I quit my job but they insist I have to participate in an investigation, putting Mensa on your resume, and more

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

1. I quit my job but my old boss says I have to participate in an investigation of my complaints

I just quit my job at a restaurant. I sent my manager a very respectful text the other day because I didn’t have time for a phone call and wanted him to know right away.

The problem is that now I have lots of meetings and HR involvement. The reasons I quit include sexual harassment, regular harassment, screaming, cursing, and threats from other coworkers. I informed my manager of the incidents and what had occurred when he asked why I was quitting, and he made me take a call with him and go over everything in detail.

I tried to inform him of the incidents before I left — really, I did! I went up to him the weekend they occurred and asked for five minutes of his time and he said he didn’t have any time to give me. Now he says he “needs to do his due diligence” and investigate and is forcing me to be involved in the ongoing process. He knew I wanted to discuss an HR concern with him last weekend and brushed me off until I was no longer his employee.

Honestly, at this point I just want to put it all behind me and move on. I’m traumatized enough as it is and I just want to heal and move on with my life. How in the world do I navigate this? Do I get a lawyer? Do I HAVE to be involved? I definitely don’t work there anymore, and I don’t want to be further upset and anxious. Help!

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do! You don’t work for that employer any more, and they have zero ability to command your time in any way. You’re right to point out that you tried to talk to your old boss before you resigned and he blew you off — but even if you hadn’t done that, you’d still have the right to simply quit and wash your hands of them. If you wanted to talk to them about what happened, you certainly could — but now that you’ve resigned, you have zero obligation to do it if you’d prefer not to.

If you want, you can tell him, “My schedule is fully booked and I’m not available for meetings or calls about this” or “This was something I tried to speak with you about before I left, but now that I’m gone it’s not something I’m available to keep meeting about.” Or you can simply ignore his calls if you want. If he persists, feel free to tell HR that he’s continuing to contact you when you’ve asked him to stop and they need to ensure he leaves you alone.

2. Should I put Mensa on my resume?

I have been employed in law enforcement my entire adult life, first at the local level, and now for over 25 years in federal law enforcement. Federal law enforcement has a mandatory retirement age of 57. I know that I want to continue working past that age, so as I am now in my early 50’s and eligible to retire, I am looking in private industry for positions that interest me.

Here’s a question I haven’t seen come up before: I am a member of Mensa. Do I include this in my resume or cover letter? You would think that having a high level of intelligence would be an automatic asset, but people can be weird about this. Would it be any different when dealing with a hiring manager? I know in the land of civil service it was not a factor, but can you see any benefit in private industry?

Don’t put Mensa membership on your resume — for the same reason you wouldn’t put your IQ on your resume. Hiring managers are interested in what you have actually accomplished, not what you might have the potential to accomplish, particularly when you’re many years into your career. After all, you could be brilliant but struggle with execution, follow-through, organization, dealing with other people — the list goes on — and what they really want to know is what you’ve done with your intelligence (since it’s the most reliable way of knowing what you might do with it for them).

If you want to convey that you’re smart, let it show through your your achievements. And if it doesn’t show through your achievements, then qualifying for a Mensa membership isn’t terribly relevant for hiring purposes.

It’s also likely to turn off a lot of people who will see it as a weird thing to list.

3. I’m upset that my coworker became my new boss without being interviewed

I graduated from college in 2018, and was at my previous job for a few years as a temp before being fully hired. I moved jobs and have been with my current organization since 2019, switching positions from an admin assistant to program specialist in June 2020. In that time I have received a masters of healthcare administration. In the fall of 2020, someone new joined my team after completing a fellowship program we have.

Recently my team has gone through some changes as people were promoted. My old manager moved into a senior role and we were informed that they were not backfilling her position. Two weeks later, it was announced that the person who joined in the fall of 2020 would be filling her position as she’s showed great commitment to the team. She is now my direct manager.

I’m having mixed feelings about this. No one on my team was told they were interviewing, and it seems shady she was moved right in without an interview. I know this because I was an admin assistant before, and I get all the calendar invites for our CEO who interviews EVERYONE before they are hired. Even internal promotions get interviews from him, but she did not. Am I just being emotional or do I have a right to be upset? I’m not sure as this is my first real job and I have never experienced anything like this.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with promoting an existing employee without a formal interview. Often working with and managing a person will provide a far more nuanced sense of whether they’d be right for a role than what you could get from an interview. (I’d argue it provides the best view; interviews are a distant second.) In a situation like that, there’s no requirement or expectation that you must conduct an interview, if it’s clear that no one else on the team would be the right pick.

If that was the situation here, then this is more an issue of messaging. It sounds like they missed an opportunity to explain why they filled the position this way and why they didn’t give anyone else the chance to throw their hat in the ring. They could have good reasons for everything they did, but if it’s leaving people feel disgruntled, they should have explained it better.

4. Asking to work from home after a colleague was hired to do the same work remotely

I was hired for a company two years ago but have been working from home for 19 months of those two years. I have proven myself over and over and have never had a performance issue or a complaint from management.

They gave us the option to work from home two days a week. Well, recently they hired an out-of-state full-time remote worker for the same job I do. We had five people quit this year and they’ve had trouble filling any of the positions which is why they hired out-of-state.

I have requested recently to my boss that I would like to work from home full-time. I haven’t heard anything back yet but I am nervous. Can they deny my remote work request? I don’t think it would be fair to deny my request but hire someone else for a full-time remote position.

Yes, they can deny your remote work request if they want to. No law requires employers to offer remote work equally, as long as they’re not offering it based on an illegal factor like race or religion. They could even have legitimate reasons for offering it to some people in a particular role but not all — like they see a work need for someone in your job to be in the office a few days a week and since it’s clearly not going to be the out-of-state hire, they’ll want it to be you.

That said, you might be able to use the out-of-state hire as a way to argue that your job doesn’t require you to be in the office. They don’t have to accept that argument, but you can certainly try. And if their recent search highlighted that they’d have a hard time replacing you with someone else local, that might help your case.

5. I was about to be offered a job and then they told me to fill out an application

I had a manager for a large corporation call me about a position they would like me to fill. It is a high-profile position that sounds really appealing, but it also comes with much more high stress than where I am now. I am currently operating independently and have really liked what I’m doing, but I have felt that this position being offered might give me more stability in the long run. We’ve talked collectively for about three hours and he told me he was ready to send me an offer. He asked what starting pay I was looking for and I told him a number equivalent to what I am making now, knowing that this is a commission-based job and the growth would be my responsibility. He said he would get that approved and follow up with me the next week.

A week later, I received an email from an HR person with a link to fill out a job application. No offer or other communication was included, just an application for the position. I am happy with where I am at and would only move positions if there was a better opportunity to grow and keep a stable book of business. This did not specify any of that or what we had discussed over the phone. The manager called me once and did not leave a message, and I called him back right away and left him a message to give me a call. That was four days ago. Am I going about this the right way not filling out the application? I wasn’t really looking to move unless this was an improvement. Am I burning a bridge by not responding to that email?

You should fill out the application since they may require it of all candidates before they’ll move you forward. If that’s the case, they should have explained that to you more explicitly, not just sent the application without comment, but it’s pretty common for HR to insist candidates fill out a full application before they can be offered a job. Partly it’s because applications often include attestations that the info you’re providing is correct, and partly it’s because it’s bad practice to hire people without ensuring you have the same basic information on them that you collect on everyone else you consider for jobs … and a large corporation is particularly unlikely to exempt you from that.

Filling out the application doesn’t say “I am interested in starting at the very beginning of your hiring process.” It’s just complying with a step they (probably) need to have completed before they can move forward.

{ 595 comments… read them below }

  1. Eden*

    OP1 – what are they gonna do, fire you? I don’t mean that dismissively, I mean they no longer have power over you! I am glad you left that place.

    1. coffee*

      Yeah, you don’t have to give him your time and energy to assuage his guilt. Particularly when he didn’t help you when you needed it.

    2. Observer*

      Exactly. They CANNOT force you to do anything. Your old boss may need to do his due diligence bit that does not obligate you to anything.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        This reminds me of the phrase, “You’re lack of planning and foresight does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

        Delivered camly and factually (usually in my head as a reminder to myself) has been an important framing for many situations.

        OP, unless you *want* to participate, ignore your manager and get their HR involved if needed to get your manager to stop bothering you.

        1. Anonymously anonymous*

          OP, don’t forget to get paid for the time you spent in the meeting after you quit.

          1. Whimsical Gadfly*

            Or perhaps let them know you are happy to consult on the situation at $XXX per hour and you will be inoicing them if they continue to call…

          2. Whimsical Gadfly*

            Or perhaps let them know you are happy to consult on the situation at $XXX per hour and you will be invoicing them if they continue to call…

      2. John Smith*

        It’s a bit late for due diligence to take place now – talk about arse covering! I’d be minded to send HR an email explaining why you left, citing your ex-manager’s current behaviour of why it was a good idea to leave. Or just ignore them.

      3. Magenta Sky*

        Well, technically, if a lawsuit gets filed, there could be a subpoena issued. But OP seems like the most likely one to have a reason to file a lawsuit, and doesn’t want to, so that doesn’t seem like a big concern.

        The manager is just trying to cover his own butt.

            1. Observer*


              OP. You do not ever need to meet with anyone from your former employer again. In the VERY unlikely case that you get a subpoena, you’ll need to talk to the lawyers. But I really wouldn’t lose sleep over it. It’s not going to happen.

    3. Don't trust "independent" investigators*

      OP1, know that the purpose of it is to clear the company of wrongdoing, not actually find the truth.

      A really great breakdown for why you cannot trust an “independent investigation” by a professor whose wife was one of the original metoo accusers: https://twitter.com/spiantado/status/1167918514851610624

      I have had a couple of friends involved in things like this and the investigation by nature is looking for ways to blame the victim, especially if they do not work there anymore, so that the company is not at legal risk. Things like asking them in casual ways if they had anything to drink, or flirted back etc. So either completely wash your hands of all of this and say nothing or get a lawyer.

      1. Sue*

        It’s possible that the company is just doing a cya but OP has made no threats to sue and has resigned so a legal threat to the company doesn’t seem imminent. It’s also possible that the company is genuinely concerned and wants to investigate and hold offenders responsible. The OP has zero obligation to cooperate with this but there may be value to others in doing so. I would think about it and decide if I would feel better knowing I tried to help the ones left behind and future employees or whether my mental health required a clean break. I wouldn’t want to walk away and then when I calmed down, regret that I hadn’t done what I could have to change an abusive situation.

        1. Expiring Cat Memes*

          I mean it’s possible of course. But the manager doesn’t need a Mensa-level brain to equate “sexual harassment” and “threats from other coworkers” with a fair probability of legal problems. So I certainly wouldn’t be counting on genuine concern being their motive here.

          LW says she feels traumatised, upset and anxious, and she sounds desperate to be as far away as possible from this mess. Though I didn’t read it as your intention, I personally wouldn’t find it helpful in her shoes to read guilt-inducing comments about helping the ones left behind.

        2. Mongrel*

          I tend to run on cynicism & tea so my take is that the Manager is in trouble from the higher ups, probably a “We have a token anti-harassment policy in place, why wasn’t it used” or someone else has reported that he ignored OPs original complaints.
          He’s doing this as an exercise in covering HIS arse.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            This is my take, too. The implication is that if the LW wants to do anything other than simply walk away, a report to HR about the manager would be the most effective thing to do.

          2. IndustriousLabRat*

            That’s what it smells like to me as well. And this is a familiar smell from my own experience… The CYA is strong in this one.

          3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Yeah – this seems a likely take, manager is in trouble now and trying to make it look like they are not the problem. The only trouble is now they are possibly harassing the OP to get what they want – which is not a good look.

            OP if you feel at all inclined to assist in the investigation I would make it a single, fact-heavy statement to HR and include boss’ current behavior in it.

            But there is nothing wrong with saying a pox on your house and completely walking away as well. In some ways this is very similar to the former boss who realizes after the star employee leaves for greener pastures that they didn’t get all the knowledge out of that brain and now is trying to ask questions. The difference is the type of information and what it may be used for. Politely but firmly walking away is acceptable.

            1. Betteauroan*

              I agree that the manager is probably trying to cya. However, just a thought, if it were me, I’d want to take this opportunity to make myself heard. They want to know why you quit? Tell them. I’d write an explicit email to HR and cc the manager and tell them everything that was done to you and by whom. It would be cathartic to me to write all that out and get it out of my head so I could move on. It also might result in disciplinary action, firings, and/or changes in policy and procedures.

              1. Just Jane*

                I get that OP wants to leave this behind her. However it might give some resolution to her to provide HR (and HR alone at this point) with information provided that she receive substantial compensation for her time without having to sign any non-disclosure agreement. In addition, she might want to let HR that she reserves the right to file a complaint with state and federal EEOC or bring a suit in Federal court. Any HR worth its pay would take this very seriously; if there are other complaints/evidence of harassment and abuse, HR might offer to make a “severance payment” to her with an NDA attached. Before OP signs anything, it would be well worth the fee to engage an attorney who could draw up language to put in the NDA that disciplines/terminates the manager and makes concrete changes (like a hot line to report abuse, have a no tolerance policy for proven allegations, etc.) in exchange fore a substantial sum of money.

          4. Sara without an H*

            This was my reading, too. (Btw, I like a slice of cake with my tea and cynicism.)

            In the OP’s position, I’d be inclined to email the former boss, with a cc: to HR, saying something along the lines of: “You keep contacting me about this. I tried to talk with you on this date and that date, but you said you had no time to discuss the issues. I no longer work for Slime Dining, Inc. Do not contact me again.” Then block his phone number, set up a rule in email to send any further messages to a Bad Boss folder, and get on with life.

            1. DJ Abbot*

              Maybe add the details about what happened in the first place so HR will have them handy. Then they can do an investigation without your help.

            2. Carol the happy elf*

              Pie and cocoa here, but absolutely this reeks of (insert evil witch cackle here:) “I’ve got you now, my pretty!” and a touch of “SURRENDER DOROTHY” written in the sky.
              Click your heels three times, and then walk away.
              (Sorry, seasonal movies with grandkids over the weekend….)

        3. Caroline Bowman*

          Sure, that’s the generous interpretation, but when they did precisely zero, indeed told her they had ”no time” when she brought a very serious issue to their attention, that was a clue that Doing the Right Thing isn’t a big line item for them.

          It’s CYA, nothing more nor less. It never occurred to them that she’d quit, then she did. They’re worried about her getting legal advice and then coming for them, as she 100% could.

        4. Health Insurance Nerd*

          It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that there are policies in place to protect their employees from abuse and harassment, and it is also the responsibility of the employer to ensure that those policies are enforced. It is not the responsibility of a former employer who attempted to report their abuse and harassment and was ignored, to retraumatize themselves in order to “help the ones left behind”. There really, really needs to be an end to the attitude of putting the onus on the victim to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to other people.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Agreed. While some people are strong enough or have a strong “fight” reflex – not everyone does. It’s healthiest to let all people react in the way that helps them heal the best.

          2. Observer*

            There really, really needs to be an end to the attitude of putting the onus on the victim to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to other people.


            Especially when the victims really can’t do anything anyway.

            1. PT*

              With all due respect, who else is going to do it? Most predators go after victims when they’re alone and there’s no witnesses.

              If victims aren’t willing to say, “This is what happened when no one was looking,” and the predator sure isn’t going to say, “I did this to Victim when no one was looking,” how else is anyone going to know what happened, absent heavy surveillance of employee communication and work spaces. And we get complaints *all the time* about that- nobody is going to want to work in a keylogger/webcams and mikes on all day/security cameras in all four corners with audio/AI parsing everything to recognize harassment sort of environment.

              1. Librarian of SHIELD*

                The problem isn’t that victims don’t tell people what happened to them. The problem is that when victims talk about their experiences, people don’t believe them. More often than not, when a victim of harassment or abuse decides to make sure what happened to them never happens to anyone else, what follows is YEARS of struggle to get people to listen and believe, and maybe some of those people will change their thought and behavior patterns. It’s long, slow, difficult work, and in a lot of cases if heaps more harassment and abuse on people who are already traumatized.

                When we say we need to change the mindset that victims should commit to making sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else, we’re not talking about perpetrators turning themselves in. We’re talking about bystanders believing the victims and enacting social and professional consequences on those perpetrators.

                1. quill*

                  Yes. Not only bystanders, but whoever is nominally in charge! Which is, in this case, the person desperately trying to drag OP over to cover their butt.

                2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  “The problem isn’t that victims don’t tell people what happened to them. The problem is that when victims talk about their experiences, people don’t believe them.”
                  Yes, and in this case, nobody was even prepared to listen when OP wanted to talk.
                  No, victim-guilting is not the way to go here.

              2. BlueK*

                Under current conditions, yes, predators are able to get away with a lot. What needs to change is how allegations are handled. People know that most victims aren’t believed. And that they will be required to recount the experience numerous times and to numerous different people. As a society, we need to make it less taxing for people to report abuse. The current ask is too much.

              3. Observer*

                If victims aren’t willing to say, “This is what happened when no one was looking,”

                Aside from everything else, that’s not what’s under discussion. The OP already tried to report it. It’s not on the victim to make sure that the employer does the bare minimum to enable reporting, and then further re-traumatize themselves when the the employer fails. *ESPECIALLY* when the evidence points to bad faith on the part of the employer, on top of their prior failure.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                  Many thanks for your comments on this. I’ve been in the position of not being believed by anyone after trying to report an especially traumatic incident and it’s made me very hesitant to speak up again. The last thing a victim needs is to hear that we’ve got some culpability in the scene because we don’t want to live through that again.

                  I can sympathise oh so much with the OP and anyone else who has complained and not been believed, or worse, actually blamed for what happened (if I never hear ‘but you must have done something/worn something to provoke this’ again I’ll be a happy minion of Gozer).

              4. kt*

                The manager could’ve done something *when the employee tried to report it*. She did her duty. Manager did not. The victim already was willing to say it, tried to say it, made an effort to say it, and manager did not care until it got noticed by someone higher up.

                So if the writer wants, I agree with sending an email with details — including details about how the manager deflected — cc:ing it to the higher-ups, and then blocking everyone.

        5. EmKay*

          Sure it’s “possible” the company truly cares about OP’s well-being.

          It’s also “possible” for me to win the lottery jackpot.

        6. Magenta Sky*

          The company might actually care and want to do the right thing, but it seems unlikely the manager is doing anything other than trying cover his own butt.

          And threats of a lawsuit or not, the company could be worried because this may not be their first rodeo.

        7. Observer*

          It’s possible that the company is just doing a cya

          Not only possible, but highly highly likely. The next most likely motive is to browbeat the OP into retracting their complaint. The LEAST likely motive is to actually figure out what is going on and rectifying it.

          I wouldn’t want to walk away and then when I calmed down, regret that I hadn’t done what I could have to change an abusive situation.

          Which is all good and fine. But if the OP has a good grip on reality, there would be no reason for the OP to have regrets later. The reality is that the OP is not in a position to help those left behind. Given how the boss is acting, there is no chance that the management is actually concerned about the problem. No matter how many meetings and interviews the OP will have, it will never be “enough”.

          Please don’t create fictional scenarios that do nothing but give the victims and the ones with the least amount of power yet another reason to feel guilty about abuse that they are NOT responsible for.

      2. Former_Employee*

        Wow! I Just read about Celeste Kidd & what happened at U of R. What’s especially amazing is that every step of the way from protests to lawsuit, the University kept promoting the guy who was accused of wrongdoing by various students and faculty.

        Why wouldn’t the administration cut their losses and get rid of the person who was causing the problems? They seemed to be under the impression that the people speaking up and speaking out were the real troublemakers.

        There is real irony in the fact that Celeste Kidd’s work involves the study of why people cling to false beliefs.

    4. Dragon_dreamer*

      Sounds like the boss is trying to cover his a$$, knowing he could be in trouble if anyone finds out he ignored OP.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        CYA and wanting to fix the problem aren’t mutually exclusive. Our letter writer may not be interested in filing a lawsuit, but allowing sexual harassment and *threats* to go unchecked makes it very, very likely that someone else will eventually, and smart HR people may well realize it. (Or they may have been told so point blank by the company lawyers).

        Also, the manager (who certainly does seem to be in CYA mode) and the company overall are not the same thing, and may have conflicting goals. Notifying HR of what the manager is currently doing may be the final nail in the coffin of his job. (Or may not.)

        1. Observer*

          but allowing sexual harassment and *threats* to go unchecked makes it very, very likely that someone else will eventually, and smart HR people may well realize it. (Or they may have been told so point blank by the company lawyers).

          That is NOT the OP’s problem. And, to be honest, if the company gets sued, they are not going to be able to hide behind the excuse that the OP wouldn’t talk to the former manager who refused to listed to them before they quit.

          By not giving the OP any other way to report the problem other than talking to the manager who wouldn’t listen, the COMPANY is the one who has been allowing this behavior to continue. NOT the OP!

      2. Autumnheart*

        The management can do it. They have the detailed report from OP. They can follow up with the other employees and ask what happened. They can put cameras around or hire another manager to keep an eye on things and make sure these incidents aren’t continuing. They can post notices in visible areas saying “Blahblah behavior will not be tolerated and may result in termination.” They don’t need to involve OP in that.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I agree with this so much.
          If these activities were so bad as to make our Letter Writer quit before having that conversation, then the evidence of them will be available.
          And if the evidence of past instances is not available, they will arise again, and can be observed then.

    5. WoodswomanWrites*

      OP1, you have done your full part by informing your manager verbally about the horrible circumstances that led to your leaving. You communicated what you wanted them to know, and now you can focus on leaving that awful place behind.

      I once left a job partially because of some ethically sketchy activity, which I shared when I departed. Some months later, I got an email from a manager at my former employe, asking me to speak with their attorney about the comments I made about why I left. My sense was that they wanted me to as an informal witness to their comparable concerns. However, they wouldn’t tell me even what the conversation was about even though they asked me to agree to it. I checked with the attorney in my family who told me I owed them zero, and declined the conversation. There was no way I wanted to step back into that toxic stuff. I found out some time later that they terminated a leader doing the sketchy stuff, but I was glad to not have had any part in it and to have fully moved on by then.

      You made it clear that how you were treated at your former job was despicable. Now, it’s really important to take care of *yourself* instead or re-engaging with the ugly stuff you left behind. I’m so glad you can leave that all behind.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Block Boss’s number, the job’s main number, and any coworkers (especially ones you get on well with) who Boss might leverage to get to you. (You can unblock them later.) Emails too.

        They have no power over you anymore. You owe them NOTHING.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Yep. Only engage if you think it will help you in some way. Otherwise, you wrote down your experiences and it is in their hands.

      3. CommanderBanana*

        Absolutely. I left a job because of a horrible coworker who caused 3 out of our 5 staff to quit. The remaining coworker then tried to file an EEO complaint because for the first time, he was being asked to do work because all the rest of the support staff was gone. I was contacted as part of his investigation, sent a blistering email back about why everyone had left and told them not to contact me again. (Hilariously enough, although we’d worked together for 3 years, he didn’t even get my name right.)
        You don’t owe them anything.

    6. LifeBeforeCorona*

      You can always send an email directly to HR detailing all of your incidents with your workplace. Bypass your former manager because he could send on an edited version downplaying your experience.

      1. EEOC Counselor*

        This is what I would probably do – one email to HR with all of the details, including that she tried to report everything to her manager and he blew her off. At the end, would say that I would no longer be communicating with them as I no longer worked there. Then I would block them all.

      2. Observer*

        Yes, ONE mail to HR (not your manager) laying it all out would probably be a good idea if you are up for it. But after that, I’d just block them. This is not your rodeo any more.

        If there is ANY good faith here, that email will be all that competent HR will need.

    7. EPLawyer*

      OP1 — you might be worried about a future reference. This place sucks so you weren’t getting anything but confirmation of employment dates anyway. So don’t let that stand in the way of you ignoring the manager begging you to save his job. Because this is 100% about him and not your complaints.

