn’t celebrate Christmas wouldn’t be terribly odd. Most offices in the U.S. do some sort of celebration in December, and most of the time it’s about Christmas even if it’s called a “holiday party” (there’s a reason it’s happening in December and I’ll tell you as a Jew that the reason is not Hanukkah, which is a minor Jewish holiday). So if she wanted to organize your office’s main December party, it makes sense that that’s what she offered.

2. Employer wants me to travel out-of-state for an in-person interview during Covid

I’m in the middle of a job interview process where I think I’m seeing a lot of red flags. I’ve had two interviews for a permanent position in a nonprofit in a different state, and I’ve been offered a third in-person interview. The distance is great enough that I’ll either have to drive 10+ hours or fly. When I asked about the logistics, they said they would be paying for my hotel room, but not the flight/mileage. Additionally (and more concerning), we’re in the middle of a worsening pandemic and they want me to travel and meet 6+ members of their staff and board of directors!

All of this is really rubbing me the wrong way, and giving me a lot of worries about the work culture and how they’re handling the pandemic. However, the situation is complicated because the position is really in line with what I want to do career-wise and I feel like I would really like the work. It’s difficult to find a full-time permanent job in my field even in a good year, but it’s doubly hard now that the pandemic has caused so many similar nonprofits to shut down or lay off staff. Are these the kind of red flags where I should cut and run?

As a general rule, companies should pay for interview travel. But if they have plenty of good local candidates, sometimes they figure they don’t really need to … especially nonprofits operating on tight budgets. It’s crappy but it happens enough that I wouldn’t consider it a red flag on its own.

I’m far more concerned that they’re asking you to travel during a pandemic and meet face-to-face with so many people. Personally, I’d say, “I’m hesitant to travel during the pandemic. While I understand we’d normally do the next step in-person, is it possible to meet via video instead?” If there’s some reason it really need to be in-person, they should explain what that reason is (and if it’s just “we want you to meet our staff and board,” that’s not good enough in these circumstances). If they hold firm without giving you a really compelling reason why, I’d have a hard time seeing them as a place I’d want to work.

If they do have a reason you find compelling, then please ask what precautions they’ll be taking during your interview, as well as how they’re handling the pandemic generally.

3. Missing work to do things for your new job during your notice period at your old job

I’ve seen that you should generally try to avoid taking PTO during your notice period, outside of emergencies. How does this work when you have pre-employment appointments during your notice period?

I am moving on from a job where coverage is almost as important as it is in retail, though it’s at an organization in a specialized technical industry that treats its employees much better than your typical retail company. My new job requires a drug test and physical before starting, and the clinics that did these were open for almost exactly my work schedule and were a minimum of one hour away from my current place of work. The hassle of scheduling these almost delayed my start date for a month (there are specific days for orientation) since I didn’t want to take sick time during my notice period for anything short of Covid symptoms, and I can’t normally change my schedule with less than a week’s notice. My solution was to shift my schedule two hours early for the second week of my notice period, but it still meant the drug test results almost didn’t come back in time.

The people I’ve talked to don’t understand why I worked so hard not to take two days of PTO during my two weeks’ notice, but one is someone who has a history of rage quitting with no notice and the other is her daughter, so I wanted to bring in someone who I trust to have a good read on work norms to test my calibration. Was I being overly accommodating in this case? How do people normally deal with scheduling pre-employment appointments when they’re still working?

It’s pretty unusual to need to take two full days off for stuff for the new job while you’re working out your notice period at the old job, so it doesn’t come up that much! It’s more common for someone to just need a couple of hours (if anything), and usually that’s easier to work out. But in a case like yours, you can explain the situation and many managers will be flexible. If they’re not, sometimes you can adjust your notice period to account for the days off you’ll need — for example, explaining from the start that you’ll need to be away two days so you’re offering to tack on an additional two days at the end. And of course, if an employer is being really inflexible with you without good reason, you can simply say, “Unfortunately, I’ve tried to change it and can’t, so I’m not going to be able to be here on (date). Let me know what I can do the rest of the time to minimize any inconvenience from that.”

4. Should you mention an error on your resume in an interview?

I’m a job coach and helping someone get ready for an interview. They made an error on the resume they submitted where they simply didn’t finish the bullet point. Something like “Build sustainable partnerships through”… with nothing after that.

My gut says to mention it in the interview when she brings up the experience and acknowledge, “I’m sorry, I know I made an error on my resume in reference to this experience. I’m happy to submit another one with the correct language.” I’m torn on recommending this though. On one hand, I think’s important to show that you can own up to error; on the other hand, if they offered the interview, then it didn’t impede her getting further in the process and it might be harping on something they don’t care about. What do you think?

I’d bring a corrected copy of the resume, hand it to the interviewer at the start, and say, “I was mortified to find an error on the version I sent you, so this is a corrected copy.” If the interview is virtual, she can email it over ahead of the meeting with a note using similar language.

That’s not harping on something they don’t care about; it’s a short exchange that shows that she caught the error and is being forthright about fixing it. If they don’t care, they’re not likely to have a problem with her correcting it. If they did care, it’s better than seeming like she didn’t notice it.

Also, I wouldn’t assume that the fact she got an interview means the error doesn’t concern them. They could consider it a strike against her but still be willing to find out more.

Often people’s worry in this situation is, “What if they didn’t notice it and now I’m calling their attention to it?” But this is a big enough error (and a potential red flag about attention to detail) that it’s worth addressing and fixing.

{ 265 comments… read them below }

  1. Anononon*

    After I gave notice, I took one morning to do drug testing, but I was at a job where coverage wasn’t super crucial, especially during my notice period. It was also a pretty toxic place that I was so excited to leave, so I wasn’t too concerned. It was awful rainy weather that day, so I wore jeans, and I still remember the glares I got when I came back that afternoon in them. (The office leaned towards more business than business casual, even though the boss/owner wore tshirts and schlubby khakis most days.)

    1. allathian*

      Ugh, glad you’re out of there. I also think it’s really weird that the owner would have a strict dress code for employees but dress casually themselves (I don’t think t-shirts and schlubby khakis count as business casual). That alone would indicate problems with the work environment. In my book, a less formal dress code is one of the few perks non-executives who don’t deal with clients in person/on video get at many companies…

      1. Anononon*

        It was a very small law firm (about 5-6 employees total), so I think disfunction tends to be par for the course for those. My boss would sometimes wear a tshirt during a deposition and brag to us that it would cause opposing counsel to underestimate him. …Yeah, bud. I think they’re gonna estimate you just right.

        (The much larger firm I work for now, that’s also tangentially in the banking sector, has almost no dress code. Unless certain clients are visiting (and only some!), tshirts, jeans, sneakers are the norm.)

      2. Disco Janet*

        Yes, I agree. I wonder if she is upset about her colleague not including others in the Diwali celebration, and now is projecting that feeling onto the Christmas one. I wasn’t clear if she means others were not included in the planning or celebration of Diwali. I get the sense the OP is still salty about that. And yes, accusing the colleague of “controlling” the holiday is strangely harsh language for a party.

    2. Mella*

      I scheduled a PM half-day for my new job drug test, but my then-current job delayed me with a nonsense meeting that ran over. When I finally blew into the medical building, sweaty and stressed out, the nurse frostily informed me that I’d barely made it, because any later than 45 minutes past the appointment time was an automatic failure.

      TL;DR: Don’t take chances. Schedule your appointments first thing in the morning, or else take an entirely separate day to do them.

    3. Confused Anon*

      Wow- you must have been at my old job. I did the same thing and new evil boss was upset, but I didn’t care. (I didn’t need the reference and it was a very toxic place.) On my last day, she didn’t even let me stay the whole day- she escorted me out. They hired 2 people to do my job and a year later, new evil boss quit and left. (Without giving notice!)

  2. Anononon*

    For number 1, yeah, definitely the weird part is that she’s trying to plan a party for a different location across the globe. But, if that’s otherwise her job, or she worked out of that location…her religion really doesn’t matter when planning a December office party. As a non-Christian, trust me, planning an office holiday party really doesn’t require specific religious experience.

    1. Tamz*

      Exactly. Also many cultures around the world celebrate Christmas in a secular sense… it’s incredibly common, almost universal, to mark the end of the year, and any northern hemisphere country will likely have a winter festival tradition.

      Christmas is a public holiday in India, and many of my Indian friends join in secular Christmas traditions even if they are Hindu or another faith.

      1. BubbleTea*

        One of my colleagues is Muslim and she was the main driver behind our Christmas staff meal last year. It was a tradition that had lapsed and she felt it was important to bring it back. Sometimes things are just a good excuse for a party!

        1. JustaTech*

          My first year of college my Muslim suitemate was desperate to celebrate Christmas and convinced our Hindu suitemate to get her parents to bring over their artificial Christmas tree they’d bought when they moved to the US because everyone puts up a tree at Christmas.

      2. UKDancer*

        Definitely. In my last company the Christmas party organiser was Indian (Hindu) and she really enjoyed throwing a party and had the most amazing Christmas jumper collection I’ve ever seen. I think she’d have been hurt if we’d suggested that she might not want to do it because she wasn’t Christian. She started planning it before anyone else thought about Christmas and her plans were always brilliant. I don’t think she viewed the party as a religious thing, it was more a social activity and excuse for a good time.

        The weird part is definitely the location (throwing a party for someone in another continent). Unless it’s a virtual party in which case it may not matter.

        1. Ashley*

          I actually thing in a case like this where she doesn’t view it as a religious thing could make a person the perfect party planner. Yes we all get off for Christmas and it is a Christian holiday, but not everyone who celebrates is actually religious. You don’t want someone bringing in manager scenes into the office (that isn’t a church). I am also guessing they were more on top of food restrictions and food variety considerations then some other people can be through their own personal experiences and we all know how some people just can’t seem to grasp that stuff.

          1. Quill*

            Manager scenes… I know it’s a typo but now I’m just wondering if we could get little paper cut-outs of some of the worst managers from this site’s history surrounding a manger.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              I chuckled at that typo too, it made up for my inner grammar nazi’s annoyance at seeing people typing manger instead of manager so very often here!

      3. Doc in a Box*

        “Christmas is a public holiday in India, and many of my Indian friends join in secular Christmas traditions even if they are Hindu or another faith.”

        Yup. When my mother was growing up in India in the 60s/70s, she went to a Catholic school with classmates who were/are Christian, Parsi, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh. While the Catholic kids had catechism class, everyone else had “moral instruction” which per my mom was just Miss Tucker telling them about the latest Bollywood movies. :)

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Yup. Additional fun fact – in parts of India they call it ‘Bada Din’ or ‘Big Day’ – although it’s unclear whether that’s because it was seen as the solstice day (after which the days start to lengthen) or just because ‘well, it’s a big party.’

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Anything and everything is a public holiday in India! It’s a sub-continent that takes holidays very seriously! I had to translate a contract once for a guy working in Bangladesh, and the list of days off included Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist holidays, it didn’t look like the guy would get much work off in between!

          I spent Christmas in India one year and Indians would come up to me and wish me a “happy birthday”, which I suppose it is for Christians. I was perplexed, having celebrated Christmas in true pagan style for years, but I did work it out eventually!

