how do I stop my employees from giving me gifts?

A reader writes:

My team has recently expanded. A couple days ago, one of the new employees gave me a book as a holiday gift. I have never given or received personal gifts at work and don’t want to start. How do I acknowledge the gift without encouraging repeat or treating my employees unequally?

I answer this question — and three others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Inviting an hourly employee to a holiday party outside of work hours
  • Dealing with a run in your pantyhose at a business meeting
  • Should I accept a rejected candidate’s LinkedIn connection request?

{ 92 comments… read them below }

  1. Ssssssssssssssssss*

    The day I decided to stop wearing hose as part of my work wardrobe was a very happy day, indeed.

    I still wear plenty of dresses and skirts; and when traveling to the office, I wear thin or thick leggings (depending on the month) that get removed once I’ve arrived at the office and get put back on when heading home.

    Legs are bare, I am comfortable and happy and slightly richer as I no longer spend money on hose that never ever fit right for my larger but shorter frame. Some ppl may comment along the lines of “Ooooh, aren’t you cold?” Not really, no! If I am, I wear the office shawl and if committed to sitting at my desk for a while, I’ll discreetly put on the office socks.

    Back to the LW: take them off. It would have looked nicer than the run.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I haven’t worn panty hose in years, but they never kept my legs warmer than they would be without. Leggings probably keep someone’s legs warmer than nothing or hose.

      Frankly the letter seems like it comes from another century. I bet it’s just a very conservative industry and country, though.

    2. Interplanet Janet*

      Breathing into my icy hands as I read this, it’s hard to imagine ever wanting bare legs in the office (even though I know I often do in summer months!)

      1. Ssssssssssssssssss*

        In my 20s, I would never have thought it possible. But as I got older and as my body changes moving from peri to full on menopause, I’m less prone to being easily cold and instead wildly fluctuate all day. No hose makes that much easier to navigate.

        I still get cold hands though. That’s what a cup of tea is for: clutching ‘n’ warming!

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      This is not advice for you, Ssssssssssssssssss, since you’ve already decided to go hose-free, but for anyone else who might find sizing hard when buying this type of thing, I just want to recommend Snag Tights. They’ve got a huge range of sizes that acknowledges all sorts of body types and I’ve never had a pair not fit great.

      I think this company has been recommended here before, but always worth mentioning again. They’ve got a ton of neutral colours if you work in more conservative environments, but they’ve also got a ton of wild colours and patterns if you want to spice things up.

      1. Ssssssssssssssssss*

        Thanks! Do they sell in Canada? (they do!!)

        My workplace dress code is as casual as they come and during the summer, it borders into what I call “cottage casual” so hose will not be required unless there’s a huge change in expectations from HR or the executives.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          Mention of summer reminds me to mention that they also sell shorts made of the same material as their tights, for anyone who wants something to wear underneath skirts and dresses and not have their thighs chafe together.

          1. allathian*

            Oh cool! As a fat woman who’s prone to chub rub, I’m going to have to look into these! Maybe I could actually wear mid-calf or ankle-length skirts and dresses comfortably again.

            Bonus, they’re sustainable (carbon neutral) and use vegan dyes.

            1. londonedit*

              They are excellent. I have giant thighs (thanks, running) and even in the days when I was a UK size 8-10 they’d still rub together, and Snag shorts are an absolute godsend. They come in loads of funky colours, too.

      2. Selina83*

        Following on to say agreed. I love my Snag products, I have their tights and knickers. They are brilliant go from a UK size 4 to 36.

      3. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Snag tights sound wonderful! I don’t wear panty hose anymore, but back when I did, trying to find any that fit properly was an exercise in futility.

        Like Ssssssssssssssssss, I have a larger but shorter frame. On top of that, I am very pear-shaped, with my weight concentrated in my hips, butt, and thighs.

        When it comes to panty hose, the thighs are the biggest problem. I’m convinced that all the hosiery manufacturers got together at some point and decided that no one under 5’3″ is allowed to have thighs as big as mine, and they all agreed not to make panty hose that fit thunder thighs comfortably unless the thigh haver is at least 6″ taller than me. Blargh.

