interviewing with a service dog in my lap, boss thinks I’m a stoner because I called out on 4/20, and more

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

1. Interviewing with a service dog in my lap

I have a job interview this Thursday! I haven’t really worked since March 2020, so this is my first time in any sort of professional environment since becoming a service dog user.

My dog is trained to alert me for anxiety so I can redirect before a panic attack, and to intervene by distracting me when I am having a panic attack. He’s under 20 pounds, and I am more comfortable handling him by wearing him in a baby sling or sitting him in my lap than having him on a leash. This method has received mixed reactions, and I do worry about how it will impact my appearing “professional” for the interview, but it’s what works best for me.

The interview was scheduled through the application portal, so I haven’t really talked to anyone there, but I have an email address. Should I contact that person to let them know ahead of time that I will have my service dog with me for the interview? If so, what details should I include?

Is it “I’m more comfortable with him in my lap, but it’s workable to have him on a leash next to me for an hour” or is it “he needs to be in my lap or a sling to do his job”? If it’s an option to have him next to you during the interview rather than in your lap or a sling, I’d try to do that for the interview if you can.

Whether or not this should be the case, realistically it’s likely that having a dog in your lap or in a sling will be distracting to your interviewers. People will be looking at/thinking about the dog when you want them focused on your answers and qualifications, and you’re likely to run into people who see the set-up more as “candidate cuddling a dog” than as “candidate accompanied by a service animal.” I want to stress, I’m not saying that’s fair or right — it’s just the reality you’re going to be facing.

If having him on a leash isn’t an option, then the best thing you can do is to just be up-front about it ahead of time in an email: “I wanted to mention that I’ll be accompanied by a service dog and he’ll be on my lap during the interview (the set-up that works best for my medical needs).” If a leash is an option, you can use that same basic formula (“just a heads-up that I’ll have my service dog with me”) — short, matter-of-fact, and FYI-ish. That way they can adjust in advance anything that might need to be adjusted (for example, if your interviewer is allergic or afraid of dogs, they might choose to do the interview remotely or so forth).

Read an update to this letter.

2. My boss thinks I’m a stoner because I called out on 4/20

I am a very boring guy in a very boring job. We’re in one of those industries that gets used as an example of where you can’t have unusual hair or piercings or show any signs of personality, and even within that industry I’m in an area that is particularly notable for being staid and intensely respectable. And that is exactly where I belong! Look up “square” in the dictionary and you will find a picture of me. I’m also part of a religion that eschews alcohol, tobacco, and all illegal or semi-legal drugs, even caffeine. I got offered an opiate drug once for medical reasons and I declined it because I didn’t want to get even a medically prescribed high. I will suck the life out of any party I touch. I wouldn’t even know where or how to buy pot if for some reason I decided I wanted to do that.

But yesterday was 4/20, and I woke up feeling decidedly under the weather. As soon as I realized that going to work wasn’t a good idea, I shot my boss an email that I was taking the day off and went straight back to bed. After a day and night spent resting and generally taking good care of myself, I woke up feeling refreshed and much improved, enough to go back to work.

My boss is also quite the square, but he’s at least culture-savvy enough to have heard of “420.” And so of course when I made it to the office, his first question was whether I enjoyed (wink wink) my day off. It got laughs from the rest of the team, and initially I laughed too, since the thought of super-square me calling out of work to do drugs was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of. I denied it, of course, and figured my lingering scratchy voice would establish that yes, I’d truly been feeling ill. But I guess an altered voice is also a potential indicator of having smoked? Later in the day, my boss pulled me aside to ask in an emphatic tone if I was facing any new stressors, and to reiterate that he had a great deal of trust in my professionalism and hoped I would continue upholding that trust. I was confused and asked if anything in my work had given him cause for concern, and he noted that I should have waited for the weekend if I wanted to indulge myself. He told me he wasn’t going to officially ask me anything on the record because if I actually had done that, he didn’t want to formally know about it, but he hoped I would make better choices in the future.

I don’t know what to do about this! I know that protesting too vigorously just reinforces an impression of guilt, but I genuinely didn’t feel well and handled it in a perfectly professional manner — that it happened to occur on a day noted for indulgence was a coincidence. How do I fix this with my boss without just reinforcing my guilt? I did not go to a doctor so I don’t have a doctor’s note to provide, just a reliance on my own history of professionalism. Pointing out that my boss is accusing me of violating the precepts of my religion seems like a non-starter; that strikes me as more of an escalation than anything else. I just want to put this ridiculous notion to bed.

Your boss is being incredibly weird! People get legitimately sick on 4/20, just as they get sick on the Friday before a holiday weekend, and the day a really boring training session is scheduled, and other days that might seem like wins to get to miss. But his conclusion is particularly weird because he knows you. Like you somehow went from being strait-laced and eschewing caffeine to skipping work to blaze one up? (I actually wonder if your boss is similarly strait-laced and just … doesn’t understand much about how this works.)

Anyway, I think you could just let this go if you want to. Alternately, though, you could say to him, “I can’t stop thinking about what you said about my sick day last week. I’m pretty dismayed that you would think that — I don’t even drink caffeine and I’m certainly not calling out sick to get high. Were you just joking?”

Read an update to this letter

3. Asking my office to unblock an “adult content” website

My office wifi blocks certain websites – porn, torrents, things like that. I’m totally fine with that, as it’s all stuff I agree we shouldn’t be browsing while at work. But I also like to read, which is a lesbian culture and lifestyle website, and that’s blocked by the filter as “adult content”. While there are articles about sex and other adult topics, those are never graphic – I’m mostly just there to read about queer TV shows! I’d like to read it on my breaks, but I’d have to use my phone’s data plan which is pretty limited.

I can ask IT about removing it from the filter, and I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t be an issue. But what’s holding me back is that it’s very much not necessary for my work, and our IT department is all straight cis men – I’m a little uncomfortable about approaching them to take this seemingly “adult” website off the blacklist. I guess I’m looking for help with a script. How do I ask these guys with a minimum of awkwardness?

Autostraddle doesn’t look particularly “adult” at first glance, at least not in the sense that’s usually meant, so I think you could just say, “I think our filter is mistakenly blocking Autostraddle. I like to read their TV recaps on my breaks — any chance you can unblock it?”

Read an update to this letter

4. Asking to keep my application confidential

I’m job searching, and would like to apply for a role at a company that has close ties to my current workplace (including a senior leader at my current job who sits on a volunteer committee for the company I’m applying to.)

I’m very concerned about my search getting back to someone in my current company. I know it’ll immediately turn into gossip and likely result in me being let go before I’m ready due to some restructuring.

Can I say something in my cover letter like, “Given the close ties between Company A and Company B, I would like to request my application be kept confidential from anyone at Company A”? Or is that likely to get my application thrown in the trash? If it is okay to explicitly request confidentiality, any suggestions for the right wording?

You can, but don’t rely just on that. Cover letters sometimes get separated from resumes after the initial screen, and some hiring managers don’t read them at all (or just skim, or don’t retain what they read). So in addition to the note there, you should call your most reliable contact at the company (or the hiring manager herself), say you’re applying for a position there and want to make sure they will keep it confidential since your current employer doesn’t know you’re looking. Have a real conversation with them, since that’s most likely to stick.

5. Asking for more vacation time instead of a raise

Yearly reviews are coming up. If I get offered a raise, is it reasonable to ask for more PTO instead? Not that I don’t want more money, I just think more PTO would be more valuable to me because I like to use PTO with my significant other and he has more than me.

Yes! Some companies will negotiate PTO and some won’t, but it’s a thing that happens and is reasonable to ask about. You could say, “At this point what would be most valuable to me and keep me the happiest would be additional PTO. Would you be willing to give me an additional week of vacation time in place of the raise?” If they agree, make sure you get it in writing.

But first, do the math. If you think they’d be likely to give you an extra week but your raise is more than a week’s pay, you might be better off accepting the raise and asking about taking some unpaid time off.

{ 597 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    If you’re commenting on #1, please note the commenting rules require you to take the letter-writer at their word that the dog is a service dog and she has a medical need for the dog. Comments breaking the site rules will be removed.

  2. avva*

    Would between your knees work, like if you brought a decent sized bag and put it between your feet and sat the dog on top of it? Because I agree that in your lap is going to be highly memorable at best and most likely distracting– not that it should be, or that it actually effects your work, but if there’s ever a time to focus on appearances if at all possible, it’s at an interview.

    1. RedinSC*

      I would be so distracted by a dog on a lap. That’s terrible to admit, but I just really love dogs and I would be watching the dog, and telling myself – STOP, listen to the interview.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I’d be super psyched to have a dog in the interview, but yes, that would be distracting. I get super hyped when cats and dogs come on camera.

        1. Anne Elliot*

          I would think a dog in a baby sling in an interview was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, it would tickle me to death and I would tell everyone about it for the rest of my life every time anecdotes were being shared.

          But that’s not really the note you want to strike in a job interview. Whether people love it or hate it, it’s going to be distracting to have a dog in your lap or to be wearing a dog. So I think it depends what the OP means by “I am more comfortable” that way. If “comfortable” is “this is my personal preference” then it seems wisest to forego it for the duration if the interview and keep the dog on a leash, on the floor. If “comfortable” is “this is how my medical aid best works to control my anxiety” then like any other medical intervention, you should do what’s best for your health and expect people to deal with it..

    2. allathian*

      Yes, this.

      And while you’re technically allowed to bring service dogs pretty much anywhere, interviewers need to know about the dog before the interview.That way, they’re less likely to focus so much attention on the dog.

      Obviously the ideal job for this LW would be either fully remote or in a dog-friendly office where the risk of encountering severely allergic or dog-phobic people is much smaller than elsewhere.

      1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

        One concern for service dog users entering and working in dog-friendly offices are whether or not the *other dogs* that may come into the office are appropriately trained and socialized^. Service dog users do not generally (and should not) consider dog-friendly offices to be automatic safe-spaces for working.

        ^ When I say socialized, I don’t mean “oh they play well with other dogs” I mean that the dog is capable of existing calmly around other canines (even to the point of seemingly ignoring their presence) until invited to play and responds to appropriate social body language when interacting with other dogs.

        1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

          Yes! A former (and terrible toxic) old job 2 jobs ago had a person who had a large great Dane as his service dog. The company had a strict no-pet policy because it was a call center (can’t have a barking dog in the background), but obviously, a service animal is exempt. Some idiot manager brought in their tiny wiener dog puppy and it was yapping at the Great Dane (who calmly ignored it) until it went to far. I don’t remember exactly what happened but the great dane let out one big bark and pushed the puppy away it did something like tried to snap at him or something. The puppy was fine, just got scared and then a few days later that manager got talked to and a memo and meetings stating there were to be no pets except service animals. Don’t know why management came down so hard on all of us when it was one manager. And in that toxic job it’s not like we could stand up to the managers, or else we would be out a job.

          1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

            Yes! It sounds like in this case, the repercussions of your coworkers Great Dane interacting with the puppy were mild for the service dog, but it is sadly common for service dogs to be forced into retirement due to being attacked by pets in public spaces, causing physical and/or behavioral harm that prevents the service dog from continuing to serve their human partner.

            1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

              Yes its sad when that happens. I was actually really surprised at how fast the company put a stop to that manager bringing in her puppy. This was a place that had a lot of favoritism and some managers and staff could get away with anything. I don’t know if my coworker complained or if someone on his behalf talked to HR or what But I was thankful for it being over because it was really annoying.

            2. sundae funday*

              Absolutely this! My poor non-service dog was attacked by an off-leash dog (while my dog was leashed) and it made her very leash reactive. It seems that every time we make progress, we’re approached by “friendly” off-leash dogs and we have to go back to square one. It doesn’t matter how friendly the approaching dog is… My dog is terrified!

              The difference is, for me, it’s just an annoying behavior I have to manage. For a service dog, it’s thousands of dollars and years of training that go down the drain because people won’t leash their dogs….

        2. sundae funday*

          Yeah this is true…. I’m not sure you’d want to have a service dog in a dog friendly office. I have a 16-month-old husky, and I’ve been working since day 1 on teaching her to be neutral to other dogs. But she still thinks every other dog exists solely for her to play with.

          I don’t work in a dog-friendly office, but if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to bring her because she literally throws a tantrum (complete with husky howling) if she sees a dog she isn’t allowed to play with….

          1. Quill*

            Between the next door neighbors and my house ten years ago there was one husky and two retrievers. And a fence. Things got loud. Can’t imagine that going on beneath my desk.

      2. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

        Mean to add – I do agree that the applicant should absolutely alert the hiring team regarding the need for accommodations throughout the process, but the assumption that service dog users should automatically prefer fully remote work situations is also weirdly limiting and ableist.

        1. Pogo*

          There are a lot of people who don’t understand that a service dog is not a pet. I think “emotional support animals” that aren’t actually trained and just provide comfort for having them around has made some people think that’s what all service dogs are. Service dogs are working. People also don’t understand that they can be used for so many things (I have a friend who’s dog alerts her to spikes in her sugar!) so it would be like asking someone in a wheelchair or requiring other support devices to work from home when that is not what they may want/need.

          1. Mine Own Telemachus*

            Exactly. I work for a disability focused non-profit, and it’s a hybrid workplace so I’m home 90% of the time. But our office has an office manager who is blind, and has a service dog with her in the office. During the day, the dog is out of her harness and rests on a dog bed next to the desk, and then when it’s time to leave, the dog is back on duty.

            The office manager is just like any other coworker, and her dog being there (and off duty, which means I can pet her!) is just a totally normal thing.

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            A lot of the service animals (and service animals in training) that I see on public transit have vests that say, “Please don’t pet me, I’m working.” on them. I’ve been riding the subway for years, and service animals are frequent riders and probably better behaved/trained than 90% of the human riders.

        2. sundae funday*

          I agree… I do have sympathy for people with dog phobias and allergies, but surely there are other accommodations that can be made in the office to limit certain individuals from having to be near the dog on a daily basis.

          Having a service dog doesn’t mean you should be sequestered in your house to keep other people comfortable!

          1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

            The bigger issue I see has to do with the reality that someone with a service animal may be interviewing for a role that requires direct, daily contact with a person with a severe allergy. Or vice versa. For team/department meetings, they can’t be in the same room. And if the person has their service dog in an in-person team meeting, then the person with the allergy cannot meet in person with anyone else on the team.

            Sure, if it is 2 people, on 2 different floors, with no real need to ever interact, maybe a hybrid work schedule, with regular office cleanings, and strict rules about communal spaces, you can probably make that work with only the occasional reminder for each party to give the heads up if they are headed to the lunch or break room. But if they have to work together often, at some point, the easiest solution is for one of the parties to be fully remote. Because the alternative would be both parties coming to the office, locking themselves in separate spaces all day, with no in person contact with anyone, and then going home…which feels a bit like all the struggles of WFH with none of the benefits.

            1. sundae funday*

              Yeah, it’s definitely hard when people need conflicting accommodations. Per the ADA, both have to be accommodated, and allergies aren’t typically an adequate reason to refuse a service dog.

              However, there was a case recently where the judge ruled against the service dog handler. It was a nursing student who brought her anxiety alert dog to the hospital that would alert her if she was starting to have a panic attack. Multiple nurses and an immunocompromised patient had a reaction to the dog, and the floor (specifically for immunocompromised patients) was left short-staffed. The hospital suggested either getting an anti-shed suit for the dog or crating the dog on a different floor and allowing the handler to go visit the dog whenever she wanted or needed to. The student instead wanted all allergic patients and staff moved to another floor. The hospital said that was an “undue burden.” The student sued but lost because, in this specific case, the dog was a direct threat to patients and staff.

              I think in your example, though, if someone is so allergic to dogs that they can’t be in the same room as someone who has been around a dog, they’re probably already unable to work with and in the general public.

              1. JSPA*

                If I’m around someone with dog hair on them for 20 or 30 minutes, I’ll have a runny nose, red eyes, possibly some wheezing and maybe localized hives (if we are in direct contact). All but the hives will resolve in another hour or so, once they leave.

                If I had to deal with that level of contract all day / every day, I’d have to find a new job, or go on fairly heavy steroids as well as essentially incapacitating levels of one of the few antihistamines I tolerate.

                I keep alcohol and wet wipes with me when walking, in case of random encounters, and have nevertheless ended up washing myself in ditch or gutter water, or rain drops puddled on cars or plants, when the wipes were inadequate.

                Guessing what people can or can’t accommodate (or to what creative lengths they’ll go, to do so) is never going to be as effective as asking the people involved to explain their situation, and problem solve on that basis.

                1. sundae funday*

                  Oh wow, that’s really rough! I have a husky so I’m covered in dog hair 24/7, no matter how much I try to employ fancy dryer sheets and lint rollers.

    3. Stitch*

      I’ve struggled with this one a bit because I think how I should react is different from my gut instinct here. But if I’m being 100% honest with myself if someone showed up to an interview with a dog in a baby sling (and hadn’t prepared us for that at all), I’d find that really off putting. And I have a sibling with anxiety issues with an emotional support dog, so I should in theory be way more accommodating. But a dog in a baby sling is just so unusual it’s going to be off putting for a significant number of people.

      I’d personally be much less put off by a dog in a lap though I’d also find it strange if it wasn’t mentioned beforehand.

      So where I come down is: absolutely disclose beforehand and don’t use the sling.

      1. Pogo*

        It’s really one of those things that shouldn’t be a problem, but given…humans, and the nature of interviewing, at least not in the sling could maybe make it easier to try and prevent bias. But also, OP has to work in this environment, so having interviewers accepting of service dog in how they perceive the OP could be good info.

        1. Observer*

          But also, OP has to work in this environment, so having interviewers accepting of service dog in how they perceive the OP could be good info.

          Not really. This is an inherent limitation of interviews – the environment is very different from what you are doing and experiencing day to day.

          If someone showed up to work with a dog in a sling, it would absolutely distract me. But once I confirmed with HR that this was cleared with them, I’d just get on with life. And with time, it would just become part of the scenery. That time line and “know quantityness” simply doesn’t exist in a job interview.

          1. Jack Russell Terrier*

            Right – it would be distracting at the interview but if we hired her it would become normal to me after a while.

      2. DadBodsAreFatherFigures*

        Yes, I agree. I think people are pretty accustomed to seeing service dogs on a leash and wouldn’t really blink an eye, but one in a baby sling or being carried in a way that looks (isn’t, but LOOKS) like more of a pet than a service animal, is going to whether consciously or not, be a distraction and maybe even a negative checkmark. Not fair but people are people and they have a lot of implicit biases about things and for some reason service dogs and ESAs are up there

      3. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

        Yes I get what you are saying, because a dog in a baby sling is just, not what you expect even if you were given the heads up that the person has a service dog. I think if the OP does need the dog in the sling or lap that they need to give the company a heads up about that. And maybe just a little bit of a reason like “for my specific needs it is best that my service dog is at lap level to better assist my needs and/or alert me if needed.” I think this sounds a bit more professional than “I will have my service dog with me and she will be in my lap”

      4. sundae funday*

        I wouldn’t be off-put at all… but my utter delight at a dog in a baby sling would probably be distracting in the opposite direction….

      5. Snow*

        Yeah. I’m used to “dog wearing Service Dog, Do Not Pet” gear on a leash, and my understanding is that I should ignore the dog’s existence as much as possible without tripping over it. With a service dog in a baby sling, that throws me off. My guess would still be “ignore it as much as possible”, but it’d be harder – it’s right near your face.

      6. Daisy*

        I WFH and have many WFH coworkers with pets that are on laps/desks/monitors while they work. We would all LOVE to have an excellent, hardworking coworker who wore their service dog while on the job. That said, for the initial Zoom interview I would suggest having the dog on your lap or floor out of sight so as not to distract us. It would be OK to mention your dog was in the room – especially if it was quiet/well-behaved – as many of us have animals that don’t like to be locked out of our “office” area. You want to be the “great candidate” in our minds, not the “candidate wearing a dog.”

        Note: I am not suggesting OP needs to have a WFH position due to their service animal. I love WFH but realize it isn’t for everyone.

    4. Curious*

      Is it legal for a potential employer to ask for proof that one needs an accommodation of any sort?

      1. Observer*

        Sure. There are limits to what information an employer can ask for, but yes they can ask for relevant information.

    5. TootsNYC*

      when I’m on Zoom, nobody can see below my armpit level. I don’t know how to test the image on the portal, but I’d imagine the field of view is restricted to what your own camera sees.

      1. TootsNYC*

        never mind me! I read too fast and saw “interview…on the portal,” and so assumed that it was a remote interview

  3. Pinktea*

    #1 I would definitely tell them in advance. As someone who is afraid of dogs it would be hard for me to focus if I walked into a confined space with a dog and didn’t know in advance.

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes. Also I’m allergic to dogs. It’s manageable with an anti-histamine but I would prefer to know, as an interviewer, beforehand so I can take one before the interview and be able to manage the symptoms of the allergy rather than sit there sneezing and with a running nose through the interview. My company always asks people if they have any reasonable adjustments for the interview so it would be good for someone to let us know they had a dog so we could be ready.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        Yes! Maybe nobody on the interview team is allergic to dogs, but they will put the team in a different room so the dog isn’t shedding in a room that an allergic team member uses for their staff meeting. It’ll make it easy on everyone for them to know the dog is coming beforehand.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think sorting logistics is the best reason to warn them in advance – but it is a warning, as your service animal is part of hiring you.