      1. Worldwalker*

        Yeah, that bridge went up in flames the moment the OP quit that job. The kind of company where the ex-boss keeps harassing you and won’t take no for an answer is not the kind of company that would *ever* have given you a good reference.

        1. Don't Be a Management Apologist*

          The bridge went up in flames the moment management failed to address OP1’s harassment claims. OP1 quitting is them admitting there’s no point in rebuilding the bridge.

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      OP, I think the job has gotten in your head and not quite left, because you use phrases like “he made me” and “he forced me.” But he can’t make you! You put in your notice, and you are allowed to now draw a sharp line that that part of your life is over. (For mental health, this is often the right move even if you “might have a case” in some legal sense–a lot of people prefer to just move on and not give this job any more bandwidth.) You can just think “smell ya later” and stop responding, though I think one clear, no softening language “I’ve quit and don’t want to spend any more time on this” is useful to point to when you ignore future calls.

      1. Observer*

        OP, I think the job has gotten in your head and not quite left, because you use phrases like “he made me” and “he forced me.” But he can’t make you! You put in your notice, and you are allowed to now draw a sharp line that that part of your life is over


        1. BlueK*

          I’m guessing and so could be totally wrong. But the OP sounds young. And often young people are socialized to believe that they have to do what people in authority tell them to do. Part of becoming an adult for a lot of people is realizing that no, you don’t. You get to choose whether or not to follow orders. There are consequences, sure. But it’s a choice.

          I’m speaking from watching others around me realize this as a young adult. For better or for worse, my parents were big on questioning authority. So, I never really believed in blind compliance.

          1. LutherstadtWittenberg*

            You can see this in all of us. Sexual harassment has gone on since we first stumbled upright.

      2. Cold Fish*

        Yes! And make a conscious effort to always refer to manager as EX-boss, even when thinking of him. It will help you remember that he can’t “make you” do anything as he has no power over your life. You took control of your life by quitting. What you do now is up to you.

    9. Sloan Kittering*

      Honestly in an hourly job like a restaurant, it should be obvious to them that they have to pay you for your time. Time is literally money in an hourly role! Restaurant workers are not spending hours for free helping other people improve their process. If you’re not on their payroll, they get zip.

    10. Lily*

      Yeah, no one is “forcing” you to do anything. He may be “insisting”, but no one can “force” you to participate. Please don’t give away your power.

    11. Junior Assistant Peon*

      A former coworker of mine was asked to participate in an HR investigation after he had been laid off from the company. He happily volunteered to do so, as the investigation ended up getting his hated boss in trouble!

    12. Betty Turtledove*

      Alison: You’re not obligated to do anything for your former boss. Did he do anything to help you when you lodged your complaints? Try to fix things to keep you aboard? Obviously not. He’s obviously catching heat from above and trying to cover his ass. Well, he can cry you a river. You are a free agent and really don’t have time to investigate your case. You’re moving on to a better position. Let him twist in the wind.

  2. Non Genius*

    No. 2, please DO NOT put Mensa on your resume!

    I know someone who claims to be a member. Most of us who work with her snicker about it, because she cannot spell, often doesn’t know how to perform the simplest of tasks and is generally inept.

    If you put Mensa on your resume, you may find more is expected of you. You’d better live up to the expectations. You may also look like a braggart. My coworker is a laughingstock.

    1. Freelance Everything*

      Your point is sound but you should also perhaps work on not mocking a coworker behind their back; incompetent or not. It’s toxic and cruel.

      1. darcy*

        If I heard someone making fun of their coworker for not being able to spell it would make me think much less of the person doing the mocking.

      2. Non Genius*

        Unfortunately, our coworker is distantly related to the boss. We continually clean up her messes. Yes, she does get ridiculed. But frankly, it is often the only way to cope.

        If she were not constantly bragging about herself, I suspect the mockery would stop.

        And frankly, you were pretty quick to jump on me.

          1. Jam Today*

            She’s given them permission to make fun of her spelling by constantly telling people she’s smarter than they are. She’s put the bullseye on herself.

            1. Rose*

              All we know is she claims to be a member of Mensa. Maybe it’s something she started mentioning because her co-workers were so rude about her spelling issues and treating her like she was dumb.

          2. Non Genius*

            Well, I didn’t want to give too much detail. We work in a communications agency that handles advertising, news releases, social media, etc.

            Thé owner’s relative is not elderly, but is unable to figure out how to look up words, either online or in a dictionary. It is a consistent problem. Everyone covers for her.

          3. EmKay*

            If someone keeps bragging about being in Mensa and doesn’t know which they’re/there/their to use, I’m making fun of them.

          4. Boof*

            Sorry but when someone acts like they are superior (and unless you put it under some sort of “hobby” that’s usually what effectively saying “I have a high IQ!” unprompted is about) then makes basic mistakes, I think its fair game to some degree. And I say that as a person who would probably qualify for mensa and can’t spell and makes tons of typos.

          5. Elle by the sea*

            Exactly. Very juvenile attitude. So, you are not supposed to mention that you are a Mensa member if you don’t measure up in some areas? Bad spelling is not synonymous with low levels of intelligence. Neither does your inability to do your job well. Furthermore, having a high IQ doesn’t imply that you will be good at most things. And that’s statement “I am a member of Mensa” doesn’t translate to “I am smarter than you”. It means: I’m sharing an interesting bit of my personal life with you. Leave your insecurities behind and act like a grown up, please.

            1. anon for this*

              Of course people who score high on an IQ test are not going to be good at everything. But one thing I notice is that some are particularly not good at noticing that, “Hey, telling everyone I score high on an IQ test and then making repeated and simple objective errors that can largely be solved by spellcheck is not high in EQ.”

              It’s one thing to chat with coworkers about what you did over the weekend: “I picked raspberries all morning then attended a Mensa event that was really fun! We heard from this gal in astrophysics…” That’s sharing an interesting bit of personal life. There is no need to make sure all coworkers know that you’re “in the club”, same as for dietary preferences/needs, religion, parenting style, exercise habits, etc.

            2. Working*

              I mean, I’m not sure people need to be telling their co-workers they belong to Mensa period. Especially when 99% of the time, “I’m a member of Mensa” IS used to say “I’m smarter than you.”

              1. Non Genius*

                It may be that she really is smarter than everyone else, because she is getting us to basically do her work for her. I can’t even begin to count the times I have been asked to find some piece of information etc., because she cannot.

                It is quite normal and not an uncommon reaction to make jokes about someone who keeps interrupting your work because she cannot find a piece of information. The smug responses here really surprise me. I think some of you are just looking for someone to complain about, a d you’ve chosen me.

                How does that make you superior to me?

        1. Observer*

          And frankly, you were pretty quick to jump on me.

          And? I think that it was perfectly reasonable response to immediately call out the mockery of people behind their backs.

          I’ll point something out to you – I have my doubts that the coworker is as toxic as you claim. If that had really been the story, then you would have realized that people don’t have the context, and you would have explained. End of story. But instead, you complain that someone called out your childish and inappropriate behavior. That’s hugely telling.

    2. the Mansplainer*

      If this person managed to get and keep her job despite being unable to spell and being inept at her job, wouldn’t that suggest that putting Mensa on your CV might help?

      1. Artemesia*

        Because relatives of the boss etc etc usually get and keep jobs because of how competent they are.

          1. Non Genius*

            I did not want to give away too much. Sorry, but I did not really think that was relevant. I did not do a good job explaining, I guess. Thé Mensa person is always bragging about how smart she is, but she needs help with almost everything!

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Correlation isn’t causation. As we often discuss here, hiring is often a black box from the candidate-side, so I don’t think this anecdote gives evidence for or against the effect of putting Mensa membership on one’s resume.

        It’s just as likely that, based on the info in the original comment (i.e., disregarding being a relative) the person was hired despite putting that down.

    3. Thistle Whistle*

      A head office employee at my old job decided to put his Mensa IQ on his email signature. It caused a great deal of hilarity at first but no one treated him an differently in the long run. But people did roll their eyes the first couple of times they saw it as came across as total arrogance and trying to prove you are better than everyone else. Another colleague added his shoe size and collar measurement in his first email back to Mr Mensa.

      I believe his colleagues at head office teased him a bit but he took it ok as he was proud of his status and viewed it as another stat about himself. But he was also one of the few who put his qualification letters into his signature too (not something done within the department).

      It lasted a few weeks until a senior who had been off on sick leave and holidays came back – saw it and told him to remove it as they hated the arrogance of it. There was some pushback from Mr Mensa. A new HR directive on what could go in email signatures arrived in days.

      1. Artemesia*

        It comes across as tone deaf as putting your SAT scores on your resume when you are long past college. Since it doesn’t represent accomplishment it has no relevance to hiring. If you are actually smart it will be obvious in your work.

        1. Daisy*

          Aren’t SAT scores in America mainly for college admission? So presumably they wouldn’t convey much more information than having the name of a decent college on your resume does already?

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            (A side note, as discussed in comments before: Many colleges & universities are starting to drop them or make them optional. Why? It turns out SAT score correlates better with socioeconomic status than with college & life performance.)

            1. Artemesia*

              I once performed an analysis on our grad students using GRE scores (SATs for grad school) I compared those with scores in the preferred range with students admitted because they had high undergrad performance with lower than expected GREs. At the masters level the differences in subsequent performance were small. At the doctoral level the differences favoring high GREs were substantial and significant. While it is definitely true that those with fewer advantages may have scores that are below their natural ability, it is also true that it does a pretty good job differentiating capacity for advanced work for most people.

              1. Peachtree*

                It’s interesting that as someone who seems to work in graduate admissions, you’re conflating SATs and the GRE, when they are different tests with different aims … the actual requirements of success in grad school are quite different to undergrad, and I’m not sure that this equivalence makes sense.

                1. Butterfly Counter*

                  Huh. I’ve taken both the SAT and the GRE and they were incredibly similar in composition. They don’t really seem to be trying to test different things (vocab, reading comprehension, math skills, etc.).

                  Of course there are targeted GRE tests, IIRC, that aim to test specific subject matter from college courses.

                2. MCMonkeyBean*

                  They weren’t conflating them, they were providing context for people who haven’t heard of the GRE.

                3. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

                  I used to teach for Kaplan TestPrep and the SAT and GRE are in fact very similar tests. In my view the difference is that the GRE is a computer-adaptive test, which means that the difficulty of the questions you get depends on your previous answers. I taught for 10 years, teaching the prep courses for the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and LSAT.

                4. Zona the Great*

                  That’s not what she was doing, Peachtree. She offered a very quick note so that folks who don’t know are aware that GREs are often a requirement before grad school much like SAT/ACTs are often a requirement before undergrad. This was a bit obtuse.

              2. Observer*

                it is also true that it does a pretty good job differentiating capacity for advanced work for most people.

                However, it’s totally not relevant to standard college admissions. As you note there wasn’t much correlation with performance even at a masters level. And no college is doing admissions for undergrad based on PhD potential.

            2. ArtsyGirl*

              I was coming here to say this exact thing. Supposedly objective tests are more a marker of economic privilege than of actual IQ. I remember reading an article pointing to this using an example of a word association (W is to X therefore Y is to Z) that included the word regatta. Even if a person had faithfully memorized Latin or Greek root words it would not help them since it comes from the Venetian dialect and translates into fight. It doesn’t have broad context in society outside of sailing and there are no cognates.

          2. ecnaseener*

            For the sake of thoroughness: America also has a wildly-expensive-tuition problem, so there are plenty of people with great SAT scores who didn’t attend a comparatively great college. Arguably someone in that situation, in the 18-20 range with not much else on their resume yet, might benefit from listing SAT scores. Of course once you get a few years out, it becomes just a test you took when you were 16.

          3. Artemesia*

            well no. They are basically IQ tests and plenty of people who can’t afford to go to Harvard have very high SATs — me for example. My choices in my family were the local state university or the local CC. There are lots of people with high SATs who go to lesser colleges. And the scores don’t belong on the resume any more than GPA, or Mensa.

            1. Observer*

              They are basically IQ tests

              They are most definitely NOT. That’s one of the problems with the test – it actually does a terrible job of telling you anything about a student except whether they can take tests well.

              1. valprehension*

                “it actually does a terrible job of telling you anything about a student except whether they can take tests well.”

                That is a perfect description of IQ tests also, you know. They are very much the same.

                1. Librarian of SHIELD*

                  Yeah, I have a high IQ score, but I’ve always attributed it to the fact that I’m good at taking standardized tests. My sibling who got a lower score than mine is every bit as smart and capable as I am, if not more, they just have a learning disability that prevents them from being good at tests.

                2. banoffee pie*

                  I think you can improve your IQ score with practice. I know somebody who kept doing them and got better and better scores. I don’t think they were getting smarter every time! Somebody doing their 20th will probably do better than somebody doing their first ever. They’re also very heavy on the maths stuff. I’ve never done one properly (just for fun) but the only non-maths type questions I could find were those logic ones. …… is to……..as …….. is to……… I like those.
                  I’ve been told by friends who did science/maths to A-level/uni level that they can answer a lot of the questions with techniques they were taught, which isn’t fair on us arts types. It’s not like they’re just figuring it out as they go during the test.

                3. quill*

                  Yeah, IQ tests are at best dodgy indicators of academic performance (because being good at taking tests does tend to get you higher grades!) they’re not that useful in determining real world aptitude.

                  Especially if the test was given in childhood, since everyone develops at a different rate.

              2. kt*

                A very long time ago you could get into Mensa using an SAT score. Certainly SAT and IQ tests try to be different, but it is certainly the case that a large vocabulary helps as do test-taking techniques. I used to be very very good at standardized tests, like perfect SATs good…. by the time the subject-matter GRE test in math rolled around I started having more trouble as I’d gotten used to writing proofs instead of doing computations and answer multiple-choice questions, and I really had to refresh those skills that had started getting rusty.

              3. Ampersand*

                Standardized tests measure your ability to take standardized tests. IQ test, SAT, GRE; they’re all similar in that regard.

          4. Michelle Smith*

            Okay, then use GPA in the example then. Putting that you earned a 4.0 GPA 25+ years ago in college is ridiculous and irrelevant. And it would still be more relevant than Mensa membership, which literally no one should care about.

            1. Worldwalker*

              I’m qualified for Mensa, like 2% of the rest of the population. (it’s not very exclusive) I’ve never seen any reason to join.

              You figure, 1 in 25 people with an average or above IQ are qualified to join. So, in a company with 1000 employees (assuming they’re all at least average) statistically there will be 40 potential or actual Mensa members. 39 of them don’t put this fact in their email signature. But this one guy….

              That guy is one of the reasons I’ve never even considered joining Mensa. A not-very-exclusive group with a cachet of specialness will attract entirely too many people like him.

                1. kt*

                  If we’re starting to get into the details here, “above average” is only half of the population if we assume that the mean and the median are equal. With a skewed distribution there’s no guarantee that at or above average is 50%.

                2. Polly Hedron*

                  kt raises a good point. I just meant that Worldwalker is likelier to be correct than Autumnheart: “assuming they’re all at least average” in Worldwalker’s hypothetical company, the percentage would probably be closer to 4% than 2%.

                1. Polly Hedron*

                  Nope, 2%:

                  To qualify for Mensa, you must have scored in the top 2 percent of the general population on any one of more than 200 accepted, standardized intelligence tests — including our Mensa Admission tests — at any point in your life.


            2. Elle by the sea*

              I have my GPA on my CV (not undergrad, though) and it did help me get a job a few times because it stood out/raised eyebrows.

              Mensa is highly selective (no matter what people say) and the members are as diverse as the general population: the only thing that unites them is that they are better than average at the type of things that IQ tests measure. I know many people who are open about being Mensa members. Most of them are interesting people with a wide range hobbies and varying degrees of education, ranging from little or no formal education to PhDs. Some of them are horrible human beings. Others are the kindest people I have ever met.

              I agree that a Mensa membership isn’t a particularly relevant information on one’s CV, but if I saw it listed on a candidate’s CV, it wouldn’t be a huge turn off for me. Listing your IQ score would indeed be obnoxious. In fact, I haven’t met any real Mensa member who would reveal their score to anyone. But mentioning your membership is no different from listing any club membership. Most Mensa members do volunteer and participate in community building, which is a pretty useful skill at the workplace, too. So, I don’t find anything fundamentally wrong with mentioning it on your CV, but it really does depend on the context and how you present it.

          5. JohannaCabal*

            Plus, it seems like every decade or so College Board (the company that owns the SATs, or at least did when I was in school), changes the scoring system. When I was in high school in the ’90s, the perfect score was 1500 or 1600. Then, not long after I graduated, they added a writing component and the perfect score was now 2400. Ten or 15 years later they dropped the writing component and made other changes.

            So an SAT score would also be a great way for a less-than-scrupulous employer to age discriminate.

            1. Cold Fish*

              I remember getting my SAT scores and thinking “what the hell does this mean? did I do okay?” I didn’t have any idea on how they were scored, what a perfect score was, nor did I really care. All I wanted to know is if they were good enough to get into college. I went to school the next day and one of my friends asked what I got. I told her and she looked at me incredibly surprised and exclaimed “You did better than me!”. (She did the whole SAT prep class thing at a local CC while my “studying” was taking a test prep the night before.) I can still hear her voice in my head, and I still find it funny.

            2. Worldwalker*

              1600. Three people in my HS class (there were about 600 of us; big school) got perfect scores. I ran into one, years later, doing postdoc at MIT. I guess it worked out for him. (no idea what happened to the other two)

            3. WantonSeedStitch*

              Yeah, when I was taking them, the writing test was one of the SAT II separate subject matter tests. Most colleges I was applying to required you to submit scores from the regular SAT, the writing test, and one other SAT II. I think I picked French. Perfect score on the SAT was 1600, perfect score on any of the SAT IIs was 800.

          6. Boof*

            Pretty much. Similarly, an IQ score is how well you did on one specific test at one point in your life, usually.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          This is a good analogy–and as Non Genius infers, listing quiz results like this suggests that you are pretty sure nothing else about your life is going to convey that information.

        3. Hippo-nony-potomus*

          Eh, people who get 600s aren’t the same as people who get 800s. You look weird putting the 620 math/630 verbal on your resume because that’s not very special. However, if you killed the SAT (1500+ on the 1600 scale), there are ways to say it without saying it.

          I’m imagining a situation in which someone knocked the math SAT out of the park, killed the chem/physics/math APs, and got a degree in French literature for whatever reason. She’s now 27, is tired of underpaid jobs, and decides that she would like to pivot into programming, data science, or finance. She has the math chops to do this; she needs to demonstrate it. Some roles require candlepower more than experience.

          Presumably, she’s a National Merit Scholar, so maybe she can slide that onto her resume. Did she get a small scholarship to college for being NM? She could include something in her cover letter that says “Although not required for my degree, I took mathematics classes up through differential equations (A-), linear algebra (A), and real analysis (A-).”

          Many of the test prep companies require high scores to teach for them. Manhattan, I think, requires 99th percentile scores; Kaplan requires 99th percentile to teach advanced, or at least they did back when I was there. If this is something you are doing alongside your day job or had done relatively recently, it’s not weird to put it on your resume. You just don’t SAY that you got a 1540 on the SAT; you say that you teach for Manhattan.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            My niece got a perfect SAT score. I assume it went on her application to be an SAT tutor when she was in undergrad.

            It would not go on her resume now, a few years later, because she can point to other things she accomplished.

            SAT scores are fine if applying to be an SAT tutor and weird in almost any other context. Similar to the LW who was advised to go ahead and explain her favored bra style in the cover letter to the company that made that bra, or someone mentioning their D&D campaigns when applying for a company that writes guides. There are very narrow areas where your ACT scores, preferred undergarments, hobbies, or decorating sense actually make sense to include in the cover letter; I don’t think you can pivot into data science at 27 by citing your test scores at 16.

      2. A Feast of Fools*

        I am a member of Mensa. When you take the Mensa test (versus an independent IQ test), you don’t find out your score. You only get a letter telling you if you are accepted for membership or not.

        So, basically, there’s no such thing as a “Mensa IQ.”

        There is only “I’m a member of Mensa,” and, separately, “I paid to take the [Wechsler / Standford-Binet /Peabody] IQ test and here’s what I scored.”

        I used to put my Mensa membership status on my resume, but only because I’d done a lot of volunteer work and held a handful of elected positions in my local chapter, and some of the stuff I’d done related to the jobs I was applying to. Whenever an interviewer would say something like, “Oho! A member of Mensa! So you’re really smart, eh?” I’d reply with, “Nah, it just means I’m good at taking standardized tests.”

          1. A Feast of Fools*

            … because of the relevant volunteer work, and not the actual membership??

            I thought I made that clear.

    4. John Smith*

      I have a friend who is extremely articulate, frighteningly intelligent, quick witted and is also illiterate. He is the most kind and humble person I have ever met and he would cheerily correct your attitude towards your colleague. Please be kind.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        My first ex was a Mensa member and he had me take the tests to see if I was “worthy.” I passed them all and had a slightly higher IQ. I never joined and tried to explain to him that there are different kinds of intelligence. I can write a poem or short story in under 30 minutes and put together a six-drawer IKEA dresser by myself. But I can’t change my car tire. Book smart doesn’t mean common sense smart.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          As soon as you went past “worthy” to “slightly higher IQ” I knew where this relationship was heading.

            1. Observer*

              Oh, definitely not just you. I suspect that a lot of people had the same thought and just didn’t comment.

        2. Worldwalker*

          My maternal grandfather (died before I was born) was a coal miner in PA. His parents pulled him out of school when he was 8 years old to go to work as a “breaker boy” — one of the children (pre child labor laws) who sat by the belt coming down from the breaker to pick out the rock from the coal. The family was dirt poor; they needed every penny of income. He could barely read and write. But, according to my mother, he was the person everyone in the family came to for things like planning a porch to put on the house. He’d look at where it had to go and tell them how to build it. Not only without an engineering education, but without *any* education. I often wonder what he might have accomplished if he hadn’t come from a poor immigrant family around the turn of the century.

          By the way, changing a car tire is no harder than assembling knockdown furniture, honest! (and a lot easier than writing a short story) Get a friend to show you how to do it. It’s one of the things everyone should know, because there are multiple types of hazards with being stranded somewhere with a flat tire.

          1. DataGirl*

            My dad finished high school but had terrible grades. Was told by teachers he’d never amount to anything. Went to a technical school to learn how to be a mechanic and got the highest ever score on the entrance exam to that date. Turns out, he’s a mechanical genius. Not just cars but anything relating to building- he built his and my mom’s first house- did all the electrical, plumbing etc.

            Much later in life when he had kids and one was dyslexic we figured out he probably is too- but in the 50’s and 60’s no one knew about it. He still has trouble reading but can fix anything- I’m sure if he had the opportunity to get help in school instead of ridiculed he could have easily been an engineer.

          2. Ann O'Nemity*

            Re: changing a flat – it’s just practice, honestly. I am not handy; I am the opposite of handy. But I can change a flat confidently because I grew up with POS beater cars and cheap-o tires. Like most things, if you do it enough times it’s not so daunting. (The one piece of advise I’d add is to throw a pipe in your trunk to extend your lug nut wrench and add more leverage, just in case the lug nuts are on too tight. They probably make special extenders but I’ve just used a regular lead pipe with enough diameter that the end of the wrench fits in.)

        3. Hippo-nony-potomus*

          You dated my ex, too?

          He threw a fit when he had me take a computer IQ test and I scored higher than he did. Wish someone had told me that it was a sign to kick him to the curb.

    5. HailRobonia*

      I work at a Leading Research Institution™, full of super smart scientists and engineers. Nobody has ever talked about their IQ. Geniuses boasting about their IQ scores is something from Hollywood and the Big Bang Theory, not real life.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        And isn’t it rather widely acknowledged now that IQ tests, like BMI scores, are rooted in racist conceptions of what counts as “excellence” and are therefore deeply flawed as a metric?

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Yes, they are deeply flawed. Although I believe a large part of it is socioeconomic status and ability to prep for the tests.

        2. introverted af*

          Wasn’t IQ testing originally developed to measure academic need as standardized schooling became a thing?

