cursing in an interview “to be memorable,” slow job offer when I need to move, and more

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

1. Cursing in an interview “to be memorable”

I was recently watching a Twitch streamer who somewhat jokingly suggested that someone could stand out in an interview by “accidentally” dropping an F-bomb in an interview, then being immediately apologetic about it. His reasoning was that if they were thinking about candidates, the hiring person would definitely remember that one person that cursed during the interview. My thought is that the person that cursed in an interview would definitely be remembered, but it would be the hiring manager’s story forever about that one guy who said the F word and was immediately moved to the no pile. What would your reaction be to a candidate that cursed in an interview? Would their chances be ruined or would they be charmingly memorable?

That’s terrible advice! Employers either will or won’t care that someone dropped an F-bomb in an interview. If they care, it won’t be charmingly memorable; it will be a (potentially serious) strike against them. If they don’t care, it’s not a good enough story to make them memorable in the way this person is envisioning. (Personally I take extreme pleasure in profanity but would consider it odd judgment for someone to use it in an interview. It wouldn’t be an instant rejection but it would make me look more carefully at their judgment and professional polish, and in some roles the latter really matters.)

In general, the advice shows a lack of understanding about how interviewing works. Getting hired isn’t about being memorable for absolutely anything (if it were, you could just wear a bright yellow suit or sing all your answers or so forth and get all the jobs). To the extent that it’s about being memorable at all, it’s about being memorable for being incredibly skilled at the things the job requires.

being intentionally late to an interview as a strategy

2. Slow job offer process when I need to move across the country

I am job searching after finishing a grad program (so my first full-time job in the field, currently unemployed). I had a first interview a little over two months ago, a second interview in person five weeks ago, and then they all took a three-week break because various people on the search committee went on summer vacation, and another phone interview. They have told me they’re going to offer me the job but are having some sort of issue/slow-down with HR. This is all fine except I need to move cross country for this job and I have to leave my apartment Aug. 31. I know that isn’t their fault but I’ve let them know the date I need to move, and it’s not possible for me to find a new apartment, sign a new lease, hire movers, etc. until I have the offer.

Is there a polite and professional way to let them know I need this info ASAP? Or that even if they can’t send me the official offer to let me know what the amount of salary they’re going to offer is so I can plan this move that’s happening in less than two weeks?

This is tricky because you really, really shouldn’t start planning a move until you have an official job offer — at least not any parts that involve signing contracts or handing over money. Job offers fall through, even when you’ve been clearly told one is coming, and there’s always a risk this one won’t end up materializing. (It probably will! But you can’t count on it yet.) You don’t want to be in a position where you’ve put down money for a move that ends up not happening.

You can certainly try one more time with, “I need to move either way by August 31, and so I need to know whether to plan a move to (new state) or find housing here. I don’t want to sign a lease on a new apartment here if I’m about to come work for you.” But they really might not be able to move faster, and if that’s the case, trying to nail down salary won’t be enough to give you an official offer you can rely on. If that’s the case, your best bet might be housing that could be temporary if it needs to be (like a month-to-month lease if you can find one, or staying with friends/family short-term if it’s an option). I know that sucks — but don’t start a cross-country move without an official offer unless you’re willing to end up living there with no job.

Read an update to this letter

3. Client couldn’t comfortably fit in restaurant booth

Recently I was meeting a client in-person for the first time for lunch. I arrived at the restaurant first and grabbed a booth because it seemed more comfortable and the location seemed more private.

When the client showed up and tried to get into the booth, it became apparent that it was really uncomfortable for him. He is a large person and the booth was the style where both the table and chairs were stuck in place and couldn’t be pushed back. He looked very squeezed and was sitting about half out of the booth trying to get in further, but wasn’t saying anything.

I said as matter of factly as possible, “Do you want to switch to one of those tables?” (the ones with movable chairs). He nodded, and then we moved and went forward with the meeting.

Did I handle this right? I’m worried I embarrassed him by saying something but it was clearly very uncomfortable for him. For the future, how should I think about being inclusive of different sizes? This was our first time meeting in-person. I knew from video meetings he was bigger but obviously hadn’t thought through how that might impact day-to-day accessibility.

You handled it fine! You saw there was a problem, made a practical suggestion for fixing it, and didn’t make a big deal out of it. In the future, it’s worth making sure any spot where you’re meeting someone for the first time has seating that will work for a variety of body types and abilities. This situation will probably make you a lot more likely to do that from now on (it will me — it wasn’t sufficiently on my radar until this letter either); that’s a good nudge for us all to have.

4. Do I really have to tell my boss every time I have a doctor’s appointment?

I have medical trauma and I have strong anxiety around discussing medical topics with others, including just mentioning that I have a doctor’s appointment. I’ve had stuff going on recently that requires me to have more appointments with frequent follow-ups, and I’m struggling with telling my boss that I need to use sick leave in advance (our org’s policy is that you can use sick leave for appointments if you notify your supervisor in advance). Also, there’s no way for me to request it through our HR/timesheet website, so I have to tell him in-person or over email. This makes me so anxious/uncomfortable that I once delayed telling him until it was too late, then lied and made up a reason to leave early for the appointment (and now I worry that he’ll find out I lied or question whether I’m lying in the future).

Is it normal to just say you have a doctor’s appointment, or is it oversharing to explain that I have follow-ups? Can I just say I need to use sick leave and not explicitly say why and hope he’ll assume? Is there another way to bypass telling my boss I have an appointment that I’m not thinking of?

Yep, it’s completely normal to just say, “I have a doctor’s appointment.” You don’t need to explain that it’s follow-ups or what type of doctor or anything other than “medical appointment.” Since you’re going to be having a lot of appointments, it can sometimes be useful to say something like, “I have an ongoing medical thing that I’m going to have a bunch of appointments for over the next few months — it’s nothing to worry about but I wanted to give you a heads-up.” That way if your boss sees a dozen appointments come through for you, he has that overall context to put it in. But you don’t need to say that if you don’t want to.

If you’re trying to avoid saying the words “doctor’s appointment” or “medical appointment” altogether … well, you might be able to say “I’ll need to use sick leave for an appointment on the 27th” or “I’ll need to use sick leave on the 27th” but some managers will then come back to clarify whether this is a doctor’s appointment or what. You might find it easier to use the “ongoing medical thing/bunch of appointments coming up” language once at the outset, and then switch to “will need sick leave for an appointment on the 27th” after that.

5. I’m sending post-interview thanks-you’s a week late

If I meant to email thank-you notes to a panel of interviewers but the work week got away from me, do I apologize in the note? It will be one week when they receive them.

Don’t apologize. There’s no requirement that you send post-interview follow-ups at all — it’s just a thing that can be helpful, so you didn’t do anything wrong by waiting a week. (They weren’t owed notes!) In fact, you might as well use the timing to your advantage and write something like, “I’ve spent the past week thinking over our conversation and as I’ve contemplated details like X and Y, I’m even more interested in the role.”

{ 375 comments… read them below }

  1. Lime green Pacer*

    Re #3: Perfect! My husband is both big and tall – and we have to be aware of this issue at restaurants. Booths can be better than tables—IF the table can be moved a bit.. A four-top booth is much better than the two-top booths some places have.

    At one restaurant, the chairs were all armchairs and not sufficiently wide. Fortunately, they had armless chairs in the bar, and one was brought without fuss. But it was lower than the other chairs—he said it felt like sitting at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving!

    1. Shannon*

      Came in to co-sign LW3 and Alison’s response. I often need alternate seating accommodations and I’m so pleased to see this question. It’s often surprising to folks who don’t need the accommodation, how much time/effort I spend sorting this out when I’m in public.

      I will offer something my very thin partner does in a new restaurant: when the person comes to seat us, my partner asks me where I’d prefer to sit. It doesn’t seem like much but it completely bypasses me trying to squish myself into a spot that I know won’t fit, without making that part of the discussion.

      1. Avery*

        Asking others about seating preferences covers more ground than this particular issue, too! I’m hard of hearing in one ear, and my family and friends have learned that I accommodate this in part by choosing where I sit carefully to make sure that my good ear is facing my conversation partners. When in doubt, ask–people know their own bodies, and they often know how to handle this after having faced the issue before!

        1. Brisvegan*

          I’m hard of hearing, too. I find it important to sit so that other people are not backlit, so I can lipread more easily.

        2. Anon in CA*

          This! My mom is deaf in one ear (always has been, at least since toddlerhood), so I’m very familiar with this need.
          (Side story: As a young child, she thought everyone had a “good ear,” until one day her dad whispered something in her other ear, and she said, “No, you need to whisper it in my good ear,” which confused her dad for a moment but also cued her parents that they needed to get her her hearing tested!)

      2. The OG Sleepless*

        I do this too. My husband is also a very big man. He prefers booths in theory, but he can see when he comes into a restaurant whether he will fit in the booths. So I try to let him choose.

    2. Mr Big*

      Agree completely! I am a very large man (not tall, just fat) and I just don’t fit everywhere. I was in almost the same situation last week (but the reverse) and couldn’t easily fit in the booth. I just stated, as a matter-of-fact, “my apologies, but we will need to move to a table” and then got up to move. I was more embarrassed for the waitress who tried to seat us there than I was for myself.

      I will add that big people know they are big and generally won’t be bothered by requesting/accepting an accommodation. Seats with arm rests are the absolute worst for me (my fat sits mostly on the sides of my stomach) and I’ve been known to bring my own chair to places where I know the chairs are too tight (or too flimsy).

      1. ursula*

        +1. This is a mundane, daily part of our lives as fat people and it doesn’t need to involve any fuss, apology, or embarrassment. Matter-of-fact is a good way to approach this. Non-fat people can feel very awkward about acknowledging that we are fat, but it’s quite mundane (if you aren’t intentionally being rude about it). I’m fat every day!

        1. Jaydee*

          Yes! I have friends who get so upset when I refer to myself as fat. The LW took the correct tone, which is the same one you’d use if your dining companion sits down and you realize the table wobbles or their chair has a broken armrest or the air vent is blowing directly on them and they’re slowly turning blue from the cold. The issue you’re calling attention to isn’t the dining companion’s body size, it’s that there’s a problem with the accommodations.

    3. xtine*

      Hi, yes, I’m a fat person who’s here to wholeheartedly agree with LW #3’s response. It’s probably a good practice with anyone of any size to say things like, “Do you have a preference?” when being seated or “Is this ok or would you prefer a different spot?”

    4. Frodo*

      Booths are poor choices for a variety of body types. As a short person, when I sit with my back against the seat, my feet dangle and I can’t reach my plate. If I scooch up to the table, I have no back support.