          It is rather strange to organise a party for people in a different continent, but maybe this woman is awesome at party planning and wants practice before setting up her own party planning business?

      4. I edit everything*

        It’s also worth noting that Christianity is common in India, and it’s one of the first places to have a Christian community outside the Middle East. Tradition says that the apostle Thomas brought word of Jesus to India in the mid first century. So, you know, quite a while before it arrived in the US.

        1. Momma Bear*

          Former neighbors of mine were Christians from India, so it could be she celebrates Christmas. But even if not, I think the weirder thing is planning a party from across the globe. Either way, if she’s taken it on, presumably she’s had a thought or two about the planning and may be just looking at it as a holiday party/office event vs IT’S CHRISTMAS. Unless she indicates she has a problem, I’d let it go.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          And there are all sorts of churches, especially ones built by the Portuguese, in Kerala and Goa. I remember visiting one, it looked pure Portuguese from my bedroom window, then I saw that it had been significantly Indianised once I was closer. Pictures of Jesus looking every inch a Hindu god, like they’d simply added him to the pantheon!

    2. Tired*

      Is anyone else getting kind of a weird undertone to letter 1? The idea of an American taking issue with an Indian coworker offering to book a holiday party… feels off to me.

      The line “I wouldn’t presume to arrange a holiday party for a holiday I do not celebrate—I would offer my help instead of controlling it” expresses a weird level of offense. Christmas is a very global, widely celebrated, secularized and commercialized holiday. I’m a white American atheist and I doubt the LW would object if I offered to plan an office Christmas party, even though I’m not Christian. So is it really just the fact that this Indian coworker is in a geographically far office that’s bothering the LW?

      1. Ms.Vader*

        Yes! I couldn’t understand why that would be an issue. It smacks of old school colonialism and honestly…racism. It’s so odd to have that objection. Was the expectation that this party should actually be about Jesus and more religious and the OP thinks they’ll miss something? There’s many problems with that too. I definitely do not like what this insinuates.

      2. Wanderer*

        Yeah – I’ve seen some territorialism over Christmas from some of my fellow Christians that always rubs me as yuckily exclusionary during a time when we should be extra-inclusive and generous (including spiritually generous) to everyone.

      3. toxic avenger*

        I’m so relieved to see someone else post this thought! My feathers were ruffled by the OP’s assumption that their Indian colleague didn’t celebrate Christmas because she celebrated Diwali. While Diwali technically is a religious holiday, it’s also seen as a national holiday. Furthermore, there are a number of Indians who identify as Christians. I’m assuming they’re all Zooming holiday parties right now anyway- does it really matter who organizes it? Also, someone wants to plan the holiday party! I would accept that offer in a heartbeat.

      4. Ash*

        I agree with you Tired. It also sounds like the LW has a kind of “stay in your lane” attitude, since they say the Indian colleague did not “include” everyone in the Diwali party. My guess is that the Indian colleague figured a lot of people wouldn’t know what Diwali was, as it is not as globally ubiquitous as Christmas seems to be in much of the world due to colonialism and the hegemony of Western Europe/United States. LW is just really reading a lot into a situation that doesn’t merit it. Yes it’s generally not efficient to organize a party from afar–so just say “thanks so much for offering, but we have it covered!”

      5. Lyra Silvertongue*

        Personally, yes. ‘Overstepping bounds,’ ‘presume,’ and ‘controlling’ jumped out at me as curiously hostile language. Especially since the problem seems to not be the geographical location but the fact that the party planner doesn’t celebrate Christmas, i.e. is not a Christian or living in a country where Christianity is the dominant religion. Which… isn’t great. I’m also confused regarding this “not being inclusive of our coworkers who may celebrate other holidays in December” when LW is the one who seems to want to specifically exclude people who do not celebrate Christmas? There’s some weird racism and xenophobia lurking here.

      6. AKchic*

        I read that undertone too.

        Christmas parties aren’t necessarily religious in the “Christian” sense. Not when you look at the origins of all of the decorations, the traditions, etc.
        Truly, this is a winter holiday(s) party. I’d say I’m disappointed by the undertone, but I’m not at all surprised to see it. There’s a possessiveness to those stolen traditions that some people hold onto. I don’t think they realize they are doing it, either. It’s almost as if it’s a subconscious “we stole this, but we aren’t going to let it get taken from *us*” kind of mentality.

      7. HoHumDrum*

        Also, like, a lot of christians take offense to the secularization of christmas (“keep the christ in christmas!”) but then also will get upset if people suggest that christmas is too religious a holiday to celebrate in offices/schools/public life. So, which is it? Religious and therefore christian only? Or something for everyone to participate in regardless of beliefs? Because if you want to say that only christians should be participating in the planning/execution of the office holiday party, then that actually sounds like an event that’s not really appropriate for an office at all…

        1. Mookie*

          While some of the historical Christian world has not, other parts along with cultures once colonized and occupied by Christians have, as you say, established a serviceable, secular, and often state-sanctioned version of some of its practices and calendar. Ignoring the negative effects this imposition has on everyone not participating (either as adherents of other beliefs, as non-practitioners, as atheists/agnostics), this is fine and Christians who object or disapprove (as the LW appears to do) are free to do so on any grounds they choose, but in pluralistic nations they don’t get to unilaterally dictate or erase these widespread practices, which are not appropriation.

    3. Lacey*

      Yeah, even though Christmas is a Christian holiday and it’s important to recognize that for people who want to opt out and people who take it seriously as a religious holiday – it’s also got a lot of secular accoutrements and people enjoy it without it having to do with their religion.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        yes, and it was a pagan festival long before the Christians hijacked it, so anyone can do it!

    4. Chinook*

      Can I ask why OP #1 is assuming the person is not Christian? I know that Diwali is a big holiday in India, so organizing it for her local staff may seem like a no brainer to her. But, Christian Indians have existed as long as Christianity has (my parish priest’s family goes back centuries to at least pre-colonial India and probably farther) plus there are many new converts who may celebrate parts of Diwali for family cultural reasons the same way non-Christians celebrate Christmas because that is what their family always does at this time of year.

      Plus, some cultures celebrate Christmas for the Santa and pretty lights reasons. Japan is 99% non-Christian and their Christmas decorations would go up in stores when I worked there.

      Just remember that Christians and Christmas celebrators are everywhere and don’t always look like you think a Christian should look. If she wants to plan it, why not?

    5. Clisby*

      Right. I’m not disputing that a Christmas party is related to Christianity, but I’m trying to remember any office Christmas party I’ve attended that would have required the party-thrower to know much, if anything, about Christianity. It was food, drink, and oh, maybe some greenery would be nice. It’s not like those parties included a Christmas pageant, or singing carols, or readings from the Bible. (Maybe other people have experienced office Christmas parties with explicitly religious references, though.)

  3. pcake*

    LW#2, if you’re concerned about Covid-19 and about how companies deal with health situations, you already have your answer with this company. The fact that the job itself is right in your wheelhouse won’t matter if upper management is that far from your view on things, and if you read AskAManager regularly, you know there’s no guarantee you’ll end up doing the work you sign on for. For me, an in-person interview and being expected to fly right now would make this job an absolute no, but I take Covid more seriously than many – we’ve lost a couple people from it in our circle, some of my friends were very ill for a long time, and two aren’t anywhere near all the way back to normal months later.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    1. Sun Tzu*

      Absolutely. In-person interview during a COVID pandemic? 500 miles away and they won’t be paying you the flight ticket (not to mention the contagion risk involved in flying)? I’d give a hard pass on this one; if they really want you, they should accept a Zoom interview.
      Job interviews go both ways.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. I’d be thinking to myself, if they carry on as normal, then they will expect me to do likewise.

        Think about those employees, OP. They can’t be thrilled about being in a room with you who has just flown 500 miles and has been in contact with whatever was in your path as you went along.
        Additionally, I can’t believe not one of all these people did not speak up and say, “Should we really be in contact with OP and other candidates RIGHT NOW?”

        Take one last shot at trying to salvage the situation here, see if they will agree to a Zoom. If no, then just say you ‘d like to leave the door open for future opportunities. Even if you don’t feel that way, it probably would be a soft way to land this problem.

      2. Momma Bear*

        There are also a lot of state by state restrictions. Would you have to quarantine while you wait for a job offer? Would you need COVID tests (probably a good idea)? Would it impact things like going to the doctor? I know someone who traveled out of state for an outdoor event (East Coast states are all on top of each other so it’s common) but the doctor’s office freaked out when they found out this person had been away even for a day within the last two weeks. If you would, say, help your grandma at the dentist, that would be another reason to avoid this in-person business. Even in non-pandemic times, that kind of travel is no small matter. I’d pass on this. I think it is very important to remember that you are also evaluating them and this isn’t points in their favor.

        1. JustaTech*

          Yes about state restrictions.
          We recently had a member of the C-suite, and the head of our site, quit. Normally the CEO would hop on a plane to visit and shore up the site, but as he said in our WebEx, he’d have to quarantine for 14 days on either end (our state and his), so video conference would have to do.

    2. Retail Not Retail*

      I got a call about a job I applied for that’s 12 hours away and they asked if I would be available for an inperson interview next week. I asked if we could do phone or video and they said they’d get back to me.

      It’s not a high up job, so I feel this will be a ding but an in person interview in FLORIDA? And cases in my region are skyrocketing? Yes it’s an in person job, but no. Not for an interview!

    3. Blackcat*


      “Does this company care about the health and wellbeing of it’s employees?” is an important answer to get during the interview process. But it’s often hard to suss out.
      Fortunately, they’ve already told you! The answer is no!

    4. EPLawyer*


      LW 2 — you are already seeing red flags. During the interview stage when everyone is on their best behavior. Can you imagine what it is like to actually work there? This place has toxic dump site written all over it.

      I know jobs in your field are hard to find right now. But taking a bad job won’t help you career wise either. You take the job despite all your misgivings only to find out you can’t stand how toxic it is and you leave after 2 months. Then what? Or you stick it out and now your ideas of normal are warped.

      Presuming your are currently employed, I would not take this job. I would not take this job unless I were absolutely desperate and running out of savings.

      Red flags do not go away after accepting a job.

      1. LW #2*

        OP here – I’m glad to see these responses. I didn’t want to make my email too long, but I got some vibes about the workplace culture during my last interview that also rubbed me the wrong way. I also made it clear that I would be returning to live with my parents – one of whom is almost 80 – when they want me to come for the interview, and that didn’t seem to deter them from the in-person interview!

        I think I will give them one last chance by asking if we can switch it to a virtual interview, but if not, I’ll remove myself from the process.

        1. Geek*

          Unfortunately, I think this is the case of you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

          You mentioned most similar non-profits are shutting down or laying off staff. This non-profit is staying open during a pandemic.

          This may be more than just a passing coincidence. If they are requiring their staff ignore sensible precautions, they might be more better equipped to stay open and hire people during a pandemic than their counterparts.

    5. Smithy*

      For nonprofits – one issue that has become painfully clear across many organizations is the impact of how money has (or has not) been invested into tech. This can mean that some work streams – can be incredibly slow to do at home, but far quicker in the office.

