enneagrams in hiring, sheer blouses at work, and more

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

1. Using enneagrams in hiring

Recently a coworker told us that his spouse’s workplace uses enneagrams for hiring decisions. They like to have a certain amount of “numbers” making up their teams (e.g, if a “2” quits, they try to hire another qualified “2” for that position). He didn’t see anything wrong with it as he thought it ensured that the teams had the right balance of personalities. However, if I was asked to take this test in an interview, it would be a screaming red flag for me. I see this as junk science that should not be used to hire people. Complicating things is that most enneagrams seem to have a Christian slant to them, and I’m an atheist. Am I overthinking this? Should I run screaming from my next interview if they hand me an enneagram test to take?

No, you’re not overthinking it and yes, you should run from an interview that wants you to take an enneagram test. That’s an absurd way to hire and you’d be signing up for a workplace culture that values pseudoscience over who people actually are and what they’d bring to their jobs.

Read an update to this letter

2. Sheer blouses at work

I wear a lot of semi-sheer blouses at work, but with a tank top under. They allow me to wear long sleeves during the summer months, which I prefer for coverage. I find these to be quite formal in their appearance but am I wrong? Is the sheer fabric suggestive even though everything interesting is covered underneath? Basically, am I being inappropriate?

Other outfits that women in similar roles wear at my office include: nice dark jeans and button down, slacks and nice knit sweater, dresses with ankle boots or loafers, tights in winter and bare legs in summer. Shoulders are covered but short sleeves are common. No official dress code. For what it’s worth I’m a plus size woman in a client-facing role.

This will be an unsatisfying answer but … it depends on the blouse and the office. Some sheer blouses do read as somewhat suggestive for work unless they’re mostly covered by a blazer or other layer — especially if they’re very sheer or the style leans more evening-ish. Others would be fine as long as you’re not in a very conservative office/field. It definitely helps if your camisole or tank top underneath is the same color as the blouse.

3. My company might require four 10-hour days in the summer

My workplace is floating the idea of requiring all employees to work four 10-hour days during the summer, with the fifth day being closed (which day this would be has not yet been determined, but it would be the same day for everyone and decided by the administration). All public-facing services would be required to be open from 7 am to 6 pm. This would expand the number of public-facing hours for my program and further stretch our already stretched-thin (and underpaid) staff.

We would be given the “option” of taking PTO at beginning and/or end of the day, and the “option” of working through lunch at the public-facing service desks if we wanted to shorten the days, but only if all services are consistently available the entire 7 am – 6 pm period (this would be very challenging with our tiny staff — basically only one person would be able to take any time off for part of any given day or we couldn’t cover everything).

This feels discriminatory against people with disabilities, people with outside-of-work obligations/loved-ones, and basically anyone who doesn’t prefer to work long days, I guess? Just interested if this is a thing that is happening elsewhere or a weird situation here.

This is indeed a thing some workplaces do — sometimes just offering the option to people who want it, but sometimes requiring it for everyone as yours is contemplating doing. While some people love it as a way to get an additional day off every week, other people hate it — often for the reasons you listed. Since it sounds like your employer is still in the “considering” stage, this is a good time for you and others who feel the same to speak up! Point out the problems it would cause for you and others and ask them to reconsider. The more of you who speak up, the better your chances of influencing the plan before it’s finalized.

4. Frequent travel with zero notice

My husband works for a large, well-known company. In his role, he project manages the opening and remodeling of new facilities. This is primarily a work-from-home job, but it includes time on-site at facilities that are being worked on.

When he originally interviewed, he was told that most of the work would be taking place locally. Specifically, he was promised that within the first two years, most of the work would take place at two different facilities that are each within about 20 minutes of our home.

Plans have changed and those facilities are not a focus for their team anymore. Now, he is managing projects that are primarily out of state. Travel is becoming extremely frequent and unexpected. On a recent call, his manager told the team that they should expect to be sent anywhere in the country on any given day that they are scheduled to work from home.

Today, for example, he just learned that he will need to be in another state starting tomorrow morning through the end of the week. It’s incredibly disruptive to our personal life as well as my own professional life, as I can’t plan ahead for the days that he won’t be able to assist with dropping off and picking up our three kids.

Are there any legalities or policies that typically govern how much notice of travel should be given to employees? How can he reasonably refuse this unexpected travel, or advocate for plans and expectations to be set much further out?

Legally, there’s no required amount of notice that employers must give before sending an employee on travel. Practically speaking, though, “you can be sent anywhere with no notice whatsoever” typically only works when people understand from the start that it’s part of the deal they’re signing up for (and are compensated accordingly). Springing it on people who didn’t sign up for it and haven’t arranged their lives to accommodate it is unlikely to go well.

It’s one thing if it’s a short-term, emergency situation (like a couple of weeks). But assuming that’s not the case, your husband should talk with his boss, explain this isn’t sustainable because of his commitments outside of work, and see if there’s any flexibility to be had. (If any of his coworkers are as displeased as he is, they might have more luck pushing back as a group). But if his boss won’t budge, he’d need to decide if he wants the job under these new terms or not.

5. I’m applying for a job with my old boss … but she’s also my reference for other jobs

I recently left a job and am eager to get back into work. My previous boss agreed to be a reference and has been one for quite some time as she knows me very well. Recently her old job popped up (she got promoted) so I applied. I had a phone screening with her and it’s looking to be another 2-4 weeks before I hear if I get more interviews and/or the job.

Should I continue to apply to other jobs and keep her as a reference while I am still in the process of interviewing with her? Or should I wait until this interviewing process with her is over to apply to new jobs with her as a reference?

Keep applying. She knows you’re job searching; you don’t need to keep that a secret. In fact, she should be glad you’re continuing to look at other jobs since there’s no guarantee you’ll get this one.

If you know she’s about to be approached for a reference and you feel odd about it, you can give her a heads-up and say, “Obviously I’m very interested in the X position but since that process is ongoing I’m still talking with other companies too.”

{ 442 comments… read them below }

  1. KylieHR*

    LW #2, I feel you. I’m plus sized as well, and quite honestly, finding a work blouse that ISN’T sheer is more difficult. I’m struggling with finding camis to go under all of the sheer blouses because for some reason plus sized retailers think I need layers? I literally spent nearly $400 at Eloquii for work tops that I had to buy online and when I got them every damn one of them was sheer. On the plus side (lol), none of them seemed suggestive in the least. Just terribly sheer.

    1. Fikly*

      Have you looked at eShakti?

      They have an incredible range of sizes, will custom fit to your measurements for I believe $10 an item, prices are reasonable in general, clothing can be customized to your desires (think the neckline, sleeves, etc) for the same $10 (if you do both custom size and custom cut, it’s one fee) and they have more things to choose from than I know what to do with.

      Not a thing I’ve ordered from them has been sheer, even the shirt that was a pattern with a white background.

      Oh, and basically everything has pockets. Because women should get functional clothing too!

      1. Morning Flowers*

        Seconding the recommendation for eShakti. Changed my huge-busted, wide-shouldered world.

          1. English Rose*

            Ooh, yes they do ship to the UK, it’s just a different site. I know what I’m going to spending my lunchtime doing today!

            1. Bagpuss*

              glad you spotted that – I was just about to jump on and say tat they do – I am waerning my eShakti trousers today – mostly cotton, and wide legged, so comfortable in this het. I have a couple of dresses too. they are ususally pretty quick and while doing all the measurements is a bit of a faff , it’s definitely worth it. I really live that you can customise length of sleeves as well as skirst, and can pick what neckline you want for most styles.

              (I have broad shoulders and hips, and it’s great to have things which fit properly and don’t assume that I also have a big bust ! My mum is a lso a convert – she’s fairly short and has a short body / longer legs so off the peg dresses never fit, as they are always too long in the body or too small below the waist is also a convert)

              And even factoring in the shipping they aren’t wildly expensive

              1. quill*

                Do they do shirts? I’m getting sick of the tissue paper casual shirts that most stores offer for women, but anything in a heavier fabric often seems to think I don’t have shoulders.

                1. As per Elaine*

                  They do do shirts! A lot of them have a back zipper, but if you don’t want it you can ask them to leave the zipper off (in the comments).

          2. Not Australian*

            Yes, they do. But they skew a little small in my experience, so maybe go up a size when ordering?

            1. Justme, The OG*

              Last time I ordered from them (which was admittedly a few years ago) I felt like it ran big. Interesting.

          1. kittycontractor*

            Same. I got a blue jumpsuit (simple cotton jumpsuit with a belt, absolutely nothing fancy) made for my measurements and the amount of compliments I get still astounds me.

          2. Alexander Graham Yell*

            I just got two dresses from them today and I’m obsessed (to the point where I have raved to both my sister and my mom and sent them my referral link). PLUS they just launched a “Work basics” or something similarly named line and I’m very excited about a few of the tops. And I’ll add my voice to the choir about getting things custom fit, but even in their standard sizes I find that things fit like a glove (I will say they’re about a size up from my usual and run a little longer than expected).

          3. glitter writer*

            Same. All the times I’ve been randomly stopped and complimented in an elevator or a lobby or someplace like that, I’ve been wearing an eShakti top.

        1. KRM*

          Yes! Game changer for me with broad shoulders and long arms/torso! And such a great selection!

        2. Nea*

          Thirding eShakti. I picked a nice black conservative dress from them and that’s my “interview suit.”

          Absolutely pay extra to have your clothes tailored specifically to your measurements. Worth. Every. Penny!

          1. LG*

            Yes yes, paying extra to have your clothes tailored to your measurements on eShakti is definitely worth it! Also, I really like that on eShakti you can make a lot of style adjustments as well. So, if you see a dress you like that’s sleeveless, and click on it, there are generally several other sleeve options (say, capped sleeves, short sleeves, elbow-length sleeves, and long sleeves.) Similarly, there will be different options for necklines. And their dresses automatically come with pockets, I think–you’d have to select the “no pockets” option if (for some reason!?) you did not want them.

          2. Justme, The OG*

            Question about that. My body changes, a lot. Depending on what I ate or how active I was or where in my cycle I am. I can’t fathom making something to my exact measurements only to have it probably not fit some weeks of the month. Is this not common or am I overthinking it?

            1. cubone*

              I would suggest measuring yourself a few times a month, or maybe measuring yourself at different points in your cycle, activity etc to actually get a full picture of the range of measurement. Eg I know my bust size increases about 2” depending on my cycle. Then you can decide if you want to use your “max” measurement or something in the middle and know it might not be ideal on certain days etc.

              Would also suggest “adjustable” clothes, eg wrap dresses/shirts, elastic waistbands and other things that have more flexibility in allowing your body to change!

              1. Justme, The OG*

                Wrap stuff is totally not my style, dresses especially. I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore a dress to work. I think I may try the multiple measurement thing or just go with non-custom sizing.

                1. Butterfly Counter*

                  One of their wrap dresses is the only item of clothing that I’ve gotten from eShakti that I didn’t like. I’ve had to safety pin it shut in multiple places and still play peekaboo when it’s very windy.

                  But the compliments on all of the other clothes I’ve gotten there: AMAZING.

            2. Nea*

              I think I’ve only bought one thing from them that wasn’t knit; until the pandemic just having knit fabric was flexible enough to deal with minor weight fluctuations.

              That said, I did learn to build about an inch of ease into the arms, because when they show something form fitting, they mean it!

              1. OperaArt*

                I agree about the arm measurements with eShakti, especially for the non-stretchy fabric. I give it an extra inch.

        3. Paris Geller*

          +1. If I could afford it, my wardrobe would be nothing but eShakti. If you’re ordering, I highly recommend always going for customize sizing. It’s a little more, but I think the pricing is actually pretty reasonable for the quality you get. It’s so nice to have clothes that actually fit, ESPECIALLY as a plus size woman when so many of our options are just. . . bad.

      2. nonprofit llama groomer*

        OMG, I think you might have changed my life with this suggestion! Next time I need a specific item, I’m going to use this site.

        Meanwhile, I got a good start on a decent work wardrobe after becoming plus sized from Stitchfix. I stopped the service, but was able to get a few basics to start.

    2. Global Cat Herder*

      Office wear for plus sizes seems to be “you are large, therefore your ass is large and misshapen and must be draped at all times, but it’s summer, so here’s 400 sheer tunics to choose from.”

      If I wear camis under them, I end up with visible bra or cleavage or both, and I get side-eye. So I wear shells under them. Shells (tank tops or sleeveless blouses) have wider shoulders and higher necklines than camis and more professional-looking fabrics. In fall/winter, I layer the same shells under cardigans or jackets.

      1. Yoyoyo*

        I ordered a Dia&Co box and told them I really needed office appropriate tops, and they sent me a sheer top that had a cami attached, and when I put it on the cami didn’t even cover my (quite small) bust. It would have been comical if it weren’t so frustrating. I thought I might have better luck with them than I did with Stitch Fix since they cater to plus sizes, but not so much.

        1. Kate*

          I’ve had decent luck with Dia overall for several years but sheer tops really seems to be a specialty of theirs. Anything white is also sheer. (my other struggle points are actual long sleeves and pockets.)

    3. soontoberetired*

      Try Duluth Trading. they have plus size pluses that aren’t sheer. but you can find very nice dressy t shirts for plus sizes in a lot of places. when we were working in office, almost every one where a pull over shirt of some kind, and not a blouse. both plus and non plus sized women. Granted, we have a casual dress code but that was even true before we went more casual.

      All clothing tops are getting more sheer. I tend to buy from Duluth Trading or Catherine’s.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      That’s what my experience with work clothes had been – everything was either some degree of sheer, or too lowcut, or not long enough to the point where it would ride up and expose my belly if I were to raise my arms. I used to have a large collection of long tank tops for that exact purpose.

    5. Banana Pancakes*

      They aren’t the most fashion-forward brand on earth, but I’ve found Lands End really reliable for workwear basics that aren’t sheer and hold up over many washes. I especially like their supima cotton sweaters and no-iron shirts, which are the only off-the-rack button downs I’ve had that don’t gape at the chest! Mine have largely come from eBay, where they’re plentiful and quite cheap.

      1. Observer*

        Also, their sales are decent. Not exactly cheap, but reasonable considering that they really do hold up over many seasons. And you can get away with it, because they don’t really do “trendy”.

    6. lime*

      I really like Gap’s “modern” line of t-shirts. They’re good basics, not see-through at all, versatile enough to be casual or you can dress them up by throwing a blazer or cardigan on top, and go up to 2xl (20-22).

    7. Elizabeth West*

      It’s so annoying and hard to find work clothes in the summer. Even in Misses sizes, everything is either sheer, has NO sleeves or those ridiculous cap sleeves that look good on no one, or is incredibly low-cut.

    8. Butter Bonanza*

      I think sheer-sleeved blouses look rather polished. If the camisole has a wide enough shoulder to hide bra straps, a high enough neck, and like Green said, is the same color as the blouse then it won’t look like lingerie or nightclub wear.

    9. Making up names is hard*

      Another plus size woman here who is a fan of certain sheer blouses. A few tricks to make these work:

      – make sure your cami underneath covers your bra straps or that only one set of straps is visible. A wide strap tank might be your best bet. And make sure there is no lace trim. At one point havibg a low cut top with a higher neck cami with lace trim was trendy, but that kind of cami had a lingerie vibe, which is not work appropriate.
      – go for camis that have a higher neckline, so they don’t show much cleavage even if you move your arms around or bend over slightly.
      – make sure your bra line and nips aren’t visible even through the cami and sheer blouse
      – similarly, go for sheer tops with higher necklines. Ones with collars, librarian/pussy bows, or small geometric cutouts look nice.
      – when in doubt, where only darker sheer things. And, match the cami’s color to the sheer top or make it midtone/grey (not significantly lighter than your skin tone nor super dark).

      This probably seems like a lot, but probably most of your tops already satisfy the above, in which case you’re golden and no need to worry!

    10. LittleMarshmallow*

      I’ve never heard of that shop, but I shop at Torrid for my more “professional” clothes (I don’t need many because I work in manufacturing so I wear tees and work pants mostly but sometimes I have to go to the office buildings. Maybe we are going thru a sheer phase in fashion but I’ve had good luck there in the past.

  2. Panhandlerann*

    OP1: I agree with Allison. I was compelled to take a similar kind of test at work once. Sharing our results was supposed to help my department “bond.” At least it didn’t have to do with hiring! In either case, it was, to my mind, a stupid, useless exercise.

    1. Charley*

      I had never heard of enneagrams before today and did one just now for the fun of it. Can confirm it’s a load of nonsense!

      1. UKDancer*

        I hadn’t heard of it either. I did a free test and it seems like a load of rubbish to me. Also far more of a religious slant than I’m comfortable with in the workplace. I’d not trust any organisation that used that for hiring. Obviously I understand some people find value in these things but I’m not sure it’s for me.

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          I’m Christian, and I tend to stay very far away from enneagrams. I like the Briggs-Myer types and similar tests that point toward tendencies, but we are all mixed and our strengths change with time and experience

          1. ceiswyn*

            Although Myers-Briggs is no better than astrology; most of the personality tests used in the workplace have no scientific basis, and it makes me so angry!

            1. Mercy*

              I did a Meyers Briggs thing through an ex’s mother (who did evaluations like that as part of her job) and I saw her go through and change the results to match her perception of me so I wouldn’t come up XNXX like I do on the free online quizzes. It’s so ridiculous!

              1. Cj*

                We all had to do Meyers Briggs test at one of my jobs, which was supposed to help managers manages in a way that would work for the best for us. Besides being a bunch of crap, I thought it was kind of stupid for them to tell us it would be used to manage us and then let us see the entire results, not just whatever letters we happen to be.

                My results won’t have been at all helpful to my manager because they were things like sometimes tactful and sometimes tackless, sometimes this and sometimes that. That was pretty much the entire narrative. But if there was anything useful to a manager, I’m the kind of person that would have thought, “Oh, now they’re managing me according to my test results”. Which I would have thought was bullshit.

            2. MCMonkeyBean*

              I had to take that test in high school and I recall being very frustrated because there were several questions where none of the answers applied to me and several questions where multiple answers applied. I also remember it would basically repeat questions in slightly different ways so some of them if they had multiple answers that applied I would pick one for one question and then a different answer for what was basically the same question later lol.

            3. pancakes*

              Yes. I’ve never been asked to take one for work or school, thankfully, and had no idea the practice was so widespread until I started reading comments here.

            4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              My Meyers-Briggs score depends on how much I have been socializing/interaction intensive work in the past 3 weeks. After being extra social, doing team field work, or at a conference, I come out as an introvert, but if I have been less out there/interactive I test as an extrovert. Only thing I have found it good for is figuring out if I have been too social or not social enough lately

            5. Jora Malli*

              As a person who’s taken a lot of personality tests and finds them interesting, that’s pretty accurate. Some people are astrology people, I’m a personality test person. But it would be completely silly for a workplace to refuse to hire a qualified candidate because they aren’t a Libra or an ENTJ or a 6.

              1. quill*

                As a chronic overthinker, I would have a very bad impression of the workplace. To pick just one thing, if one of the job requirements is being a 5 or whatever, it indicates that the workplace has a very rigid view of people’s personalities and won’t tolerate if people’s needs, or even mood, changes.

          2. Sloanicota*

            That was my thought too. I don’t think it’s total crap to say a good team would have some process-oriented people and some outcome-oriented people, or whatever, and I’m not sure why Myers-Briggs seems semi-reasonable since it’s also pretty made up, but here we are.

            1. PhyllisB*

              Yes. When I went back to college in the 90’s we were required to take a Meyers-Briggs. The results weren’t going to be used for anything, they just wanted us to be aware of our personality type. Mine turned out extremely accurate. Don’t remember what it was now, but I found it extremely enlightening.

              1. Jora Malli*

                That’s sort of how I feel about personality tests. I’ve done Myers Briggs, Real Colors, and yes, enneagram, but mostly for the sake of understanding myself better. I’d never want my enneagram number to be in my employee file, or for my workplace to decide not to promote me or assign me to a new project team because they’ve decided the really need the person in that position to be a 7 or whatever.

                1. pancakes*

                  A number of people here are saying things like this, but as tools for understanding oneself these tests appear to be deeply flawed. They’re grounded in pseudoscientific principles, known to give inconsistent results, etc. It seems to me a very fine needle to thread — and one I don’t quite understand — to take the position that pseudoscience is fun and valuable but shouldn’t be used by employers. From where I sit these tests are of dubious value in any context, and encouraging their use while trying to discourage employers from continuing to use them seems off.

                2. Jora Malli*

                  It’s not about the tests themselves. It’s how you use the results. The point is not “I am a three, now I understand myself!” It’s about reading through the results and asking yourself if they feel like you, and why or why not.

                  I mentioned in another comment that a lot of evangelical women who take an enneagram test get a false result, because our upbringings conditioned us to think and behave in certain ways. I’m one of those women. It was reading through the personality types that gave me more insight and helped me figure myself out.

                3. Zelda*

                  “as tools for understanding oneself these tests appear to be deeply flawed.”

                  I’ve been known to treat these like the coin-flip method for making a decision: flip a coin and then see whether or not you agree. The test itself is not authoritative, but seeing what you recognize (yep, that’s totally me!) and what you reject (and why– is it not true, or is it true but you wish it weren’t?) can be an interesting and possibly useful exercise.

                  The bare results without that kind of reflection? Heck no. And the introspection to interpret them is no more an employer’s business than one’s therapy notes.