      1. Sloanicota*

        There’s a reason the seating staff are often trained to ask “booth or table?” – and if you are eating with someone you’re meeting for the first time or don’t know well, it wouldn’t hurt you to ask them the same question.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        And for people with mobility or other orthopedic issues, the booth or table? question, or generally, do you have a preference? question are good ones, because depending on the design of the booths and the tables, and that particular person’s body, it’s likely that one or the other will be better (both from the “can I be comfortable in that seat?” perspective as well as “can I even get into that seat in the first place”?)

        1. abankyteller*

          I have some mobility and balance issues, and a booth is usually better for me. It seems like many restaurants either have booths or high top tables, and it’s difficult for me to climb into and use a high top chair.

          1. Satan’s Panties*

            Us shorties love those tall tables and chairs too. I feel so professional and grown-up with my feet dangling because they don’t even reach the bottom rung. /s

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              I despise those high chairs that can double as ladders! They’re so damn uncomfortable and manage to both cut the circulation in both legs while completely kinking up my lower back. Not exactly the ideal setting for a nice meal.

    5. Love to WFH*

      It’s not just booths. High top tables with tall chairs can be tough for people who are short, or have bad knees or hips.

      1. Dilly*

        As a *very* short person who wears a lot of dresses, I detest high tops. There are times where I literally cannot get into the chair because there is no cross bar. If I can climb up, it is often not at all graceful, especially in a dress. And if there is no cross bar, if I do manage to get into the chair my legs just dangle causing a lower back ache.

      2. Bronze Betty*

        I was going to make this comment if someone else didn’t. High-tops are problematic for many people. I don’t like them, even though I’m taller than average and don’t have hip/knee problems–they’re just not as easy to get in/out of as regular height tables.

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          I’m an average height/weight woman and hate high-tops. No good way to get up to the seat, and then your legs dangle

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            I also hate high tops, and am average height and weight. There are fewer ways to sit comfortably at them (I can’t stretch out my legs or sit with my feet flat on the floor, for instance). And I especially hate if they use stools without backs.

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              High tops with seats with no backs *or foot rests* are the least logical seating choices of many sports bars.

              I’ve also definitely been in booths where I don’t think a generic 12 year old would fit comfortably, so honestly normal tables are the safest bet all ’round even if all parties normally are comfortable at booths.

              1. Jackalope*

                I’m going to go with Alison’s advice of “Ask the other person first”. I personally tend to find sitting at the tables to be awful, sometimes agonizing if we stay too long. They tend to make the chairs too tall for me and the circulation gets cut off in my legs. Booths tend to be deep enough that I can sit back and get my legs at an angle where that doesn’t happen. So if someone defaults to tables I’m going to be counting the minutes until I can leave. Just ask what the other person prefers, or give an opinion if you have specific needs. (I’ve often been at restaurants that have a booth on one side and chairs on the other for some of the tables, so you can get the best of both worlds!)

                1. LikesToSwear*

                  “I’ve often been at restaurants that have a booth on one side and chairs on the other for some of the tables, so you can get the best of both worlds!”

                  These are my favorite! my back is often cranky, and booths generally are more comfortable and cause less issues for my back. However, my husband and I are not skinny, so a booth doesn’t always work, because we may not fit. These are truly the best of both, and can often provide accessibility for anyone.

              2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

                As a just generally difficult person (bad knees and ankles make high-tops hard, fat so trouble squeezing in places, trauma response to people walking/standing behind me), it really varies based on the specific layout.

                If there are high dividers between the booths and I can squeeze in at all, I will choose a booth every time so I don’t have people brushing against me walking by and I know no one is messing with my hair.

                Second choice is table and I sit on the side the most out of the traffic pattern or as close to against a wall as I can manage.

          2. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

            I cannot tell you how many times my shoes have literally fallen off of my feet while I was sitting at a high-top. I haaate them.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              And high tops with no hook under the table have the added joy of “now …where do I put my purse?”
              Because you can’t put it on the under the table or the seat next to you, it will slide off your lap because your legs are angled downwards, and the tables are usually in high traffic areas (like bars) so hanging it on the back of the chair (if it has a back) is also not a great move.

              1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

                For me, it’s a backpack, but I often hook one strap over my knee. Which only works in a regular chair or a chair of any height that has a cross-bar.

              2. goddessoftransitory*

                Combine that with those dinky tables so beloved by so many trendy eateries and you’ve got a DIY obstacle course before you’ve even gotten a glass of water!

        2. dawbs*

          yeah, high tops are awful.

          My kid is autistic and, for those who aren’t aware, when we talk about sensory processing, we ALSO mean the senses that affect things like balance. She’ll happily climb up to the high top. ANd then the table or stool will wiggle and be off kilter (in the way that they continually do–where you need to shove a sugar packet under the foot) and she will make Tina Belcher panicky noises and we have to talk her down.

        3. Lime green Pacer*

          My mother has some balance issues and dares not use high-top tables for fear of falling.

      3. Blarg*

        I often eat alone, and get steered towards the bar. I always ask to be seated where my feet can touch the ground, which generally gets a chuckle, and a regular, non-high top or bar height table.

      4. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        I despise places that automatically take you to a high top without asking. Then look put out when you say I can’t sit there.

        I am short and have a bad knee. I’m not climbing up to a high top.

        I know why restaurants have them, you can fit more tables in. But they really are excluding.

        1. starsaphire*

          Also, a table that’s less comfortable means people won’t camp, and you can turn more tables in a day.

      5. Lenora Rose*

        I have a high top table at home, oddly – but the chairs are comfy once I’m on them and there is a place for short people to put their feet (Both a crossbar on the chairs and a platform under the table). I vote hard against them at restaurants because these amenities are lacking.

      6. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        It’s really about the right fit for the right body. When meeting an old acquaintance, we had the option of high tops (slightly high tops, not perched way up high) or booth in the bar area. I knew she had some sort of chronic pain / autoimmune concerns so I deferred to her on high or low — she preferred high because she was concerned about getting up from the low booth. She could push herself slightly up into the stool better than she could raise her whole body weight up from a low seated position.

        She asked how I knew to ask, most people don’t. Because I have my own chronic back/sciatica issues. My preference is upright hard seating, never booths, and due to my shortness I don’t like stools but I deferred to her as her needs were bigger than mine. Bodies are weird.

    6. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      Now I’m having flashbacks to over 20 years ago when they remodeled the cafeteria at work. Booths along the walls, about half high top tables and the regular tables in long rows together so the the seats are back to back. I use a wheelchair. Had to avoid eating there during peak times, the high tops were mostly empty but all the ‘accessible tables’ on the end of the rows were usually taken.

    7. Firecat*

      I agree OP handled it fine.

      Now that I am further along in my pregnancy I can’t fit in any booth at any restaurant without moving tables (and that fixed style of booths seems to be the new norm as almost nowhere locally has movable booth tables anymore) so I pretty much sit only at tables now. even just a little squeeze can leave my uterus sore, so even if I can “fit” I’d ask to move to a table when meeting with friends.

    8. JS*

      I too am glad to see this come up on such a widely-read sight! If folks are interested in learning more, there’s an app (not finished yet, so I guess in-process) called AllGo (as in, “can we all go?”) and their social media and website have great information on seating that is most accessible (and other situations, too) for both fat people and people with disabilities. I’m not affiliated with it, just have found it helpful. (And am fat, and working on reclaiming that word!)

    9. Beth*

      Agreed that you handled this perfectly! Noticing that the seating wasn’t comfortable and offering a better alternative was exactly the right way to handle this.

      It’s worth noting, I don’t think the takeaway here is to always go for tables over booths. As a larger bodied person, what’s going to be the most comfortable for me really depends on the restaurant. Sometimes the booths have uncomfortably narrow seating with no ability to shift; sometimes they’re fine. Sometimes a standalone table is great; sometimes the chairs have armrests that cut into my hips, or are uncomfortably flimsy (this can especially be concerning in cute little cafes with cute little vintage chairs–I haven’t had one break on me yet, but sometimes they’re concerningly wobbly!). And that’s just my experience in my specific body! Needs vary a lot–someone with balance issues might not be comfortable on tall chairs where their feet don’t reach the ground, someone who needs extra support when standing up and sitting down might want a chair with arm rests, etc.

      Being flexible in the moment and making it no big deal to adjust when someone’s needs aren’t being met is absolutely the way to go.

      1. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

        The chair arms are the worst! Because what might otherwise be a perfectly nice chair to sit in becomes a torture device digging into your side.

        (Frankly, it’s the worst part of flying, too–a window seat would be the right amount of room to lean into and not spill into the seat next to me if I could just lift the damn armrest, but no, those are always locked into position.)

        Anyways, yeah, just be flexible in the moment if at all possible.

        1. The Pyrex Queen*

          re: fixed armrests in airplanes – I have found that there is a hidden button/lever on the underside of most armrests right near the hinge that you can push and flip up the armrest. I always use it on the aisle seats at de-boarding to help with scooching out of the seat and not killing my tailbone if I lose my balance and fall back into the seat.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Oh, God, those chair-arms-that-double-as-auditioners-for-a-Saw-sequel! I despise them with every fiber of my being.

          And what the heck is with those locked down armrests?

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I was in a waiting room of a medial center not too long ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to see an impressive variety of seating — high, low, wide, with/without arms. Though that was only for the physical therapy section, where they were focused more on injuries and body conditions, the rest of the hospital was not so thoughtful.

    10. Imsostartled*

      I’m not in the plus size category yet, but have a bit extra in my butt and hips. Those flipping metal chairs with the curve for your back and hips are nightmarish. They have to be awful for the majority of folks and I wish restaurants thought more about accessibility in general. Yeah, people probably turn the table over more quickly but I always have a negative experience.

    11. Csethiro Ceredin*

      I was totally clueless about this until I read Aubrey Gordon’s first book and started thinking about how much in our environment doesn’t fit a whole lot of people.

      After considering the booths issue we discussed it at work and realized all our boardroom chairs have fixed arms and aren’t all that big, so we brought in some other armless chairs in case they don’t fit some interviewee comfortably at some point.

    12. Miss Muffet*

      As a pretty short person, I also hate booths because they often sink and i feel like I’m at the kid’s table – and that’s definitely not a feeling I would want for an interview! There’s also a decent chance by feet won’t touch the ground in a booth, which gets really uncomfortable after a while

  2. TCO*

    I had a candidate drop a couple of curse words in an interview and it was memorable, but in a bad way. Our office is one where using that vocabulary (in limited ways) is fine, and both my other interviewer and I do sometimes swear at work, but we still agreed it was a mark against the candidate. It showed that they couldn’t judge how to communicate in different settings and couldn’t assess the right place and time for strong language (or didn’t even realize when they were using it), and for a public-facing role with a variety of audiences that was a problem. It wasn’t the only reason they didn’t get the job but it was a strong mark against them and nearly a deal-breaker on its own.