        Well, the joke was on them, because I quit spending my money on their stupid torture devices, I mean panty hose.

        I’m really glad to hear that at least one hosiery company is no longer adhering to the “let’s torture short women with large thighs” pact. Even though it may be too late for me, lol.

    4. Veryanon*

      I’m with you. Sometimes I’ll wear thicker tights in the winter if I happen to be wearing a skirt/dress, but I wear the tights with boots and they are opaque. I can’t even remember the last time I bought or wore actual panty hose.

    5. Retired Merchandiser*

      I’m 71 so feel free to disregard me (cue up the ok, Boomer!!) But I feel pantyhose do for the legs what foundation does for your face, it smooths imperfections and makes your whole outfit look better. Yes, I know not everyone wears foundation but you get my point. I usually wear dark (usually black) tights in colder months, but if I was going to a dressy occasion and dark hose don’t go with my outfit, I am for sure wearing sheer stockings.

      1. SchueylerSeestra*

        Elder Millennial and I agree! I usually wear tights or leggings under my skirts/dresses, but I don’t mind hose. It’s honestly not any less comfortable than tights.

        I also almost always wear a slip or shaper as well.

      2. Artemesia*

        As an Old I solve this problem by wearing pants — makes shoe choice so much easier too. Back when wearing hose to work and especially when traveling and speaking and such, a spare pare was always in the handbag for moments like the OP’s. Agree though that bare legs are much better than giant run in black stockings.

      3. Lyudie*

        Gen Xer here, I do like the effect of pantyhose, as you said it works like foundation. I bought some to wear to a memorial service recently as it seemed odd to go barelegged to that kind of event and was reminded of 1) how nice they can look and 2) what a pain in the butt they can actually be.

      4. Accountress*

        It can work like foundation, but when the only shades available don’t match your skin, you’re better off saving the money and effort. I am absurdly pale (except for the parts that are pink, which is fun), and any pantyhose I could find in my size was still tan, no matter how light the shade. I’d look ridiculous, because my face, collarbone, and arms would be on holiday to see the Northern Lights, but my knees-down were on vacay in Aruba.

      5. amoeba*

        It also really depends on how well they fit your body. I have heard from so many people for whom they’re super uncomfortable, but have never had any problem with them myself, they’re usually not less comfy than, say, leggings.
        I do feel at least a bit warmer with pantyhose than with bare legs, so if I have any kind of outfit that I’d like to have bare-looking legs for and it’s not summer, I’m absolutely happy wearing them. (I’d probably be super unhappy being told I have to, though!)

        That said, the only kind of occasion for that in my life are, like, wedding parties once or twice a year. So I basically buy a cheap pair, wear them once and usually either lose them or break them so I cannot re-use. Oh well.

  2. Happy meal with extra happy*

    The pantry hose run is a fear of my mine, lol. I generally wear black, opaque tights, so they’re much sturdier, but the reason for that is I try my best to not have to shave my legs from October through March. So, taking off the tights if they rip is not an option.

  3. Ho-ho-holey hose*

    I have switches from panty hose to thin leggings (the merino blend ones from Costco, lol). They keep me warmer (getting cold was a real issue for me), they cover up if I forgot to shave, and they help with thigh rub. I do sometimes go with bare legs, but leggings are my go to. They may look slightly less fancy that panty hose, but I find if I pair them with the right footwear etc. that it doesn’t make me look any less professional.

  4. Little John*

    I was just wondering about this. I’m not great with office clothes, as I have a hard time keeping track of what’s normal and what’s outdated (she/her, I just struggle with how to dress professionally). Do people even still wear pantyhose? If not, what’s the usual these days? Skirt/dress over bare legs?

    1. Angstrom*

      From what I see, bare legs are normal and opaque tights in “businesslike” colors are normal. Sheer hose is unusual.
      But as with any professional dress, there’s a lot of variation across industries, locations, and the org chart.