      Unfortunately, I think it has also led to some more outdated thinking around remote work and the importance of meeting people in person.

      During for the pandemic I interviewed entirely remotely for a 100% remote nonprofit role, that pre-pandemic would have been hired with the mindset of regularly being in the HQ office. I do happen to live in a city where there’s a satellite office, and as I’ve met more people – I get a lot of “when we’re all back in satellite office”. During one such call, I mentioned not knowing if I’d even have a permanent space in the satellite office and likely would just occasionally hot desk as I’m part of an HQ-centric team. While she didn’t respond negatively to what I said, it was still a slow “oh right, that makes sense.”

      Working for a nonprofit that has not robustly invested in tech is certainly it’s own cadre of red flags. But also red flags that many in our industry do choose to adapt to. Therefore, while this request for the unwise in-person pandemic interview is a red flag… may be worth exploring more deeply exactly what kind.

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

      Agreed. I’m trying to come up with a reason why, if they don’t pay travel expenses, the company is requiring on-site interview even in a non-pandemic time and I would only think it’s important if there is something necessary about a tour of the facilities so the interviewee understands what their physical resources/requirements are going to be, but that wouldn’t usually apply for a typical office job.

      One thought though is that if the OP is going to be moving to a new state for this job, a pandemic is a terrible time to be moving too, but THEY might want to visit the place before committing to the job. Unless they are already very familiar with the new city/state, what if they hate the location?

  4. Fae Kamen*

    Alison, in the last question, it sounds like you’re referring to an in-person interview (where she would “bring” a copy of the resume to “hand to” someone) but given that most interviews shouldn’t be in person right now (as raised in the first question!), how would you handle this virtually?

      1. Rebecca the Job Coach*

        Hi! LW4 here. Yep it’s a phone interview so I’ll recommend she send it over email beforehand. I appreciate the language you crafted to put in the email, too. Thank you

  5. RandomNameGenerator*

    For LW1, are you basing your assumption that she doesn’t celebrate Christmas based on the fact she celebrated Diwali? I have lots of Hindu family members that celebrate Christmas, not to mention agnostic and atheist friends who do it for the tradition!
    The bigger thing is def the distance as Alison says and the fact that she is not inclusive in her party planning!

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, same here. My office’s December celebrations are definitely Christmassy, but the big party with drinks is secular. We basically eat traditional Christmas food, and otherwise Christmas isn’t really mentioned. Because I work for the government in a country with two Christian state churches (Lutheran and Russian Orthodox) religion is not banned from our celebrations. So the week before Christmas Eve, there’s also a Christmas carol singing event. It’s the week before, because so many take a few days off before Christmas to travel, at least in non-pandemic times. Many people enjoy this even if they’re non-believers. In recent years it’s been on the same day as my son’s end-of-year celebration at school, so I’ve skipped it. But I’ve really enjoyed it before. Just because someone’s a non-believer doesn’t necessarily mean that they find religious celebrations offensive, although I do see that in many cases it’s problematic if an employer is seen to endorse one religious tradition over another, or none.

      But yeah, it does seem odd that someone would want to arrange a party on another continent…

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Came here to say this! I am a Christian who observes Ramadan on occasion with my Muslim family and they love to come to my Christmas dinner which includes Bible and Qur’an readings (Jesus is in both). OP should not assume.

    2. kittymommy*

      So glad I’m not the only one who thought of this. While Christmas is a religious holiday for a lot of people, just as many celebrate as a secular holiday, regardless of their personal religion.

      1. Anononon*

        I just wanted to add here (not necessarily disagreeing with you) that also many non-Christians don’t celebrate or do anything for Christmas, secular or not. As a Jew, I’ll always view Christmas as a religious holiday that I really have no involvement with (beyond what American culture has forced into our daily lives).

          1. Firecat*

            You didn’t. You made it clear that there are people on both sides. Those who view it as religious and those who don’t.

            The “not religious” crowd is growing in the US and some folks who do and don’t celebrate Christmas feel their experiences are being minimized by the secular celebrators.

            1. Mookie*

              We also have to take into account the disingenuous elements claiming “not religious” when really what they’re arguing is a default, invisible, nationalistic state Christianity that is under attack anytime someone says boo. Cf politicizing greetings.

    3. JSPA*

      The extended family from Kerala includes Christian (but Hindu cultural heritage) and Hindu (plus Free Thinkers, in-law Muslims, at least one Zoroastrian, a Jain, etc). Many of them absolutely celebrate both Christmas (or Eid) and Diwali.

      I don’t think it’s only because the vast majority of them have an overall, “One Divine, many expressions of Divinity” attitude (though, that too), as it looks like both holidays are enthusiastically celebrated, locally.

      It’s cultural appropriation for people to throw colored powder at each other because, “oh I saw it on youtube and it looks like fun.” Not so much, when you’ve been steeped in the culture and process for a few thousand years, and it’s part of your heritage.

      Reminder: as for everyone throwing a Christmas party at work, but especially if someone comes from a country when (until very recently) many people were comfortable sharing in and appreciating the religion and rituals of their neighbors, going through the “Christmas is not a default” boilerplate is appropriate.

    4. ThatGirl*

      Our neighbors on one side are Indian and they put up lights for Diwali and light them for a couple nights, then leave them up and turn them back on at the start of December. I do not know if they’re Hindu specifically, but I find it pretty delightful.

  6. RoseDark*

    LW1: Why do you think someone organizing a Christmas party is “not being inclusive of our coworkers who may celebrate other holidays in December?” if it’s a general thing that people who celebrate holidays organize a party for that holiday? Like, are you saying that if your team organized the party it would be okay, but because she’s doing it there’s suddenly an inclusivity concern? Because lemme tell you, people who feel excluded by Christmas parties are gonna feel excluded by Christmas parties no matter who organizes them. Or are you bothered that someone gets to plan two holidays and your group doesn’t get to plan any? (..ahem.. welcome to how any minority group feels about their holidays!) I think figuring out what part of this is bothering you is key to figuring out why you’re reacting this way.

    And re: the point about “holiday parties”, yeah no, it’s a Christmas party wearing one of those glasses-and-mustache “disguises”. Chanukah gets mentioned because Christianity likes to make itself feel good about its quasi-Jewish roots, but I guarantee that 99.9% of holiday parties fail to even briefly consider Yule, much less mention or include it.

      1. JSPA*

        Have you got anything without [christmas]?

        Well, there’s [christmas] egg sausage and [christmas], that’s not got much [christmas] in it.

        Wife: I don’t want ANY [christmas]!

        Man: Why can’t she have egg bacon [christmas] and sausage?

        Wife: THAT’S got [christmas] in it!

        Man: Hasn’t got as much [christmas] in it as [christmas] egg sausage and [christmas], has it?

    1. Snow Globe*

      I think that comment referred to the fact that the same coworker would be planning a Diwali party and a Christmas party, but no other parties. It sort of comes across like she’s the official party planner, but only planning for these two holidays.

      1. Firecat*

        I thought the point was that op explicitly mentioned that the planner excluded people in her Diwali celebration which is not in line with the culture OP described – where all holidays are acknowledged in the global company. That’s where I read in the concern. TBH I’m not sure this glomping on about “planning a party for a different location” is much of an issue in a global company. It could be but it could just as easily not be depending on their norms.

    2. Blackcat*

      “the point about “holiday parties”, yeah no, it’s a Christmas party wearing one of those glasses-and-mustache “disguises”.”

      Having worked in multiple physics departments, I am a huge fan of Newton’s Birthday parties. While there are some traditional Christmas foods, the decor leans “intro physics demonstrations” and the activities to things like Jenga.

      I have also seen “holiday” parties that are straight up New Year’s parties without a whiff of Christmas. But my old workplace that did this did it in January. I think folks liked it–one fewer obligation in December–and it was cheaper for the company.

      That might not be the norm, but I do think there are ways to do year end holiday parties that are

      1. Hazel*

        At my last job, we had a fancy winter party at the end of January. I appreciated that they did NOT associate it with Christmas.

        1. Antilles*

          My current company does that too. Honestly, even as someone who *does* celebrate Christmas, I still prefer it just because December is always so packed out with family stuff, parties with friends, Christmas shopping, blah blah blah.
          Plus from a company perspective, there’s just so many people on vacation in December that it’s a lot easier to get good attendance in January rather than mid-December.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        Wasn’t Newton’s birthday in early January, not December? Either way I love an offbeat party theme, a Newton’s Birthday party sounds like a good time.

        1. metadata minion*

          I was curious and just looked it up and delightfully, you’re both right! He was born on December 25, 1642, *going by the Julian calendar in use at the time*. Adjusted account for the switch to the Gegorian calendar, he was born on January 4, 1643.

          I’ve seen a lot of science-oriented folks do Newton’s Birthday Party type winter holiday celebrations since it’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek getting rid of the Christmas association without being explicitly anti-Christmas.

          For the last few years my workplace has done our party in early January, since I work at a university and in late December we’re all wiped out from dealing with the finals-period rush and lots of people have assorted holiday stuff going on in their personal lives already. But by January things have slowed down and it’s a nice way to pause before ramping up for beginning-of-semester stuff.

    3. HannahS*

      It is absolutely not the case that Chanukah is mentioned because Christians “like to make themselves feel good about their quasi-Jewish roots.” That’s a pretty ignorant statement.

      1. JSPA*

        It absolutely is the case that Chanukah is played up, hugely out of proportion to its historical importance in the cycle of Jewish holidays, as cover for holding our civil winter breaks and celebrations in concert with one of the two major Christian holy days.

        Easter less so, in that the last supper either was a Passover Seder (which is a major Jewish holy day) or was a day before / preparation for passover…so there’s commonly overlap (despite the complexities of the lunar calendar).

        In terms of historical importance and religious importance and ritual requirement, the big ones are Passover, the 10 days bookended by Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; the week of Sukkot; and Purim (and there are others that have detailed, described duties and restrictions for those who observe them).

        If you’re doing something for people’s religious traditions and celebrations at work (which is intrinsically awkward, IMO) I suppose there’s some reason to pick a holiday that’s celebratory, and not extremely long on ritual. (And not as drunkenly celebratory as some Jewish traditions feel Purim ideally should be.) But “Chanukah is like Christmas for the Jews” (or even, “we get a week of presents, you only get one day”) is absolutely a false equivalence / weird cultural artifact. One born of the presumably well-intended yet endlessly half-assed American idea that inclusivity means “learning about your culture or religion for ten minutes, and putting something from your holiday at a party structured around our holiday.”

        1. LTL*

          Yeah, cultural Christians make well-intentioned, but strange, attempts at being inclusive sometimes. When I was a kid, I also came across a few awkward attempts to bring in Ramadan around Christmas time when it was time to learn about everyone’s holidays (also strange because Ramadan is not a holiday). But you can tell that the reason that holidays are coming up at all is because it’s Christmas time. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas time, but the inclusion efforts don’t play out too well.)

          1. Quill*

            But… Ramadan MOVES around the western calendar…

            (So does Easter but somehow we adjust holiday expectations for that quite easily in the states…)

            1. Librarian1*

              Easter doesn’t move anywhere near as much as Ramadan though. And Hanukkah moves around too.