                4. pancakes*

                  It seems the best that can be said for these tests is that they’re better than nothing, in terms of giving people who don’t have a vocabulary or framework for self-reflection a way to begin thinking about those things, in the same way a coin toss gives someone who can’t make a decision a clear framework within which they can make a decision. My thinking is, the same people would benefit even more from access to vocabulary and concepts that aren’t based in pseudoscience, or in vaguely spiritual window-shopping. There’s no particularly good reason to start with something dodgy.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          I just looked at a couple of free tests. They seem typical of the genre, with questions that are essentially meaningless if you stop and think about them. I ran through one version putting in random answers. Random Me is a 9. I would have to pay to find out more about what that means.

      2. Hobbling Up A Hill*

        I find so many of the personality tests to be irritatingly vague and often really unintuitive for my neurodivergent ass.

        “Are you valuable to your social group”. Well how the fuck should I know?
        “Do you leave the room when people are angry” Yes, but I don’t know if that’s an intrinsic part of my personality or trauma related.
        “I side with the rebels over the establishment” I have no idea because you haven’t told me anything about either of them.
        “I have a sense that other people will never understand me” Well yes but that’s mostly to do with different brain wiring.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          This, and I am not neurodivergent. The one about rebels and the establishment is so, so typical of this sort of thing We are not given sufficient information to make a meaningful answer. If forced to take these things, I end up clicking the middle option a lot. The one I always remember, from a test I was forced to take, was “I enjoy parties” or words to that effect. To which I ask, are we talking about a group of people sitting around a table with food and drink, discussing topics of interest? Or are we talking about a crowded room with poor lighting and a DJ blasting music at high volume? Both are called parties. I have different opinions of the two. So tell me which you mean. Oh, you aren’t going to? If I must put down an answer, it is another three.

          These sorts of tests made a lot more sense to me when I realized that the content of the question is irrelevant. They are all about correlations between the answers people give to other questions. A good question is one that evokes statistically significant correlations. Making a lick of sense is irrelevant. The system tends to break down with subjects who ponder the meaning of each question, as they have none.

        2. quill*

          Yes. The lack of context is 100% the problem with these, aside from the binary answers. Like, are we talking star wars rebels vs. the empire, or are we talking neo confederates? Because one of those is objectively wrong.

          Also why I fail all “always” and “never” multiple choice questions. Sometimes it’s because I know more than the textbook, but sometimes the questions are objectively stupid. I don’t think your corporate quiz about “Is it okay to lie?” with the answers being always, sometimes, and never is actually useful to anyone, because I sure as heck would lie to protect my safety and privacy, which for the company is the wrong answer, but I’m not going to lie to save the company a buck, not least because I don’t know when that will actually be rewarded.

          1. SleepySheep*

            I failed a bunch of retail personality quizzes when I was younger because of those questions. “How much do you agree it’s sometimes ok to be late to work?”

            I mean — in retrospect the answer they’re looking for is some flavor of disagreement, but also what if I’m going to work and have start to have a heart attack or my car gets hit by a falling rock? It seemed to reward answers that didn’t consider the fact that sometimes unusual situations might happen.

          2. Irish Teacher*

            I’m not even sure what the RIGHT answer is there. To say it’s NEVER OK to lie makes you sound rigid and like you can’t see nuance or possibly like you are lying in answering the question, but to say “sometimes” makes it sound like you’ll think it’s OK to lie if it benefits you. And many companies expect people to lie or at least keep the truth to themselves in some circumstances, for example keeping corporate secrets. There are often instances in which you are SUPPOSED to claim you don’t know something you do, not for nefarious reasons but because the information isn’t ready to be revealed publically yet.

        3. Lysine*

          I’ve also had this issue and why I don’t understand how anyone can find these useful. ALSO why am I supposed to believe there are only 9 personality types or only 16 depending on the test? That seems like a very arbitrary and limited number that has no basis in real psychology.

          1. Nanani*

            That’s because they aren’t useful – they’re just a tool for hammering pre-concieved crap behind a facade.

      3. Faith the twilight slayer*

        Well, I see these enneagrams and raise you a job advertisement that said one of their interview steps is to have a social meeting with the applicant’s SO so that the SO knows what they’re signing up for. I have just come to realize that some people/places are bananapants bonkers cheap ass rolls crazy, and that it’s not me, it’s them.

    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      The general idea of intentionally including a mix of personality types on a team is a good one, but those tests that attempt to classify people are pseudoscience.

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        There are scientifically-supported personality tests, but the enneagram and MB aren’t those. I feel like those are meant more as a tool for self-reflection.

        1. LegalEagle*

          Exactly! I am a huge fan of the enneagram, I’ve read some of the books, I enjoy engaging with it, but all the things that make me love it for myself make it a supremely bad tool for understanding others. I don’t think you can know someone’s type just by interacting with them, and some of the reading I’ve done about it is dismissive of any one test to find your type. I also can’t IMAGINE using the enneagram (or frankly any sort of personality test) in hiring. People aren’t going to be genuinely self-reflective if a job is on the line, I know I wouldn’t be. And it shouldn’t matter what “type” someone is if they’re respectful and able to do the work!

      2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

        So I’m Christian clergy, and both enneagram and MBTI were discussed and used in my chaplaincy training. (As others have noted, enneagram in particular attracts a certain religious slant.) I have to say I’m not impressed by either. I have a knee-jerk “gtfo” reaction to anything that involves categorizing people by personality type–we all contain multitudes, and I spent enough time in my childhood being labeled (the quiet/smart/unpopular/weird/etc. kid) that I have no interest in perpetuating them as an adult.

        I really, really wish we could let go of this pseudoscientific and reductive urge to classify people.

        1. I'm a Nine. That explains so much.*

          Yeah, there was a minister at a church I used to attend who was SUPER into the enneagram. We used to do a weekly book study, and over the course of about two years, I think we read three books on the enneagram. I tried to be open-minded, but I quickly concluded it was nonsense.

          The thing is, the minister in question really did fit one of the numbers perfectly. I don’t remember what it was, but let’s say they were absolutely the seven-ist seven that ever sevened. Of course they became convinced that this was a wonderful tool. I thought, “Yeah, there’s probably a perfect Pisces or something out there, too, but that doesn’t make astrology a legit science.”

          The other annoying thing was that every book on the enneagram we read was very clear: it is supposed to be a tool to help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses better — not a way to diagnose other people. But man . . . the other people in the group promptly turned it on the whole church community, reducing everyone to their supposed number: “Well, what can you expect of Susan? She is such a 4!” “Well of course Mike would say that — you can really see what a 6 he is!” Ugh. It gave everyone an unearned sense that they knew all about other people, and that can be weaponized so easily.

          1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            “it is supposed to be a tool to help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses better”

            And to be fair, this is how we used it in this training. I found it a completely unhelpful tool for understanding myself better, though, so there’s that.

            Honestly, the only personality type that I embrace anywhere near wholeheartedly is Chaos Muppet.

        2. pancakes*

          I don’t quite understand why anyone on the fence about or critical of that type of pseudoscience would take part in training that uses it. Things like enneagrams aren’t just unimpressive, they’re widely discredited by professionals with expertise in psychology.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            Presumably, JITM was in a program to get a degree or certification they wanted, and this training was part of it. We don’t always know every aspect of a program when we start it, and dropping out in protest over what may have been only a session or two seems disproportionate.

            1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

              Precisely this, NJK, and thank you for understanding! The vast majority of the program was intense, useful, productive stuff, so I rolled my eyes inwardly and had some conversations with my supervisor about the problems I perceived with the whole thing. Doesn’t everyone have to do that from time to time in their work?

              And yeah, I could have found a different place to do this training, but this was the only one within commuting distance (and it was still quite a long commute). I wasn’t going to leave in a huff, set my degree and my ordination back by a year, and have to complete this emotionally grueling requirement by living apart from my spouse for a few months. I have better hills to die on.

          2. Irish Teacher*

            One doesn’t always know exactly what will be covered in training before one takes it. And honestly, being trained on something doesn’t mean you have to approve of it; it just means you know how to use it and are in a better position to judge whether or not it’s valid for use.

            My training as a teacher involved some COMPLETE rubbish and some stuff that has been discredited, but to decide I’m not going to qualify as a teacher because I don’t agree with every idea pushed by any of my lecturers wouldn’t exactly be the most beneficial decision. Once I qualified, I simply ignored any of the stuff I consider rubbish.

            Also discussing something doesn’t mean discussing it unquestioning. They may have been discussing the fact that it was discredited.

        3. AustenFan*

          I’m a professor in a social science discipline. The Enneagram has no reliability or validity. It is pure BS (and costly BS). It makes people believe that their personality can be broken down into 9 types, and thus simplifies the complexities of human behavior and personality. The Big 5 I’m psychology are the only reliable measures of personality and they are quite narrowly focused.

      3. Anon for this*

        This, and also, even if you assume the personality test isn’t pseudoscience and useless, slotting personalities in seriously restricts the number of candidates who can be considered! And what if tastes change? “Our engineer was hired to fill the young frat bro slot but he started dating and decided to make insert life changes here, need to fire him and replace because he doesn’t fit the young frat bro slot anymore”?

      4. Observer*

        The general idea of intentionally including a mix of personality types on a team is a good one, but those tests that attempt to classify people are pseudoscience.


    3. NotBatman*

      Yes, 100% stupid and useless. I used to teach psychometrics (the science of measuring human difference), and can confidently say that enneagrams are not only nonsensical but harmful. Humans cannot be meaningfully classified into personality “types”, and for-profit junky tests that say otherwise never valid. If comfortable doing so, the spouse could do a web search for “enneagram + validity” and send a few of the relevant articles to their manager.

      1. ABCD*

        My observation is that obsession with enneagrams is often coupled with other odd but popular obsessions. I try to stay away.

        1. pancakes*

          I’ve never encountered anyone talking about them, let alone seemingly obsessed with them, and don’t have any idea which popular obsessions you’re alluding to.

          1. anonnie*

            OK….? It’s not realistic to think you’ll understand every pop culture reference someone makes here.

            1. pancakes*

              I don’t particularly want to or expect to, and don’t see a need to go that big in terms of making a pronouncement on what is or isn’t realistic. My point was that it isn’t self-evident what ABCD is alluding to. These tests aren’t popular in my culture.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      As I have said many times, you might as well ask prospective employees what their zodiac sign is. I used to just go ahead and do it if it popped up in an application, but the last time, it sent me to a 150-question thing and I was like, screw it, and closed the application.

      There’s a whole industry around selling these tests to employers. All they’re good for is telling you the company is gullible enough to fall for the sales pitch.

      1. Lucy Skywalker*

        “As I have said many times, you might as well ask prospective employees what their zodiac sign is.”
        Or their Hogwarts house! Oh, no, we can’t have a Gryffindor on the same team as two Slytherins!

    5. Workerbee*

      This kind of thing reminds me of that trick played with astrological charts: Someone passed out a chart for each person’s sign (all different signs) and everyone exclaimed at how accurate it was!

      Only they’d all been given the exact same chart.

      We’re really good at believing what other things tell us about ourselves when it has even the merest whiff of “authority”, and will go out of our way to fit ourselves into boxes just to feel understood and ground our sense of self.

    6. Burger Bob*

      I actually really like the enneagram, but I’d never dream of using it for hiring purposes. Having a variety of personality types sounds nice, but it’s by no means a guarantee that work output will be any better or that people will be better qualified for their work.

  3. Rocky Raccoon*

    #1. I feel you – and I only had it as part of a “team building” day. I said I wasn’t comfortable doing it (also an atheist). The person running the day understood and everyone else carried on with the exercise. So not appropriate – or useful – in employment decisions. People need to keep their pseudoscience to themselves.

    1. NerdBoss*

      I wonder if we have a shared understanding of what the Enneagram Test is because I’m also an atheist and I don’t share your thoughts on this. I think it’s a fun personality tool, like Myer’s-Briggs, meant to help you do some self reflection.

      1. Twenty Points for the Copier*

        I’ve never seen Enneagram as Christian, either, but then again I mostly see these as a fun thing to do when bored and have taken quizzes such as “what Parks and Recreation character are you based on your Enneagram type.”

        1. AJoftheInternet*

          I’ve seen lots of Christian circles decrying the Enneagram as “new age deception,” and only a handful of individuals who actually like it.

          Personally, I just take all the bits of the personality types and use them piecemeal to help me understand people around me. “Ooooh this person’s reacting like this which might be because of X cause… but Y cause also exists, I’ve now learned from the Enneagram. Time to learn more about my friends!”

    2. cubone*

      I am not here to defend the enneagram but I genuinely had never noticed any Christian vibes to it! Could someone point me in the right direction as to what parts are the red flags?

      1. pancakes*

        It appears to be hugely popular among some Christian publishers, speakers, pastors, etc. I’ll link to a 2021 article from Publishers Weekly about the market for books about it (“Christians Test Their Spiritual Personality”) separately.

          1. pancakes*

            You’re welcome. There was also apparently some fascinating litigation about it in the early 90s, when a guy often credited with developing it sued someone who wrote a popular book for copyright infringement. A paragraph from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision:

            “On appeal, Arica argues that its statements are only metaphoric claims of philosophical truth. Having expressly represented to the world that Ichazo’s theories are factual, however, Arica is not now permitted to make an inconsistent claim so as to better serve its position in litigation. See Nimmer, 1 Nimmer on Copyright, § 2.11 [C] at 2-163 to 165; Huie v. National Broadcasting Co., 184 F. Supp. 198, 200 (S.D.N.Y. 1960). That a reasonable reader might not believe the representation does not negate the estoppel. See Nimmer, 1 Nimmer on Copyright § 2.11 [C] at 2-165; Houts v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 603 F. Supp. 26, 29-31 (C.D. Cal. 1984) (absurd stories); Oliver v. St. Germain, 41 F. Supp. 296, 299 (S.D. Cal. 1941) (revelations to author by Tibetan spirit). Thus, for the purposes of this lawsuit, we must assume that Ichazo has ‘discovered’ the ego fixations. The alleged similarity between Ichazo’s and Palmer’s references to the personality types, therefore, relate only to factual, non-copyrightable elements. Judge Patterson properly awarded summary judgment to defendants on this point.”

      2. KCMC*

        It was big in some Catholic circles back in the day (70s? 80s?) so a lot of enneagram books and stuff are from a religious perspective. A friend and I found an old enneagram book in the campus ministry office when we were in college (catholic school) and had a lot of fun with it but kind of considered it in the same category as astrology (which made it even funnier that we learned about it from CM). More recently it has caught on with evangelicals so many of the enneagram-focused social media accounts are from that perspective. I don’t think enneagram is necessarily religious but a lot of the content around it definitely is – an IME the ennegram “true believers” pretty much all come from the religious side.

        1. Paige*

          Interesting! I was introduced to enneagrams by a former Catholic chaplain/whatever the term is that they let women lay folk do, but she was very much of the agnostic/hippie bent and none of the materials she shared came off as religious at all. That said, I could see how it would be a valuable tool for teaching folks to be introspective, which would definitely come up in that line of work. I found the description of “my” type (9) to be both insightful and nonsensical. It gave me some language to describe thought patterns I had, which would presumably be something I could get in therapy if I had the time or funds to do so. So, mildly useful, entertaining, and fun for parties. However I would never make it some sort of job requirement, and neither would the friend who introduced me to it. She’s always explained it as it’s better to have emotionally healthy people on your team than a particular mix of numbers, which makes sense.

          1. KCMC*

            Yes, I’ve always considered enneagram as squarely in the “hippie-Catholic” arena! As someone who is not very good at being introspective, tools like enneagram or strengthfinders have been somewhat useful in giving me language to use about the way I approach things – including at work. One work team I was on discussed enneagram on occasion and all took the test, but it was an unusually high-trust group and we approached it with a strong dose of skepticism. I wouldn’t feel good about doing so with just anybody. Using enneagram in hiring makes me absolutely shudder and we did have one job candidate that put his type on his (otherwise very strong) resume which just felt very…almost dog-whistle-y? Like if you really believe so strongly that you’re a 7, just demonstrate how your enthusiasm and positive outlook and creative problem solving skills make you good at work. No need to signal that you’re “in the club”. Also I think it could backfire because of the different perceptions that enneagram is a religious thing having it on your resume could invite assumptions about you and possibly discrimination – conscious or not.

  4. MerBearStare*

    #4 – I’m a fat girl and at my old job (business casual dress code) I used to wear sheer/semi-sheer blouses (think some of Torrid’s nicer, more work-appropriate tops) with a tank top underneath and it was never an issue. To me they were just pretty blouses with nothing suggestive about them, which seemed to be how other people responded as well.

    At that same job, another girl once wore a sheer, blush-colored blouse with just a black bra underneath. It was like “And what was your thought process when you picked that out this morning?” (And this wasn’t a case of something that was more sheer than you realized; it was a straight up see-through blouse.) To me, something like that is very inappropriate for the work place (unless you work in the fashion industry maybe) and I assume someone told her that because she never wore it again.

    1. OP2*

      The blush blouse with the bra is definitely not what I wear! But yeah, it’s never been an issue here either but maybe they’re thinking about it and not telling me. I’m also moving into a VP position and unsure how my wardrobe needs to change for that.

      1. Allonge*

        In my experience, in client-facing roles people (especially women-shaped people) are told if they are dressed too suggestively.

        The fact that sheer and semi-sheer is so common also suggests that there is nothing wrong with it. Behavior will also have a huge impact, on top of this.

        Could you maybe ask someone on VP level about dress code / change suggestions? It looks like you are really anxious about this.

      2. Smithy*

        I say this as a busty, taller woman – that unfortunately so much of this is dependent on industry, your shape and your clothing.

        As I write this, I’m wearing a sheer navy linen knit top that’s short sleeved but higher necked with a navy tank top underneath. For my world, I’m fairly confident this is appropriate. However, when it comes to button down tops, I can be more insecure but that’s more to do with how buttons lay over my chest.

        So with that in mind, I’d recommend asking a friend or two who’s a) a woman and b) in the same/similar industry and see if they’d be willing to look at some of your looks and give feedback. I hate that it’s so inconsistent for women, but I do think that if anyone’s feeling uncertain it’s a legit feeling to acknowledge and worth understanding that it can change your whole confidence and being. This isn’t to say you ask your conservative grandmother or peer who works in banking/Congress, but bring together your people in a safe environment and go over those items together and in a loving but direct way.

      3. SomebodyElse*

        I think you’re fine with sheer as long as they are loose and as others have said don’t scream nightclub. One hint is to find looser cut tank tops to go under it. Then it really doesn’t read as sheer. In fact on of mine is black with small white flowers and with a loose white tank it looks like a gray solid blouse.

        I found some silk blouses that are sheer and they have become a staple in my professional wardrobe. Can be worn under cardigans in winter, blazers year round, and light cardigans in summer (or with nothing over it). I generally switch to long sleeve shirts under them in winter, and I stick to white or black for the most part on the under layer.

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        While it’s hard to say for sure without seeing your wardrobe, given that you said you are choosing these shirts because you prefer to have more coverage I think it’s highly unlikely that you are wearing anything inappropriate.

        A big chunk of my wardrobe is the “sheer” fabric button-down blouses from Express. Most of mine are actually nearly opaque though they are that lightweight breezy fabric. Darker colors will help with both opacity and generally look a bit more formal. I have a plain black one that is honestly probably the nicest and most professional looking shirt in my wardrobe and it goes with everything! I have another one that’s blue, black and green plaid and it looks a bit more casual.

        If no one has said anything to you then you are probably fine, but if there is a woman in your office a bit higher up that you have a good relationship with then maybe you could ask her to confirm your wardrobe is fine for your position (congrats on the promotion!)

      5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        ” I’m also moving into a VP position and unsure how my wardrobe needs to change for that.”

        Ohhh, then I have no advice. I work in IT and am at the bottom of the food chain. (relatively senior-level dev, but no lead or management responsibilities – VP is a different world from mine) I posted it above that I dressed the way you described for pretty much all my years working in an office, but in my field, if you’ve arrived at work wearing semi-matching clothing without rips or stains or excessive pet hair, you are already better dressed than most. If you are wearing proper business clothes, people will suspect you’ve got an interview scheduled. I have certainly had it easy. The one woman VP that we had wore suits and/or blazers.

        Congrats on your new move, sounds exciting!

      6. Someone*

        I think if the tank top underneath is modest and the color matches, you’ll look dressy enough for most jobs.

    2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      I think if the blouse is loose-fitting, you’re almost certainly fine. It’s the tight form-fitting ones that tend to read more ‘nightclub’.

      Other helpful aspects: patterns, darker colors, buttons, higher necklines.

    3. Alice*

      Oh no! Flashbacks to my first professional job where I thought it was the height of fashion to wear a sheer black floaty top and a nude bra- cringe! I did start wearing black tank tops under it later but I recall at least one baking hot summer day I didn’t and I was definitely old enough to better understand the professional office norms in the super corporate investment bank. I only retired that top last year as it was fraying, but it was a go-to for years as it was flattering to my frame (very loose and floaty), great for summer and winter and looked professional under a blazer.

      1. Alice*

        I subscribed to stitch fix for a while and I specifically asked for professional office clothing and was sent a box of awful sheer blouses and tight pencil skirts (more appropriate for a club). I recall emailing them to ask what sort of office they envisioned- as none of the outfits looked professional or would pass for “day wear”. It’s honestly hard to dress and fit in as a curvy woman in a staid corporate office. It’s a big part of why I’ve really enjoyed working from home

        1. please no*

          that is so much better than my experience, where they sent me nothing but cold-shoulder tops (LONG after that trend had moved on) and what i can only describe as stuff a soccer mom would wear to a bake sale. For my job in media in new york city.