    1. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      Ooh, can I share my bad interview advice? As a teen, my mum told me that when asked why I wanted the job, I should say “for the money” because they would value my honesty.
      I did not get the job.

      1. cardigarden*

        The one instance this didn’t hurt me was when I got the question “Why do you want to run the register at [big grocery chain]” and I couldn’t bring myself to BS some answer so I flat out said “Look, I’m gonna be honest. I need the money and you’re hiring, and based on my job history I can prove I’m reliable.” But the only reason that worked was because of the nature of the job and the interview itself took place in the doorway of the security office.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I think being able to add the “And based on my job history” was a really key component, too. Though yeah, I wouldn’t recommend anyone try that in the wild.

          1. Rex Libris*

            I don’t know what answer they’re expecting in contexts like this. “I hope to advance the frontiers of customer service while plying my superior register skills for the greater glory of Big Grocery Chain… No, no paycheck necessary, the appreciation of the management shall be my reward.”

        2. Frickityfrack*

          Ha, I had a similar “interview” when I worked at a grocery chain (maybe the same one, who knows!) – the manager poked his head out of the cash office, asked for my job history and when I could start, I said the following week, and he said, “Cool, you’re hired” and went back in the office. I’m pretty sure no one has any effs to give in grocery stores. They know no one is applying there because of their passion for bagging stuff in the right order or facing shelves.

          1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            I actually have a friend whose husband got a second job at a grocery store because he loves groceries. Like before he started working there he knew who worked each section, etc. he ALWAYS knows which stores have the best prices on stuff when.

            1. Goldenrod*

              “I actually have a friend whose husband got a second job at a grocery store because he loves groceries”

              That’s very cute! I dream of doing something similar, except with selling make-up.

              1. Armchair Analyst*

                I thought your dream of something similar was that you dream of having a partner who loves grocery stores and finding the lowest prices and enjoying a job helping people

                I mean, that would be a really happy and helpful partner!

      2. Excel-sior*

        in one of my earliest interviews i was asked “whats your dream job?” and i answered “astronaut”, following it up with “i like doing this, but if anybody says it’s their ‘dream’ job they’re probably lying”.

        Somehow, i managed to luck into the only interviewer who actually found this funny and i got the job!

    2. Al*

      Absolutely, curse words has a time and place. There is no reason to use one in an interview unless you spill hot coffee on your groin by accident.
      You use curse words for incidents like that OR to totally emphasise what you are saying. Despite working on the Oil Rigs (or maybe because of) for 3 years early in my career I rarely swear. So when I do it has a large impact.
      Therefore, to me, using a curse word in an interview would show the immaturity of the candidate – ooh look at me i said a bad word aren’t i kinda cool – no, you are not.

      Incidentally while working on the rigs I was delicately informed by one of our scottish brethren that our volume recorder had ceased to function or as he put it. “Yon f**kin f**kers f**kin’ well f**ked pal”

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        In the 80s I interviewed for a part-time job with a small ad agency. The owner told me things could get heated and tempers flared. He asked me how I’d respond if he came to me and said, ‘G** d*** it, those m******f****** f***ed our order!’ I replied, ‘You left out “Those a******s!’

        It’s the only time I ever swore in an interview, and I got the job.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            He was a good boss in some ways, giving me opportunities even as a part-timer and coaching me while I worked on his special projects. He was also a lecherous, handsy jerk, and I turned him down too many times to count. Ah, the early 80s…

            Turns out he might’ve been jealous, too. I went out to lunch with a guy on our Account Management team to talk about a possible career in that department, totally professional and appropriate discussion. The owner saw us coming back from lunch and immediately fired me for ‘fraternizing.’ He said he could no longer trust me with his confidential info – none of which I had access to – or my loyalty. The guy in Accounts didn’t get fired, but got a reprimand. Hmm.

            1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

              Ah yes. I well remember those pre-sexual harassment law days. Also back in the 80’s, we had a guy that went around grabbing women’s breasts and when we complained to the nursing office (all females working in there, by the way), their response was that that was just the way Boyd was and we should just suck it up.

    3. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, same here. Swearing wouldn’t make me drop my monocle in horror. But the interview is presumably their *best* behavior so I would definitely be wary of hiring them. The interview process inherently requires me to make a decision from a limited amount of information. So if part of that information is “can’t seem to have self-control to not swear for one hour”, that will carry a disproportionate amount of weight. It wouldn’t be an automatic deal breaker but it certainly wouldn’t help the candidate.

      1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

        Totally agree. Swearing in an interview would simply signal to me that the potential employee didn’t know how to conduct themselves in a job interview and possibly on the job itself. With my limited time and information, I would simply move on to someone who had not demonstrated this.

      2. lucanus cervus*

        Yeah, I swear plenty at home and around friends, and have done in workplaces after I figured out it was OK within that office culture. But surely you want to hire someone who can reliably keep it in for the duration of an interview? What if they go and do it in a meeting with a client who doesn’t think it’s OK? So how on earth would it help to pretend to have less self-control than you actually do?

    4. ReallyBadPerson*

      Yep. Being able to code switch is a significant part of emotional intelligence, a quality that is useful everywhere. I would wonder whether the candidate was the type of person to use f bombs constantly (annoying) or just on occasion (humorous.)

    5. Czhorat*

      Yeah. You know the old saw that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

      That doesn’t work for job interviews.

      IF someone remembers you for something weird or unpleasant that’s worse than you being an otherwise boring candidate. (Yes, I did once pull a set of literal juggling balls out of my bag to demonstrate that I could “juggle” multiple projects. That doesn’t mean it was a good idea).

    6. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I don’t **personally** care if you swear but it’s very much not how we operate with patrons and would not make a good impression in an interview.

      I’m pretty sure I made myself memorable by telling epic cat stories to the two older women who interviewed me (both self-disclosed cat ladies). I was leaving a job at a veterinary hospital.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        So work related and personal related both in one. That is the one time I would think cat stories interview appropriate.

        1. JustaTech*

          I have a friend who was interviewing at a mid-sized tech company who, in the middle of a sentence, said “kitty!” and then went right back to the code he was talking about.

          Anywhere else this would have been an utterly random thing to say in an interview, but it happened that the office cat had just wandered past the office where he was being interviewed.
          After he got the job he was told that the “kitty!” comment marked him as “one of us”.

          1. Parakeet*

            While sadly I can rarely pet the cats because of allergies, I would probably do this. One of the more benign manifestations of my ADHD is that I will frequently blurt out “kitty!” or “puppy!” or “aww HELLO CUTE BABY!” when one pops into my view, regardless of how serious or grim whatever I’m doing at the moment is or how hard I’m concentrating on it

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            I would totally do that. Just become the xkcd cartoon, then flip back to interview mode.

    7. Marna Nightingale*

      Think I’ve done it exactly once, and the interviewer had already sworn a couple times. And even at that it was an “Oh, Hell no” where that was an appropriate level of emphasis.

      Also that was a blue-collar job, and “Oh Hell no” and “Damn straight” and even occasionally “Oh, fuck a buncha that, use the drill” and similar were considered perfectly professional when not speaking to clients.

    8. learnedthehardway*

      Even if the interviewers don’t find bad language objectionable, they WILL notice that the candidate is unprofessional, and will assume the candidate can’t control their reactions (because they’ll assume the use of bad language was unintentional, but an indication that the person is impulsive/lacks self-control, which is going to make them wonder if the candidate would be reactive/impulsive in everything they do).

    9. Littorally*

      This would be exactly my thought process. Every job I have had since joining the full-time workforce has required good judgment around communicating clearly across a broad number of speaking styles, and dropping curse words in an atmosphere where you have, by definition, had a very limited opportunity to take the cultural temperature would reflect very badly on a candidate to me.

      In a way, I’d almost think the apologizing would make that impression worse. If you drop the F-bomb in full confidence and stand behind it, then at least you are in conscious control of how you’re communicating; if you drop an F-bomb and then (pretend to, but I’m putting myself in the mindset of an interviewer who doesn’t know this is a deliberate tactic) recognize you shouldn’t have and recant it, then my impression is probably that you don’t have good impulse control in how you express yourself, and that is genuinely alarming on a deeper level than failing to read the room.

      (Note I do say almost there; it isn’t that apologizing for a verbal misstep is a bad thing overall, but in the context of cursing or speaking very casually, that should not be a mistake you make in a high-pressure conversation!)

    10. Keep it PG*

      I had recommended two previous coworkers for interviews at my current employer (both good workers that I did truly believe would be a good fit).
      One dropped an F-bomb in the interview and one didn’t. Guess who got the job? We work in customer service, so if you can’t control your vocabulary in that setting, you are too big of a risk to unleash on possibly sensitive clients!
      My manager was laughing about it…he’s not one to pearl-clutch over “bad words” that he uses on a daily basis, but still told me that was part of the reason one of my recommendations didn’t move forward.
      The other person I vouched for got the role.

    11. Lenora Rose*

      I do know someone who got a job because they cussed in the interview, but they were personally horrified when it slipped out, and especially when the interview was cut off a few questions after, though they did their best to be extra polite for the rest. This is not something someone could fake.

      (Also, the cussing was “…and #$%@ Microsoft” for a tech job without much public facing side. So, not AT anyone, not randomly in the middle of a sentence, and at something that the interviewers could sympathize with.)

    12. SchuylerSeestra*

      I don’t have a huge problem with minor cuss words(hell, damn) in an interview. Not recommended, but I’m not going to judge a candidate.

      Anything stronger than that I side eye. I recruit for strategic client facing roles. Roles where executive presence is key. I need to know they understand boundaries around language.

    13. t-vex*

      I did swear in an interview once. I was interviewing with people I had known for a while and worked with in the past so my brain was not in top-professional mode. I felt the s-word coming and was unable to stop it before it escaped. I did not get the job (probably not just for the swear word, I really wasn’t the right person).

    14. I’mnotamanagerijustplayoneontv*

      I was recommended for a different position within my company and in the interview the interviewer asked “if you’ve never done this type of job before why do you think you’ll be good at it?” And my answer was “I never did current job before but I learned and I’ve. Ever half assed any of my jobs, so I won’t half ass this” and immediately the horror came to my mind I said ass in an interview, but before I could die, she got up, gave me a high five and left me with the other interviewer. The rest of the interview was about the hiring and training process. Still would not recommend.