        3. Prof*

          Just your resident historian of science dropping in to note that both IQ and the SAT have their roots in eugenics! So maybe we shouldn’t privilege them as measures of social worth and/or aptitude!

        4. another Hero*

          ding ding ding, “buys into thing made up for eugenics” would be the reason I would judge someone for putting mensa on their resume

          1. Elle by the sea*

            I agree with the skewed nature of IQ tests. But I do disagree with your assumption that people who take IQ tests buy into eugenics. No, most of them don’t. Most of them don’t think they are smarter than others, either. They take the test out of curiosity and they would like to bond with the diverse set of people who took the test out of curiosity, too.

        5. Elle by the sea*

          Yes, no matter how much people try to prove they are objective and not embedded in western culture, IQ tests are extremely skewed towards western, city-dwelling, non-creative ways of thinking.

        6. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yes and according to a feminist book I wrote, the first time they ran the tests, the girls all got way better scores than the boys, so they tweaked the questions, adding more of the sort the boys got right, and giving fewer points for the type of question the girls got right.

            1. Usagi*

              Haha! I definitely paused there. Like “wait… you wrote it, but you’re quoting it? And by ‘according,’ do you mean you’re not sure if it’s true or not? What’s even going on here??”

      2. AngryRant*

        This. I am also in a field where a basic standard for entry is academic excellence and advanced studies. No one, but no one, talks about their IQ — that would be regarded as crass and silly.

      3. Worldwalker*

        It’s like special forces and hackers: If they talk about it, either one, they’re likely not real. Think stolen valor and script kiddies.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Oh so true. Fond memories of the person who sent in an application for a job on my team (higher level IT) and had put how they’d hacked ‘many websites and a member of anonymous’ on their CV.

          1. UKDancer*

            Think that only works if you’re Penelope Garcia. I did see an article claiming the CIA recruited some hackers but not sure it’s a great thing to put on the CV.

    6. tamarack and fireweed*

      I have friends who are in Mensa. It appears to be a social club for a particular sub-species of nerdy/geeky people. Which is absolutely fine, but not relevant to a CV/resumé/job application.

      And because *some* people in Mensa have a weird chip on their shoulder as if it meant anything of particular relevance that they qualify, there’s an additional chance that putting it on your resumé might backfire.

      (Also, as Non Genius’s comment shows, it seems to be bringing out people’s inclination to engage in a one-upmanship of put-downs, which is quite unhealthy.)

      1. Non Genius*

        No one says anything to Mensa coworker. In fact, most of the comments made follow one of her slip ups, not her bragging. I think everyone is used to it by now. We’ve tried to make the boss aware, but he is not interested. I think most of us will eventually leave.

      2. EPLawyer*

        THIS. Mensa by its owns mission statement is a SOCIAL organization. It no more belongs on a resume than your membership in Kiwanis or Girl Scouts or anything else. It’s not relevant to your work experience, so leave it off.

        Former Mensa Member who dropped out because it wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I now associate Mensa with people who are smart but have limited social options to connect with other smart people. Maybe they live in a rural area with few other people, or have some difficulty interacting face-to-face that makes it hard to make friends–Mensa pre-selects for people like themselves.

        2. Sandi*

          Agreed. I am a nerd who loves puzzles, including the mensa ones, but based on the behavior of the mensa members I have met (not self-aware, want to talk about themselves and not listen) I would not consider it an asset. Maybe I had bad luck with the people I met, and I’m sure that some of them are great, but their system is designed to get membership from someone who wants to be around people who care about tests and numbers.

          1. Ann O'Nemity*

            Maybe it depends on the members? I have a pretty positive association with Mensa; there were some local members that volunteered with my school’s Odyssey of the Mind group. But as I’m typing this I’m realizing that I probably only interacted with the ones who were civic and community-oriented, not the ones who joined for bragging rights.

        3. The OTHER Other*

          Good point–I would only mention social organizations if I did volunteer work for them, and that work was relevant. Raised $_____ for the charity drive, or managed a membership database, or whatever. Listing accomplishments, basically.

      3. DataGirl*

        I’ve only heard bad things about Mensa membership from people who were members at some point- that it’s full of condescending jerks. If I saw Mensa membership on a job application I would be the opposite of impressed.

        1. Non Genius*

          I certainly would not be impressed. Our coworker is certainly condescending, so maybe she is a member of Mensa.

          1. LutherstadtWittenberg*

            The only Mensa people I know make it a point that everyone knows they’re Mensa people.

            1. tamarack and fireweed*

              Well, TBH, how would you even know for the ones who don’t talk about it? So there’s some selection bias going on. (Similar to how some people react negatively to vegetarians and especially vegans, because the only ones they interact are the ones who keep up a steady stream of hyping this kind of choice. Or animal rights people. Or birders.)

      4. Dancing Otter*

        Exactly! As a member (I joined at 20; don’t judge!), I’ve drifted in and out of active participation. It’s definitely social. “Nerdy/geeky” is a bit harsh, as many of the active members have quite adequate social skills.
        The primary values I perceive in Mensa are its dedication, as an organization, in promoting gifted educational resources (especially where the public schools fail) and trying to offset the social isolation felt by gifted children, who are frequently picked on by their teachers as well as their classmates.
        The swell-headed IQ snobs aren’t popular within the group, either.

        1. Feral Fairy*

          I totally understand the appeal of Mensa based on your comment, but even the thing about “improving gifted resources” seems a bit problematic. I think those programs have benefits, but at the same time the idea of separating children at a young age from their peers and putting them into categories of “gifted” and not gifted has its drawbacks too. Children with racial and/or socio economic are over represented in those programs. So hopefully MENSAs advocacy would involve addressing those disparities.

        2. tamarack and fireweed*

          Uh, I’m a self-avowed geek AND nerd myself. My social skills are fine. So not harsh, coming from me.

      5. Eden*

        This is where I stand too. Some comments on this thread seem to be going way too far, as if the simple fact of Mensa membership itself is a character flaw. It’s really not! Including it on a resume is off-putting because they think it belongs there, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with Mensa.

    7. Dust Bunny*

      One of my best friends is a terrible speller despite being, yes, highly intelligent, an excellent student (as in, earned a full scholarship to an Ivy League university. And, no, she was definitely not legacy), and a voracious reader. Some people just don’t have the knack.

      1. Non Genius*

        That is wonderful! So often it seems non readers are the ones who cannot spell. Perhaps we word nerds make too many assumptions.

        1. wittyrepartee*

          Hi! I’m a terrible speller! It’s probably a byproduct of being ADHD. I read a lot, my fiction is mostly audiobook these days, but that’s because the rest of my day is spent reading scientific papers and my eyes are tired.

          1. banoffee pie*

            English is hard to spell. There are too many exceptions to spelling rules and many other languges are easier. I sometimes wonder if there is such a concept of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ spellers in other lagnuages that follwo the ruls more. Some people can ‘see’ words on the page and some can’t.

              1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

                Reaching back to my spelling bee kid days, I wonder–how much of being good at those things is some combination of stage presence, an ability to perform under pressure, and a capacity for rote memorization?
                Something else that fascinates me is that I have become less good at spelling, particularly in typing, after a (fairly mild but still debilitating) concussion a few years ago.
                In conclusion, spelling is probably an overrated skill.

            1. quill*

              Possibly. There are many brain processes that can refuse to break things down into coherent and ordered subcomponents. Dyslexia, dysgraphia, discalculia, dispraxia…

            2. WindmillArms*

              I figure it must be like spelling bees. Those are a bizarre and impossible concept in phonetic languages!

              1. banoffee pie*

                I don’t think spelling bees are that big a deal here in the UK, and we speak English. They probably do exist, but aren’t as popular as in the US.

                1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  When I was at school we had spelling tests every week, ten words in primary school, 20 in junior.

            3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Husband is severely dyslexic and autistic and has many troubles with the English language. He’s also much smarter than me and a heckuva lot nicer.

        2. Elle by the sea*

          Yes, many voracious readers are bad spellers. I know many linguists who are bad spellers, too. Spelling has nothing to do with language per se and spelling rules are often illogical and hard to memorise for people who are not highly visual.

        3. Le Sigh*

          Hi, hello. Big reader, professional writer, not-terrible but not-great speller — despite lots of training in my field. I have ways to work around it, but that is the reality I have to manage. I think you’re right about checking assumptions. We make so many assumptions based on things like spelling and grammar, including intelligence, education level, and competence, and I think it would behoove us all to reassess those assumption. A big one is what constitutes “proper English” — there’s a tendency to operate as if there’s only ever been one set of official language rules around English, as if it hasn’t been a constantly evolving thing (including spelling!). And it can lead to a lot of classist or racist behavior and assumptions, even if not intended. It’s not to say grammar and spelling don’t matter, but I think we extrapolate far too much from it.

    8. Magenta Sky*

      If I saw Mensa on a resume, I’d be more inclined to see it as a negative than a positive. The one meeting I went to involved more navel gazing and belly button lint contemplation than anything worth staying awake for. The sort of people who would spend all their work time cleverly figuring out how to improve the company (in ways that would never work in the real world) than actually, you know, doing their job.

    9. Sleepless KJ*

      You and your co workers sound pretty awful. It’s entirely possible for sometime to be Mensa level smart and also have learning disabilities like dyslexia for example, which certainly impacts one’s spelling. Gifted brains are often wired differently and hopefully your co-worker is a kinder and more decent person than the people she has to work with.

      1. quill*

        Yeah, my wires include “occasionally forgets how to make words with my face” and “random attacks of clumsiness.”

        It definitely did not lead to a life of classmates kindly ignoring my latest verbal or physical stumble instead of viciously sneering “Oh, I thought you were supposed to be /smart./”

      2. Sylvan*

        Yeah, some people are twice exceptional, but if someone’s a nepotism hire who brags about their intelligence and is also incompetent… Probably not everything said behind their back is going to be the nicest.

      3. LutherstadtWittenberg*

        For someone whose job it is to write and spell well, it is an issue to do both poorly. ‘Gifted brains’ just sounds snotty, come on.

    10. BurnOutCandidate*

      I noted on my resume a few years ago that I can solve the Rubik’s Cube (2×2, 3×3, and 4×4), partly for fun, partly to fill some space on the resume template I liked. (The third column was unbalanced and needed some filler.) No one’s even asked about it, and while I haven’t had much luck in the interviewing department (1 interview in the last eight years) I doubt that’s the reason why.

      1. Observer*

        If it’s still on your resume, take it off. It CERTAINLY is not helping. If I were looking at two resumes that were of similar interest, and I saw that, I would almost certainly pick the other resume. And I’m someone who actually asked someone how good they are with puzzles in an interview (yes, it was relevant to that position.)

        1. banoffee pie*

          I’m so bad at puzzles. So bad. I’ve never got a rubik’s cube done in my life. Can’t do suduko, cryptic crosswords or any of that.

          1. Observer*

            Well, I will admit that the question was very situation specific. It is NOT something I would typically ask.

            Which is kind of my point. Even though I know that it is SOMETIMES relevant, it’s so unusual that it really is an odd thing to put on a resume.

            1. banoffee pie*

              Oh yeah, there will definitely be jobs where puzzles are relevant. I wasn’t complaining about your interview question. But I would not be in the running for such jobs ;)

        2. BurnOutCandidate*

          I appreciate the advice, Observer, but I’m inclined to leave it as a situational sort of thing. It’s in the part of the skills list where I list that I can code WordPress plugins and themes (and have) and have some Linux skills. In other words, things I can do but don’t necessarily relevant to the job listing. And recently my department’s vice president interviewed someone recently because they listing cubing as a skill on their resume. (It came up in a conversation because I have two cubes on my desk and fidget with them when I’m thinking. I’m a copywriter.) I feel better about my job search now than I did a few years ago, when one recruiter told me straight up I was “unhireable.” That was before I even knew how to solve a Cube. :)

          1. Anan*

            WP coding and Linux skills are an entirely different thing from listing that you can solve a cube and seeing them in the same section would give me pause. I definitely would be unsure about you based on that.

        3. Loosey Goosey*

          Agreed. Also a column format on a resume sounds confusing. Why not rethink the content and format of your resume if it’s been nearly a decade with little job hunting success?

          1. BurnOutCandidate*

            The resume template I’m currently using came with a three-column skills block — job-relevant, job-adjacent, and personal. I liked the overall look of the template, and modified it a little to add a Select Bibliography block. (I’m a writer, copy and freelance.) It’s been rebuilt several times over the last eight years from advice here, other books, my former boss, my own HR department, and others, and I have specialized versions for comm jobs, marketing jobs, and sales jobs to emphasize this, that, or the other. (The version on LinkedIn and Indeed is the “base” version.)

            One problem is that comm jobs are not plentiful where I live, and I know from rejection letters and the one interview I had earlier this year that they’re getting inundated with applications. (At the interview, one of the intterviewers said they received four times what they had asked for through Indeed. I didn’t feel bad when they sent a note to say they were focusing on other candidates. I have a job, even though I want out, and someone else probably needed it more.)

            I feel better now than I did a few years ago about the possibility of getting a new job. Yes, it’s still frustrating when I receive a rejection, even from my own alma mater (didn’t make the interview cut), but at some point I’m going to have to run into something. It’s just math. :)

    11. Siege*

      I have never met anyone who talked about their Mensa membership who had a functional level of kindness or empathy. That’s highly anecdotal, but I will never forget the guy who cornered me at an industry conference to brag about his Mensa membership and also indicated shock and confusion that his housekeeper cleaned his hotel room because his do-not-disturb sign was missing and he didn’t engage in four other ways I thought of in ten seconds to keep her out. Instead, she SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that he’d been out till 5 am!

      I’m sure there are lovely people who are members, but the four I’ve met who talked about it were universally jerks. I would rank your resume down. Maybe not out, but you’re telling me something about you that I don’t have a good experience with. It doesn’t add to your case.

      1. STG*

        Funny. I’ve had the same experience but from non members.

        I largely never mention my membership because anytime that it’s come up, many non-MENSA members get particularly distant, cold or outright rude. I think this cuts both ways.

        1. Observer*

          Well, maybe you now know why.

          There are much better ways to figure out if people are reasonable than boasting and then watching their reaction.

          1. STG*

            I recognize that some people may use this as boasting but I don’t think that forgives bad, rude behavior or preconceived notions based on their limited experiences with some members.

            I think a lot more people would qualify if they actually took the testing though. I don’t view myself or any other member as some sort of magical unicorn person for having scored high on the tests.

          2. Eden*

            Mentioning Mensa isn’t “boasting”. Sometimes people just share facts about themselves. This makes me think of online vegan hate tbh. I know a lot of vegans and none of them fit the “angry vegan” stereotype. It’s really disappointing how many people are assuming that being in Mensa is a character flaw.

            1. Observer*

              I’m mot assuming that being in Mensa is a character flaw. However, in my experience when someone shares something like this in order to see if people react “properly”, it usually says more about them than about the people they are “examining”.

              Sure, it’s not true 100% of the time. But it certainly sounds that in this particular case.

              1. Eden*

                You’re really reading something into that comment that isn’t there. They’re mentioning reactions they’ve gotten, but there is no reason to believe they were fishing or baiting or other planning in judging people’s reactions. Sometimes things just come up in conversation. Yes, even Mensa.

            2. Working*

              Being in Mensa isn’t a character flow, but telling people you’re in Mensa is definitely boasting in most circumstances. It’s no different than telling people “I have a high IQ.”

          3. tamarack and fireweed*

            I really don’t think that being unkind to people just because they’re in Mensa is a good look. That is, if the first thing you hear about someone is their Mensa membership, and your reaction is to roll your eyes, this reflects badly on you, not them.

            At the same time, I wish Mensa wouldn’t exist, and certainly it *can* be a repository for people who are privileged in minor ways but haven’t succeeded in life the way they wished, and who have an attitude of retrograde resentment about. I am sensitive to any attitude of “I deserve more respect than I am getting because I scored high on this really problematic test that is greatly overvalued in folk lore.” However, it’s a social club, and people find social clubs all sort of ways. In many cases, it’s just the usual way: “I met X, and X was cool, and they said they hang out in social club Y, and I might like it too, so I became a member. We mostly drink beer and play checkers.”

            There can be patterns that are a bit weird associated with all sorts of social groups – toastmasters, birders, 4H, girl/boy scouts, runners, people highly invested in their church/synagogue/mosque/etc. It’s easy to stereotype some of them. But patterns should never be used to judge an individual over and before, you know. judging their attitude as an individual.

        2. Siege*

          Our anecdata are allowed to disagree. Not seeing a lot of people in the comments with your experience, however.

          1. STG*

            Of course. Pointing out my experience doesn’t detract from yours. I’m just the other side of the coin.

            Just as a point though, far more non-members are commenting on this thread than members and you can see the 0bvious disdain in some of them. This has been my experience in real life as well if the topic comes up. Hence, the fact that I keep my membership to myself. This being the exception since it’s actually about the organization.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              It’s become a word. It’s data that can be extracted from anecdotes. The anecdote here is “When I tell people I’m a member of Mensa they react badly” and the data is “a lot of people are prejudiced about Mensa” or maybe “a lot of people are prejudiced about people who tell everyone they’re a member of Mensa” depending on your take of this situation.

              1. tamarack and fireweed*

                Well, no. Anecdata is decidedly not data. It’s what you have if you only have anecdotes, and want to refer to the limited significance of your own observations in a jocular way.

                When it comes to social clubs (and intentionally leaving aside artistic, religious or political engagements), some are more exclusionary than others and some come with more baggage than others. Baggage as in problematic stuff that has a real impact on real people. Mensa has … some baggage. To me, not as much as, say, the Association of the Friends of the Police. Not as much as the Country Club. More than 4H or the Toastmasters. The real impact being kinda illustrated by the letter – too many people in Mensa believe that their mere membership is an impactful statement about their intelligence as it applies to real-life, job-relevant skills.

                Enough that if you are a member, and want to talk about it in casual conversation, you’ll encounter people who will wonder if your membership in Mensa says something about your attitude to those who wouldn’t qualify for Mensa. And there is enough substance to this hesitation that you can be reasonably expected to demonstrate some critical thought about the meaning of Mensa and the place it occupies in the wider culture. To demonstrate that you’re aware that *some* Mensa members, but not you, are assholes about it.

                On the other hand, there’s also the opposite extreme. Mensa is sufficiently unimportant, and also as far as I understand it, inoffensive, that ostracizing someone on the simple information of their membership is harsh and unkind. It’s not like it’s the neo-Nazis or the association for the protection of colonial monuments.

        3. Sleet Feet*

          Yeah same here. I worked hard to be hide my IQ when we had to do the tests in school. Anti Intellectualism is strong in this country. Being bright and into theoretical analysis means your a braggart blowhard in so many peoples eyes.

        4. Elle by the sea*

          I’m not a Mensa member and have no intention to find out whether I could be – my guess is no, I’m below the threshold. But I know many members and they tried to get me into taking a test. I honestly don’t care – I don’t want to know either way. It would either limit me (lower IQ) or make complacent (higher IQ) – I work in a highly technical, nerdy field. But I always find it fascinating to meet Mensa members. I actually have respect and appreciation for people who put themselves in the uncomfortable situation of getting “measured”. In no way do I perceive the mention of Mensa membership as bragging. Neither do I feel insecure about anyone’s membership. It’s merely an interesting bit of information about them – nothing more, nothing less.

        5. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          The thing is, saying that you are is basically stating your IQ range which is kind of irrelevant to most discussions at best. It’s like stating your BMI to people.

          1. STG*

            I don’t think that really forgives rude behavior. If someone brought up their BMI, I’m assuming you wouldn’t support shaming them for it? I don’t think that’s really a good parallel though.

            That being said, the last time that my membership came up a couple years ago was when I was asked what I had done over the weekend. When I mentioned that I did some volunteer work with my local MENSA chapter, that person’s body language did a 180.

            I do understand your viewpoint though. I just don’t agree that mentioning membership in an organization in pertinent conversation should be immediately viewed as bragging.

            1. Observer*

              Context is everything. Casually mentioning it in the way you are describing is a different thing that what your originally described. And I would fully agree with you that in this context, the person you were speaking to was not reacting in a reasonable way.

            2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              I think I’d be pretty…put off at someone mentioning their BMI in any context outside of a medical query (I admit I’m prejudiced as I encounter a lot of fat shaming in my life) but, hmm, I dunno I’d be actively rude unless they started on about how theirs is better than mine.

              Confession: I’ve been a member of MENSA. Briefly admittedly, after not really seeing any benefits for me and feeling really uncomfortable about how my husband didn’t qualify despite being wayy smarter than me.

              I do see it as a social group with limited membership still so, maybe a better analogy would be saying I’d spent time at some exclusive club that the person I was speaking to couldn’t ever join. However in a social context in response to a question? Eh, dunno I’d react badly, that’s kinda against every nuance of British politeness I know.

              Complex issue.

            3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              As far as shaming goes: we don’t shame people about their BMI because there might not be anything they can do about it. Maybe they’re on medication that makes them put on weight, maybe they have an eating disorder triggered by trauma.
              Someone who mentions that they’re a member of Mensa in any situation where their IQ is not being questioned is basically bragging about their IQ. And I think braggers can be shamed shamelessly!
              I never mention the grammar school I went to, because it’s one of those that are always in the top five schools in the league tables and it’s considered to be very elitist. It was actually quite refreshing to move to France where nobody had heard of it and people treated me like I was ordinary. If I have to explain about the school, I’ll roll my eyes as I explain that we were literally told we were the cream of the cream of society and the country’s future leaders.
              If you do volunteer work with your Mensa chapter, that’s great. I often talk about my volunteer work, but rarely mention the name of the NGO I work with, because it’s not at all important.

      2. Dr. Smartypants*

        I’m not a Mensa member, but I’m smart and I know a lot of very smart people. I went to MIT and got just shy of a perfect GPA, I have a PhD in the physical sciences, and I work at a national research center as a scientist. I’m around smart people all the time, and I know how I measure up.

        My hypothesis is this: Mensa members are universally smart. There are plenty of them who are also socially apt, but you probably don’t know about their membership because they don’t make a big deal about it. I think the ones who make a big deal out of it tend to be the ones who don’t get to spend much time with other smart people. This makes their membership in Mensa really valuable to them, because it’s where they get to feel a sense of belonging, so they think that others will value it more highly than they generally do.

        It also has a tendency to distort their social norms, just like working in a toxic workplace does. Because they’re working with a limited pool of candidates for this kind of important socialization, they learn to overlook a lot of weirdness and bad behavior (Geek Social Fallacy #2). They also can easily get a bit of big-fish-small-pond syndrome, which distorts your self-evaluation and can make it hard for you to appreciate smarts in other people, especially the fact that there are many different forms of intelligence, and that you can be really smart in some areas and totally inept in others. (A lot of freshmen at MIT go from being big fish in small ponds to little minnows in the ocean, and have to learn humility very quickly. I sure did.)

        In my experience, folks who loudly advertise their Mensa membership tend to be under-socialized and lean on their intelligence as a defense against criticism. In bad cases, they do it preemptively, wielding their smarts as a weapon and dismissing everyone else. If I saw Mensa membership on a resume, I would think “this person is very smart, but may have difficulty working well with others.” There are plenty of jobs where that may not be a negative! But LW2 will want to think carefully about that side of things.

        1. Siege*

          I mean, that was exactly my point? The people who brag about their Mensa memberships are people who, in my direct experience, are also rude and clueless, and I think that’s related. I don’t lead with “I studied at Oxford” or “I excelled at the International Baccalaureate” or any of the multiple other indicators I can claim which mark me as A Very Smart Person Indeed, BECAUSE it’s rude. I also have worked jobs people consider menial (housekeeping at a hotel, blue-collar work) and my intelligence has no bearing on that whatsoever. My upbringing in a blue-collar middle class family does, however – as does the fact my parents fought tooth and nail to get me educationally challenged.

          But all of that adds up to: I know how not to be a rude jackass by bragging about my inability to understand that other people are not beneath me, and that is my direct experience of people who like to talk about how great they are, which commonly overlaps with Mensa membership.