      I would caution against the chest sling for the interview, and make sure to have your dog wear his service vest* for the interview.

      *This won’t stop all nosy nellies, but it may at least cause a few of them to stop and think first. And sadly I’ve seen even larger breeds that are typical service dogs in their vest accosted and interrupted while working.

      1. NotAManager*

        Agreed about the chest sling – one of my relatives used one for her dog who was blind when we went out and people were SO excited by how cute he looked, I think that would probably be the most likely reactions. Interviewers distracted by the cuteness of a dog in a sling. So if the floor isn’t workable, I’d say of the three options, lap would be least distracting.

        I’m also going to second letting them know ahead of time that LW will be accompanied by a service dog, just in case there are allergies and/or dog phobias among the interview panel. Not that someone’s fear trumps ADA (I’m afraid of dogs and have been allowed to into a back room when a dog is in my workplace so I don’t panic and make the dog or its owner uncomfortable), but it might also help to cut down on the possibility that the hiring commitee is distracted by the dog if they know one is coming.

    3. sundae funday*

      My mom is afraid of dogs… Not like terrified or anything, but more like… wary of dogs she doesn’t know.

      We walked into a restaurant bathroom the other day, and there was a lady with a service dog washing her hands. It was a tight squeeze, so the dog was inches away, and he turned to look at us. My mom let out a little noise of alarm… not a scream or anything, just more like an “oh!” I was like, “It’s a service dog, it’s okay.”

      In retrospect, we feel like we should’ve apologized for my mom’s reaction because the handler looked annoyed. I bet she has to deal with people being rude all the time.

      I would definitely recommend the LW letting them know ahead of time that they’ll have a service dog to avoid moments like my mom’s annoying alarmed noise.

      1. irritable vowel*

        FWIW, I don’t think your mom was rude! It would surprise anyone to come into a public restroom to find there was a dog there, especially if it’s a small room and the dog is just right there in the space you need to occupy.

      2. Clisby*

        The handler should be aware that there are people who, with complete justification, are afraid/wary of dogs. I’d be completely taken aback by finding myself inches from a dog in a small bathroom.

    4. Clisby*

      Me, too – especially if the dog was unleashed. If at all possible, I’d recuse myself from being an interviewer – it’s not fair for a job candidate to be faced with an interviewer who is thinking, “man, I hope you don’t get hired” right from the get-go.

  4. Matt*

    #2 Maybe that’s only an US thing, but I’ve never heard of anything regarding 4/20 and drugs. The only thing that comes to mind here in central Europe regarding that day is that it was the birthday of our most infamous person in history, on skimming I thought maybe your boss suspects you to celebrate that day … which would be equally absurd, but not really more.

      1. John Smith*

        It sneaked into the UK, though not as big as in the US. Newspapers would run articles on the day (generally an excuse to publish photos of young females), but it rarely gets a mention now. Can’t say I see the attraction myself as the stuff smells absolutely terrible and makes me physically sick.

        1. lilsheba*

          It is the most asinine thing in the US and I agree that crap smells terrible and I hated ever having it around me due to exes being super stoners. So glad it’s not in my life anymore.

        2. MigraineMonth*

          I wouldn’t smoke it (all types of smoke give me migraines), but edibles are fun, non-smelly and legally available in several US states. The commercial products are significantly more expensive than illegal ones, but I like that they’re labeled with the amount of THC.

        3. Well...*

          Eh… the same could be said for cigarettes. Like cigarettes, it’s much worse if it’s indoors and stale, like covering all the walls. Personally I don’t mind walking by it outside.

          Vaping bugs me way more because it nominally smells better so people are way less polite about trying to avoid blowing it in your face. Kids these days. Vaping and listening to tiktok their phones without headphones on public transportation *shakes fist at the sky*

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        Ah, this explains why I had to Google it. I thought it was just because I am a very square person.

    1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      It’s a marijuana thing. Not everybody knows it in the US, but a substantial chunk of the population. Even fairly square people.

        1. DataSci*

          I think non-marijuana users (like myself) are more likely to be aware of it if they’re in an area where it’s legal. It is in DC and the Washington Post had an article in the weekend section about it this year.

          1. Lydia*

            It definitely used to be more of an underground, counterculture thing. I became aware of it after I moved back to the states after high school to a state where medical use had just recently become allowed. I was hanging out with people who smoked, but before that I knew weed existed and knew kids in high school who used, but had never heard of 4/20.

            1. Saddy Hour*

              I can definitely see why this is true, but it’s funny to me to imagine 4/20 as an “underground, counterculture” thing. I grew up in California (home of the “Cali Sober”) knowing full well about weed culture. My mom has smoked for longer than I’ve been alive! I also went to a CA university renowned for its stoners, where it’s known that a specific part of campus just shuts down completely on 4/20 every year. Even before it was recreationally legal in CA, campus cops would attend solely to make sure everyone was safe but wouldn’t hassle anybody about smoking — how could you when there are literally thousands of young adults blazing up? It’s been incredibly normalized throughout my life.

              Anyway, all that to say: I have never heard anyone joke about 4/20 in a *professional* context. Especially not to any straightedge people. I’m sure it was meant as a joke, but in OP2’s context I would be pretty offended by it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with smoking weed, or even with taking 4/20 off specifically to smoke weed, but it’s rude to undermine someone’s character and values for a cheap laugh.

            2. HoHumDrum*

              I think it’s also more of a youth thing, or at least I cared more about 4/20 as a youth. Mostly because back then pot was harder to come by and slightly riskier to use, so the “holiday” felt like a true special occasion…vs now I can smoke whenever I want, I don’t really need a special day for it.

        2. Miette*

          I have a clue, and I didn’t really clock it was 4/20 until… 4/21 lol.

          I have to say, not a lot of people in the US really think of this as “a thing” unless it’s a thing they like to celebrate. So OP, I guess what I’m saying is why is your boss so hyper-aware of it at all? To the point of looking for reassurances that you’re, idk, not hopped up on the demon weed or whatever. Honestly, their fixation on this on your behalf is very strange.

          1. sundae funday*

            Yeah, I remember it being kind of a “thing” in high school and college… but I haven’t heard anyone seriously talk about it as a thing to “celebrate” since then.

            This year, I had a moment where I was like “haha, it’s 4/20” in my head but I didn’t hear anyone talk about it or anything.

          2. Reed Weird*

            Ha, I am more in the culture than most here, and I still was definitely not making jokes about it at work. I happened to be buying a car that day, and I did make a joke when signing all the paperwork when I caught myself looking at my watch that by the fifth “sign and date” I should really remember the date. Wound up having a mini tangent with the finance guy about legalization :)

        3. Gumby*

          I am a very not-hip person but I also have found many a roommate on craigslist. “420 friendly” was a thing well before marijuana was legal here and new-college-grad me had to have someone explain it to me in the early 2000s.

      1. Molly*

        I think i first heard about it in the AAM comments a few years back, and i had to look it up. I’m American and not square, but apparently square in certain areas.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        My college had a prospective students day where high school seniors would visit campus… and they scheduled it for 4/20. My house served ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce, and I had an extremely confusing conversation with a prospective student who nervously asked if it was “special”. Of course it was special, it was homemade! Wait, why don’t you want it now? Is this an allergies thing?

    2. L'étrangère*

      It’s entirely an American thing, the number of an old statute making marijuana illegal. And then some people started celebrating April 20th around it, much like many people celebrate pi day on March 14th now

      1. Myrin*

        Ha, that one’s actually on the Wikipedia list of common misconceptions! As per that list, it doesn’t have anything to do with police codes or similar at all but rather 4:20pm was the time students at some school (college?) met to have a smoke and it spread from there. I never cared to verify that so I have no idea if it’s actually true or not or if possibly both of these stories are myths, but I happened to read that a few days ago and it was fresh on my mind.

        1. Adam*

          Indeed it is, the school is San Rafael High School near where I grew up. The local radio stations would regularly interview the students involved on April 20th.

        2. Well...*

          Yea I always thought it was a time of day thing, and the date was just ~extra people who don’t want to smoke every day have a holiday or smth

      2. londonedit*

        Pi day doesn’t work here either, because it’s 14/3 not 3/14.

        I’ve only ever heard of 4/20 as a US thing – again, the date doesn’t work in the UK, and we don’t have the same sort of ‘oooooooh marijuana’ culture (I mean, obviously people smoke, but there doesn’t seem to be the same sort of culture around it).

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            Pies are baked into our culture in other ways.

            (deliberate, sorry, couldn’t resist)

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      In the US and never heard of it – but then almost every bit of drug culture goes right over my head unless it’s really blatantly obvious what it’s about.

      Yes, in some regards I’ve lived a very sheltered life.

      1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

        I’m in the U.S. and had to look it up, too. Your boss is ridiculous.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I’m not OP, but do agree with you that OP’s boss is being an idiot or worse right about now.

      2. DJ Abbott*

        You have missed nothing.
        I’ve known about weed and drugs since high school, though I’ve mostly only read about people who do drugs other than weed. I didn’t like drugs then, and don’t like them now.

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        I just learned what it was this year!

        And also, LW’s boss is an ass!

      2. Dona Florinda*

        Right. I’ve known what it is for years and even though I work with people who smoke it on a daily basis, it would never cross my mind that someone called in sick specifically so they could get high on that specific day.

    4. Emmy Noether*

      I had never heard of this either. Besides that infamous birthday (and associated “celebrations” – read violent outbursts – by the extreme right), I also associate that date with the Columbine shooting.

      The superposition of those two things on one day with marihuana is quite incongruous.

      1. Lydia*

        Oof. It’s also my friend’s birthday and for years she didn’t feel like she could celebrate for those reasons. That date is a lot more than a recognition for pot and awful things happening. It’s also a day when someone might get sick or married or a million other things.

      2. Aurora Borealis*

        What infamous birthday? I saw that referenced in another comment and I’m lost.

        1. Cynical optimist*

          They are referring to Adolf Hitler. His birthday is 04/20, arguably modern Europe’s most infamous historical figure.

    5. mreasy*

      Whether or not it’s well known isn’t material to the question, though. Say OP was sick on Halloween and was being accused of spending the day in the graveyard dressed as a vampire…

      1. Buffy Rosenberg*

        If it was a very well-known celebration, I could see the case for acknowledging the timing when you call in sick (or when you return). Not necessarily advisable but sometimes it makes sense to do that.

        But it’s such a random thing that you wouldn’t even imagine there’s a need to acknowledge it or explain the coincidental timing.

    6. Whirled traveler*

      I always wonder if that’s because Europe does dates like 20.04 or 20.4, right?

      but also time is 24 hours there. so 4 o’clock was 16. so 16:20?

      it’s metric

      1. Bagpuss*

        Yes, dates are dd/mm/yy so 20th April is 20/04/23 not 04/20/23 .

        24 clock is used a lot in continental Europe, in the UK it’s common for things like railway timetables etc. to avoid ambiguity but in speech you would normally say 4:20 or 4:20 p.m. or twenty past 4, rather than 16:20.

        I agree that either way, OP’s boss is being utterly ridiculous. It’s like assuming someone called out to eat pie, if they were unwell on Pi day, or that they were calling in sick for a Star Wars binge on May 4th.

          1. Bluebird*

            I should clarify that I don’t mean by you lol, but by someone, somewhere. Tbh I think it’s honestly way more likely those two days are called off for than 420

        1. Nina*

          yeah I don’t call out of work on Star Wars Day, I’m not an animal. I wear my Jedi robes to work.

      2. Myrin*

        I mean, that’s one part of it, but the other is simply that we don’t know about the situation that caused the whole “hehe 420 weed number” thing. In the end and speaking very simplified, it was a not particularly interesting custom that happened at 4:20 pm at some random high school on another continent.

      1. BubbleTea*

        The first set, sure. But the follow up? That sounds more like someone genuinely cautioning an employee (and if it was still meant to be joking, it wasn’t appropriate, given the power differential).

        1. Lydia*

          Exactly. It’s like the boss thought they were making a joke and then freaked out in case OP was having some personal struggles. One was unoriginal humor, the other was a wild swing and a miss.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Which would be the kind of compassionate reaction we would hope for if OP had a noted quality drop in their work, consistent attendance issues, or was high at work.

            “My employee is having such serious personal issues that he celebrated a stoner holiday by smoking weed” is just such a weird place to jump to. I agree with Alison that the boxx doesn’t understand how drugs/addiction work at all.

    7. Blackbird*

      It may be partially regional even within the US. I’m in California, and I left work early on 4/20 to avoid the traffic jam caused by related celebrations…

    8. womanaroundtown*

      It’s also my birthday, and I get so many wink-wink nudge-nudges during it, but I’m really not a smoker, so it’s just a usual day. It was also my Holocaust survivor grandfather’s birthday, so I feel like that exes out the ties to the other person whose birthday it was.

      1. Lydia*

        Exactly this. I know people whose birthdays fall on 4/20 and 9/11 and for the longest time they felt like they weren’t allowed to celebrate because it would be disrespectful. People get to celebrate things!

    9. Nina*

      It’s a US thing because they do their dates backwards. For most of the rest of the world the date was 20/4/23, not 4/20/23.
      Apparently the weed connection started out as a reference to a time (4:20 pm) and morphed from there.

      1. Quill*

        I’m here for the date shaming because I’m trying to train my labmates to spell the month. (My first long term job was in a lab where some people used american dating and others used european dating: the correct response is to burn it all down and write Apr instead of a number.)

        1. Nina*

          The correct response (I’ve also previously worked in a company with a US component and a non-US component) is to print out ISO 8601 and paste it prominently in strategic locations around the lab with the section on date formatting highlighted. Everybody gets to use a date format they’re not natively comfortable with.

          1. Quill*

            Working in microbiology, if you need to know the YEAR something in the lab was plated that urgently, you’re in dire trouble.

            (Though that would be a great way to deal with the bacterial stock…)

    10. WorkingRachel*

      Total tangent, but in high school I was told that 4:20 was “international pot smoking time.” Guess not.

  5. Dark Macadamia*

    LW2, I feel like the way he brought it up publicly first gives you a good way to frame it if you want to talk to him, like “when you first said something I assumed you were joking because it would be so out of character for me, but then you pulled me aside and it seemed like you were serious.” Ideally you would’ve said it in the moment, but I think it would be fine to let him know you’re concerned about his opinion of you and want to clear the air. If he’s joking, this would signal to him that the joke didn’t land and if he’s not it allows you to address it more directly (like he should have done in the first place!)

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      It is actually a fairly serious accusation (if not a joke, which this doesn’t seem to be — I think the boss treated it lightheartedly and then thought about it a bit more and brought it up again as an actual concern). Boss has basically just accused OP of fraudulently taking a sick day.

      I am not sure what to make of the concept of not officially asking because he doesn’t want to officially know the answer! (in this situation I mean – I can see the usefulness of that concept in general.)

      1. Harper the Other One*

        The bosses’ response sort of straddles the line between “I’m concerned for you” (offering help, reiterating trust) and “this could be work trouble” (you should have waited for the weekend, I don’t want to put this on the record.) So one option would be for OP to act as if they’re assuming the first – “I was thinking more about when you pulled me aside and it sounds like you’re concerned I’m engaging in uncharacteristic behaviour because of some stressor. I want to reiterate that I was genuinely sick and that this is not a valid worry.”

      2. EPLawyer*

        It’s not fraudently taking a sick day which is not really a thing. Its that in a strait laced profession you cannot have someone who is known have a toke or two. Its probably in the employee handbook.

        Basically the boss is saying if I know officially there has to be an investigation and you will most likely be fired. Not for faking a sick day but for doing something this company doesn’t allow.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          But he said words to the effect of “couldn’t you have waited until the weekend to indulge?” which suggested to me that it’s accepted on some level that someone has ‘a toke or two’.

        2. doreen*

          I don’t know if this is the case for the OP – but I have absolutely had jobs where sick days were only for illness and doctor appointments and there would have been minor consequences if the boss knows it’s a faked sick day*. Which is why people at those places don’t tell the boss it’s a faked sick day and make sure they don’t get caught on the kiss cam at the baseball game.

          * There were different buckets of time off that could be used for the plumber, etc. And bosses did not generally ask any questions but sometimes people would actually say that they called in sick yesterday because they were getting furniture delivered.

        3. MassMatt*

          How is it that fraudulently taking a sick day “is not really a thing”? I have much experience as a manager, and we have had many letters here, that very much say otherwise.

          1. Clisby*

            Sure. For example, I’ve never worked anywhere that my sick leave covered care for children, spouses, etc. – it was strictly for employees. I knew people who lied and said they were sick so they could stay home with a sick kid – that was fraudulent. Of course, I get the incentive – but they were supposed to be using vacation days instead.

    2. Goldie*

      I would go and say-I can’t stop thinking about our conversation. I’m not sure that you understood that I was sick that day. I wouldn’t take a sick day from work to “participate” in 420.

      The way LW described how they asked for the day off-it doesn’t sound like they said “I’m sick” or “I don’t feel well”.

      1. LW 4 "The Square"*

        I did say in my email to him specifically that I’d woken up ill, and that hopefully with rest I’d feel good enough to see him the next day.

        1. WeGetBetter*

          I just want to say I’m pretty furious for you.
          I’m in recovery and if this happened to me I’d. E genuinely hurt. It’s an accusation against your character. I think you’re within your rights to approach your boss and say I thought I could jet this go, but I’m offended and angry that you would think I’m so unprofessional because of a cultural event that has no relevance to my work or my lifestyle. I feel disrespected and misunderstood.

          1. Chutney Jitney*

            Gosh, no, don’t bring all those emotions into it. You have those feelings, they’re valid, but you would need to process them and move past them and not spew them all over your boss.

        2. Enai*

          This is just about the squarest way to take a sick day, too. I can’t even imagine why your boss jumped to “Ah yes, my employee in a famously conservative company in a famously conservative field of business must have woken up and jumped straight from “no mind altering substances, even if prescribed by a doctor” to “and then I got high” complete with Afroman soundtrack and skipping work to do so”. That’s such a sudden escalation in behaviour, if he really believes that he’s right to be worried. Given that he has no grounds for this belief apart from the date, I’m concerned about his judgment. If “jumping to conclusions” goes olympic, he’s a hot candidate for gold.

          1. Cmdrshpard*

            I do think the boss is being a bit out there. From assuming an employee who has always been professional would call out to smoke. To be fair I would joke about it with coworkers I am friendly with if one of them called out on 4/20 but I would not seriously believe it.

            But we have OP’s word and information about their behavior.

            I think a lot of what OP described the boss would/might not be privy too, from does not drink caffeine because it is a drug to not taking medically prescribed narcotics, both due to religious reasons.

            I have worked with people who don’t drink coffee, alcohol etc… and I have not and would not ask the reason. Some people have shared of course as it can come up in conversation but it is because they bring it up themselves, not because I ask. The details of a medical procedure like taking or not taking pain medicine would almost certainly not come up.

            1. Lydia*

              That OP doesn’t use anything for religious reasons is really beside the point. The OP’s boss has probably never seen the OP act unprofessionally and has gone straight from “person is a model of professionalism” to “took the day off to smoke out” for absolutely no reason. OP hasn’t given their boss even a scintilla of reason to think there may be problem, yet the boss assumed there would was. It’s really weird!

        3. President Porpoise*

          You know, you could always offer a drug test if it helps make it clear to him that you are a guy who just doesn’t do the altered state of mind thing…

          1. Feral Humanist*

            I’m gonna say OP shouldn’t voluntarily surrender their right to privacy just because a manager made a very strange assumption.

            1. Silver Robin*

              +1 no need to give up privacy over the boss being ridiculous. Ridiculous accusations do not warrant such thorough responses.

          2. Observer*

            I doubt it would help. By the time a test could be done, the test would come up clean. All it would sound like *to someone who already jumped to conclusions* is “The lady doth protest too much”.

            1. MassMatt*

              Marijuana is among the drugs that remains detectable the longest. This is one reason why workplace drug testing is so unfair: Marijuana use is detectable days or weeks later, whereas drugs with greater reputation for harm are undetectable more quickly.

              1. Observer*

                Days – and this happened 4/20, which means that it’s really past the window for a test to be useful.

                Of course, the idea is ridiculous anyway. I’m just saying that on top of that, it wouldn’t help.

                1. Carol the happy elf*

                  Just look at your boss with a perfect deadpan, and say the following, very slowly and with deep meaning,

                  “Technically, Immodium is an opioid drug that remains in the digestive tract instead of crossing the brain barrier.
                  “I don’t know if it would show up on a drug test, but it is really effective at its purpose.
                  “If you get an upset stomach, you can take a preventative dose, but it sometimes it’s better to stay in for the day. Fortunately, I just felt queasy all day. Do you need details?”
                  Then tip your head like Spock (raise one eyebrow if you can) then roll your eyes, shake your head slightly, and walk away.

                2. Burger Bob*

                  It can be weeks if you do a hair follicle test. My husband has had to get that for a couple of jobs. But yeah, I wouldn’t volunteer a hair follicle test (that presumably I would have to pay for, no less) just because my boss is being weird.