    2. Kimmy Schmidt*

      I feel like I haven’t seen pantyhose on anyone younger than fifty in about two decades. In my office, bare legs, black tights (opaque or sheer), or solid leggings are all standard choices.

      1. mrsfields4701*

        Fluffy chick here … I’m self-conscious about my legs (particularly about a weird fat deposit that has inexplicable settled itself right below my kneecap). If I’m wearing a dressier dress that’s knee-length (i.e., one that wouldn’t look great with leggings), I nearly always wear pantyhose to help my self-image. I wish I didn’t feel that way about myself, but alas, I do.

      2. Really?!*

        I have seen women under fifty in pantyhose. Industry and weather seem to be the determining factor.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, bare legs combined with, like, a non-summery skirt and maybe even blazer just seem… weirdly off to me, like, either my legs will freeze or the rest of me will be super hot?

    3. to varying degrees*

      If I’m in a dress or skirt I’m wearing pantythose. I wear something close to my skin color and most times people can’t tell (I wear the sheer, silky type), but most people I know just go bare leg.

    4. alienor*

      I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing pantyhose. I did wear them to fancy events when I was a teenager and very young adult, mostly because my mother had told me you had to. I remember wearing opaque black tights with skirts to my first post-college job (late 90s/early 00s), but that was more of a fashion statement than an effort to be “properly” dressed. For the last 20 years though, I’ve gone bare-legged at every type of event from business meetings to weddings, and so has every other woman and female-presenting person I know. I think you’re good without them!

    5. londonedit*

      I’m still never 100% on what pantyhose are (sheer, nude tights?) but I very rarely see anyone my age (early 40s) or younger wearing them. Maybe if you’re going to a spring wedding. Most of the time it’s bare legs in the summer, and black opaque tights in the winter.

  5. grumpy old lady*

    Pretty sure that as a royal, Kate Middleton has to wear hose. She probably has someone follow her at every event with a spare packet just in case. But for most mortals, yes hose are very last century.

  6. Curmudgeon in California*

    I am sort of flabbergasted that anyone wears to overly expensive, excessively fragile things anymore. I think I wore them last in the 80s. IMO, pantyhose and stockings were all about making women pay for the privilege of working.

  7. I should really pick a name*

    I feel like LW#4 is overthinking the situation.

    Since they’re interested in connecting, accept the invitation. If it turns into a barrage of questions, ask them to stop. If they don’t stop, remove them as a contact.

  8. Nancy Gribble*

    I cannot imagine, in the Year of Our Lord 2022, wearing pantyhose *anywhere*.

    I don’t think I’ve owned any since maybe… 2004?

    LW, you’re a strong person, but don’t feel bad throwing them out ;)

    1. Snowy*

      The only reason I’ve bought pantyhose in like 10 years was for cosplays that otherwise would require a lot of body paint. Much faster way to get blue skin and it doesn’t rub off. :p

    2. Giant Kitty*

      I haven’t owned or worn pantyhose since the mid 80s, lol. If I need leg coverings while in a dress/skirt, it’s either leggings or opaque black or colored tights.

  9. Helvetica*

    I feel like every time the topic of pantyhose comes up, people seem to forget that in some climates, it is not feasible to go with bare legs all through the year. I live somewhere where bare legs in winter – at temperatures around 30 degrees F/0 degrees C and below – would be out of the question. And I don’t want to wear only pants, black/thick tights throughout the winter either. So, it puzzles me how especially this US-centric commentariat seems to consider them something antiquated whereas I would say in (cold climate) European countries, they are still quite common. I don’t wear them above 65 degrees F/18 degrees C. But it’s not a “decency” thing, just…I am cold (and yes, pantyhose do give me warmth!)

    1. Purple Cat*

      I would say it’s because most of the “questions” give off the vibe of “pantyhose are these things that I MUST wear because *patriarchy* and help me work around it” as opposed to “I LOVE wearing pantyhose” in which case it’s unlikely they would be writing in.