          1. Dr. Smartypants*

            Oh, I don’t disagree with you. I’m just offering a hypothesis about where that might be coming from.

        2. Elle by the sea*

          I agree with you, especially on the big fish-small pond-small fish-big pond thing. I also went to MIT, so I know what you are talking about. :) I faced a lot of hostility for mentioning that I studied there. I never bring it up, only when someone explicitly asks me or when others are discussing their experiences at university. But I often felt quite awkward that all other people are allowed to discuss or even brag about their experiences at their alma mater and when I tell a story, people turn away their face and change topic. I have also been told a few times that I wasn’t very smart, even though I went to MIT. Well, I never claimed to be smart in the first place. I think I’m pretty mediocre but I have extraordinary grit and passion for what I do.

          Luckily, I’m not at a toxic workplace anymore, but I still have this inner feeling that I should never bring it up.

          If I saw a Mensa membership on a CV, I would think it’s just like any club / society membership. I would probably follow up about what kind of volunteer work they did, if any. However, if I saw someone’s IQ range, that would be a huge turn off.

    12. Web of Pies*

      Maybe I’m a contrarian, but if you have to *say* how smart you are (aka the entire reason you want to put Mensa on your resume), I’m going to doubt it’s as true as you think it is. It’s like how you can’t really trust people who assure you they’re trustworthy, or the “I’m a Nice Guy, why are all women such [insert misogynistic abuse here]” meme.

      See also: hard work and grit being proven much more effective predictors of success than talent or intelligence.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yup. My daughter probably has a much higher IQ than my son, and she learnt stuff effortlessly at school. But then when it got that much harder, she floundered because she had never learned to knuckle down. My son had to slog the whole way through school, and was hardly ever fazed by new levels of difficulty.

        I’m just remembering that a friend of mine puts that she is a member of Mensa on her CV and even pro website. She is not at all like the people described here and in fact if there were a Mensa for EQ she’d be the member with the highest score there too. I think it may be a matter of wanting people to take her seriously – she’s an executive coach and she’s seriously overweight, so she probably doesn’t want people to think “stupid fat woman”
        (I’m not denigrating either fat people or women, it’s just that the kind of white cishet male she has to coach will think that way)

    13. cheeky*

      If you put Mensa on your resume or even bring it up in casual conversation, I will lose any respect for you. I’ve never met a bigger group of bores and irritating people.

      1. Observer*

        If you put Mensa on your resume or even bring it up in casual conversation, I will lose any respect for you

        Maybe – and maybe it’s you. There is a huge difference between pre-emptively bringing something like this up, and not hiding it. The fact that you automatically assume that mere membership must mean that someone is not worthy of respect, regardless of what else you know about them makes it hard to trust your judgement of people.

    14. Working*

      Really not sure why people are jumping down your throat on this, Non Genius – commenters post about toxic co-workers on here ALL the time.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yes, I’ve noticed that the capacity to take offence is skyrocketing in the comments here.

  3. Anononon*

    My old boss lists MENSA in his bio, and it’s hilarious because he’s textbook all of the bad stereotypes that one thinks of those who list MENSA.

    (Also, on a snotty note, assuming one buys in IQ BS, MENSA isn’t that prestigious/elite compared to other high IQ societies.)

      1. Cute Li'l UFO*

        Triple Nine Society, Mega Society, Prometheus Society… wikipedia has a list of some!

        My uncle joined when SAT scores were still eligible to join but I think he’d received an IQ test as a kid. Nevertheless noped out of the few meetings he went to but was more than happy to use the discount at Edmund’s Scientific when building sets for miniature operas and the like.

        One of my high school peers joined (volunteered his experience when the subject came up) and mentioned a similar dissatisfaction within the MENSA group.

      2. Becca*

        Wikipedia has a short list of some of the most common and the percentile rank needed.
        I’d argue Mensa would still probably do better than the others, since it’s the most well known (and *because* it’s less elite). That is, listing Mensa may come across as pretentious. Listing the Prometheus Society will come across as extra pretentious, if someone happens to know or bothers to look it up.
        The International High IQ Society always intrigued me the most. Probably because 1. not particularly elite, and 2. is an online community.

    1. Anon for this*

      In my experience, Mensa also operates on a “you cannot reject us – we reject YOU” principle. Meaning if you dare to say you’re not interested, suddenly you will receive a letter that there was a mistake with your score and suddenly you don’t qualify after all.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Oh, yes, this. I have a couple of friends who were invited to join post-assessment, and they went to new-member meetings to get to know their local chapter. Both friends declined to join after meeting the locals, they just didn’t click socially. For giggles, one of those friends tried to join another chapter that seemed less…intense. After he joined, they told him the group he declined tried to get him blacklisted at other chapters, including theirs.

    2. memememe*

      I highly recommend the podcast My Year in Mensa – a female comedian joins Mensa and, oh boy, it’s even worse than you think. In between hilariously terrible stories about going to meetings and getting viciously harassed on their facebook page, she breaks down how IQ tests and the whole thing are flawed and based in racist theories.

      1. Birch*

        Yep, came here to say this. 2021 is way past the time we need to recognize “IQ testing” and elitist “high intelligence groups” for the racist, ableist BS it’s always been. Please don’t join any “high IQ” society and definitely don’t put it on a resume. If what you want to convey is your skillset, use something that is actually relevant to that skillset (which ironically shows more critical thinking than listing a group like Mensa)!
        Having a “high IQ” does not make you a better person, and that’s the underlying assumption about using a “high IQ” society as a credential.

        1. I need cheesecake*

          Glad you mentioned critical thinking.

          I’m interested in seeing evidence of critical thinking, problem solving and emotional intelligence. I’m sorry but nobody will take
          Mensa as proof of any of this.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Completely agree.

            A coworker had what amounted to a tantrum when asked to perform a task (training someone) he felt was beneath him, throwing around his Mensa membership as proof he shouldn’t be expected to do this task. At the time I thought it was pure arrogance, but now I see it for what it was: insecurity. He’s a very smart guy and is great at his job (tech), but all I can think of now when I see or talk to him is the day he threw a tantrum.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              OP2, I think Dawn’s example sums something up pretty well–membership in Mensa is fine, if that’s how you get your board game group fix. Citing it in other contexts, like whether you are qualified for a role at work, is going to get some unusual eyebrow configurations going from people.

              1. Worldwalker*

                It’s like listing your marathon times on your resume. It’s somewhere between irrelevant and wierd.

          2. SheLooksFamiliar*

            The OP said ‘You would think that having a high level of intelligence would be an automatic asset, but people can be weird about this.’

            Well, I’ve worked with a lot of very intelligent people who cannot get along with their team, even when it’s in their best interests to do so. Or they refuse to do ‘scut work’ or anything that isn’t highly stimulating or abstract. They might be good at finding problems, but they were not always good at solving them. Also, some people simply test well – call it ‘artful regurgitation’ – and they have better memories than intellect.

            So no, a ‘high level of intelligence’ isn’t an automatic asset in the way OP seems to think it is. And since Mensa is a social network, not an academic one, it’s no more relevant to the workplace than a book club.

            1. The OTHER Other*

              Alison asks that we be kind to each other, and especially letter writers, so I will just say that same quote really rubbed me the wrong way.

              I suppose I have probably met perfectly nice Mensa members without knowing it, but those that mentioned it were always pompous, and never struck me as the smartest people either.

              1. Siege*

                Literally my experience as well. Jerks who couldn’t figure out which end of the mop was supposed to be wet.

            2. Feral Fairy*

              Yeah exactly, the issue here is the LW’s conflation of IQ intelligence with the type of intelligence that jobs are looking for. Of course employers want to hire people who are intelligent, but their definition of intelligent is different than Mensa’s.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          +1 to all this. Case in point: my very smart but “low achieving” high school friend who learned about her diagnosis of dyscalculia in her 20s and now has an excellent career in accounting. She probably still couldn’t excel at a timed math sheet but she’s a spreadsheet whiz and has a knack for analyzing financial patterns.

          1. A Feast of Fools*

            I would say that your friend is me but I didn’t find out about my dyscalculia until I was in my 40’s. I, too, have an excellent career in accounting, doing business process audits and financial data analytics.

            Part of the Mensa test is timed math. I filled in the Scantron bubbles in the shape of a flower.

            I still passed the test.

        3. Saraquill*

          I took many IQ tests when I was younger as part of my disability diagnostics. Part of one test involved listening several types of coins, and the administrator teased me for naming an antique, overseas coin. In later tests, I played it “safe” and named only domestic in circulation pieces. Then there was the fact I took the test often enough certain portions got easier with practice.

          Then there was the time I got a test which read as tailor made to focus on my weaknesses. A handwritten thing with math equations while I have dysgraphia and dyscalculia, AND the administrator made me cry beforehand. That test had me drop 15+ points compared to my typical results.

          1. RagingADHD*

            Random thought because I know very little about dyscalculia: Do folks with dyscalculia often have trouble reading music? Or is learning music helpful for coping/adapting with it?

            I know math and music access similar parts of the brain, so I wondered if it overlaps in people’s experiences.

            1. OyHiOh*

              One of my offspring has dyslexia/dysgraphia/dyscalculia. Among other language oddities, this offspring finds music theory easy and fun. Layperson observation: For my offspring, I think the staves anchor the notes so they don’t go anywhere unexpected. Also, music is a highly regular language, when written. /A/ is always in the same place on a staff. It doesn’t go anywhere. It can change slightly with a sharp or a flat but it’s still in the exact same spot and either has a symbol to tell you if it’s going to be sharp or flat, or the key signature tells you so.

            2. Caboose*

              In my case, I have issues ONLY with numbers. I am great at reading music, I’m great at logic problems, I can write a proof no problem (and I will probably enjoy it!). But as soon as there’s numbers involved, I can feel my brain leaking out my ears.

          2. Feral Fairy*

            Yeah, my sibling is on the autism spectrum (and disgraphia!) and also took a whole bunch of those tests when they were younger including an IQ test. They are extremely bright and were precocious with reading but they did not do well at that IQ test because of the social dynamic with the person doing the testing. When my sibling was little, they’d only respond to directions if they were expressed in a specific way. I am guessing that at the age of 4 or 5 when they were doing these tests, they didn’t really get what was going on or feel the need to perform and were also not very verbal either.

            Now, years later, my sibling is an extremely gifted writer, has many friends, and is doing well at a pretty competitive liberal arts college. The IQ test they took as a child was more of an indication of the problems with IQ tests than my sibling’s intelligence and capabilities.

        4. Worldwalker*

          I keep seeing (here and elsewhere) a lot about IQ tests, etc., being racist.

          I’ve only taken one IQ test in my life — I think when I was in 4th grade or thereabouts. Somewhere in elementary school, anyway. What little I remember about it (because it was about half a century ago) was a lot of things involving which would be the next pattern in a series, and I think I had to make prescribed designs out of parti-colored cubes. (I thought this was all a lot of fun!)

          So … how is that racist? I seriously don’t get it.

          1. quill*

            Inagliary? (Is that how we spell it?) is a different test, for spatial reasoning, than many of the more SAT formatted ones that often penalize people who grew up not speaking “standard” english… which in the USA tends to end up biasing the tests against people from immigrant communities or black people (because of historical reasons of lack of educational opportunity, and the fact that grammar ‘rules’ tend to be adjusted late, if ever, after the majority of english speakers have switched over.)

            I also thought the inagliary was a lot of fun but ANYTHING that got me out of times tables and waiting for other people to finish reading single sentences in our history books at that age was fun.

          2. biobotb*

            Pointing out that IQ tests are rooted in racist theories and practices is not the same thing as saying literally every question on them is racist. But even what you describe could probably give different results for children of different socio-economic status; for example, if kids have a parent who has the time and inclination to play those sorts of games with them earlier on, they’ll probably do better. Socio-economic status could intersect with a person’s immigration status or race in a way that would then lead to them doing worse on that portion of the test.

          3. American Job Venter*

            Google is right there, and denying that racism exists is one of the ways to perpetuate it. Even so, my next comment will have a link to one of many articles on the subject.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Are you accusing WorldWalker of being racist because they don’t see any racism in IQ testing? The “Even so” comes across as you trying to be magnanimous despite the racist question they asked.
              Please don’t bite people’s heads off when they’re trying to understand. If you’re tired of explaining, please don’t waste your energy answering. Yes Google is right there, but Google sometimes gives too many answers. Asking people who are making a claim, to explain themselves is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, in that those people probably know of a reliable website with the info needed.
              Thanks for the link, though.

              1. American Job Venter*

                Since you asked, yes, I have seen that commenter downplay and dismiss racism often enough to view this question with a jaundiced eye. The simile I was going to use before but decided against, so you may have it now, was that disbelief like this is like pulling a single pixel from a picture and saying it doesn’t depict an atrocity when the photo is of Emmett Till in his coffin.

                I have run into enough sealions who have wandered far from the California shores that I have grown skeptical of “just trying to understand.”

                1. American Job Venter*

                  n.b. “Sealioning”, from the Merriam-Webster website:

                  “Sealioning is a harassment tactic by which a participant in a debate or online discussion pesters the other participant with disingenuous questions under the guise of sincerity, hoping to erode the patience or goodwill of the target to the point where they appear unreasonable. Often, sealioning involved asking for evidence for even basic claims. The term comes from a web comic depicting a sea lion engaging in such behavior. “

          4. Shark*

            I have to recommend The Bell Curve (not the book), a youtube video by Shaun. It breaks down how historically IQ tests were developed and used by eugenicists to justify racism. It’s a pretty long video, but it’s a great explanation of how and why IQ tests can be biased towards certain groups of people without appearing biased.

        5. Hacker For Hire*

          I agree with you. Long, long time ago I took and passed the MENSA preliminary test with flying colors. For some time I toyed with the idea of joining, but… something seemed off. Eventually I did not join, because the whole idea looked snobbish to me. That’s a view shared by many — for instance, try a Google search for “Isaac Asimov Mensa”.

      2. LifeBeforeCorona*

        As a life-long reader, I almost always got perfect scores on spelling, word definition, and comprehension. I had mediocre math skills until I learned shortcuts for remembering formulas. Having a memory that retains trivia really helps with general knowledge tests.

    3. Going anon here*

      My parents got me to join MENSA as a fourteen-year-old girl. There was one fun meeting with other kids my age where we built stuff, but there weren’t enough kids in my area so they just had a meeting group for all ages and the sexual harassment (from older teens and adult men) was constant.

      So OP is just as likely to meet someone who had a bad experience with MENSA itself or with a member as someone who holds it in high esteem.

      1. Essess*

        Long ago when I joined Mensa in my teens, I recall we went on a field trip to the capitol to meet with some senator or representative (so long ago I can’t remember details) in order to lobby about some topic we were interested in. The official just kept blaming the other political party for not doing anything on that topic, and we kept saying we don’t care what others “weren’t” doing, we wanted to know what THAT official “WAS” doing on the topic which was absolutely nothing. It was just a constant finger pointing and posturing about the other political party without any actual substance in the meeting. We just kept asking what that official would do to help on the topic, and he threw up his hands and said “if you are all so smart, figure it out yourselves” and walked out of the room on us.

        1. Worldwalker*

          So, a typical politician?

          I think it’s a result of so many people not voting *for* someone as voting *against* their opponent. You see so many political campaigns that say very little about “Vote for me because I will do X, Y, and Z” and much more about “Vote for me because the other guy is bad.”

      2. londonedit*

        I ended up taking the MENSA tests when I was maybe 12 or 13 – I can’t quite remember how but I think they used to advertise in the newspaper with some sort of puzzle, and if you could solve it then you could send off with the answer and they’d send you a full set of their tests. Did those and was invited to join, but it would have involved travelling to a city over an hour away from the rural area we lived in and there didn’t seem to be much to it except being able to say you were a member (I don’t think there were any meetings for kids or anything) so I never did it. I’ve never considered mentioning it in my adult life until now, and I’ve definitely never considered putting it on my CV!

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Yeah, membership where I am would necessitate travelling to London at least once and….no. Also really can’t see any benefits I don’t already get from hanging around techie forums.

    4. Jopestus*

      Mensa is a pay-to-get-in club that is meant to be a status symbol. You can practice for IQ-tests. The whole purpose of Mensa is to make people feel superior for minimal achievements.

      1. A Feast of Fools*

        Hard disagree, Jopestus.

        The whole purpose of *being accepted into Mensa just so you can brag about it* is to make people feel superior for minimal achievements.

        But the whole purpose of *Mensa* is to connect with other people and have the ability to go to events and outings with people who share your interests. It’s a social organization with a low bar of entry.

        Like beer and want to go brewery hopping? There’s a Mensa SIG (Special Interest Group) for that. Star-gazing? Mensa SIG. Any kind of sportsball? Mensa SIG. Gambling? Mensa SIG. Movies? Mensa SIG. Gaming? Mensa SIG.

        Like any decentralized organization, local chapters (and groups within those chapters) can differ wildly in terms of personality. You can go to, say, the Friday Lunch SIG, and truly enjoy chatting with everyone at the table, but then attend a Board Game SIG event and want to run screaming from the room. Ditto with the social media sites. And, just like everywhere else on the internet, the social media groups tend to bring out the worst in people. There are people who, in real life, I thought were lovely and decent but when I ran into them online, I severed all connections with them.

        Where Mensa and I come to blows, though, is the organization’s unwillingness to kick out problem members. Like, one guy was arrested for stalking a female member, and others have doxxed women members online and posted photos of those women’s heads on various p*rn stars’ bodies, and they are all still members in good standing (last time I checked).

    5. Richard Hershberger*

      Yeah, as a teenager I was eager to join, but lived in a remote area and didn’t have the opportunity. I have never been tempted as an adult, once I realized that being smart is not in fact the only requirement. The second is being so invested in your smartness that you join Mensa. As an adult I never found it all that hard to find smart people to hang out with. The few that were Mensa members did not stand out, at least not in a good way. Mensa on a resume? I won’t say it would send the resume to the kill file, but it certainly would be a cause for concern.

      1. quill*

        The payment part was what eventually tipped me off that I wouldn’t have liked it. I had bad enough experiences in the school gifted program that I wasn’t about to go running to the voluntary adult version that selected much more strongly for people impressed with their own brains.

    6. Junior Assistant Peon*

      My experience with people I’ve known is that MENSA members tend to be bright people stuck in menial jobs. If you’re a scientist or doctor or something like that, you get to geek out at work. I was bored to tears in elementary school and loved the logic-puzzle type stuff we used to do in gifted class, and I’d probably need something similar today if I wasn’t fortunate enough to have an interesting job.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        18 year member here – yes, the people who stick around and remain active seem to be, not even stuck in menial jobs, but, in my opinion, most likely stuck in small-town/suburban environments, that they do not feel fulfilled in, but cannot move out of. (Another group of people who remain active and stick around are the ones whose parents are members, or who are married to a member, because at that point, you’re too entangled with the org to ever want to leave.) I moved this year, from a suburb to a, shall I say, more interesting suburb (closer to downtown, more things to do, a more interesting community), and I am already asking myself if I need to remain a member. I used to attend national events and events in other regions because they were a way for me to get away from the boredom of the office and the community where I lived. Now I work remotely and enjoy my community. What I can get out of my membership does not begin to outweigh the many flaws of the org, most of which I believe are inherent, because let’s be honest, to have an org that selects its members based on the score they got on a random test, that may or may not be an actual measure of intelligence, was probably a silly idea to begin with, and is certainly not working well in 2021. My days as a member are probably numbered. But I will totally understand those of my friends who choose to stay because this membership is their only outlet.

        Also, you’re right about the occupation being a factor – one ex of mine worked in higher ed, lived in a small college town, and was active in his tight-knit faculty community, so I got to meet most of them. Every last one of them would’ve qualified for Mensa. None were members. They didn’t need it in their lives.

        PS. OP2, for the love of dog, do not put it on your resume. Rule of thumb for a member is, if you held a leadership position, especially on a national level, then list it. If you’re just a member who’s never held office, it’s not relevant to your work and no one needs to know. Good luck with your career change!

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I think this is a good explanation of the role it serves for members.

          I think of the janitor/chess teacher in Queen’s Gambit. Except that he had a local chess club, and so that was where he got his weekly dose of intellectual engagement with similar people. If you don’t have a chess club, or a team trivia night, Mensa can be a way to try and find your tribe. If you live in an area where those things are easy (e.g. the town is small, but it’s a college town) then a special social organization is eh.

          1. Worldwalker*

            In the pre-Internet days, I found my tribe among the local gamers and SF fans. (I had the advantage of living in a college town) Now my tribe is online. (y’all are part of it)

        2. Sleet Feet*

          I think your second point is good for almost any outside of work group. Rotary, lions, local clubs, philanthropy clubs, etc. Unless you have a leadership role it’s probably not worth putting on a resume.

    7. Beth*

      Yeah — “I’m a member of Mensa” is usually taken to mean “I am an arrogant SOB”, except by other members of Mensa. So the only people who might be impressed are the ones who have the same claim, and who won’t be impressed because the most it does is claim equal standing.

      1. Kramerica Industries*

        I did notice that OP2 said “you would think that having a high level of intelligence would be an automatic intelligence, but people can be weird about this”. I’m already getting that arrogant vibe where the OP thinks that other people have an issue with how smart they are. The question wasn’t framed as “would it be relevant to put Mensa on my resume”, but an “are other people going to have a problem with my high intelligence” kind of question. To be clear OP2, don’t put Mensa on because it’s no more relevant than putting your high school test scores, not because people are going to be intimidated by your smarts.

        1. PT*

          At just about every job I’ve had, being smart has been detrimental, not an asset. If you’re smart you’d best hide it. Don’t learn too quickly, don’t let people know you have outside knowledge beyond what’s required in your job area, don’t think too analytically, don’t ask too many questions, don’t notice or catch any contradictions or mistakes. Stay quiet, play dumb, and keep to yourself, lest you be accused of not being a team player, nasty to your coworkers, uppity, or condescending.

          1. Observer*

            I hope that you are just missing the /sarc tag. This is genuinely terrible advice in most workplaces.

          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Holy cow! where is your field, so I can warn family and friends to avoid it? This sounds terrible. My experience in my field (IT) has been the opposite, even in the large corporations where I’ve worked since the beginning of the 00s. Much more so in startups in tech hubs (where my one family member has worked).

            1. Dezzi*

              My first job out of high school was working as a housekeeper in a nursing home, and my second was in a group home for adults with disabilities. PT’s description is *absolutely* spot on for both of them. It’s pretty much equally true for all jobs where the only requirements are having a pulse and no criminal record. Otherwise known as the criminally-underpaid roles that keep our society functioning & serve the most vulnerable people.

          3. Software Dev*

            I—strongly associate the attitude in this comment with people who come in, guns blazing, and suggest a ton of changes without bothering to understand the systems they are working with or why things are the way they are, then say things like this when no one wants to make their poorly thought out changes.

            I also associate this attitude with people who believe that they are smarter than their coworkers.

            1. Dezzi*

              Lol, you need to spend more time outside of tech. I worked as a health aide and was called a “know-it-all” in my written annual performance evaluation….because I had the audacity to do things like stop my coworkers feeding someone with a dairy allergy food that contained milk products, or suggest that we needed to get someone’s wheelchair brakes repaired before they became a major safety hazard.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        A corporate trainer friend and I were talking about assessments she could use in her line of work – competency, values, leadership skills, etc. – and she said she sometimes used a test about taking a test. The subject matter was completely fabricated, and the answers were written and listed in a certain way. If you were good at picking up patterns, cues, and/or taking tests, she said, you could figure out the ‘right’ answer.

        I totally believe this. I’ve taken tests on subjects I didn’t know well – math – but I still scored high. Maybe I didn’t know the answer but I could figure out what the answer was not, and go from there.

        1. Siege*

          And I’ve taken tests on subjects where I’m exceptionally knowledgeable and failed. My brain hates tests.