        2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

          Stitch Fix is also determined to send you at least one piece of costume jewelry no matter how many times you request no jewelry.

          1. UKgreen*

            For me, it was shoes. In every box I got a pair of Superga sneakers, even though I said No More Sneakers.

            I gave up with Stitch Fix. I don’t know if Lookiero ship to other countries but here (in the UK) I find them very good.

            1. Michelle Smith*

              Stitch Fix was terrible for me too. Sent me a box full of stuff that looked like $5 pajamas.

          2. Yoyoyo*

            I never got jewelry in the three boxes I ordered from them, but in my last box I did get a t-shirt (like one you might wear to the gym) for which they wanted $80! After that, I gave up officially.

          1. KRM*

            I loved my first two boxes a few years back, and kept a lot of the stuff, and still have it. However, then they changed how they do the styling, I lost my first stylist (who listened when I said I have long torso/arms/legs and need things that will fit them), and then I sent a lot of stuff back, then stopped getting boxes altogether. When I say I don’t need more jeans and also that I have long legs, please don’t send me a pair of jeans that hits above my ankle! So frustrating!

            1. Justme, The OG*

              I never loved any of my boxes. I liked a few things, and kept one or maybe two items. Then I had one that was comically bad, and then the replacement was worse. I got my styling fee refunded due to how awful it was.

              Wantable was marginally better.

            2. JustaTech*

              After the third box I got that was all boxy, floaty thin sheer blouses that look atrocious on me *and* are not my style at all I quit StitchFix. I was very, very clear in my review of each box exactly what I didn’t like, and they just completely ignored me.

              Which was too bad because I also got a bunch of things I love and still have.

  5. Daria grace*

    Even as someone who thinks that the enneagram can be a very insightful, helpful tool when used appropriately, I would be alarmed if it came up in a job interview. It goes way beyond legitimate for the workplace questions of working style into identifying insecurities and relational motivations. That’s super useful for your own self knowledge but entirely too sensitive to force people to share about at work.

    Your enneagram type generally also takes a bit of thinking and reading to conclude on, you’re probably not going to get it right from a quick test

    1. Santiago*

      Same. I love the enneagram as a growth tool, so I was sort of disappointed to see it being used is such a way.

    2. English Rose*

      Yes, that’s what I came here to say. Used correctly with guidance from trained practitioners, working with the Enneagram can be a really helpful tool to see the box you are stuck in and help you climb out of it. It’s much more subtle than any quick test or surface reading can tell you.
      OP correctly picks up that the Enneagram has been used by a lot of Christian retreat centres etc. However it’s also been decried as satanic by the Christian right (always a good reason to be in favour of using it in my view…!)
      But I totally agree it is completely inappropriate to work with the Enneagram in the way OP’s spouse’s deluded workplace does.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        …. Okay, sincerely intrigued by what the devil is trying to accomplish here.

        1. CatLady*

          Anything that encourages self-reflection and growth will be decried by the far…(fill in the blank). Organizations on the far ends of any spectrum want followers who do NOT think for themselves.

      2. KuklaRed*

        I have never heard of this tool before, but now I am totally intrigued and confused about how it can be viewed as thing used in Christian retreats and also condemned by the Christian right. To the Google!!

        1. Antilles*

          The churches using it for retreats are not the same ones who are openly condemning it. “Christianity” isn’t one unified thing where every single person agrees 100% on every single thing – just like every other major world religion, there’s different viewpoints and interpretations.

        2. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Google has just confused me – it seems to be the application/interpretation of the tool far more than anything inherent in the tool itself, unless you just really don’t like star motif

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            Knowing nothing else, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a combo of the “star” and “gram” – if you squint its pentagramish and it’s a real short leap for some to symbols of satan.

        3. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

          In my experience, it’s more mainline Christianity that uses it, and more evangelical Christianity that thinks it’s Of The Devil.

          In a similar vein, I once went to a Dungeons & Dragons & Youth Ministry retreat, which would be anathema to a number of religious folks of a certain persuasion.

          1. Alexander Graham Yell*

            Yeah a former coworker turned evangelical pastor basically said that it had origins in free writing (as in, just writing without thinking and letting words come to you, like you did in middle school when your teachers were trying to get you to write without judging the work) and because free writing lets the devil into your brain to take over because you’re not consciously guarding it and putting on the Armor of the Lord or whatever, it’s pure evil and out to destroy Christians.

          2. pancakes*

            The Publishers Weekly article I linked above seems to be indicating that it’s very popular among some evangelicals.

        4. Jora Malli*

          There are a lot of things that have been denounced as both “too religious” and “satanic.” The American Library Association keeps a list of books that people have tried to remove from libraries and the various reasons given. A Wrinkle in Time is on that list with some people claiming it has too many Christian references and undertones and other people claiming it’s anti-Christian.

          The issue is that Christianity is a wide ranging term that’s used by groups with widely varying beliefs, so one subset of Christianity will embrace something that another subset will denounce.

          Fun fact about the enneagram and ultra conservative Christianity: it is incredibly common for women and AFABs raised in conservative evangelical environments to get a false 2 as their enneagram result. 2 is the personality type that is devoted to serving others, and it’s also how a lot of conservative evangelical girls are trained to behave. So as someone else said, very conservative churches will not want their women and girls to realize they are not intrinsically the type of person they have been taught they must be.

    3. Mockingjay*

      The problem with these tests is that the people administering them and interpreting the results have no knowledge of how these work other than an internet search. That’s how they get out of the hard work of assessing candidates thoroughly and fairly.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        The biggest problem with these tests is that they are pseudoscience to start with. They aren’t any more accurate that horoscopes. Fun, yep. I love doing a good Meyers Briggs. I really like the Gallup strengths test – but having taken it four times, I’ve discovered my strengths tend to be based around two things – what I am doing at the time (in an analytical job, I came up much more analytical than when I did a more people facing job) and what I enjoy doing (which is not the same as what I’m good at doing). But they aren’t any more accurate that only putting Libras on the court due to their innate sense of justice.

        1. Agnes*

          I don’t quite get this. Introversion vs. Extraversion is part of the Big Five personality in psychology, which has been validated. The MB boil down to detail-oriented vs. big picture, thinking vs. feeling, and plan vs. react. I can well imagine that people might tend towards different sides of those depending on the day or situation, or that a lot of people are in the middle and this could be an artificial dichotomy (but so is, say, hypertension or type 2 diabetes) but they don’t strike me as made-up human tendencies. So is it that the tests themselves are not well-designed (psychometrically)?

          1. Jodoe*

            Even if the traits are legit, do these tests accurately tease them out? It’s been several years since I’ve done one, but I remember often being able to think of scenarios where I’d acted in opposite ways, noticing that how I imagined I would act didn’t match up with how I’d actually acted, and realizing that I was often comparing myself to, say, my fellow engineering students instead of the general population.

          2. Lenora Rose*

            The issues are that it usually is measured based on one day’s multiple choice answers, and then applied as if always true and not that people change more than they might realise day to day and even more so over months and years, that it often has no flexibility for *how* deeply you follow that trait (And even if the test you took does, if you tell someone you’re an ANQZ they won’t necessarily know that’s “weak A, strong N, barely even tipped the scale into Q, an extreme Z…” unless you), and too many people tend to have shallow or even wrong understandings what the traits even mean in the first place. (For instance, I dispute at least one of your dichotomies.)

            (Letters *intentionally* incorrect, in case someone decides to try and “teach” me. I didn’t want someone assuming the letters were MY letters and the strength of traits MY strengths.)

          3. Ceiswyn*

            So… one of its scales is named based on valid personality traits. The other three aren’t.

            And even for that one – does the test actually measure extraversion/introversion, given that it wasn’t designed by people who knew much about the subject? And even if it does, is it right about how the I/E scale interacts with the other scales – wait, it can’t be, since they aren’t valid.

            This is why MB is a menace. It looks ‘sciency’ enough to deceive educated laymen, but has no more actual scientific validity than casting a horoscope.

          4. Observer*

            Introversion vs. Extraversion is part of the Big Five personality in psychology, which has been validated

            Which has nothing to do with the MBTI.

            So is it that the tests themselves are not well-designed (psychometrically)?

            To say the least. For one thing, psychometrics are hard – it’s not easy to find a tool that accurately measures any characteristics. And when you to it the way the MBTI does – ie yes or no, that’s a major problem because none of these are actually binary. They are all scales.

            Which is why it is no surprise that it’s empirically shown to be inaccurate. When the same person can answer the questions honestly and come back with multiple ratings, depending on the day, it’s obvious that you are not even talking about surface level personality, much less “type” and even less “immutable traits”.

          5. Irish Teacher*

            I’m not even sure how a test that relies on self-evaluation COULD be well-designed. Heck, I’ve known people who claim to be shy or to hate socialising and yet appear to be the centre of every social event. Maybe they are overcompensating, but I suspect at least some are over-estimating how social other people are. I’ve met people who claim to be terrified of heights and who then stand up on things I wouldn’t even sit on and who will explain it by, “I was really scared when I was up a ladder in a storm. I’m REALLY scared of heights.”

            Some people just aren’t good at self-reflection and also some of these tests will ask do you do something “often or very often” or do you “strongly agree or mildly agree” and different people are going to have different ideas as to what constitutes strongly agreeing.

            I do the VARK Learning Styles with students. Learning styles again are somewhat debatable but it does really resonate with some students and whether it accurately determines their learning styles or not, it does something make students realise, “hey, it’s not just that I’m bad at x subject. It’s that the teacher teaches completely from the book and I learn better by doing than reading.” It’s more for confidence. But how closely it matches my knowledge of students really depends on THEIR self-awareness and how seriously they are taking the test. I’ve had some students that really haven’t a clue what they’d do and just answer pretty much at random or answer the one that seems obvious.

            I think it would be very difficult to design a test that compensated for people’s misunderstandings about themselves. And this goes three-fold in a job application situation where people might think…hmmm, this job requires a lot of interaction so I’ll say I love socialising or this job is very practical so I’ll give the answers that show me to be a kinaesthetic learner or this job is very solitary so I’ll give the answers that make me look introverted.

          6. DataSci*

            Is self-reporting at a single point in time really a valid way to measure the traits, even if they’re valid? It’s pretty easy to game a MB test to get whatever result you want.

          7. Che Boludo!*

            Introversion and extroversion are legitimate and some of the strongest personality traits there are as far as measurability and predictable validity. In fact, they are the only decent measurements in MBTI. The problem with MBTI is that all their ‘types’ are a binary choice. Yes or no. Introvert or extrovert. That’s not how personality works and a huge problem with MBTI. Also, introversion and extroversion are some of the most easy traits to identify in oneself and oftentimes others. So it’s kind of a ‘gimmie’ trait.

  6. SemiAnon*

    Jobs where you can be sent anywhere in the country at a moment’s notice generally pay a large premium for this, because having to travel on such short notice is so intensely disruptive. In the LW’s case, it’s a burden on the LW who randomly gets dumped with all the childcare and household stuff; but even for someone single and living alone, it means you either can’t commit to things like pets, houseplants and buying fresh food, or you have to hire someone to be on standby to house/pet sit at a moment’s notice. And that’s not including things like the inability to make a doctor’s appointment in advance.

    1. Beth*

      Yes, this. OP4, I’m curious what your husband would find if he looked into other roles that are like what his job currently is–last minute travel and all–and checked on how much they pay. Unless this change in policy came with a big raise, I suspect he’d find that he’s not being paid enough to put up with this.

    2. WellRed*

      Man, your point that you can’t even commit to buying fresh food really drives this home for me.

      1. Paige*

        Bingo. The disruption is huge and multifaceted. I often find that the people who made it a norm are fine with it because they either have a super supportive, stay at home spouse (doesn’t everyone???), or no obligations whatsoever. In my line of work, nonprofits, you’ll often get the additional fun of not being able to keep per diem, although the urge to save costs is universal I guess. So, all the struggle without the compensation. Fun times!

    3. kiki*

      Yes! A travel requirement like this isn’t something you can really spring on existing employees without risking a lot of turnover. I had a friend in a job like this for a couple years and she really enjoyed it, but she was living in an area she didn’t like very much, had no kids, no pets, a boyfriend who was long distance while he finished grad school, and just really no obligations outside of work. She also knew ahead of time that she only planned to stick with the job for two years (until her boyfriend finished grad school and they’d move to a new city together). She was in a very specific situation that made it do-able. For most people, having to travel a lot, especially at the drop of a hat, is extremely disruptive, even if it sounds exciting and enjoyable at first.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Can confirm completely. Having a travel requirement somewhat similar to this sprung on me (in retaliation for turning down a promotion involving a relocation I didn’t want…so they just made me travel frequently to the location I didn’t want to live in and do the job I didn’t want to do for no added pay) meant I found a new job quite a bit sooner than I ever thought I would have.

        There was a whole lot of “shocked pikachu face gif”-ing when I turned in my notice.

    4. Generic Name*

      This. Unless the job is some kind of emergency response, there’s really no good reason that the company can’t give employees more notice. (I was once in a meeting where multiple people’s phones were buzzing to tell them to mobilize to respond to hurricane katrina immediately.) Either planning is poor or someone in management/project management is too spineless to set boundaries. I work in consulting as a project manager, and there are definitely clients who do want instant mobilization, and I see it as my job to tell them that it takes a week or whatever to get people out to a site.

    5. El l*

      I think OP’s husband also has to say to the boss, “If it’s truly necessary to have someone on-site on such short notice, hire someone local. Cheaper and easier for everyone.”

      Honestly, it sounds like it’s not a good fit anymore – even for the company.

    6. Aeon*

      Exactly. I had a boss who was on the road about 3/4 of the time, and it took a real toll on his home life and stress levels. Even as a seasoned road warrior, traveling as comfortably as possible, with many fun side trips planned, and his family coming along as much as they could, it was still a very stressful way to live. And that was in the pre-Covid days, when we could be sure that the flights would all take off more or less when they were supposed to. I cannot imagine having to do that much travel on such short notice, and with cancellations so rampant. The company has got to be hemorrhaging money for travel like this. LW’s husband can certainly do better elsewhere and IMO should start looking.

      1. JustaTech*

        When I was a kid there was one year where my dad had to travel like every week to a site half way across the country and it sucked for the rest of us (my mom and brother). My dad came home every weekend, but he always had a cold, and having him there for two days was almost more disruptive than not having him there at all.

        Not to mention it played havoc on his diet – even though he mostly stayed at the same extended stay, it was really hard for him to eat fresh food and he put on a lot of weight he wasn’t happy about.

        About the same time I had a friend who’s dad did a weekly cross-country commute and it was fine, but also she was the only kid still at home, and older than me, so more self-contained.

    7. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I worked for a state agency in 2008 who did the 4-10s or 4-8s (32 hrs so paid one day less) to save money by not having the building occupied 1 day a week in summer. Lots of the counties did the same, and some kept doing it even after the recession was past because they saved money and by that time the public had grudgingly accepted only having county services 4 days a week. Personally, I didn’t think the savings could possibly be THAT great and thought it might have been some kind of budget theater to show leadership was doing something to save money.
      LW, are you a publicly funded service like a library or something? Because this sounds very familiar

    8. the cat's ass*

      ugh, this happened to my husband. Mimimal travel and a 9-5 office gig slowly morphed into 24/7 accountability and travel about 50% of the time. And the way it was structured was kind of like the frog in tepid water slowly getting turned up to a simmer and then boiling. And when he woke up to the fact that he was being boiled alive and went to renegotiate, they canned him. It was actually a relief and all his jobs have been remote from then on.

  7. fluffy*

    Enneagrams are a new one on me. I thought I’d heard about all the various personality horoscopes turned management styles. Reading up on it there’s definitely a weird spiritual vibe to all of it, too; at least things like Myers-Briggs and DISC try to pretend to be mainstream behavioral science.

    1. ceiswyn*

      The workplace shouldn’t be using any of these parlour games, but I don’t think trying to deceive people into thinking they are scientific is an improvement.

      Less obviously inappropriate means more chance of inappropriate use.

      1. bamcheeks*

        If what you’re trying to do is inspire personal reflection and development or team bonding, a parlour game is as good a way to do it as anything else, and much better than eg. a canoeing trip that half your team can’t access and won’t enjoy. What MBTI says it’s useful for is actually extremely limited (shouldn’t be used for hiring or promotions decisions) and it works pretty effectively as a framework for generating discussions about different communication styles and strengths: stuff that doesn’t need a firm scientific basis.

        I’ve done training to be an MBTI assessor, and I do think OPP overstate their claims to reliability and validity, but what they actually say the tool is *for* is extremely modest and specific, and it’s pretty effective at doing it.

        1. Fluffy Fish*

          As someone who had to participate in a DISC assessment with their team, I disagree.

          All it turned out to be was and excuse for peoples shitty behavior. I’m not an arsehole, I’m a hard I or S or whatever it was.

          1. Beka Cooper*

            Lol reminds me of a conversation I had with an extremely toxic colleague. He had clearly taken some kind of cultural competency training regarding communication styles, and used the language from that to excuse his jerk behavior. “I’m just really direct.” Kind of like people who say “I’m just being honest” when they’re saying something offensive.

            1. Fluffy Fish*


              And I get that some people find them useful for self-reflection. But.

              Self-reflective, self-aware people who want to improve generally figure stuff out about themselves without some kind of test. They may not call it by the same term, but it serves the same purpose.

              The other type has no interest in improving themselves – they use it as a badge or shield.

              I’ve never worked someplace where there hasn’t been at least one of the latter.

            2. Lenora Rose*

              “Well, your directness is making all the people who have different communication styles, including important customers, request to never work with you, so maybe learn a bit about how to communicate with other styles?”

            3. JustaTech*

              Ah, you’ve met my mother in law. “I have no filter!”

              Yeah, but you could try to develop one, or at least acknowledge that it’s annoying/challenging for the rest of us.

              We did DiSC for my team at work and it turned out to be a useful way to have a structured conversation about our different communication styles, because we’d had some issues because we had assumed we all had the same communication style and we *really* didn’t and it was causing conflicts. So in that way it was useful.
              I think management was told to use our different score when talking to us, and that was less useful, mostly because it didn’t seem like it was well explained to them at all.

            4. Burger Bob*

              That is one way in which enneagram can be kind of nice, for people who are into personality types. Within each type, there are examples of healthy and unhealthy behavior for that type, so it prompts people to think, “Okay, because my personality is like [x], I have a tendency to lean toward this type of behavior, but that could actually be bad for me and my relationships if I’m not careful about it.”

              I like enneagram as a way to potentially get to know yourself and as a quick get-to-know-you method if you and the person you’re talking to both know enneagram typing. But it definitely shouldn’t be used as a hiring tool. Any enneagram number could be terrible at a given job depending on the person and the circumstances. It tells you nothing about job performance or team cohesion or anything like that.

  8. Che Boludo!*

    Industrial psychologist here – there is nothing wrong with personality assessments for hiring (in the USA) as long as the outcomes of the assessment have been validated for the role, are predictive of some criteria(on) that are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and show no disparate impact on protected classes.

    The Enneagram is worthless though. It does not predict anything and its scores/outputs are useless for hiring. This company is open to legal liability, using unfair hiring practices, and has an HR dept. and management that have no idea what they are doing with this stuff.

    The Enneagram is one of the worst out there (I’m a ‘5’ by the way) and is based on ancient Sufi wisdom or something like that and I have heard there is a tendency for Christian groups to use it. It’s not a great look for the company. I’d keep clear.

    1. MK*

      I would argue that there is a lot wrong with personality assessments in hiring. I don’t actually care if someone, say, has a temper, as long as their behaviour is appropriate. Also, for it to be at all useful, you would need a thorough evaluation conducted by experts, not a quick test given by the hiring manager. I doubt most companies would be willing to invest so much on candidates.

      1. Che Boludo!*

        I don’t feel there is anything wrong with using personality assessments but I’m biased, what is wrong is using them incorrectly as is the case here. Behavior is always the ultimate “measurement”. Personality is also often referred to as “what somebody is likely to do”. You wouldn’t really be able to reliably predict somebody’s temper, or confidently do so if the assessment was not assessed for validity in predicting that. Some people in measuring performance actually use what behaviors people display as criteria for performance.

        Many companies do a thorough evaluation and they will invest on candidates in that way and it’s fair to say the investment is ultimately in their interest, not the candidates. The Society for Human Resource Management offers help and resources in this department as well to make sure assessments are used in the manner they should be.

        I’m wondering how they make the conclusion that a ‘2’ but only one ‘2’ is necessary in place of two ‘4’s?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          In a previous discussion about such tests, there was broad agreement that if to achieve your desired outcome you needed to be a Ravenclaw, it was usually easy to game the multiple-choice answers so that you went in Ravenclaw.

          And I do think tests like this can be helpful–to climb out of your box, as English Rose suggested, or to understand someone else’s approach to learning. My son did one around age 10, and asked me to do it, and we were in opposite quadrants–this helped me figure out better ways to help him with math. (He is now a math major in college, and I am pretty sure would have moved to a different location on the chart.) The whole idea of approaching math teaching in a different way suggests that people in one location on the learning-type diagram can shift over to another approach if they are sufficiently motivated, especially if they’re good at whatever is being taught.