  3. BootsJangle*

    LW #3 (and anyone else): I often find booths more comfortable but tables are uniformly more accessible for larger bodies, older bodies, people with mobility issues, etc.

    Also avoid restaurants that only have those tall chairs and/or bar stools! What a terrible design choice.

    1. KateM*

      Also for people with smaller bodies (like children) who need their chairs nearer to the table.

    2. boxfish*

      See, it’s funny because as someone with joint and mobility issues I’ll often choose to sit at a booth because they have actual cushioning and back support, which often chairs in restaurants/cafes don’t. Not to be all ‘some people can’t eat sandwiches’! just to agree with the general sentiment that the best move is to just ask the person what they’d prefer.

      wholeheartedly agree re bar stools!

      1. Sparkle Llama*

        Same here! I have surprisingly pointy bones and scoliosis that make sitting in uncushioned chairs for any meaningful amount of time very uncomfortable. For a quick lunch it is fine but a longer lunch, like a lunch meeting, I will be very uncomfortable in a non padded chair and will get very squirmy. Just goes to show that our bodies are all different!

      2. Nightengale*

        ditto booths are much better for my balance and neurological/muscle problems than regular chairs

        high top tables are basically jungle gyms. I would stand at one if I had no other choice. I would not ever try to climb into a seat at one.

    3. Beth*

      High-tops are EVIL.

      As I age, I find booths increasingly uncomfortable; lousy back support and the table is never quite at a comfortable distance. But they’re still better that the high-top tables.

    4. lurkyloo*

      I agree with ‘avoid restaurants that only have tall tables/chairs’. However, I will be one small dissenting voice in that I appreciate a place that has some of them. My dad (bless his stubborn little heart) refuses to get his knees replaced and those barstools are a lifesaver for him. He struggles mightily to stand up from a regular to low table.
      Likewise my very tall partner likes them because he HAS had his hips replaced and when sitting for too long, they can freeze and with a tall table he can stand up much easier.

      1. Shynosaur*

        Just to make sure people are aware that multiple opinions exist lol… I am quite short, have scoliosis and all kinds of back problems, and high tops are the only thing I find comfortable. I only use high stools at home and the last booth I sat in absolutely wrecked my hip and the last “normal” table gave me a backache after 15 minutes.

        So absolutely the takeaway is “individuals have individual preferences and asking is the way to go.”

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Yes, I just commented elsewhere about this but reinforcing for solidarity! Not everyone hates high. It can be easier for some bodies.

      3. BootsJangle*

        Huh that’s good to know! I think the key is just a variety of choices—usually places have multiple options. I have seen some trying too hard to be really trendy places that just go all out on those though.

      1. BootsJangle*

        It’s funny I thought I’d written “almost” or some sort of qualifier, but I hadn’t. Yep there’s always going to be something that doesn’t work for someone, or human error in ordering things, etc.

  4. Siege*

    Booths are surprisingly terrible. Aside from the size issue (my dad and partner are both big enough I avoid fixed booths automatically) they’re usually that faux leather that sticks to skin like crazy, which could be an issue for a bare-legged woman wearing a skirt. Even a skirt that seems long can scootch up while sitting. Booths that are in poor repair (not an ideal meeting spot) can be painful if there’s a rip. And, as a woman who carries a purse, I hate scootching up a long booth to leave because a) I have minor mobility issues that make the way you get out of a booth awkward, and b) I never know what to do with my purse, so it becomes the ice axe of the adventure, thunked-and-scooted on the table as I go. (Setting it down outside the booth is a trip hazard; leaving it on the seat and bending over to reach back for it seems fraught in a business context, both as an awkward move and with the potential for rips.)

    1. Ludo*

      some booths are shockingly tiny too, I’ve seen people with totally average size bodies look crammed into tiny booths

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      With you on the faux leather, especially in summer when I’m wearing shorts and dresses. I hate having to peel the back of my thighs off the booth before I stand up. Ditto office chairs and car seats.

      I use a cross-body purse and just leave it on in restaurants, even at a table. It’s small enough that it doesn’t interfere with my elbow room or take up too much room when sitting next to someone. And it prevents me knocking it on the floor and dumping my stuff everywhere or leaving it behind, or risking it being stolen hanging on the back of a chair.

    3. Zap R.*

      Oh god, the purse thing. If you’re in a booth, it sits awkwardly beside you on the banquette. If you’re at a table, you have to put it on the grimy floor. If you’re at the bar or a high-top, you just sort of…hold it on your lap like a squirmy puppy, I guess? And god forbid you try to sit comfortably at a bar or high-top if you have a large bust.

      The world really isn’t designed for women.

      1. Silver Robin*

        sometimes (only sometimes!!) there are small hooks underneath the table/bar top where one might hang a purse. I always try to check for them and delight whenever I find one. having those means I give the place extra points.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        “The world really isn’t designed for women.”

        My husband is wearing a heart monitor (it attaches to his upper left chest) for 30 days and is very crabby about it, not the least because the seatbelt hits it.

        “Welcome to my world,” I told him.

        (Caroline Criado Perez covers seatbelt design and women in her amazing book “Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.”)

        1. Zap R.*

          My mum’s main complaint after breast cancer surgery was that wearing her seatbelt was excruciating.

        2. Erin*

          Ugh, I had to wear a heart monitor for a week and the place it had to go was centered right between my breasts, and listen, no person with breasts could possibly have been involved in designing the shape and location of that device. I had dents on the inside of my breast from where it was digging into them by the end of the week, it was awful.

        3. Chirpy*

          Yeah. I am an average height woman and have never been in a car where the seat belt adjusted low enough to not sit on my neck. They need to go lower to get an angle that won’t slide up over my chest.

      3. Silver Robin*

        Sometimes (only sometimes!) there are little hooks under the bar or the table (I think it is more common with bars) where one can hang a coat, umbrella, or purse. I am always delighted when I find one and definitely give points to the restaurant for them because it solves the purse question beautifully.

        1. Lime green Pacer*

          Google “purse hooks for table”: little hooks that rest on top of the table for hanging your purse underneath. They fold up to fit in your purse.

      4. Mameshiba*

        Standard in Japan is having little baskets under the table for women to put their bags without them touching the floor. It’s a great solution and I wish they were standard everywhere.

        They also sell little portable table hooks for you to hang your purse from the table.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Unfortunately in America I can see those baskets being filled up with everything from used napkins to used diapers really quickly…

    4. The OG Sleepless*

      I dropped my phone into the crevice between the booth and the wall once! I couldn’t believe it, it was a million to one shot. The booth was heavy but not attached to the floor. I had to very apologetically ask the person behind me to please get up so I could move the booth out and get my phone…and they were pretty grumpy about it.

    5. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      I hate the scootch so much, with or wothout a skirt/dress but ESPECIALLY when wearing one of those. As both an average sized and a plus sized woman it is always a miserable expereince.

  5. Allonge*

    LW4 – is it in any way better for you if you do it via email? It could even be written by someone else, or you could use a template with just the date inserted.

    But just to confirm, a good boss will not think a second of it, it happens practically every day if you are a manager of sufficient number of people.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      For LW4:

      I think email may be easier than saying “I have a doctor’s appointment” out loud. Whichever method you choose, it may be helpful to practice at home first.

      For email, practice can look like writing the sentence down on a piece of paper, then writing it in your personal email and sending it to yourself.

      For saying it out loud, practice can look like saying the sentence out loud when you are in a room by yourself, then saying it out loud in front of a mirror. If you have a trusted friend or family member, you can also practice saying it out loud to that person.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Or if the wording is tough, “a medical appointment” or “an appointment with my doctor” or whatever OP can feel most comfortable saying – but I agree, it’s possible to practice saying it until you don’t have an emotional response.

    2. Helewise*

      I wonder if it would help to communicate via email using a pre-written template – so you write it once, then just change the date before hitting send.

    3. irritable vowel*

      I was going to suggest email as well, and you could even write it in advance (perhaps at a time when you were feeling less anxious, if that would help) and schedule it to be sent to your manager a few days before the appointment.

    4. ferrina*

      I’m joining the chorus for email. For me, it’s because after I send the email, I can decompress. It gives more flexibility to take care of emotional needs.

      I have ADHD and that comes with some weird avoidances. Sending a simple email can become fraught with peril (for certain projects/topics). It’s pretty common with ADHD for simple tasks to become extremely difficult (lots of reasons for this- there’s a whole ADHD rabbit hole to jump down).
      I found that I did better when I made space for my freakout. It’s okay to say “this 5-minute email will take an hour. I need 20 minutes to amp myself up, 10 minutes to send the email, and 30 minutes to calm myself down.” I used to berate myself for needing this time, but once I accepted that this is where I was at, it helped me take better care of my emotional needs. It made the task a little easier each time- it’s like low-key exposure therapy, and taking care of my emotional needs is positive reinforcement for the thing. Over time (like a couple years), the task became less of an issue and I needed less emotional care time for that particular task.

      1. Turanga Leela*

        This is such a good point. Beating yourself up and saying, “This should be easy! It should only take two minutes!” is unhelpful. Acknowledging that it’s not actually easy, and giving yourself space to do the thing that is difficult, helps alleviate the anxiety about doing it (and for me, the guilt about not having done it already).

    5. Turanga Leela*

      I came here to suggest exactly this–can you literally have a friend type the email and click “send”? If your anxiety is around saying (or writing) the words “doctor’s appointment,” maybe you can hand off that part to someone else.

    6. Butterfly Counter*

      This was my thought as well. Find a time outside of work and surround yourself with things you find comforting. Type out the email taking as many breaks as you need and then do some self-care. Maybe even do it in NotePad so that you can just copy and paste it without needing to think about it in the future.

    7. Moodbling*

      LW, I want to make sure you know that lots of people have regular medical visits for a while for relatively minor issues. A common one is physical therapy. If your boss has been around the block at all, they won’t think it’s all that weird.

  6. LinZella*

    Re: letter 3 — Everybody has a different body obviously and the shapes and sizes we all have are different. This also includes people with wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistance devices. It also includes people with vision and hearing impairments.

    There are many many reasons why certain chairs and tables are more comfortable for some people. And for lots and lots of people, they’re fine anywhere.

    I’d strongly recommend that if you’re hosting/meeting someone you haven’t met in person yet, wait until they arrive and then let them choose where you both sit.

    1. MaineCat*

      Yes! And you don’t necessarily know from Zoom either. Otherwise tiny looking me has shown up at some in-person meetings third trimester pregnant and utterly shocked people who saw me in a ton of online meetings.