    3. Bagpuss*

      I agree- also I think it’s appropriate to say;
      “I assumed you were joking, give that it would be so totally out of character for me, which is the only reason I didn’t say anything at the time, but it seems like not only you, but others, are taking seriously the allegation that I was indulging in recreational drugs, not calling in sick because I was sick, and that is potentially damaging to my reputation, both personally ad professionally.
      In the circumstances, and as the allegation was made publicly and some people seem to be taking it seriously, I’d appreciate it if you could make clear, equally publicly, that it was a joke and that I called in because I was sick”

      1. ferrina*

        Yep, I like this wording. I’d also add that the LW’s demeanor should be genuine confusion, not defensiveness. This is a weird situation and it’s extra weird that the LW should be in the middle of it. Confusion will highlight the oddity of it all.

      2. DJ Abbott*

        I have to wonder if the boss jumped to this conclusion because he partakes himself, or is close with people who do, or maybe has teenage children and he’s worried about them doing it, or maybe LW is young and he assumes all young people do. There must be some reason it was already on his mind.

        1. What name did I use last time?*

          Actually I think the boss’s dumb reaction makes it more likely that he’s extremely naive and sheltered himself! He heard about this 420 thing and went “Oooooooooh, everyone but me knows this thing! This must be a real thing!”

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I agree, the boss doesn’t seem to have any context for use in moderation, or what various levels of drug use would actually look like. He can’t separate serious warning signs (frequently calling out of work, coming to work high) with just having a juvenile sense of humor (calling out on 4/20).

            It’s like when I was in elementary school, came home from my first DARE anti-drug program session, and told my parents they were alcoholics because they’d each had a glass of wine two weeks prior. (They said they weren’t alcoholic, and I said that’s exactly what an alcoholic would say!)

            It turns out that by stripping all nuance from drug education, treating all drugs as the same level of life-wrecking, and convincing kids that *everyone else was doing drugs*, DARE actually increased both drug use and serious drug use.

            1. HoHumDrum*

              There’s actual no evidence that DARE has increased drug use FYI! That’s a myth. Though I do 100% agree it’s a profoundly stupid program and

    4. TootsNYC*

      I think LW2 might also say, “I don’t appreciate you insinuating in front of everyone that I smoke pot. That’s a misrepresentation of my values. I’m upset that you would assume it of me, but I’m especially unhappy that you made these comments in front of everyone else. It’s hard for me to combat that sort of defamation.”

      Because…that’s defamation of character, and reckless disregard for the truth.

      I might also ask HR for help. “I want to be sure that this unfounded insinuation, which is turning into gossip, doesn’t suddenly become part of how the company, or a subsequent manager, views me.”

  6. MassMatt*

    #3 I think it depends on how your office is about looking at entertainment sites at work. It’s true that LGBTQ a sites are often screened out by “adult” filters unfairly, but in just about every office I’ve worked the mantra has been “computer/internet is for work only”, with some exceptions for general news sites. Asking for access to sites for movie reviews, LGBTQ or not, would definitely not go over well.

    1. not worth it*

      Yeah, this. Your employer blocked it for a reason, even if you don’t agree with it, and you probably agreed to their internet use policy in your handbook. I would only ask for exceptions if you need to access something for work.

      If you MUST read reviews during the work day on a blocked site, use your data just for those few minutes.

      1. John Smith*

        In my experience, corporate blocks are generalised and websites are not selected individually. I’ve seen completely “innocent” sites blocked because of a vague connection to criteria. Personally, I’d check on the company’s policy before requesting, maybe run it through a trusted manager first.

        1. JM60*

          I’ve never worked in am IT department, but I highly doubt that the IT department at the OP’s employer was spending their time manually blocking tens of thousands (or however many) of websites. It’s so much more efficient and safe to use existing lists+generalized rules, then later manually add a website here and there of they notice people accessing a site that they don’t want on their network.

          The odds that they specifically blocked this site in particular is very low.

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            Yeah, I worked at a place where the filter had a page that showed the specific rule/list that the particular site was blocked because of, and it was only very rarely the “Blocked by CloudTeapots” list.

            Hilariously, they had at least one prominent computer security professional blog blocked under the category “Hacking”, when it was in fact largely relevant to the company’s industry.

            One of my job functions was clearing up the sort of petty complaint that people with more expensive time didn’t feel was worth pursuing, but it did waste their time in ongoing little chunks. So I filed a lot of site unblocking tickets. My requests went a little like this:

            Please unblock, it is a prominent cultural news site that has tv recaps like I like to glance through those while waiting for my teapots to finish firing.

        2. N C Kiddle*

          Yeah, it’s really common for LGBT related sites to be classed as sexual and automatically blocked. I was on a back-to-work training course that set us to work researching potential employers, and I was pretty angry when I couldn’t access information about companies’ LGBT records because it was just all blocked.

          1. I am Emily's failing memory*

            Yep! It’s also very common for the websites of organizations that lobby for drug policy reform to be blocked by net nanny software as “illegal drugs” websites. I’ve had IT unblock a handful of miscategorized sites like that before.

            The software my work uses also blocked Google Translate out of the box as “proxy website” – apparently there’s some way it can be used as a proxy to view other blocked sites without the net nanny seeing what you’re viewing? That one wasn’t a miscategorization since I guess it actually is a proxy site of don’t kind, but IT eventually unblocked that one too, although there was delay while they deliberated it first, as opposed to the obviously misclassified ones where someone would just say “oh ok” and override it.

            1. I Have RBF*

              That’s because many of those block lists come from ultraconservative church groups and then are sold as out-of-the-box configurations for blocking software.

              So any LGBTQ+ content is banned as “sexual” or “immoral”. The also ban anything that mentions breasts, butts or penii as automatically sexual, leading to breast cancer, erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer sites being blocked. Also, sites about non-JCI (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) religions sometimes get blocked, too.

              Personally, I have a dim view of companies that feel they have to block a lot of sites.

            2. De Pizan*

              My favorite is that I work for my state’s judicial department…..our IT blocks the state’s wine board commission’s website because it’s alcohol related. (The state liquor board’s site is unblocked but IT still refused to unblock the wine board.)

        3. Tree*

          In this case, I’m guessing it’s the word “straddle” in the name of the website. It seems like a word that would get included on a block it list.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Yeah–the name is definitely one I would expect to have some sort of sexual-straddling content, gay or not, and so I would hesitate to click on it unless assured by someone I trusted/respected that it was just a weird name choice, like “Cougartown.”

            I have just tried typing it in on a private window and I get a “Warning! Safe search is off, you might see nudity or sexual content” followed by the top-line link for the site. Three sublinks; the first one is in fact TV, while the next two are about sex, e.g. sexual positions you might want to try. So I would want to feel very confident about how totally not like reading-Playboy-for-the-articles this request was going to sound to IT.

            1. Yes Anastasia*

              It’s definitely not Playboy. If we’re looking for magazine metaphors, it’s like Cosmo or GQ, and I’d be really surprised if those were blocked.

                1. GreenShoes*

                  Yeah, I just checked Cosmo and it’s blocked on my work site.

                  I think for the OP, this falls under the category of find something else to read at work or use your own data plan. As for a practical suggestion my home internet provider has public wifi that I can access when I’m out and about for free. For a long time I used that for my personal wifi at work because they made us use guest access for personal devices and that was a pain.

              1. Sara*

                I haven’t read Cosmo in a long time but does it have full nudity? Because Autostraddle does…

        4. Bagpuss*

          Yes – I recently had to contact our IT people because I discovered that the website for a National charity which offers support and advice for people suffering domestic abuse was blocked. I found out as it’s a resource I share with clients fairly regularly, but I would hate to think that any staff member who might need hat kind of information was blocked from accessing it.

          I assume that it was blocked as a result of some form of key word search.

          (Historically, I used to have issues quite a lot as I used to deal with family law cases which involved harm to children, and so some of the search terms I had to use when searching for appropriate Experts to carry out things like risk assessments on parents, or harm reduction work would trigger all sorts of alerts! I got used to calling IT to give them a heads-up that the ‘someone is trying to access dodgy sites’ alerts were about to be triggered)

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            That’s quite a common problem here – and it’s definitely down to the amount of ‘words of a sexual content’. Filtering software, actually any software really, isn’t intelligent.

            (Last year I added 48 sites relating to abuse resources and treatment to the whitelist. Our software also has the Scunthorpe problem)

            1. Quill*

              Once again, I am reminded of my forum moderator days, where every swear in the book was autocorrected to “Belgium…” and we eventually found out that people were actually typing out Belgium because of it, because Belgium those belgiumming belgiumers should have returned three plain Belgiums.

              The difference being that our swear filtering was hilarious (if you weren’t from Belgium… or had read Hitchhiker’s guide) and didn’t stop anybody from doing their job.

        5. Quite anon*

          This. or they’re blocked because the people who host the site hosted it in some random country that’s on a cybercrime watchlist either because it was cheap or because they don’t want to have to comply with government orders to turn over data or both.

        6. Blarg*

          I lived in a very remote community with only one radio station, which was also the news, weather, etc. No local TV. The radio station was technically owned by the Catholic Church as part of its local “mission” but other than Sunday mass broadcasts was secular and again, the only source of news. The gov agency I worked for blocked the website because religion. I emailed IT and said “really?” and they removed it from the filter. No problem. Sometimes asking is worth it.

            1. Sorrischian*

              I suspect they meant the only source of local news, not news full stop. There’s lots of stuff that a local radio or TV station would report on that would never show up on larger platforms but are still important issues for the people who live there.

        7. Environmental Compliance*

          Our firewall has somehow managed to block recycling center sites. It’s controlled by a third party who works only with our headquarters, which is very frustrating as an Environmental/Sustainability person. Something something “activism”.

        8. NotAnotherManager!*

          A law firm I once worked for blocked access to any government website that included the letters s-e-x – Middlesex, Essex, etc. As we routinely needed to access government (including court) websites for these counties, we had to have a conversation with them about the screening methodology and how long it took to manually unblock sites (and subsets and affiliated sites for e-filing).

          I also had a paralegal who got the “you can’t access due to adult content, your administrator has been notified” message, and panicked because they assumed they’d either be fired for “being on the porn report” (we had no such thing) or because they were unable to get a time-sensitive document filed.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            That reminds me of a site that decided to censor user posts by replacing certain slang words with medical terms, for example replacing “cock” with “penis”, but they didn’t match on full words.

            This resulted in a glorious post where a woman complained at length about her apartment’s infestation of penisroaches.

        9. DannyG*

          As an example of the broad net some of these systems cast: a hospital group that I was at some years ago installed a new system. It blocked access to the CDC. The reason: STD treatment recommendations. Had to explain to IT that, as a hospital, we might actually need this information.

      2. Emma*

        If other entertainment sites are not blocked, and the policy says that personal internet use is ok during breaks, then there is no reason not to request that the site is unblocked.

        1. elizelizeliz*

          Agreed. If you, for instance, can read Slate but not autostraddle, or People but not autostraddle, than it is because of homophobia and transphobia in the browser blocker settings, which is common, and I think it’s totally appropriate to ask to have it unblocked and maybe even explicitly flag that fact for IT because structuring homophobia transphobia into your company policies and practices is probably not what they want to do.

          1. L-squared*

            I don’t know if its homophobia. It could easily be the word “straddle” in the name. If I saw that site name, I’d make some assumptions about the content that were NSFW as well.

          2. Molly*

            elizelizeliz, I strongly agree with your comment. I’m in IT and on the DE&I committee, and I would personally raise a stink about this if it happened at my job. Company leadership says that DE&I is a top priority, and I would hold them to that.

          3. Nancy*

            Autostraddle has a link in its dropdown menu that is literally called ‘NSFW Sunday.’ Easy to see why work would block a site that says it has info that is NSFW.

            1. Winter*

              Yeah, I think the LW might be looking at this the wrong way. “But I don’t read that part of the site” doesn’t really matter. It’s there, and I don’t see the upside of requesting to access a site that contains clearly labeled NSFW material. As someone said above, it would absolutely come off as only-reading-Playboy-for-the-articles.

            2. Stitch*

              They also have a major section that’s “Love + Sex” that is the second menu result on Google (after “Television” and like the third current article is an explicit sex article.

              This one is a firm no from me.

              1. Tio*

                Yeah, this would not be the one I brought up to push against the policy. Anything with a NSFW section is almost certainly intended to be filtered, whether it got caught on accident or because of that. Also, in most instances to get IT to whitelist they go in and look at the site (especially something with a name like Autostraddle, which has a racy sounding name) and it would probably not be worth it to me.

          4. A reader*

            I say this as a queer person who spends a lot of time Reading the Internet at work, and who also has to Google things like “how do worms have sex” for legitimate work-related reasons:

            I love Autostraddle. I wouldn’t read it at work—there’s quite a bit of explicitly sexual content on there! And specifically I wouldn’t call it out, which asking for it to be unblocked definitely does. It’s reasonable to assume that an IT person who is asked to unblock a site is going to spend a few minutes perusing the site, and pretty immediately stumble on the sex section.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        IT department weighing in: we don’t generally block specific websites – we use filtering software because who has the time to go through every page on the internet and add it to a block list?

        We can whitelist a specific site so it’ll be let through. Requests to do that are common things to see in the call queue. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

        We do sometimes block specific ones but that’s usually after an incident (like seeing someone trying to circumvent our security to get to it – don’t do that, we do see it and are not amused) or from information such as information security websites warning of specific sites.

        So the likelihood that this site was blocked directly for a reason is rather low. I say OP should just put in a request to IT.

      4. Lydia*

        No, they didn’t necessarily block it “for a reason”. I worked at a place that blocked this website because one of its tags way down deep IDed it as entertainment or something. The same place would let me watch some YouTube videos and not others because the person posting had ticked Entertainment as a descriptor even when it was educational. Attributing reason to this is not the way to go.

    2. nnn*

      My employer uses software like this but they will unblock specific sites that people request. Everyone knows the software is an overly blunt instrument and they don’t mind us using the internet during downtime.

    3. allathian*

      My employer probably only blocks adult content and gaming/gambling websites, certainly I’ve never run afoul of our website blocker.

      My work is such that I spend much of it online, and it would be very difficult for my employer to pre-emptively determine which websites I do or don’t need for work. As long as my work gets done, they don’t really care what else I do online on company equipment. I suppose that might change if people suddenly started to hog the bandwidth by streaming video on their work computers, but in general I’m glad that my employer trusts its employees to behave like professional adults.

    4. L'étrangère*

      These automated filters generally block ALL sites that are remotely LGBT. The assumption is definitely that anything queer is by definition obscene. But yes, systems people are very used to unblocking requests, and will generally do it routinely. I can only encourage you to think of some other sites that may be of general interest (Advocate? Out? NCLrights?) and to submit a list all at once – it’ll be less hassle for them than in a trickle, and this way you’ll get things unblocked for everyone else too

      1. Brain the Brian*

        I definitely encourage submitting a list all at once. Frankly, the website’s name (Autostraddle) sounds sexual by itself — queer-focused or not — and submitting it as part of a larger list focused on LGBTQ+ advocacy and interest website could help dilute that perception. If your employer refuses to unblock a list of queer-focused websites, then you have a datapoint about what kind of company your employer is.

          1. Myrin*

            Yes, I hadn’t heard of that site before and before I read OP’s explanation, I immediately thought it would be something erotic!

      2. Millennial*

        We are very used to unblocking requests: generally we’re only interested in things that are actually valuable to the company (eg occasionally we get asked to unblock pages for entities we sponsor, or part of company initiatives).

        It’s not worth anyone’s time dealing with this particular thing. Occasionally I get a notification on my phone or tablet for something gaming related, which is blocked by the very filter I have access to. If that happens, I usually say “oh right” and forget about it, or disconnect to read it.

        And from a security perspective: the less non-business-related sites that can be accessed from employee devices, the better. A while ago, we had an iPhone on our Visitor’s network triggering all sorts of alerts because it had something on it hijacking DNS requests to a dodgy service. It’s not always about being a killjoy (though sometimes that’s fun!).

        1. Wintermute*

          THIS. I don’t think asking for a general cultural site will flag you as a problem, but generally if it’s not needed for your job, we do not honor those requests. The fact your autofilter is overtuned for LGBT topics is a genuine concern though, and I think IT at many companies would care about that.

          It’s one thing if you want to do something non work-related, it’s not our job to enable that, but if Sarah is able to go to her community group’s site and Jane is not because Jane’s is gay– THAT is a potential problem. Some companies will care, some won’t, but that’s a legitimate thing to raise.

    5. Stitch*

      I actually have to access certain websites for work purposes that can often be blocked by the filter and getting temporary access is actually a bit of a process. I have to submit a specific request detailing my exact work reason for needing the site unblocked and what alternatives I tried. Then someone from IT has to verify everything and there’s a report both to my boss and a general report any manager can view.

      I don’t know how it is at every office, just demonstrating at my work, getting a site un blue coated, even for work reasons, is a process. I don’t think a personal request would be granted. They also investigate high data usage (My coworker received a reprimand for streaming baseball games at work).

      I guess I come down on the side of “just use your phone data”. I realize the filter is wrong here but making this request is going to expend some work capital and potentially be seen by a lot of people.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        This is also where I come down on this. Are you sure you want to spend what could be a considerable amount of capital on being able to read movie reviews on one particular site at work? Requesting work resources for private entertainment risks not being all that well received.

        1. motosubasu*

          Yeah I’m with Emmy on this one – I’m in no way arguing that Autostraddle *should* be blocked. I haven’t used the site personally but from the LW’s description it sounds innocuous enough.

          But asking for it to be unblocked (when there’s no work-related need) is, at the bare minimum, creating work for someone in IT to have to check the site out, and then take the steps to create the exception. This might not take a great deal of time and effort, but what happens the next time someone wants a recreational site unblocking, and the next time, and the time after that. Before you know it you’re in the exact same situation applying a general block list was supposed to alleviate – with IT having to use Mk I eyeball to assess each site and make judgement calls.

          Even the places I’ve worked with the most relaxed internet usage policies have taken the general stance that the internet is primarily there for work – any access you get for personal usage is very much just gravy and provided “as-is”.

          1. Umiel*

            I actually come down on the side of thinking that it should be blocked. The site does have NSFW content, and when the person who gets assigned to check out this site sees that, it will definitely use up a lot of capital for the LW. I like to read Queerty articles (don’t judge me), but I would only ever view them on my phone while in the office.

            1. Elitist Semicolon*

              Yeah, I can’t imagine IT landing on the toy reviews and feeling comfortable unblocking the site.

        2. ecnaseener*

          I don’t think the recommended “any chance it could be unblocked?” message uses up any capital! If they’re willing to just do it, great. If they can’t do it without a formal request and clear justification, they will tell LW so and LW can drop it.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            I think this really depends on your workplace. “Can you unblock an IT filter for my recreational reading” would read really odd at a lot of places, perhaps even calling professional judgment into question. Not to the extent of some letters we see here, of course, but I don’t think a blanket “this won’t use any capital” is accurate.

          2. LW3*

            This is pretty much exactly the situation. The IT person I’d be asking is steps away, I’d be talking to them in person first, and only putting in a formal service request if they need me too. Using capital is not a concern at all.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              In that case a casual ask shouldn’t be an issue. I’d be prepared for the possibility of a “no”, but if you’re not concerned about repercussions than it doesn’t hurt anything.

            2. cabbagepants*

              You’re aware that the website contains sexual content, though, so please warn your IT person in advance. They’ll go to the website as part of reviewing your request. It wouldn’t be fair to withhold this and knowingly put them into the situation where they will be exposed to sexual content at their workplace.

        3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          What capital do you think it would use? I’m just thinking in my organization, the opinion of someone in IT doesn’t really affect my work life.

          1. Stitch*

            In my organization such requests must be CCed to a manager and they’re listed as general responses. We’re also potentially supposed to go to our librarians to assist in taking screenshots of certain websites (and censor any pornographic images from our publicly available data).

            The fact that I occasionally have an actual work need to access gambling or pornographic websites I am guessing is somewhat unusual. But my org takes multiple steps it’s only when necessary.

          2. Allonge*

            In my org, the request would need to be in writing and would be seen by at least 5-6 people – even if most of them are from IT, I don’t want them to remember me about this one. OP writes it’s different for them, so obviously that’s a different call.

        4. Wintermute*

          I agree entirely, requests for personal use are typically not honored.

          BUT I think there’s other good advice here, mention some other LGBT sites (but careful not to make it look like you’re trying to look at all kinds of non-work-related items, which is the hard part) and I think that the filter has a bias IS something some, but not all, IT departments would be concerned about.

          I’d still lean towards not doing it, but…

      2. MsM*

        Or just wait until you get home. It’s not like the TV shows are going anywhere in the meantime.

        1. EPLawyer*

          This is where I come down. Do you have to read this site at work? If not, let it go as one of the quirks of your office.

          1. Lydia*

            I don’t know. Do any of us *need* to read this site at work? Probably not, but we do it because we need a freaking break from work sometimes.

            1. Allonge*

              Sure, but if AAM would not be available (sob!), there are other options for a mind break.

              The point is that one particular site is very rarely the only thing you can use to entertain yourself for five minutes.

          2. Sleepy Snoopy*

            Yeah, is there nothing else you could do on your break? Read another unblocked site? A book? Play an offline game on your phone? Go get a coffee and enjoy the weather outside?

            I googled the site and some of the first few categories it showed were about sex. I can see why it is blocked based on keyword alone.

      3. ferrina*

        Yeah, it really depends on the individual work place. I’ve worked at places at both ends of the spectrum. One place refused to unblock sites unless there was a clear work reason–“It’s not ‘adult’ and I read it on my break” would never fly. You’d be shut down and look out of touch. Another place would happily unblock almost anything requested (as long as it wasn’t obviously adult).