          1. ecnaseener*

            I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – even if the test is validated (aka can make broad predictions across groups…no guarantee that it predicts all or even most respondents enough to be useful) it’s still a self-report in a context where people are strongly motivated to fudge their answers.

            And your other point is spot-on too: nothing wrong with using a dubious test as a jumping-off point, as long as you keep an open mind about how the results could have been wrong.

        2. anonymous73*

          “Many companies” do this? Most of them can’t even be bothered to send a rejection email when you interview for a job. They’re not performing full on personality assessments to make sure they’re a good fit for the team.

        3. pancakes*

          “Many companies do a thorough evaluation and they will invest on candidates in that way and it’s fair to say the investment is ultimately in their interest, not the candidates.”

          Where is the evidence that this is a good investment? Where is the evidence that many companies are doing this thoroughly? Neither of these seem apparent from the big-picture state of employment in my country.

      2. ND and awkward*

        I imagine Che Boludo! includes tests like the Belbin [something] where the results are things like whether you’re a “completer-finisher” of tasks, or a “resource investigator”, or a “monitor evaluator”. Not that I’d put much stock in those either, but it’s at least trying to determine how you fit into a workplace team.

        1. Che Boludo!*

          I’ve never heard of Belbin and looked them up. It does not appear to be a useful assessment. Be a little warier of assessments developed by management scholars. I checked the Wikipedia page just to get a quick overview and there were a lot of red flags most likely coming from the company.

          A pretty well-known researcher tested the Bebin for validity and it came up short. Belbin made a public repose that it wasn’t fair because their tool wasn’t made for academic evaluation, well,… academic validity and practical real-world validity are two things. Academia usually is more lax about this because research is not for high-stakes decisions like hiring, but their academic critic was most likely holding the tool to standards for practice.

          “completer-finisher” of tasks, or a “resource investigator”, or a “monitor evaluator” – those would be categories and are not useful or good for predicting anything. Those categories are actually worse and less worthy of putting stock into. This is what is known as ‘face validity’ which is the worst kind of validity but because it looks good on its face is less offensive to candidates, but still not very useful information. It just appears that way.

          Also, I looked for a technical manual online and after a very quick search, I could not find one. That’s a big red flag. That’s not to say that they won’t make one available to a potential client or not to say that there is not one publicly available but a manual did not come up with a quick and dirty search.

          1. ND and awkward*

            Fair enough. I tend to think they’re all bunk, I tried out the enneagram and all I could think was how my answers were influenced by diagnosed disorders, and how that’s not appropriate outside of a clinical setting.

            1. BeePD*

              Same – I just tried the ennegram and got a type 4. All of the type 4 traits and behaviours are just my BPD and if I had to do this test for a role I’d definitely not be hired.

            2. Che Boludo!*

              ” were influenced by diagnosed disorders, and how that’s not appropriate outside of a clinical setting”

              That’s extremely innappropriate and also could be considered illegal.

      3. Che Boludo!*

        “I don’t actually care if someone, say, has a temper, as long as their behaviour is appropriate.”

        I should also add that this is why companies often prefer behavioral interview questions such as, “Tell me about a time”…… They are actually better predictors than personality in most cases if they have been validated using a lot of the same methods personality assessments do.

        Also, it’s important to point out that any personality assessment if used properly won’t be the only data point used to make a decision and they aren’t that powerful in a lot of cases anyway.

        1. Bananas in Pajamas*

          Just wanted to say I love your user name. I’m on the other side of the Cordillera

          1. Che Boludo!*

            Thanks! I’m yanqui but took my name from hearing my neighbor in Buenos Aires arguing over the phone and the boludos and pelotudos were flying that night.

    2. Beth*

      It’s true that there’s nothing illegal about using personality tests for hiring, but it’s not just the Enneagram that’s worthless. All of them are bad at capturing actual human personalities or predicting actual behavior. The entire mechanism hinges on sorting all of humanity into a small handful of predefined categories, which involves a huge amount of generalization. (If you make your ‘personality type’ descriptions vague and broad enough, almost anyone will find something they identify with in the type you assign them.) It’s fine to be into them for fun, of course! But it shows really poor judgment to apply them to a serious matter like hiring.

      1. Che Boludo!*

        ‘Types’ are different from trait-based assessments which are predictive of some outcome(s) and evaluated to make sure there is ample evidence that they do what they are designed for and predict what they should predict. They don’t just lump people into categories like typologies. I don’t think there is a single ‘typology’ out there worth much other than fun or personal ‘insight’. Those categories just make it easy to interpret for the purpose of fun or insight. Definitely run if they are being used for hiring. Even Myers-Briggs is very careful to explain that their tools are not to be used for decision-making. They take that very seriously but unfortunately, I think they may be a little promiscuous with who they certify. Also unfortunate is that there seem to be some knock-offs out there too.

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      as long as the outcomes of the assessment have been validated for the role, are predictive of some criteria(on) that are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and show no disparate impact on protected classes

      Those are big claims to meet though, and I’ve never seen a personality assessement used in a way that met that criteria. I had to do training on large scale personality assessments and frankly I did not feel that their standard for validation was high enough to justify the claims they made.

      I think it’s safe to say that job-seekers should view these tools with skepticism.

      1. Allonge*

        Frankly, for me the use of any such tool in hiring is flagging places I don’t want to work for, just as asking me about religion would be.

        I do think Belbin, MBTI, horoscopes etc have their place in the world: they help some people internalise the fact that others have different preferences and inclinations than they do. They help some people discover more things about themselves. And they can provide e.g. an excellent starting point for discussing work / communication preferences in a team when used by a skilled moderator. The fact that there are dozens of these already signals that a lot of people find them useful!

        It’s just important to recoginse that they are not scientific in any way.

        1. JSPA*

          Anything that gives people a framework and safe, compartmentalized space to examine their reactions, their individual and familial patterns, and past experiences they’ve been banishing down the memory chute, is potentially a source of insight and growth. Problem is, it’s also potentially a badly-fitting plaster to paste over all of those things–a label and a lot of adhesive, making it more difficult and less appealing to dig down further. If you have no major issues, no money for therapy and no time or inclination to do some more substantive self-work, the positives probably outweigh the negatives (?) but the negatives zoom way up if you buy into the results as some sort of received truth.

          1. Allonge*

            Absolutely – one of the scariest experiences I had with MBTI was a trainer insisting it’s fixed for your lifetime and serious, grown-up people asking why ‘their’ category changed after 5 years… and the following fruitless discussion. Even if the test was foolproof, it’s supposed to measure preferences! It’s not like those don’t change over time.

            1. DataSci*

              Right! I’d identify much more as an extrovert than I would have pre-pandemic; previously my day to day life gave me more socialization than I needed, but now I don’t get enough, so I cherish what little I have – which probably would make me score as an extrovert on those tests now, even though the actual amount of socialization I want hasn’t changed a bit.

              1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

                YES! This reminds me of another study I read once, which showed that your family of origin can be a major confounding factor in trying to assess what you’re like relative to the general population. eg: if you were the quietest person in a family of super-extroverts, you may have formed an identity around the idea that you’re introverted, even though relative to the general population, you’re on the more outgoing side.

                Culture is also a big factor. Many of the questions we might use to assess how introverted/extroverted someone is are based in our cultural norms around socializing, whereas intoversion might manifest differently in another cultural space.

          2. Rain's Small Hands*

            In that its like a good Tarot reading between a good reader and someone open to reflection. The cards don’t tell your future, but the hazy nature can cause you to reflect on your past and present and – with reflection and self awareness – learn something about yourself.

            But I’d run from a job that did a Tarot reading for me in a job interview. And I’d run from one that tried a personality test.

            1. Curmudgeon in California*

              I read Tarot, mostly for myself. It’s a really good tool for introspection. It gives me alternative ways to think about stuff if I am “stuck” in a rut.

              I would run very fast if someone was basing a hiring decision on it. The same applies to Myers-Briggs, enneagram, or those very discriminatory cognitive aptitude tests. None of them are determinative enough to provide valid, non-discriminatory results to base hiring on.

        2. pancakes*

          “And they can provide e.g. an excellent starting point for discussing work / communication preferences in a team when used by a skilled moderator.”

          A vocabulary about the same topics based on scientific rather than pseudo-scientific principles would provide that as well, though, and without the drawbacks and downsides. It’s true that many (most?) people don’t come out of the education system with a vocabulary they feel at ease using to discuss concepts about their inner lives and personal growth, etc., and I agree people should have that available, in their personal toolkit. I just don’t see why they should start with pseudoscientific principles. Popularity isn’t a measure of soundness.

    4. Saraquill*

      I once started applying to a job where they didn’t ask for a cover letter. They instead wanted the results of not one, but three personality tests. For two if the tests, I needed to register with the respective websites in order to test. I did not complete that job application.

    5. Antilles*

      there is nothing wrong with personality assessments for hiring (in the USA) as long as the outcomes of the assessment have been validated for the role, are predictive of some criteria(on) that are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and show no disparate impact on protected classes.
      The blunt reality is that no company using these personality tests is doing this.
      Validating the outcomes of the assessment for the role? How does one even do that? For the vast majority of roles you’re only hiring someone occasionally – you simply don’t have enough data points to properly validate anything.roles hire only a few people
      you .

      1. Antilles*

        (Not sure why it posted while I was typing, but to continue…)
        -Being predictive of job-related criterion? In practice what ends up happening is that the manager skims the list of personality types and cherry-picks things that he thinks applies without any real data to back it up.
        -As for showing no disparate impact on protected classes? First off, there’s the same small sample size. But also, these tests can be gamed a bit by someone who knows what they are, so it seems likely that you are subtly giving certain people a leg up because of their familiarity with the test.
        Look, maybe there is a theoretical world where a company does detailed analysis ahead of time, spends months if not years doing research on the most effective way to use the personality type in their particular situation, and does deep-dive post-mortems on every single successful and failed hire to evaluate it. But in the world we live in? Nope. What actually happens is that a company basically decides with no real data what they think the “ideal” personality type or “best mix” is, then just go with that.

      2. Allonge*

        Frankly, when I see companies using any of these systems for hiring, I always think they took the ‘it’s in any case a leap in the dark’ aspect of recruitment waaaay too literally and decided to add some random element to the process.

        Good news though: it does show a huge element of corporate culture. I find it hard to tolerate these kinds of things in everyday discussion, I definitely appreciate the big red flag they display in hiring!

      3. Che Boludo!*

        “Validating the outcomes of the assessment for the role? How does one even do that? For the vast majority of roles you’re only hiring someone occasionally – you simply don’t have enough data points to properly validate anything.roles hire only a few people”

        It’s actually quite common and a continuous process if you really want to do it correctly. Some companies have deep collections of data to work with based on more general competencies which is a very good start and can be refined later to even more specifics of the job.

        That is correct that the fewer the people the less useful they are

    6. Loredena*

      My niece is considering industrial psychology. Would you mind giving some insight into what you would consider useful to the company mentioned rather than something like the enneagram?

      1. Che Boludo!*

        The most useful personality assessments come from Hogan Assessments, SHL, and PSI/Talogy. Other valid assessments and tools are multirater feedback/360 degree, standardized interview questions, behaviorally rated and anchored interview questions, assessment centers and some others. When these are done well they are psychometrically valid as well and use the same validation study techniques however they are not necessarily personality based which make them more acceptable to the subjects and often more useful to the company, but oftentimes also much more expensive and less practical.

        The other benefit of personality assessments is that personality is unlikely to cause adverse impact as well, but the enneagram and MBTI are just pretty poor measures of anything and best used for fun.

        Industrial psychology is great. It’s practical. It’s a good career compared to other psychology subfields and my favorite part is that it draws from many psychology subfields for a pretty comprehensive if not the most comprehensive subfield in human behavior.

    7. Fluffy Fish*

      I work tangentially to a job that requires a psych eval. It’s an extremely high stress lives on the line job.

      To me that’s valid.

      A personality assessment is something entirely different and I can’t say I see the slightest value in hiring.

      1. Che Boludo!*

        “I work tangentially to a job that requires a psych eval. It’s an extremely high stress lives on the line job.”

        What’s being discussed here are not evaluations and you are correct – really high stress and high stakes jobs should take into account personality but it;’s in those jobs where re4al evaluations, clinical evaluations are useful. Do you want cops with antisocial tendencies and personality disorders? No,…………

  9. short'n'stout (she/her)*

    #3: Another down side of switching to a four-day week – if I were a member of the public wanting to use the provided service, and I found that the days available to me to access it had been cut, I would be VERY annoyed.

    1. KateM*

      But if it means that the hours on each day are longer, wouldn’t that be a plus? It’s often difficult to use a service which hours are 9-17.

      1. GythaOgden*

        Depends what kind of service it is. If its something that you’re able to plan in advance, it’s probably fine. When it’s an urgent thing, like ISP customer service, having a five or seven day week (staffed often by people who do four days on, four days off, like a friend of mine did) is very necessary.

      2. Doing the best we can*

        No, not necessarily. It is something they really should evaluate BEFORE making the change rather than make assumptions it would even out. For example, where I am many daycare summer programmes have reduced before and after care options (or way more expensive) giving parents less time during the day to do things in the summer.

        Sounds like OP’s company has many different functions so they really need to take a deep dive into how it really would impact all sides. I’ve notice some companies that make the change don’t realize how it can impact/delay communications with external groups. Sure you might be open later but many other external groups won’t response to emails after 5 pm.

    2. Bryce*

      I used to work a 9/80, every other Friday off. Things were supposed to be scheduled so each Friday was half-staffed but things were so collaborative that that fell apart even before the people who figured they could skip every week and folks would assume they were on the other schedule.

      It ended a year after my last internship there. Rumour was that a visiting bigwig did indeed need something from a department that was entirely gone.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        It works well in the organization I work for. We’re not public facing. In general the day off (every other week) for 97-99% of the people is Friday. Generally Fridays are very quiet even when I’m working (few/no meetings scheduled) and are great days to work on things uninterupted. I have encountered 1 person who took every other Monday off. Oddly enough Mondays are fairly quiet too, but I have a few regular meetings. I think that’s, in part, that the federal holidays are on Monday and Friday so if you have a regularly scheduled meeting on those days you could lose the meeting for holidays.

        I heard of a place that it didn’t work. I do not know the details, and it was before I participated in a working Compressed Work Schedule so I didn’t have context. Something about people were supposed to come in on their off days it there was a meeting/important meeting, maybe an imortant external meeting. Sort of defeats the purpose. Maybe they varied the off days throughout the week so much there wasn’t a single day that their organization could just not schedule many meetings. Or they had too many external meetings.

        The entirety of Keesler Air Force Base did this for many years and may still do it. They are a training base so students got every other weekends as the 3 day weekend to travel / return home. I remember a friend telling me he had his first Friday off and was having trouble with his travel payments so he got up, dressed in uniform, and went to Finance Office only to find it closed. He assumed that only the training units had the compressed work schedule, but the entire wing did. I don;t know if they still do it, but Keesler did this for many years and it worked.

    3. Fancy Owl*

      I work for a local gov that switched to 4/10s and while there were a few complaints, mainly from seniors, a lot of people liked the change because they could stop at city hall after work now. Before, for people who worked 8-5, they could only do business with the city online or if they took PTO.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        If the original hours were ONLY during normal business hours, I bet working people will be very pleased with the extended hours even if the organization takes a day off every week. Trying to get into a place like this can be difficult. If they have very short open hours, the working person will check before making their plans to visit. I can’t describe the frustration of trying to deal with antiquated local government office swhich don’t have online options, require you to come into the office, but are only open during the hours that I am working. That’s not how I want to use my PTO to start/end a service or pay a bill.

        I can see someone who doesn’t have such a tight schedule may go in the middle of the day that’s the off day and be very frustrated. The organization needs to notify their customers to avoid this frustration. If they have communication with their customers, they should do some kind of marketing.

      2. Governmint Condition*

        I work in a city where age discrimination for public services is prohibited. If this type of schedule were proposed here, and most of the complaints about the change came from seniors, they would not be able to implement it.

      3. Summer*

        I work in insurance and my company changed our schedule during the pandemic to the four-day week. Previously I had worked M-F from 9-5 with 1 hour for lunch. Now I work Monday & Tuesday from 8-5 (still 1 hour for lunch) and my off day rotates between Wednesday, Thursday or Friday depending on the week. For example, week 1 I’m off Wednesday, week 2 I’m off Thursday and week 3 I’m off Friday and then the schedule repeats. If there is a holiday and we are closed, we all work the remaining days of the week and the rotation skips that week. There was no reduction in pay with the change. It has been awesome! At first I was apprehensive about the rotating day off but it ended up working just fine and, as long as I know the holiday schedule, I can figure out my off day to schedule things like doctors appointments. I realize that this is a unique schedule that wouldn’t work for a lot of places but it works for us and I’m happy with it.

    4. amoeba*

      I was assuming that everybody would have a different day off, so that the service was actually available on all days, with longer hours – might be wrong though!

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Nope, the letter makes it clear they would 9nlt be open 4 days a week: “My workplace is floating the idea of requiring all employees to work four 10-hour days during the summer, with the fifth day being closed…”

        I agree that this is not likely to go over well with a lot of the people they serve. Some may like the increased hours on the other 4 days, but I doubt everyone would.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I suspsect it is abalancing act – some people will love it becuase they can access it earlier or later, other people will hate it becuae they prefer to go on a [day it’s now closed]

          My local library is open on Saturday mornings but closed one day in the week, I like it, as otherwise the only time I could get there would be in my lunch hour . As well as being the libray they also house the ‘one stop shop’ and while I font use that at all, a lot of people do and it always seems really busy on a Saturday morning, much more so than in the week, so I assume that it works better for a lot of people.

          I don’t think you re ev going to get an arrangement which works well for everyone but I could see the change to opening hours being an improvement for more people, and making the services much more accessible, but it does have down sides for staff.

        2. Perfectly Particular*

          Some people are gaining access that they didn’t have 4 days/wk, which seems like it would be a bigger gain than the people that are losing access 1 day/wk. I feel like the only patrons who are truly negatively affected would be others that work 10-12 hour shifts on the same 4 days/wk. But for the employees, I totally get the pushback and I would be right there with you. I always wanted to work 4 10’s to save a day of daycare/wk, but it just wasn’t feasible. Going to the bank, doctor, salon, etc. is already hard enough when you work 8 hours a day (9 really including lunch). Not to mention family obligations.

        3. Rain's Small Hands*

          You will never make everyone happy though. For those that don’t like the office closed Fridays there are people – maybe more people – who like being able to swing by after work at 5:30.

          As a worker, I like four tens – especially at a in person job – cuts the commute time by 20%, gives me a day during the week to do grocery shopping when the stores aren’t crowded, I can schedule my doctors and dentists appointments that day and not need to take time off. Also limits the hours I put in – since I’ve been salaried most of the time and eight hour days frequently turn into nine or ten hour days – that’s 45 or 50 hours… but 10 hour days don’t tend to turn into 11 or 12 hour days (the days just get too long) and if four tens do turn into 11s or twelves, its 44 or 48 hours. I get not everyone would like the change, but some people will.

          1. Aerin*

            My job only offers a few 4×10 shifts for coverage reasons. We re-bid our shifts every year and I know a bunch of people are interested in those 4x10s, but those of us that have them have loads of seniority and no intention of ever giving them up. I admittedly don’t have kids, although I know some of my colleagues in that shift do. And obviously I don’t speak for everyone with disabilities, but I do find that when I’m already in work mode a couple of extra hours doesn’t make much difference, and having an extra full day of rest/more time to spread out the weekend chores makes a world of difference. I don’t know if I could go back to 5x8s.

            There will definitely be people it won’t work for, but you might be surprised at how popular such a setup is.

    5. SnappinTerrapin*

      When I was younger, a lot of small towns had a custom of closing businesses on Wednesday and having them open on Saturday. It always struck me as a bit odd, but people were accustomed to it. I was told that the farmers came to town on Saturdays, so the merchants chose to take Wednesday as their second day off. Government offices, on the other hand, were open M-F, as I recall, but I’m trying to remember whether the offices for car tags and property taxes had Saturday hours. (In those days, taxes and tags were paid at the same time every year, so the lines were even worse than they are now, despite the smaller population.)

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I like the idea of having a week day closed, but Saturday open. It makes it easier for those who work normal 8-5 hours, so that we can do business without taking time off from work. I just wish that my apartment complex office would do something similar. Have 2 half days, with the week day being one where the activity is the lightest.

      2. Bagpuss*

        I’m in the UK and it used to be really common to have ‘early closing day’ one day a week when shops and bsuinesses would be closed from lunch time. It allowed shops to be open on Saturday (mornings at least) and for staff to have the half day off in lieu.

        It was actually a legal requirement at least until the 1960s , having started with the first Shops Actwhich came into effect in 1912. It was to provide some protection of workers rights and ensure time off. At the time, Sunday Ttrading was also restricted so it meant shop workers gor a minimum of 1.5 days off per week. (There was also legislation, slightlyearlier, qhich specifcally required shops to provide seats for their staff so people didn’t have to stand for the whole of a 12 hour shift,although I believe the earliset version only applied to female staff, and they only gor 1 seat per 3 employees so no one was expected to be allowed to sit down for the whole day!)

        Local authorities had the power to decide whaich day it was (but could permit shops to pick their own day) and there were exemptions for certain types of shops (I think things such as dispensing pharmacies) and for areas such as ports where shops were allowed to open to serve ships arriving or leaving!