      2. Observer*

        Come on, you know better than that. Chanuka is NOT the Jewish equivalent of Christmas, nor is it a major holiday. I know that you are well aware of that.

        The reason that Chanukah gets mentioned in this context has nothing to do with that holiday and everything to do with the people who organize the Christmas celebrations.

        1. LTL*

          I’m not sure if HannahS is trying to say that Hanukah is equivalent to Christmas. I agree with her that “like to make themselves feel good about their quasi-Jewish roots” is pretty presumptuous and also untrue. It’s true that Hanukah is overplayed by Christians who are basically establishing that *their* holiday time (Christmas) is THE holiday time, which obviously is problematic.

          But I don’t think that it has anything to do with Christians playing up their “quasi-Jewish roots.”

          1. Tía Teapot*

            Depends on which christians. Certain evangelical denominations (or non-denominational churches) absolutely do appropriate jewish holidays/celebrations as a way to try to connect with their religions early roots (although the traditions etc they appropriate almost always post-date the establishment of christianity as its own thing, sometimes by a whole lot). It’s not universal, but someone who lives in an area where that’s the dominant christian (and therefore dominant cultural) paradigm might IMO be excused for their reactions.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I feel like there must be context that I’m missing here otherwise this whole thing reads so weird.

      In a society where Christmas is pretty regularly forced onto people who don’t celebrate it, this gatekeeping of Christmas is certainly a different take. Not better, just different.

    5. Natalie*

      Chanukah gets mentioned because Christianity likes to make itself feel good about its quasi-Jewish roots, but I guarantee that 99.9% of holiday parties fail to even briefly consider Yule, much less mention or include it.

      This would be an interesting explanation but it’s just not historically accurate. At least in the US, Hanukkah became a bigger celebration than it had typically been as part of the assimilation/cultural preservation tension within Jewish immigrant communities at the turn of the last century. Over decades, as commonly happens, it became a touchstone within the dominant Christian culture way out of proportion to its significance within Judaism.

      Yule doesn’t occupy a similar position simply because neo-pagans are a very small and not especially cohesive religious minority.

      1. JSPA*

        Thanks, yes! I was assuming something virtual (in which case, there’s no reason it can’t be organized from anywhere).

  7. workit*

    For LWI, I would talk to the team and discuss how celebrations should be planned moving forward—and to be inclusive of everyone. If the team had a history of arranging office parties a certain way, one person shouldn’t jump in and change it without talking to the others first.

  8. KR*

    As to Hanukkah being a “minor Jewish holiday”;
    While its indeed not one of the 3 major holidays in Judaism , it is not considered a minor one at all ( we do have a couple of those as well :)) and is in fact widely celebrated in offices and companies in Israel (where I live) and not, say, only mentioned in schools.

    From what I understand about the US culture though, neither Hanukkah nor Kwanzaa nor Ramadan /Eid El Fiter are the actual reason for celebrations come December , but have been included for inclusivity sake :)

    1. beth k*

      Our rabbi was just talking to us about this. Chanukah is categorized as a minor festival. I’ve read similar from other rabbinical sources. Maybe that’s specific to American Jews, I don’t know.

      1. Vulpini*

        So here’s my gripe with this wording. Yes, it’s a minor festival religiously. Is it minor culturally though? How many secular Jews go all out for Hanukkah versus actually building a sukkah or doing a full fast on Yom Kippur? How many religious American Jews make a bigger deal of Hanukkah in their homes than say Tu B’Shvat? I’d say culturally it’s quite important, at least to American Jews, and genuine efforts by non-Jews to be inclusive in December celebrations are appreciated by many of us. It’s not so minor that it’s not worth trying to include.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          The main issue, though, is that because Chanukah is given so much weight (mostly because of where it falls on the calendar), NON-Jews make a huge deal of it and get the impression that it’s a major holiday. It’s not about how much or how Jewish people celebrate it, it’s how much secular weight is put on this minor holiday simply because of where it falls. Many non-Jews don’t realize that Passover is a Really Big Deal because the only holiday they know anything about is Chanukah. And the reason they know about it is because it falls near Christmas, there are gifts, and generations of Jewish schoolchildren (like myself) have been told, “Oh, you have a winter holiday too! Let’s sing your songs!”

          1. Vulpini*

            True. But what is the solution to that? For non-Jews to widely learn about and acknowledge/celebrate Passover around Easter time and have HHD displays in retail stores and offices? Nice but very unlikely to happen. For them to ignore Hanukkah and not include it at all in December “holiday” celebrations? Some Jews would prefer that, as they see it as fake inclusivity, and some would be sad to lose what little public acknowledgement of their culture there is. For me, it’s preferable to have that dreidel tacked on to a “holiday” window display during a month where every stranger asks my kid if they’re excited for Santa than to have their non-Jewish teachers tell them “I was told Hanukkah is a minor holiday, so we don’t need to make a big deal about adding something from Hanukkah to our Christmas pageant”. I know it’s annoying to have that fake tacked-on “inclusivity”, but I still prefer it to having nothing at all. Hanukkah is a major cultural holiday (even if that came about as a result of competing with Christmas, that’s where we are now) and I don’t think that telling non-Jews that it’s religiously minor without further explanation or teaching them what the major holidays are accomplishes anything positive.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              Why not have days off and celebrate all of the high holy days for all the major religions in your area? A couple of extra holidays are not a big deal

              1. Vulpini*

                My company is very sti by with holidays – we only get December 25th and January 1st off, not even the eves, much less days for other cultural holidays. We get 3 floating holidays to use as we chose, and I always use one of mine for Yom Kippur and the other two to cover school closures for bank holidays. Cultural celebrations are welcome but up to volunteers from that culture to advocate for, plan, and execute (we’ve had company-wide Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Black History Month celebrations so far and a department-wide Eid).

                1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

                  A few places I have worked gave Eid al-Fitir, Eid al-Adha, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, Holi, Orthodox Christmas, Western Christmas, and New Year off. They basically swapped out things like Thanksgiving, 4th of July, etc. for the major religious holidays. You were also able to pick a weekend (Th-F, F-Sat, Sat-Sun, Sun-Mon were most popular) since we were open 7 days a week. I liked it since it felt equitable since most of these places had 3-5 of each religion on staff so picking one or two sets of religious holidays didn’t seem fair.

            2. AvonLady Barksdale*

              I don’t think it’s an all or nothing, and I don’t actually disagree with you, we’re just talking about slightly different things. Yes, I think kids should sing Chanukah songs in school, but when it’s done with the tone of, “This is Jewish Christmas”, or, “This is what Jewish people celebrate while we’re celebrating Christmas,” that bothers me. Why not tell the story, which is a really, really cool story? If the Christmas pageant includes a section about the Maccabees, I’m all for it. It’s not about dismissing Chanukah completely because it’s a minor holiday, it’s about treating it as its own entity rather than lumping it with Christmas just because of timing, and about not pretending it’s a majorly important holiday rather than a commemorative festival. Like a Christmas concert with a token dreidel song. Thank you, choir director, for my bone. (And, for the record, I am a lifelong chorister, and that kind of tokenism goes well beyond elementary school, and I have seen inclusion done well and I have seen it done horribly and I have seen a Christmas concert actually be a Christmas concert without the token, which is very nice.)

              Here’s why it rankles: I am often asked if I’m going home for Chanukah, or what I’m doing for Chanukah, or if I want a day off (!) for Chanukah, and when I reply, “No, staying home, not doing much, it’s fun but not a big holiday,” I get very weird responses. Because people think it has the same importance as Christmas and it just doesn’t.

              1. Anononon*

                Yeah, in my family at least, Hanukkah is a holiday mostly for the kids, and once the kids are adults, it’s much less of a to-do.

              2. Sparrow*

                Ugh, the Christmas concert with token dreidel song. At least pick a decent Chanukah song! There are a zillion great choral pieces for Chanukah! Why use a silly kids’ song that makes Judaism look ridiculous by comparison to the nice Christmas music? I am a Jewish musician and this bothers me so much.

            3. Smithy*

              While I understand the inclusivity perspective for children and educational contexts – I think where this gets really irritating is when we start talking about work.

              When scheduling critical conferences, meetings, etc. for work – there can be a thing of “gee – this was the only day that we could find that would work for most people.” And where that becomes an issue is not being aware of what it would mean to schedule a work meeting on Yom Kippur vs the middle of Sukkot vs a night of Hanukah vs Shabbat. Now take into consideration what that means when also including the Hindi calendar, the Muslim calendar, state calendars where companies operate – it then often falls to staff of those religions to make sure to articulate what is inclusive.

              I recently had a friend ask me what it would mean to fly on X day of Chanukah in terms of “holiday traffic” – and my immediate response was to say “Chanukah isn’t important, no one flies for Chanukah.” Was it said harshly and a touch rudely – yes. But it comes from a place of frustration where people see themselves as working to understand your holidays, but only as much as it translates to their own.

          2. pleaset cheap rolls*

            Yeah. And I’ll add, I’m a non-Jew is a place with a lot of Jewish people (NYC), and am aware Hanukkah is sort of “hyped” due to proximity to Christmas, esp to kids and in secular schools.

            I was under the impression that Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshannah (and related holidays around them) are actually bigger deals. Maybe I’m missing some others. Hanukkah is not as important.

            1. PT*

              There’s a difference between a holiday that’s a significant religious observance, and a holiday that’s celebrated through parties, though. Religious observances can be celebrated through reflection and prayer, which tends to be private. But party holidays tend to be public.

              1. Observer*

                I can’t speak to other religions, but that’s not how it works in Judaism. Religious holidays in Judaism are quite public. Families often go to great lengths to come together for the holidays. Both to pray together and to celebrate (and eat!) together.

                Even Yom Kippur, which is a fast day, (and definitely no parties!) is a day that is preferably celebrated (in the religious sense) with community.

      2. Sparrow*

        It’s not specific to American Jews. Chanukah is “minor” because its observance comes entirely from rabbinic sources, and rabbinic literature makes a hierarchical distinction between laws and practices that come from the Torah and those that are rabbinic in origin. The only holidays mentioned in the Torah are Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot/Shemini Atzeret, Passover, Shavuot, and Shabbat. Consequently, all of those holidays are more religiously significant than rabbinic holidays like Chanukah and Purim.

    2. RoseDark*

      Alison said the words “I’ll tell you as a Jew” which means you’re explaining Judaism.. to a Jew. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she knows of what she speaks.

      1. TechWorker*

        From KRs wording I’m going to assume they are also Jewish and that (shock horror) there could be disagreement on the subject even amongst Jewish people… :)

        1. RoseDark*

          Oh yeah. I believe there is in fact a joke about that: How do you get 10 opinions? Ask 9 rabbis.