        So know your culture and IT norms, how much capital you’d need to spend, and decide if it’s worth it.

      4. Turquoisecow*

        My company had a malware attack last year and they are now extremely cautious about internet safety, and urge everyone to not do anything not work related on their work computers because of the risk. It would come off as rather tone deaf if someone asked for a non-work-related website to be unblocked at that point.

        I realize not everyone has such strict controls on their work machines and some companies are fine with employees doing personal things on their work computers during breaks, but I still wouldn’t personally bring this to IT’s attention, being as it isn’t work related. It would strongly indicate that my priorities at work are not work related.

    6. Allonge*

      I was also thinking about spending work capital on this.

      At my workplace it would be both easier and wiser to make the general point (LGBTQ is not the same as adult content) than say ‘you are limiting my entertainment options’. And we are explicitly allowed to use computers for non-work things (within reason of course).

    7. Roland*

      That really depends on which other sites are accessible. Like if deadspin or the vulture are unblocked, it’s not unreasonable to ask for another entertainment site to be unblocked. Internet filter doesn’t necessarily mean “no fun allowed”.

      1. Sylvan*

        The thing is, Autostraddle isn’t only an entertainment site. I don’t think it’s particularly ~spicy~ but it does have some content that I wouldn’t look at on a work computer.

        1. find me at the planet*

          yeah, as a lesbian who also reads Autostraddle, it has enough “spicy” (read: sex positive) content that is NSFW that I’d be pretty uncomfortable raising this.

          1. Stitch*

            I’m not personally familiar with this site, but if they have a NSFW section, this is a firm no for me. Don’t do it.

          2. timeforlunch*

            Autostraddle has a section on its main pull-down menu *called* NSFW Sexy Sunday (RIP the updates but it’s still there.) Each post in this section features stills aplenty from actual porn. If LW 2 has their pic next to “square,” an LGBT dic*tionary would have many to choose from here for its NSFW listing. I love Autostraddle but it is not Slate. Yes, it’s a cultural site, but this is a culture that involves feminist porn and sex positivity, and images of that in action is NSFW.

            1. Roland*

              I see! In that case I still think “no fun sites at work” is not helpful advice but I wouldn’t suggest OP request it, yeah.

            2. AnonforThis*

              Slate literally has a sex advice column though. Sure this isn’t about LGBTQ topics???

    8. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think this request and making it comes down to a know the culture of your office. If other TV and movie blogs across a wide spectrum are accessible then making the request is probably fine. If most of the primarily entertainment/tv/movie sites or blogs are blocked then it’s probably not worth asking.

    9. DataSci*

      It’s easy to test your hypothesis. I’d be willing to bet that general movie review sites are not blocked and LGBTQ news sites are. It’s ridiculously common for filters like this to exclude those sites.

    10. Just Another Fed*

      I also have an overactive Internet filter at work (when they first put it in place it blocked a third of the state-level agencies that we partner with). I have filed literally hundreds of requests to have sites unblocked. I suspect to someone in our IT department I am That Irritating Person. But all of those were work-related.

      The one exception is that they blocked the local department of transportation’s commuter planning page. I finally got sick of looking at maps on my tiny phone screen and put out a plea for them to unblock it so I could check for road closures before my commute home. But an entertainment site? I would find something else to do on my break.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Yup… our company now blocks local *libraries* along with other sources of entertainment downloads.

      1. UKDancer*

        Filters can be a pretty blunt tool. Not sure if it was Penistone or Scunthorpe that had their local authority site blocked by a lot of filters but they are definitely not very selective.

      2. Wintermute*

        they may have a blanket block on anything that hosts downloadable content. We do, along with anything that allows file uploads.

        It’s too hard to go through every one of them and make sure it couldn’t possibly be used to introduce attack vectors into your system. One of the major obstacles any hacker faces is how to get their tools onto your system, and how to get paydata out if they’re stealing not just ransoming your systems (which is the norm these days). It may sound absurd but if you’re a moderately high value target it just makes sense.

    12. The Person from the Resume*

      So annoying because I read autostraddle regularly as a lesbian/wlw/queer culture site (I mostly read the TV and book reviews myself). And it mostly is that and is quite possibly blocked as part of the “anything LGBTQ is sex-related” stigma that’s false.

      OTOH Autostraddle does post sex toy reviews which I wouldn’t want to read at work or on a work network, and IIRC they used to post a column regularly on the weekend that I think was a porn review/roundup or at least used a (not naked) shot from a porn as the post header (it was literally called a NSFW post in the title). I would not want to make the request, have someone take a look, and spot a sex toy review or something similary legitmately sexual at the top of feed and call my judgement into question.

      If I were the LW I would not risk it and use my phone’s data for autostraddle or save it to read it at home. AS doesn’t really have video or audio content, just text content, so it shouldn’t be using that much data.

      Not saying it’s right that they block it in the first place, but this could be awkward and end up hurting the LW’s reputation.

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        But I am saying as an Autostraddle reader it is actually more sexually expliticit than media sites like slate, deadspin, vulture and Quuer news sites like Advocate and Out.

      2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        I’d say so do sites like Slate, and fashion magazines and such, and so it would be interesting to see if those are blocked too or not.

      3. WeGetBetter*

        Hello, fellow lesbian. I too love autostraddle but it’s not a work hill I’m willing to die on.
        There’s definitely too much sexual content for me to feel confident defending it at work as queer content being unfairly targeted or sexualized.
        I think this person should read something else in breaks and get their l-word recapping done at home

        1. Woodswoman*

          Another fellow lesbian here, and I agree. I read it, there’s lots of good content, but there’s also lots (i mean, LOTS) of stuff that is simply NSFW. I think you risk looking out of pace with office norms if you ask for it to be unblocked, because it puts it on the radar. Anyone unfamiliar with it is going to take a look, likely seeing the stuff that definitely meets the qualifications for being screened out on work devices.

      4. Olive*

        I think it’s reasonable that a workplace blocks a website with sex toy reviews, even though that’s not the only content.

        1. Stitch*

          There’s also very frank sex advice on the site, that I found in about ten seconds of browsing.

          Based on LW’s description of the site I would have said go for it, but after conducting my own review of it, I say no.

    13. Sylvan*


      Also, longtime Autostraddle reader here, some of their content isn’t work appropriate. I might check every month or so for weird takes on queer media, but that’s definitely not all that they post.

    14. NotAnotherManager!*

      This. Asking for IT to facilitate personal browsing on the company dime is out of step with our specific company culture. I’d be irritated if someone from my team asked for a non-work-related site to be whitelisted so they didn’t have to use their data plan to browse for personal use during breaks – there is a Starbucks right around the corner with free wifi. I don’t care what the content of the site is, just that it’s not business-related. It’s a waste of IT time when they have so much else to do to keep the actual business running, and my peers in IT would likely grumble to me about someone on my team wasting their time (particularly if word got around and they were inundated with requests, even if 1/3 of the people wanted something unblocked, that’s hundreds of personal unblock tickets).

    15. Lydia*

      Most companies have caveats that if you’re using it for personal use during your breaks, that’s acceptable. Since the OP knows her company best, and knows what’s allowed during down times, let’s assume her letting it be known she reads non-work related stuff on her break would not be the shock everyone seems to think it would be.

    16. Kristina*

      Yeah I agree. Personally, I would never request access to a blocked site at work so that I could read it for fun, regardless of the nature of the site. If I needed access to it for my job, then yes, absolutely. If I just wanted to read it recreationally on a break, I can do that on my phone or at home. And the fact that this site does apparently have some porny content…I dunno, I just wouldn’t. The optics aren’t great and it doesn’t seem worth it to potentially damage your reputation IMO.

    17. Don’t*

      The first thing that popped when I googled it was that safe search was off, and I might get sex content. The first Autostraddle article that came up, (posted thirty minutes ago) was about nipple stimulation. I would read this at home and not approach IT.

  7. janus13*

    Just want to say I feel your pain, LW#3! My workplace content filter blocks Autostraddle too. So rude. I have disconnected my phone from work WiFi altogether because I don’t like being surveilled on a personal device, hopefully something similar is an option for you.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Unfortunately OP says their personal data is pretty limited so that’s probably not an option if they want to spend time browsing while at work.

      1. Lime green Pacer*

        For those with limited data, a workaround is to take screenshots at home, and view / read them when away from home. I do this with info that I need to have accessible when travelling, as I do not have a data plan and cannot rely on finding free, reliable wifi when I need it.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I’d be willing to bet it’s blocked because it contains the word “straddle” and without any regard to what the site actually is.

      1. Wintermute*

        It hosts sex toy reviews and sex-positive pornography-related content. That would pretty well trip the triggers of the web crawlers that the manufacturers of ban lists use.

  8. L'étrangère*

    I have a different concern about the dog. Is it wise to bring a service dog whose job it is to detect anxiety into a job interview at all? Maybe you haven’t had an interview in so long you’ve forgotten how inherently anxiety-producing they are? It’s entirely normal, and not necessarily a bad thing as you want to be really reactive, unusually so.

    But how’re you going to explain that to the dog? And what if the dog correctly perceives your tension and is right there in your lap trying desperately to distract you? What will you do then? How much time and effort will you be forced/willing to expand on calming the dog instead of answering questions? How well trained is this dog, what if you don’t succeed?

    I agree that you should definitely mention a service dog that’ll be constantly in your lap at work, as some accomodations might be needed for others. But I really think you should consider forgoing the dog for the interview itself

    1. WS*

      I’m sure the OP is able to judge her service dog’s abilities herself and knows at what level “normal anxiety” becomes “anxiety serious enough to engage the service dog”.

    2. Gerry Kaey*

      Don’t love how this is essentially asking a disabled person to defend their medical accommodations and then recommend they forgo it. This is a service dog, not some untrained emotional support animal, and I think we should probably trust the LW that their service dog is both necessarily and effective in this circumstance. Being alerted that your anxiety is reaching the tipping point of a panic attack and being able to excuse yourself temporarily is preferable in every conceivable way to having a panic attack during the interview.

    3. onetimethishappened*

      For alot of people anxiety attacks (esp those that would warrant a service dog) will likely land them in the hospital. This dog is specially trained to keep OP from getting to that point. Not only could their health be severely impacted, but they could have mountains of medical bills because of it. OP needs their dog there.

    4. ursula*

      A panic attack mid-interview will be significantly more disruptive. Ask me how I know.

      “How well trained is your service dog” is also not a great question to be asking, and worth a google.

    5. I am Emily's failing memory*

      Debilitating anxiety is not the same as everyday anxiety. I’m sure the dog can tell the difference between ordinary nerves and an impending panic attack, and if he intervenes it’s because LW needs the intervention at that moment more than she needs to try to pretend she’s okay.

    6. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      There are different levels of anxiety. What the dog probably detects is when anxiety gets to be at a specific level that it affects heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. Normal nerves are not going to alert the dog. I’ve seen videos where dogs who are used for anxiety do not alert when the owner is in stressful environments (being kicked out because of said dog) and its not until the owner gets to a specific level of anxiety that the dog reacted.

      You say “how much time will you be calming the dog.” Whether you mean it this way or not, it sounds like you think the dog will be yapping the entire time. Even if the OP does start to have indicators of a panic attack, dogs’ indicators can be extremely subtle. Such as pawing the owners hand, or grabbing their leash. Something that to anyone else is not going to be noticeable. Then the OP can take whatever corrective action they need, such as remembering to breathe, or asking to be excused for a moment. And OP doesn’t need to tell the potential employers why they need the dog. Just that it’s a medical condition. Just like if someone has crutches, a walker, or other medical equipment you would not ask them not to use their equipment for an interview.

      I’m sure the OP can judge what is and is not going to work for them. As others have noted your comments are ableist and you are making a lot of assumptions. I would recommend you educate yourself by finding some of the many wonderful people on Instagram and Youtube who have medical alert dogs and teach the public about what these dogs can do.

  9. Punk*

    LW1: I think you’ll need to be prepared to answer the question of how you’ll sit at a desk and reach your computer/phone with a dog in your lap, which is what one of the interviewer’s immediate concerns is going to be if you interview that way. Are you able to fully use both hands when the dog is in your lap and you’re sitting in a desk chair and leaning toward a monitor (not sitting on your couch) or will you need to continually keep it in place? The lap setup might not be tenable anyway, so it might be best to just avoid the issue and keep it on a leash. It sucks but I think the sling is a no-go at work. Having a dog at everyone else’s eye level is a tough sell.

    1. Roland*

      If OP had the dog in their lap, it would be very obvious that a 20 lb dog does not hamper any usage of a laptop or phone! A 20 lb dog really isn’t that big.

      1. Bit o' Brit*

        My 5lb dog is very capable of hampering laptop usage if he’s sat in my lap and doesn’t want to lay down so he fits under the desk. Granted he’s not a trained service dog, but a 20lb dog also isn’t that small.

        I disagree with Punk, though, I think the sling would be both more manageable and make more of an impression that the service dog isn’t just a pet.

        1. DataSci*

          If the sling says “service animal” like harnesses for larger dogs, sure. If it’s a repurposed baby sling, I think it risks coming off as weird or quirky. (But then I used to live in LA where people would absolutely carry small pet dogs in a baby sling.)

        2. CommanderBanana*

          My 9 lb dog loves to hamper my work when she sits in my lap, but putting her head on my hands while I try to type, licking my hands, or putting her paws on my laptop keyboard.
          I’m sure the LW’s service dog is better behaved, though! Mine takes the view that simply being on the lap is not enough, Mom must also be paying all the attentions all the time.

      2. mreasy*

        I have a very needy 16 pound cat and I can absolutely type, talk in the phone, participate in meetings, etc, with him in my lap when I work from home. Not sure why an undoubtedly calmer and less wiggly trained dog in the office would be any different.

      3. DataSci*

        My 10 lb cat can totally interfere with me using a laptop or a phone! Even when she’s curled up sleeping (so behaving like a well trained dog would) it affects where my arms can go.

      4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I have a 50 pound boxer mix who thinks she’s a lap dog, because she sat in my lap at my desk while I was working every day until she was seven years old. (When I got another dog, I lost custody of the chair to the pups and now I have a standing desk.) Zero hampering here – a dog that wants to be in your lap will figure out what they have to do to not get put down. :P

          1. House on The Rock*

            I just want to say I so appreciate your impulse to clarify this. As a fellow pet lover, anything even approaching the phrase “put down” makes me anxious/sad…and yet it’s so easy to say in the moment!

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I noticed it right as I hit “submit” and was like “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

    2. metadata minion*

      I really hope I would trust that someone using a service animal and applying for a job has figured out how they will do the job with the service animal.

    3. Dee 2*

      I did some practice video interviews with friends and got some good professional friend feedback on my background (plain) my shirt (high neckline) my eye contact (good because I put googly eyes next to the camera) and my nervous ticks (um what can you do um)

      strongly recommend LW gets professional friend feedback on how it looks with dog in different positions

      if you can practice during the same time as day as the interview so the friend can see how wiggly the dog is, that might help too

      *”professional friend” is the friend you go to for professional advice. could also be a friend you pay for advice i.e. a career coach or resume coach or alumni office from college

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        Good point! The sling vs. by LW1’s side debate probably needs to be evaluated in the context of the job. If it is something where LW1 is in motion or on their feet a lot, a small service dog in a sling is potentially much more practical (and less noticeable) than the dog trotting along beside LW1.

        While I am against suggesting anyone with a medical accommodation defend them, I think LW1 explaining how the dog would function with their typical job duties isn’t a “defense”, it is using their accommodation to demonstrate to a potential employer that they are thorough, intuitive, and a strong problem solver, while quelling any unconscious bias they may have regarding a service animal in the work place.

  10. BCC*

    LW1: I’d be prepared with the paperwork documenting your dog’s status as a service dog. Because the dog is a small breed and/or if you do decide to have it in a sling, it might cause several questions on the part of the interviewer about wether the dog is indeed a service dog (vs an emotional support animal which is not entitled to be accommodated in the US).

    1. Another Teacher*

      Just a reminder that service animals don’t need paperwork or registration (or a vest) at least in the US. She should be prepared to answer the question of what tasks the dog is trained to do, though, which is the legally allowed question (along with “is this a service dog?”) I posted a link to the ADA website which has an FAQ about paperwork, but I assume it went to moderation.

  11. Angrytreespirit*

    LW1, I see your concern about your service dog for an interview, but I am way more concerned about what happens if you get the job. Will you be wearing your dog like a baby all day at work? Do you have any plans to adjust this, or how you’ll talk to potential employers about it? I see that as a way bigger issue.

    1. hellohello*

      I presume the LW will keep her dog with her the same way she does every day, and her employers will adjust/provide accommodation where necessary and otherwise go about their business as normal. Just because you think an accommodation looks unusual, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to hamper the LWs work, so I’m not sure why it would be any bigger a problem once she’s hired than it is for the interview.

      1. TechWorker*

        +1 you’d be surprised what people can and should get totally used to once they under the reason for it. I don’t see why this should be different to any other service dog, or other accommodation for disability.

    2. You must be new here*

      Dear AskAManager,

      thanks to your advice and my service dog, I aced my interview. now I work in a workplace where I get my reasonable accommodations as requires under law. but a co-worker says my service dog and I look like I’m carrying a baby says that this is a way bigger issue. how do I tell my coworker that I don’t care what they think I just want to do my job?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Heh, we already had the “my VP of HR says my service dog is too small” letter, where the title pretty much says it all. In the update, the letter writer got a lawyer involved the VP “left for other opportunities.”

    3. CommanderBanana*

      My father had a colleague (now retired) who had a service dog also trained to alert for anxiety. The dog was a small terrier, I think a Yorkshire or Yorkshire mix, and his colleague wore her dog inside of her sweater at work. The dog was so tiny and quiet it was easy to forget she was there, and most people didn’t notice her at all.

    4. theletter*

      Small service dogs that moniter a person’s smell and movements for medical interventions are not that uncommon. A dopamine hit from petting or hugging the dog can be effective for a lot of nervous conditions. If OP says she can work more effectively with the service dog attached to her physically during the day, we should believe her.

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting she doesn’t need the dog at all, we were taking her at her word that attached to her body is “comfortable”, not “this is the only way for dog to be an effective medical alert aide.” If having the dog attached is the only way that works for LW1, they need to be prepared to be upfront with that.

        1. Fellow Service Dog Handler*

          LW1, I am sharing this with you in hopes that it will help you get a job. I have a trained, legitimate service dog for PTSD, and I promise I am not doubting that your service dog is legitimate. If there is any possibility that you can succeed in an interview without your dog, I couldn’t recommend highly enough that you don’t bring them. The sad reality is that disability discrimination is rampant. Smart employers will not admit this, but many prefer not to hire people with mental health disabilities especially. It’s wrong, and it’s illegal, but as long as they know not to say that’s the reason, they consistently get away with this discrimination. Your chances of getting a job are dramatically lowered if you bring a service dog to the interview or otherwise disclose that you have a mental health disability. The discrimination is so rampant that even if there’s a 50% chance of having a panic attack in the interview, you’re better off having a friend wait with your service dog outside the building. Once you get offered the job, you can then let them know that you have a service dog that you’ll need with you at work as a reasonable accommodation. At that point it’s harder for them to get away with reneging on the offer. I’ve gotten the maximum of legally allowed push back from HR at three out of four jobs I’ve had since having a service dog. They asked for all of the documentation they could legally ask for, took weeks reviewing it, and then with palpable annoyance said, fine, have your service dog. Sadly, with most employers, that’s the best case scenario.

          Benzodiazepines such as Ativan are very effective at preventing anxiety for most people. They’re habit forming and not usually advisable to take on a regular basis, but for the occasional job interview, it might be worth asking your doctor about.

    5. Or...*

      Alison gives a script of how to “talk to potential employers about it” right in the answer to the question. As for having plans to “adjust” how LW interacts with their service animal, why is that a consideration? Imagine asking how someone in a wheelchair planned to “adjust” their movements because someone thought the way they navigated a space was an issue!

      Finding an approved accommodation odd is not the LW’s problem to solve (it might be HR’s problem to solve if someone acts inappropriately…).

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        Unfortunately, serious dog allergies and phobias exist which puts OP in the realm of duelling accommodations much moreso than a wheelchair user. “Because it’s unusual” is not a good reason to dissuade OP from doing what works best for her medical needs, but “I freeze around unknown dogs” or “A dog in a lap or sling is at least a foot closer to things that make me have difficulty breathing than I can handle.” are valid concerns as well. OP should be aware of how much, if any, flexibility she has and discuss this before the interview so participants can plan accordingly.

    6. Starbuck*

      Hmm, and why is that? Would you be this concerned if it was a guide dog in a harness? This seems like an unhelpful line of questioning.

  12. Kate, short for Bob*

    LW2 can I just correct the misconception that opiate painkillers get you high? They don’t. You might if you took too high a dose for your needs, but they’re painkillers first and foremost. People with pain aren’t getting high, they’re generally getting more functional.

    There is a separate debate to be had about opiate over-prescribing, but that’s not helped by treating all opiates as if they’re black tar heroin.

  13. nnn*

    #2: It might be too late to implement this, but if for some reason they should bring it up again, it might be effective to act as though you’re completely ignorant of the connotations of 4/20, perhaps even starting with being unaware that “four twenty” means “April 20th”, before we even get into the cannabis-related connotations.