    2. Interplanet Janet*

      Maybe it’s a vocabulary thing? In the Midwest US, pantyhose / hose typically refers almost exclusively to very very thin sheer hosiery that provides about as much warmth as fishnets. “Tights” in every color – including traditionally “pantyhose” nudes, are still very common. “Tights” typically refer to something that’s between a thicker or lined “legging” and that nearly transparent “hose.” I’m wearing a pair now in my northern US climate!

      1. Generic+Name*

        Yep. I often wear skirts, and I’m in a cold US state. No way am I going bare legged internet he winter. So I wear tights. I have t worn pantyhose (sheer, skin-toned stockings) since the early aughts.

      2. Helvetica*

        Googling a bit, it seems that there is also a difference in opacity – what I wear, I’d call “sheer tights” like in British English and they are not uncommon. My regular sheer tights are 20 den which is quite normal for me (and also in my country). Above that, I’d go for black tights, indeed because I don’t like the look of nude tights in higher den. But I’ve genuinely never thought or been told that women “should” wear tights because it’s “proper”; maybe that is also why these attitudes perplex me.

        1. Appletini*

          You are fortunate. At my first job I spent a summer in pantyhose and spent about a third of my pay constantly replacing them because I was ( foolishly) still living with my mother who insisted I wear them .

    3. Ssssssssssssssssss*

      Canadian – I dress up for the outdoors, layer up for trek to the office but no hose or tights in the office proper for me! And Canadian temps vary wildly already from region to region.

      I dare say it also really varies with the industry you work in. For my office, NO one cares.

    4. Dahlia*

      Pantyhose are the thin, sheer things. They don’t add warmth.

      Tights are thicker, and can add warmth.

    5. Lola*

      Parts of the U.S. get extremely cold. As someone who lives in Chicago, I personally find that pantyhose don’t do anything to keep my legs warm. Tights are a bit better but I usually just avoid wearing dresses and skirts in the winter altogether and/or wear them with tights and knee high boots. The boots help a bit.

      For those who need to wear more sheer hose or tights, I did find this product: (it was an Instagram ad, I have no idea of the quality, but the idea is intriguing!)

      1. Lanlan*

        Those are nearly always going to be too tight and either too short or too long, depending on the size you get. Many dropshippers sell them. Best just to get a pair of dance tights and layer a pair of sheer black hose over the top. Bonus: you won’t get odd wrinkles in your leg appearance from where those fleece tights like to bunch up.

        source: owned two pairs, one in the “appropriate” size and one sized up for comfort. could never win with those.

    6. Artemesia*

      IN 1960 I went to a German high school and one of the ‘weird American things’ they were curious about with me was going bare legged and in winter. They all wore hose and you could actually take hose to a repair shop if they got a run and have them fixed.

    7. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, agreed — I have pantyhose on my list to buy this week to wear to a holiday party where I don’t want to wear solid tights and can’t imagine going bare-legged.

      But I wouldn’t force them on anyone else.

    8. amoeba*

      Haha, yeah. I’m also confused by the replies – not sure if it’s wheather or something else, but I’m pretty sure the 20 den sheer tights are still quite normal here. Not because you *have* to wear them for any kind of “decency” reasons, just some people prefer so (have even heard wearing even the super thin ones under jeans apparently do add some extra warmth in winter. Not tried it myself, though.)

  10. MI Dawn*

    If I’m dressing up to go out someplace formally in the cooler weather (late fall/winter/early spring), I will wear pantyhose if the dress is shorter, knee high nylon stockings if it’s long. I hate wearing most of my dress shoes with bare feet; they hurt and my feet sweat a lot so they smell after a while (no, I can’t afford pure leather shoes). Otherwise, I never wear them. Summertime, even if dressy, I don’t. I have a drawer full that I rarely touch.