          1. Feral Fairy*

            This was me with the math SAT section. I wasn’t by any measure a math whiz but I did well grade wise in math classes despite hating the subject and I never had issues completing math tests in school in the allotted time. I could not for the life of me finish the SAT math section. I took an SAT course and my scores in the other subjects increased substantially because I learned how to do those sections of the test, but no matter how much I practiced the math section, I always ran out of time and got roughly the same score.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yeah, my kids are bilingual, being raised in France by a native English speaking mother. My son got 3/20 once on an English test, without making a single mistake in English. For the other 17 points he would have needed to learn the grammar rule by heart (which he didn’t need to, having learned “naturally”) and explain it in perfect written French. I chewed the teacher out for that, pointing out that it was perfectly possible to get 17/20 without writing a single word correctly in English.

      2. Stitch*

        IQ can be a more useful when you’re measuring how low it is and in what areas. But it’s a catch all for various tests. Like my Dad (who is a pediatrician) does verbal IQ tests on patients to assess whether they’d benefit from speech therapy.

    8. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I’m a member, mostly because I enjoy the board game nights which my “normal” friends find nerdy and dull, but I would never, EVER put it on my resume.

      1. George*

        I disagree with most respondents. Put it on. In the Hobbies or Other Interests section, because that’s what it is. That can be valuable. I remember a time when my tech company lost a valuable contract to a competitor, because the competitor played golf with the client. If anyone applying had “golf champ” on their resume, we’d have hired them in an instant. Another guy I knew from college tells a story of how he saved a major tech contract by being able to speak fluent Spanish. Side skills count.

        1. Working*

          Please don’t hire people just because they golf. The corporate focus on golf has always been a convenient way to keep out anyone who’s not a wealthy white male.

          1. George*

            Check your privilege, Working. You’re probably coming from position of a steady job in a big company, aren’t you? We had to let three people go because we lost that contract due to the client playing golf with the competitor.

            1. Working*

              What in the world? I don’t work for a big company (nor have I ever), or even have a steady job right now for that matter. What an incredibly bizarre assumption, and it’s hilarious that someone who’s happy doing business over golf thinks I need to check my privilege. I’m sorry if your company is having problems, but using golf to make hiring decisions, business deals, or anything else related to work is rooted in a long discriminatory history of excluding women, people of color, and anyone lower-class, to the continued benefit of wealthy white males.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Wow, here in Europe we have a “Foreign Languages” section on our CVs (resumes) where we list each language spoken and the level we’ve attained. They’re not side skills, more like essential skills for anyone working in a company with customers in more than one country.

  4. The Original Stellaaaaa*

    LW3: If I’m reading your letter correctly, you’re receiving emails/notifications relating to your own position that you really shouldn’t have access to now. I don’t love your method of deducing your coworker’s hiring timeline by going through your CEO’s meeting alerts. Continuing to do stuff like that is an invitation to madness (look at how much overthinking it’s causing now) and could get you into trouble eventually. That these old permissions were not removed when you switched roles says something about the company that I don’t want to get into right now, but the fact that you don’t see any…ambiguity in your “investigative” method might be an indicator of other things that kept you from being promoted to management.

    To answer your question directly, you’ve been in your role since June 2020 and your coworker joined your team only a few months later in the fall. Factoring in the fellowship, she may have been doing this type of work for a year or more before that, so she actually has more experience and time with the company than you do.

    1. anonymous73*

      I wouldn’t make that assumption. My take was that she was in that admin position previously so she knows how things work, not that she still gets those emails. Although if she does, then yes she needs to be removed.

      A few jobs ago one of my teammates came from a position where he had access to HR things, including everyone’s pay and used to brag about it and show my other teammates. I regret not reporting him. (and yes I know we should be sharing pay with colleagues, but the point here is that he shouldn’t have still had access to the info and it wasn’t his info to share).

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        It’s a little ambiguous imo–I think one sentence made it seem like a past tense thing and another like a present thing. I hope it was just a typo, but if not I agree you definitely need to not be getting those notifications anymore!

        1. EngineerMom*

          It’s not ambiguous at all, and I was a little surprised that Alison didn’t say something:

          “I know this because I was an admin assistant before, and I get all the calendar invites for our CEO who interviews EVERYONE before they are hired. Even internal promotions get interviews from him, but she did not.”

          She is still receiving calendar invites from the CEO, from when she used to be an admin assistant. This is not information that she should still be receiving.

    2. Observer*

      That these old permissions were not removed when you switched roles says something about the company that I don’t want to get into right now,

      Eh. It probably says sloppy IT / overwhelmed HR with less than stellar employee records management.

      1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

        And once you’ve got IT that’s sloppy in one area, you have to worry about where else they’re not paying attention, how security is there, etc etc

  5. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – while I would be upset in your shoes that you didn’t get an opportunity to apply for and be interviewed for the manager position (if you would have wanted to do so, and would have been an obvious potential choice for the role), I would NOT assume that the other person was not interviewed. It’s entirely possible that they were hired with the express intention of promoting them when your former manager was promoted (ie. succession planning may have been done when they were hired), or your former manager may have tapped the person for the promotion and arranged a meeting with the CEO that you don’t know about. There’s nothing necessarily shady going on.

    OP#5 – It’s very common to have candidates apply, regardless of how they came to the company (direct application, referral, or through an agency), simply so that all your information is collected and as part of the process to make sure that everything is documented. All the paperwork that goes into the HR system gets taken from the application, and it’s easier to do if all the information is in one place. If something doesn’t work out with a hire, there’s also a record that the employee did apply, claimed whatever credentials are on the application, and there’s an official record of how the candidate came to the company for legal purposes.

    1. NoNotNan*

      A recruiter helped me get a previous job, so I never completed the company’s application process. I was asked to complete it after I signed my offer letter. Their background check system is hooked to their applicant tracking system, so I needed to get in the ATS to finish the hiring process!

      1. The Rural Juror*

        I recently accepted a job offer and will be starting a few weeks. I received the form for the application from HR after I already had the offer. Some of it I had already filled out as part of their applicant tracking system, and some of it was new sections that were part of the next step. I thought it was odd to be asked to fill out the application again, but then logged on and realized it had saved all the of the information I had previously filled in, I just needed to complete the new sections. Made sense to me!

    2. Bagpuss*

      I think this is a good point, regarding OP#3 – they may well have hried the other person with this role in mind.

      I think what you need to do is clarify in your own mind why you are upset – is it simply that you feel it wasn’t inappropriate not to be more open, or is it that you would have applied had you know the job was available and would like to have been considered?

      f it is the latter, then it may be worth speaking to your line manager (or grandboss) – not to complain about your coworker being promoted over your head but to expressly set out that you are interested in progressing and would like to talk about what might help you to do so – whether there is further training / specific level of experience etc which would make you eligible for consideration – you can mention that you would have applied had the manager job been advertised and ask whether there is anything which you can be doing now which might make you more likely to be considered next time a similar opening comes up (as long as you can do so without it sounding critical or as though you are complaining.)

      As others have said, if you are still getting alerts and access to the CEOs diary, assuming that’s not something you need in your current role then contact IT and ask them to update to remove that.

      1. Anonys*

        This doesn’t make sense to me. If they had hired the new coworker with filling the former manager’s position in mind, why did they then announce, after her departure that they were not backfilling her position?

        I think that’s more where the legitimate upset comes from, or rather, where to company communicated badly. They explicitly announced they were NOT doing something which they then did. They should have at least explained “I know we announced x two weeks ago, but since then we realised xyz”

        1. LondonLady*

          Agree that it’s all about good comms. I had a scenario in a previous org where a specialism (say teapot painting) was covered by 1 fulltime & 1 parttime post. Fulltimer gave notice, parttimer was known to be happy with parttime work. A couple of other fulltimers in different teams (teapot design, teapot repair) were asked if they want to move over to painting. Before they’d said yes or no, the parttime painter offered to take the fulltime role and was duly moved up. Short-term irritation all round, not with the outcome, but with the muddled messaging and time wasting for other teams.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            The problem was caused because of the assumption that “part-timer was known to be happy with part-time work” meant they didn’t want to go full-time. It’s perfectly possible to be happy with part-time work, if you don’t need the extra cash, and maybe don’t like the full-timer enough to want to spend all day every day with them. But then if the full-timer leaves, you don’t necessarily want another full-timer coming in and wrecking havoc when you’re only there for half the time so you can’t catch all their mistakes. It makes sense to offer the full-time position to the part-timer first, even if you’re pretty sure they’ll say no. It could be that in fact they needed to go full-time, but knew there was no point asking for as long as the full-timer was there, and decided to wait because they knew the full-timer was looking for another job.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I now wonder if the communication actually said something more like ‘we are not posting to fill this position. Or when asked ‘when will this be posted?’, management said ‘it’s not going to be posted.”

          1. Snow Globe*

            That seems very likely.

            It occurs to me that we frequently see letters from people who realized that the company was only going through the motions with an interview and they already knew who they wanted to hire. People feel legitimately frustrated at having their time wasted. In this case, the company skipped that, and just hired the person that they wanted to hire, and whose work they are familiar with.

      2. Nen*

        LW 5: You would definitely have to fill out an application at my company. In this scenario, I would have to prepare a job posting just for that position, open it, get your application, work through the whole process. For a position like you are describing, I could certainly do a lot on my own without your involvement but you would definitely have to submit an application. Should your contact have explained that to you? Yes, definitely. But I have had a few instances with our HR recruiter where lines got crossed and he communicated things before I was ready or without the context or tact that I had hoped for.

        My advice is to fill out the application, email or call your contact, but also think some about what it means to move from working on your own to within a big company. I made a similar kind of shift. Overall it has been positive and worth it but there has certainly been an adjustment.

      3. Sloan Kittering*

        Yeah it’s extremely common to take being “passed over” for a promotion as a sign that you might need to look elsewhere. This has been universal in my career so I don’t think OP’s being a jerk here to be put out. There was a promotion available and she wasn’t even considered for it, apparently; not given an opportunity to put her hat in the ring. Absent any other explanation, logically she would feel that her future at the company might not be very bright and if it were me, I’d start looking around. The company should have anticipated this and offered some sort of explanation if they didn’t want this outcome.

        1. Observer*

          It depends on what is bothering the OP. But there is absolutely nothing ‘sketchy’ here. It may be bad management – or not. But that’s a different story.

          1. Sloan Kittering*

            No, nothing sketchy necessarily, I agree with that. Some companies have clear policies about promotions and how they’re handled, but certainly not all do.

        2. Cold Fish*

          Given the situation, I’d agree that the OP was never considered for the position. Does anybody think it could stem from her originally being an admin assistant at the company? I know people can move up in a company but I’ve never really heard of someone going from admin assistant to upper management in the same company. OP mentions that she has just gotten a degree. But I think if she really wants to move up she will have change companies as I really think that once you start as a receptionist/secretary/admin asst. the higher ups always view you that way (or she would have to wait for upper management to turnover so they wouldn’t have that bias).
          BTW, I don’t think there was anything sketchy in how the company moved the other person into the management role. Just because OP didn’t know they were in talks, doesn’t mean the talks didn’t happen. But I don’t understand the secrecy component to a lot of management decisions.

          1. Former Admin*

            I agree completely. Having started as an admin at my company (medium/large) it took a move to a completely different division/department of the organization to have people not look at me as an admin any longer. My organization has a very distinct caste system putting support (non-exempt) functions on a different level than “professional” (exempt) functions. My advice to OP3 would be to get some experience under their belt and look for something somewhere else where they don’t think of them as the admin that management blessed with the opportunity to move up, as if they themselves didn’t earn it.

            1. Sloan Kittering*

              I’ve seen this and it’s so unfair, as often these people are the best-informed and most-committed, organizationally; yet they are sort of always considered “second-rate.” Makes no sense, and yes the only solution is to take your skills elsewhere.

    3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      OP3, there are no requirements that your boss (1) interview candidates, (2) inform you about their hiring process, or (3) explain why they hired the person they did. Sure, it helps to share that information, but if you are thinking they violated some sore of requirement, they did not. Employers can use any process they want, as long as it is not discriminatory (as Alison often points out). It’s like saying the star player on a sports team did not go through a tryout for their position. That is probably true: after watching them play, the coach already knows that (Tom Brady/Megan Rapinoe/LeBron James) is the best person for the job without asking them to go through some drills.

      Did they do a good job of messaging? It appears not. But your concern is misplaced. Lack of interviews is not a violation.

      1. Sloan Kittering*

        Of course it’s not a violation but it’s certainly something people quit over. It’s not that she’s entitled to the role or to be in on the decision-making process but when someone hired after you becomes your boss and you apparently weren’t even briefly considered, and there was no communication at all, that is naturally going to cause some ruffled feathers.

        1. BurnOutCandidate*

          The scenario happened in my workplace about a year before the pandemic — a manager was leaving, and the director announced that an associate was being promoted to fill that position. The position wasn’t open internally — one of the reports to that position made clear he’d have been interested in it, as were several others in the company — and there was grumbling. To this day, no one really knows how or why the associate was promoted to manager. Other choices would have been better in the long run.

        2. Office Lobster DJ*

          Not only “no communication at all,” it sounds like there was messaging that the role WASN’T getting filled. Yes, I agree that it’s totally natural that LW3 has some feeling about this, even if the company didn’t violate a universal rule/requirement. Even if it wasn’t shady, it’s a morale hit.

          As for how to proceed, I’m not sure there’s much for LW3 to do other than lick their wounds and move on. Whether “move on” means get over it or get out, I’ll leave to the LW’s discretion. In some companies, I suppose, this could be a warning sign you’re not on a leadership track; in others, two and a half years with a promotion to specialist would already be considered up-and-coming, especially if you just got your master’s to succeed in the specialist role.

          The classic advice would be approach someone senior and ask how to prepare so you can throw your hat in the ring next time. In my experience – which was not the same as the LW’s but same ballparkish — that can be an incredibly difficult conversation to pull off when you’re seething; even then, it also doesn’t answer your real question. If LW3 can approach it constructively, they might get something from it. Or not.

        3. Loosey Goosey*

          This. It’s poor management, and what’s more, we don’t know if OP’s concern is misplaced or not! As an employer/manager, if you value your employees and want to retain them, you need to communicate regularly and transparently about major personnel decisions that will impact those employees. That should be common sense. “Shut up and deal with it because management can do whatever they want, and just assume it was the right decision made for the right decisions” is not a realistic view of how people behave, either from the management side or the employee side.

    4. Promoted*

      Totally agree, there may have been earlier agreements or succession planning that you weren`t privy to. I was promoted recently to a role that I had been working towards for literal years and was brought up when I was initially hired. This included a lot of extra side-desk work, taking on extra training, a lot of training on my own time (and often my own dime), certifications, taking on tasks from that role over a year before I actually was promoted, etc.

      When I was promoted, a lot of the others at the same level as me grumbled about how unfair it was that I was promoted without any discussion or opportunity for them to compete. Ignoring that they were offered similar development opportunities in the past but they all scoffed at them citing they were so busy and couldn`t possibly have time to focus on all of that “extra garbage”.

      I would also add OP’s investigative strategy is something that would get her fired, not promoted.

  6. They Called Me....Skeletor*

    OP 1…..dang. Sounds like they are very scared you might….pursue something. For me, it would so be worth the $100 to have a lawyer draft a letter just to scare their pants off.

    1. L'étrangere*

      Good point Skeletor! The OP may do very well to have a (usually free) brief initial consult with a lawyer. It sounds like there might be an easy settlement available, worth exploring. And in any case there should be some knife-twisting delight in tesponding to the next demand “my lawyer advises me that all further communication must go through them”.

      1. They Called Me....Skeletor*

        Yep. The company may just throw a few grand OP’s way to keep her quiet. OP, I’d look into this if I were you. If they want you sign a settlement agreement, tack on $5K!!!!!

    2. Bilateralrope*

      And/or the boss is scared now that HR got wind of him ignoring complaints.

      So send a copy of that letter to HR. Make sure they know.

    3. Artemesia*

      This would be my clue to get a lawyer and negotiate some sort of settlement. And make sure the information goes to HR if this manager is trying to CYA and control the process here.

      1. IndustriousLabRat*

        Not everyone wants to pursue legal action against a former employer, particularly as the victim of ongoing unaddressed sexual harassment. Having to re-live it needs to be balanced against the desire for compensation. I think it’s totally legit to choose to walk away silently. If I had gotten an attorney involved in my own version of this Escape from the House of Bees, it would literally have been to write a single letter telling them not to contact me ever again.

        If OP feels that compensation would improve their situation (such as severance to cover a period of finding a new Bee-less job), then by all means. I’m just not really hearing that from their letter.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed, to me it seems as if all OP wants is for that job to leave them alone, which is something we are allowed to want from a former job.

          In that case I think one firm but polite reply to manager, copied to HR of “I have left this job and no longer have time in my schedule to answer questions from you” is probably a good thing to send.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I will note, I think a settlement more likely if the company is large enough to have HR and a lawyer on retainer. People who will say “Yeah, your ass is uncovered, and if it goes to trial the standard compensation in our area for this specific problem is $XX,000, which we shall be paying so this goes away.”

        If they think they should cover their asses, but are unclear from what, and this is he said/she said rather than “look at all these crappy harassing emails I saved and printed out,” then it could be more of a slog. Worth pursuing for anyone who wants that route, but if you just want to be done already, a miring slog with an unknown ending might be a step to skip.

    4. Nanani*

      I was going to suggest this. Consulting a lawyer and maybe getting some Scarily Serious correspondence sent may be worthwhile.

      LW1 does NOT have to participate in any investigations or whatever.

  7. Emily*

    LW#3 should not have access to the CEO’s schedule or the interviews anymore since they are no longer an assistant. They need to get that access removed before it creates an even bigger problem for them down the line.

    1. HappiestHuskyDog*

      Agreed. Why do you still have access to the CEO’s calendar when you’re not an admin assistant anymore?

      Also, it’s possible the CEO *did* meet with your coworker but it didn’t get put on their calendar! It could’ve been an impromptu conversation; not a scheduled one! Or a phone call. Or your coworker was brought into another meeting for another reason and it ended up becoming “the interview”.

      Please let this go. And remove your access to the CEO’s calendar.

      1. allathian*

        This depends a lot on the organization, and what access means. In my org, everyone has access to everyone else’s calendars to make scheduling easier. OOO meetings, like doctor’s appointments that we want to keep private, we simply mark as private, and they really are private, not even my manager can see my private calendar notes. I suppose IT could, but they have better things to do with their time.

        This does mean, however, that detailed agendas are rarely posted on the calendar invite, but sent to attendees in a separate email. Our President’s PA has executive access to his calendar, in that she can schedule things for him and it looks like he did it.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          In OP’s case, she has access to the CEO’s calendar because she used to be an admin. She no longer fills that role and no longer needs that info.

      2. tamarack and fireweed*

        It is also quite possible that the decision to do an internal promotion was made without a job interview. The co-worker may have been informed during a routine 1:1 with their manager.

        Obviously I can sympathize with the LW’s frustration at not getting a chance to throw her hat in the ring, but it’s not an unusual situation by any means, and not in itself problematic.

    2. Helvetica*

      I also wondered about this. If this is an oversight from someone else/the new assistant, you should aim to correct it, no matter how enticing it might seem to remain privy to such information.

  8. Observer*

    #2- Do NOT put your Mensa membership on your resume or cover letter. People may not react well, and it is NOT because they are “weird about it.” The fact that this is how you see it, might actually help explain the negative reacitons you may have received. Intelligence is a really useful attribute, but if you think that Mensa level intelligence automatically makes you more valuable to an employer than a “merely” intelligent person, that’s not going to make people admire you.

    As Alison notes what employers want, especially at this point in your career is not “raw” intelligence that lets you score off the charts on the WISC / WAIS, Stanford-Binet or other intelligence tests. What they want is intelligence translated into accomplishment along with the ability to deal with people on some level or other. Membership in Mensa does not speak to that. The fact that you think your scores are relevant to an employer is, however, going to make them think that you don’t understand what employers need.

    1. Hats Are Great*

      I try to include accomplishments that emphasize that I am a fast learner and versatile thinker. My native intelligence IS one of my best attributes for any given employer, but the important part about that is that I learn new systems really fast, I’m quick to understand problems, and I’m very versatile in applying my intelligence to new and novel issues!

      When I worked as a law firm lawyer, a LOT of new lawyers were hired on to big firms basically on the basis of their intelligence. But there was an ENORMOUS gulf between lawyers whose attitude was, “I’m the smartest guy in the room and I need everyone to know that” and lawyers whose attitude was, “This is an interesting problem, and I would like to solve it.” Both of those lawyers score similarly on IQ tests! Both of them got into very fancy law schools! But one of them is there just to shore up his ego, and one of them is there to engage with interesting problems. The interesting-problems types tended to want to learn from witnesses (who are often serious dumbasses) and paralegals and nurses and whoever else was useful to the case, and didn’t mind taking their questions to other lawyers, or looking stupid. The ego types STRUGGLED with all of that, and even when they interviewed witnesses, they tended not to dig in well, because they had to hold themselves at a distance from “lesser” people.

      I dealt a lot with medical malpractice lawsuits, and the successful lawyers were the ones who, at a dinner party, would talk so knowledgably about kidney transplants that a doctor at the table would be like, “Yo, do you transplant kidneys?” and the lawyer would be like, “Haha, no, I just litigated a case about a transplant gone wrong.” But the lawyer had learned everything there was to know from the patients and nurses and insurance companies and non-profits, and could literally talk someone through the transplant. Whereas the ego lawyers would talk about a transplant case in a dull and excruciating way that made it clear they were a lawyer and an outsider who was just there to litigate the case.

      1. EPLawyer*

        ” The interesting-problems types tended to want to learn from witnesses (who are often serious dumbasses) and paralegals and nurses and whoever else was useful to the case, and didn’t mind taking their questions to other lawyers, or looking stupid. The ego types STRUGGLED with all of that, and even when they interviewed witnesses, they tended not to dig in well”

        The interesting problem types want to learn. The ego types think they already know everything so don’t bother to learn from others.

        When I was working on my master’s there were dual degree students – MA/JD. I had been a paralegal for several years before going back to school. I told the JD students, always be nice to the support staff, they can make your life a lot easier. The interesting problem types — they listened. The ego types laughed and were all “But I went to law school, why would support staff know more than me?” Guess which type was more likely to pass the bar on the first try?

        Employers want people who can LEARN. Not people who think they are so smart they already know everything.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Spouse does hiring, and that often means “All of the people we are interviewing for this job are very smart. We can teach them (insert system) if they don’t know it. Out of that pool, we need people who are good at explaining what they do and able to teach a new system to others.”

          This has come up here re the distinction between a test score of 96 vs 98–if your student feeling is “I’m the 98! That means I’m the best!” you can be surprised that would-be employers are like “both scored over 90” and put you in the same group and move right on to other criteria.

        2. wittyrepartee*

          Every single person in the world probably knows something you don’t. You might not care about that thing, hello sports stats, but everyone’s got one.

          1. Worldwalker*

            The way I put it, which I heard somewhere once upon a time:

            There is no fool so foolish he has nothing to teach.
            There is no sage so wise he has nothing to learn.

    2. Heidi*

      If Mensa provided experiences, skills, or connections that would be useful in the OP’s field, it might be worth mentioning. It’s not clear from my googling that membership alone would provide these things, but if the OP were an organizer for a large meeting or in a leadership position that required managing other employees, that might be relevant. I guess this goes back to having accomplishments related to the work.

      1. ecnaseener*

        It might be, if they can list really solid achievements for it. After decades of work, hopefully you’ve got enough true work achievements that you don’t need to fill space with anything else – it’s not like they’re fresh out of college and listing their leadership roles in student clubs.

      2. Siege*

        I included my Toastmasters membership, credential, and leadership role on my resume for my current job because part of the job description is writing speeches for the president of the org and coaching her on delivery. If that’s not a function of the job I don’t include it because it adds nothing, but I didn’t have speech-writing experience from jobs. I feel that Mensa could be a benefit if it demonstrated a real skill, but it doesn’t. Your advice is sound.

    3. Expiring Cat Memes*

      People may not react well, and it is NOT because they are “weird about it.” The fact that this is how you see it, might actually help explain the negative reacitons you may have received.