      1. Blarg*

        People have bodies below their shoulders. It’s wild! I had one colleague “warn” me before we met in person the first time that she was 6 ft tall and was finding people kept being surprised.

        1. irritable vowel*

          I started my current job remotely a couple of years ago and was really surprised (I hope not visibly) when I finally met one of my coworkers I had only seen on Zoom and realized how tall he was!

  7. allathian*

    I’m a fat woman and carry most of my weight in my thighs, hips, and butt. So far, fitting in a booth hasn’t been a problem because I don’t have a big belly like fat men typically have, but there’s a chain of cafés I won’t go to because they have very uncomfortable plastic cup seats that I no longer fit in. The chairs have a back and sides that sort of hug you if you’re a larger person. Last time I went there, sitting in the seat was very uncomfortable, and when I got up, the seat got stuck to my butt and I almost fell over. That was a bit embarrassing… Thankfully I went there with a group of friends, so the embarrassment was personal rather than professional.

    1. jane's nemesis*

      I HATE THOSE CHAIRS! I am a fat woman who carries her weight in her belly and I STILL find those seats super uncomfortable. UGH.

      1. AnonORama*

        Those curved “cup” back chairs can be miserable at all sizes, apparently! I’m on the smaller side, but broke my tailbone as a kid and it healed weirdly, and those chairs always seem to put (hard plastic) pressure on it.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Those damn chairs–for me they’re less “hug” and more “vicious death grip with biting.”

  8. Goober*

    LW #1: I’ve worked in building trades all my life. In some shops, cursing is nearly mandatory if you want to fit in. Context is everything.

    LW #2: On a more serious note, ask your landlord if they have a month-by-month option. It’s usually more expensive than a lease (often a lot more), and not all landlords will, but it’s worth asking. That buys you a month more at a time if you need it.

    1. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

      But even then, surely they wouldn’t be like “Jim didn’t curse in the interview, ding him”, right?

      I’ve worked (and hired) in an environment like that but if someone cursed in an interview I’d definitely consider it a strike against them because judgement suggests, to me, err on the side of caution.

      I don’t start cursing until I’m a few months in ;)

      1. Irish Teacher*

        And in an industry like that, I’m not sure it would even be that memorable. If somebody works in an industry where they hear a lot of cursing and they don’t care too much about it even in an interview, then it’s possible they wouldn’t even remember.

        I think if it’s memorable, it’s going to be because it’s considered a strike against them.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I think this is coming from people who think a lot about social media and the algorithms. It’s probably (?) true that if you want to be a successful streamer, “just” being good at the game isn’t enough, you need ways to stand out from the others … but I don’t think that relates very well so job interviews. Lots of people get jobs, it’s not like there’s only two or three big slots in most fields and the way to get to them is to go viral.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            That’s a good point–the speaker was trying to stand out in a sea of twitchers. (My impression from my son’s viewing is that using profanity while shooting zombies will not make you stand out at all. You would need to fling well-crafted Shakespearean insults at the zombies.)

          2. Naomi*

            Eh, I think this particular fallacy is older than social media. A LOT of the bad job search advice Alison has reported over the years boils down to trying to “stand out” in ways that will actually create a negative impression.

      2. BubbleTea*

        I guess they might think “not a good fit, too prudish” or something stupid. I’ve had people be surprised the first time they hear me swear because they assume I am morally opposed to bad language. I’m not, I just don’t use it like punctuation the way some of my neighbours do.

        1. CheesePlease*

          Eh….having worked in manufacturing and hired operators for our factory (where cursing is common throughout all levels of the org), we still expected professional behavior in an interview, which typically means no cursing. We expected people to wear professional clothing, even though sweatpants would meet the safety requirements in some areas and are appropriate for work.

    2. LifeBeforeCorona*

      Context is very important for cursing. An interview for a kitchen position, most people won’t bat an eye, a daycare and you are definitely not going to be hired.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Good point. My dad used to run a machine shop and often hired formerly incarcerated people for entry level/unskilled labor (it was part of a program to help them develop job skills.) I worked there in the office for several years and just about every conversation, including interviews, contained cursing. It was fine. I currently work in the financial field, and while there is plenty of colorful language when there are no clients around, dropping an f bomb in an interview would be disastrous.

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

      The OP probably has had to already give notice to the landlord. They may already have someone set to move in. They could certainly ask. Or maybe there is another apartment that the landlord has that they could move in to temporarily,

  9. Boomer Trapped in a Millennial's Body*

    I’m removing this because it’s derailing (and wrong, I’d argue). – Alison

  10. SorryIfThere’sTypos*

    LW2, obviously try to reach out once more, but what would you if you didn’t get the offer?

    1. Would you sign a new lease? 2. And if so, would that mean you would commit to staying in that area until the end of your lease term and turn down jobs elsewhere?

    If yes to the first question and no to the second question, just proceed like you’re staying…until you’re not. A short-term or month-to-month lease is ideal, but if you can’t do that, just secure your housing first and then manage what comes next whenever it comes. People break leases all the time. It’s by no means convenient, but it’s likely your best option if you can get an offer in 2 weeks. Good luck!

    1. Snow Globe*

      Another option for #2 – talk to the hiring company and ask — if they can’t get you an offer quickly enough and you need to renew your lease, will they be able to include in the offer a signing bonus that would cover the cost of breaking the lease?

      1. Crumbs*

        Yes! I work in higher ed and our hiring process sounds exactly like #2 (Lots of waiting and then BLAM please move here tomorrow) – we write in money to break leases for this reason as part of our moving reimbursements. It’s a totally normal thing to ask for.

        1. DJ Hymnotic*

          I remember the process of applying for a job in higher ed and my immediate, uncensored thought reading LW #2 was, “this sounds exactly like that.” Tons of waiting for the college to get their ish together followed by them expecting me to drop everything for them the minute said ish is gotten together.

          Anyways, I think what you said is excellent advice for any employer wanting to have their new plaything move and start immediately. Whether it’s breaking a lease, missing out on a scheduled bonus, or etc., if you’re asking the person you’re hiring to give up a significant chunk of money so that you can have them start ASAP, you need to be compensating them for that.

    2. Anon in Canada*

      I obviously can’t know how it is in every US state, but in Canada (at least in every province I’ve ever known specific info about), “breaking a lease” isn’t a thing. Once you sign, you are locked in for the full lease no matter what, and there is no legal provision to get out of it (except in extreme circumstances like seniors getting sent to a LTC home, or, in some provinces, being a victim of domestic violence). The only way out of paying the full lease is to sublet.

      1. SorryIfThere’sTypos*

        That’s helpful to know! I am in the US, and the only lease I couldn’t break, I could sublet the place to another renter. So I’m am definitely coming from that perspective.

      2. Em*

        Quebec has lease transfers, which are a good option. (Also generally a better way of moving anyway, as it means the landlord can’t suddenly double the rent just because a new tenant’s moving in.)

        1. Anon in Canada*

          The onus is still on the tenant to find a new tenant to transfer the lease to. You can’t walk away by paying a small fee and let the landlord and let the landlord handle it.

          1. Em*

            True! But it’s a better option than subletting since you’re no longer responsible for the property or for making sure the landlord gets paid.

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

        so, wait, I’m confused. And maybe you don’t know but are you saying that if someone has to leave their apartment that they still have to pay on the apartment’s lease?

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

          The reason I ask is that in the US many leases have a clause that the tenant will have to continue paying until another person is found for the apartment.

          1. Anon in Canada*

            “Breaking a lease” is a foreign concept in Canada, it doesn’t exist here. Once you sign a lease, you are locked in, period (except in a handful of extreme cases as I mentioned).

            The only way you’ll be able to get out of a lease is by finding a new tenant yourself, either as a sublet or a lease transfer (if your province allows the latter).

            In Ontario, if you’ve been in your apartment for 12 months or more, you’re month-to-month by operation of law; so having to sublet/transfer a lease would only happen if you must move less than 12 months after having moved in. However, in Quebec, all leases end on June 30 and you have to either move out or renew for a whole year (there is no month-to-month) by March 31. The scenario of having to sublet or transfer the lease happens more often there because you will not be allowed out of your lease at any other time than June 30.

            1. A renter in Quebec*

              The June 30th/July 1st thing in Quebec is a convention rather than a requirement. I’ve had leases go from April-March. My current one renews in December.

              (It IS a convention, though, which means Moving Day is a thing.)

              1. Anon in Canada*

                It’s not a legal requirement, but with the current housing shortage, good luck trying to negotiate a different lease end date, or, heaven forbid, month-to-month renting like what’s done in all other provinces. If the landlord wants to go by the convention (and the vast majority do), they’ll simply move on to the next applicant. Applicants have zero leverage to negotiate anything in a housing shortage situation.

            2. LJ*

              The landlord has a duty to mitigate damages. You’re on the hook for no more than until they find a replacement tenant

      4. doreen*

        Do you mean to say if my lease expires December 31 and I move out today , I will have to pay rent until December 31 even if a new tenant moves in Sept 1?

        1. Anon in Canada*

          No, it’s that the tenant will have to search for and find a subtenant/someone to transfer the lease to. The onus is on the tenant to find someone, the landlord will not be involved in that. Also, not all provinces allow lease transfers, so if you’re in a province that doesn’t, you’re on hook if the subtenant doesn’t pay or damages the apartment.

        2. Csethiro Ceredin*

          My friends (BC, Canada) were renting between selling their townhouse and finding a condo to buy. They had a lease and left early when they bought a condo, and they were required to pay rent until a new renter took it on.

          However the building management company handed advertising and showing the apartment – it wasn’t up to them to find someone.

      5. Daisy-dog*

        At least in big cities in Texas, you can break a lease for any reason with the fee of one extra month’s rent and 60 days notice (so potentially 3 months rent extra if you move out that same day). It’s been included in the addendum to my leases.

        1. Anon in Canada*

          Wow, by the standards that I’m used to, that’s so amazing!

          In Quebec, if you don’t announce by March 31 intent to leave on or before June 30/July 1, you are locked in until June 30 *of the next year*, no ifs or buts about it. The only way out is for you to find a subtenant/someone to assign the lease to, which right now isn’t hard but in periods of high vacancy rates, can mean having to pay part of the rent for 15 more months.

          Most Quebecers think the entire world operates like that, so don’t lobby politicians to change those rules!

        2. Dragonfly 7*

          My Texas lease is unfortunately 60 days, another month’s rent AND a fee for breaking that is nearly a month’s rent. It sucks because I am also needing to relocate, but it monetarily works out to just staying until the end of my lease.