    1. KatEnigma*

      Yep. We got married on 4/20 and I had no clue of “connotations” until I got teased about it.

  14. Philmar*

    Better they think you took 4/20 off to smoke weed than you took it off for Hitler’s birthday…

  15. Boolie*

    #3 I dunno, “straddle”? Might raise an eyebrow or two haha. I feel you OP, it’s a fair question. I wouldn’t ask to unblock it though.

  16. Melissa*

    #3– I wouldn’t ask. I like to read AllNurses, but if it was blocked, I’d let it go. I know you’re talking about reading during your breaks, but I still think the reaction is going to be, “Why is she spending time on this while at work?”

      1. Seashell*

        I think a lot of people’s first reaction is going to be straddle = sexual content that’s inappropriate for work.

        1. Stitch*

          I clicked through the website very quickly and found an article on “bottoming” withing about ten seconds. This is not an entertainment only site.

      2. Wintermute*

        it may or may not be depending on the company– some take “work devices are for work only” more seriously than others.

        It would definitely, however, not be a request that most IT shops would entertain if you have no business case.

  17. WorkStuffOnlyAtWork*

    OP3, the idea of drawing attention to reading non-work materials at work is weird. At most companies using work resources for non-work purposes would at least be frowned upon if not downright forbidden. It can even be a firing offence. Don’t do it.

    1. mreasy*

      No, most companies would not view reading non-work materials during one’s lunch break using the company wifi as a fireable offense. On the clock would be a different story.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Half the IT department is probably sitting there with 18 TVTropes tabs open on break anyway.

      2. Peanut Hamper*

        Yes, this. It’s LW’s break time.

        Honestly, this sycophancy toward the workplace is worrisome attitude to me. Yes, you’re at work. Yes, you’re entitled to breaks. Yes, you are entitled to be a human being, with human interests.

        1. CrazyJob*

          I’d still just use my phone data because just because I’m supposed to be allowed to do something doesn’t mean I will. At least it’s just this (admittedly enjoyable) website and not food or bathroom breaks

        2. L-squared*

          Sure. But what you are allowed to do in the office or on work computers is a bit more grey.

          I tend to always default to management should let more stuff go. However, if giving someone advice, i’d also recommend not calling attention to this either. Its like this, if I want to listen to a sex advice show on my phone on my break, that is my business. If I want to listen to that on a work computer, that is a bit more of a grey area, even if it is on my break.

          I understand that this isn’t something sexual. But my point is, just because something is on a break, doesn’t mean it needs to be unblocked. I know certain companies during march madness block sports streaming sites. But, theoretically, if I’m only using it on my break, that shouldn’t be a problem. But I still wouldn’t ask them to unblock it so I can watch it on my break.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          Being human with interests is fine; asking for the company to provide you access to your leisure content using their network/IT people and on their dime is not the same thing.

          I can’t speak to all companies, but our unblock process is not “someone asked, so just click the button” – the site has to be vetted and ensure that it’s not a source of adware/malware/ransomware or owned by a hostile organization or based in a country known for cyber attacks and that it’s not going to put our network at risk. We have ISO and security certifications required for our business that matter more than if someone can look at a specific website on their breaks.

        4. Wintermute*

          It’s not sycophancy it’s acknowledging reality.

          Yes, most workplaces tolerate some use of their network and devices for non-work-related purposes to a greater or lesser extent. They see it as minimal cost and risk to keep employees happy and productive. But if you’re asking IT to make exceptions to rule lists now you’re asking the business to incur an expense so you can browse the web, and that’s not really a done thing most places. Where I work now requests without a business case are not accepted, period point blank.

      3. Maree*

        I don’t know how to quantify ‘most’ companies but I know at my current company (not for profit) and my last company (national supermarket chain) personal use of wi-fi/computers was not allowed under any circumstances. I can’t even use my work computer to do my banking or access my personal calendar. I certainly can’t browse AAM, Slate, Cosmo or any of the other examples given above. I can use my personal device, with my own data to do these things on my break only.

      4. Totally Minnie*

        Where I work, the rules about what you can access when your personal device is connected to the office wi-fi are the exact same rules about what you can access using your work computer, and since we’re state government, it’s pretty strict.

    2. Punk*

      It’s probably blocking the site from her personal phone, which means she can’t read what she wants during lunch on her own device.

      1. doreen*

        Probably – but apparently only if her phone is connected to the office wifi, since she says she could use her phone’s data plan.

  18. VacationRulesChange*

    OP5, be aware that vacation/time off policies change all the time and every single time I’ve negotiated some additional PTO it eventually backfired for this reason. I once took a job that started people at 3 weeks vacation then expanded to 5 weeks after X years. The salary offer was low and I negotiated getting 5 weeks from the start in lieu of more pay. I found out later they adjusted everyone’s vacation time, removing the extra benefit I negotiated in lieu of salary. Companies have also done things like removing rollover capabilities, moving to “unlimited” vacation (which means no pay for unused vacation and no use it or lose it to force bosses to let you take some of your time). So if you really want the extra time, go for it, but be aware that company policies may negate it later on. It’s much harder/less acceptable to decrease a salary once it’s in place (it can still happen, of course), and similar.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      “I found out later they adjusted everyone’s vacation time, removing the extra benefit I negotiated in lieu of salary.”
      This is a very strange sentence to me. They didn’t reduce your PTO, right? They just changed it so everyone got it. That’s no skin off your nose surely? Unless you were negotiating specifically to have more PTO than your colleagues, rather than having five weeks of PTO because you need that much to recover from working?

      1. doreen*

        They weren’t specifically negotiating to have more PTO than the coworkers – but if I gave up the equivalent of 2 weeks pay in my salary to get two additional weeks of vacation, I would be annoyed if they later gave everyone the extra 2 weeks vacation and didn’t give me the two weeks pay.

      2. Expelliarmus*

        It sounds like they negotiated to have more PTO than initially offered in exchange for having a lower salary, so now that everyone’s vacation time got adjusted, this person’s doesn’t reap any of the intended benefits, and in fact is worse off because of the lower salary.

      3. Silver Robin*

        It effectively means that OP got a cut to their compensation. If your colleagues are making X with 3 weeks vacation, it can feel equitable to be making $LessX but with 5 weeks vacation. If the company then gives everyone 5 weeks, now you are just paid less than your colleagues for the same work, the overall compensation does not balance out.

      4. Wintermute*

        this stuck out to me too, it’s a very minor example but I’m glad you called it out because it’s a classic example of of the “crabs in a bucket” mentality that is crippling society– no one wants anyone else to advance if it would mean they get what someone else has unless that someone else is compensated. You could apply the same argument to insurance “I sacrificed pay or other benefits to pick an employer with the best insurance, why should everyone else get public health insurance better than what I sacrificed for? who’s going to pay me back?!” “I paid my student loans why should they forgive yours, are they going to pay me? [forgetting that in many cases yes, the proposal would pay you back]” “I had to put up with no vacation for a year when I was hired, why do new hires get time off? are you going to give me more time off?” and so on.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Eh, at least on the last point, I think it would be fair to ask for an increase in vacation time if for some reason when you started you were on a much worse accrual plan. Like if you started with 0, got 1 week after year 1, 2 after 2 and so on and new hires start out at 1 and get 1.25 weeks, I don’t think it is wrong to say “Hey, when Bob is a 3rd year, he will have 3.75 weeks vacation and I am a 3rd year and only have 3 weeks vacation, I would like to be bumped up to 3.75 weeks.” The wrong thing to do is to say “Bob shouldn’t get 1 week vacation because I got 0 weeks vacation when I started”

        2. Burger Bob*

          I think it’s different. This isn’t saying the other coworkers shouldn’t receive additional vacation. But if you agreed to take less pay in exchange for more time off than is normally offered, you would like to, you know, have more time off than is normally offered, which is not what wound up happening here. VacationRulesChange wound up with the same amount of time off as everyone else after the adjustment but still was making less money. If they had negotiated for a higher salary with the usual time off, they would have received the increased time off later right along with everyone else AND would have had the higher salary they negotiated for. The way it worked out, the negotiation did not result in an overall benefit. They are now just being paid less, plain and simple.

          1. Wintermute*

            except opportunity cost is real, they had years of extra benefits, when you negotiate for something it’s not “I will always have more of this, perpetually”, I could negotiate a higher pay rate and if a co-worker has larger merit increases than I do or larger bonuses they might end up with a larger salary, that doesn’t negate my negotiation’s value.

    2. Ho-ho-holey hose*

      I mean this can be true but absolutely isn’t always the case. Both myself and my partner have successfully negotiated PTO and had it make a lasting difference. He recently had a coffee with a co-worker of several years at the same company who had never negotiated PTO and was still stuck at an incredibly low level. Whereas my partner has already even seen the one ‘standard’ bump to his vacation that everyone gets on top of his negotiated extra.

  19. Fido*

    Wow I’m really disappointed in this community right now. We have to take LW at their word that their dog is a properly trained service dog and not an emotional support dog and service dogs come in all sorts of breeds. I met a person once who had a yorkie as a service dog. They carried it around.

    LW should give a heads up for sure, just so the interviewers are prepared and if they need to make changes to who interviews. That’s the kind thing to do.

    I love dogs. I have three. I also treat service dogs completely differently than regular dogs and internally might go “what a cute and good doggo for helping their owner” and move on. That’s the mature thing to do.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I believe there are two, maybe three, commenters expressing doubt about the need for a service dog, far from the whole community.

      1. something about sharks*

        I’ve seen at least six comments questioning whether the LW really needs the dog, whether the dog is actually trained, whether having the dog close to them is an accommodation they should be given, whether this is actually an emotional support animal, one straight-up accusing the LW of passing off their ESA as a service animal…compared to the 200 comments (at time of typing this), it’s not everyone by a long shot, but it feels like a lot, and it’s jarring to see in a place that’s usually pretty good about disability accommodations. Especially since the some of the initial comments are followed by people chiming in to say “yeah, I wondered if it was an ESA too”, which makes it feel like more than it is even if that statement is followed by “but I don’t want to question the LW”.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I agree that anyone who is forming a comment right now that doesn’t lead with the assumption that OP knows best what they need and what will help them the most should … not post that comment here today.

      1. L-squared*

        Right. But there have definitely been times where someone didn’t like what I said so they did the “That is unkind. Alison please delete this”, and it stayed up because there was no rule breaking. People tend to want things deleted that they just don’t like.

    3. Melewen*

      Not all these questions are judging LW for having a service dog, and calling them out for seemingly reasonable questions feels unkind to me. If they are coming from a wrong premise, then provide the correct information, but they don’t need to be scolded for not knowing everything and asking questions. Many are pointing out questions or thoughts the interviewers themselves might have. Bringing up these points here, in a safer space, gives LW a chance to think about how she’d respond to them if asked at her interview.

      Most commentators here are very understanding about service animals, but we’re not the ones conducting the interview. What WE think professionalism should look like, and what her interviewers think it should look like might be vastly different. That might not be fair, but it’s the world we live in and have to navigate regardless. LW has asked about keeping the focus on her instead of the dog, and these questions are good information for her in figuring that out.

    4. Totally Minnie*

      I had a regular customer at one point whose service dog was a chihuahua. Her job was to alert her human to changes in blood sugar. I saw her go into action once, and she was very good at her job. Human was able to take her medication and prevent a potentially hospital worthy medical episode.

      Different medical needs mean different breeds/sizes of service animals, and may mean a setup other than dog on a leash walking alongside their human. We need to trust the LW that she and her service dog trainer have come up with the plan that will best address her medical needs.

    5. Feral Humanist*

      On the other hand, I suppose the comments are, themselves, good data for the LW to have when considering the range of reactions they might encounter with their service dog and how they want to handle it.

      A dog that is trained to stop a severe panic attack is clearly a service dog. Anyone who doesn’t consider a panic attack a medical emergency has clearly never had a panic attack!

  20. Rachel*

    Service animal: I would consider going back to the trainer to discuss how to use your service animal the most effectively for everybody.

    Service dogs are trained by people who are experts in dog training and can probably teach both you and the dog to meet your medical needs without being in a sling.

    I suspect a lot of people are going to respond to this by saying it shouldn’t matter if the dog is in a sling, other people need to get used to this accommodation. I would like to gently push back against that. Wearing a dog in a baby sling puts the dog at face level, or close to face level, with other humans. This is not a natural way for humans to interact with dogs. Of course many people can adjust and adapt, but if anybody has an issue with dogs, having the dog at eye level will make it so much more difficult.

    Service dogs in offices can be tricky, there have been a lot of letters here about them. The LW would be making it easier on themselves to transition to leash led. The transition will be really hard for the LW, but service dogs are so well trained by professionals that the dog will probably adjust quickly.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      This is the sort of unusual that comes across one way when Susan, whom you know well, is going to start using a service animal, and the whole office will learn together how to interact with it, vs some new person who you know not at all arrives with a service animal (which is unusual) in a sling (which is almost unheard of) and so it becomes the main thing they register about you.

      OP is right to look for ways to make this appear more boring.

      1. Rachel*

        Workplaces are not dipped in amber. Even if everybody the LW interacts with at the interview and starting the job are fine with this, new people can be hired who have dog phobia/allergy. There are workarounds to this, but if the LW is coming from a place of wearing their dog, those workarounds are going to feel a lot more difficult.

        I feel for this LW because they have been out of the work force for 3 years and have such an excellent support system in this dog. I understand not wanting to upset the apple cart.

        But I think the LW would benefit from zooming out on this just a bit, this is not just them with their dog going to work. This is them with their dog entering an ecosystem, entering a group of people, and the LW cannot go in thinking “I do what is best/easiest for my anxiety, period, the end.”

    2. doreen*

      Problem is that some service dogs need to be near the face to smell the owner’s breath – and I think this is the case in at least some dogs trained to alert to panic attacks.

      1. Rachel*

        Like any other medical issue, I think second opinions or different trainers could be really beneficial to see if there is an alternative for the LW.

        I don’t think wearing the dog in a baby sling as a default is the best move for the LW professionally and getting some more options would help the LW be more flexible.

        1. Betty Flintstone*

          I agree. Depending on the industry where OP is applying, this could be a show stopper. I work in financial services and regularly meet with senior execs and regulators. Wearing a dog in a baby sling would go over like a lead balloon. Hopefully OP is not in a customer facing role, because that’s another area where I don’t see this working out. If she needs the dog on her lap or in a sling, I would suggest exploring roles where that should be easy enough to accommodate- remote jobs, call centers, etc.

          1. Jojo*

            Imagine saying “Using mobility aids would go over like a lead balloon” to someone who needs mobility aids. And then tell them that they must limit their job choices to remote jobs and call centers.

            LW, I would recommend that you give a heads up beforehand that you will be accompanied by your service dog. If that causes problems, it will give you useful information that you might want to factor in if you do get a job offer.

            1. Rachel*

              I think the LW absolutely has every right to have their dog leashed with them at the interview.

              I do not advise the LW to wear the dog in a baby sling during the interview.

              Two VERY different things.

    3. Empress Matilda*

      I imagine “how the dog works most effectively” is part of the training for both the dog and the owner – I don’t think there’s any need to go back to the trainer for that part!

      But I do think it’s worth asking the trainer for advice on how to prepare the interviewers for the dog. This situation is new for the OP, but it’s almost certainly not new for the trainer – I’m sure they would have great examples of language the OP can use, and might even be willing to help them practice that part.

      Good luck, OP!

  21. Keymaster of Gozer*

    3. Best way to word any request to us in IT is be as to the point, factual and plain as possible.

    When a request to put a site on the ‘let through the blocks’ list comes in we usually check the website (on a computer completely isolated from the rest of the network because safety) to see if it’s malicious, offensive, illegal, nsfw, contains nasty little viruses et al and if that all comes back clear we’ll check to make sure it’s not against the IT Acceptable Use Policy to allow access.

    An LGBTQ tv review site would go through those checks with flying colours here.

    Basically, as long as it doesn’t pose a threat to the network I doubt they’ll mind. Simple “Please allow access to website (full URL). This is a media review site” would work.

    1. Flipperty*

      It’s a sexually explicit site. It wouldn’t pass any checks that ban nsfw stuff. It would be fine for my workplace, but not I suspect for most.

  22. Pierrot*

    LW1, I think that you should at least bring a leash to this interview. I totally get that your service dog is better able to perform his job when he’s on your lap, but I think that bringing him into an office in a sling and then having him unleashed on your lap might raise questions and distract the interviewer from your qualifications. While your dog is a service dog who is trained to stay put when he’s not on a leash, I think that someone meeting you for the first time might be concerned that the dog will leave your lap during the interview since he is not tethered by anything. Additionally, if you carry him using a sling when you’re on the move, the interviewer might wonder things like how are you going to take the dog outside to use the bathroom, etc. Obviously you know your dogs needs, but unfortunately I think that some interviewers might fixate on these things.

    I also think that if you go the sling/lap route, might need to prepare for some questions about how your service dog might affect your ability to do certain things like attend meetings with clients (I am not sure if these questions are legal). I’m curious about the type of jobs that you’re applying to because that might impact the way that this is received. If you will be working from home 100% of the time, the interviewer might be less concerned about how to accommodate than if the role is in person.

    It sucks that there is this stigma surrounding service animals, but unfortunately I think that this issue might come up due to the unorthodox nature of how your dog performs his role. I am curious to see what people who bring service dogs to the office will say about this, as they’ve potentially navigated those issues before.

    1. Just Another Fed*

      (I am not sure if these questions are legal).

      They are extremely not. Asking for any form of documentation would also be flatly illegal.

      1. Pierrot*

        I get that the documentation part would not be legal and it definitely makes sense that the more probing questions would not be either. I guess I am just wondering when that conversation would come up and how the ADA’s reasonable accommodations/undue hardship provision impacts or puts limitations on service animals. I believe that in prior discussions of the ADA, Allison has brought up some exceptions and grey area in regards to employers/potential employers asking a candidate about the specific duties of their job. I don’t remember if she stated that these questions have to come after hiring someone as opposed to during an interview.

        But yeah, to echo what Eldritch said, my advice was more about preparing for these questions to come up whether or not they are legal- more along the lines of, does LW want to answer them regardless to resolve any confusion? Or do they want to deflect or shut the questions down?

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      This is actually thoughtful advice, thank you. I will say no, those questions aren’t legal, but they may come up anyway, so OP should be prepared to shut them down.

      1. IllegalDoesntMeanItDoesntHappen*

        just because a question is illegal doesn’t mean it won’t be asked. I’ve been asked illegal questions quite a few times.

  23. English Rose*

    LW2 – I just want to say that given how amusing and entertaining your description of yourself is, I find it difficult to believe you are as boring as you say you are!

    1. Ginger Baker*

      I definitely came away from LW2’s letter both amused (although the actual situation I would also be pretty frustrated with!) and very happy that LW2 has found a workplace that (prior to this one random blip) seems to be SO very well suited for them! It’s nice to feel like you’re in an environment where you fit perfectly, and while “boringest squarest work environment” clearly isn’t the right match for everyone, it sounds like it fits LW2 exactly. <3

      1. LW 2 "The Square"*

        Very much agreed. I’m delighted with my job and how well I fit in, and hopefully this is an aberration and not the start of a trend. My team and my boss have been under quite a bit of pressure lately, and I suppose it isn’t beyond the pale to think that someone might turn to substances to make it manageable. I’m just not that someone!

        1. Chutney Jitney*

          Ooh, maybe your boss is projecting? *He* is under a lot of pressure, so he’s suddenly worried that *you* are under too much pressure for you to handle. Maybe you should ask if he is okay, you’re worried about this out of character behavior from him assuming the worst about you.

    2. LW 4 "The Square"*

      Thank you! I do enjoy a well-crafted bit of prose, and I was hoping for a laugh as well as a suitable description of how incredibly out of character my boss’s fantasy version of me is.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          yeah, you’re really not that square, you gave us a good laugh! You sir, have no need of a spliff!

          1. Kit*

            Me too – you may choose not to partake in mood-altering substances, sir, but you’re hardly stodgy! Given your writing style – and the fact that you were clearly willing to laugh at how very un-stoner-ish you are – you have no need to worry that addressing this with your boss will make it look like you can’t a joke. :)

  24. Hiring Mgr*

    I would absolutely mention the dog prior to the interview. If this is LW’s first interview in at least three years, they will probably be nervous/rusty enough already. I wouldn’t want to add to that by having to worry about reactions from the interviewers.

  25. Falling Diphthong*

    OP2, I also am an extremely square and unexciting person who, on 4/20, was down with a 24-hour virus that gave me a sore throat and cough and general crappiness. We are legion.

    I would try to explain to your boss, very calmly and simply, that you’re perplexed by his talk about drugs because you just had a cold. You will probably have a cold again.

    (I internet-knew someone who blew an interview by insisting that the manager with a cold had clearly been indulging in too much weed, har har har, yet no one laughed, so he doubled down on the joke. So apparently it can produce the same symptoms.)

    1. LW 2 "The Square"*

      I am glad to be in such good company! And I’m shuddering for your internet friend. How dreadful – I suppose pleading interview nerves wouldn’t have saved that one.

  26. Seeking Second Childhood*

    LW1, I see a third option not yet mentioned. Could you have the dog sit next to you, on the same chair or a nearby one?

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      I like that idea, especially if the chair is wide enough for both LW and service dog to sit side by side.