        There were also rules about how late a shop could stay open and they were permissted to have one ‘late’ date per week as well as one early closing day.

        1. londonedit*

          Yep I remember half-day closing on Wednesdays. Most of the shops in the small town where I grew up would close on Wednesday afternoons so they could then open on a Saturday morning. Sunday trading is still restricted to six hours, I think – smaller convenience stores are allowed to be open longer but the bigger supermarkets etc all either do 10am-4pm or 11am-5pm on a Sunday, and some of the big shops in London do midday-6pm. I remember all the fuss about the Sunday Trading Act coming in – just looked it up and it was 1994!

          1. londonedit*

            Oh and late-night Thursday shopping in the run-up to Christmas! Before everyone bought everything online! Christmas shopping used to be a huge deal – you couldn’t get a parking space in our nearest big town on any Saturday in December. It’s completely changed now!

            1. workswitholdstuff*

              I think it was late night Wednesdays for our town (Nottingham!), especially for Christmas.

              But yes, I can remember plenty of places closing earlier on specific days – you learnt on holiday to check when it was applying to whichever village/town you were visiting, in case it was a different day to ‘home’…

              And it was definetely worth trying to shop on the evening ‘shift’ before Christmas, not on saturday…
              I used to love being rota’d on for the evening (both my retail and call centre jobs) during the week – I could pop in to shops enroute mid afternoon to pick things up (without making a specfic trip) and spread out the shopping so I wasn’t trying to do it all in a rush…

      3. Myrin*

        Yeah, that’s still the case with a lot of smaller businesses where I live. I don’t think people feel any particular way about it, that’s just what it’s like.

      4. whingedrinking*

        There’s an odd phenomenon with bike shops where they’ll often be closed on Mondays (sometimes Tuesdays as well). Bike shops don’t usually have a huge number of employees, since for most of them it wouldn’t be worth it to have enough people for seven-day-a-week coverage. But of course, weekends are when most people want to shop or take their bike in to be serviced, so that’s the best time to have your sales staff and your mechanics in. So you close for one or two weekdays and everybody works their butts off on Saturday and Sunday.

    6. EPLawyer*

      Actually by opening earlier and staying open later its easier for the public to get there. The people who work during the day but can’t leave their jobs to go access the services can go before or after now.

      When I worked for city government in a VERY public facing role, our office hours were 8 am. to 6 p.m. We worked staggered hours so someone always covered. I got the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift because I hated mornings and that fit my schedule. The guy who was attending night classes got 8 to 4 (only problem was he came to eat breakfast and WOULD NOT answer the phone or meet with anyone while doing so which …. kinda defeated the purpose of him being there at that hour).

    7. doreen*

      I’m certainly not going to say that no members of the public will be annoyed by a change to a four day week- but a public facing service only open from M-F 9-5 is probably going to annoy a lot more people. For most of my working life , doing something at motor vehicles required either taking a day off work or paying a service to do it for me. Picking up mail or packages from the post office could only happen Saturdays from 9-12 without taking off time from work , as they closed at 5 pm M-F. The library was open until 8 pm one night a week and usually closed on weekends – the other days it closed either at 4 or 6 pm. It doesn’t necessarily work that way for every public-facing service ( schools going to a 4 day week might be a problem) but it does for a lot.

    8. Nancy*

      The hours aren’t being cut though, and many people cannot use services that are only open weekdays from 9-5 without taking time off. This is just a temporary summer schedule, if it doesn’t work then they never have to do it again. And since they haven’t made a decision yet, OP can offer suggestions.

      Flexible summer schedules are common, though, and not some weird situation.

    9. Sloanicota*

      My old job offered “four tens” in the summer as if it was a huge perk, and lot of folks (mostly our youngest employees) were excited about it, but it never appealed to me. The workday feels hideously long to me already, and I don’t believe in sacrificing that much of my week even to get a long weekend – when I could just use my PTO for long weekends whenever I wanted (we had PTO that didn’t roll over and I typically lost some every year). Also, I noted that there were a lot of Fridays I would have been called into last-minute meetings after I had already put in my 40 hours. But to many people it was a legitimate perk.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        My husband had a job where Summer Hours were four tens and Fridays off, and it was a huge perk – we live in a part of the country where going somewhere for the weekend in the Summer is a thing – so Fridays in the Summer are pretty slow in most offices as people leave town. I believe you could work Friday if you wanted to, but there were no meetings scheduled for Fridays – for people who did work that day it was the “catch up on email and get that documentation done that I haven’t gotten to all week” day. I thought it was a win-win for the company – since most people were salaried they were scheduling themselves to be out by Friday afternoon anyway – by making it official they got kudos for being a flexible workplace – when it was happening anyway – and made it easier for the company to function with the low staff on Fridays.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Right! Making it an option is nice. Making it mandatory is a bit silly (particularly if you actually need to provide staff coverage!) as there are plenty of folks who wouldn’t choose that schedule.

  10. Lizzianna*

    #2 the top you wear under thr blouse matters too. I’m plus size and wear sheer blouses in my business casual office. They are mostly loose fitting tunic style tops. I wear tank tops with wider straps so you can’t see my bra through the top and steer away from lacy tank tops or anything else that could read as lingerie.

    1. Bagpuss*

      Yes, I think the key is avoiding visible lingerie or things which look like lingerie.
      A plain vest top is fine, one with lace trim might be less appropriate as it looks more like lingerie

    2. Generic Name*

      Thirded. I’m in straight sizes, but I’m not stick thin, and I have a few sheer blouses I wear to work. I have cotton tank tops with wide straps that I got from Target I wear under them. I think having a pattern helps to make the sheerness less obvious. For others reading, keep in mind that a top that is functionally sheer may not look sheer while on a hanger. I remember my choir director in high school wore cream blouses with a white bra, and you could clearly see her whole bra through the fabric. Manufacturers insist on making sheer clothing for woman (less material for the same price = higher profit margins), and it’s very frustrating how difficult it is to find “foundation garments”. Nobody seems to be selling slips or camisoles anymore. It’s all spanx. I feel impossibly old now….

      1. pancakes*

        The problem in the example of the choir director is the choice of a white rather than skin-tone bra as much as the sheer top. White simply does not disappear under sheer clothing. Skin-tone products often do, if they’re not covered with embellishments and seams.

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      One of my coworkers used to wear the sheer tunic over a loose sleeveless shell and I always thought it looked sharp and really comfortable when it was hot out. So much so I stole her look

  11. GythaOgden*

    For site management, WFH is probably the worst way to work. My dad is an engineer and there were frequent times he worked away on projects. Short term projects…he came home every weekend (and he was definitely involved in our lives). If the project was longer term, he uprooted us and moved closer. It was about a 50-50 split until he reached the pinnacle of his career and moved from a very successful project in the area they currently live in to being a director who could work out of head office not that far away and settled.

    The nature of that kind of job meant that I spent my childhood as a nomad. We made one move for my mum’s career to Bedford (in England) and during that time Dad did spend a lot of time away on various sites, including Kent and Scotland to make sure my mum could hold down her job — she was now a headmistress, so it was less easy for her to just up sticks every time Dad’s project moved. I got used to being a nomad and actually changed schools within Bedford to get the right course, simply because I had learned to be self-contained and since my mum and dad had both picked where they needed to work, I was going to do the same.

    It sounds like the husband has to be working on-site at least part of the time and tbh his role means that he needs to be present in person to supervise stuff. That’s the point where his employer takes precedence: he signed up for project management, and it’s probably better for him to be on-site. The flip side of this stress is when a local woman told me there ought to be a statue to my dad in the local town. Because he was the guy who project managed the renovation of a neglected sewage works which had produced what was known as the Whitley Whiff. Basically, cleaned up pollution that made it look like a little part of East Germany had leaked over southern England. You don’t get things done without being there.

    He put in the hours and got the job done — OK, so it was his company that did it and the team of labourers he managed, but stuff got done despite the long hours. And much as it might seem that my parents sacrificed their adulthood to work, they both thrived on it — they are both people who have worked long into retirement (my dad now project manages the local horticultural show, for which work begins a week after the close of the previous one) and crucially did not abandon me and my sister. Their levels of energy are amazing, and

    Sucks, but then as Alison said, he can start thinking about whether he wants to do the job in the first place. However, someone’s got to do it. The world needs people who just do 9-5 without hassle and work to live, but without project managers who live to work like both my parents, things just don’t get done. What we need out of engineering and project management is new infrastructure to meet a lot of challenges, and it’s thanks to people like my parents being willing to and enjoying the challenges of managing such projects even when their receptionist has knocked off for the day.

    So the husband needs to choose. There is no shame in not being the person who lives to work — my sister and I both chose that route. I feel I got a lot out of my parents’ work ethic, particularly because my neurological conditions threatened my independence for a long time and they were able to give me that financial support. I have what I have thanks to them being financially astute and I’m grateful for it.

    But…your husband can’t manage such projects entirely from home. It sounds like he might have had unrealistic expectations of a project management job, and he needs to think whether or not he can do the job while pushing back on the travel aspect and the live-to-work aspects of it. There are people out there who thrive on this kind of work, but it may be a mismatch, and that’s the point where he needs to decide whether he’s in the right line of work.

    1. Generic Name*

      This is a very specific point of view, and it actually doesn’t sound like the OP’s husband chose a role he knew would require frequent and personally disruptive business travel. Also, I think the times are changing so that more and more people are not okay with their employer being the most important aspect of their lives. That might have been functional when a person (okay, a man, and a man with a stay at home wife at that) was hired at a company out of school and worked there for 40 years until retirement. Loyalty went both ways. Now, employers can and will let you go without a second thought and people have learned you have to switch jobs every few years to get meaningful raises. So why would a person want to sacrifice their entire personal life for a company that could lay them off tomorrow without a backwards glance?

      I would also like to challenge your notion that roads and sewers wouldn’t get built without workers putting in insane hours. Stuff can still get built by people working 40 hour weeks just fine; it’s just not handsomely profitable for the engineering and construction companies.

      1. FromasmalltowninCanada*

        So I don’t think we really know enough about how little notice is being given or how long the travel is. It does sound like same day travel may be a thing here and I generally agree that should be avoidable – but next day is probably not.

        My experience with my husband’s job lines up with what GythaOgden has written. Maybe not all PM jobs are like that but I also know others in PM and it’s not uncommon. The commenters here tend towards a view of how the world should work rather than how it does. It is likely her husband will have to either change jobs or possibly industries / positions to get away from this.

        1. JustaTech*

          The fact that the OP’s husband was promised work at two sites 20 minutes from the office/home and now is being told to fly to Boise tomorrow is at least part of the issue – maybe it’s not quite bait-and-switch, but it’s a *huge* change to the nature of the job, seemingly without the *huge* change in pay that should come with a job that has that kind of travel requirement.

    2. Euphony*

      My commute to school used to take me through the area affected by the Whitley Whiff. That was 2 decades ago and I’ve moved away since then, but thank you to your husband on behalf of an ex-resident for fixing it!!!

  12. Marvel*

    I personally like the enneagram more than most other personality typing systems, and I’ve found it a useful personal tool (although like most such systems, any claims as to its “scientific” veracity are dubious at best). However, I would be beyond horrified at seeing it used in the workplace at all, much less in the way described here! The enneagram is supposed to be about very deep-seated base psychological drives, WAY too personal and intimate to be useful in a work context. This sounds like a company that is trying to find a scheme that will let them get out of actually managing.

    I will say that the enneagram is not inherently religious in any way, so religious discrimination likely wouldn’t be a factor. I’m not Christian myself, never have been, and tend to be allergic to most forms of Christian spirituality. However, I have noticed that it’s become popular in certain Christian circles, so for all I know there may be some specifically Christianized way of applying it that I’m not aware of.

    1. Daria Grace*

      While at it’s core the enneagram is not a Christian framework, there is Enneagram resources out there that quote a lot of scripture and frame self knowledge using the enneagram as a method for growing towards a Christian view of holy living and healthy relationships. There’s also Christians who hate it and think its evil.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      Looking at the list of personalities online, the vices/passions do fit pretty well with the “seven deadly sins” so perhaps that is the attraction?

      Oh, wikipedia (yeah, I know, not a great source, but…) says that the Catholic US Bishops did some research into it and said it shares little with Christian beliefs and spirituality (though of course, Catholicism is one very specific version of Christianity and that does not mean it doesn’t fit better with other denominations, as different denominations have very different interpretations of Christianity) and also that it was pretty unscientific. Now, even within Catholicism, that seems to be debated; it’s merely the view of one report, but thought it interesting anyway.

    3. GythaOgden*

      I like Myers-Briggs. It’s played a big role in how I look at myself and my family and the typology helps me understand my strengths and weaknesses, my upbringing (we’re a –TJ family and that gets VERY intense; my sister’s friend said when she came round to our house for tea, it was either erudite discussion on world events/intellectual discussion, or complete silence at the dinner table, and she wasn’t sure which it was going to be on each visit) and what I can do to build outwards a bit and temper those austere instincts. The realisation that the TJ aspects of MBTI have warped my own perceptions and feelings prompted me to start dismantling some of that stifling atmosphere.

      I don’t want to brag but I came up as INTJ. My sister is ENTJ, and yeah, she does act like a micromanager, particularly towards my nephews. My dad is ISTJ — all facts and figures, little emotion. My mum is ESTJ, and makes Margaret Thatcher look like a shrinking violent. It also helps me to be able to predict other people’s responses a bit more — learning my immediate supervisor was ISTP, for instance, made a lot of sense but it also gave me some insight into how to approach her with issues I had – focus on the technical aspects, less of the touchy-feely waffle. My ENFP cousin is exhaustingly ‘on’ all the time in terms of campaigning and it helps to know how to talk to her about what she’s been doing and what to expect from her in a conversation. The memes I’ve found dealing with the personality types in a range of different circumstances make absolute sense as well from a comedic angle — we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and some people do wear their MBTI profile on their sleeves! Like that friend of mine whose mantra is ‘it is what it is’. Textbook ENFJ!

      I’m autistic and this helped the process of building those relationships within a framework and /also/ clarifying how to build on my own weaknesses as a person. It’s a cheat-sheet to understanding people and situations. It’s not the sum total of an individual, but I can see benefits to a workplace — knowing or deducing their personality type might help tailor approaches to their specific needs and manage a team where people can contribute according to their strengths. I’ve been watching a number of documentaries on Cold War era fascism/juntas in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, and each time someone with a similar greedy and megalomaniac approach has grabbed hold of a country, plundered it and been hoisted by their own petard. We’re herd animals; we may be individuals and have individual circumstances, but we’re not that dissimilar to each other. It’s also telling that a lot of shows and media franchises can tick most of the personality boxes — in narrative fiction, you have different characters bouncing off each other, but because of the law of conservation of detail, everyone should play different roles. Volodymyr Zelensky shares a typology with a lot of heroic characters and it’s no surprise that he’s been cast in the modern world’s equivalent of the plucky underdog hero standing up to the supervillain with pithy words and unshakeable resolution; he was even an actor and comedian in his former life and presumably understands the narrative role that he plays in all this ghastly business.

      Like many systems that try to categorise real life, it’s a shorthand, not the be-all and end-all of people’s personalities. My mum has a very different political position to Margaret Thatcher, for instance. My sister, while sharing a type with Stalin, is not in a position to climb her way up the political structure of the UK and establish a genocidal dictatorship, and actually forwent a high-flyer career to stay closer to her kids. I’m more like Lenin and Trotsky — the intellectual but impractical one (I’m a politics student, so sue me), better at theory than practice. Boris Johnson is apparently the same type as Zelensky, but apart from his clownish behaviour, the two men don’t have much in common. But it really was eerie when I started reading about it alongside the funny memes that made a /stupid amount of sense/.

  13. Green great dragon*

    #4 has he tried saying no? You shouldn’t have to drop everything every time. If they’re saying ‘go tomorrow’ then replying ‘I can’t because I have to do childcare, the earliest I can go is Thursday’ seems totally legitimate. I’m not suggesting being deliberately awkward, but if you genuinely would struggle to adjust your work times, then don’t!

    I’m guessing either they will accept he can’t always go at zero notice, or there will be a discussion about what he can and can’t do, which would be a good way into the conversation Alison suggests.

    1. EPLawyer*

      If he is managing a project and needs to go on short notice, its because something came up that has to be handled. It probably can’t wait until Thursday.

      The thing is, the company changed focus from Project A to Project B. Which happens. #4 has to decide if they want to continue to deal with this or find another job. Like any other job, sometimes things change and you have to decide if its a dealbreaker or not. The COMPANY is not going to change just to accomodate your life.

      1. Green great dragon*

        That’s very black & white! The company is unlikely, by itself, to proactively try to accommodate your life. But nor can the company make you rearrange your entire life to suit them when you didn’t sign up for that. In most cases, companies will work with you and will make changes if they can to keep a good employee happy, especially if the alternative is losing an employee. After all, if their response to ‘I can’t go till Thurs’ is to fire someone, then either they have to wait an awful lot longer than Thursday, or they will have to find an alternative after all.

        1. doreen*

          But the company may not be able to make those changes- in this case, the company’s focus moved from two local facilities within 20 minutes of the OP’s home to out-of-state projects. It may be that the local projects also required on-site work with no notice because that’s just a part of doing that sort of work but it wasn’t an issue when the facilities were 20 minutes away and didn’t require overnight travel. The immediate response to ” I can’t go till Thursday” may not be a firing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t wait until Thursday this time and start looking for someone who can travel on short notice.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            I agree, it sounds like the terms of the job have changed a lot from what he was originally told to expect and while certainly he can and should try talking to his boss to see if anything can be changed or if he can at least get more notice, if I were him I’d definitely be job searching. Going from mostly working locally to constantly traveling with little-to-no notice is an enormous shift that is definitely going to be a deal-breaker for a lot of people.

      2. kiki*

        I think it depends a bit on the company and how set-in stone this operating style is. I’ve seen companies shift to policies that are deeply inconvenient for employees not because the policies were 100% necessary, just because the company was trying to figure stuff out and didn’t think through how much of a burden this would put on most employees. When they realized what they were doing wasn’t 100% necessary and they were losing staff over it, they adjusted. If the policy is new and due to an adjustment in priorities, I think it’s worthwhile for managers to get some pushback. Even for traveling positions, finding out the day before that you’re going out of state is really aggressive. Unless it’s a rare emergency, I think most types of businesses manage to work out giving employees a couple days notice for travel (unless the job was advertised as otherwise).

    2. Liz*

      There are some companies or industries where saying no to this will get you fired. If not immediately, then shortly thereafter. It would also affect performance reviews and promotion opportunities. No surprise that these places tend to be male dominated as they work on a model that assumes a spouse will be handling all the domestic stuff. My best friend has been in a similar field their entire career, and in their case, they can be told they are required to actually relocate across the country with a weeks notice. It’s not uncommon for this to happen every year or two. Those who can’t or won’t travel or relocate are generally pushed out sooner or later, or their advancement opportunities are severely limited. And they are NOT compensated to a level that seems appropriate for the disruption.

    3. anonymous73*

      You can’t just say “no” to doing your job. Yes he agreed to the position when hired based on specific travel criteria and now they’re changing it because the business is changing. It’s a jerk move by the company that they’re just saying “hey you have to do this now” without having a discussion with him about the changes, but it happens. OP’s husband just needs to have a meeting with his boss, explain the situation, and if it’s non-negotiable decide if he wants to continue in this role or move on.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Saying no to doing your job is quite a dramatic way of interpreting having a commitment outside your working hours that you can’t shift at short notice! I really wasn’t expecting this comment to get this level of pushback. Why would the company have a discussion if LW’s spouse just says yes all the time?

        My company wants us to travel to head office for big meetings, and we are definitely more effective when we are able to do that. So we try to. But if someone can’t, often because they can’t find childcare to cover a late evening return, they either miss the meeting, dial in, or attend part of the day. This seems really normal, and no-one has suggested firing us all and replacing us with people who can attend every meeting.

        The idea that just because a company has asked, you must agree every time or start looking for a new job is presumably true in some companies, but seems a very odd place to start. Maybe LW’s spouse can’t possibly do their job without being able to drop everything at a second’s notice, but the letter writer doesn’t seem to feel that’s the case.

        1. anonymous73*

          If your job requires you to travel to locations outside of your local area at the last minute, then saying “no to doing your job” is not at all a dramatic interpretation. And the company should have had a discussion when these changes came about because they are drastically different than what was presented to him at the start of his role at the company. It has nothing to do with his spouse saying yes all the time.

          The bottom line is that the nature of the husband’s job has changed. He can either make adjustments to allow it to work for him with his personal commitments or he can quit and get a job that works better for his family.

          1. The OTHER Other.*

            …or he can say “this doesn’t work and isn’t what I signed up for, I need x amount of notice” or whatever other accommodations to make it work. Yes the boss might say “tough, do it or you’re fired” but perhaps the knowledge that replacing the employee is likely to be difficult and/or expensive may get him to see reason.

            It really sounds as though the job parameters changed dramatically. That warrants a discussion about how to make it work, and compensation, but the boss seems to have a “like it or lump it” attitude. He will probably be amazed when people quit, and lament how people “just don’t want to work”.