      6. Turquoisecow*

        In the US and I don’t know if there are any laws around it here but when I wanted to leave my apartment in the middle of my lease the rental company was fine with it. Of course this was at a big complex, they probably had no trouble renting my unit quickly. I don’t remember even having to pay a big fee, I just contacted them and asked if it was possible and they said sure. So maybe that’s an option OP could look into.

      7. Midna*

        I broke a lease in Alberta with 30 days notice. I had to pay one month’s rent as penalty, but that was it, I did not have to find a new tenant myself nor pay til the end of the lease.

        1. Anon in Canada*

          In your first year in the apartment? Did you have a personal relationship with the landlord?

          I have never, ever heard of this being a thing in Quebec or Ontario. Ontario is less bad because all leases are month-to-month after 12 months, but it’s always been “you committed to this lease, you will honor it or find another tenant yourself”.

          1. vombatus ursinus*

            Does that go both ways?? i.e. the tenant can’t be evicted within the first 12 months?

            1. Anon in Canada*

              Of course not. If you miss a payment and don’t quickly make it up, you’ll be evicted no matter how long you’d been in the apartment.

      8. Might Be Spam*

        My lease can’t be broken even if I’m dead. My heirs would have to pay off the rest of the lease from my estate. It doesn’t matter if there’s a new tenant or not. (I’m in the USA)

        1. The expiring heir*

          i feel like that’s a lot of pressure to go at a good time so you leave them enough time to also clean the place out after you but also not leave any money on the table. that would be an amazing gift and would earn your spirit many blessings if I was your heir.

          of course if you passed away early in the lease I would probably just leave everything until the last minute anyway, let’s be real.

          please don’t die

    3. Anne Elliot*

      Just dropping by to let LW2 know that my personal experience was: (a) to be told I was for sure going to get a job offer, they were very excited to have me, and then (b) not receiving a job offer for nine months, after which the hiring manager retired and the new hiring manager decided he wanted to start from scratch and did I want to interview again? I was told the hang up was a budget issue, but that’s not what I heard, what I heard was “we’re going to offer you the job,” and so I twisted in the wind for three whole months before I realized the “sure thing” was not in fact a sure thing. By the time they got back to me with the princely offer to interview again for the job I had basically been promised nine months earlier, I had gone back to school and was several months into my program, and also not interested in working for a company that had screwed me. But it was a painful and expensive lesson for me.

      Until you have received and accepted a job offer, you don’t have the job. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do anyway if you didn’t get the job.

    4. Smithy*

      If the OP’s grad school is in a location where they wouldn’t stay long-term if this job does fall through – then another option is to pack-up, move the bulk of their belongings into storage (which can often be procured for a few hundred a month) and then try to find either a furnished sublet or move in with friends/family for the interim.

      This method allows for a good faith but normally slow during the summer hiring process to do its thing – but can also allow you the chance to sublet before committing to a new place in a new city. It’s something I actually wish I’d done, rather than securing an apartment under a time crunch of moving to a new city and starting a new job all at once.

      Once your items are packed up and in a storage unit, it’s really easy for movers to pack up the storage unit without you being present and taking your things to your new place once you’ve decided.

    5. Beth*

      Going month-to-month or seeing if your landlord would be down for a short-term lease was going to be my suggestion as well. I’ve definitely had times in my life where I was like “Landlord, my lease is up, and while I will be moving out of town, it’s not for another 2 months–can we do a short term interim thing instead of a year’s lease?” And the answer has always been yes (though often for a little more money). It’s a win-win scenario, usually–they get advance notice that they need to find another tenant, you get to stay in your current place until you’re actually ready to move.

      If that’s not an option for some reason, then I’d suggest looking for a local sublet, an AirBNB that’s set up for longer term stays, or something similar. And if that doesn’t work out either, then yeah, just sign a lease and break it. People do that all the time.

  11. A Duck on my Face*

    #4 reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about. I noticed that Alison is referring to taking sick leave for medical appointments. If your workplace divides up “sick days” and “personal days”, do most people count medical appointments toward their sick leave or their personal leave? (I’m thinking about things like a yearly checkup, not an emergency situation which would be clearly “sick”-related)

    1. Random Academic Cog*

      All our health-related appointments (dentist, chiropractor, annual visits, sick visits, PT, etc) fall under sick leave.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        Ditto, with a weird caveat: This is probably just my supervisors/manager being jerks, but we’re expected to be oddly specific if we want to use sick leave (details about appointments, etc). I thought managers couldn’t demand those details. Actually using sick time is harder than they make it appear.

        1. Stopgap*

          That could be twisted into malicious compliance. Describing the gross details about bodily fluids and such.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      Sick leave. We can also use sick leave for caring for family members who are ill.

      Personal leave is mostly for stuff that’s not illness/health related, but is short notice, like having a plumber coming, or needing to take your car to be repaired.

        1. Cat Nap Manager*

          I let my reports use sick leave for cat repairs, because pets are family in my book.

          1. Anne Elliot*

            I do also, and would be even more happy to do so if they referred to the appointment as “cat repairs.”

        2. jingle*

          I have absolutely referred to my cat as being in the shop when I dropped him off at the vet’s for a dental cleaning.

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          My cat’s in the shop as we speak! (Tooth cleaning and getting a cyst removed from his little chinny chin chin)

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      It’s likely a bit different here in the UK but my doctors appointments don’t go under sick leave, they go under ‘personal time off’ which is generally ignored and doesn’t count toward my annual leave.

      (It’s complex, and there’s a lot of etiquette behind it)

      1. Beth**

        Definitely depends on the employer in the UK. I have had employers where you don’t need to take any leave, medical appointments are just considered discretionary time off and others where you are expected to make the time up/use Time Off In Lieu to cover.

    4. MaineCat*

      Definition of sick leave where I work. Even kid doctor appts. Anything medical is sick leave.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      preferably sick leave, but too many companies offer so little sick time that many of us end up running out and use vacation time instead.

    6. Weez*

      In my country it’d depend on the circumstances. It’s only sick leave if you’re too sick to work. An employer wouldn’t be legally allowed to designate an employee who can work as sick; when they do that’s usually a fraud used to then fire them for being sick for too long.

      Otherwise it’s calamity/short leave (for appointments that must take place during working hours – that’s the same leave you’d use for voting), or just working time (for pregnancy-related care), or your day off.

      Extra (more than legally required) vacation days can also be docked, I think – although that’s usually structured in a “if you don’t miss work (other than for vacation) you get extra vacation days” way.

      1. amoeba*

        We actually have a special category called “medical appointment” in our system. Would qualify it as sick leave-like though as, like sick leave, this is basically unlimited for us. We are required to try and make it as short as possible though (if possible, in the morning or late afternoon so we miss less work).

        1. Weez*

          By “in our system”, do you mean your legal system or HR admin system?

          It’s also required here to plan appointments outside of working time as far as possible.

          Calamity leave is paid 100% from day 1 by law, though, and sick leave 70% with sometimes (if agreed by contract) the first two days unpaid*. (Though most collective employment agreements have the first year at 100% and don’t make the first two days unpaid, in which case there’s no difference in pay.) So that’s nice.

          *Which mostly causes employees to make their sick leaves really worth it, so it’s a stupid rule that punishes the honest and doesn’t even benefit the employer.

          1. amoeba*

            Our admin system – I honestly have no idea how it’s set up legally! I don’t think it counts as sick leave, officially.
            We do have fully paid sick leave from day 1 for up to 10 weeks and it only gets reduced to 70% after that, so wouldn’t make a difference to the employee either way, I guess.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        yeah same here. There is a form of (unpaid) leave you can take to care for a sick relative, and parents get three days a year of paid leave for a sick child provided they have a doctor’s note.

        1. Weez*

          Interesting – here “I need to pick my vomiting kid up at school and make arrangements for their care” is (paid) calamity leave (and taking kid/parent/spouse to the doctor also), but “the arrangement is that I’m caring for my sick child” is (unpaid) caregiving leave. No legal requirement for doctor’s notes and it’d be a bad employer who wanted proof of a doctor’s visit for a puking kid; a puking kid doesn’t need a doctor. (“Behaving like a good employer” is a catchall law we have; same as “behaving like a good employee”.)

          Employers in female-dominated industries tend to complain it’s always their employees(mothers) taking every needed leave even when the father is present. Which in some cases can be a good point, esp regarding paid leave, but because female-dominated professions pay less in general and then the wage gap, it’s a daft argument to make regarding unpaid leave because the mother is likely lower-paid than the father so the employer has no right to complain.

          (To be clear: the *mother* can absolutely complain about being the default caregiver, including if the father is only concerned with short-term economic gain and doesn’t care about her career growth and clout, but the *employer* really shouldn’t.)

    7. Irish Teacher*

      In teaching in Ireland, it would come under certified sick leave, as you would generally have an appointment letter or other evidence.

      Personal days are fairly limited, as obviously, we have our holidays when the schools are closed whereas we have something like 6 months of certified sick leave across about 4 years.

    8. alienor*

      At least in my workplace, salaried employees can only take any sort of leave in full-day increments, so if you have a regular appointment, you just leave early/come in late/go at lunch and it doesn’t count against anything. If it’s the sort of appointment where you’ll need time to recover afterward (like getting extensive dental work or having a colonoscopy or something), or if you’re grouping multiple appointments on the same day to get them done, then you use sick leave.

    9. Anon in Canada*

      My workplace does not allow doctor or dentist appointments to be categorized as sick leave; sick leave is only if you’re too sick to work. We have to use vacation or personal time for such appointments, or take them early in the morning and make up the hours at the end of the day.

    10. Elly*

      I’m salaried exempt, so I just make up the missed time either that day or another day in the week.

    11. Misty*

      I don’t know what the big deal is about a doctor’s appointment. What is so shocking and scandalous about going to the doctor?

      1. doreen*

        I can sort of understand not wanting to discuss medical issues of any kind with a boss/coworker. But there really isn’t any way to take sick leave for an medical appointment without telling someone, at some time , in some way , that it’s a medical appointment. The only way I can see to avoid it is not to take sick leave for the appointments – either using vacation time or making appointments outside of work hours. But those options may not be possible.

      2. Fierce Jindo*

        Do you mean for the letter writer? They said they have medical trauma. Do you want the topic of your trauma to come up in conversation with your boss?

    12. Lily Rowan*

      Legally in Massachusetts, sick leave is also for doctor’s appointments (your own and your household’s).