          But, from KR’s wording it also sounded like they thought they were correcting a misconception and not sharing another perspective. The kind of thing I would expect to begin with “well, actually…” I mean, Alison said “[Hannukah] is a minor Jewish holiday” and KR responded with “it’s not considered a minor one at all” which sounds way more like a correction of fact than a caveat of opinion.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            I think KR’s just explaining what they celebrate in Israel? I think how they celebrate it in Israel is a pretty valid point to raise if you’re going to discuss how “major” a Jewish holiday is.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              I disagree with that, mostly because we’re talking about Jewish life outside of Israel and Israel is undeniably a special case. Jewish holidays get celebrated much more widely in Israel and with much more familiarity… because it’s Israel. They know what Simchat Torah is. And if you keep kosher, no problem finding something to eat. The country basically shuts down on Yom Kippur the way the US shuts down on Christmas.

              In the US, at least, it’s a far different experience. The way they celebrate holidays in Israel is not at all a good indication of how celebrations work here. Here, I have to take PTO or rearrange my schedule if I want to celebrate Simchat Torah, and then I have to spend time explaining to people what it is, what we do, why it’s important, etc. Here, people schedule meetings on Yom Kippur and have to be reminded what it is. In Israel, that probably happens, but not nearly as frequently. Jewish life in Israel is not the end-all be-all of Jewish practice or experience.

            2. Observer*

              What AvonLad Barksdale said is true.

              Additionally and related to that, is the fact that as widely celebrated as Chanukah is, it is widely celebrated as a fun and historical holiday, not as a major one. I would SHOCKED (seriously) if someone “accidentally” scheduled a meeting on Yom Kippur (and it would almost certainly not be accidental.) The public celebrations of the other holidays are waaay more public and much larger than what is typically done for Chanukah.

          2. Phony Genius*

            Speaking of rabbis’ opinions, I heard one explain it this way: it does not have the importance of other Jewish holidays, especially when compared to Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, or Passover. However, in the U.S., Americans do everything bigger. And he feels that if you’re an American Jew, it’s OK to make Hanukkah bigger here than it is elsewhere in the world. So he has no problem with people who go all out and make it as big a deal as Christmas.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        As a nonpracticing Jew, I am always open to hearing the perspective of someone living in Israel (such as KR)

        Hanukkah is a holiday I make an effort to observe, because it is an excuse to eat latkes, which I love and have fond childhood memories of :)

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            This is wrong. The correct answer is that EVERY holiday has the best food, even Passover, someone else can fight me. And even Yom Kippur, because nothing tastes better than a break-fast bagel.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      “Widely celebrated” does not mean it’s a major holiday. Purim is also widely celebrated but isn’t given the same global weight as Chanukah… because it’s not in December.

      1. UKDancer*

        One of the things I miss most about not being in the office was missing Purim. One of my colleagues always made Hamantaschen and brought them in and they were so good.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I used to bring in hamantaschen every year and EVERY YEAR I got, “What ARE these?,” “Oh… they’re… cookies?”, and my favorite, “Are there carbs in these?”

          Thank you for remembering that hamantaschen and Purim go together. :) (Incidentally, so does booze, but we don’t publicize that part as much.)

          1. Vulpini*

            Lol! I brought them in and got the same questions. :) A couple coworkers remembered them as “those triangle cookies” and we’re excited when “that holiday… what’s not called again?” came around. :)

          2. UKDancer*

            They’re just so good. My colleague has his grandmother’s family recipe for Hamantaschen and they’re amazing especially the poppy seed ones.

            I always liked Esther in the bible because it was one of the few stories we did in Sunday school about women actually making things happen, so the combination of woman doing stuff and yummy biscuits means I always remember Purim.

      2. Not playing your game anymore*

        Understandable. St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated, but it’s not a major religious holiday. And then there’s Halloween. Both are culturally significant to large portions of the populous, but not a big deal in any church that I’ve encountered… Ash Wednesday on the other hand is important to believers and passes quite unnoticed by those of us who aren’t observant.

        1. introverted af*

          All Saints Day (aka All Hallows, where we get the name Halloween from because its All Hallows Eve) is one of the very few remaining days of obligation in the Catholic Church where you are required to attend Mass. Obviously Protestant churches have a very different relationship to it overall but it is a little bit of a big deal for us, although I believe you when you say you haven’t experienced it as a big deal in churches around you.

          St. Patrick’s Day is a great example though!

      3. Crackerjack*

        Well, for that matter, Christmas is not the most important Christian holiday. I’m not arguing it’s minor, but Easter is certainly more important IMO. But Christmas is the one that’s been elevated culturally, in the West, to be such a massive deal. Why? Because of Saturnalia? Pagans having the last laugh I suppose.

    4. Threeve*

      Our holiday being raised up because of Christmas celebrations during Christmas season for “inclusivity” doesn’t feel great, for many Jews in the US. I would prefer to call a spade a spade and call celebrating Christmas “celebrating Christmas.”

      It’s like being invited by your friends to a gathering at a steakhouse when you’re vegan; you’re on the list because they would feel slightly bad if you weren’t, but they’re not making any actual effort to make sure you want to come. Inviting you is enough for them to feel okay with themselves; they may even sulk a little if you don’t show up to pay $40 to quietly eat terrible salad and pretend to be fine with it.

      1. tiny cactus*

        Yeah, as Alison says, it’s generally pretty obvious when a “holiday party” is a Christmas party with the serial numbers filed off.

    5. Beth*

      Just a note here: Ramadan, and Eid al-Fitr, follow a lunar calendar, so the dates recess year by year. Ramadan currently happens in the spring. It will be a decade before any part of Ramadan happens in December.

      1. Natalie*

        Yes, this was sort of interesting in my area when I was growing up – we have a large Somalian population, so there were a few years when institutions were trying to mash in “Ramadan” with Christmas, New Years and oh hey also Hanukkah. (Quotes because I rather doubt any of them knew what Ramadan was.) It came across rather badly given that Ramadan is a) not one day, b) not the celebration part, and c) always moving.

    6. Observer*

      Please. Sure, it’s widely celebrated in offices etc. in Israel – which is a sign of its minor status! Because the major holidays get a lot more than office parties and donuts. No one shuts down for Chanukah, but pretty much everything DOES shut down for the major holidays. And the sheer presence of the “majors” for days or even weeks before the holiday is just not comparable to Chanukah.

  9. Fancy Owl*

    Since they mentioned Diwali, I think LW 1 might be thinking, “As someone who doesn’t celebrate Diwali I wouldn’t dream of planning a Diwali party for people who celebrate it, ergo it should therefore also be weird for a non-Christian to set up a Christmas party”. But the thing is, office holiday parties aren’t celebrating Christmas in a religious sense, they aren’t religious events. By which I mean, Christmas is definitely tied to Christianity, I’m not trying to say it isn’t a Christan holiday but Christmas imagery and celebrations have become so dominant that I don’t think you can claim its cultural appropriation or similar for non-Christians to throw Christmas parties. As Allison said, the weird thing isn’t that she might not celebrate Christmas, it’s that she’s halfway around the world from where the party is being held.

    1. WS*

      +1, I’m an atheist but perfectly capable of planning a Christmas party, which I call an “end of year party” but nobody pays attention to that. I don’t plan it from another continent, though!

      1. JustaTech*

        One of these years I’ll convince the rest of the social committee that we should always have our party be a New Year’s party because it’s so much cheaper to get a location and catering in January than in December. And then we can completely sidestep the whole religious holiday thing.
        (Though last year’s party did do a lovely job of just being “winter” themed with these cool artificial birch trees and a silver and white and blue color scheme.)

    2. Washi*

      Yeah, I defnitely will not try to argue that “holiday” parties are not heavily influenced by Christmas/Christianity. That said, I work for a Jewish organization where the majority of employees are Jewish…and we have a December holiday party every year, including a secret snowflake gift exchange. Though I guess it does differ from some other holiday parties in that it doesn’t attempt to shoehorn Christmas or Hannukah or any holiday in there, so it’s kind of a holiday-less holiday party :)

      I think for a lot of people, this type of celebration has just come to feel like part of the rhythm of the year and what religion you are does not influence your ability to identify and organize the key components of “holiday party.”

      1. UKDancer*

        Definitely. I mean our Christmas party involves a vote on who has the best Christmas jumper, a secret santa, a meal at a suitable venue (venue selected by a vote by the team) then some people adjourning to the pub.

        None of this requires a detailed theological knowledge of Christianity. It just requires you to be able to keep count of who is participating in which bits (as not everyone does the secret santa and some people don’t go to the pub). So it’s usually someone who likes spreadsheets and has good organisational skills and an ability to corral people to get us to the restaurant on time.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah, the distance was the weirdest part to me. I think, especially with Covid surging right now, either canceling or planning locally so you don’t miss a new restriction is the best way to go.

      Personally – I vote for skipping. Instead of an office party this year my job (they are spacing us out in the office, but we are physically in the office) has been sending out short winter themed brain breaks every day. It feels like a nice compromise.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I know. The words “book” a holiday party made me think this person is planning an in person party. Which from half a world away may not realize that there are different restrictions on gatherings where she is planning the party to be versus where she is planning from.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Same here. Any other year I don’t think this would be a problem – this year I think it’s a major problem. In person just has so many potential Covid issues this year.

      2. Chinook*

        But if they are an international office, I could see them doing an on-line office party. I know that my totally remote company is doing that and, short of a video call on Christmas to family, it will be the only winter holiday thing with people other than my husband and mother-in-law I will be doing all year (especially since Christmas religious services may very well be cancelled and, at the very least are extremely limited in number).

        On-line parties may not be ideal for some, but for others it is all we get.

    4. Elenna*

      Yes, this is basically what I was thinking – I’d be confused if, say, a Christian offered to plan a Diwali party, because I would worry that they wouldn’t know the meaning of the holiday, appropriate traditions, etc. But a non-Christian offering to plan a Christmas party seems fine to me, because Christmas is so prevalent in the culture that I assume everyone has some idea of Christmas traditions even if they don’t celebrate it themselves. (Especially since an office Christmas party should be pretty secular anyways!)

      (I’m agnostic, if that matters)

    5. Chinook*

      Can I also add that it would be very weird and even patronizing that every other culture gets their holidays acknowledged but Christmas is treated as “the holiday we dare not speak the name of.” If we can celebrate everyone else’s, why can’t there just be a Christmas party which gets the same emphasis, budget and effort as everyone else’s? And then, if someone who celebrates Christmas wants plan it, then let them without prejudging them based on which other holidays they previously celebrated.

      1. Chinook*

        And for Christians this year, this type of thing would be doubly meaningful as many of us are looking at missing out entirely in our religious services for the major holy days for us as COVID hit at Easter and it was celebrated publicly no where in the world and now, because of the latest surge, our Christmas services may also be cancelled (it already has in parts of Canada). We may be more sympathetic in the future as we have watched other religions and cultures celebrate due to the timing of the lulls while we have been asked to stay at home because of the timing of surges. It is hard to explain to non-religious types, but it would be similair to asking a marathon runner to stop going for daily runs while seeing others go jogging. You know it isn’t personal at it is not being done AT you, but it still tears at a part of your soul and identity.

        1. Tía Teapot*

          Jews this year celebrated all of our major holidays alone at home or over zoom, going back to Passover (the big family-get-together holiday) in April right at the beginning of things (actually, for some, Purim in early March), continuing to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the most important show-up-at-temple (and also often family get together holidays) in September, and a bunch of others. Ramadan this year was in April. Diwali was in November. Which isn’t to say that it’s not hard for Christians (and everyone else, I’ve obviously missed some) to do the same thing, but it’s not unique or novel.