  14. Fancy Owl*

    LW#3 It’s fine if you don’t like 4/10s and don’t want to switch, but as someone who works 4/10s myself I want to push back on some of your “discrimination” points. First, 4/10s aren’t inherently ableist, it depends on the disability. For people who need to make frequent medical appointments it’s super helpful to always have a day off when your doctors office will be open. And second, for some people having the extra day actually makes it easier for them to spend time with and see their families. So it may not be your cup of tea, but if you have coworkers that actually want to switch they may have good reasons.

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Yes, I want to second this.

      I think it’s easy to see how a change from the “norm” can be more ableist, but we should also keep in mind that the “norm” IS prohibitive to many people and it’s possible this switch is more accomodating for some.

      I’m not advocating for or against it, but rather just wary of falling into the trap of thinking everyone requires the same accomodations, when what is supportive for one person can be very different to what is right for another.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        ” we should also keep in mind that the “norm” IS prohibitive to many people and it’s possible this switch is more accomodating for some.”

        Yes absolutely. The general 9-5 setup is for a variety of reasons very very difficult for a variety of disabled people (myself included). I would really enjoy switching to 4/10s but I know that could be difficult for people for a variety of reasons. There’s no one-size-fits-all perfect answer, flexibility is the most accommodating thing a company can offer.

        I think that’s where OPs company is falling down. It sounds like they’re putting a lot of burden on the existing staff and potentially putting a lot of burden on their PTO bank as well if they need any kind of flexibility. I would strongly advocate for hiring additional people before trying to make this change.

    2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      I hear you on the doctor’s office issue and agree on that. But a schedule like this could be a disaster for parents who have to pick up kids from day care.

      When my daughter was in elementary school, she attended an after school care program that was held in her school building. They closed at 6pm, and all kiddos had to be picked up by them. I got off work at 5:30 and felt like I was always racing against the clock to get there in time (it was a half hour drive). (My husband’s job was even farther away, and there’s no way he could have gotten there by 6. And we had no family in the area to help out.) If working 10 hour days had been made a condition of my employment, I would have had to find another job.

      This was back in the 90s, and I don’t know if day cares keep longer hours now, but the 6 o’clock closing time was pretty common back then.

      It just goes to show that what’s great for some people isn’t going to be great for some others.

      1. UKDancer*

        Definitely, it really varies by person whether this is a good schedule or not. I’ve one colleague who has chosen to do 4 long days to get Friday off. She absolutely loves it and it fits with her wife’s work pattern (wife works away and comes back Thursday nights).

        Personally I would hate it. I love dancing and going to the theatre in the evenings. I like to do my normal hours and then do something fun in the evenings. If I did 4 long days I’d do nothing but work, commute and sleep for 4 days.

        I think the key thing is to understand that different people have different needs for working patterns where possible. Obviously this is often easier in white collar jobs.

        1. Eat My Squirrel*

          Yeah when my office switched to 4 10s, I thought I would absolutely hate it. But now I can’t imagine working 5 days a week again! It helps, though, that I work from home, and they have no plans to bring us back more than one day a week. If I had to work 4 10s, with a 45 minute commute each way, I’d be miserable.

          That being said, it can definitely be harder on parents of young kids, and honestly, the argument about being able to go to the doctor on your day off that someone made above… we have Fridays off, and at least half of my doctors also have Fridays off. Sigh. At least my therapist is open on Fridays.

    3. Seeking second childhood*

      Parents wouldn’t see their kids awake for 4 days/week.
      And day care would charge through the roof for the privilege. 6pm is closing time around here; being late means added charges in 6 minute increments. Heaven help the single parent with a commute.
      And that’s before considering that I get migraines if I try that schedule.
      I’d job hunt immediately if this were mandatory –it works best as an option.

      1. MsSolo UK*

        I mean, I’m a parent with a kid in nursery who has specifically chosen to work 10/4. Husband does drop off at 8 so he can make it into work, and I take a short lunch so I can get there in time for pick up. I walk, so I don’t have to worry about traffic (I mean, I usually get there at 5:55, but that’s within hours, and the amount it costs I want to get my money’s worth!). It does limit how much time we get to spend with kiddo on working days, but means I get a full day with her on Wednesdays and we save on a day’s nursery.

        (a lot of the nursery staff also work 10/4, since it’s open 8-6, and most kids don’t do the full five days, so they don’t need as many staff on mondays and fridays)

        Honestly, it’s one of those things that absolutely should be optional, but it’s an option that can really make life easier for a lot of people as well. For a public facing office, there’s definitely a cohort of people who couldn’t access it in normal working hours who will be able to if they’re open until 6. Ultimately, if the employer is adamant it’s mandatory, then they’ve got to give people several months notice so they can rearrange childcare and other responsibilities and to give themselves time to replace staff who are leaving because they can’t make it work for them.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        It wouldn’t work for YOU and that’s fine. That doesn’t mean it’s “discriminatory” against parents as a whole or even you. As MsSolo UK points out some parents prefer it and it allows them differnt time to spend with their children that they appreciate.

    4. Person from the Resume*

      I just wanted to give a thumbs up to this comment. I didn’t see Alison address it and was coming here to do so myself. Just because you don’t prefer a schedule doesn’t make it discrimatory. You have at least some coworkers that would probably love to have a 3 day weekend every weekend in exchange for an extra 2 hours of work on Monday – Thursday. It may fit better with their lifestyle and allow them to see family more often or attend frequent medical appointments without having to take time off work for them. That doesn’t mean they are discriminated against by the current schedule.

      I currently work a compressed schedule meaning M-Thurs 9 hours. Every other Friday 8 hours and I’m off the other Friday. Lots of people in my organization do it. I did not do it when I had a 45 min – 1 hour commute each way. I thought that would make my Mondays – Thursdays too long. I started it once I started working from home. It took some getting used to; I felt like I was extra tired after works for many months, but now I feel like I’m used to it. (It’s hard to judge as my job duties changed to.)

      I do participate in after work sport that may start as early as 6:30 so I wouldn’t personally like to end at 6pm. I start earlier in order to end earlier. But that also means I wake up early so evening events that starting at 8 or later (!!!) are usually no goes for me Sunday – Wednesday.

      1. doreen*

        That’s a good example of how people’s preferences can differ even if the situation is similar – you preferred not to work the compressed schedule when you commuted because you thought it made the Mon-Thurs too long, but I knew people who would have preferred working a compressed schedule because that way they could avoid the long commute one day a week.

    5. Random Bystander*

      Absolutely agree–post cancer, I have to set appointments (I’m still in the every three months phase) and I work Tuesday-Friday, and it makes it so much easier to just tell scheduling “find a Monday at the appropriate intervals” as I make appointments for a year’s worth at a time, enter the appointments on my personal calendar and not have worry about making sure that I’m keeping enough PTO open for the appointments (and that’s on top of the normal stuff that can be scheduled well ahead of time, like dentist visits, annual eye exam, mammogram, vet appointments for my cats).

      Granted, 4/10s is something that really depends on circumstances, but it’s no more inherently ableist than 5/8s.

    6. Critical Rolls*

      It’s going to be a problem for MOST parents with small children, whose current child care is not built around the 10/4 schedule. It’s actually really difficult to work with that, as typical care center hours are 7-6, just like the proposed hours. And a lot of places, for little littles, you pay for a whole week whether you use it or not, so there’s no cost savings from that unneeded day. This then relies on there being a second caregiver in the home, or private care, no commute, and a variety of other things that absolutely will squeeze parents, especially less privileged parents, out of the role.

      Would it be better for *some* people? Maybe. But on average it’s likely to be worse to impossible for a lot more people.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        I’d say its going to be a problem for parents with small children – but a two parent family – or a family with additional support (like a Grandma who can pick up) it probably doesn’t create much hardship – though probably a change in expectations about who does what. And it might involve switching daycare to something very close to work – since the commute can add an hour or more to the time your kid is in daycare.

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      I don’t think I could or would want to do it, but I agree that if you try to tell your company they are being “discriminatory” that is not going to get you very far. But if it’s something they are just thinking about for now I would definitely talk to some coworkers and find out if other people are as against it as you and if so you can try to push back.

  15. Annie*

    #3 & #4 both make me crazy as a parent of a young child. How is anyone with a kid supposed to figure how to get them back and forth to camp in a model where you’re working 7 am to 6 pm? As LW 4 points out, how is anyone supposed to figure out childcare with unpredictable travel? Both of these plans depend on having someone else around to do that labor and don’t allow for the possibility of single parents. It’s one thing if this what employees knew they were signing up for when they took the job, but both of these would be dealbreakers for me if an employer switched to them as anything other than an option for those who volunteered. I get so tired of employers acting like employees don’t have children or have some kind of magical stay-at-home partner to do all of the childcare.

    1. Magic SAHP*

      LW4 – I sympathise. My spouse had a similar ridiculous travel requirement when our children were very young, and the worst example was when he got 18 hours’ notice to spend three weeks six thousand miles away… In the end I had to take a career break to support it. So, yes, I was the magic SAHP.

      Why did it stop? Well, I had a nervous breakdown and his employer recognised that he *needed* to be at home or be violently bereaved. We were fortunate that they were reasonable and humane, and for an entire year they worked out how to cope without sending him.

      LW4, please be careful, and recognise what your family’s limits are. Some families, such as military families, cope well with a mixture of separation and togetherness; and of course lone parents do excellent jobs of flying solo. But flitting between full support and no support has its own challenges, and some people cope particularly poorly with that (context: I am autistic).

    2. L-squared*

      Without sounding rude, its not your jobs responsibility to figure out your childcare situation. If a schedule isn’t workable for you, then thats unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean it might not be better for the company, clients, and most of your coworkers.

      Unfortunately things change, and when they do, its your choice whether those changes work for you. I’ve left plenty of jobs because of changes to the role, or management. But its not on the company to NOT change beause its inconvenient for me.

      I’m in an office with mostly child free people. One woman has kids in college, and one woman is having a child shortly. If our office went to that schedule, I’d bet 99% of people would be on board, including me. And if they decided not to because of 1 persons childcare need, I’d be pissed.

      1. Doing the best we can*

        But a well run company does need to consider the impact of that 1%. If it means they might lose that 1% what does that mean for the company? Maybe it’s fine but they never should assume that, especially in the current labor market.

        Based on the letter, it sounds like in OP’s area they are short staffed and that losing even one person would prevent the offered flexibility, that some others might require to make it work for them, possibly resulting in losing another staff member. Many seemingly small client facing parts of a company can be critical the overall function in direct and indirect ways. It’s something the company should really evaluate the impact rather than make assumptions.

        1. L-squared*

          Unless that 1% is doing disproportionally more work, considering their wants over the wants of everyone else is what I’d call poor planning, and you have a lot more chance of losing more people because of it.

          That said, I’m not saying in OPs case they should make that decision without considering many things. But without more context, its also not necessarily just a bad idea either. Depending on the type of client facing organization it is, having longer hours where more people can come in may truly be the better option overall.

        2. Allonge*

          I would argue that just about any changes to working hours will result in a system that will be intolerable for 1%.

          That of course needs to be considered, but no organisation should freeze because someone will resign – that person may well resign in any case a day after.

        3. Eldritch Office Worker*

          There is no situation that doesn’t negatively impact somebody. If it’s unworkable, or if there need to be concessions made, it’s up to individual employees to discuss those circumstances with their boss or voice them when change is being discussed. If it impacts enough people, then the company has an issue that they need to address. If it’s the 1%…no. They can make special accommodations if possible, or the employee can figure it out, or the employee can find another job.

          That’s not to be cold or to dismiss the reality that sometimes these situations really suck, but it’s not the employer’s job to make 100% of employees 100% happy all of the time. Trust me, I’ve tried, it’s not possible. They have to prioritize business needs.

      2. WellRed*

        Sure but as long as society as a whole doesn’t make these arrangements possible, it’s never going to not impact people in a huge way. I say this as a child free person. It’s 2022, time to stop modeling business on the wife at home model.

        1. L-squared*

          Sure, but do we need to model business around possible child care? If i have no kids, do I just have to suffer and work a schedule more conducive to people with kids? That is kind of my issue. Things are already, IMO, slanted toward people with children, and my conveniences aren’t really taken into account.

          1. Colette*

            Yes, we have to think about child care when making major changes to work hours. I’m not sure why that’s even a question. Children have to be cared for. If you’re making changes to work hours to discriminate against parents of young children, that’s not OK (and likely to affect women more than men).

            And the thing is, while you might be happy to work 10 hour days, not everyone will be – because of children, or pets, or parents who need assistance, or hobbies, or disability, or all of the other demands on people’s time.

            1. Joielle*

              I don’t necessarily disagree with your substantive point – personally, I think the company in this case should spend a lot more time discussing this potential change and figuring out whether it’s likely to be inconvenient for most people. But I keep seeing people say that this type of schedule is “discriminatory” and I do not understand that argument at all. It may not work for some people with caregiving obligations – but it also may work great for other people with caregiving obligations. For an example, see MsSolo UK’s comment above.

              It’s like the many letters we’ve seen on this site where, for example… dogs were allowed in the office and then weren’t allowed, or travel wasn’t part of a job and then it was, or whatever. The change may be quite inconvenient, but then you get to decide whether that inconvenience is worth looking for a new job or not.

              1. Colette*

                If you move to a schedule where people can’t get childcare, that impact parents – and given our society, is more likely to mean women have to quit their jobs. In other words, it will have a higher impact on women.

                Yes, some people will be able to make it work, but that doesn’t mean it won’t impact one group more than others.

                1. Jamie*

                  I think you are forgetting that men nowadays are more commonly the primary caregiver. I would recommend approaching it from the angle that the schedule disproportionately effects caregivers. Even then I am not sure how much that really matters. Business have to make decisions that will impact some people over others. It’s a cost of doing business so to speak.

                2. Colette*

                  @Jamie – “More commonly” than before does not mean men do the majority of childcare. Yes, it impacts all caregivers, but since women are more likely to be caregivers it has a bigger impact on women.

                3. Jamie*

                  The answer is for society as a whole to distribute childcare more equally then, not force businesses to up end everything to accommodate a small group of people. If this is your concern, I feel our energy would be best spent advocating for a more equal distribution of child care burden.

            2. MCMonkeyBean*

              “If you’re making changes to work hours to discriminate against parents of young children, that’s not OK”

              Literally nobody is doing that. Whether they choose to do this schedule or not, their decision will not be based on their employees at all. They are deciding what hours they want to be open and the employees’ hours will obviously follow suit. That will surely upset some employees and please others, but they will not be discriminating against anyone. “I don’t personally like this decision my company made” is not what discrimination is.

              1. Jamie*

                I couldn’t agree more. Commenters here tend to use “discrimination” like it’s some sort of ultimate argument ender no matter how tenuous the connection may actually be. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost reflexive and I wish it would stop because it diminishes cases of actual discrimination.

              2. Colette*

                “I’m making a business decision that has a bigger impact on women of childbearing age” is discrimination.

                Maybe the OP’s area has a large number of available childcare spaces in facilities that stay open at least 12 hours a day (to allow for travel to/from work) and it’s not an issue. But in many places, a 10-hour work day would have an impact on families, particularly single-parent families, and women would bear the brunt of that impact (as they did when childcare facilities closed during the early stages of the pandemic).

                1. Jamie*

                  I still honestly don’t see the connection here. Nurses very commonly work 10-12 hour shifts and it’s a highly female dominated profession. Somehow they make it work. I still don’t think the discrimination angle is the best approach to argue against a change that you don’t like.

          2. Annie*

            Well, for me, it wouldn’t be my “conveniences” not being taken into account: it would actually be impossible for me to work 7 am-6 pm. But you’re right, of course; no employer has to care at all about what’s manageable for any individual employee, so I’d quit and they’d replace me. I would think that a schedule like that would make it likely that they’d be excluding anyone with young children and both parents working outside the home, but perhaps that’s no big loss to them.

            1. KRM*

              That’s not true though, that it will exclude all kids/both parent working households. If one person’s job changed to 4/10, it’s entirely possible they can coordinate with the other spouse with dropoff/pickup for 4 days and then they have a day where they won’t necessarily need daycare. There are probably plenty of couples who would actually love the switch to that arrangement. The point everyone is making is that because it doesn’t work for ONE person does not mean it won’t work for ALL people. For everyone like you who might quit because it doesn’t work for them (100% fair!!), there’s probably someone ready to step into that schedule because it’s the schedule of their dreams, and that includes two parent working households.

          3. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            Let’s replace “kids” with “caring for others.” Many working adults also do scheduling pretzels to care for aging parents or family members and I’m seeing that play out every day at work now. Hell, I’d say those caring for aging parents have it worse. And overall, a schedule that is flexible for parents also in the long run is flexible for those without children.

            I’d like to see an example how a schedule more conducive to those with kids makes child-free workers “suffer” IF it’s not a case of “I’m leaving early so you have to do more work.” Scheduling around familial obligations should mean flexibility for that worker and not more work for other workers (but always, your mileage may vary).

            1. doreen*

              I don’t think the “suffer” necessarily must refer to doing more work. Every job is of course different , but OP #3’s job does not sound like the sort of job where OP #3 could work five 8 hour days while the co-workers all work four 10 hour days There probably are not a lot of on-site jobs that would allow for just one person working on a particular day and especially not ones with a public-facing service desk so it’s very possible that allowing one person to work five 8 hour days means requiring other people to work five 8 hour days whether they want to or not – and even if four 8 hour days is a more conducive schedule for those people’s caregiving responsibilities.

          4. Julia*

            What employers shouldn’t do is throw up their hands and say that since any change will piss off some people, they don’t need to take working parents into account at all and those people can just leave if they don’t like it. The attitude that it is, as you say, “not your jobs responsibility to figure out your childcare situation” has created the current situation in which women are disproportionately saddled with childcare and it significantly impacts their careers. It actually IS incumbent on employers to be friendly, flexible places for parents to work, because part of being a good and equitable employer is not trampling all over your employee’s life outside of work.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        Honestly I would be concerned if my workplace was so homogeneous that they had avoided hiring parents to that extent. If they then made the hours deliberately unappealing to parents, I’d be even more concerned. Just because you have child free colleagues doesn’t mean they’re always going to be. It’s also not the only kind of responsibility or life change that it’s possible to have. A company unconcerned about common life choices and after work responsibilities is a foolish one.

        1. SoloKid*

          “common life choices” weren’t always common – for example women didn’t work outside the home in these numbers decades ago. Capitalism eventually stepped up to create licensed daycares. Capitalism will eventually step up to create 4/10 childcare schedules as well.

          1. Ellis Bell*

            I’m not sure I said that they wouldn’t and I don’t think I mentioned capitalism at all. My point was about distrusting unconcerned companies.

            1. SoloKid*

              It’s smart to always treat your employer as “unconcerned”.

              Accommodations to “common life choices” are to enhance employee retention. If more employees want 4/10 weeks, it may be time for society to adjust to that shift. “After work responsibilities” will obviously need to be later. We’ve already adjusted to the 40 hr week decades ago, and remote work just a few years ago.

              1. L-squared*

                Exactly. If most people at a job want remote work, just because someone else much prefers to be in person, doesn’t mean that needs to be the case.

                Same with this. If most people would prefer 4/10, then that should be considered and other stuff can shift.

              2. Ellis Bell*

                I think you’ve assumed that I was saying something against changes in working practices or something? I didn’t say that at all. I’m merely saying a homogeneous workforce is usually not great (it can absolutely get by, but people are hired for who they are rather than what they can do), and a company who is unconcerned that everyone they hire is similar, is not great.

      4. metadata minion*

        As you can see from the thread, people’s reactions to this sort of schedule vary *widely*. Unless your job is the sort where you’d expect your schedule to change regularly (shift work, etc.), I think there should be a pretty high bar to substantially changing your employees’ schedules. People plan their lives around their work schedule, whether that’s childcare, hobbies, medical appointments, or just keeping to their preferred dinner timing, and if you expect to work a standard 8-hour 7-day office workweek it’s reasonable to be upset that your office has decided to change that.

        My workplace offers a 10/4 schedule during the summer as an option, and maybe a third of the office does it on any given summer. It’s a great option, when it’s truly optional. I tried it once; turns out I hate it. I’d be very curious whether all over your coworkers would actually be thrilled, because for me and quite a few of my own coworkers, getting through a 10-hour day ended up being not nearly worth getting the extra day off.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I gather that Science Has Shown (usual caveats) a drop-off in productivity after the seventh hour in a working day. So a 10/4 schedule may only result in 28 productive hours anyway.

          I guess it depends on the individual and the position, but it’s not remotely unreasonable to say “yeah actually I can’t usefully work for ten hours on four consecutive days, this doesn’t work for me.”

          1. UKDancer*

            Definitely. I think this is something of a marmite schedule in that it will work for some people very well and for others not at all.

            I think it’s fine to have as an option for some people but if you try and impose it on everyone then a number of people may not like it and may choose to find a job with more flexibility. That’s not to say a company can’t do it if there are benefits for them but it is to say that if they do there will also be costs.

      5. Jackalope*

        I can see your point with the 4/10 schedule, but having to travel at the drop of a hat is a different kettle of fish. It makes any sort of advance prep impossible; not only can you not count on being around for childcare, but as others have pointed out above this you can’t have pets, make doctor’s appointments, buy play tickets, volunteer in the evenings…. It’s a huge inconvenience to people with many different lifestyles. And honestly, I’m having a hard time seeing why it would be necessary. If you have projects/offices/whatever around the country, you should also have people able to deal with emergencies around the country as well, so that travelling staff can know when they will be going out of state. It would be much easier to plan for something like, “As a part of this job you will do regular check-ins at Location in Other State every other Monday and Tuesday,” for example, than, “We will call you tonight and say that you’re flying across the country tomorrow for three days.”