    13. RagingADHD*

      It also depends on how long the appointment takes and whether the company allows you to flex your time. For example, at most of my jobs it has been perfectly fine to take a longer lunch or leave an hour or so early for an appointment, and make it up by taking shorter lunches or flexing my start/end time the rest of the week. I don’t need to put in for PTO unless the appointment will take something on the order of 3+ hours. (Which some do, but certainly not most types of routine maintenance).

    14. Managercanuck*

      At my workplace they’re one and the same. They’re also separate from vacation or lieu days or stat holidays.

    15. Just here for the scripts*

      Sick leave. In fact, we have a separate category for sick leave with dr note and sick leave self treated. The former is required if there are 3 or more SLST days in a row; but as the latter are limited to 6 over 6 months, I use the SLDN code for every medical/dental appt I have to make.

    16. Lenora Rose*

      Sick leave here – it’s even in the contract and union details as such. The actual form you enter the leave into online has illness and medical appointment as separate lines (Along with about a million other reasons for leave), but they’re entered on the payroll/time bank side as the same thing.

    17. fhqwhgads*

      Depending on your locale it may be law that if you have sick leave available, an employer can’t prohibit you from using sick leave for appointments and preventative medical stuff (such as saying “sick leave if only for when you’re actively ill” or something). Not true everywhere but true a lot of places. So, especially if you do have an employer that prohibits it, may be good to look up local laws and see if they’re in the wrong for trying to do that. Cuz, ya know, employers aren’t always up to speed on labor laws and often break this sort of thing.

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

      I think it depends on the amount you get and what is allowed by your company. Some allow you to use it for appointments while others do not.

      The reason why someone might use sick time versus vacation time might depend on how much they get. So if you only get 3 sick days but you have 12 vacation days you might want to use your vacation days for appointments, in case you get sick and need those days later. Or, like my company, we accrue our sick time and it rolls over, but vacation time does not. So after the 4 years I’ve worked here I have several weeks of sick time. So I am going to use that for my appointments.

  12. Dhaskoi*

    LW #1

    Screening interviews are a big chunk of my job and while it varies according to profession, in our field we don’t have a ‘pile’ of applicants being compared against each other. Each interviewee is assessed according to their presentation and how well they meet set criteria, usually right after the interview while our impressions are fresh.

    Someone who deliberately dropped an F-bomb in an interview would be an immediate ‘not hiring, no further discussion required.’

  13. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (moving cross country) – the fact that they were about to make an offer but have had some kind of delay at the HR stage does make me uncomfortable. Consider the possibility that budgets etc are being re-evaluated and that this offer may not materialise due to “going in a different direction at this time” or whatever and plan accordingly. Can you get short term accommodation where you live now until the situation becomes clearer?

  14. call me wheels*

    Booths can also be hard to sit at for people with mobility issues, my wheelchair usually isn’t compatible with them and if you’re meeting in person for the first time you might not know if they use a mobility aid.

  15. WS*

    LW #3’s response was low-key and perfect. As I found when buying chairs for a waiting area, a variety of options is always best – I was going to get all chairs without arms thinking of problems I’d had fitting into chairs, but a colleague who had recently had knee surgery pointed out that chairs with arms are helpful for people with leg weakness for whatever reason.

    1. Emmy Noether*

      yes, and probably best to completely avoid chairs that are very narrow, very flimsy, very low, or that make the knees be higher than the butt. I’m currently (extremely) pregnant, and those last ones don’t work for me at all (due to belly getting in the way) and I’d imagine they’re terrible for mobility issues too.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Variety is good here, too–I left the waiting area while my husband was having a medical procedure because my feet dangled above the floor in all the chairs they offered, and I knew a few hours of that was not going to leave me very mobile.

        1. Totally Minnie*

          The best waiting room I go to regularly is at my orthopedist’s office. There’s a good mix of armchairs and armless chairs, and some chairs are taller or shorter than others. I always pick a short chair because my legs are short and letting my feet dangle in space exacerbates my back pain, while people with knee problems who don’t want to go down that far can pick a taller chair. It’s marvelous.

      2. Gumby*

        They also mean that the edge of the chair digs into your legs like whoa. The “knees higher than butt” thing and hard-cornered seats is why I hate the chairs at Chipotle. I like to relax and read during my lunch break and I frequently consider eating there and almost always decide against it because I know it won’t be comfortable at all.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I’ve been in waiting rooms with chairs of 2 or 3 different styles, but all coordinated to work together aesthetically. That seems like the best option if the waiting room is big enough for it.

    3. Weez*

      And leave space for wheelchair uses to sit!

      Hospitaal waiting rooms seem notoriously bad at this in my experience. Usually there’s no sensible place at all, and the only option is to just sit in the middle of the room or in front of a couple of chairs (that are usually attached to each other and therefore immovable). That’s uncomfortable, othering, and prevents you from sitting next to a companion.

      Hospitals of all places ought to do better.

      (Similarly, I’ve only been to one waiting room that had wheelchair spots marked on the floor during the pandemic; all others put chairs 1.5m apart (or marked chairs unavailable) and wheelchair users just… were supposed to stay home or violate guidelines or evaporate into thin air or something.)

  16. Maz*

    LW1: Re being memorable in an interview, I used to know someone who kept pet snakes and had that listed in her CV under hobbies. She said she was always asked about it! It made her memorable enough to be invited to an interview, but it didn’t help her once she got to the interview — she got job offers based on her skills at the job, not based on her pet snakes.

    1. amoeba*

      Hah, yeah, I’d say that makes for a good small talk topic/icebreaker for an interview! Not going to help much but I do find something that sparks conversation/connection can be very good to have on there. (I have a martial art listed and it has very often come up because the hiring manager used to practice it or something similar themselves, their children did, etc…)

    2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I remember a guy who came to our office for an interview once, who suddenly looked like he had a Eureka moment as he was sitting down, and said “oh what a wonderful view you have”. Yes, we had the beautiful St-Bernard’s church just across the street, and the Sacré Coeur on a distant hill, and when bathed in a rosy sunset, it was quite simply amazing.

      He later called to see whether there was any news on his application, and when I asked for his name, he mumbled it then proudly said “I was the one who commented on the view”. I couldn’t help but reply “I’m afraid that doesn’t help, everyone comments on the view”, but as I said it, I remembered his “Eureka” moment and realised he was a poor awkward introvert who had been desperately casting around for something to say to make himself stand out.
      He didn’t get the job, I don’t remember why not because it wasn’t a role that involved me.

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Had a friend in law school — male – who listed ballroom dancing on his resume. He really could ballroom dance. It got attention to get him into an interview. He got a good job based on skill.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      Unless they were trained assassination boas who mysteriously “disappeared” the last interviewer that disappointed her…

  17. Ludo*

    #3-you handled it very well! He was probably very embarrassed.

    And to those of you who need specific seating, I recommend being upfront about it. I’m at the point in my life where I am no longer embarrassed about needing specific seating, so if I was going to have a working meal out and I was not in charge of booking, I would request specifically to be sat at a table with normal chairs if possible with whoever is doing the booking. I usually phrase it something like “this is a physical accommodation request, can we please sit at a normal table with normal chairs if possible? I don’t do well in booths or tall bar stools or anything like that.” I’ve never had anyone be weird about it

  18. Tg33*

    LW2, this may not be appropriate, but what would you do if you didn’t get this job offer? Stay put and job searc i,r move and job hunt where you want to move? Do that, and if you do get a job offer it will be a bonus.

    As a heads up, even after getting a job offer it can be pulled before you start, though it’s very rare.

    1. L. Ron Jeremy*

      It happened to a buddy of mine after he accepted a job via formal written job offer. He moved across the country, setup his kids in school, wife got a new job and they purchased a house. First day on the job he was told that they had a reorg and there wasn’t a job for him.
      They stayed in Florida, but it setback his career by a good 10 years.

  19. BellaStella*

    Number 4 yes it is normal. I have 5 doc appts in Sept and have put them as private out of office appts on my work calendar and have just sent a note to my boss to say I will be out these days and times for medical stuff. No detail needed. I am sorry for your medical trauma. I hope you can move thru it with help!

  20. Ex-prof*

    LW 1, not just bad advice but pointless, given that the F-bomb is no longer a bomb; it’s barely a water balloon. To us Gen-Xers, it’s cussing on a mouth-washed-out-with-soap level. To Millennials, it’s cussing on the level of “damn”, and to Gen-Z it’s a synonym for “very”.

    1. Melissa*

      But still don’t say it in a job interview! The fact that young people use it a lot is mostly a factor of their being young. In an interview, you need to be the most polished, mature version of yourself, and assume the person interviewing you is your grandmother.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Yes! That sweet grannie cursed a plenty back when she was wearing thigh boots and hot pants in the 60s!! But she has since grown up a fair bit and no longer needs to shock anyone.

        1. Samwise*

          Haha, yes (mini skirts tho, not hot pants)

          I *never* f-bomb at work. I don’t use any curse words at all– at work. Nobody does at my office, it would be quite shocking.

        2. Jiminy Cricket*

          Thank you! We all seem to get generational amnesia. Us old folks were young, once. And many of today’s grannies were even too young to be free-love-and-what-all hippies!

      2. AnotherOne*

        I have to agree. The fact that my friends can use the F-bomb as a noun, verb, and adjective in the same sentence doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate at a job interview.

        Does that mean that it never has it’s place? No. But that it’s unlikely to have a place, yes.

    2. amoeba*

      Ah, maybe that’s cultural (UK vs US), but my Gen X English coworker is definitely the one who regularly uses the F-whatever! Not in formal meetings, obviously, but internally. As do I, which is why I find that quite reassuring.

    3. alienor*

      I don’t know about that. I’m a Gen Xer and most of my peers and I are regular F-bombers. I’d find it odd in someone I was interviewing, just because I expect people to understand the context of when to use it and when not to use it (this is also what I taught my Gen Z daughter when she got to the swearing age) but I don’t think it’s a generational thing.

    4. Bagpuss*

      I think there are still a fair number of people who would view it as a bomb and a larger number who would not be shocked but would see it as inappropriate in a professional / work situation .

      Speaking for myself, I’m unfazed by people using the word , I don’t find offensive per se, but I would be unimpressed by a candidate using it in a job interview as in my view, it isn’t suited to a formal, professional meeting, which is what a job interview is.

      And we work in a client-facing profession, and there are plenty of out clients, particularly the older ones, who would find it offensive or inappropriate especially from someone they were seeing professionally, so a candidate who appears unfamiliar with that, or who is either unable to appropriately code-switch or hasn’t realised that it’s appropriate to do so is definitely reducing their chances of getting hired.