          1. SimplyTheBest*

            Yep, the temple I work at shut down the day before Purim. Had to cancel our carnival and deal with a lot of angry parents who told us we were overreacting. Wonder if they still think that….

        2. Roci*

          What? I think most religions have suffered this year by having major holiday services cancelled or moved online or changed. Even secular holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving and so on have been cancelled or moved online or changed. Christians don’t have a weird special monopoly on being affected by COVID. We all have “stopped going for daily runs”, we all are missing our families, we all understand this, and it’s weirdly condescending to assume non-Christians don’t.

  10. a sound engineer*

    What stood out more to me in #1 wasn’t that the coworker who wants to plan the party doesn’t necessarily celebrate the holidays, it was that the coworker who wants to plan the party is apparently on the other side of the world? What?!
    (Although good for the coworker I guess? Trying to plan a party on the other side of the globe sounds really stressful to me haha)

    1. library library*

      I agree with the distance part making it difficult. My parents tried to organize my wedding years ago from halfway across Texas. They looked up restaurants and venues by internet ratings. They decided on a fancy restaurant that had many five star reviews but locally had a bad rap. Folks I knew thought that the restaurant must have planted positive reviews to attract diners. Some things need local input, jmo.

  11. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    I would NOT assume that someone who celebrates Diwali does not also celebrate Christmas…
    Also – party planning is a specific (and very in demand) skill, not a religious experience. I’m atheist, but can plan a bangin’ Xmas party!

    1. Firecat*

      I don’t see where OP assumes that? When the OP brought up Diwali it was with the context that she excluded people in a culture where everyone celebrates.

      OP does say it’s usually planned by those who celebrate it – which I read more as a location based and not individual based. Are their Christian’s in India? Yep! Is Christmas a national holiday in India? No (but it is a bank holiday).

      To me this would be like, if Americans tried to plan the st. Patrick’s day holiday for the company when it’s clearly a more major holiday in Ireland. Even though both countries have them in their calendar, it’s unusual to get time off for st. Patrick’s in the US. It wouldn’t jive with a culture that celebrates together.

      1. Firecat*

        NVM I missed the line that says “I wouldn’t presume to plan a holiday I do not celebrate”

        I thought folks were reading it from the title – which OPs don’t write Alison does.

      2. Chinook*

        Yeah, but if the American was a) from Boston or B)a child of Irish immigrants, trust me when I say that they would know bow big a deal it is and would know better than to serve “green beer” or even Guinness.

  12. Yvette*

    Re #2: What would be considered “…a really compelling reason why…” other than “we want you to meet our staff and board,” because I can’t think of anything. ( I know that this comes across as snarky but I don’t mean it that way, maybe it’s the time of day where I am, 3:00 am, but I just can’t think of something.)

    1. Sue*

      Or maybe also, show you our facilities, introduce you to our community. If this includes a move, I think both sides would like to be sure you could see yourself fitting in to the job and the area.

      1. Yvette*

        Thank you! I didn’t think of it being about the LW making sure they were aware of and comfortable with the area. Some places look great from afar but when you see them up close, maybe not so much.

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          I’m not even sure that’s a great reason. Yes, you can see the office, but where I am it’d be a huge challenge to get to know the city since all of the bars, restaurants, music venus and sports facilities are closed due to the pandemic. Your options would be limited to going for walks and getting local takeout at your hotel. To my mind, that’s not particularly worth the risk.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            But you can still see that they’re *there*. I wouldn’t move to a new city without seeing it in person, even with pandemic closures. (I’d still expect an employer to offer this as an option, not make it a requirement.)

            1. serenity*

              This is all speculating, though. There’s no reference to a tour of facilities/the city/whatever in the letter. All we know is OP was invited to meet with some of their employees, something that in most all cases can absolutely be done virtually at this point.

            2. fhqwhgads*

              It sounded like LW was moving to that location to take care of their 80 year old mother. So presumably they have been there, ever? Or if not, at least have context from mom about what it’s like there. The interview with multiple people doesn’t need to happen there to ensure LW won’t move, hate it, and promptly move back.

      2. PT*

        If that’s the case, they should postpone hiring for this job until the pandemic is over, and appoint an internal interim.

    2. Grits McGee*

      When I did an Americorps year in rural Alabama, my host org strongly encouraged me to come visit before I took the position. They were in a truly remote area in a very small town, and they’d had a real issue with people taking jobs and then leaving after a couple months because they weren’t prepared for how isolated it was.

      If you would be working in an unusual environment, I could see there being a desire to make sure that candidates have an accurate understanding of what they’re getting in to.

      1. Ashley*

        I get this as well but I see this as something that should happen at the off stage during an pandemic. Plus I think the pandemic has taught a lot of people about what they need from where they live. It is amazing what I haven’t missed since this all started.

        1. Grits McGee*

          Sure, I think travel purely to interview is a bad idea in pandemic (esp if you can’t afford to pay for the candidate to travel), and even in a lot of other contexts. But in my case it was a really good idea to scope things out- it’s one thing to be told that there are 2 grocery stores in town, but I didn’t know until I visited in person that if I wanted a green vegetable that wasn’t iceberg lettuce, I was going to have to drive 30 minutes to the next town.

          1. JustaTech*

            This makes me thing of the truly awful job posting that went around Twitter a few weeks ago for a job at a game company in a microscopic town in Nevada where the nearest grocery store was 2 hours away. “In this town everyone knows everyone, but leaves everyone alone. Also, Friday night game night is mandatory.”
            Though in that case a quick look on Google maps would be enough info for most people.

    3. LQ*

      There could be a functional element of the interview that requires physical interaction with something. That would be very reasonable to expect someone to be in person.

  13. Lady Heather*

    LW2, a “middle ground” – if the org wants to do in-person and you want to do virtual – may be to suggest doing a first interview in person and only if you’re very excited about each other, meet in person.

    That way you’re not flying out for a job only to find out they really want someone who is familiar with Python, or to find out that their benefits are so awful you wouldn’t take the job on that basis alone.

    (But the org shouldn’t make you meet when there are alternative options, ugh.)

    1. RoseDark*

      Looks like this would be a third interview, though, so theoretically (theoretically!) they would already have covered those bases.

      (But they still shouldn’t make you meet when there are alternative options!)

  14. Water Dragon*

    LW2: If you’re feeling like you need to ask about red flags, they are usually red flags. These definitely are. They haven’t even hired you and they are already being cheap and callous about your health? They’ve done you an incredible favor by showing you who they are right off the bat.

    I know it’s a rough job market and it’s tempting to take the first offer when things are lean. But hang in there. You’ll find an awesome job working for someone who deserves your talents. These people are unworthy.

    1. John*

      Shouldn’t OP get all the details first? I’m on a nonprofit board and we recently hired a new executive director. In the finals, we did have in-person interviews for both finalists. But it was during the summer so we were able to identify a setting in which everyone was safe and comfortable.

      Many people (not me) feel strongly that they need to meet a person to get a full sense of them.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        We did the same thing on our board. We had the person come from 9 hours away for the interview. This was pre-Covid. We were concerned about their travel and their costs. But the person was willing to work with us. Friends also helped this person.

        One of our main reasons for asking them to come was so they could actually see that our job was the total opposite of the job they currently held. We are a tiny place- their place was HUGE. We had several employees, their place had hundreds of employees. Our operating budget matched the size of our place, and so on.

        They came and interviewed. In the end, I am not so sure people always “get it” even if it is in person. Viewing a place has very little to do with WANTING to change one’s mindset. For example, in the bigger place a different mindset was necessary and appropriate. Using that same mindset in a much smaller place can work against a person.

        But we were able to explain that our place was the exact opposite of their current employee and we wanted them to be keenly aware just how many differences there were, so they would make a fully informed decision. And we did walk the person all around and explain what was what.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Pre-Covid, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Sure its a distance. But if you are applying to a non-profit you know your travel might not be covered.

          During Covid, the Board should be willing to accept that in person interviews to get a “real” feel for person aren’t a good idea. That you just do the best you can to get that feel over Zoom because safety of everyone involved is more important.

      2. Blackcat*

        I’m in academia, where fly out 2-3 day long interviews are the norm for faculty. A lot of it is that they want to assess a person pretty fully, since you’re potentially hiring someone to be in the job for 30-40 years.

        All faculty searches I’ve heard of since March have been 100% virtual. If universities can make it work for tenure track faculty, almost any job can find a way to make it work.

  15. Keymaster of Gozer*

    LW2: one of the places I applied to demanded in person interviews on the grounds that they ‘didn’t have the technology for video’. I thought a long time about it but ultimately decided that if this is the ‘best’ image the company is putting forward I do not want to see the worst.

    You can tell a lot about a firm from their Covid response. I decided that a place that would force a disabled woman to travel and be around large groups of potentially infected people for an interview was likely to have poor infection control at work, treat staff like they’re disposable and maybe even be outright science deniers.

    The job itself would, on paper, have been brilliant and raised my career up. But I can’t enjoy that if I catch Covid.

    1. pleaset cheap rolls*

      “‘didn’t have the technology for video’.”

      Not good. I could see it being the case for certain very small orgs/companies in the past, but it’s not good. And if that is now, into the pandemic crisis, it’s even worse. Get the technology.

      1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

        Exactly. Right now being tech adverse is really putting those folks behind, definitely professionally, possibly personally. (I have family who proudly does not even have “that new fangled interweb thing”. I also have elderly relatives who are not new to technology, and are shaking their heads muttering “its nearly 40 years old, its NOT new….sheesh. They’re going to be the ones whining that the family reunion is virtual this year….”)

      2. fhqwhgads*

        Yeah, “not having technology for video”, in this century, in this decade means:
        We do not have internet or do not have reliable internet or do not have speeds considered standard for business in the past 10 years
        We do not have modern computer hardware or mobile phones

    2. theletter*

      how on Earth could a company not have technology for video? Are they using typewriters and slide rules?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Rural areas still don’t high speed internet. There are areas around me that have been informed by the cable company that “We will NEVER, EVER bring service to your area.” It’s a huge problem.

        Now I live in a pocket of high speed internet. On snow days (pre-Covid) my internet would slow down to the point you’d think I had a phone line connection.

        Additionally, we have frequent power outages (because someone hit a pole, etc) so there goes the internet again. Yeah, you might be able to get your cell to work, if you have cell service…….which you probably don’t.

        1. kittymommy*

          This. I have coworkers who can’t work from home because there is no internet coverage and cell phone is spotty at best (so hot spot is out). I have no idea how the businesses in that area would handle video conferencing.

          1. Not playing your game anymore*

            Yes. I have Internet from two different providers, well 3 if you count the cell phone. One provides DSL which is slow and can go down whenever someone decides to plow a field or two run their car into a one of the phone company’s boxes. One provides satellite internet which is faster, but metered. So at our usual rate of use for work it’s good for 20 or so days then slows to a crawl that makes the DSL look fast. The cell service is um spotty and if we tried to use it much we’d soon overrun our data plan. We could of course increase that, but I’m already paying more for internet than I pay for any other utility, so. No.