    2. Seashell*

      I like dogs, but I think a lot of people might be put off by having a dog using an office chair. The paws might be dirty from going outside, fur may be shed, etc.

  27. Megan C.*

    LW2, I agree, your boss is being really weird! I fall into the “square but culturally savvy” category and it still wouldn’t cross my mind that someone actually called out on 04/20 to get high, especially given your personality as described.

    I think it would be worth it to say to him that it’s been really bothering you that he has the impression you called out sick for such a frivolous reason and that you would never do that. I might even say something like “Given what you know about me, do you really think I would do that?”

    I hope he sees he’s being silly and erases it from his mind.

  28. Aspiring Great Manager*

    LW3 – Really don’t do it. Workplaces will turn a blind eye to people doing some personal business during breaks, like checking your bank account or reading the newspaper. If it was your bank that was blocked, absolutely this would be very reasonable. But for a publication that is not related to your work, there is really no work-related justification and it’s likely to get to your manager as ‘why is she doing this with her time at work?’ Surely you have other things you can read during your breaks, just read this publication when you’re home at a place with free wifi.

    LW4 – People talk, even if you put this in your application and talk to the hiring manager, there is usually more people involved in the selection and at least one will likely say something innocuous and boom. If you do apply, just know your company will find out and plan accordingly. Maybe instead of doing this on the sly, you talk to the people connected to both and say that you something interesting and see what they say. They may say themselves hey you might be good at that! then you can say that while you’re happy where you are (even if this is a little white lie), you could give it a go, and see how they react. That may be more helpful in the long run.

  29. Hiring Mgr*

    I would probably not ask to have autostraddle unblocked. Taking a quick look at the site, there’s definitely some sexual content. I’d just use your phone if you want to access during work.

  30. kiki*

    But I guess an altered voice is also a potential indicator of having smoked?
    I know that protesting too vigorously just reinforces an impression of guilt

    This is always something that frustrates me because protesting vigorously and being observably anxious is also a pretty common reaction to being accused of something you would never do. Especially if you’re not fully comfortable in the social situation or caught of guard. I know there are, like, masterclasses in detecting lies or whatever, but haven’t most studies shown people are really bad at detecting lies, especially in people they don’t know super well? As someone who is anxious (working on it) it frustrates that my anxiety makes me look guilty sometimes.

    1. Francie Foxglove*

      Ugh, that was always my downfall as a kid surrounded by adults. I was so used to dire consequences for the tiniest misstep, one reprimand would send me into a panic. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! I won’t do it again I swear!” Which only made the adults more paranoid: “What *else* has she done that we don’t know about yet?”

      As far as LW2’s boss, he may think he’s “teasing”, and that anyone listening should know it’s a joke because LW2 is so square. Unfortunately, that kind of “teasing” can have very unfunny results. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one letter here from someone who was being “teased” about having an affair, which also couldn’t have been further from the truth, but other people still took the “joke” at face value.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        yup that has definitely happened to me, everyone was convinced I was banging a friend of my partner’s behind his back because of an off-colour joke someone else made.

    2. Jessica Fletcher*

      It reminds me of that episode of The Office where Dwight finds half a joint and interrogates everyone. Jim turns it around on him, implying that Dwight must be a pothead if he knows all the effects to look for.

  31. Doc McCrakin*

    LW1- I hope this interview goes really well for you! My concern is purely an ergonomics one as a Chiropractor. I often see patients that are really hurting because items like baby slings and backpacks are not fitting well. If you are using a repurposed baby sling or something similar, check your straps to make sure they are tight enough. The sling shouldn’t shift or move when you or your service dog move around. Since a new job will likely change how much you’re moving around versus staying stationary, you may find it helpful to start experimenting now with different set ups at home. Being able to switch easily to different positions that work for you and your service dog can really help with body aches and discomfort while your body acclimates to your new job.

  32. Fieldpoppy*

    LW with the service dog, while I think some commenters are *inappropriately* expressing scepticism about your service dog, I think it’s reasonable to consider that interviewers might share some of the same kinds of unkind questions. (And ask illegal questions about it). I think the more you can do to offset some of the questions in advance, the smoother it will be. E.g., “I have a small service dog that needs to accompany me everywhere, he usually sits in my lap. Will that be an issue for allergies or anything like that?” I.e., make the way the dog interacts seem a) normal and b) unsurprising, but check in on whether it will be a (reasonable) issue for the interview.

    Good luck with the job search — I’m glad you are getting what you need from your doggo.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      This is great advice. Minimize the surprise and let the interviewer prepare for any potential distraction.

    2. Doc McCrakin*

      This advice here is very practical and will probably avoid the most landmines unless you’re being interviewed by unaware idiots. If that’s the case, run and don’t look back!

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        +1 if you’re going to be bringing your dog to the office, best to know up front if they are going to be problematic about it.

        1. NB*

          Yes! and best for them to know if they have other staff who have dog anxiety or allergies. Better to be informed on both sides.

        2. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Agreed. Also, for someone with anxiety issues, there is no reason to risk going into the interview only to have someone start having breathing problem and end up setting up some half Zoom interview on the fly.

          LW1, you are going to be at YOUR best if you are confident that the people you are sitting in front of you understand that your dog is a necessary medical aid and that you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent your medical aid from overshadowing your ability to assess if the job is a good fit for you. Because that is the thing, a distracted interviewer is not going to give YOU the best indication of whether you want the job.

          1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

            *I meant, “as someone with anxiety issues”. I have anxiety issues as well and they get compounded when things become frazzled. No need to add to the normal stress of an interview the stress of last minute changes.

    3. Kez*

      As a service dog handler, I think this advice is absolutely spot-on and provides an option which is both forthright about what you need (rather than asking or presuming you need permission to access a medical necessity) while also being conscientious that some people might have questions or confusion because your set-up isn’t what they imagined in their head when they heard “service dog”.

      My service dog is pretty big, so I actually am more often running into the folks who are skeptical or fearful because he is bigger than they expected when they heard I have a service dog. I wouldn’t spend all my time writing up notices in advance of going about daily business, but for something like an interview where I really want people to be focused on me as a candidate, the heads up can clear away some of the initial hesitation or questions without taking up the limited time we have to make a good impression.

      I will say that based on how you describe your sling set up (especially it being a repurposed sling intended for children) I would recommend having your dog walk in with you on a lead and then be lifted/jump onto your lap when you’re sitting. That way you’re demonstrating that the dog is trained and can control themselves even while not being held, and you avoid any unconscious association in the interviewers’ heads between you and a sort of motherly/casual look. You want to be wearing appropriate interview wear, and a sling could potentially distract from your overall presentation.

      I hope to hear an update someday that things went well and you’re settling into a great new job with your dog working alongside you in the most effective setup for your needs. It can be difficult dealing with all the unsolicited opinions about service dog work and the scrutiny that comes with that. You sound like you’ve figured out a system that works well for you, and I hope that after the initial nerves of setting a first impression, you’re able to enjoy all the benefits that come from working with the accommodations that suit your needs!

  33. sagc*

    man, lots of commenters who apparently have jobs where reading things on their breaks is some sort of offense. Must not be fun to spend your breaks… staring at a wall? Continuing to work? Very weird comment section today.

    1. High Score!*

      I use my data plan on my phone to read things on my breaks. Before I had unlimited data, I’d download reading material before going to the office. We’re not supposed to use company equipment for personal stuff but they will look the other way BUT I don’t want to share my personal interests with my employer.

    2. L-squared*

      I don’t think thats it at all. But most people have phones, which they can use. Their are books, magazines, newspapers available. There is also a big internet that ISN’T blocked,

      Also, there is a difference between staring at a wall, and asking IT to unblock a site with a questionable name.

      Put it this way, I browse ESPN on my breaks at work. If it was blocked, I also don’t know that I’d ask them to unblock it because there is never an actual work need, so all its doing is calling attention to what I’m doing on my work computer that isn’t work.

      1. Roland*

        A lot of comments are specifically saying “don’t ask for an unblock because work wifi should never be used for anything fun” though, and not getting into whether the site itself is too nsfw or not.

    3. No Tribble At All*

      I think it’s more the “assuming everything I’d want to read on my personal time is something I should put on my work computer”

      I read Ask a Manager on my work computer. I don’t at all have my phone connected to the work wifi.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yes, this. I subscribe to industry specific things that I can read when I need a brain break, and I’ll defend reading AAM during the work day to my grave. Everything else is on my phone and off the wifi. Or I bring a book.

        I understand that there’s a privilege to having disposable data and being somewhere with service, but there’s still a need for discretion on your work devices and wifi.

        1. I Have RBF*

          This is where I stand. I will read AAM and Hacker News on my work computer even on the VPN (I’m in tech.) I keep all of my gaming and fiction on my phone or tablet. I would argue, if necessary, that AAM is work related, because there have been things I’ve read on here that I have applied to my own work life, and it helps me stay tuned in to professional norms.

    4. Hiring Mgr*

      The LW can read on breaks, just not this website since it’s currently blocked. Not looking at sexual content at work is pretty standard!

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Have you looked at that site? Just because it’s a site directed at the LQBTQ community does NOT mean that is sexual content.

        This is the type of stereotype that should be broken.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          Yes, i did look at it.. There’s a whole “Love and Sex” tab which includes things like sex toys, NSFW Sunday. Personally I couldn’t care less but not sure LW wants to go there with their IT people.

          1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

            then should things like Cosmopolitan be blocked too because, according to their own website, they are “your source for the latest sex tips, celebrity news,….”
            I bet that site isn’t blocked.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              You might be right – I don’t know what goes into deciding how certain sites are blocked.

              But either way I don’t think that’s relevant in this situation- the LW is asking about requesting to have this one particular site unblocked. In my mind none of this is really that big of a deal, it’s more does LW want to potentially be known for this at work

            2. Green Tea*

              It can be a lot more random than what you might be thinking. I once tried to read a Captain Awkward post on relationship advice that must have somehow crossed a line, but that was blocked on my work computer for ‘containing pornographic content.’

        2. Flipperty*

          But it IS sexual content. No one is making assumptions that GLBT=sexual. This specific website has sexually explicit nsfw content. It literally has an entire section labelled nsfw with sexually explicit content.

      2. LW3*

        Indeed! I have no intention of reading anything sexual; I have no problem waiting to read those articles later. Responding to people above you: I’m not talking about reading on my work computer, I’m talking about using the work wifi on my phone.

        1. GreenShoes*

          I responded upthread similarly but I think there are a couple of things going on. This site isn’t like reading “Readers Digest” for the tv show recaps. That being said, although I haven’t been to the site myself, based on descriptions here it does sound like a Cosmo equivalent site vs. Playboy. So I’ll assume your site would be at home in magazine form at a grocery store checkout stand. However after another poster mentioned Cosmo is blocked on their work site I also checked and it’s blocked on mine as well. I am not bothered by Cosmo being blocked at work even if I was at one point a regular reader of the magazine.

          So I think that maybe the LGBT angle may be a red herring (although it may not be in your case if say you can access Cosmo at work).

          I think it comes down to using your own data plan to read on a personal device or find other things to read at work on the company controlled wifi. You certainly can make the request to get it whitelisted, but I don’t think I’d really want to have to explain to anyone why I’m asking them to do more work for me to read Cosmo on my break. There are just other things I want to be known for professionally :)

        2. Stitch*

          The problem is if the website also includes NSFW content saying “I’ll just read those later” generally won’t cut it.

          I browsed the website on a personal device and did come across some non work friendly content. When I Google it “Love + Sex” was one of the first sub results and it did include columns that were sex and not relationship specific. If I got there within 15 seconds, IT will too.

        3. Flipperty*

          Do you really want to make “my company should let me use their WiFi to read a sexually explicit website at work during breaks” your hill to die on?

        4. Umiel*

          I really don’t recommend asking to have this site unblocked. I’ve worked in IT, and I am in management. Everyone looks at non-work-related sites during the work day, but it is generally considered poor form to draw attention to it. You may be doing it on your personal phone, but you are still using company resources by using their Wi-Fi.
          Regarding this site specifically, there is NSFW content on the site whether you choose to look at it or not. It will come across as unprofessional to make a formal request to unblock a site that has any NSFW content on it, especially considering it has nothing to do with work.

    5. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      What I find weird is the notion that there are no leisure activities you can indulge in when on your break from work other than reading websites and staring at walls! I always have a book in my bag, and some sudoku printouts, and then there’s this thing called conversation, which admittedly does require some input from other people.

      1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

        Your comment doesnt seem very helpful. For one thing “theres this thing called conversation” Well guess what sometimes people dont want to talk. At old job, thats all I did. for 8 hours every day I talked on the phone. we were a busy call center and so there was very few times we had down time. I didn’t want to talk when on my breaks. I wanted to read some stupid stuff to give myself a break at listening to customers yell at me because their bill went up by 80 cents because of tax .

        1. Nancy*

          It was one of several suggestions for things to do other than read one specific website that is blocked from work wifi for having NSFW content.

    6. Totally Minnie*

      My workplace has pretty strict internet rules, so I generally have a book/audiobook/podcast downloaded to my phone in advance, and I keep a book of fill in puzzles in my desk drawer. I spend most of my breaks listening to a book or podcast and doing puzzles.

    7. This Old House*

      No one expects you to spend your break staring at a wall. It’s more that work has no obligation to provide you with anything to do on your break, and it feels like that’s what’s being asked for. If I forget my book, I wouldn’t go ask my boss for something fun to read at lunch.

      That said, if this is truly a SFW site (there seem to be some disagreements on that) that is only being blocked because of LGBT content, I would think there’s a little more standing to raise it based on that.

  34. High Score!*

    LW4 : It has always bothered how people believe that “substance abuse = fun”. “No beer, what a boring party” OR “Wooo! 4/20 party! And with jello shots too!”. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to not be able to have any fun without drugs or alcohol??? And I sympathize, it makes it tough to find friends at any age.

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      I see your point, but I don’t think having a beer or two or a little weed is substance abuse

      1. L. Bennett*

        Agreed – I feel like this comment has a lot of unnecessary moral judgments about people who choose to drink alcohol or use pot. If you don’t, that’s cool, but it can just be “I choose not to partake” as opposed to “I choose not to abuse substances like some of these lesser, dumber people in society who can’t have fun without the demon alcohol.”

      2. metadata minion*

        Ditto. I actually also avoid most drugs including alcohol, but I’m fully in favor of people enjoying them in a responsible manner (just don’t smoke around me. anything. seriously stop guys.). The light inhibition and friendliness a drink or two causes in some people sounds awesome; sadly, in me it causes grumpiness and a completely unenjoyable fuzzy brain.

    2. E*

      And it’s always bothered me when people think that because you have a beer or two while hanging out with friends, you must be dumb and boring and totally incapable of doing anything without involving alcohol and drugs.

    3. spcepickle*

      I agree! I don’t like being around drunk / high people, and yes I understand that a beer or two is not drunk or substance abuse – I do find it more fun to hang with other sober people.
      But it awkward to ask co-workers – want to go grab a non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic boba after work this week? When asking them for happy hour would be within the cultural norm.

      I also took just 4/20 off this year, and spent a brief moment wondering about the optics – I had a friend come in from out of town and that was the day she could hang out – we went to a water park to play on the slides (two 40 year old professional women), it was great fun.

      High Score if you ever want to hang let me know!

  35. Spicy Tuna*

    For the service dog, please mention that you are bringing it to the interview! That way, your interviewers are prepared. People get distracted by animals. My internet was out and I had a 4 hour Zoom scheduled with the C-suite at work. I took the call from the animal shelter where I volunteer. I was in a storage closet but since it wasn’t my usual home office, the participants were curious. When I said I was at the animal shelter, they asked me to show them some cats. Multiple times!

    Regarding the website access, I wouldn’t spend the capital on something that wasn’t really critical to your job. JMO. I once kept getting an email returned to me because either my company’s or the recipient company’s blocking software didn’t like the word “hirsute”. It got bounced back multiple times and I just gave up and used the word hairy

  36. Long Time Fed*

    What should be appropriate/accepted isn’t necessarily what is either of those things. Optics are important during an initial interview and unconscious bias can affect someone’s chances of employment. Why take the risk by baby-wearing a dog or having it on your lap unless your health will truly be affected by not doing that?

  37. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    I don’t really understand managers like the one in letter #2. I have managed many employees in my day, and I certainly had my own private ideas from time to time about why someone called out, but officially, employees are to be treated as trustworthy unless shown otherwise.

    To accuse someone of drug use without a shred of evidence is a serious matter and possibly even actionable. Boss needs to go back for some very remedial training. I would hate to see this man conduct a sexual harassment of any other kind of investigation of his employees. His lack of understanding of basic logic would be a massive liability to the company.

  38. Z*

    #3, I had to get our IT to unblock, which might have been embarrassing but would have been significantly more embarrassing if I had had to explain certain words/phrases to my boss. I already had to explain “tig ole bitties” to him…I live in fear of the day when I have to explain “the shocker.”

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Oh god I have had to explain stuff like that to my older bosses at several jobs. Even if they just hear it at the water cooler or in a tv show or an article and repeat it or ask about it…this stuff comes up more than you’d think. Be very glad you haven’t run into it. It’s not comfortable.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Yep. Been there, done that.

          Sometimes it’s a lot easier to just send them a link and let them connect the dots than to try to explain it to them.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Not that I’ve had to explain that particular expression to anyone, but I often use for my work. I’m a translator, and I translate all sorts of stuff, ranging from dating apps to blurb about fashion. For the fashionistas, I often end up sending them the definition of “badass” because I’ll use it in their texts and they systematically get back to me asking me to use a different word because “badass” is obviously an insult.

        1. Capybarely*

          There are multiple comedians with routines about the many contradictory connotations for ass (badass vs half-ass vs piece of)! I don’t want to assume English is unique in this, but it sure is notable how flexible some words can be. And I can imagine that if a translation client was familiar with only one aspect of a word’s nuance, you’d need a LOT of NSFW clarifiers!

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Back in the say, we were doing a research project that required us to ask that IT unblock actual porn sites – someone in the adult industry was buying up domains that contained a client’s company name and putting up porn sites (kind of like how used to be a porn site; the actual White House site was We had to check them, make a list of the URLs of the sites and a brief, non-explicit description of contents, and, on occasion, take a screen print to demonstrate what was being done with our client’s name/marks.

      That was fun to explain.

  39. Concerned*

    Asking for forgiveness if anyone is offended, but is it really fair to a dog to keep him in a baby sling on your chest for long periods of time? Is that healthy for an animal?

      1. Boolie*

        Of course it is…doesn’t mean LW can do something that hurts the dog. Not saying it does hurt the dog, nor that LW doesn’t care if the dog is hurt. But Concerned seems to be aware that baby slinging is obviously for the LW and not the dog…

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It sounds like that’s more of a transportation thing, and the dog is typically on OP’s lap. For a 20lb dog that probably isn’t a huge deal. I’m thinking of my old Jack Russell, she would have been more comfortable in that scenario in say, a crowded city walk, than being underfoot with a lot of people walking around her. It probably depends on the dog but it sounds like this setup works for OP.

      1. Rachel*

        The LW specifically states the dog is on a sling or on their lap when sitting down, not when transporting.

        It is very, very hard for me to believe that a service trained dog cannot walk down a crowded street with their companion. This is not a pet, it’s service trained, and if the dog can’t walk down the street that’s a BIG problem and the LW needs a new dog trainer.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Sorry, I wasn’t insinuating the dog couldn’t walk down the street. I was commenting on the relative comfort for the dog because Concerned asked if it was fair to the dog. It was just a personal example of a dog not minding being carried.

          1. Rachel*

            I think service dogs are not comparable to pets, though. That is my point.

            I am taking the LW at their word that this is a service animal and service animals are trained very different than pets.

            I think the service animal is probably fine being carried but it isn’t necessary for them to do their job. It is comforting for the LW to have the dog attached to them. Which is an entirely different thing.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              It depends! If it’s a small dog, it might have an easier time monitoring the OP’s vital signs being in a sling or on their lap. It also sounds like part of what the dog is trained to do is help mitigate a panic attack, which often involves chest pressure. Again, probably easier if you have torso access.

              All details the OP isn’t required to give to us or an employer, and you are right that OP calls out it being easier to handle the dog this way – it sounds like this is how they interact and OP should be able to handle their medical equipment in the way that’s most convenient for them. But I don’t think it’s a completely out of line question to ask if the dog is comfortable. If I had a nurse I’d want them to be comfortable even if their job was to be with me all the time.

              1. Rachel*

                I said this a few times so I know it’s getting repetitive, but going back to the trainer would be well worth it, I think.

                Sometimes what is the most comfortable for us isn’t the best for us. Since the LW specifically asked for advice, mine is to adapt to the service dog on a least to the extent possible. Not the extent comfortable, the extent possible.

                Because a leash led will give the LW more opportunities and flexibility than wearing the dog.

                1. Samwise*

                  LW didn’t ask for advice on carrying or caring for her service dog, which I think we should trust LW to be doing correctly.

                  They asked for advice about positioning the dog during an interview.

                2. Rachel*

                  The trainer would be able to help the LW position the dog off their lap and out of the sling.

    2. tusemmeu*

      It really depends on the particular dog. I’ve worked with many many dogs, including some training to be service dogs. Some would be quite content being in a sling for at least the time an interview would take while others would hate it and for others it would depend on their mood that day, etc. I’m sure the LW knows which group her dog fits into.