    1. MI Dawn*

      Editing – I’m older though – 60s – and that’s how I was brought up and how I’m comfortable. I don’t play pantyhose police at work but I will advise if I notice a run/hole if I know the person can do something about it (we have a little shop in the building that does sell a wide variety of pantyhose sizes).

    2. BookMom*

      Agreed. I rarely wear hose anymore in my mostly casual office, but they make dress shoes more comfortable and less stinky. Also I have spider veins and “goose flesh” (thanks, Mom) and wearing hose evens out my skin tone. I feel more confident in an interview or at a formal event wearing them. They aren’t terribly uncomfortable to me; I wore them all the time at the beginning of my career and am used to it.

    3. Helvetica*

      Yes, the shoes! I also intensely dislike the feeling of bare feet in closed shoes; I do compensate in summer for the heat by instead wearing sheer no-show socks if I have to wear closed shoes for work.

    4. cruella*

      One of the reasons I stopped wearing skirts/dresses is the shoes! I cannot wear shoes without socks or my feet get abraded and those little “invisible” foot covers are always visible and always coming down my heels.

      My go-to before I stopped altogether was black hose in the summer and tights in the winter.

  11. Purple Cat*

    I try my best to not have to shave my legs from October through March. So, taking off the tights if they rip is not an option.

    Yes it is! It’s nobody’s business if your legs are hairy or not.

    1. Snowy*

      This, a friend and I once had a contest to see who could go the longest without shaving and both of us made it over a year. (She was in a wedding and I just got annoyed with hair.) We both have dark hair on pale skin and nobody said a thing. I have ever since not bothered to shave unless I particularly feel like it, and it’s never been an issue.

      1. Artemesia*

        no one ‘saying a thing’ is irrelevant to pretty much anything. People don’t go around mentioning such things to their face; they gossip instead. This is right up there with ‘I had a dollar dance at my wedding and nobody said a thing.’

        1. Snowy*

          So? People shouldn’t be commenting on anyone’s legs anyway. It’s just hair.

          And yeah, the reason I started shaving in middle school was because other middle schoolers made sure to comment loudly about it in earshot of anyone (including a student teacher with very hairy legs) and I didn’t need another thing to be bullied about. And maybe a few old ladies or jerk dudes at the pool, too. But then I grew up.

          1. Snowy*

            And it hasn’t been an issue since like 9th grade. (I’m sure there’s still dudebros who might comment, but they always have more hairy legs than me, and who cares what they think.)

    2. Happy meal with extra happy*

      :) unfortunately, I’m way too self conscious to try that. My legs get very, very hairy with thick, dark hair against super pale skin, so it would be definitely noticeable and definitely a thing.

      1. allathian*

        Same here. I have varicose veins and cellulite (yes, including below the knee) and I’m self-conscious about that to the point that I never wear anything shorter than mid-calf length, so capris are okay in the summer but not shorts or knee-length skirts. The bonus is that I can skip shaving as well.

    1. Nancy Gribble*

      Hmmm, wonder how that jives with the equal enforcement of dress codes in the US. As in, it’s obviously more burdensome on female-presenting employees than male-presenting employees and therefore against the law.

    2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      I’m curious–can women wear pants? tights? I would think this means no bare legs.

      1. amoeba*

        I mean, maybe if the rule is just generally “no naked legs” and wearing trousers is fine for everybody? (Would be interesting so see what happens if the men turn up in skirts…)

      1. Appletini*

        ! *goes to google*

        Well that’s deeply annoying. This is why we can’t have nice things I guess. (I do a lot of mailing so where we get the boxes from matters)

    3. rayray*

      I remember my sister and a friend both working at the same credit union about 10 years ago and thinking it was insane they still had such an old fashioned dress code that required women to wear pantyhose – yes, they did check. I think they did abolish that a few years ago.

  12. The Person from the Resume*

    Can women wear pants?

    That’s my solution; although, mostly related to my refusal to wear shoes with heels, women’s shoes that scrunch my toes together which is basically what “goes” with dresses and skirts. I have some lovely flats with a reasonable toe box (mostly Clarks brand) which I love wearing.