            And the sad thing is, when we lived one mile further west we had a choice between a couple of broadband providers.

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I have a friend who is a member of a very, very remote tribe in NV. An email with an attachment takes 4 hours to send. Periodically they have no power, much less phone or internet. Rural America is really freaking rural in some areas.

      2. Colette*

        If everyone has a desktop computer, they probably aren’t set up for video. (They also probably aren’t working from home.)

        1. Observer*

          So? You can get a web cam for $30. If you actually want something that’s pretty good, you may have to go as high as *gasp* $50.

          1. serenity*

            I agree. Even the cheapest laptops come with internal cameras these days. And I get that people are saying rural internet connections can be pitifully slow, but presumably companies hiring out-of-state and arranging travel and interviews with staff are not likely ultra-rural mom-and-pop operations?

      3. Urt*

        Even with the technology a company might no video because that bandwidth should go to the data that makes them money.

        1. Observer*

          Please, unless you are in a bandwidth desert, this is simple foolishness. ESPECIALLY in a pandemic. If they are in a place with such restricted bandwidth, they should actually explain that.

    3. Sara without an H*

      Hi, Keymaster,

      The only valid reason I could see for not having the technology for video would be a situation like Not So New Reader describes–the firm is located in an area with grossly inadequate broadband access. But in that case, they should have explained that and worked with you on alternatives.

      If they have access to decent broadband, then there’s really no excuse. Even my employer, Tiny Catholic College, has been doing Zoom interviews for months. You were wise to withdraw.

    4. Observer*

      In 2020 they don’t have the technology for video? Seriously?

      That’s not just a red flag, it’s a Mayday parade!

  16. triplehiccup*

    LW 4, I had a similar resume error (submitted a pdf with a couple benign margin comments) and did exactly what Alison advised. We had a little chuckle, they could tell I was genuinely mortified, and we moved on to the questions – and I got the job! Later, my boss mentioned that it was a small strike against me, which I overcame with a strong interview, thanks to intensive preparations using the STAR method.

    1. Rebecca the Job Coach*

      That’s awesome! (I’m LW4) I totally agree that we all make mistakes and acknowledging them should be seen as a strength rather than worrying that we made them in the first place. Glad you handled it well and got the job

    2. BadWolf*

      I feel like a good company can recognize that a good employee is one who, if they make a mistake, can find it and own it (versus being oblivious or defensive).

      1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

        This. If it looks like nothing more than an honest mistake (as in, it’s the only mistake on an otherwise flawless resume) chances are it’s not even going to be noticed. Further, if the perspective employee simply owns the mistake and handles it with grace it’s further points in their favor. Honestly, the fact they’ve been brought in for an interview speaks to a resume error not being weighted too heavily against them.

  17. Elle by the sea*

    To LW1: Are you sure your Indian colleague doesn’t celebrate Christmas? There are many Indians who are Christian or have a Christian connection.

  18. Jaid*

    I’m Jewish and just put up Christmas lights in my cubicle. Because twinkling multicolor lights are awesome.

    And any reason to celebrate the end of this year, I’ll take.

    Best wishes to everyone!

  19. HR Parks Here*

    OP2 It depends. I too have been interviewing for jobs in another state (relocated for this job over a year ago and want to move back home). At some point, most employers are going to want you to see the operation before you decide you want to work there. I have tested before traveling to an interview and been to an in person interview where they were very cautious. All wore masks, screening before entering the building, and a large conference room where the tables were set up (think college class style) so that the interviewer was at a table greater than 6 feet from mine. The team interview was handled with one person from the team coming into the room at a time. This took longer since their wasn’t a panel but I feel they handled it well.

    We need to interview in person at some point for the facility I work in currently, after phone interviews and an added Teams video interview, once we have weeded out the candidate pool, people are brought on site. By then we are down to top 2.

    Like I said it depends on the field and just because they are asking you to come in does not mean their pandemic protocols are lacking. You can ask them over the phone what to expect for pandemic protocols before agreeing to the interview. A good employer will appreciate that you take this seriously.

    They must be very interested in you to have you come in from another state. This pandemic is killing my job search. I am getting very depressed thinking I will never be able to find a job to go home because I can see why local candidates get preference. It has nothing to do with relocation costs either. I am not asking for them. I still own a home there and just have to pack up my personal belongings here and drive 9 hours.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      Can you use your local address? With a note saying that you’re planning to move back to where you own property.

  20. Haha Lala*

    For #2, is the company you’re interviewing with still working from the office? Especially if it’s a job that can’t be fully remote, they may want you to come into the office before the hire you, since that’s what will be expected from you after they hire you.

    I know my company has been working fully in the office again since this summer (after 2 months of county required work from home), with lots of distancing, masking, and sanitizing requirements. We would really hesitate to hire someone who wouldn’t be willing to do an in person interview as a final step.

    1. Twisted Lion*

      I just called candidates for in-person interviews but I work for the government and our jobs have to be done on site and not WFH. Only one candidate said no and asked for a video interview which I did set up. Our jobs require our physical presence and it might be the same for this non-profit. They also may be using this as a way to test how much candidates “want the job” which is how my work put it.

      1. Anononon*

        That’s awful about how much they want the job. I hope you pushed back as much as you could. “How willing are you to die for this interview?” It’s one thing once/if they get the job, they’re willing to take the risk. But for an interview where it’s not a guarantee?

        1. EPLawyer*

          Please don’t make candidate “prove” how much they want a job. Everyone wants the job or they wouldn’t be applying. If you are worried about people who are interviewing to get offers to use as leverage elsewhere, find another way to figure this out. Don’t put the candidates to some sort of bizarre test. Especially during Covid.

          1. Twisted Lion*

            To clarify, I just schedule interviews. The “prove” sentence was uttered by the people conducting the interviews. I pushed back when they said in person but I have zero authority. Im just a very junior admin with zero clout. Most of the candidates did come in person as required for the position they interviewed for.

            I do disagree with the sentiment as its ridiculous especially during an economic downturn and a pandemic. But a lot of people do apply for jobs with us, are not local and do not plan on moving here so it adds unnecessary strain to the hiring process.

      2. PersephoneUnderground*

        Yeah, I hope you pushed back on that “want the job” line of thought. It’s seriously messed up, and assumes everyone’s risks are the same too. If you are the caretaker for an elderly relative there’s no way you want *any* job enough to risk infecting that person, for instance. And that’s also screening out anyone high risk themselves implicitly. Honestly it should be an ADA violation to make “willing/able to risk Covid exposure” a condition of hire for a job that doesn’t require the same level of risk as the interview.

        1. PersephoneUnderground*

          Actually, strike the last part about risk level- you shouldn’t have to take risks for an interview before you even get a job there, even if the job might require the same level of risk.

    2. Risha*

      I do think there’s a big difference between working in an office with a normal daily commute and seeing the same group of people every day, and traveling 10+ hours to another state, through a busy airport and/or taking rest stops and then staying in a hotel, though. They’re not really comparable, pandemically speaking, and it’s not particularly reasonable if the company treats them like they are.

  21. Bruce Wayne*

    I simply cannot understand why someone would want to deal with a non-profit employer. All the weird corporate stuff seems to occur in non-profits. Strikes me as non-profit means “non-salary”, “non-benefits”, “career anchor dragger” and with LW2 “weird (or cheap) culture”. Sure, I can see the passion of saving whales, feeding the hungry (yes, please) or reproductive rights but isn’t there a passion for survival? Good money, a stronger 401k or IRA or enough to pay off the student loans you blindly and stupidly took out? My advice: Be mercenary! Go corporate! Work a real job somewhere.

    1. pancakes*

      Non-profit is not synonymous with dysfunctional or poorly-run. You aren’t going to hear much about the ones that are well-run in an advice column, because no one is writing in to say that work is fine and they don’t need any guidance.

    2. Reba*

      Also, people tend to name non-profits as such, while they don’t specify “I work for a for-profit company,” making it seem more like a pattern.

      1. Kimmy Schmidt*

        And Alison gets plenty of letters about disfunction teams, bosses, and companies from the corporate world.

    3. Mockingjay*

      I’ve only ever worked in for-profit industry. Trust me, non-profits do NOT have a monopoly on crazy, stupid, insane, cheap, draconian, micromanaging, insulting, you name it behaviors.

      People working at good companies – profit or non-profit – don’t write in for advice. I am fortunate to be working for one now, but it took a year and a half of job searching and this forum to get me out of an extremely toxic workplace.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Trust me, non-profits do NOT have a monopoly on crazy, stupid, insane, cheap, draconian, micromanaging, insulting, you name it behaviors.

        Louder, for the people in the back.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      I work for a non-profit and we are very functional, thank you. But we’re also not writing in for help, because we don’t need it.

      My dad worked for Big Oil Company and spent the latter part of his career passing over promotions because he realized all the people in management were divorced and estranged from their kids, because the job took over their lives. *That* is dysfunctional.

    5. MissBliss*

      Anecdata isn’t data, but my first job was my only one outside of the non-profit or government sectors. It was the worst and paid the least amount of money, no benefits. Today, six years in, I don’t have many friends working in the for-profit sector who make more money than me, and I get real fulfillment from my job (plus above-average leave time for the United States, my birthday off, and a retirement contribution whether I put in money or not). Although I work in marketing and could easily make the pivot, I can’t imagine working for a for-profit job. I’m also not convinced I’d make more money. Different strokes for different folks.

    6. Jennifer Strange*

      As someone who has worked exclusively in non-profits, can we please not have blanket statements about them? The ones I’ve worked at have been wonderful places to work, some with fantastic benefits.

    7. Brooks Brothers Stan*

      You’re certainly not living up to your username if you hold that dim of a view on non-profits. Also…what kind of work do you think gets done at non-profits to make it not a “real job?”

      Personally speaking, the benefits packages I have received in the non-profit sector have far outpaced what was on offer in the corporate world. Further, I have experienced more toxic workplace attitudes in the ‘corporate’ sector. Plus, not all non-profits are dedicated to the tree-hugging causes that you think they are.

    8. de-lurking for this*

      My nonprofit has good salaries, insanely good benefits, overall functional culture, cares about its employees as people, AND is doing interesting work that improves people’s lives. Such employers exist, luckily for people like me who would have a really hard time doing work that didn’t feel like a net good for society.

      Also, my advice for people similarly morally oriented but at a dysfunctional and/or underpaying nonprofit is not to discard their principles and “go mercenary” (though obviously not going to judge people for doing what they have to do) but to UNIONIZE.

    9. Retail Not Retail*

      Not for nothing but the PSLF makes non profits attractive for student loans… assuming it will still exist!

      1. Anonforthis*

        I just made the switch from a for-profit company to a non-profit. Not only do I get paid 30% more (still in the same field), I have better benefits, and a better work-life balance. But I also work extremely hard and so to say “work a real job” is incredibly rude, dismissive, and downright messed up.

    10. JustaTech*

      “the student loans you blindly and stupidly took out”

      Did you really?
      I didn’t take out my student loans blindly. And how is it stupid to take out loans to get the education that is absolutely required to work in the field that I care about? The sciences require at least some formal higher education. How is it stupid to invest in literally the rest of my life? And how is working at, say, a cancer research foundation *not* a “real job”? Or in 90% of education?