        1. GythaOgden*

          In one of my dad’s cases, a power cable snapped and a guy almost burned to death. Dad took off to the site halfway across the country as soon as he heard and rang to say he wouldn’t be home so don’t count him in for dinner. That’s life in engineering project management. Dad’s job was to see what had happened, speak to people involved, see whose responsibility it was and make sure the injured guy was OK and looked after. He was a director by that time, but was a corporate presence on site and also genuinely concerned about the guy’s welfare and that of other people, as well as a very real threat to the site and the safety of others. The situation turned out OK, but my dad’s job involved that kind of nomadic existence and we all understood it, even when it meant changing schools every 3-4 years.

          You can’t run the world like this — there are many jobs like accident investigation, journalism, disaster relief and so on where the person inevitably has to travel to different sites at very short notice, and as such stationing people permanently everywhere there might be a story or whatever is absurd and more expensive than having someone on hand to travel there. For instance, there’s no airport in Lockerbie to station an air-crash investigator just in case a terrorist decides to bring down another plane. Likewise, there are a lot of jobs like healthcare and call centres that work on different kinds of shift patterns which would make a lot of people recoil in horror, but when you 9-5ers need someone on a Sunday to fix an internet issue or recover bodies from an air crash, you don’t want them to be saying ‘sorry, guv, I only work weekdays’ or ‘not going out to a remote Nepalese mountain this time of night’.

          This place is very 9-5, do your job and go home, but there are many, many occupations where that cannot be a realistic expectation, including people who keep your Netflix up 24/7 or whose work ensures that flight you’re taking on holiday doesn’t crash into a random mountain.

          It’s much more efficient for people to go to the job than for the job to come to people, and sometimes what people understand about business here is odd because most people here, I assume, work in some kind of business situation and handle budgets of many kinds (I do! I’m responsible for the franking machine at work and making sure post goes through accurately but doesn’t get wasted) and therefore know what makes financial sense and what doesn’t.

      6. Critical Rolls*

        It’s an employee’s responsibility to figure out childcare *within reasonable limits.* It’s stupendously short-sighted of a company to set a schedule that makes child care arrangements so difficult it functionally excludes parents of small children from their workforce. And who is going to suffer most? Single parents, poorer folks, and women. Making it impossible for those people to work for your company is NEVER best for the company, clients, and coworkers.

    3. Bananas*

      Not everyone has children or needs childcare, but people do have other factors in their lives. It’s important to not frame everything through a lens of childcare being the only or most valid reason for a thing, and a thing that companies should consider the most. Many people find the 10×4 schedule provides the balance they need in their life.

    4. Jamie*

      People by and large choose to have children. You can’t force the whole world to revolve around peoples lifestyle choices at the expense of everyone else.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I’m childfree by choice–and that is a lifestyle choice, if you will, that works only as long as some other people do have children. We need the next generation of doctors, bus drivers, farmers, cleaners…

        Also, that “by and large” is a dangerous overgeneralization.

        There are people who have children because they were denied access to abortion and birth control.

        There are people who chose to have children with a partner, who then died or left them–and the children still exist, and still need care.

        There are people who are raising their grandchildren, nephews, or other relatives, not because they wanted to, but because the parent(s) couldn’t/

      2. Ellis Bell*

        Isn’t there a middle ground between “I will revolve around this person and whatever they need” and “I don’t care when they are given short shrift wherever they turn”. I really think there must be! I don’t have children and I don’t expect my life to be made harder by colleagues who are parents. However I expect them to be given some flexibility and communication, just as I expect for myself. I certainly don’t expect them to be subjected to unreasonable conditions, or judged as short sighted for not seeing every detail of their future lives.

  16. Jerry's Girlfriend (not that one)*

    I love 4 day work weeks, but in this situation I think it should be an “opt in” option. However, in my experience that might just cause sniping. I could show up to work at 4am, and if I left 30 minutes earlier than everyone I’d get a bunch of “must be niiiiiice” comments from people who stroll in at 9. Extreme example, but when I picked my own hours I tended to do 5-1/6-2 and some people REALLY had some feelings about my “leaving early.”

    But if you work with grown ups who realize that they’re the one controlling their schedule then it works well.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      If it’s “opt in” that’s obviously a best case scenario (my company allows people to choose to do that during slower periods) but if they are planning on closing the whole place down on the other day then that doesn’t sound like an option.

    2. KRM*

      Yep. I would get teased sometimes at OldJob for leaving at 3, but I’d just say “you too could start at 7 with me!” (my commute was literally a 7′ walk and I am a morning person). And I knew it was just teasing. I’m on almost that schedule now (7:30 to 3:30ish) and nobody at NewJob cares. They care that I get my work done and I show up where I’ve said I’ll show up. We have summer hours here, but functionally they involve everyone planning their work to be wrapped up by Friday AM sometime and leaving. Again, nobody really cares…they trust us to be adults and get it done, in whatever timeframe that takes.

  17. Jane*

    LW3 – Please raise the issue of childcare for 4×10 days, especially if you *don’t* have children. It will be very challenging to find a provider that can fit with this work schedule.

    (If you are raising a potential issue, it can often be more powerful if you are raising it on behalf of hypothetical colleagues/future colleagues, instead of for yourself.)

    1. Glomarization, Esq.*

      To the contrary, raising an issue that is not actually the LW’s, but rather my apply to someone who hasn’t raised it themself, or on behalf of someone else who may not even exist, can come across as concern trolling.

    2. Waiting on the bus*

      I’d advise LW3 to first talk with the parents at the company to see if they have issues with it. When they do, yes, having someone unaffected raise it can be more powerful.

      I mention this because my sister (single parent for a 6yo) has been asking for 10h shifts for ages. With her childcare setup, 10h shifts would mean more money (she has to work part-time) and more time spent with her daughter each week. So depending on how the parents at LWs company are handling childcare and what sort of hours they work there might be some people for which the change is actually beneficial.

    3. Nancy*

      Don’t do this unless you know the parents are not happy with the schedule. I know several parents who specifically choose to work 4 days a week for 10 hours because they then get a day off to spend with their kids.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        +1, please don’t make assertions based on your assumptions about other people’s lives. That’s how we end up with the maternity leave LW from yesterday.

        1. Vinessa*

          It’s interesting how many people aren’t making the connection between that letter and this one.

  18. elizelizeliz*

    LW #1, I also just want to add, as someone who finds the Enneagram incredibly useful, that a test is not even a good way to figure out your type! It can be a helpful starting point for learning your type, but cannot actually “diagnose” you or anything—and if someone values the enneagram enough to use it in hiring, they should at least know that. Not the biggest problem of this situation, of course! But also, feels relevant.

    The weird Christian parts of the Enneagram community also freak me out, as an atheist, but there is a lot of non-religious Enneagram stuff too, so it wouldn’t necessarily to me be a red flag that it was a very Christian environment, but it would be a red flag that it was wildly off-base in terms of intrusiveness. I feel the same way about Myers Briggs tests during hiring. Your job as a potential employer is to assess whether I would be good at doing the job, not to unearth my deepest personality traits or something.

  19. L-squared*

    #3. Personally, I wish I could do that schedule. That said, I understand why its not for everyone. But, no, its no discriminatory, at least in a traditional sense. It may be more inconvenient for you, but that doesn’t make it discriminatory, and we should stop just using that to mean “something I don’t like”. A company/organization can keep whatever work hours they like, and you can choose whether or not it works for you.

    1. L-squared*

      Also, in seeing the replies, I’m feeling like #3 can easily turn into one of those parents vs. child free arguments that happen so often (both on this site and in the workplace).

      Thing is, it would be nice if companies could give everyone the perfect schedule for each employee. Realistically, that is rarely the case and things are going to work better for some people than others.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        It can turn into that argument, but digging into the comments a little bit there seem to be parents with preferences on both sides! We just can’t lump demographics together that way, though people try (I’m using a royal “we” here not targeting you specifically – I agree with you).

      2. KRM*

        Yeah, this shouldn’t be a “parents vs not” argument, although lots of people like to spin in that way, assuming that anyone child-free would love 4/10. I have no children and would HATE 4/10, especially if we had to be customer facing and there till 6. My productivity is high in the AM and crashes by 3. Sometimes I get home around 4 and have to take a power nap. I’d be terrible if I had to be customer facing in the late afternoon. But some people might love it!
        The company in that letter concerns me because they want to shut down for the whole day every week–if they maybe did a survey and tried to see who wants 4/10 and who doesn’t, they could maybe have enough staff who work 4/10 to cover late hours for some weekdays, and then maybe open still on Friday AM for those who don’t want to work 4/10? With the afternoon ‘closed’ so those staff can finish up paperwork, etc w/out having to worry about coverage (maybe at home, or in the office, depending on people’s preference). It’s not the worst idea to switch to everyone 4/10, but seems like it needs more thought and study around how it affects both staff and customers (like, if you lose 10% of staff but customers are thrilled with the shift, it may still work for you).

        1. UKDancer*

          Same. Also child free and I’d hate it. I like having evenings to do things and don’t mind working Fridays because they’re quieter in terms of meetings and I can get my admin done. I don’t think this is a parent v childfree argument. It’s more about whether that work pattern suits your personality, outside commitments and where you are in life.

      3. Jamie*

        I hope it doesn’t turn in to one of those parents vs child free arguments. I’m so over comment threads getting locked at the faintest hint of discord. It’s tiring to craft a well thought out comment just to come back and see the reply button has disappeared without explanation.

  20. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    #1 I’m consistently amazed that people keep coming up with new ways to boil down the incredibly complicated spread of behaviors exhibited by the conscious and unconscious human mind into 4, or 5, or 9, or 16 neat categories.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m a Ravenclaw. The label “insufferable know-it-all” was made for us.

      … And yet even I thought that Helga Hufflepuff embodied the true approach to education, the one I want from my kids’ teachers.

      1. Dahlia*

        It’s almost like Harry Potter is fiction created by one very bigoted woman with no training in psychology.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            Lots of stuff, mainly about trans people, but she’s also been pretty ignorant about other groups when defending her transphobia. If you just google her twitter, you’ll probably find her comments fairly quickly. It’s an obsession with her. It isn’t just one thing she said. She comment constantly, criticising people who are trans.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        I’m with you 100%, both on being a Ravenclaw and on thinking Helga had the right idea.

  21. Hiring Mgr*

    I can see why the four ten hour days would be inconvenient but I’m missing why it’s discriminatory against people w/disabilities?

    1. Glomarization, Esq.*

      It’s not, necessarily, and if it is, a person who is affected could bring it up in an ADA-appropriate way and seek an accommodation.

      1. Dr. Rebecca*

        Accommodations are not a panacea. For one thing, the business only needs to grant them if it wouldn’t cause an “undue burden” and having an already understaffed department one person down during crucial coverage times counts as an undue burden. The law states that you will be accommodated if you can do your job (to the job description) with “reasonable accommodation,” and if the job description changes to 4 days x 10 hours, and you can’t do it, they do not have to accommodate you.

            1. L-squared*

              I mean, people need to be more deliberate with their words. Discrimination means something very specific, and just throwing it around to mean “inconvenient” isn’t a good thing.

              1. Dr. Rebecca*

                It also means “actions that are biased against” or “purposefully excluding of” and yes, a working environment where people are expected to work for 10 hours straight are biased against and exclusionary of disabled people. It’s not just an inconvenience for someone with fatigue or pain.

                1. Observer*

                  It’s not just an inconvenience for someone with fatigue or pain.

                  And since when is that the whole definition of “disabled”?

                2. Observer*

                  You are claiming that this move is discriminatory against “disabled people” because it would not work for people with chronic fatigue or pain.

                  That only makes sense if “disabled people” = “people with chronic fatigue or pain”.

                3. Dr. Rebecca*

                  That is an incredibly simplistic, and inaccurate, reading of what I wrote and I no longer believe you’re arguing in good faith. If you’re in a position to make these types of decisions, I sincerely hope you’ll take into account how your policies disadvantage people who are already at a disadvantage, but I sincerely doubt that as well. In either case, I’m done explaining anything to you, you can take it up with literally anyone but me.

            2. Observer*

              Not in the legal sense, no, but I highly doubt that’s what the LW meant.

              Even the way the OP meant. Seriously. Not all disabilities are the same and different people need different things. For some people the most important thing is consistency, which this would give them. For some people having one weekday off each week would be great. For some people, they really need to stop working at a certain point and this would not work. I could go one, but I think the point is clear.

              The idea that there is ONE good type of schedule that is good for ALL people with disabilities and any other type of schedule is disproportionately harmful just doesn’t make sense.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            It’s not, I think that was a really poor word to use in this case and it deflects from the real problem of it being potentially inconvenient.

        1. Glomarization, Esq.*

          Of course accommodations are not a panacea. The issue remains, though, that it’s not necessarily discriminatory against a disabled employee in the first place for the workplace to temporarily change its hours. And the LW saying that it “feels discriminatory” is, frankly, a little infantilizing. The responsibility lies with the affected employee to start the process, not for the LW to actively alert HR with their nebulous, unconfirmed concern for somebody else who may not even have a problem.

          1. Dr. Rebecca*

            As a disabled person, I *STRONGLY* disagree. Everyone should speak out when they see things in the workforce that make things more difficult for disabled people to succeed. I do not feel infantalized by someone saying, in essence, this makes it less likely for disabled people to be able to work this job, and that’s a bad thing. And we’re meant to not nitpick the LW’s choice of wording, so let’s not harp on them not using the legal meaning of discriminatory.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              I would feel infantilized if someone used my name, or if they framed it as “no one with disabilities could prefer this”. I think “we should consider this might be a situation that pushes up against a need for ADA accommodations in the future and how we should handle this” should be a baseline for all discussion that cause operational changes, but as a disabled person I do agree with the notion that the sweeping “this is bad for disabled people” can be incredibly annoying and can make it difficult for me to advocate for myself.

              Going back to yesterday’s letter about nursing mother accommodations – it’s great to have them in place, but you don’t want to push them on a particular person. If you’re the token disabled person in the office and an abled person goes on a crusade against how something is “discriminatory” or “bad for people with disabilities” but you prefer it, now you’re in the middle of a war you didn’t ask for. I am a little hung up on the word “discriminatory”, because it means something and it gets really diluted when we throw it around.

            2. a clockwork lemon*

              I said this down thread but the schedule described would be an amazing accommodation for me as someone who needs a weekly maintenance treatment with a specialized provider who can’t always accommodate me if I have a work conflict during our standing appointment.

              I’d be very upset if my workplace was transitioning to a schedule that didn’t require me to have an accommodation on record and someone spoke up against it because they didn’t want to do it and it “might” bother some sort of nebulous mystery disabled person in the office. I’d be incandescent if I was used as an example by name based on someone trying to “advocate” for me in order to get out of a schedule change that’s inconvenient for THEM.

            3. Glomarization, Esq.*

              There’s a difference, though, between showing a disabled colleague your solidarity and support, and white-knighting for that colleague (without even asking, first, if the colleague is experiencing a difficulty, because it “feels discriminatory”).

    2. Dr. Rebecca*

      Many disabilities come with exhaustion, which makes a standard workday a stretch, and a longer workday almost impossible.

      Additionally, many transportation services for disabled users work within the standard workday only, leaving people stranded if their job schedules them for early/late work.

      There are many, many other reasons, but this’ll get you started.

      1. anonymous73*

        It still isn’t discriminatory unless they’re unwilling to provide accommodations as needed for certain individuals.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      I’m not the LW but my guess is they were thinking that something along the lines of chronic pain or chronic fatigue disabilities, where a person might be able to handle working for 8 hours a day but 10 hours of work a day would be past their physical limits.

      1. metadata minion*

        Yeah, there certainly plenty of disabilities where this isn’t an issue, but fatigue/pain/etc. is common enough that I think it’s a fair claim that suddenly demanding longer working days is discriminatory to people with disabilities as a general class.

        For some disabled people, this schedule would work better. I’d be totally fine if an office decided to post a job with a 10/4 schedule. It’s the sudden switch that I find problematic.

    4. Bexy Bexerson*

      I have a disability that includes pain (muscles, joints, and nerves), numbness, and fatigue…all of which are exacerbated by longer workdays (and an extra day off does not make up for it).

        1. Bexy Bexerson*

          *fist bump right back at ya*
          Sucks, doesn’t it? I’m going to a concert tonight…I already know I’m going to feel like shit for the rest of the week, but I try to let myself have a little fun once in awhile. Thankfully, I have an ADA accommodation to WFH permanently. Not having to shower, groom, commute, and all that every day is extraordinarily beneficial to my health.

          1. Dr. Rebecca*

            MMM-HMM. I’m a professor, so that means very low hours where I have to be “on” and since 2020 I’ve been WFH so I can be horizontal most of the time I’m not on camera, but oooooh, I am NOT happily anticipating a return to the actual classroom… Luckily, I can close my door and lie under my desk, but obviously that’s not an optimal solution.

          2. Nameless in Customer Service*

            May the ‘spoons lottery’ come up in your favor, and enjoy the concert!

  22. Unfettered scientist*

    Wait, don’t you *want* to wear a nude bra or cami underneath instead of the color of the sheer blouse? Nude won’t show up but if you wear white under white the cami will be very obvious. I always thought “obvious bra or cami” was more suggestive than wearing something nude, which just helps the shirt appear less sheer.

    1. WellRed*

      I think you want it to be noticeable lest you give a quick impression that people are seeing your naked torso.

    2. kiki*

      I think it depends on how sheer the blouse is to begin with. If it’s a shirt that’s not really supposed to be sheer but is very thin and a little sheer in some lighting, yeah a nude cami works well. If it’s quite sheer, wearing something nude underneath may give the impression you’re naked underneath, like WellRed mentioned.

    3. bamcheeks*

      yes, I agree. I introduced my mum to the concept of the beige bra under a white shirt (we are white people) about fifteen years ago because she grew up with “bras are only ever white, anything else is indecent” and blew her mind!

    4. Jora Malli*

      It would depend on the level of sheerness for me. If it’s on the more opaque end of the spectrum, then yeah, I’d wear a nude colored cami underneath. But if it’s a little more sheer than that, I’d go with a colored tank top either in the same color as the blouse or in an accent color (like, if it’s a green blouse with yellow flowers, I might wear a yellow tank top under it) to make it look more like this is how I planned my outfit to look and not like I just accidentally wore a too-sheer blouse to work.

    5. Fluffy Fish*

      I think you have a broader idea of sheer than is meant.

      Yes for sheer, not just light colored, you would not want to wear nude. You will look nekkid. Sheer refers to things material like netting or lace – you can actually see through it by design.

      For light-colored solid shirts, like a white blouse, you do generally want to wear a skin-toned under garment.

      Does that make sense?

    6. pancakes*

      It really depends on the particular top and particular underpinnings. A bra should not be visible for most daytime office jobs, but a visible cami or tank top isn’t necessarily a problem.

  23. mcfizzle*

    My work implemented 4 / 10’s (4 days a week, 10 hour days with Fridays off) a few years ago. It doesn’t seem like much, but adding those 2 hours a day does hurt a bit for the first couple of weeks. This year I used a little vacation each day to make it 4 / 9’s, and that was a nice balance. Now I’m at the full 10.

    Ultimately, I have a love/hate relationship with the 4 day weeks. I hate it Sunday afternoon through mid-day Wednesday. Then I start warming up quickly. By Thursday I’m basically in love, and stay that way through Sunday morning, where I cool down very quickly. Rinse and repeat each week.

  24. Lurking Tom*

    LW1: I had to look up what an enneagram was and yikes. Hard pass on any place that wants to use a bunch of numbers to determine workplace culture unless the place I’m applying to work is the literal inside of a calculator.

  25. Denaranja*

    #4 – I feel like it’s a bit naive to expect that a project manager who remodels facilities would not be expected to travel to other places. Plans change within companies, and what was known when your husband was hired is clearly not the case now.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I wouldn’t say it’s naive to expect the terms you take a job under to stay consistent unless you’re explicitly told there’s a change. What’s not clear to me is what that discussion looked like with the husband when the focus shifted, and if the husband has told his job it’s a problem. But given the bluntness of the messaging, I agree it does seem like this is the deal now and they have to figure out what that means for them

    2. anonymous73*

      Sure, but when he took the job he was told that those places would be local. Now business has changed. I don’t blame the company for making those changes, but they should have had the courtesy to sit down with OP’s husband and let him know that things were changing, then he can decide if that’s something he wants to continue doing. I took a job last August with HQ 60+ miles away and agreed to no more than a few times per month working at HQ. If that ever changed I’d be moving on because I’m not willing to have a 2 hour+ commute each way for work.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        For only the first two years. The company did say it wasn’t longer term than that.

        What gets me here is the unexpected travel? I would think most trips could be planned in advance and only emergencies would require sudden trips. Was that discussed when hiring?

        But for the LW and her family is the problem travel or just the uncertain nature of it? I don’t think the travel can be eliminated. Can the trips be scheduled farther in advance? Would that allow the LW and her husband to work out childcare and other problems with him being gone? If so I think that might be option to discuss with the boss. If he can’t travel at all, I think he needs to look for a new job.

        1. anonymous73*

          Yes but OP says “plans have changed” which leads me to believe that this is happening prior to the 2 year mark that was discussed during the interview process. Changes happen, but when you accept a role under certain conditions and those conditions change there should be a discussion with the employee.