      Yes, this. I can’t imagine many ways to drop it into conversation without coming across as boastful. My first thought was that if LW is male, making a point of mentioning it would send strong mansplainer vibes. Men meanwhile, haven’t had the same social conditioning to doubt their own intelligence, so I doubt it goes over well with many of them either.

      Either way, telling people about your high IQ is only going to make them think you have low EQ. And there are few professions where EQ isn’t a key determinant of success.

      1. Artemesia*

        It is always more effective to be a reverse snob and not announce things like advanced degrees or mensa or whatever or your nobel prize or that Olympic medal you won in the high jump. People always fine out, and then you are not only brilliant and accomplished but are a modest and relatable person.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          True. Unless you’re hiring me or I know you very well (or you’re on an anonymous Internet forum) it’s doubtful you’ll know what advanced degrees I hold. They’re unrelated to my job anyway…

    4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I certainly don’t mention it for those exact reasons: my IQ will tell you nothing about how quickly I can pick up new systems, what challenges I’ve faced in my career and how I’ve dealt with them, how I get along with coworkers, staff and clients.

      I also believe it’s a largely meaningless number. My husband is definitely much, much smarter than I am (and a lot nicer) but because he’s got severe reading comprehension issues he doesn’t do well on tests.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        (Technically I have a genius level IQ, but I also have a brain that collects dysfunctions like Pokemon so I won’t trust any intelligence number that doesn’t factor in having your own brain reject reality whenever it feels like it)

        1. quill*

          I scored really high on IQ tests as a kid and then… for reasons… I ended up with PTSD. I can tell you that my retention of knowledge under even the lightest of pressure is nothing like it was when I was nine. The brain changes a lot.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Yeah, PTSD is…in my experience anyway, fantastic for recalling *certain* things in crystal clarity (whether you want them to or not) but has an adverse effect on others.

            Then again, I honestly can’t say if that’s because of the meds I take for my other brain stuff. I’ve got no concept of ‘dates’ anymore.

            1. quill*

              A friend from college once mentioned something we allegedly learned in class… I could recall taking the class, and I presume I passed it? But I clearly retained nothing because my brain was a bag of squirrels at the time, and the squirrels were ANGRY.

              According to friend, the more reliable witness in this case, I got a B+.

            2. littlehope (formerly Blue, there were two of us)*

              Yeah, learning more about the racist and eugenicist history of IQ tests only cemented what I’d already picked up from my own experience of being both apparently startlingly bright (reading adult books at 5, teaching myself ancient Greek for fun, teachers thinking my work must be plagiarized because 14-Year-Olds Can’t Write Like That) and quite severely developmentally disabled (actually score as Mildly Impaired or Delayed on the Stanford-Binet test, which gives me an official IQ of well below 70, because my particular combination of autism, ADHD, dyscalculia and dyspraxia do not play well with the particular requirements of that test).
              Me and my IQ of 70 went to Oxford.
              IQ tests test how good you are at taking IQ tests.
              “Intelligence” is basically impossible to meaningfully define, and is a shitty way to determine the worth or ability of a human being.

    5. Thursdaysgeek*

      This is where I trot out my example about intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom.

      Intelligence is the size of your gas tank. Knowledge is how much gas you have in your tank. And wisdom is your gas mileage. If you have a small but full tank, and get good gas mileage, you might get further than a car with a big tank that has terrible mileage, even if their tank is full.

      Also, when you buy a car, the size of the tank is immaterial. Mileage is what matters. A full tank helps.

      If you are intelligent but have no wisdom, you are not as well off as the average person with wisdom, and even the person with a less than average intellect, but who studies and has wisdom.

  9. Hats Are Great*

    Oh my God, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, put Mensa on your resume *unless you are applying to work at Mensa.* It is a cliche, but a very well-deserved one, that anyone who brags about being a member of Mensa has nothing else going for them, both in terms of social skills and in terms of professional achievements. It screams “I DESERVE A JOB BECAUSE I AM SMRT!” and overshadows your “Hire me because I am an extremely competent human with a lot of experience in X, Y, and Z.”

    Mensa’s recruitment/image is not helped by the fact that the most highly-intelligent and highly-accomplished people who could and would qualify for Mensa tend to avoid it like the plague; it has a reputation as being for people who are test-smart but who can’t manage to accomplish anything with their intelligence, since your average Nobel Prize winners and Secretaries of State and so on tend to actively avoid applying. Their most famous members tend to be mid-list authors and professional cranks (who use their super-smarts/Mensa membership to forward antivax viewpoints or explain why all progressives should vote for Trump).

    I have some friends who are members of Mensa who enjoy the conventions, but NONE of them put it on their resume or brag about it — rather they’re embarrassed to admit to it — because they’re accomplished professionals with advanced degrees, and putting “Mensa” on their resume says “I am insecure about my intelligence” and “I have few legitimate accomplishments.”

    Please, please, please, please do not put it on your resume! Stick with actual professional achievements, and sure if you managed to get into Mensa, you have some other braniac credentials that are actually impressive that you can include? Include those instead. Including Mensa on your resume is so, so bad.

    1. Anon for this*

      I have a Ph.D. and the only person I can think of in my field who brags about being in Mensa is the one who writes popular books constructed on a whole bunch of the usual popular misconceptions. This person is not actively malicious…but how they continued to believe these things for any amount of time after getting a Ph.D. themselves is beyond me. Those ideas don’t hold up to basic scientific scrutiny, and this has been well established for decades. People who enjoy seeing themselves as smart and literate tend to like those sorts of books, though, because they make readers feel more superior about themselves.

    2. Clorinda*

      If you want to add memberships to your resume, research the reputable organizations (national or international) in your field and join those. You wouldn’t put Mensa on that list any more than you would put your weekly strength training class at the gym. Hobbies don’t belong on your resume.

  10. Person from the Resume*

    LE#5, just listen to Alison’s advice. They probably need you to fill out the app to get your name and info in the system. Then they hire you (mark your app as a hire) and then the info glows into another system.

    Or some HR person is trying to write the offer email and they need your info to do so.

    This is pretty basic. Don’t blow this by not responding and appearing uninterested in the job.

    1. L'étrangere*

      In fact, you should apologize profusely for not having responded to their request in a timely manner. Some manager may wish to hire you, but HR is usually responsible for vetting candidates, a very important complementary function. Do not blow this chance by alienating them

    2. GNG*

      Yup when I was recruited into my current job, it was fairly similar to LW5’s situation. HR had me follow all the necessary steps, starting with filling out an application. It’s not some kind of trick. All 250,000 employees at my company had to follow the same process.

    3. GammaGirl1908*

      Also, resumes aren’t standardized. You can put whatever you want on it. A standard application ensures they have the same uniform set of information on each hire, gathered in an unbiased way. It’s not an insult, or an assumption that you’re an unknown, or a way to send you to the back of the line. They’re not out to get you with this minor administrative task.

      With administrative stuff like this, it’s so much simpler to just do it graciously and check the box than it is to Make A Point Of Ignoring It Because They Obviously Don’t Know Who You Are.

      Frankly, by trying to bypass administrative necessities, you generally are, ahem, not making the point you think you are making. Instead, you’re mostly just being difficult and making the poor HR assistant’s life harder.

    4. Koalafied*

      I’m a little confused by LW #5’s thinking, or maybe just their wording – that is, why would being asked to fill out an application cast doubt on whether the position is an opportunity for growth/advancement? I would understand if the question was more along the lines of, “I’m happy in my current job and don’t really want to go through a whole traditional interview process but was willing to be directly hired away with an up front offer, and now being asked to fill out an application makes me wonder if I’ve just been ‘invited to apply,’ not ‘invited to accept a role’ as I’d previously thought.”

      Instead, the letter says they thought they job would be an improvement, but now that they’ve been asked to fill out an application they’re questioning whether it is? I feel like I’m missing some connection as to why a request to put in an application would signal that the nature of the job is any different than previously discussed with the manager.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Agreed, that is confusing. Unless they forgot to mention a key detail, like that the application has a different job title listed.

        Maybe this LW picked up the idea somewhere that applications are for entry-level jobs, and management-level jobs are found through networking alone with no application?

        1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

          I filled out an application at VERY LARGE CORPORATION™ when hired as a VP. When I hired directors, they also filled out the application. So did new sales reps. It wasn’t a sign of a junior role, it was standard practice for everyone.

          If any of them had refused, they wouldn’t get a job. They also would have gotten a reputation for having an act that would not have benefited their future careers. OP5, do not be that person.

          1. Autumnheart*

            I also filled out an application at VLC Inc. as an individual contributor, although IIRC it was during new employee orientation. But every job I’ve had has included filling out an app somewhere in the process, either at the final interview/offer stage, or on-boarding.

          2. Drago Cucina*

            Yep, I had an offer letter in hand and returned it signed. Part of the total HR paperwork was the application.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I was similarly confused. The best I could think of was that maybe they were saying the job description in the application doesn’t line up with what they discussed? But if that’s the case I would think it’s fairly common that a job description doesn’t necessarily capture everything. If you have any additional questions you can ask to clarify before signing the offer, but definitely don’t let this one pretty normal bureaucratic step put you off something you were otherwise interested in!!

      3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I read it as meaning that they’d had the conversation with the hiring manager already and talked about pay, opportunities, higher level work etc (the “improvement” that this job would be) but then there was no mention of it in the application they’ve been asked to fill in, so now they feel like they are ‘starting again’ in the process and the history of numbers etc that were agreed with the hiring manager have now been forgotten in the depths of HR bureaucracy somewhere.

      4. Salsa Verde*

        This confused me as well. I’m not understanding the connection with how being asked to fill out the application casts doubt on everything that has happened up until now. I read the letter twice just to see if I missed anything!

    5. hamsterpants*

      I also had to fill out my company’s standard application form as part of getting my official offer from corporate. The standard application was clearly just that: a standard application. It had basically nothing to do with why I was qualified for the specific job and everything to do with HR formalities. It also took maybe 20 minutes max. Don’t take it personally!

    6. RabbitRabbit*

      Agreed. I had submitted a resume, done interviewing, etc. at my current employer, and still had to fill out the application even though it was essentially a done deal. Frequently this is the point where companies do the background checking and need to cross their T’s and dot their I’s, and they may just be standardizing everything.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        The ATS application at my job has a section that explicitly says “this information is being collected to run the required background check for successful candidates.”
        They want to standardize and speed up the process, and having the info upfront enables that.

    7. Lexie*

      I had an employer that was required to be licensed by the state to operate. One of the requirements was that we have an application on file for every employee. That was overlooked when I was hired and so I had to complete one a couple of years after I was hired.

    8. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      I worked at very large companies for many years. I’ve been hired at entry level, middle management, and officer. Each of these companies required me to complete an application, and for the higher levels, that was often the last step in the process before the offer letter.

      OP5, not filling out the application will make you look bad in any number of ways (not diligent, thinking you are above corporate requirements, etc.). Even questioning it will most likely make people look askance–especially HR.

    9. Kelly L.*

      Yes, this. My work has this. Even if you apply through other channels, at a certain point in the process you need to fill out a form titled “Employment Application.” It’s pro forma. I hate that it’s called that, because the person has already “applied” by the time they fill it out, but its previous name was worse–it was named very similarly to another form and was confusing to people.

    10. Anon today*

      Agreed. I had to fill out an application form my first day of work at current job, so HR would have it on file. I clearly already had the job, but they needed the information.

    11. Oryx*

      I had to fill out an application for an internal transfer position I was applying for. Like you said, this is pretty basic.

    12. fhqwhgads*

      Yeah. #5 shouldn’t think of being asked to restart the process by “applying”. Think of it as “continue the process you already started by filling out this form”.

    13. SimplytheBest*

      I filled out an application my first day on the job once. The recruiting and hiring had been very casual, but that application was something they required to be in everyone’s personnel file. So I was handed it along with my w-4 and direct deposit form and everything else I had to fill out on the first day.

    14. QKL*

      Former HR person here, I’ve given and been given applications after interviews, it’s all about the contract next to the signature line. Hopefully, they told you to write, “see resume,” in the previous jobs sections, but they usually only do that when it’s unexpected and in person.

      Being given an application after the interview is a really good sign that you’re in a pretty emotionally casual environment.

  11. Lab Lady*

    OP #2: Do not put MENSA on your resume. In my field, it’ a bit of a red flag. The people who talk about MENSA membership are notable not finishing projects; the people who do finish projects, talk about the projects they’ve finished.

    Mini TED: IQ was developed by a guy who was interested in how to best educate children, since all kids don’t learn at the same rate. IQ really isn’t a metric to measure the worth of an individual or even how good they would be at a particular job. It can’t tell the hiring managers what skills you already have or even how much work you are going to be to train – since past a certain minimum threshold of aptitude, training in particular skills is more about attitude the anything else . (On a darker side, the concept of IQ/IQ tests have also been coopted to promote racist and eugenic ideologies.)

    TL;DR You’re an adult with a history of accomplishment and skills, so you don’t need to rely on a IQ test score (which is really what mentioning MENSA is) to communicate any of that.

    1. Artemesia*

      IQ testing is very useful for assessing ability of people who grow up with reasonable resources and opportunities; there is a huge difference between white middle class kids who score well and those who don’t in terms of academic potential; even there it is not perfect, but it is fairly reliable. But it is much less effective at assessing abilities of people who don’t share that common background. Most of all in adults, especially mid career adults, it is not useful because there should be a record of achievement upon which to base judgments.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I highly recommend Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man for the history of IQ. It is appalling. My favorite example is from the First World War, when psychologists somehow persuaded the army to let them test every recruit, so as better to place them. Many recruits were illiterate, so two tests were created, one written and one pictorial, with some handwaving about the two tests’ equivalency. The pictorial test included a drawing of a house with a part missing. The recruit was to draw in the missing part. The correct answer was a chimney. A recruit from, say, southern Italy who drew a crucifix was marked wrong. Modern theoretical psychologists, at least the more thoughtful, are aware of the issues, but there also is a lot of path dependency built in. The efforts to fix the problems have an air of putting a band-aid on the sucking chest wound.

        1. ecnaseener*

          That chimney example is (sadly) hilarious. What about all the recruits from warm climates where houses don’t need fireplaces? (And obviously, what about recruits who hadn’t seen the Platonic Ideal House in real life)

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          A so-called ‘test’ at one firm that was apparently for team building listed ‘computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse. What is missing?’ with the *only* correct answer being ‘power’.

          The entire IT department put ‘operating system’. Whoops…

          1. UKDancer*

            I think I’d have said webcam (looking at my setup. It’s the other thing I can see on the desk apart from the teacup).

            Obviously that’s also a fail.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            By crikey, I remember the olden days when a “mouse” was a critter that tried to eat your cables, and real programmers used arrow keys like God intended.

              1. Worldwalker*

                I have one hanging on the wall, along with a board of core memory and a silicon wafer of memory. If there was anyone who didn’t realize I was a total geek, now you know.

        3. Artemesia*

          My son tested at three could not identify a picture of a vacuum cleaner — cost him a few IQ points; hangs head in shame; laughs uncontrollably.

          1. UKDancer*

            I think I probably couldn’t have identified a vacuum cleaner at 3 either. That mainly meant I hadn’t seen one or registered what it was.

            I mean you can only recognise things if you know what they are. We had a quiz at work last month and I failed totally on identifying Big Brother winners because I’d never watched Big Brother.

          2. emmelemm*

            I was IQ tested at around 4, I think, and they asked me to draw a helicopter. A helicopter! For whatever reason, I was, in fact, able to draw a decent representation of a helicopter, because my mom still has the drawing in a folder of papers about me from my childhood.

            Heaven only knows how I knew what a helicopter was. [For the record, I am white, grew up in a mid-sized American city, from a lower middle class but ‘intellectual’ family, i.e. most of them were teachers. So I’m pretty squarely in the “will do well on an IQ test” demographic.]

        4. Charlotte Lucas*

          Yep. I learned that the old stereotype of Poles as stupid came from the fact that they were immigrating to the US in large numbers right when large-scale IQ testing was also happening. So they were being tested in an unfamiliar language on a new culture.

          1. Sloan Kittering*

            Ha! I remember as a child, my first placement test in the US involved coins; it was something like, “Stacy has five nickels and two times, how much does she need to make a dollar?” I … did not know the American terms for currency. How much was a nickel and how did it compare to a ha’penny? Mind you, I was crap at maths anyway so it wouldn’t have mattered, but it does give one a pause on their first day in school! I was lucky I was allowed to enter my age appropriate grade.

            1. PT*

              I worked with someone who had this happen after they emigrated to the US. But in a twist, the mom had to explain *to the teacher* that no, other countries do not use US dollars.

              The teacher legitimately thought all countries in the world used US dollars *facepalm*

              1. kt*

                I’m in Minnesota and we have a lot of folks who immigrated from Southeast Asia (Hmong folks in particular) and at some point someone realized that the screening test for, I think, gifted and talented education had a test problem that relied on counting tulips or something like that, and knowledge of what a tulip looks like was not uniformly distributed among the kid population due to where families had come from…..

        5. Rusty Shackelford*

          One of my favorite examples (not from Gould, but from a podcast whose name I can’t remember) is that children were asked “what is Romeo and Juliet?” The correct answer was “a play,” but they would also get credit for “an opera.” They would not get credit for “a song,” even though there are multiple songs called “Romeo and Juliet.” It’s not a test of intelligence, it’s a test of what you’ve been exposed to.

        6. SnappinTerrapin*

          The stories in this thread brought back a memory. When I was four, the school system administered a test to determine whether to admit me to kindergarten or wait a year.

          The test involved matching a felt backed picture to one of several pictures on a felt board. An age-appropriate technology for administering a multiple choice test to a pre-reading child. I don’t remember but one question, probably because I thought it was a trick question at the time, but also because my answer confused the teacher and amused my mother.

          The picture I was given was a bare foot.

          The choices were a football, a sock, and a hog.

          I could see a logical connection with all three, but I put the foot on the board with its toes touching the hog.

          The teacher was bewildered, and mentioned it to Mom. Mom laughed out loud and asked, “Haven’t you ever heard the nursery rhyme about ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’? Where we come from, each of the five piggies is mentioned while touching a child’s toes. It’s not unusual for children that age to call their toes ‘pigs.'”

          By the way, they did admit me to the upcoming kindergarten class instead of waiting a year.

      2. James*

        “…there is a huge difference between white middle class kids who score well and those who don’t in terms of academic potential…”

        When I got my eye issue diagnosed and got glasses my measured IQ shot up 30 points. If something so physical can affect the score that dramatically it raises grave doubts about the viability of the test.

        It’s likely that IQ is measuring something. But what it’s measuring, if anything and ignoring the history, is a suite of things within a person. And since we don’t know what it’s measuring we don’t know if it’s doing a good job measuring them. It’s like trying to determine the health of an ecosystem by looking at the amount of biomass in it–sure, a healthy ecosystem is going to have a lot of critters in it, but raw biomass is affected by so many things that it’s ridiculous to use it as a measure of anything.

        1. American Job Venter*

          That is an excellent simile, which I am going to borrow for my next round of parent group testing wars.

      3. Nana*

        And then there was the test administered at Ellis Island to those seeking to enter the US. All questions in English, of course. Lots of opportunities to fail, including ‘categories’ such as moron, idiot, fool

    2. Xtina*

      What’s more, Alfred Binet (who developed that first intelligence test) himself believed that the test had limitations and could only be used to compare individuals with similar backgrounds and circumstances. He also didn’t believe that the results of the test represented a permanent form of intelligence; rather, it captured the person’s ability and difficulties at that point in time.
      In 1909 he stated: “Some recent philosophers seem to have given their moral approval to these deplorable verdicts that affirm that the intelligence of an individual is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be augmented. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we will try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing.”

      1. Sloan Kittering*

        It makes intuitive sense to me that there could never be a single test that would measure all forms of latent intelligence. Each culture would have different things they focus on and practice or not, which would naturally shape the brains of their children. I’ve read that the ideal IQ test would be one that you could not improve the score by repeating, but … familiarity will always increase the score it seems to me, even if it’s just a better understanding of paper / pencils / questions per page etc.

    3. Observer*

      You’re an adult with a history of accomplishment and skills, so you don’t need to rely on a IQ test score (which is really what mentioning MENSA is) to communicate any of that.

      And mentioning your Mensa membership or IQ implies to people that you do NOT have accomplishments, so you need to make yourself look good in some other way.

    4. Ann Nonymous*

      Tangential to #2’s question, I was on Jeopardy! Yay or nay putting that somewhere on the bottom of my resume?

  12. Allison*

    #1- Definitely up to you and what you’re mentally and emotionally up for, but one thing to consider would be if you sharing more details may help others on staff (like getting the offender fired before they offend again). If you don’t want to talk to your boss extensively, is it possible for you to write a letter with more details for them to have on file?

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      This is also where I landed. Legally and practically you have no obligation to take part in this, but consider whether you have a ‘moral’ obligation (this depends on your own conclusion about it – I’m not saying you do or don’t) to take part in this, if it seems to be a genuine (rather than just cya) process, for the sake of other people still at the company who for whatever reason don’t have the option to leave.

      1. bamcheeks*

        I hate the idea that victims of abuse or harassment have any kind of “moral obligation” to report or support an investigation for the sake of future victims. Being abused or harassed means having your agency and ability to consent denied, and any suggestion that it creates an “obligation” is just a continuation of the same pattern. And investigations that lead to any real change are incredibly rare, so it’s basically asking people to re-traumatise themselves so that the company can perform Dealing With It, rather than to support any other victims.

        The only good reason for helping an investigation is if it helps *you* get some kind of closure or recovery: it does for some people, but for most it doesn’t. There’s no obligation.

          1. bamcheeks*

            I think there will always be people who report because it’s cathartic and good for them. It’s on our institutions and organisations to act on those reports before it’s on any other victims’/survivors’ responsibility to report.

          2. Observer*

            This is a straw man that keeps on coming up here. The OP *DID* report it. That’s not the issue here. Why is the OP obligated to subject herself to further abuse? Because that’s what is happening here. The Boss claiming that the OP “has” to do anything is not a good faith effort to solve a problem and it’s extremely disrespectful, to say that least.

            1. Anon Supervisor*

              Exactly…OP did report and was ignored. If the OP wanted to say anything at all, she could say “The time for asking me these questions was when I reported it to you X months ago. Now that I’ve left the organization, you’ll need to continue your investigation without my input.”

          3. LutherstadtWittenberg*

            People do report. People don’t get believed. People are retraumatized, and harassed again, and worse. Don’t put this on the OP.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This is well put, thank you.

          The discussion off #3 reminds me of last week’s letter on abuse, and the bit about how a facet of abuse is that the abuser blames their actions on the victim. So even after the victim has managed to break all contact, they think “It was my fault when they hurt me, and now and forever after it’s my fault if they hurt other people. It’s all my fault.”

          Sometimes just disengaging is what your mental health needs, and bystanders should not try to guilt hurt people into being responsible for the actions of the ones who hurt them.

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Agreed. It’s not obligatory. That’s why there’s no criminal export from me about my ex. I never want to see or hear from that person again.

          I *did* once shop my employer to the authorities for extremely dodgy financial goings on and while I don’t regret it – the year of stress it caused wasn’t one I care to repeat.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            *export*? I’ve been messing with csv files too much, that should read ‘report’

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Personally, I would write this letter to HR directly, and/or upper management. (Owner if it’s not a conglomerate.)
      Document what you told the manager before & after resigning.
      And include a lawyer–this blog & the commenters have in the past mentioned how to access a lawyer if you’re on a tight budget. (Probably search on “sliding scale”.)

  13. Ina Lummick*

    No.5 I had a fill out a job application as part of my documentation before I started work. (I was referred by an external recruiter, which is why I did not fill one during the application process). They let me put down “as discussed in interview” for several of the boxes.

    One reason for this could be that if they are audited, the auditor won’t have the context around your hire and think the HR team have just not completed all the documentation for you.

    1. SM*

      #5 – About a week into a C-level role at a 500+ employee organisation, I had a junior HR person show up apologetically and ask me to fill out an application form, and to complete a basic job suitability test/questionnaire. The company policies required this be completed for ALL employees and it was audited as part of our industry accreditation, so even the people at the top were not exempt – although it was very much a proforma thing rather than an actual application since my appointment was made by the Board of Directors.