  40. Seriously?*

    I can’t really understand all the comments saying autostraddle should be unblocked. Has no one gone on to the website and seen the rather upfront NSFW section? You are not reading a website called “autostraddle” for the tv recaps/reviews.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I can totally see someone reading it for the reviews.

      But given the title and the other content, I would be careful about expending capital at work on reading this one website. I imagine it’s part of a very broad generic “sexual content” block on many websites. There are places where it would be “Sure Barb let me take a quick look–okay, that seems fine, read your TV reviews” and others where it would be “Well… okay, what does this headline even mean?” You need to know your workplace norms and your own reputation to gauge where this would land, before wading in to request an exception.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      I don’t see any section labeled “NSFW.” I think you are being a bit over the top, and quite frankly, more than a little homophobic.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Whoa there. Let’s not throw around accusations like that (I am LGBT, I am not here to defend homophobia but that’s not it).

        There is a Love + Sex section that’s I agree is a little explicit for work, with subheadings like “lesbian sex” and “sex toys” and “NSFW Sunday”. It’s there.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Yes, but is an IT department really going to do a deep dive into a website before deciding to unblock it? I very much doubt it. If I looked at the front page I would just think that is a lesbian version of Cosmo and not much else.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            It’s not really a deep dive if “sex” is on the main navigation bar. I would expect my IT department to catch that.

            Cosmo is also often not work appropriate.

          2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            And there are plenty of workplaces where Cosmo would be banned too. There are often articles about sex aren’t there?

          3. Sylvan*

            Guess it depends on what’s on the front page that day. There’s enough sexual content that I wouldn’t try to get it unblocked at work. Also, the LW has said that they’re not quite comfortable bringing this up with the straight guys in IT. I would also not want to do that.

          4. Not like a regular teacher*

            As a regular (outside of work) autostraddle reader, lesbian Cosmo is EXACTLY what it is lol.

          5. Falling Diphthong*

            If I can see this stuff as the top result on my google search (which I can), nobody needs a deep dive to find it.

          6. Umiel*

            Yes, IT will do a deep dive to determine if the site is safe to unblock. If they don’t, then they aren’t doing their job.

      2. Winter*

        Are you having a bad day or something? You’re being very rude and accusatory to other people here today.

      3. Seriously?*

        I never said it was labeled NSFW. It is a front page pull down menu which directly leads to items that are not items you read at work. To say I’m homophobic is pretty funny for many reasons but most of all because in order to put forth your reasoning you have to name call.

        It’s frustrating that the letter writer is worried about straight cis men instead of taking a better look at what the website contains. I’m not a straight cis male. I went past the already not great name of the website to the content much of which can be considered NSFW.

        We only get so much capital in our jobs. Using work computers to do personal things is not an entitlement or a right. Some companies allow it and some don’t. Instead of ruining for all others who may do banking, read askamanager, etc. perhaps doing something else on the break is the best path forward in this situation.

      4. Elle*

        You’re correct and you should say so. Saying that folks could only be reading Autostraddle for nsfw reasons is such a weird (and casually homophobic) take. It’s very clear to me that there’s no reason to be reading it on your work computer, but saying there’s no way people are reading it for recaps and reviews is pretty classically homophobic in that it’s painting queer people as oversexed.

        Tempting to screenshot some of the more pearl-clutching comments about it and send to my AS friends. I’m sure they’d get some laughs or appreciate the traffic this post is causing at the very least, even if they’d be hurt that some rando on the internet had trouble believing anyone is actually reading the site for non p*rn.

      5. Flipperty*

        I’m a lesbian and used to work for an LGBT charity. Please stop accusing lesbians of being lesbophobic just because we think it’s a bad idea professionally (not, like, a morally bad idea, just not good for your career) to ask your company to help you use company resources to look at naked boobs at work. Jesus wept.

        1. Flipperty*

          And yes, I know LW wasn’t going to be looking at the nsfw parts of the site. But asking your company for access to a site that’s labelled as a lesbian site, that has photos and videos of naked women, is not going to be great for your career, and there’s really no non-awkward way to ask for access to it.

      6. Sara*

        I got to this in two clicks:

        Nothing wrong with it as a general matter, but clearly not something that is work-appropriate unless you work in a related industry. Even if LW would avoid clicking on this specific link, I think this would come across like saying “Please unblock Playboy because I swear I’m only reading it for the articles!” If the company has gone to the lengths of blocking sexual websites, surely nudity falls under that.

    3. Rachel*

      The LW may be reading the tv recaps/reviews, it’s just mixed in with the rest.

      I would also like to make two points concurrently:

      (1) I would not spend work capital on this

      (2) sometimes LGBTAQ material is objectively less sexual than straight material but that’s not the subconscious read. So I would work pretty hard, as a manager, to know I’m seeing this from a fair standpoint.

    4. Garblesnarg*

      I get what you’re saying about it being unblocked at work, but do you really think no one reads 70% of the website and the company just keeps paying journalists to write for it? Yes, people read the non-sexual content on autostraddle.

      1. Seriously?*

        I absolutely agree that they do–and I should have phrased my first comment better! But I can see why a company would not want to unblock that website and it has nothing to do with homophobia or being cis white men.

    5. Not like a regular teacher*

      “You are not reading a website called “autostraddle” for the tv recaps/reviews.”

      Actually yeah, lots of people do. They also have great crosswords! This assumption comes off as homophobic and you might want to examine that.

      1. AR*

        Yeah and a lot of their review articles are pretty much tv show theory message boards. Have you seen the comment section for the Yellowjackets review? I can totally see how someone would want to browse on a break and be able to add to the conversation. People are so weird to treat anything LGBTQ as salacious. I don’t think it’s any more NSFW than say Slate, which also has a sex advice column.

      2. Chutney Jitney*

        Actually, it comes across as “you’re not reading Playboy for the interviews”. The interviews were there, they’re actually good (my uncle subscribed and left them lying around), but the magazine has a lot of nudes. They exist in the same space. It’s not homophobic to point out there is sex talk on the website that also hosts TV reviews. Again, this is personal time *at work*, the standards are different.

        1. Kit*

          I mean, as noted above, it is a lot more like “you’re not reading Cosmo for the interviews.” The content is much more comparable, and while I don’t know that either would be work-appropriate in a lot of contexts, one is waiting-room material and the other is not.

    6. Elle*

      I feel like it’s one thing to be like, there’s no reason for someone to be needing to read this site on their work computer (accurate) and another to suggest that no one is reading this site for non-nsfw reasons. Smacks of homophobia to me too.

    7. Prude-y mc prude-face*

      I feel like I’m taking bananapants pills. regardless of the content, I would never ask IT to unblock a website with the word “straddle” in the URL.
      save it for home!

  41. RCB*

    I once called in sick on May 6th and my boss called me and said “off the record, did you overdo it for Cinco de Mayo yesterday because so many people have called in sick today and I don’t know if it’s that, or if maybe we accidentally got them all sick at the company picnic on Friday (May 3rd)?” I told her I didn’t do a thing for Cinco de May so it wasn’t that, and I wasn’t at the company picnic, so I’m not sure why everyone was calling in sick that day. However, what I failed to mention to her was that 3 days before I had tried edibles for the second time and WAY overdid it (because I didn’t understand the dosing) to the point where I was still sick from them 3 days later, so that’s why I was out, but I definitely wasn’t going to bring that up!

    1. Silver Robin*

      1) I hope future edible consumption is a better experience for you! Dosages are fiddly

      2) This is hilarious, thanks for the laugh XD

      1. RCB*

        I don’t want to say that I have become a pro at it now, but let’s just say once bitten twice shy.

  42. ItBetterNotBeACactus*

    OP1 — I agree that you want to give the interview panel a heads up.

    I’m also going to strongly suggest that your dog have a leash clipped to a collar regardless if your dog is on your lap or in a sling. I’ve been chased, nipped and growled at by an assortment of off leash dogs including “small therapy dogs” (those quotes are for a dog that was clearly not legit — not for your dog) and unless I know you and your dog, I am very nervous about off leash dogs (or dogs on long extend leashes).

    I know they also make special “med alert” and related wording leashes and vests (I recently saw a neon green leash that had wording like “medical alert dog” or something) if you don’t already have one. I know anyone can order such a thing, but I guess I feel better that someone took the time to order one and hopefully their dog is trained (or in training by an qualified trainer). It also helps ward off reasonable people from reaching in for pets, etc.

  43. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

    LW2 – You might consider going back to your boss and saying something like “I was taken aback by what you said, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I really resent that you assume I did something I would never do. You owe me an apology.” Any further attempt at discussion should be met with “you owe me an apology, and that’s it.” No protesting, no denials, nothing else.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I agree. Clarifying that they were joking or saying you’re concerned about the rumors and your reputation is one thing, I don’t think you’re going to do much with an apology demand besides create a chilly relationship with your boss.

      2. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

        I’m not saying he should “demand” an apology, just state that he is owed one. I’m not suggesting he stand there until it is delivered.

        1. Courageous cat*

          Yikes. Kinda a language nitpick – could be easily rephrased as “I have not found stating one is owed an apology to be worth it personally or professionally”. This is an incredibly unrealistic tactic for anyone who wants to maintain a good relationship with their boss.

    1. Roland*

      Bad advice. This isn’t a friend or acquaintance, it’s their boss. You can’t just repeat “you owe me an apology” at your boss.

        1. Bog Witch*

          Actually, you can’t if you want to keep your job and your professional reputation intact.

        2. Chutney Jitney*

          I mean, you can do anything. But it’s a really poor choice that will lead to a poor outcome. Your making this emotional, which isn’t appropriate.

          You are literally recommending refusing to speak to their boss until the boss apologizes. That will end you in HR.

          1. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

            No, I am not recommending refusing to speak to the boss at all. I am recommending not entertaining further discussion/explanation about this specific thing. The boss was wrong and needs to apologize. If it goes to HR, it is simple to say “the boss accused me of doing drugs; I don’t and he should apologize for it.”

        3. Roland*

          Well, I’ll grant you that you can. You can do anything. But you shouldn’t expect it to lead to an apology or other acceptable outcome, you should expect it to lead to bad consequences for you.

  44. Anon for this*

    LW2 – I live in Colorado, and I happened to be out sick on 4/20 one year. It was definitely in the back of my mind that my team might think I took the day to “celebrate,” lol. No one mentioned it. If they had, I would have probably said something like, “If only!”

  45. Late, Not Lazy*

    Autostraddle doesn’t have any smut or erotica, if I recall correctly, though it does have articles about erotica. I’m curious if the filter blocks other lifestyle magazines like Cosmopolitan and GQ. If not, this seems like homophobia, though possibly accidental. If this is the case, then I think bringing it up the way Alison suggested by pointing out that the filtering system is overly zealous would make sense.

    On the other hand, if other similar straight publications are not allowed through the filter, then it might not be worth bringing it up unless you want to start a broader campaign to unblock of those kinds of website.

    1. amoeba*

      Yup, that would have been my approach as well. If similar, non-LGBTQ websites aren’t block, I’d ask about it. If all of them are blocked, well, probably supposed to be that way or at least not worth spending capital on…

  46. Jessica Fletcher*

    Check if your company blocks Cosmo and similar sites. Then check if they block The Advocate. Autostraddle is akin to Cosmo or any other “women’s interest” magazine, but it’s for lesbians.

    They might be intentionally blocking queer websites because they’re homophobic or because the software they use was created by homophobes. If they’re blocking queer sites but allowing their straight counterparts, that’s going to help your argument.

    1. Jessica Fletcher*

      I’m incredibly disappointed in all the commenters on board with blocking queer sites. You should all have to wear a placard declaring yourself secret homophobes.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I mean as a queer woman I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking my IT department to unblock autostraddle *or* cosmo. There’s no work related reason for me to be reading them and arguing either doesn’t have explicit content is a reach.

      2. Sylvan*

        Can I just get one that says possibly outing yourself to straight men at work doesn’t seem ideal? Or that Autostraddle isn’t that worksafe? (Maybe I’m just remembering its links-to-Crash-Pad days or the Lesbosexy Sunday posts.)

        No comment on Cosmo. Being a queer woman in 2023, I have zero familiarity with Cosmo.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah, OP mentions that anxiety in her comment and you’re the only one I’ve seen call it out. Thanks for keeping that point alive.

      3. E*

        I’m a lesbian, and it isn’t your god-given right to read whatever website you want while using work property/resources to do it, ace.

          1. Jessica Fletcher*

            Removed — I’ve had to remove overly hostile/heated comments from you and so I’m asking you to move on from this discussion. Thank you. – Alison

      4. Jenny*

        There are tons of comments from queer people who say they wouldn’t be comfortable reading it at work. Maybe you should listen to them instead of blanket calling anyone opposed to this a homophobe.

      5. Coconutty*

        That’s a really outsized reaction to a lot of rational comments explaining why it would make sense that the site is blocked

      6. NotAnotherManager!*

        I would be delighted to see someone wearing a placard declaring themselves a “secret” anything because I find irony hilarious.

        I’d like my placard to say, “Overtly Opposed to Asking Our Already Overburdened IT and Security Teams to Do Personal Favors During Work Hours Rather Than That Work-Related Ticket I Submitted Hours Ago”, please.

      7. NeutralJanet*

        I feel like if I were asked to unblock a queer themed website with some NSFW content and some SFW content because an employee wanted to read it on breaks (and didn’t want to use her data for it), and she made the argument that it was homophobic because straight themed websites with some NSFW content and some SFW content were not blocked, I would add Cosmo to the block list, not take Autostraddle off it. If that makes me a known bisexual secret homophobe, I guess that’s how it is.

      8. Flipperty*

        Or you could just forcibly brand all the LGBTQ people who don’t have the exact same opinions as you about everything with a great big letter A?

        It. Is. Not. Homophobic. To. Ban. Boobies. At. Work.

  47. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

    OP1 — personally, if I was interviewing person who had a dog wearing a service vest and it was on the person’s lap, I would just think that they had a necessary service animal for an invisible disability (like lots of people!), and I would move on. My wife has Type 1 diabetes, and many diabetics have service dogs who alert them to low blood sugar based on their breath, so I would assume it was something along these lines. But having a dog in a baby sling would look completely different to me because there aren’t obvious indicators that it’s a service animal, and I think I would be confused.

    Good luck with the interview. I hope we get an update letter from you saying that your dog’s presence was NBD and that you are very happy in your new position!

  48. just another queer reader*

    #3: This is such a pervasive issue that Autostraddle themselves published an article on this issue — in 2015!

    Website categorizing companies often categorize gay sites as “adult” even when they’re no more salacious than, say, Cosmo or Vogue.

    This is a symptom of systemic homophobia and it’s incredibly frustrating. Speak up, OP!

        1. I.T. Phone Home*

          If this is important to you, and the fairness of the filter is the reason why, don’t take it to IT. Go to HR. Your local IT person is a great resource when something is making it hard to do your job. Your local IT person is incredibly ill-suited to come up with a policy on which websites should or shouldn’t be allowed over the network while people are on break.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      If the IT dept is blocking the Advocate and Autostraddle, it’s got a homophobic allow-list. If it’s blocking anything with the word “straddle” in it, it’s not, and arguing it is isn’t going to get very far. I’m saying this as a not-straight IT person.

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        Or as people have pointed out if like Cosmo and Esquire are also blocked. Sure, they have fashion and celeb news, but they also have some NSFW articles. If every website that mentions sex anywhere is blocked, it’s just because the employer doesn’t want to run the risk of someone engaging with NSFW content (even if a reasonable employee would only be on the site during work hours to peruse the SFW content).

  49. Yes And*

    I’ve been considering something similar to LW5. I’ve recently had a pro forma COL raise, and a further raise is probably not in the offing in my upcoming performance review. (I think I deserve it, but I’m also in a position to know that the budget won’t support it.) I’d been thinking about asking for an extra week of vacation instead. Due to switching jobs a little over a year ago and my company’s stingy PTO policies, I’ve been really feeling the pinch of finding time to do stuff with my family.

    Does anyone have experience with negotiating PTO in a company that usually ties it strictly to years of service?

    1. Polaris*

      Only pre-hire, unfortunately. I was able to use the fact that I was up for a bump at my next work anniversary at my previous job, and could they perhaps match it?

      I’ve been told in passing over the years, such as when an owner opted for a relatively last minute “everyone has Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Eve off”, that the overall bottom line cost of days off is relatively low when compared alongside the goodwill generated in those instances. In that instance, it was late fall of 2008, which immediately after all h3ll broke loose in my industry and area. Goodwill was absolutely necessary as everyone was FREAKED and unsure of how stable their jobs were.

      Anyone who works on that side of the world able to confirm that there’s not a huge budgetary impact there?

  50. What is even happening*

    A lot of people in a tizzy about whether the Autostraddle has sexual content, or agreeing to not access it is homophobic, whew there’s a lot of assumptions there!

    It might help to think about it like this:

    – is it required for work? No.
    – is it a personal matter that people may need to deal with during working hours? (e.g. bank) also no.

    So, why would you go out on a limb asking for a personal-interest website for you to read on breaks? (about any topic unrelated to work: motorcycles, videogames, queer literature, etc. the topic itself does not matter).

    The workplace does not have to give you entertainment for your breaks. If it’s there as a bonus, cool! (like I usually read this website during work hours), but otherwise, just let it go.

    Why is this even a thing to ask for is really the question?

    1. Sloanicota*

      As others have said, if Cosmo is allowed in the filter but the “LGBTQ Cosmo” is not, that sends a message that same-sex content is inherently inappropriate and sexual, akin to pornography, which is a cruddy message for queer individuals to receive. If Cosmo and other similar sites are also blocked, I think there’s no problem and I wouldn’t raise it.

      1. Polaris*

        I just tested that theory – Cosmo is one of our red-flagged sites here. So at least it might be consistent?

      2. What is even happening*

        Ok. But I still would not think that asking for Cosmo to be unblocked so you could read it in your break is a good idea. Because Cosmo is a personal thing you want to read? Unless, you work at a place where reading it important for your work, which is also possible. Cosmo is also a personal-interest site. I just think that going out on a limb on things not required for work and not basic personal life things is not ideal because you are making the work about your personal interests…. and it’s not? And you should save going out on a limb efforts for the big things, just good to remember it’s important to pick your battles, and use your work ‘capital’ wisely.

    2. Similar POV*

      This is the most sensible take on it. The LW says “should I..?”, and most comments appear to be “nah, probably not”, and I think your description is the strongest, most logical, least controversial reason. It amazes me how some think this should become some kind of rights campaign. I hope the LW takes the advice not to do it.

      1. cleo*

        Actually the LW asked “how can I?” Not “should I?” And they specifically said that they don’t think IT will have a problem with it, just that they’re not sure how to ask for it.

        But I do agree that researching to see if similar, non LGBT pop culture sites are blocked and if not, framing it as a pop culture site that shouldn’t be blocked, is the way to go.

        As an aside, some of the reactions to this question are really strange to me. So I hope Autostraddle is getting a traffic boost and some new readers from this thread, because it really is a wonderful site.

        1. Similar POV*

          Ok, I paraphrased wrong (I didn’t scroll all the way back up to re-read before posting). So it’s “How can I…?”, and the comments are largely “You could, but probably not worth it..”. I still think the comment at the top of this thread is the best way to look at it.

  51. just another queer reader*

    Also, if anyone on here wants to take an allyship action for the day, go see if Autostraddle,, and other gay sites are blocked on your work wifi. Then check if Cosmo, Vogue, etc are. If there is a discrepancy, go talk to IT.

    Gay sites should not be treated as inherently more “adult” than equivalent straight sites.

  52. urguncle*

    LW3: Fellow Autostraddle reader. There is definitely sexual content on there with little or no warning. I am very out at work and wouldn’t have problems with things like women kissing or menstrual products, but there are frequently things that I would not feel comfortable having up on my screen at work, like adult toys. This might be a thing you read on your phone during lunch.

    1. LW3*

      That’s the idea: I want to read it on my phone during lunch. I don’t want it on my computer screen – I just want to use their wifi so I don’t go over my data plan.

      1. cleo*

        The two sites I read everyday on my breaks at work are AAM and AutoStraddle. I’d definitely want to be able to read it on my phone in the break room. The responses to your question are really wild to me.

        I hope you do try to get it unblocked using the really neutral language suggested above.

      2. RagingADHD*

        You understand why it’s a network-level block though, right? If something is firewalled, whether that’s because it’s NSFW or because it’s full of malware, or for a business or security reason (like not allowing people to day-trade), you don’t want people circumventing the firewall by using a mobile device.

        It isn’t about what screen you want to read it on, or what time of day.

        1. Courageous cat*

          I don’t think that’s the point of these two comments at all. They’re just talking about the phyusical visibility of it to their fellow coworkers/bosses.

  53. Observer*

    #3 – Site banned

    I think that Alison has a point. But I would first check and see if other similar sites that don’t specifically target a lesbian audience are blocked. I can’t give you any examples of web sites, but using apps as an example – if they block bumble, then don’t expect them to allow grindr. But if they allow bumble, they should allow grindr.

    1. cleo*

      Comparable sites that aren’t exclusively LGBTQ+ (off the top of my head):

      Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

  54. Observer*

    #2 – Accused of taking pot

    Something is really off here. From what you say, this sounds like even as a joke it would have been funny only in a “I can’t imagine anyone less likely to do this” way. As a serious conversation? Why would he jump to such a wild conclusion? Is this typical of him? Or is it possible that there is something else going on that’s coloring his perception of you?