    1. allathian*

      I’m the same. I also have a couple of pairs of Clarks with a reasonable toe box that I wear when athleisure shoes are out. But when I go to the office, I almost always wear jeans, a patterned t-shirt (long sleeves in winter, elbow length in summer), with a cardigan when it’s cold enough, and sneakers, or
      ankle-length boots in the winter. I keep a pair of Clarks at the office to change into, especially in winter when the boots would be too hot to wear all day. I wear thin ankle-length black or dark gray socks with those.

  13. Gigi*

    I’m an hourly employee in an office, and while I wouldn’t notice either way if I had been invited to the Office Holiday Party, I’m not going anywhere for work or work related events off the clock. I’m a huge work curmudgeon- I’m here for a paycheck, after all!

  14. Curmudgeon*

    I wish holiday parties would just be done away with. Instead of spending the money on reserving a restaurant or community hall or whatever, turn that money into Christmas bonuses for the staff.

    If I want to interact with any coworkers outside of work, I will do so on my own time.

    1. rayray*

      Agree. Maybe spring for a pizza lunch or something, but I’d much rather have cash than a party especially if it’s an after hours party. I already find it incredibly depressing that I spend more waking hours with my coworkers than my family and friends, I don’t need to be pulled away from my life any more. Keep work at work and let me keep my life in the precious few hours that aren’t consumed by working, commuting, or being exhausted from work.

  15. OyHiOh*

    Counter to pantyhose is so last century:

    I like wearing dresses (body shape that makes pants difficult). I also despise the appearance of my legs. My legs do not tan; they are, on average, about 5 shades paler than my face at any time of year. I have vericose veins and spider veins. I have cellulite on my calves, y’all. My ankles and knees swell after a couple hours of office work. My feet sweat and rub inside shoes when bare. I am not in an office to be attractive window dressing but also, I loose all of my confidence and moxie without having something to dress my legs

    Semi sheer dance tights are my personal secret weapon. They’re heavy enough to skim over all the cosmetic issues, they don’t easily run (last three to six months, rather than a few hours), and provide just enough compression to ease the swelling issues. Plus, given they’re designed for dancers, the waistbands are usually more comfortable than standard pantyhose. My approach is the obvious – keep an extra pair in my work care kit.

    1. Curmudgeon*

      No one is saying you can’t wear pantyhose. Just that making anyone wear them (as opposed to bare legs) or judging someone for having bare legs is outdated thinking.

    2. allathian*

      Dance tights might work for me too, but I’m fairly tall (5’8″) with long legs, as well as fat (Euro pant size 50 = US women’s size 20), so it’s doubtful if I could even find semi sheer dancer tights in my size. A family friend who’s a pathologist once told me when I jokingly complained about my excessively long legs after a 3-hour flight in economy that I’d spent with my knees against the seat in front, that if you just looked at my femurs, based on the charts pathologists use to estimate people’s height based on the long bones of the body, they’d estimate my height to about 6 ft because my thighs are so disproportionately long to the rest of my body.

    3. amoeba*

      Yeah, I have no problem showing my legs, but if I want to wear heels, for instance, they’re usually quite uncomfortable for me with bare feet. And my thighs chafe as well, sometimes. Could this somehow be solved with shorts and invisible socks? Probably, but sheer tights are so much easier.

      (I know nobody is saying I’m not allowed to wear tights! But so many comments saying they are completely useless and nobody has been wearing them for 20+ years…)

  16. It's Not My Party*

    A number of years ago I was working as a temp at a high tech company. It was a long assignment, think months rather than days or weeks. The holiday season was at hand and the company planned a lavish holiday party at a fancy hotel for all employees, but not for me because I was “just a temp”. That day, everyone came to work dressed in their party best and and 5PM was loaded into limousines to go to the hotel. Everyone but me.

    As an aside, when one of the members of my department had a baby, I was approached for a shower gift, and I actually bought one. I guess in that case, I was part of the company when it meant money from my pocket.