      1. JohannaCabal*

        I’ve heard of this happening. In fact, I briefly worked for a firm that due to their industry had to keep records, including resumes for all staff.

        This could also be for EEOC purposes. I’ve known some companies that receive government contracts and the hiring process, particularly, for larger contractors, can be very bureaucratic and by-the-book as a requirement for government contracts.

        1. Worldwalker*

          It’s just pointless paperwork.

          One place I worked, my boss made a certain little dingus (buckle protectors) for a company that configured airplanes for cargo transport, because he knew someone who worked there. Presumably because they had to have this form on file for all of their suppliers, one day they sent us a multi-page form to fill out. My boss said “but most of this doesn’t even apply to us! How can we fill it out?” I just took it literally. It had questions like “how many square feet is your factory?” (I counted the floor tiles at the work table) or “describe your equipment maintenance program” (someone looks at the X-Acto knife every now and then and replaces the blade when it’s dull). We sent it back, it went into a file folder somewhere to never be seen again, and everyone was happy.

  14. Stitching Away*

    OP2 – To be a member of Mensa is just about IQ test scores, which are heavily biased based on your upbringing and socioeconomic status, among other factors. Which is to say, they are very reflective of privilege, and lots of intelligent people will not test at an equal score on these tests simply because they have a different background.

    Show what you’ve actually done with yourself, not what you got by being born lucky.

  15. Boadicea*

    LW3: It’s interesting you thought this way. I recently applied for an internal position on another site, and the few colleagues I told were scandalized that I was being made to interview for it.
    Didn’t damned get it anyway…

    1. Smithy*

      Putting aside the issue some people are flagging around the OP having access to a CEO’s calendar – I actually take a lot of issue with places that default to promotions over opening roles for interviews. Even if those roles are open to only internal candidates.

      I used to work on a large team where there were a number of people at a similar senior level who focused on a certain area of our expertise. Basically, we all applied with experience in Teapot sales, but then would end up on the Silver, Stainless Steal, Porcelain etc. Teapot desk. The question of if we were professionals in Teapot Sales vs a specific kind of Teapot Sales somehow always seemed to come up whether or not a job was posted vs an automatic promotion. In theory I could see technical arguments for some cases, but in practice this largely seemed to favor management’s favorites, homogenous leadership and I would say wasn’t really well supported in professional markers.

      Had all of those jobs always been posted, it would have created more opportunities for staff to interview and have conversations about their professional development ambitions. Even if there were more obvious internal preferred candidates.

  16. Caroline Bowman*

    OP1, it strikes me your ex manager knows very well that how you were treated was both ethically vile and would be grounds for a legal complaint on your side. NOW he’s interested in covering his butt and trying to mitigate that very real risk.

    You were treated incredibly badly. I mean, who ”doesn’t have time” to discuss the things you described?? Surely that would be a 5-alarm emergency? I digress. I’d go to no meetings, have no calls and sign absolutely nothing at all. I might also, were I so inclined, get some legal advice pertinent to your particular situation.

  17. Drag0nfly*

    OP #5,

    Please fill out the application. Yes, it’s bureaucratic busywork (they could easily get relevant info from your resume), but I come at this from a different angle. I’m asking for altruistic purposes, for you “to take one for the team.”

    What I mean is, you’ll find tons of questions and posts in the archives about applicants who are having trouble getting past overly rigid AT systems. At this point there are studies and articles everywhere about this problem, especially in business newspapers. If you have an “in” with the company, then you are in an excellent position to point out any flaws your prospective company might have in its ATS.

    Let’s say it asks if you have a masters, and you don’t have one yet, but will have one in December. But the ATS rejects you because you don’t have a master’s *right now*. You can call up the person who is hiring you and point that out. What I’d hope for is that if enough people similarly positioned as you report on these kinds of problems, hiring managers will *notice* and take action. YMMV, of course. That said, even if your soon-to-be-new employers have a sane, thoughtful AT system, it shouldn’t cost you more than five minutes to fill out the application.

  18. I need cheesecake*

    #3 You mentioned this is your first real job, so I’d like to give you some advice.

    I can’t tell if you think you should have been offered the job, or if you’re upset entirely because she didn’t interview. But you seem to be focusing entirely on the lack of an interview, as you missed out some really important information!

    You shared context about your experience and qualifications, but not about your new manager – you say she completed a fellowship program and didn’t interview with the CEO, but nothing about her experience, qualifications, skills or (and this one’s the most important) what it’s been like working with her.

    That information isn’t important for your letter to be answered but it’s important for you. Because it’s what you should focus on, rather than obsessing over whether she had an interview (via access to a calendar that you should NOT still have).

    Ever heard the phrase: don’t borrow trouble? Focus on whether she’s a good boss, and how you can work with her and learn from her!

    As to the idea of feelings and whether they are valid, we can’t choose what we feel but we can choose what we do with it. If you’re upset about something at work it’s usually worth separating how you feel personally to what you can do about the situation and how much capital is involved. In this case it’s ok to acknowledge that you’re upset but nothing is going to happen as a result of that, so you need to try to move past it.

  19. Bagpuss*

    OP#1 You don’t have to respond to them at all if you don’t want to, you certainly don’t want to get involved in meetings etc.

    You may consider putting into a letter to HR the background and what happened, as it sounds as though the manager may well not have been open with them about it all, including your attempts to report it before you quit.

    It’s definitely possible he is trying to cover his ass, it’s also possible that if you bring it up directly and formally in writing with HR that it will make it harder for them to brush it under the carpet so it might have benefits for other employees.

    But this is 100% optional on your part and if simply blocking him and walking away is better and healthier for you personally then you should have no hesitation in doing exactly that.

    1. Artemesia*

      Or get a lawyer, make a formal complaint and have her negotiate a settlement from this company. And if you do provide information don’t go through this manager who refused to pay attention earlier; instead go directly to HR including that you attempted to bring this up at the time and were blown off.

      1. Bagpuss*

        Absolutely – definitely don’t respond at all to the specific manager, if you do anything, go via HR

  20. John Smith*

    #4. It may be that the employer is struggling to get new staff and is offering WFH to attract more candidates. Those new terms and conditions wouldn’t necessarily apply to existing staff, but if the new staff are doing the same job, I bet existing staff would be a bit miffed at not getting the same benefits. But if staff are leaving, it’s a struggle to get new ones and additional benefits are being offered as an inducement, it sounds like you have a crappy employer?

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      I expect that this is exactly what is going on. The implications are (1) that this work *can* be done remotely, and (2) insisting on current employees working in the office just because is a good way to increase turnover. The company clearly has figured out the first. The second is an open question.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      Pre-Covid my company had a policy like this. They would hire many of the same roles that were remote, but if you lived within 50 miles of headquarters you were required to come in.

      It was hugely unfair.
      Companies— Don’t do this!

  21. Lola Banks*

    LW 5 – This is standard practice. In many organizations they can’t generate your offer letter until you submit a formal application for the job req. There is nothing shady about this; it’s just a hiring/onboarding requirement for documentation and tracking purposes on the company’s end.

    If anything it looks a little shady that a candidate who has made it to the offer stage is
    now balking at the thought of entering a formal application. You’re not burning a bridge; you’re indicating that you are not interested in the role after all.

  22. LondonLady*

    OP1 – maybe put your experiences in writing (you might find that therapeutic) and send that to your former boss, if you want to, and say you are now drawing a line – but as others have said, no obligation to do so.

  23. bamcheeks*

    LW1, you left a job because people were trampling all over your boundaries, and now you’ve gone, your ex manager is still trampling all over your boundaries, and making it all about *his* need to do *his* due dilligence– no wonder you still feel upset and stressed and anxious! It’s so great when corporate anti-harassment policies allow themselves to be interpreted as “harass your colleagues (and ex-colleagues) until they participate in our anti-harassment policy”.

    I’m so glad you’re out of there, and I hope you get rid of him quickly! You are definitely allowed to decline to be part of his investigation.

    1. Maxie's Mommy*

      Next time she can say “give me a number I can take to my lawyer” and see what he says. . . or how pale he gets.

  24. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP1: I quit a job with The Boss From Hell for a lot of reasons, all of which he knew, and a week after I left he wrote to me to demand that I type up all my complaints with PROOF (dates/times/exactly what he said – which is difficult when you’ve had 3 years of arsehole) and attend a meeting in the office (60 miles away) where he and HR would ‘formally investigate the issues’.

    Look, if 3 years of me suffering, making complaints to HR where they’d back him up (this was the boss who told me I was too fat and had to lose weight) didn’t do anything then nothing would.

    So, I ignored the emails. The letter(!) he sent got ‘accidentally set on fire’ while burning some incense and I actually ended up blocking his email because it was aggravating my (really bad) mental state.

    1. Sara without an H*

      I’ve had obnoxious letters accidentally hop into my handy little home shredder. Funny how that happens.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I know! The one from the TV Licensing lot today magically flew into the shredder all on its own :)

        1. Worldwalker*

          The ones with a fake-handwritten address from a particularly persistent insurance agent somehow just fall out of my hands and into the recycling basket by the door when I’m bringing in the mail. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

        2. SnappinTerrapin*

          I thought that fax machine sounded noisy when I faxed their letter back to them with a blunt response in the margin!

          Grrrr, grrrrr, grrrr.

  25. Bookworm*

    OP1: I’m sorry that happened to you and I wish you the best of luck moving forward. Glad you left.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, OP1, please block any incoming communication from your vile former employer and concentrate on healing yourself. They are not worth any more stress or heartache on your part.

      Jedi hugs and here’s to a happier future for you!

  26. Beehoppy*

    LW#5 – Before I started my current job, I submitted an application and resume, went through 3 rounds of interviews, and ultimately made it to the top two applicants, but was not selected. At the time they said they expected to have another very similar role open up in 4-5 months when someone else on the team retired. Well COVID hit and her retirement kept getting pushed back, but HR and I stayed in touch for almost a full year. When she finally retired it was basically a lock I was going to get the job, but I still needed to submit a (new) application. It’s weird, but normal.

  27. Gnome*

    I’m wondering, based on Alison’s, answer… If someone wanted to work remotely as an accommodation to religious observation, would that be ok? I’m thinking of remote work to facilitate observance for, say, Ramadan or on Fridays in the winter for Orthodox Jews (when the Sabbath comes in really early and where traffic can make getting home in time difficult).


    1. J.B.*

      Accommodations are supposed to be collaborative according to Alison. So that might be the eventual solution but it might not.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      It’s like any other accommodation really – relies on discussion with the employer as to what is reasonable. At one place where I worked that would be fine, at another they’d just suggest a shortened workday, some others would be okay with taking an entire day off for religious observances but no more than that.

    3. Colette*

      The details really matter here, the first one being whether the job can be done from home. If it can, it might be teh accomodation they arrive at after discussing it, but it’s not something an employee can demand – it’s a collaborative process.

    4. EmmaPoet*

      I think, depending on the field and the job, that it would be workable as an accommodation. For example, a reference librarian in an open public library has to be at the reference desk a good chunk of the day, but if you had a central line for telephone reference or a chat function, we could have the at-home person cover those. In fact, while my library system buildings were closed and we were only doing curbside pickup, I believe they did just that for people who were medically unable to come into the building till we had vaccines.

    5. Gnome*

      I was more thinking, would it be ok if, say, all Muslims were allowed to telework during Ramadan, even if it’s not normally allowed. Would that be illegal discrimination on the basis of religion (since a Lutheran couldn’t do it) or a reasonable accommodation?

      Obviously, it would have to be a job that could be done remotely.

      1. Willow*

        I think as long as it was applied to anyone who had analogous religious reasons to telework (and maybe other protected reasons like ADA) it wouldn’t be discrimination.

  28. IndustriousLabRat*

    LW1- I’ve gone through this. Working BOH at a corporate chain restaurant, only woman in the kitchen, subjected not only to personal harassment but also forced to endure being captive audience to a contest between the FOH and BOH managers to see which of them could bed each new FOH hire first (not kidding, and they had no shame about discussing it). It was a shocking garlic-scented quagmire of toxic misogyny. All I want to do is grill some dang chicken, guys! Hush with the crazy and stop touching my bum.

    When I had enough, I submitted a detailed letter to the somehow completely oblivious franchise owner/GM for that location laying everything out in detail, and resigning effective immediately; as in, “if you need me to work through my Notice period, I will do so, but in light of what I’m telling you, I hope you can understand why I would prefer not to return.”

    I got a call the next day from Corporate Legal asking for more info. I told them, “everything I have to say is in the letter. If you’re calling me because you think I’m pursuing legal action; no, not at this point, and I will appreciate not to be contacted again”. Really, the only reason I think they even cared is because they thought I was coming for them. Slimers!

    As an aside, this is the same place where the coked-out saute cook got arrested for punching a police horse during a baseball riot. And the location folded a couple years later.

    Putting the details in writing made it so much easier to just make a completely clean break. I do hope that Corporate laid the smackdown on the offenders, but it was just good to be out of there. You don’t owe them a thing. The initial refusal to acknowledge your concerns is on them. You tried to address it like a normal professional would, you got brushed off, you have no obligation to help them one bit.

    I hope your next job gives you the respect you deserve!

    1. quill*

      “As an aside, this is the same place where the coked-out saute cook got arrested for punching a police horse during a baseball riot. And the location folded a couple years later.”

      Sounds like the whole place was full of bees.

        1. IndustriousLabRat*

          It hardly bears retelling, except as just another example of why packing over five thousand 18-22 year olds, coming predominantly from home stomping areas of two perennially-warring baseball factions (somehow, exactly no one seemed to even be aware of the existence of the Mets), into a quarter square mile of ugly vertical brick sardine cans, with virtually unfettered access to both Jaegermeister and NESN, is probably not, in hindsight, the greatest of ideas.

          For anyone who has read this far, and guessed that I went to Zoomass in the 90s, you are correct.

  29. doreen*

    OP 5, the request for an application likely has little to do with you. I was hired by a state agency in 1994 and filled out an application when I was hired. I was promoted a few times without completing another application. In 2011, that agency merged with another larger ,agency. Suddenly, every promotion required a new application – even promotions that were not open to external candidates. There are only two reasons that make sense – either 1)the pre-merger agency used a different form so this was an attempt to obtain the same info on most employees or 2) The premerger agency kept bad or incomplete records and therefore it was still an attempt to get the same info on all employees. Knowing where I work , it’s the second option. But the point is if my agency will not promote a current employee without a new application, they will not hire someone from outside without an application – even if the application is just a means to get all of your information on a single form with your signature.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I work for a state agency and had to fill out an application to get the permanent version of my “temporary” job 8 years later.

  30. Delta Delta*

    #2 – I think there are 2 things going on with this letter, and rather than pile on about the -isms that have shown themselves in Mensa (and also how much of a bore it is to meet someone who peacocks about their IQ), I want to pick up on something else. I would love for this LW to really work hard on their resume and update it with their skills and abilities. I’m concerned that this person’s resume may inadvertently reveal their age, which may end up getting them excluded from being hired, as well. (No, not legal; yes, it happens.) LW2 – really examine that resume and organize it in such a way that highlights what you can do and how you’d be an asset to a new employer. That’s how you get noticed.

  31. Grace Less*

    LW3 – Fist bumps for solidarity! My group has also promoted/created new positions after being told no changes were on horizon (1 month before). I called it out to executive leadership and we had an all-staff meeting committing to transparency…but I have applications out anyway. I don’t need much from an employer, but I do need respect.

  32. I don't get paid enough for this*

    Op 1 – I may be wrong but it sounds to me like your boss could have suddenly realised that they could be open to legal action and is trying to do damage control. The exact same thing happened to me when I left my job in a supermarket due to bullying and harassment. I worded my resignation letter in a specific way that is required when you intend to try and claim constructive dismissal. The HRanager cottoned on fairly quickly and went on a major charm offensive, promising me a full investigation in response to a letter of complaint I submitted with my resignation. She also wouldn’t accept my resignation, even after I had worked my notice and was physically not working for the company any more. A few days after I quite she invited me to a meeting with herself and a senior manager so I could outline my grievances and promised a full investigation. A few weeks later she invited me back in for a meeting to go over the findings … and surprise surprise on all 6 or 7 grievance points they ruled against me, saying there was no evidence to prove anything I had said. I ultimately decided against an employment tribunal as the whole process was extremely stressful and I just wanted to move on rather than having it drag out and affect my mental health for longer. If you just want it over and done with and don’t want to take it any further you absolutely don’t have to go to any meetings after your last day there.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      How can a company not accept your resignation?
      I mean you’re not showing up for work—you quit.
      I see this often on here and I’m always baffled by the comment.

      Employers don’t have any power to ‘not accept a resignation’ and force you to stay or continue working, no matter what they claim otherwise.

      I’m sorry you went through that painful experience after you quit. You’re exactly right in that it’s purely damage control so you don’t try to sue. Often it’s nothing but pure victim blaming.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        It’s rather akin to the ex boyfriend who refused to accept me ending the relationship – apparently it required his consent too? Spoiler: it really didn’t.

      2. ecnaseener*

        I think it’s sometimes a threat to not document the resignation, so that if you stop showing up they’ll mark it as you being fired after several no-shows.

      3. I don't get paid enough for this*

        She literally wouldn’t process my resignation so on their system I was still working for the company, but I just wasn’t showing up. It also meant that I couldn’t get sent my P45, which is a tax document that I would need to be able to start a new job (I think the US equivalent is pink slip?). She kept insisting that I could transfer to another department of my choosing and choose my shifts, or that I could transfer to the store in the city I was planning on moving to. She didn’t give a damn about me or my mental health, she was just doing it so if I did go to a tribunal for constructive dismissal She could prove that she had tried to remedy the situation and provide an alternative so that leaving wasn’t my only option. I basically told her to shove it as I didn’t have any trust in the company at all by that point and after the meeting about the findings of the investigation she finally processed my resignation. I got a new job in the city I moved to 2 weeks later.

        1. Ponytail*

          I’m sure you probably know this but not having a P45 in place when you start a new job is not a big deal – most jobs were happy to give me one when I left but it took so long that I’d already been PAID by the new job. So please don’t ever let that stop you from leaving. The tax situation will usually sort itself out within 3 months anyway.

        2. PT*

          The US does not have a tax form that releases you from one job into another. You literally can just accept a new job starting tomorrow, not tell your old employer, and stop showing up at your old job and start going to your new job. At the end of the year, you’ll get a W-2 mailed to your house listing your tax information so you can file your taxes.

          This only becomes a problem if: 1. The job you stopped showing up to only issues paper checks, and requires you to show up in person to collect them. People who just walk out often end up forfeiting that check (it’s illegal but it happens.) 2. Between the time you worked there and the following January, you’ve moved, so they no longer have your correct address to send the W2 form and you’ll have to track it down before you can do your taxes.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          My evil side was saying ‘fine, I’ll just tell HMRC that you’re refusing to give me my P45’.

          But….err..my evil side isn’t professional :p

        4. wittyrepartee*

          No US equivalent, at least anymore? I’ve been fired, and they didn’t give me any documentation of it. I just left and never showed up again.

  33. Xantar*

    #2. In addition to what others have said, keep in mind that MENSA members have included anti-vaxxers, QAnon members, white supremacists, climate change deniers, and all manner of other people who believe empirically false things. If high IQ was all that great, it would prevent people from believing those things. People who understand IQ scores and MENSA know that it doesn’t even say much about how smart you are in an everyday sense.

    1. quill*

      High IQ is correlated with a higher capacity to convince yourself of things that you’re motivated to believe in, unfortunately.

  34. Skippy*

    LW3: I’ve definitely been in your situation, where a co-worker was promoted into a position that I would have been interested in, but was never considered. This sounds like a good opening to chat with your boss about what a future career trajectory at the company could look like — if it exists — and what you would need to do to get there.

    As for procedures around promotions, I’ve seen bosses do end-arounds all the time in order to make a promotion happen. I worked at an organization where the stated policy was to post every promotion opportunity and go through a hiring process, but there were always managers who completely ignored the policy, or only applied it in some cases, but not all. It’s great if you’re the person who gets promoted without having to go through the rigamarole of a formal search: it’s not so great if you wanted a position that was never posted.

  35. James*

    ” You would think that having a high level of intelligence would be an automatic asset, but people can be weird about this.”

    This line is problematic to me. For a few reasons. It comes perilously close to talking down to people, which is always a bad thing. And it displays an attitude of superiority that is really, really grating to many people, and very problematic to managers. I’ve managed a few people who were on paper smarter than me (I’m not a dummy myself), and I’d say about half of them had real trouble taking direction from someone they saw as less intelligent than them, regardless of experience or position in the company.

    The reality is that there isn’t one aspect of intelligence, there are many. Think of the math/music prodigies that could barely manage social situations throughout history–their mathematical intelligence was astonishing, but their social intelligence was nearly non-existent. Further, just because someone is good at one application of a thing doesn’t mean they’re good at all applications thereof. My father can calculate the forces acting on a braced concrete wall in his head while driving by a job site, but ask him to balance a checkbook and he’s lost. It’s all math–the accounting math is even simpler than what he normally works with–but he just can’t do money.

    Then there are the myriad of issues with the whole concept of IQ. For my part, I consider it to be a measure of something, but it’s a poor measure and we have no idea what’s actually being measured yet. It’s a protoscientific concept, one that indicates there may be something worth exploring but which in no way should be taken as rigorous.

    All of this matters in a job. If you’re intelligent but unwilling to learn, unwilling to work with people you see as less intelligent, you’re not an asset you’re a liability, probably an expensive liability. Remember, as a manager my first loyalty is to the company, my second is to my team. Not any individual member of that team, but to the team as a whole. If bringing in someone who’s super-smart and really skilled at one thing harms the efficiency and dynamic of my team, that super-smart person is out.

    All of that said, it’s not wrong to bring up Mensa, just like it’s not wrong to bring up any other hobby. Interviewers often ask about hobbies, and you can bring Mensa up at that point.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      I don’t advise bringing up Mensa, even as a hobby.
      I’m a member of Mensa and Triple Nine but stay in the closet because I expect that any mention would put people off.

      1. James*

        I’ve heard that sort of argument, but have rarely seen it in the real world. I have met a few people that were embarrassed by their lack of education and who were genuinely uncomfortable around people they thought of as smarter than them, but it’s a handful, mostly older gentlemen, in an extremely rural area.

        What’s far more common in my experience is that people dislike arrogant jerks, and associate people in such societies with arrogance. There are far, far more Sheldon Coopers out there (who look down on anyone they perceive as less intelligent) than Allen Grants (polite, courteous, not arrogant).

        1. STG*

          Couldn’t that be confirmation bias though? The folks like Polly who don’t talk about their membership wouldn’t be included in your grouping simply because you aren’t aware of them existing.

        2. Polly Hedron*

          people dislike arrogant jerks, and associate people in such societies with arrogance.

          I agree and that is why I don’t mention it.

          1. Polly Hedron*

            I don’t mean that people in such societies are arrogant jerks, I mean that other people make that assumption.

    2. Observer*

      Interviewers often ask about hobbies, and you can bring Mensa up at that point.

      Given the OP’s attitude and experience, I would advise against it. If they sound like they’ve been waiting for an opportunity to show how SMART they are, it’s not likely to go well, for them.

  36. slackr*

    Leave MENSA off. It’s not the most prestigious of groups. It was valuable to me when I moved to a new city as a means to meet new people, but it’s the same as any other social club you wouldn’t put on a professional resume, like Home Brewing Society or Packer Backers. And some people are oddly threatened by intelligence.

  37. End Applications Now*

    Honestly, the application is one of those things that I think employers really need to cool off on now that the job market dynamics are different. For years they could get job seekers to jump through as many hoops as they wanted, but things have changed. There are a lot of seekers like LW who are curious but not desperate and are turned off by this sort of thing.