    1. LW 2 "The Square"*

      I would hope there isn’t! However, he is relatively new to both the team and to management in general, and we have been under a significant surge in workload. I suppose it isn’t beyond imagination that someone might find uncharacteristic ways to cope.

  55. CommanderBanana*

    Service animals in the workplace are medical devices in the workplace. It’s just as inappropriate to tell someone they can’t have an inhaler or insulin pump as it is to tell them they can’t have a service dog.
    Obviously, accommodations may have to be made for other employees who may have allergies or a fear of dogs, but you need to reframe your thinking about service animals.

    ESAs have muddied the waters a lot, and it’s extremely frustrating for people who have service animals.

    1. Punk*

      That’s not entirely true. “Reasonable accommodations” means that the LW’s #1 most convenient scenario might not be possible to implement in the office. For one, an employer would be in-bounds to require that the dog be leashed at all times and that it not be allowed on chairs that other people use.

      1. Sleepy Snoopy*

        RE: leashes

        Actually not true. If a service dog performs a task that would be hindered by a leash, the dog does not need to be leashed. For example, if a dog is trained to find and bring back another human to their person, a leash could get caught or stuck in the person’s hand, rendering the dog unable to perform their task.

      2. CommanderBanana*

        Nope, wrong. I would very careful of so confidently declaring what an employer can or can’t do re: accommodating a service animal.

        There are laws that govern what an employer must do re: a service animal. It gets much trickier when it comes to balancing competing accommodations in the workplace, whether those are about a service animal, religion, or whatever.

        Ideally an employer will first make completely certain they are not violating any laws and not committing discrimination, and then work to find a path that accommodates everyone as best as they can.

        The reality is that you may end up – and often do – with competing accommodations. If I’m deathly allergic to dogs and my coworker has to have a service animal, it’s incumbent upon the employer to help find a reasonable solution that doesn’t discriminate against an employee who needs a medical device (the dog) or an employee who has a medical condition (the allergies).

  56. Alan*

    LW #2, your boss is projecting. He’s sure you’re “smokin’ the ganja” because that’s either what he does, or what he used to do. My bet is he’s doing it now. *Tons* of people smoke weed, people you wouldn’t expect. I work for an engineering firm, nerd city, and when my employer started talking about drug testing many years ago, people went through the *roof*. I had absolutely no idea that we had so many pot smokers. You can’t tell just because someone seems “square”. I would bet my last dollar that your boss is a smoker.

    1. I Have RBF*

      Actually, I would hit the roof about drug testing even before I started using medical marijuana. I consider it a privacy and bodily autonomy violation. If I’m not actively using heavy equipment, you don’t need to know what substances I am prescribed or use recreationally on my own time. Especially since sloppy labs can register a positive from poppy seed bagels!

      1. Out of Office*

        Slightly off target, but CBD (federally legal in the United States) registers as marijuana on drug tests. My partner has pretty bad foot pain, and I asked if he had considered using CBD (half jokingly). He promptly told me he couldn’t, since it would show positive as marijuana (illegal for all purposes in our state) and he would be suspended from his city government job at best, fired for a drug offense at worse.

        IMO boss isn’t projecting (some people are just squares), drug testing is a violation of bodily autonomy (it shouldn’t matter what I do in my off time as long as it doesn’t affect my work), and everything is just a crazy overreaction and misunderstanding.

  57. Adric*

    LW5, a good rule of thumb on raise-PTO conversions is that a 1% raise is about 2-2.5 days of PTO (the variation mostly depends on how generous your current PTO policies are). If you want an extra 2 weeks you should expect to give up 4-5%, maybe 6% if the company wants something to cover the hassle factor.

    TLDR, math notes:
    There are 52 weeks in a year and you work 5 days/week, therefore a work year is 260 days. However, you already get some of that off for PTO already, so for most people that drops them in to the 200-250 days/year range. 1% of that is 2-2.5 days.

  58. AnotherSarah*

    The Autostraddle question is interesting to me! There are TONS of print magazines that would be fine for work but have a lot of sexual content (Cosmo comes to mind, which would be okay in some workplaces but not all). And then there are some that really range between fluff and serious content and material explicitly designed for masturbation (Bust, for example), that would probably fly under the radar. But having to ask is the issue, especially if there aren’t images that would stand out to anyone passing by.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I have it on good authority from a colleague who works at Hearst (the publisher of Cosmo) that Cosmo is blocked on their network because it’s considered NSFW.

  59. Safety First*

    #5, one thing to be aware of is that if you are salaried, you may have to take unpaid time off in week-long chunks. This is what I was told after using up most of my PTO during FMLA leave. It squares with my notion of how salary works, but it makes unpaid time off significantly less flexible than regular PTO.

    1. NotWeeksAtATime*

      what? I’ve been salaried my whole career, worked for numerous companies, have friends who worked for many more, interviewed at hundreds of companies, and I’ve never heard of such a policy anywhere. It may exist somewhere but it is definitely a significant outlier and very rare.

  60. One HR Opinion*

    Allison’s script is very good as far as bringing it up in a matter of fact manner. Legally, there are reasons why an employer may legitimately not allow animals of any kind, including service animals. Hopefully this will be an employer where they will be able to make an accommodation for you. Good luck with your interview!

    1. Kara*

      Really! Service dogs are legally classified as medical equipment, so far as I’m aware. What legal reasons might an employer have to deny them?

  61. Namaste at Home*

    Autostraddle is very much an adult site and I would not want to draw the scrutiny that asking to unblock it would bring, personally

  62. Qwerty*

    The home page for Autostraddle just autoplayed NSFW video for me. Scrolling away from it just makes the video pop up elsewhere. It is what I would expect at a burlesque or strip club, not playing on a work computer – stripping, bare boobs with nipple stickers, a**-less clothing with the camera zooming in on the bare butt, lots of very sexual dancing. The video player seems to be random – refreshing the page gave me some fully clothed people talking.

    If you want a website white listed, there needs to be a reasonable expectation that someone won’t accidentally access NSFW content. Or have it display NSFW videos!

    The top bar of links has a “Sex” section, which has a “Sex toys” category and one literally labelled NSFW. Even if I were to steer clear of that as an IT person checking out the site, expanding the first category of A+ offers up “Sex Diaries” and “Slick Erotica”. The TV options include “Boobs on Your Tube”.

    None of this is related to orientation, I would have the same response if a straight dude wanted to unblock a website with these items. Actually, I would probably come down a lot harsher on the dude. There *is* adult content on this site. It’s a common problem with sites adjacent to the entertainment industry – I’ve had to abandon sites that made fun lists or movie commentaries as they started expanding their more adult articles or save them for reading at home.

    1. I Have RBF*

      That’s funny. I just went to the Autostraddle website and there was no autoplay video, at all. Then again, I don’t allow that in my browser settings. While some of the article titles may be suggestive, there’s nothing on the front page that is directly NSFW.

      1. Observer*

        No sensible IT person is going to set filters based on the assumption that people have “autoplay” disabled.

        And what people are describing in the menus goes well beyond “suggestive”.

  63. nnn*

    Possible engineering solution for #3: What if you loaded up several articles in different tabs on your phone before you leave home for the day, then read them at work during your breaks? You can still read what you want to read, but it doesn’t have to go through the employer’s network.

    1. Lime green Pacer*

      Some phones and browsers will insist on “refreshing” those articles after a certain length of time, and won’t display them. Even with the same website, device, and browser, this can be maddeningly random.

      Source: Trying to do just this while travelling.

  64. nnn*

    #1: I can’t tell through this internet whether this is something you’ve already considered and ruled out, but I’ve seen people matter-of-factly introduce their service dogs and their job, and I’m wondering if it might be helpful here.

    “This is my service dog Pickles. Her job is to sit right here and monitor me, and if she signals then I need to [whatever you need to do].”

    That does depend on how comfortable you are disclosing whatever gets disclosed when you tell people the dog’s job, but I do find that tends to boost the dog’s perceived credibility.

  65. Lizy*

    OP2 might be boring, but your writing style is amazing. I think I read the first paragraph 3 times just laughing…

  66. RagingADHD*

    Re: the blocked site.

    I’m not sure if the site updated since the answer was posted, but the top article on the front page of Autostraddle right now is:

    “10 Hot Things You Can Do to Boobs, Chests, and Nipples:
    It’s spring! Tits the season for appreciating boobs, chests, and nipples — so let’s do some chestploration and nipple stimulation!”

    It is not bizarre or homophobic that this would be considered NSFW. That headline doesn’t even pertain to who is doing the stimulating.

    I really don’t think it’s a good idea to ask IT to unblock this, because you might be there for the TV reviews, but the sexy stuff is very much up front. At least, it is right now.

    1. Jessica Fletcher*

      Site blocking decisions are not made on a daily basis based on the title of the most recently posted article.

      1. Observer*

        Correct. Which means that if this kind of thing is normal on that site, it will be blocked. Because no one is checking every day to make sure that the main page is ok.

        Also, if stuff like this is on the main page, it’s really hard to claim that this is NOT an adult site.

  67. Ahdez*

    I guess I have a different take than most on this, but I don’t think anyone should be asking IT / their employer to unblock any sites unrelated to work – sexual content or no – to browse on company wifi on their personal time. Either use your data or wait until you get home. There are other ways to spend your down time when you’re off the clock.

    1. Ari*

      I agree. My company bans everything, including Facebook. I would never dream of asking them to unblock something I didn’t need for my job.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I read autostraddle not on a work computer. I don’t know, but I assume it’s blocked. I would not open slate on my work computer either because I mostly read the advice and it includes a sex advice column.

        I don’t used Reddit, but I bet that’s blocked as is FB, IG, other social media. I am shocked about recent reports of TikTok being banned from government phones cause I would never expect it to be allowed on government equipment.

        I don’t think Autostraddle should be available at work but I don’t think Cosmo or other examples of media sites people are mentioning should be available either.

  68. JaspersOartner*

    With regards to Service Dogs. I have a service dog partner. First there is a big difference between a Service Dog and an Emotional Support animal. Many businesses do not know the differences and many people exploit the term service dog. I would highly recommend that all businesses read the information that is available at, to become more familiar with Service Dogs.
    As for the sling vs leash, SD (service dogs) are still required to follow leash laws and are not exempt from them except for certain functions. One should never presume to have a dog, service or otherwise, off leash in a place of business or in public. The dog is medical equipment and should be treated the same as you would other devices to mitigate a disability. If you wouldn’t comment on a wheelchair, don’t bring attention to the dog. Make necessary accommodations as you would for other devices.

  69. Sleepy Snoopy*

    Seriously? I looked up the website and it is very obvious why it is blocked on a company computer. The FIRST article on the website was “10 Hot Things You Can Do to Boobs.” There is clearly a lot of writing based on actual sex on this website. It doesn’t matter if LW only wants to read the TV reviews on it, there is way too much NSFW content to unblock it.

    FWIW, I’m bi and I still think it should stay blocked because it has a ton of NSFW articles on it. Your comment is unproductive and just not true.

      1. Sleepy Snoopy*

        Tbf, it was pretty funny when I opened it on my phone and I was met with that first thing, hahaha.

        This was intended as a reply to someone calling commenters homophobes, not your answer to LW. :)

  70. LW3*

    I’m seeing a lot of commenters misunderstanding my question, which was “how do I ask these guys with a minimum of awkwardness?” The question was about *how* to ask, not if I *should* ask. I appreciate the concern from everyone, but please take me at my word when I said “I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t be an issue.”

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I take you at your word! But I also note that I just checked out the site and today, the top-left-most headline is “10 Hot Things You Can Do to Boobs, Chests, and Nipples”. So, really, this isn’t something you want on-screen where your co-workers can see it. Question: can you read the articles thru a newsreader like Feedly? I don’t know if it’s possible I use it for many websites including this one and Slate.

      (And fwiw, I’m lesbian and sex-positive and have been out for decades. I hadn’t heard of Autostraddle because I don’t get out much, metaphorically speaking. Thank you for the introduction.)

      1. cleo*

        The LW wants to be able to read it on their phone using company WiFi, not read it at their desk on their work computer.

        And I love Autostraddle. I hope you enjoy discovering it.

    2. cleo*

      We cross-posted. Yeah, some of the responses are really wild.

      I’d probably approach is as this is an online pop culture focused magazine like Jezebel (although maybe that’s not the best example either) and it shouldn’t be blocked.

      1. AR*

        Exactly. Saying it’s a pop culture site and you like catching up on tv/movies reviews on breaks seems like a pretty low-key approach.

    3. Buffy*

      When a clothing site I liked to shop at was blocked on my work computer due to the name, I was just like “Hey Steve, I was trying to get to and it looks like it’s blocked – could we unblock that?” and he did it in like 5 minutes. I’m really surprised how many people feel like this is a huge ask or “use of capital.” Like others have said, most companies use standard mass block lists or filters, if you don’t think it would be a big deal in your workplace it’s unlikely your IT has any idea about any particular site that’s blocked.

      1. Allonge*

        Some people feel it would be a use of capital because in a lot of companies it would be.

        OP clarified in comments that this is not the case for them, but for those of us who commented before that and would need to submit this as a written request that would be evaluated by several people (as it would work e.g. in my workplace), it would definitely be a consideration. Or in a place where IT already has a backlog of days.

        I am really glad to hear that for OP it’s not an issue! But we don’t all have a Steve to fix this in five minutes.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Yes this. In my company, I’m pretty sure literally nothing is blocked for content. Two jobs ago, Instagram and Reddit were blocked and it was made VERY CLEAR only a few people were allowed to have these sites unblocked and it was only after a supervisor had to explain that you can’t find effectively find copyright infringements online if social media, message boards, and file sharing sites are blocked. That is, it was a fight to have these unblocked when there was actually a job related reason.

          Understanding that there is a wide berth of potential permissibility (and thus a wide range of potential juice needed to get something unblocked) is really important for all the readers who aren’t LW3 and who may be in a similar boat.

      2. Wintermute*

        I am not the person who would approve or deny such a request but I work closely with the people that are. How formal it is varies by company, and it depends on the level of risk, a clothing site is very low-risk; potential NSFW content is medium; risk, file-sharing and upload/download sites as well as social media are very high risk.

        I don’t think it’s inappropriate to flag for someone that the typical workplace experience this would not be a done thing. Out of all my employers recently I can’t think of one that would approve a request like this. For 60% of them there would be no consequences beyond a denial, the remainder there would be consequences ranging from having heightened scrutiny put on your internet activity to being sent for remedial training to just having some people question your judgement. And I think it’s a kindness to any letter writer to flag that for them in case they’re not aware.

        If they’re aware of the potential and sure it doesn’t apply, great! no harm no foul. If they aren’t sure and it gives them cause to think more carefully, great as well! They saved themselves some potential embarrassment.

        I also think part of the consternation is that the frontpage of the site changed halfway through the day, so people that saw it in the morning saw nothing objectionable and people who viewed it later saw a frontpage article on nipple play that would certainly raise an IT worker’s eyebrow. That is combined with the fact that if IT is doing any basic due diligence they’ll go to the site and you can’t know when they do that, and based on when they do that whether they’ll see social commentary or nipple commentary or if they’ll drill down into the subcategories and notice a category for rope bondage and another for sex toys. I think many of us have trouble imagining a workplace so relaxed that rope bondage and sex toys are not something they’d object to.

    4. Stitch*

      I mean, ask very politely and if you get told no, don’t push back. Hope that the content is PG the day Steve opens the website.

    5. Vapors and Pies*

      “How do I ask these guys with a minimum of awkwardness?”

      Well, how would you ask them to unblock any website? This isn’t 1930. I seriously doubt these educated adult men have never heard of the concept of lesbianism before, or that they will be shocked by it. You just say, “Hey, I like to read these TV recaps on my phone during lunch, but since I don’t get a signal/have a lousy data plan I want to use the work wifi. Is there any way you can unblock the site so I can access it on my phone?”

      And if they ask why it’s blocked, tell them the site occasionally has more adult articles, too.

    6. Gemstones*

      I guess I’m kind of confused, then…if it’s so not an issue, why write in at all? It sounds like you could easily figure out how to say, “Would you be able to unblock Autostraddle so I can read it on my breaks”…

  71. cleo*

    Some of the responses to LW #3 are really wild to me.

    The two sites I read everyday on my breaks at work are AAM and Autostraddle. The LW isn’t talking about reading AS on their work computer, they just want to be able to read it on their phone using the company wifi. That’s what I do and I would definitely be bummed if I couldn’t do that.

    Autostraddle is similar to a lot of magazines aimed at women (Bust, Jezebel, Jane OXOX, the old Sassy, the current Teen Vogue) – it covers a huge mix of pop culture, entertainment, politics and sex and dating. If Jezebel or Cosmo isn’t blocked, then AS shouldn’t be blocked.

    And honestly, that’s probably how I’d approach it. I’d see if similar, non-queer magazines are blocked. Assuming that they’re not, I’d just matter of factly let IT know that AS is a similar type online magazine and shouldn’t be blocked.

  72. Late, Not Lazy*

    laughing/crying emoji
    But yeah. Although not all queer people would agree that autostraddle is SFW, the folks here who are making these broad statements about it being sexual have clearly never experienced systemic opeession and erasure, or lack the empathy to see their own experience with it reflected in this scenario.

    Well, good for them I guess. /s

    1. Late, Not Lazy*

      whelp this was supposed to reply. oops.

      but, just to reiterate my personal perspective — this comes down to whether an organization also blocks access to Cosmo, GQ, and even Redditt. if they don’t, then this is homophobic. whether or not those sites should/shouldn’t be blocked is another question.

      1. AR*

        Exactly. Everyone in the comments comparing it to Slate is cracking me up because that also deals with NSFW topics even if it’s primarily a news site. Sure, some sites are going to be blocked, but it has to be comparable across the board or it’s not passing the homophobia sniff test.

      2. Wintermute*

        I think Jezebel is probably the closest analogy. Reddit you can’t judge by because for some fields it’s a legitimate place to ask for help for work (not as good as stackOverflow but if you’re in some of the closed-membership subs for Database Admins or the like, you can get good information). GQ and Cosmo are closer but they’re not quite as explicit. Jezebel is a good comparison because it’s mostly politics, commentary and hot takes, but then there’s also how-to articles on oral sex. Even then though Autostraddle is a shade more explicit (Jezebel doesn’t have nudity in title images, or review sex toys)

        GQ doesn’t even have a top-level subsection for sex, Cosmo has one for “Sex and Relationships”. I can’t see either of them having the kinds of frank, mature discussions about sex toys and pornography that Autostraddle does though.

        And yes those little distinctions really do matter, it’s not about gay/straight (for the record I am not straight) it’s about whether anything viewed over your shoulder could contribute to a hostile work environment and whether it discusses sex in detail or in vaguery.

  73. It takes all kinds*

    Re: LW1, I think Alison’s comment about their boss themselves beingstraight laced and not understanding substance use may be accurate.
    I know someone who comes from a very conservative family and grew up in a small town. Even into her 40s, she has had little exposure to some things, including drugs and alcohol. I’ve heard her wonder aloud whether someone has a “drinking problem” because they got tipsy at a party, or if a person needs “rehab” based on recreational marijuana use (legal where we live, FWIW). These are absolutely not situations where those of us used to social drinking/smoking would think there was an issue. But in to her, use is a slippery and easy slope to abuse.
    As I was reading this, my mind went to my friend, and I can absolutely see her saying something like “I heard people smoke pot on this day, so and so called out on this day, do you think he was doing pot?”.

  74. why are we arguing about this*

    Listen, I read Autostraddle occasionally and it isn’t what I’d call SFW. Literally the second article on the homepage at the moment is about nipple play.

    I don’t think it’s homophobic to block it unless other sites like Cosmo are not.

  75. Out Of Office*

    Hello LW2, in the event you scroll all the way down to find this comment:

    I was once scheduled to present data to my research group on none other than 4/20 (a presentation on cannabinoids, nonetheless). My PhD advisor insisted I would present in the group meeting that semester, as I was notoriously bad at volunteering to present because frankly, public speaking about the implications of data I collected while I am judged for how the data were collected freaks me out (I can do a performance fine with no stage fright! It’s data presentation that freaks me out).

    I woke up early that morning needing to vomit. I woke up several times to vomit. I told my advisor that I had food poisoning and would need to sit this one out. I promptly could not keep anything, food water or otherwise, down, and developed a 102ish fever.

    I had to go to the ER, where they held me overnight for suspected appendicitis.

    I no longer eat at the pizza place that gave me food poisoning so severe, medical professionals thought I had appendicitis.

    When I told this to my advisor, he immediately FREAKED OUT, actually calling me to make sure I was okay. I had to reschedule my presentation, but that’s the worst that happened. I was taken at my word that I was deathly ill, and was given permission to take an extra day or so to recover.

    All this to say… your boss is being unreasonable. You were ill. You took the day off to recover. You came into work the next day. It was COINCIDENTALLY a “major holiday;” people get sick on holidays, weekends, Fridays, Mondays, whenever.
    (TBH, you could have taken time off to… partake in the festivities, and as long as it didn’t affect your performance at work, it’s none of your boss’s business).

  76. Aitch Arr*

    Our new cybersecurity tool at work flagged the website of an alumnae/alumni affiliated group of my college as porn when I tried to post some jobs there.

    That was a fun help desk ticket to cc my manager (the CHRO) on.

Comments are closed.