    Please invite the hourly employee. They are as much a part of the company as the salaried folks.

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      I feel your pain. In one of my first jobs there was an appreciation lunch for all the admin and support staff. Whether by design or oversight I wasn’t invited. I worked alone in the office until everyone returned half-drunk and happy. It wasn’t a good feeling.

  17. A. Tiskit & A. Taskit LLC*

    For those who feel underdressed wearing a skirt/dress without pantyhose – black tights are your friend! They’re classic, they go with everything, they don’t run, they have a slimming look and they help you feel well put-together.

  18. Michelle Smith*

    Whenever I have a good rapport with an interviewer that didn’t hire me or move me on, I try to connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s never to reach out and talk about the interview. I work in a smallish niche field and so you never know when those connections could be valuable in a professional context. For example, I had an interview with a private foundation (not Melinda Gates, but in that sort of ballpark). I connected on LinkedIn with that interviewer afterwards. The job wasn’t a good fit, but she ended up referring me for another role I’d applied for with a different org (I didn’t get that job, but it was nice of her to do) AND the job I have now involves me managing several major projects that her organization funds. It’s good to know what she’s posting about, what the organization is doing in other areas, to have connections to her coworkers who are coming out to visit to see the project progress, etc. I’m not going to miss out on a valuable network connection just because I wasn’t the right fit for one job once.

    I promise OP, not all job seekers who reach out to connect are stalking you! The connection acceptance would probably be very welcomed by that job seeker, but they are unlikely to care much if you decline. It’s just an opportunity lost on both sides. And you can contact anyone you want on LinkedIn via inmail, so if they wanted to attack you they could have done so already.

  19. Noodles*

    LW4: at least for me, it is extremely normal to connect in those circumstances! I work in a niche field where everyone knows each other, and I always want to connect with other people in the field. When I’m the one interviewing, unless something went horrendously wrong [which it did lately and I kind of want to submit to Alison as “more of a comment than a question”], would probably be excited to connect with them too.

    A few years ago, I connected with a potential employer like this. I didn’t get the job, but we stayed in touch. Now I do work at his company, through a different channel in a different country, and because we got to know each other over the past few years it meant we could hit the ground running with my new job.

  20. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    I thought , at first, “do I invite an hourly employee to my holiday party?” was one of the most absurd questions ever asked in here…. but… we also have seen questions in the past “these two are contractors and ‘company policy’ says we can’t invite them”….which is not just absurd but preposterous and, even arrogant.

    Yes, an office holiday party is for THE OFFICE – and there should be NO exceptions. Nor should the OP over there suggest in a one-off to the hourly person “but you don’t have to attend.” If ALL were addressed that way, that’s one thing – don’t single out the hourly person and suggest he/she doesn’t have to come.

    Did you ever see the movie “The Greatest Golf Game Ever Played” …. where Francis Ouimet is attending a pre-tournament gathering at The Country Club, and is told by one of the members = “Just because you were invited here, doesn’t mean you BELONG here…..”

    Also, making any attempt to exclude one or two people – or APPEAR to do that – can wreak havoc on the morale of the ENTIRE office.

  21. EchoGirl*

    The pantyhose one made me laugh a little because I had the exact same thing happen to me — a larger run, actually — before a job interview a few years back. For some reason it never occurred to me that I could just take them off (maybe because my mom had made a point of telling me I *needed* to have them in the first place) but because I was in a part of town I was familiar with and there was a shopping center nearby, and I remembered after a moment that one of the stores on the end closest to where I was had a TJ Maxx (discount clothing store) and as I’d arrived about half an hour early due to bus scheduling, judged that I had enough time to make a quick detour. Cue me literally sprinting across a series of skywalks, running into the store, grabbing and purchasing the first pair of stockings I saw that were in the right size, running to the nearest bathroom to put them on, and then sprinting back to the interview (thank god I chose to wear comfortable shoes that day!).

    I arrived back at the interview site with five minutes to spare. I got the job.

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