    I get the data collection logic (although frankly, I’ve never worked anywhere where HR did ANYTHING with the data collected, and if it’s a fillable PDF they almost certainly aren’t crunching numbers with it), but it should be completed either at the beginning of the first day, or at the very least presented very apologetically with an explanation of why it’s needed by the hiring manager. But in my opinion, I’d just scrap it. It’s not like you need a candidate to sign an affidavit to fire them for lying on their resume, if that turns out to be the situation.

    1. bamcheeks*

      LW5 doesn’t say they’ve given the company a resume, so it’s possible they have no written record of who he is at all. At some point they’ve got to collect things like address, contact details, DoB, etc!

      1. End Applications Now*

        If that were the case, why not just ask for a resume for their files then? Anything more specific like DOB and emergency contact info could be collected with the new hire paperwork.

        1. Threeve*

          Resumes aren’t standardized, and if a new job needs to use any information about an employee’s background, it’s much easier for them if they know exactly where to find it.

          I can think of a bunch of reasons why Job #2 might want to contact Job #1 even after someone is hired, and contact info is usually required on the formality-applications, but it’s unlikely to be on the employee’s actual resume.

    2. Lester*

      A job application isn’t a hoop that employers make you jump through. It’s documentation of basic information about you that they need in order to employ you. They literally need to know who you are and where you live in order to pay you. I get that the job application process can be redundant and frustrating, but the application itself is pretty necessary.

      1. End Applications Now*

        Well, I didn’t complete an application fo my current job. I applied with a resume wind cover letter and provided any additional required info at hire. This is the case at many employers. So I would disagree that it’s necessary.

        1. Lester*

          What you call additional required info was likely what other employers would call an application. Employers need basic information about their applicants. It makes no sense to End Applications Now. If anything, you should be advocating for ending resumes and cover letters. Those are very unstandardized which is the reason why many employers ask for employment history in a standard format as part of the application.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          I would think it depends heavily on what systems they use. I don’t think the fact that one time you got a job without filling one out at a completely different company has an relevance as to whether this particular company needs that data before extending an offer…

    3. great resignation member*

      Agree completely. I will not retype my resume into your standardized form that you will never do anything with unless I am desperate.

      1. End Applications Now*

        lol yeah, people keep defending them but a) there are almost always multiple ways to go about collecting information from candidates/new hires, b) professional job seekers almost universally despise applications and c) in this job market some candidates will opt out due to applications. But if companies are that attached to them, so be it I guess, haha.

  38. Lacey*

    LW5 – I did my whole interview, got an informal job offer and then was handed an application to fill out. I started the next week. It was not a big deal.

  39. anonymous73*

    #1 your former manager can’t force you to do anything since you no longer work for the company, BUT…I would reach out to HR directly and speak with them. Who knows if it will do any good, but I’d personally feel better knowing that my experiences were on the record and that it could potentially change the way people were treated in the future. Ignoring the problems just continues the cycle of harassment.

  40. Pam Poovey*

    LW 2: if I were a hiring manager, seeing Mensa on an application would be a big turn-off. Especially given what we know about the racist, classist, etc, nature of IQ measurement. (Being a member doesn’t automatically make you those things of course but putting it on a resume would at least make me question your judgment and priorities)

    LW 5: I filled out an official application for my current job somewhere in the middle of the interview process. It was basically just an official HR requirement for having me on file and I don’t think anyone on my team ever actually looked at it.

  41. So sleepy*

    LW2 – definitely avoid putting it on your resume. I highly value intelligence (and am also considered gifted), and my first thought if I saw this on a resume would be “well, this person I thinks this means they are better than everyone” – it would definitely colour my interactions with them and they would have to actively demonstrate that they are collaborative and not pompous… it just wouldn’t have the effect you’re anticipating.

    People who value intelligence will spot it during the interview; it’s not going to be something that gets you in the door, though. But don’t try to showcase it during the interview – what I mean is that you will come across as intelligent in the normal course of things, which will be far more impactful than *telling* people you are smart. It really is about what you can do with your intelligence and not just that you have it.

  42. Bert, you’re yelling again*

    Mensa is literally a business that sells you the “right” to say you are a Mensa member.

    Does anyone honestly think a business is going to decline someone giving them money? Mensa means nothing.

    1. So sleepy*

      This. I’m actually gifted and would never want to be a member of Mensa. I have a colleague who I am 90% sure is a member (he is leaps and bounds ahead of me IQ-wise and occasionally talks about an association he is a member of that seems to be intelligence-focused), and he has never admitted it. There’s definitely a negative perception of Mensa and it’s not just an envy thing.

      1. quill*

        Close to same but the people I’ve admired who clearly have a pretty high IQ (college aquaintance who went into astrophysics and could design origami in his head) have generally just… got on with interesting things and figured out how to stay in their own lane, while people I’ve despised have generally been of the school where “my IQ score / SAT score / chess ranking proves I have objectively greater value!” is something they actually believe. Especially when it intersects with societal privilege, particularly being a middle to upper middle class white male.

    2. slackr*

      Yes, there is an application process that is followed very rigorously. Registering as a Professional Engineer costs money also, but they won’t let you register unless you qualify. There is one of those Kardashians currently discovering that even millions of dollars can’t buy your way into making you a lawyer.

    3. Anononon*

      I went to “smart” camp as a kid for several years, and there was the underlying joke/awareness that the main qualification was whether or not you could afford it. We also used to joke about how, while we may have had book smarts, many of less lacked common sense/”street smarts”. The joke image of someone trying to pull open a door that said “Push” popped up quite often.

  43. eastcoastkate*

    LW3- as someone who went through an admin fellowship post-MHA (that sounds like what that person went through?), for a lot of fellowships the intention is to move them into a leadership position pretty quickly after the fellowship. I don’t know what your organization is like, but they probably had a lot of exposure and projects and I’m not surprised they moved quickly into a role that was almost set up for them. I wouldn’t take it personally.

    My advice to you – I have seen quite a few people get their MHAs while they were in admin assistant roles and they had to move departments or move teams (or perhaps even orgs) to get out of people’s mindsets as the ‘admin assistant’. You may need to be super clear about your desire to move up- but you also haven’t been there a long time. Not that the other former fellow hasn’t either, but they may have previous experience. Hard to evaluate when all we’re hearing is your experience- which is limited.

    1. Me*

      I was thinking the same thing. In my experience a fellowship at an organization is geared towards moving that person into a leadership role. Your point about the admin view is 10000% correct. It is definitely hard to make people not see you as an admin.

      1. eastcoastkate*

        Exactly! I think LW has glossed over that- the fellowship component of that explains a LOT about that move of that employee into that role. In my organization, often a few months before the fellow completes their year they are identifying open leadership roles (or roles that they know will open up) to start training them for as a succession plan. That seems like exactly what happened here.

    2. Shiba Dad*

      I agree that the fellowship is the key here. Where I work fellowships are two-year programs where the fellow works in every department.

  44. anonymous73*

    #5 – an application is a formality. I’ve had to fill one out after accepting a job. It’s just something HR needs to put in your file. Not a big deal, and doesn’t confirm acceptance of any position.

  45. Hiring Mgr*

    As most people are saying, putting Mensa on your resume isn’t likely to help, but for me personally it wouldn’t be a huge negative or a turnoff, just irrelevant. But I’ve always gotten by on looks and charm more than brains

  46. JohannaCabal*

    #5 This is very normal. At my previous job, when I sat down with our HR person on my first day, she gave me a formal application to complete. I was very nervous because it required my last three jobs and reason for leaving. The second of my three previous jobs at that time was a role where I was fired after three months due to a bad fit (I was able to skirt by this job in the interview that led to my job offer). Not knowing better, I put down “mutual separation” as my reason for leaving fired job as I was somewhat relieved at being fired.

    For a few months, I was worried the HR person would see that and decide to dig into it even more, possibly contacting that employer (I did not use them as a reference).

    Fortunately, it never came up. I suspect the HR person just filed it away and checked off that they’d completed all the new hire steps.

  47. Lou*

    OP 5, I recently had something similar happen to me. I’d actually applied for one job but they let me know during the process that they were splitting the role up into a few, less senior, roles. I was ultimately offered one of the new roles, but I had to fill out the application for that role. The order of operations was: verbal offer, request to fill out the new application, formal offer letter. I was told that the application was for compliance reasons. They didn’t even post the new role until I’d verbally accepted their verbal offer. I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about what they’re asking you to do, unless the job description looks wildly different from what you’d discussed

  48. ceiswyn*

    Oh, OP2.

    ‘I passed some tests and I like to hang out with other people who also passed those specific tests’.

    Does that sound like a desirable characteristic, or does it sound a bit weird?

    Mensa has very little to do with actual intelligence, which is a concept psychologists are still arguing over and is *correlated* with IQ tests at best. Mensa membership puts hiring managers off not because they have anything against intelligent people, but because there are a lot of better indications of real world intelligence, especially emotional intelligence. Don’t underestimate the importance of emotional intelligence. And there are few better ways to demonstrate a lack of social skills than essentially writing ‘I am extremely clever’ on your CV.

  49. RagingADHD*

    LW#1 – gee, I wonder why there is a flourishing culture of harassment and verbal abuse (aka power and control) at that workplace?

    The fish rots from the head, that’s why. And the head of this company has delusions that he can require anybody, anywhere to do his bidding at his convenience.

    Funny how that works.

  50. Ti*

    Am I the only one who thinks OP1’s manager is getting heat from HR about why he didn’t listen BEFORE OP1 quit and thats why he’s freaking out now trying to salvage it?

    Either way not OP’s problem anymore.

  51. SawbonzMD*

    My college career counselor wanted me to put MENSA on my CV for when I was applying to medical school. I remember her take on it was that it would show the admissions committee that I’m smart (!). I followed my instincts though, and kept it off.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      I would like to apologize for the idiocy that your college career counselor tried to foist on you. Glad to hear you left it off. That committee had other, much more relevant, ways of figuring out whether you’re smart: grades, achievements, research, MCAT, what your recommenders have to say about you, etc.

    2. Worldwalker*

      One has to wonder if anyone applies to medical school who *isn’t* smart.

      Also: 1 out of 50 people is qualified to join Mensa. If we assume that college students have at least average intelligence, that would be 1 out of 25 college students. A lot fewer than that apply to med school.

      In fact, I just looked it up: the recommended minimum SAT score for applying to medical schools (in general, not a specific one) is 50-100 points higher than the minimum (depending on year) to join Mensa. So, yeah, it’s a reasonable assumption that *everyone* who is applying to med school is smart enough to be a Mensa member.

  52. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    LW3, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to take this as a sign that the organization does not value promoting from within. There’s a lot of churn going on out there, and it will not hurt to get some resumes out there and see if there’s a better place for you to achieve your goals.

    1. eastcoastkate*

      I disagree with this- what LW3 doesn’t mention (if i’m reading this correctly- MHA, fellowship, this sounds pretty darn accurate) is that the fellowship (MHA administrative fellowships) the other candidate did is a leadership training program and that having a succession plan for that fellow coming out of that year-long training program is extremely common and actually advertised as part of the benefit of doing these programs. These fellows often have experience coming in, and while it’s variable organization to organization whether the leadership position is also opened to other candidates, it does seem like that fellow was an internal candidate as well just one that has been there slightly longer than LW3. So they are still promoting within. The organization could have done a better job communicating and explaining all of that, but they are still promoting from within.

    2. Colette*

      That’s a big leap. The OP has been with this organization for 2 years, and in her current job for 1. That’s really, really early for a significant promotion – especially considering that she hasn’t been in the workforce very long. It’s entirely possible that the coworker was hired with the plan to move her into a leadership role or that her background makes her a better fit for the job.

  53. HiHello*

    OP 5 – I once interviewed for a position that I applied for. The leadership after the final interview told me they want to offer me a different position as I would be a better fir for the other one. Even though I knew I was being offered the other one, they still asked me to submit an application for it. Sometimes, HR just likes to have things on file in a specific way

  54. Meep*

    #3 – I am curious what education level and level of experience the person who filled the role has. It sounds like perhaps they were hired to fill the role pending your manager’s advancement and it has now left people with longer tenure feeling jaded.

    I also wonder considering LW#3 listed all of their accomplishments if they thought they were a better fit and that is where some of the resentment is coming from. It is normal (though not healthy) to compare yourself to your coworkers and feel jaded that you aren’t receiving the praise you deserve. I get it. I was hired as an engineer. I got my Bachelor’s in engineering. I spent the first 1.5 years being an admin assistant to my Toxic Former Manager who was actually the Sales & Marketing VP because she was incompetent but competent enough to convince the owner (an engineer) to let her manage me. We were the only two employees at the time so when people started being hired I was resentful and disgruntled they actually got to do “engineering things” while I was relegated to maid, cleaner, secretary, admin assistant, and librarian. (Of course, sexism from said former Manager played a heavy role in it.)

    But I learned to advocate for myself so I am finally doing what I went to school for and stay in my own lane and I am much happier and less disgruntled about what my coworkers get to work on.

  55. AlphabetSoupCity*

    #3- Sounds like you work in a hospital. Admin fellows do their programs to be trained/groomed to take on manager positions in the areas they’ve worked in during their fellowship or other areas of interest. This isn’t shady or surprising, although it might be understandably frustrating or confusing

  56. jade*

    OP #3 – just want to say that I think it’s great that you’re asking this question. You’re new in your career so of course it’s not always going to be intuitive to know when something is off about your work place or if the issue is just you needing to reframe things. I think asking says a lot about your potential going forward!

    It’s in your best interest going forward to not be resentful and to do everything you can to make your boss successful. You can express that you are happy that she has been given this opportunity and talk openly about your own career goals and the things you have accomplished, but those things shouldn’t take away from being happy seeing others succeed. It’s good karma! Best of luck to you.

  57. Sled Dog Mama*

    LW # 5 I’ve worked at more than one place where the application was part of the on boarding. because (for many reasons) they only have you fill out the application if they are actually hiring you.
    I would be a little different if this was say a job as a cashier at Burger King and you didn’t fill out the application until they decided to hire you but for job found through network connections and recruiters it’s common.

    1. nozenfordaddy*

      This is basically what happened when I got my current job. I was looking for a new job and called a couple firms to see if they were hiring. Got chatting with the office lead about my experience and interests, they asked me to fax them my resume, brought me in for an interview two days later and then said basically: we’re going to send you an offer letter – please fill out this application to make everything official.

  58. The Dogman*

    LW#1 Time to offer your consultancy rates of $1000 per day, minimum fee of 5 full days to help them out with their problem.

    It is not your problem anymore, and remember “An emergency on your part does not make a crisis on my part.” is a good answer.

      1. The Dogman*

        Lol, yes, this is also part of the reason I am better self employed than working for others… nice managers I am lovely and hard working… bad managers I tell directly to their faces exactly why they are rubbish at their jobs and why people don’t want to work for them… then I get fired! ;)

  59. Anonymous Hippo*

    I’m been promoted three times at two different companies, and never once was I interviewed for it. I was simply offered the positions. I don’t think it is that unusual, especially if the company is working on succession plans. I would however use this as an impetus to start talking with your boss about your career progression. My last promotion, my boss and I had been talking about what would be a good next step in my career for nearly a year when I was offered the position. It was similar with the other two, I’d already been regularly discussing my next step long before the promotion opportunity opened up.

  60. Lauren*

    Honestly, the way to shut this down is to say ‘the ongoing demands you’ve wanted of my time to discuss – leads me to believe that I need a lawyer. I’ll contact a few and get back to you’. Watch this guy slink away fast.

  61. vincent*

    If you do significant volunteer/organizational work for Mensa, is that different? I’ve got a friend who’s the chair of the local chapter, which involves a really significant time and expertise commitment. Running events, too, can be a TON of work. Is doing it for Mensa enough of a con that it’s not worth the pros?

    1. A Feast of Fools*

      I posted this upthread, but it wasn’t a drawback for me. I had done a ton of volunteer work and held elected positions in my local Mensa chapter. The volunteer work was relevant to the jobs I was applying to.

      In that context, it was “Here’s the organization I do volunteer work for, and here’s why that work is relevant,” and NOT “Look at me, I’m in the Smarty Person’s Club.”

    2. Ben*

      I think it’s still quite risky. If I was interviewing a job candidate with extensive volunteer work through Mensa, I’d be a little more impressed than if they just listed their membership, but I would still have serious concerns. At the end of the day, it’s an organization created by and for people who self-identify based on being “high IQ.” That creates character questions for me. There are lots of other groups through which you can do volunteer work. I’d want to know why you’d be so invested in one that is designed to be exclusionary based on, depending on your opinion, either an intrinsic characteristic or whether you grew up in an environment conducive to standardized testing. It’s frankly a little creepy.

      Maybe this is unfair — I’m open to that possibility — but more important, I think it would be a common reaction among employers.

      1. The Dogman*

        Agreed, depending on the tests I was rated at over 120 and 130, popped a 140 once, but when they started telling me the “advantages” of being a member it was clear to me (at 14) that this was a smoke blowing club for people who think IQ is all important.

        It is not.

  62. El l*

    LW 2:
    Nah, it’s no different in the private sector – but I encourage you to not think of people as being “weird” about intelligence.

    Being smart is like being beautiful. If you have to state that you are – or rub it in that you are – you’re not. The really smart don’t have to prove it. They just know.

    If you speak with someone, they can tell within a minute. If they can’t, do you really want to work with them?

  63. Ben*

    LW2: The problem with Mensa is that, not only will it come off as bragging, but it is also not that impressive for anyone who actually knows what it is or is qualified to join. I’m reminded of a colleague who insisted on putting their degrees after their name in all kinds of inappropriate contexts where none of their other very well-educated colleagues did, even though they got those degrees from an online diploma mill. You might impress some people, but you will alienate or make yourself a bit of a joke to many more, including most of those whose opinions you probably care about.

  64. MadLori*

    Whether it’s valid or not, MENSA has a bad connotation as being full of poseur dudes who are very attached to being Very Intelligent and making sure everyone else knows they are.

  65. CW*

    OP1 – You have no obligation to do this. You are not an employee anymore and they no longer have power over you. Just kindly say no, and don’t answer any further communication. It’s not like they have any recourse if you ignore them.

  66. Rick T*

    OP#1 – If, and really if, you talk to them charge a consulting fee. I like the $1000/day – 5 day minimum prepaid above. If HR is serious they may cough up!

    OP#2 – Having MENSA on you resume isn’t valuable. Having accomplishments there that demonstrate that level of performance is much more important.

    My company is looking for new staff for a pretty technical job, I recommended HR reach out to the local military bases to recruit from enlisted veterans who came out of a highly technical specialty. Those vets may not have a degree but they have demonstrated the ability to learn and retain complex information.

  67. Chompers*

    OP5 – I always explain it to my hires, but our application is also the very first step of the onboarding process at our company. It gets the person into the system they’ll need to be in to be able to fill out all the new hire paperwork before they start. It could be something like that!

  68. Safely Retired*

    I wonder if #1 would be willing to talk if they were willing to pay for the time. Say at a rate 4x what they were paying, minimum 1 full hour. Or a flat $100 per hour. Consulting doesn’t come cheap.

  69. Beth*

    I would be pretty weirded out by someone bringing up their MENSA membership during the hiring process. A friend who’s a member because they enjoy hanging out socially with nerdy people, sure, I can do that. But advertising it feels different to me! It feels like 1. arrogance (this person thinks they’re notably smarter than everyone else, and is going out of their way to point it out), and 2. a red flag for potential bigotry (basically every method for measuring ‘intelligence’ was originally designed for eugenic purposes, and they’re generally much better at dividing people along racial and socioeconomic lines than at predicting potential ability; while I don’t think everyone who’s into them is intentionally participating in eugenic thought, I do think buying into them unquestioningly tends to reinforce societal prejudices, which is a bad look).

    1. Observer*

      I’m not a big fan of IQ tests, and a lot of them do have genuinely bad histories. But most of the commonly used ones have been updated and tested in ways that genuinely make them more resilient to background factors. The single most important change is that they are tested on groups of children that are far more reflective of the population as a whole (urban / rural; socioeconomic status; racial / ethnic background primarily).

      But that’s not really the biggest issue here. There are plenty of people who are NOT Mensa members who have high IQ’s. And being in the top 2% of IQ is not THAT big of a deal, especially compared to other factors. So, altogether being in Mensa is not that big of a deal to start with. Given that, putting it on a resume or announcing it is like announcing to everyone what high status college you graduated from 30 years ago. Who cares?

  70. Oh Behave!*

    OP 1 – Normally I would say cut and run. I’m split in this case. When you look at the seriousness of your complaints, I have to say attend one meeting. Or write a very specific letter about your experiences. Dates/names/ etc.

    I’m thinking of the next employee and I would hate for them to go through the same thing or worse.

    If you feel that this would impact you even more or that they won’t do anything about it (this is the first time HR has heard of this?), then move on.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Me too. I think I’d recommend writing up a brief synopsis of all the ick, submit to HR, and be done with it, if only to try to sink the ship of ick.

      And if it’s part of a bigger complaint, and someone else does the work to get some sort of settlement, well, that’s fine too.

  71. MD*

    I had already filled out an application prior to doing 5 interviews for a large software company, and had to do another one quickly as part of getting/accepting my offer to go through HR because it was technically a slightly different role than the post I’d applied to. The recruiter opened up a req temporarily and closed it immediately again once I was done. I’d imagine it’s something like that especially if you hadn’t applied already and it’s a large company with lots of red tape

  72. K*

    #1, you don’t work for them anymore, so you don’t have to do anything they ask you to do. And if you do, tell them to pay you for your time. Only employees have to do what the boss says.

    #2, from what I hear, putting Mensa or IQ on your resume could actually make you *less* attractive as a law enforcement candidate. I wish this was a joke but it really happened in Connecticut years ago that a police applicant was turned down for scoring too high on their IQ test, he sued them and lost.

    I admit, I took the Mensa test and was a member for one year, just because I wanted the card, so I could half-jokingly prove to people that yes, I *am* a certified genius! :)

    #5 There was no offer and even if your meeting went well that has no bearing on whether you were going to get an offer. Regardless, filing an application doesn’t affect any of that and an application is also not an offer or a guarantee of employment in anyway, so it has no bearing. Plenty of places use the application just to have data on file, or because their cockamamie hrm system needs it, or because they’ve just always done it. In fact, the fact that they asked you to fill out an application could be a *good* sign that they *do* want to make you an offer — otherwise why would they bother?

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      I’ve known a couple of dues-paying members of Mensa. The one I worked with wasn’t very impressive, to be frank.

      His written reports were filled with five dollar words that meant almost, but not exactly, the same as the fifty cent words that other officers used.

      I’m smart enough to know that sample size is too small to extrapolate about all members of Mensa. But I would pay close attention to the traits I observed in that sample of one, and would regard exhibition of those traits as a negative in evaluating other applicants. It’s pretty serious when someone’s communication style actually obscures the message they need to deliver.

      I don’t know the cutoff score for membership, but the Special Education department in my high school administered an IQ test and told me that I met the “genius” definition.

      I think it’s more relevant, however, that I am well-educated, broadly read, and have sound judgment developed by a broad range of experiences. I can’t imagine an employer wanting to know my IQ score, and would probably see that as being focused on the wrong traits for most jobs.

      But, just because I think I’d be a poor fit for such a job doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong to think a high score would identify someone who might be a good fit in their culture.

  73. SnappinTerrapin*


    Sounds like you have a viable claim under Title VII. File your complaint with EEOC, specifically detailing your efforts to address the problem.

    The former employer, after being served with the EEOC complaint, can conduct their internal investigation based on what you tell the EEOC. You don’t have to communicate directly with the company until your receive your “right to sue” letter and decide to file suit.

    It simply is not your problem that the manager thought he was “too busy” to address your complaints when you tried to report them.

    Believe me, when he gets the complaint from EEOC, he will suddenly find that responding to that complaint is a responsibility he can’t put off to a more convenient time.

    Best wishes in your new job, and with your complaint if you choose to pursue it. I don’t see a downside to pursuing it. If you aren’t sure,schedule an appointment with a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. They can hear you out and advise you whether the claim is serious enough to warrant pursuing it, but from what you told Alison, my impression is you have a pretty strong claim.

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