    3. kiki*

      It sounds like the LW’s husband discussed what it would look like and trusted what the company said when he applied for the job. I think going from, “you’ll be working locally for the first two years” to “hey we need you three states over tomorrow” is a really drastic jump. Even if I expected I’d be needed to travel more than the company was letting on, I wouldn’t be prepared to drop everything and go at the drop of a hat. And the company not discussing this with their employees and just kind of throwing it at them is not good management.

      1. Emily*

        Yes. This is the kind of thing where the responsible way to handle it is have a discussion, give lead time, and figure out whether it’s going to work for your employee and whether there’s another role they can transition into otherwise. And since if he leaves they’re going to have to pay more to replace him, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to offer him some of that additional money to mitigate some of the inconveniences (like getting a regular babysitter). Just springing this on someone and expecting them to be able to handle it is how you burn a lot of goodwill, not just with this specific employee but with anyone watching this situation and wondering how the company is going to treat them as well.

  26. cardigarden*

    I also wouldn’t put your enneagram/ MB type, etc on your resume either. I know someone who did that, and I would absolutely advise against it because it can open you up to being evaluated in ways you don’t anticipate and didn’t intend. Like, particularly with enneagrams, which run on a spectrum of healthy [number] to unhealthy [number], you don’t want the hiring manager to be thinking about those potential “negatives” when comparing you to an identically credentialed applicant who didn’t volunteer that information.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      Of course you shouldn’t put your ennagram or MB type on your resume. You need that space for your sun sign and Hogwarts house.

  27. PlaidCookie*

    #1 – I worked at a place that used the Myers-Briggs to place people into jobs in the organization. They considered your skills and experience, but also your “type”. Predictably, it sucked. I always felt reduced to my type, and if I tried to talk with my boss about issues, it was somehow spun around to talk about my type and why my type would feel that way, etc etc. Also predictably, the organization had a lot of other issues – I remember my boss telling us once that the org didn’t do performance reviews because “we don’t want people thinking they can ask for a raise.” Yeah, I didn’t last long there. Run screaming from that interview!

    1. Not Today Josephine*

      #1 Well of course you had problems with your boss. They must have been a Taurus! Doesn’t that sound silly? It makes as much sense as these pseudo-science tests.

  28. HigherEdAdminista*

    #3- My job has the 4/10 schedule in the summer and it is mandatory. We have to either work the longer days or use our vacation time to be off on the day the university is closed.

    It’s a mixed bag, honestly. On one hand, it is nice having a long weekend, but every week day ends up destroyed. You either come in early so you can leave at a normal time, losing sleep and the chance to do much in the morning or you can come in at a normal time and get home with very little time left before bed. Not to mention, it is our least busy time of the year so you end up inventing projects to fill these long days.

    I find I end up using that “extra” day as a day to just recover so I can have a normal weekend. It becomes a forced relaxation day. This can be good if you aren’t inclined to relax. Definitely speak up to them about what works and doesn’t work before they implement the policy. Band together with others if you can. Someone I know works in a similar setting where they have half-day Fridays instead of full days off, so that means there is extended service Monday-Thursday and then limited service on Fridays. That might work better in your set up!

  29. Person from the Resume*

    Specifically, he was promised that within the first two years, most of the work would take place at two different facilities that are each within about 20 minutes of our home.

    Plans have changed and those facilities are not a focus for their team anymore. Now, he is managing projects that are primarily out of state. Travel is becoming extremely frequent and unexpected. On a recent call, his manager told the team that they should expect to be sent anywhere in the country on any given day that they are scheduled to work from home.

    How can he reasonably refuse this unexpected travel, or advocate for plans and expectations to be set much further out?

    I feel for you LW4. You don’t say how far into his first two years your husband is in. It doesn’t sound like it was a specific “bait and switch,” just that the comapany’s priorities have changed, but unfortunately it seems like while your husband thought he’d be managing two local sites for the first two years, this sudden travel is a fact of this job’s role. It wasn’t hardship to visit the local site at the drop of the hat, but it is when he has to travel. What was your family plan after the first two years when his sites weren;t local? You may have to implement that plan now including quitting if that was your plan.

    I don’t understand why so many last minute trips are needed. I’m not in that industry, but it seems like planning these trips in advance would be part of the project manager’s job. Can he do that or are these frequent urgent / emergencies? He can talk to his boss, but if this is the way it is at this company, this is the way it is. You husband may have to quit because the job requirements conflict with his family needs/lifestyle. I wouldn’t want this kind of job. A lot of people won’t want that kind of job. Leaving the job after a short time is understandable.

  30. FromasmalltowninCanada*

    My husband travels – that travel has increased over the years. He’s in a technical field and he has been in engineering, technical sales and now project management. All roles had the potential for travel, always on short notice but with varying levels of travel expected. We have three kids and I chose a job that did not require travel and that quite frankly Mommy tracked myself because of it. This is advice if for if he doesn’t or can’t get another job.

    It is 100% disruptive. My husband has gotten good at telling me when he thinks travel may be coming – he finally figured out I want to know the possibility as soon as he does because then I can plan. It’s not fool proof but it helps. If there is a possibility of travel and he doesn’t go this week – he’s going next week, etc.

    The other thing I did is I made all my decisions about what activities the kids do or don’t do, what I commit too, etc. with the idea in mind that there will be many weeks that I have to do it all. My kids do less than others because I cannot manage it all otherwise. My parents moved closer just before COVID and I am now more willing to juggle more because of their help but before this it was just me.

    If you can afford too – outsource. I have a cleaner who comes in every other week. We pretty much always order dinner in on Fridays. I batch cook, etc. It can be done, but its not easy and it will fall on you. I buy more frozen vegetables because they don’t go bad. I cook differently if I know he’s going to be away.

    The other thing you will probably need to work through is how to handle the resentment. When my husband would be gone for a week, then home, then gone, etc. it was very disruptive. Him being gone either for a couple of weeks at once or like more recently 2-3 days every two weeks were easier to deal with (it’s been a drive instead of a flight and in the same time zone). Thing work differently when he’s not here – they have too. For me, we ultimately had to have that frank conversation and it’s one we have to revisit often. It gets easier as the kids get older. It was hardest when they were in daycare.

  31. DataSci*

    LW #3, my workplace used to offer a modified version of this called “summer Fridays”, where you’d work an extra hour each day Mon-Thurs and take Friday afternoons off during the summer. The key is that it was optional – I was never able to take advantage of it, since childcare limitations meant I couldn’t swing the extra hour. To be clear, I didn’t begrudge them offering it, or my colleagues taking advantage of it – I just sometimes had to remind them that my schedule wasn’t extended, so I couldn’t do 5:30 meetings. I’d echo Alison’s suggestion that making this mandatory creates a real hardship for some people, since chances are they’re viewing it as a perk (which it absolutely is for some people!) without thinking about the potential downsides. If they are going to insist on making it for everyone, maybe the half-day Fridays would be a potential compromise – it’s a lot easier to adjust schedules by an hour than two.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      An old job of mine had this too and it was absolutely optional. I usually opted in, but I didn’t have to be home right after work, my parents were there in the afternoons looking after the kids, kids were already in school so I didn’t have to worry about picking them up etc. Otherwise even an extra hour could’ve been hard – but at least somewhat doable. I live alone now and I would’ve balked at the extra two hours a day – that’s a lot. With the lunch break and the commute added in, this schedule basically leaves no time to do anything after work other than go home, eat, sleep, get up in time to go back to work again. Most people are just going to spend their “extra day off” catching up on everything they couldn’t get done on their free time during the four working days.

  32. Rage*

    OP#3 – I feel you. I worked 4-10s for YEARS at my old job. At first, it wasn’t so bad. I was living with my boyfriend, so I wasn’t responsible for 100% of the household duties (grocery shopping, cooking, feeding dogs, cleaning up, etc.). There were only 2 of us in admin roles and we had opposite days off, but certainly gave flexibility to each other for vacations, illnesses, etc.

    Then the office manager was going to retire, so the CEO interviewed for her replacement. I learned after she was hired that:
    1. He set her hours as 5-8s instead of 4-10s
    2. He did not offer me this option.

    So guess who had to work the the late night coverage EVERY NIGHT? Me. Weeknight concerts, events, gatherings – especially those on Thursday nights, when we were open until 8 PM – were no longer options for me since I learned quickly that (let’s call her “B”) resented being asked to cover. And CEO refused to intervene.

    By then, I was living alone. Who wants to get home at 7:30 PM and cook dinner? Not me. My work/life balance suffered. I hated it. Loathed it. Resented being stuck being the only one in the small company with no flexibility in scheduling. CEO was a wimp and refused to act.

    One year, B had told me she wanted to take a week off for vacation. This meant I would be covering her Friday (my day off) as well, but of course I said I would; it would give me leverage for when *I* wanted to take some time off. So I worked my 10 hour days (11 on Thursday since I had to stay until 8 instead of 7), plus her 8 hour shift. No lunch break, no coverage, begging professional staff to cover phones so I could at least use the restroom. It was what it was. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Then the final Harry Potter movie came out, and a friend and I were like “We are TOTALLY doing the 2-day movie marathon”. I put in for those 2 days (Wednesday & Thursday). It was approved. The week before, the CEO came to me and said I needed to cover until noon on those 2 days because “it’s too long of a shift for one person to work with no backup”. (This, by the way, was HIS idea, not B’s.)

    I reminded him that I, personally, had covered that shift when B was out for an entire week and nobody said anything about it being too long for me. In fact, I had done that ever since she had been hired 5 years earlier, without complaint, and nobody had ever suggested it was too much for me. And if he was going to insist that I miss out on part of my pre-approved vacation AND also parts of the movies I had already paid good money to see (the marathon started at 10 AM both days), then I would never ever EVER cover for B for any reason: sick, vacation, anything. She would be held to the same standard or I would go to the board.

    He dropped the matter. I went to the marathon and B survived the horrific schedule imposed upon her.

    When CEO retired, I successfully lobbied his replacement for a change back to 5-8s and was much happier for it.

    I will never work 4-10s again if I have any say in the matter (and, believe me, I will have say LOL)

  33. Awesome Sauce*

    For #4, I find it hard to imagine a job that is primarily a desk job/remote but also genuinely has a need for ONE SPECIFIC PERSON to travel with essentially no notice at all. Surely there will be some room to maneuver/plan ahead here.

    I say this as someone with a desk job, who does occasional on-site work for clients, and whose previous job (also a desk job) involved both construction inspections and literal responding to emergencies. Like, something explodes, literally is on fire, and someone from our team has to go and monitor the response. There were zero situations in which any of us had to travel on only a few hours notice. Including the time I got called at 2am to respond to something! I could have said “unable” and the on-call person would just have gone to the next person on the list who had the same qualifications as me.

    So for OP #4, I am hoping their husband can push back on this expectation a bit, maybe along with other people on his team, and figure out some way to plan the work more predictably and/or set up some kind of call-down list where if Person A isn’t able to travel on such short notice, Person B/C/D will be asked to fill in for them for the first couple of days.

  34. RC+Rascal*

    #1–Did anyone else go out and take an online enneagram quiz this morning?

    I had never heard of this before today. I scored a 6 and the description didn’t really sound like me that much, or correspond with any other more recognized type test of this type (i.e. Myers Briggs, DISC, etc).

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah I’ve never found it super accurate to me either (I think I’ve gotten 4 or 6 at different times)

      1. After 33 years ...*

        I did two different tests, getting a “1” and a “5”. I don’t think I learned anything from these.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I started to distrust it before even getting the results; the questions are phrased in such an extreme, antagonistic way. They also didn’t appear to be hiring-relevant at all, and would be way too personal for a potential workplace to know. For example, I was expecting something more related to work habits than pop psychology like: “I prefer to collaborate/work alone on a tricky issue” as opposed to “I want to make myself appear successful by the standards of others” or “I was taught as a child that achievements were the way to get love”. Just the most awful, irrelevant ideas you would never tolerate if they came in the form of interview questions. It reminded me of when horrible exes are discussed amongst friends; how everyone has dated a judgy headshrinker who sees the imaginary negative causes for everything.

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        I see we experimented with the same test! (Love your user name btw) Besides the pop psychology aspect, which is a big one, so many of those questions made me feel like my answers needed a big asterisks (ie. appearing successful, who are these others? What standards do they have? Should I answer yes or no if my parents regularly celebrated my successes (showing love) but didn’t push me terribly hard to achieve?) I ended up clicking neutral a lot because my real answer was usually “My response to this varies widely based on context”.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Same! I hardly budged from the neutral zone, which I renamed “irrelevant” and spent the whole time rolling my eyes.

    3. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yeah, I ended up a 6 as well, but that didn’t surprise me. I work on self knowledge pretty regularly, and I think I get more out of MBTI or a tarot reading than enneagram. A single number is bunk, one of 16 types works a little better, and tarot gives lots of randomness for reflection.

      None of it is scientific. None.

      Yes, there are somewhere valid psychological metrics, but those take professionals to administer the tests and interpret the results. But even those have limited applicability in general hiring, IMO. Some high stress of public safety jobs might benefit from them, but there are not many roles where that is applicable.

    4. TalkAboutBruno*

      I ended up taking a ridiculously long test that then required I pay them money before they told me my number… so now I’m just grumpy.

    5. Maddy Perez*

      I’m a 4w5 and the impression I got is that whoever made the Enneagram up really hates 4s.

  35. a clockwork lemon*

    I wish people would stop using “this could be bad for people with disabilities” as a general catch-all reason for “I don’t like this thing and do not want to do it.” Four tens would be both a preference and a medical accommodation for me if my job didn’t have daily deliverables.

    1. Jamie*

      I’ve noticed a pattern that people tend to use racism and sexism too as generic stand in’s for something they just happen to find unpleasant.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          “I don’t want to do the team-building activity” –> “People of certain races and genders would have NO experience with this activity; I’m really thinking of them when I want it canceled.”
          People of certain races and genders: “W the actual F? My race/gender does not keep me from doing this thing.”

          For a related phenomena, there’s “Fergus acts like a jerk, probably he has (specific mental illness) and can’t help it.”
          People with that mental illness: “It doesn’t force you to be a jerk. Stop helping.”

          Note that all of this is fully consistent with racism, sexism, and discrimination against the mentally ill being real things that do real harm.

          1. Nameless in Customer Service*

            Thank you for this explanation (not least the last comment). I see what you mean.

          2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

            My go-to phrase for that kind of thing is “But won’t somebody think of the children??!!” It’s so manipulative.

        2. Jamie*

          Well for starters; if you review the threads above commenters are aggressively pushing the sexism angle to are against a small schedule change. Thankfully some of the other commenters have caught on to this and are pushing back.

          1. Nameless in Customer Service*

            I think Falling Dipthong explained your point better than you have, not least since I am actually of the opinion that work policies which disadvantage working parents do in aggregate create a greater burden for working mothers which slows down or even derails many women’s careers and has an overall sexist effect. The reason I’m wary of the “people claim discrimination just because they don’t like something” argument is that it often segues into “can/should a person who doesn’t experience a kind of discrimination instruct a person who does experience it that this discrimination isn’t present” or even “does this kind of discrimination exist at all”, both of which are a little… unfun.

            1. Jamie*

              “I think Falling Dipthong explained your point better than you have, not least since I am actually of the opinion that work policies which disadvantage working parents do in aggregate create a greater burden for working mothers which slows down or even derails many women’s careers and has an overall sexist effect.”

              The question we should be asking ourselves then is why do women have a disproportionate burden of childcare obligations. I feel the true sexism lies there. I feel that it’s society’s responsibility to address this, not the company. That’s where the energy should be focused.

              “The reason I’m wary of the “people claim discrimination just because they don’t like something” argument is that it often segues into “can/should a person who doesn’t experience a kind of discrimination instruct a person who does experience it that this discrimination isn’t present” or even “does this kind of discrimination exist at all”, both of which are a little… unfun”

              It’s also unfun to be accused of discrimination when it isn’t happening. There is a spectrum between anccepting all claims of discrimination no questions asked and saying this kind of discrimination doesn’t exist. The idea is to find the point in the middle where the facts lie and argue the point from there.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                Women have a disproportionate burden of childcare because many companies treat men and women differently in terms of pay and promotions. Not all, mind you; more companies publish their pay gap data and offer appropriate leave and support for parents of all genders. But it is still a common experience of women to find that their bosses are trying to guess if they’ll get pregnant, say and if it makes sense to promote them if they do in a way that you can’t escape even if you don’t want kids. I know many couples where the woman was sidelined and has ended up earning less than her partner either before, or as soon as she becomes pregnant and from that point onwards it “makes more sense” for the highest earner, the man, to be less encumbered with childcare. I know a rare couple where the man is not the highest earner and he has accepted his role to do more childcare, but this has been a lot more challenging than he anticipated and it feels like people in his company are just waiting for him to give up and shove the responsibility back into his wife. Unfortunately the responsibility for this sexism very often does lie with companies.

              2. Colette*

                No one has to be trying to discriminate to implement a discriminatory policy. A policy that is intended to be neutral can still have a disparate impact on one group.

  36. Observer*

    #1 – enneagrams

    You say that He didn’t see anything wrong with it as he thought it ensured that the teams had the right balance of personalities. And there is his first mistake. Enneagrams are not science, they are religion dressed up as “science”. Which means that it’s not going to actually give you any real information that you should act on.

    It’s also worth noting that it’s not just atheists who are uncomfortable with this, because of its real religious roots. The Enneagram Institute says that the modern system is based in “ancient wisdom traditions”. That’s a deliberate obfuscation of the reality – these traditions are NOT just “wisdom”, they are overtly and unashamedly religious.

    In fact, they note that “the philosophy behind the Enneagram contains components from mystical Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Socrates, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists)—all traditions that stretch back into antiquity.” All of these traditions are totally religious except for some of the Greeks.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Hm. They are, but religion and philosophy were inextricable for a lot of history, and that’s a pretty broad sampling of different cultures.

      I’m not advocating the enneagram but even as a nonreligious person it doesn’t strike me as particularly religious, just another flavor of junk psychology.

      1. pancakes*

        Taking a broad sampling of ideas from various religious traditions doesn’t make the output non-religious.

    2. Julia*

      If it really mentions a bunch of different religions as well as some things that aren’t religions, that actually makes me kind of less likely to see it as a religious thing.

      1. quill*

        Seems less like it is created to be religious than that it’s using religion to back up it’s appeal to ancient wisdom fallacy.

      2. Observer*

        That’s a valid point of view. My point is that for a lot of people, they can’t separate out those religious roots, even while others have no issue with it. And I think that in this context, where we are talking about tool that has as much business in an employment situation as a Playskool hammer has in an engineering and construction firm, that’s enough.

        If this were a validated tool that actually offered some actionable information to an employer, it would be reasonable to discuss whether this is REALLY religious and whether we should try to accommodate people who are uncomfortable with the religious roots. But when it’s a piece of junk to start with, I think it’s an easy call to say “let’s just avoid this piece of garbage that has the side effect of making some people uncomfortable.”

      1. Observer*

        Yes, they did. As it happens, though, at least some of the Greek philosophers mentioned did not base their philosophy in the Greek religion(s) though.

  37. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    #1. “We’re only hiring Geminis right now, and you’re Sagittarius. We might consider you if your moon was in Scorpio.”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

    Even if one believes wholeheartedly in Astrology, one shouldn’t make decisions based on Zodiac signs…

  38. CLC*

    Trying to find work appropriate clothing the past couple years has been like trying to find a needle in a hay stack, especially if your size is greater than 16 or 18. Everything is ultra-ultra feminine, flowing, sheer, and looks like it’s made for tea parties and romps in the park attended solely by people under the age of 25. I say if you are comfortable in the sheer blouse/tank top uniform and it works for you, keep it up.

  39. Orange+You+Glad*

    #2 I’m a big fan of sheer tops over tank tops but it really does depend on the top and what you wear underneath it. At work, I tend to dress more conservatively so my undershirt if sleeveless will have thicker straps that go to my shoulder. The sheer tops I have tend to be darker too so they are not as obviously see-through.

  40. Elizabeth West*

    Y’all can defend those worthless personality assessments to the skies but I will back away from any company that uses them in hiring. People are not reasonable about that stuff. It’s a gimmick, and how many times has Alison said that gimmicks are not good hiring practice?

    You know who else likes to suck you in with personality tests? Scientology. If you see anything called the Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA) or the American Personality Analysis, run like the wind!

  41. Rona Necessity*

    #3: Can someone please tell employers that this is not what labor activists mean by 4-day workweeks?

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      No typically with labor activism they’re pushing for a 32 hour week.

  42. A Penguin of Ill Repute*

    I once worked a job that required four tens, but it was a warehouse job (so not public-facing in any way) and there were three schedules people could be on; some people were Sunday-Wednesday, a second group Wednesday-Saturday, and I was one of the lucky ones to work Monday-Tuesday, Wednesday off, work Thursday-Friday, weekends off (called the “donut shift” because of the hole in the middle). It was a pretty great schedule for that time in my life honestly.

  43. wiseguy*

    RE: #4. If he gets pushback from his boss, he should point out that going from sites close to home to “you need to be able to travel at a moment’s notice” is a huge leap. It would be one thing to say you have to travel occasionally but to go from one extreme (virtually no travel) to another (no notice travel), is entirely different. Business needs change and one needs to be adaptable but you could make the argument that this is too extreme a change

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