      You need a better understanding of the huge scope of work that non-profits do before you continue to comment on them.

    11. Roci*

      Username checks out. Why waste time on nonprofits when they are inherently dysfunctional? Instead you should go mercenary, dress up like an armored bat and punch people! That’s a real job /sarcasm

  22. excuse you*

    I grew up in India, And one of my favorite parts of that is that all of the country’s major faiths celebrate every holiday together. Our Muslim neighbors brought us almond milk on Eid, we all burst crackers in the streets for Diwali and painted the streets red for Holi, and on Christmas, my family watched bad holiday movies, put up a tree, and ate cookies. India’s form of secularism also means we all get the day off for every holiday, rather than this weird version in the US which claims to separate church and state, yet federal holidays are like Easter and Christmas. Perhaps that’s why there’s this weird territoriality around holidays in the US, but either way, LW1’s assumption that his Indian coworker is “encroaching” by offering to plan a Christmas party seems misguided. Many Indians celebrate both Christmas and Diwali! It’s okay to let other people be a part of your culture!

    1. SongbirdT*

      This is really lovely! It would be a delight to be part of a culture that celebrated everything. I’m atheist, so none of the holidays really “apply” to me, but I enjoy the cultural aspects of them just the same.

      1. BookMom*

        Love this! I’m an observant Christian, and I’m thrilled with the idea of joining my neighbors in celebration of their holidays. More joy!

  23. MCMonkeyBean*

    I have always waited until after taking the drug test to give notice. If the company is going to insist on that being part of the process then they should be willing to let you build that into your timeline.

    1. SongbirdT*


      Early in my career I had a bad former employer sabotage a new job by trashing me in a reference check. I had already given notice at the current job at the time and was very nearly left without a new job to move to. I don’t give notice now until all the background stuff is complete.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      +1 Totally agree. NewJob HR kept pushing me to give notice at OldJob while we were waiting on background check and drug test but a simple “I have no reason to think that the check or drug test will show anything unusual, but I’d rather wait until we have that information before giving notice at my current position.” was all the pushback they needed luckily.

    3. SimplyTheBest*

      My current job did a background check on me, but it was after they had offered and I had accepted the job. I put in my notice and then a few days later they called me to ask me about my background check. Apparently it came back saying that I had *several* arrests on my record. Thankfully we were able to get it cleared up (one of the alleged arrests took place in a state I’d never been to when I was three) but there is a moment I was truly terrified they were going to rescind their offer and I was going to have to ask for my old job back.

  24. I edit everything*

    My brother just had a video interview for a job on the other side of the country, and it’s the type of job I can’t imagine being willing to take without an in-person interview. Very people- and community-centered, where an ability to interact with people–including everyone from timid little old ladies to trouble makers to kids and teens, total strangers, and community leaders–is crucial to success. I don’t think that kind of thing can be evaluated over Zoom. And he can’t get a full picture of the personalities he’d be working closely with, either.

    If he advances to the next round, I don’t know what the plan is.

  25. Beth*

    LW 1: Don’t assume that your co-worker in India is not Christian. There are a lot of Christians in India, as well as a lot of people who celebrate Christmas in addition to other holidays.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I dated a guy from India whose family had been Catholic for 300 years. He was an ex-priest, even.

    2. Arctic*

      A lot of Christians and a lot of non-Christians who enjoy Christmas there.

      I would never claim that Christmas is secular especially here in the US. But the world is a big, diverse place who have different views on the holiday.

  26. Dust Bunny*

    We have an office party committee and they organize everything, whether they personally celebrate it or not. Although we also don’t do parties that hinge on religion-specific holidays–we do tend to call the Christmas party the “Christmas party” but it’s not officially called that and it doesn’t actually involve anything specific to Christmas, just some winter-themed decorations and minor party games.

  27. Arctic*

    Why would you assume it’s a holiday she doesn’t celebrate?

    I’ve been to many Christmas parties thrown by people from India or of Indian descent who are otherwise Hindu. I’m sure there are many but I don’t personally know any Indian people who don’t celebrate Christmas.

    I am sure if you said “we should include other holidays” she wouldn’t mind.

  28. Esmeralda*

    OP #1 — why do you even care? unless you had hoped to plan the christmas party yourself, or you have already started planning it (or one of your reports has started the planning), how does this affect you?

    You say you don’t want to cause drama, but I’ll be honest: your letter is full of drama.

    Take a breath. Make like Elsa and let it go.

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Right?? Planning an office Christmas/Holiday/Winter party is a freaking nightmare that is time consuming, slightly soul-crushing, and in the end someone’s always unhappy with it. It is a no-win situation, and if someone is kind enough to want to take that off my hands then more power to them! You should be thankful that someone is volunteering to do the work on this for you!

  29. Jubilance*

    Is taking time off during your notice period some type of cardinal sin? I don’t understand the hesitancy to take time off. I live in a state that doesn’t require employers pay out vacation time when you leave (so they usually don’t), and when I’ve left jobs, I’ve had managers ask me if I’d like to take vacation time during my notice period, since I can’t get the time paid out. This has happened at multiple employers so it’s not a quirk of one organization.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Not a cardinal sin, but it is sometimes frowned upon. Depends on the office and, of course, depends on how long your notice period is. I would think it odd not to take SOME time off during a long notice period (say, a month), but during two weeks I think it depends on a lot of factors. I’m in my notice period right now (2.5 weeks) and I would probably keep a medical appointment if I had one, but I don’t think I would take a PTO day unless I got really sick.

      I guess the difference is that I’m getting my PTO paid out. (Fun fact: this is the SECOND organization I have left right before they switch to unlimited PTO with no pay-out.) Also, I’m pretty senior and I do a lot of stuff, so it’s important than I make myself available to pass on knowledge or whatever, regardless of how annoying it is.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      So while reading the employee handbook at NewJob I found an interesting paragraph. Apparently if you take PTO during your notice period or give less than 2 full business weeks notice you forfeit your PTO payout. Since we live in one of the many states that does not require employers to pay out PTO they can legally do this. Given that I’ve got co-workers who are taking the 40 hour payout & the 100 hour rollover on PTO the company is offering and still taking the entire week of Christmas off, there’s a major financial incentive to not take PTO during your notice period.

    3. Lynn Whitehat*

      The point of the notice period is to transition your responsibilities. If you’re on PTO, you can’t do that. So yes, it is pretty normal to be expected not to take PTO during your notice.

    4. SimplyTheBest*

      Every place I’ve worked had that written into the employee handbook that you will not take PTO during your notice.

  30. Empress Matilda*

    OP1, I’m going to gently suggest that you’re overreacting a bit. Obviously I don’t know the dynamics of your workplace, but your use of the words “controlling” and “drama” suggest to me there’s more going on than just what’s written in your letter. I’m also not clear on your relationship to the party – do you normally plan them, and are you feeling left out because someone else has offered? Why do you feel so strongly about this issue in particular?

    You don’t need to answer any of these questions here – they’re just for you to think about. The pandemic is messing with people’s heads in lots of ways this year, and lots of people are having unusually strong reactions to relatively small frustrations, so you’re certainly not alone if that’s the case for you as well.

    So if there is something bigger going on, do what you can to address that part. And if it really is just about the party, then honestly I would let it go. It’s just a party. Whatever her reasons for offering to organize, it’s okay to take her at face value – let her help if it’s useful, or say no thank you if it’s not. Either way, I hope you enjoy the party when the time comes!

  31. LaDiDa*

    I think every Hindu and Sikh I know celebrates both Diwali and Christmas, regardless if they live in the US. It is incredibly common. Also, 20 million people in India are Christian. She could be in a blended family. Like here, people will celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas if their family is blended.

  32. Claire*

    There are 30 million Christians in India. Are you sure your coworker doesn’t celebrate Christmas? Or are you just making assumptions?

  33. Observer*

    #1 – Your complaint about inclusivity rings very hollow to me. I mean, how “inclusive” is it to complain that someone has the audacity to even plan a party for a religion that they don’t celebrate?

    What is your real issue here? If you actually care about inclusivity, then start by being inclusive yourself and stop the concern troll-ish gatekeeping.

  34. Admin 4 life*

    Lw1. I’ve been in the position where I was responsible for coordinating events in countries I wasn’t residing in. It could be something she was asked to do because of her role or because someone heard about how great she was at party planning. If planning the end of year holiday party is something you’re interested in being involved in, it might be good to reach out and volunteer to take on some of that responsibility. I would also mention to them that it would be more inclusive to refer to it as a holiday party or end of year celebration and not a Christmas party.

    1. KayDeeAye*

      I think that’s kind of a stretch – and also unkind. I agree that the OP’s position is illogical, but there’s no reason from this letter to assume that it’s actually racist.

      1. Lyra Silvertongue*

        I don’t think it’s unkind or a stretch to dig down into the reasons that you don’t want an Indian coworker to organize the Christmas party and suggest that racism might be one of them. It’s important not to be so afraid of the word ‘racist’ that we are unwilling to apply it unless someone is being really vindictive or violent. Unconscious racism and prejudice is a thing and sometimes that can show up in having markedly hostile feelings about someone doing something pretty incongruous because they are different to you.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          We are just going to have to agree to disagree here. Yes, there are non-violent ways to be racist. Yes, all forms of racism should be resisted. Yes, unconscious racism is definitely a thing. But jumping to conclusions is also a thing, and when you assume – and accuse someone of – racism on the very slender grounds this letter provides, you are jumping to conclusions.

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          I’m not sure if it was racist, but I think there’s definitely some cultural insensitivity/ignorance going on. As many people have said, Christmas is actually a national holiday in India, and is celebrated by, not only the significant number of Indian Christians, but also by a great many of the Muslims and Hindus. It kinda smacks of that “everyone outside America lives in villages and drives an animal-driven cart to work” mindset you sometimes see.

          1. KayDeeAye*

            Ooh, yes, definitely some lack of cultural awareness. OK, actually quite a significant lack of cultural awareness. :-) All other factors aside, why would the Indian coworker offer to plan the party if they didn’t know anything about Christmas? That just doesn’t make sense.

  35. 1234*

    LW #4: When I got to an interview for an internship, the hiring manager asked me to fill out an application. I misspelled a word on there and he pointed it out and corrected it like a teacher, and we moved on. I remember thinking “there’s no way I’m getting this internship now.”

    I ended up getting the internship (Paid! Not so common for my field almost 12-13 years ago) and learned a lot from it.

  36. GradBoss*

    LW2: Aside from them asking you to travel to the interview (reimbursement issues aside) they are asking their staff and board member to meet in person AND THEIR STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS PRESUMABLY HAVE AGREED TO MEET WITH CANDIDATES IN PERSON. This is a huge red flag for the culture of the company and expectations. RUN AWAY!

  37. Pink Geek*

    LW4: I would try to find phrasing that doesn’t use the word error. This seems more like a “typo” or a “sentence getting cut off” which would be less alarming to me as a hiring manager than an error like incorrect dates or job title.

Comments are closed.