      I suspect that this would be true for a lot of employers and a lot of roles.

      (You do hear people wear in our offices but I can’t recall anyone swearing at or in the presence of a client (although there are times when we may swear *about* them…)

    5. Lenora Rose*

      I and my brother are Gen X ers and he cussed like a sailor in high school and just after (As did many other teens who later grew out of it), so I don’t think you can judge frequency of cussing in people in that age bracket with the severity with which it will be taken. Yes, the reaction has softened over the years. No, it has not softened so much anyone should be cussing in a job interview unless they get something dropped on their foot.

  21. Former academic*

    LW2, not sure if this is an academic position (“search committee” made me wonder) but if so: if it’s a role with startup funds you might see if those could cover moving expenses, including temporary housing or storage. (I know a few academics who have done the moving pods so they can store stuff during gaps between leases). Ridiculously long HR processes aren’t necessarily a red flag for academic roles but it’s not impossible for budget to get pulled, so agree with Alison not to move until you get an offer letter.

  22. Skippy*

    LW2: I would start planning as if you’re not going to move but I would also push back on the company to get them to make a decision. It’s good to remind them that their dithering could cost them a potential hire.

    Keep in mind, too, that they should be offering you relocation assistance that could cover the cost of short term accommodations or penalties for breaking a lease — or if they’re not, you can try to negotiate to have them covered.

    1. MCL*

      Relo expenses are totally not a given in my industry (academia/libraries) and are highly dependent upon position and budgets.

      1. Anon in Canada*

        Yeah saying that anyone who moves for a job “should” be given relo assistance is weirdly out of touch. That’s pretty uncommon nowadays and tends to only be given for highly senior-level or hard-to-fill positions.

      2. Smithy*

        My industry, relo expenses are also not a given – but even more so early in someone’s career.

        However, more so than any of this, for a young person, I just want to shout out a plus to thinking about putting your stuff in storage and planning on getting a furnished sublet in the new city before committing to a new 12 month plus lease. If the OP has lived in that city before, then forget this – but I think there’s something to be said about living in a place for 3,4 months before deciding on exactly where you want to live. Particularly when you’re younger and if you’re moving solo.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Companies might speed things up if you tell them Company B has made you an offer and while you would prefer to go with Company A, you have bills and need to give them an answer by Wednesday.

      While it’s possible that the company is madly in love with OP and are about to make a great offer and just don’t realize that OP needs to start in two weeks… it’s also possible that they are considering half a dozen candidates similar to OP, and the news that OP needs an offer or else would just mean that they were now considering 5 candidates, we wish you the best in your future endeavors.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Telling them you have an offer from another company would just mean they move on from #2. Unless #2 has very special skills that are hard to find, they will just go with one of the other candidates. Also don’t lie. It never helps.

        Sadly, OP2, I think you need to act like this job offer is not coming and plan accordingly. As Alison says, you don’t have the job until you have the actual offer in hand.

      2. Hiring Mgr*

        Why not just tell them the truth? Either way OP needs an answer fast, I’m not sure why a fictitious offer is better than the very valid reason that;s real.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        To clarify since two people have interpreted it this way: I don’t think OP should lie. I think the scenario in my first paragraph, when a true statement, is one where people have successfully gotten Company A to make an offer this week rather than in 2-3 weeks. But only when Company A was close to making an offer to this applicant.

        “My lease is ending” or “my mom says I have to find a job by September 1st” or “I am moving to your city and need the employment offer to get a lease” are not things that move Company A.

  23. Katz*

    LW3: I use “health care appointment” rather than differentiate between doctor, dentist, etc. It also covers massage, acupuncture, etc. No need to be specific.

    1. I hate forced potlucks*

      Yes I use similar language. I often use my lunch hour to go to therapy and just give my boss a heads up that I am taking my lunch at the doc. Honestly just in case it goes over or I run into traffic getting back. Its never an issue.

      I also use this for my kids. My oldest has some mental health issues and goes to therapy once a week. I just use doc appt. There is no need to fill in my boss on my kids’ medical needs.

  24. Sally Rhubarb*

    For swearing, I think context and industry matter. We’re very laid back here and I’ve definitely heard the higher ups drop a few f-bombs.

    But what you say matters too. So if in an interview I asked why did you leave your last job and the person said “because my manager was a fucking bitch” nope, do not pass Go, do not collect $100.

    But if I asked “why do you want to work here” and they said enthusiastically “I fucking love llamas!!” It would be less of a problem.

  25. I should really pick a name*

    I would follow up with them.

    You may have let them know when you need to move, but there are a lot of people involved in the hiring process, and they might not all know about your time pressure.

  26. pally*

    #1: What is it with these ‘tricks’ to be memorable in an interview? Why not showcase your skillset & experience instead?

    A recruiter had me view a video prior to interviewing with their client. The video was about using body language to make a positive impression during a job interview. It instructed the candidate to spread arms wide to display confidence and make a positive impression. It is supposed to convey sincerity and trustworthiness.

    Okay. I tried it. Made the gesture a few times while answering questions.

    Made me feel like a dork.

    Nope, didn’t get the job either.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      The body language advice would be useful to some people, but not most. It’s something that a good actor would pull forth to convey confidence and openness, or a lack thereof, even if reciting the same lines each time.

      I suspect the advice is because from the outside “Why did they offer to Frankie, and not the other 9 applicants?” is mysterious. So people figure Frankie must have done something to linger in the interviewer’s mind, and the something wasn’t “give a really good breakdown of when to use which TPS cover sheets.”

      In this case, it’s not like the Twitcher was likely also doing a lot of hiring for a machine shop or credit union and Twitches on the side. It was a passing thought from someone who doesn’t do hiring. Quite possibly they would look favorably on “print your resume on paper that’s a quarter inch bigger than average” and “dress as a banana,” two things that make you stand out from the crowd. (And for a lot of entertainment stuff, the banana outfit gets people to take a second look and then you wow them with your league-building skills.)

      1. Lenora Rose*

        For me it would fall into the trap that you’re also interviewing for a place you want to work, and places where “one neat trick” works to get in the door over skills don’t sound like places I would want to work.

    2. Angstrom*

      Body language advice can be helpful, especially if you’ve done a practice interview and identified something negative. It is part of the overall impression one makes.
      “Impress your interviewer with this one simple gesture!” is nonsense.

      1. Elsewise*

        I was recently watching a video on sales tactics that included the advice to (subtly) mimic what the person you’re talking to is doing to build affinity. Went into a casual job interview type interaction (meeting with a manager at a coffeeshop to discuss a role on her team) and tried it out. Felt a little silly, and then she knocked over her (thankfully iced!) tea, and I decided to drop it.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      I think there’s a prevailing fear out there that every job attracts numerous and equally qualified people, who are all equally eloquent, well presented and keen. They believe therefore that it’s just a matter of sticking a pin in the list, because every hiring manager is so spoiled for choice they can’t remember anyone specifically. It’s not even common sense if you think about it. Even when there’s plenty of options, you’re not going to choose the one person who dropped a clanger.

  27. Rachel*

    I never eat in restaurants for work but the booth/table letter was really helpful to me.

    I default to booth and I’m glad this flagged it as potentially a problem.

  28. Slinky*

    #1 – a number of years ago, we were hiring for a head of a medium/large department. We brought in two finalists. One swore incessantly throughout the interview. Seriously, he seemed to be incapable of going more than 5 minutes without dropping an f-bomb. I don’t mind swearing generally and curse like a sailor in my personal life, but the lack of professionalism was stunning. Not only did we not hire him, but for about two years after, people referred to him as “that guy who wouldn’t stop swearing.” Not a reputation anyone should want.

    1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      Yeah. It’s hard to not read that as a lack of self-awareness or even self-restraint and also not understanding industry norms. Especially as a potential department head who would be expected to model good behavior to the staff.

  29. Choggy*

    I feel the same way regarding sharing anything about my health with coworkers, especially my boss, so I keep it very simple, and say I have a doctor appt or just an appt. Depending on the length, since I’m salaried, I’ll either use some PTO or not. No one has batted an eye. If you keep it matter of fact, they should not be overly concerned. You set the tone.

  30. vox experentia*

    for the client with the issue with the booth – one way to reliably avoid this is to wait to be seated until your full party arrives. and that has the additional benefit of being courteous. then the client can indicate their seating preference as you’re seated.

    1. Two Pop Tarts*


      I can’t stand having to hunt for somebody who arrives before I do. Have they already arrived? How do I describe them to the staff? Will the staff even help me find them?

  31. Yellow cake*

    LW4 I obviously don’t know the specifics of how this plays out for you, but one option might be to set up a script/auto replace/template so you aren’t having to keep re typing your request.

    If you could put the time in a form that then generated and sent your email for you – that could be a solution. To fully automate you’d need to spend the time scripting it – you can find likely tutorials you can copy online for your operating system.

    I did this once when I had to send regular updates via email and didn’t want to have to keep saying the same things over again. This way I clicked a button and it automated the rest.

  32. ecnaseener*

    The whole ‘being memorable’ thing falls into the same bucket as ‘gumption’ in my mind. Like yeah, I guess it could work with the type of manager who hires by vibes alone, but you’re not exactly improving your chances by assuming that’s most hiring managers.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      It reminds me of when my daughter and her friends were trying to figure out the mysterious black box where you put a college application in one side, and an admission to The Right School came out the other.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah, carrying that mindset over to job interviewing is probably where a lot of this comes from!

      1. ecnaseener*

        I sure don’t, lol, but I think the people who give out this kind of advice genuinely might! It goes with the whole mindset of “gaming the system” and talking your way into the most well-paid/prestigious job you can find.

    2. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      Well said. By the time I gained enough experience to hire for our organization, I had a clear understanding of what skills and qualities were needed to be successful in the positions we were seeking. You didn’t need to be memorable you simply needed to possess the criteria we were looking for. Any attempt to outshine your competition, other than these skills and qualities, risked making us think you would be a problematic employee.

  33. MicroManagered*

    OP4 At least make sure to use the word “medical” or “doctor” in front of “appointment” so your manager knows they’re approving sick time for an appropriate reason — like not a hair appointment is what I’m saying. This will head off any follow-up questions from your boss, unless they’re unusually nosy.

    If your boss *is* unusually nosy, it will be helpful to practice what you’re going to say to any follow up questions. Also just knowing what I’d say ahead of time sometimes calms my anxieties. I would go with “Oh I don’t want to get into what it’s for — but do you need me to bring back a note that I was seen?”

    At *my* job, it’s really unusual to be asked to bring a doctor’s note for a simple appointment, so by asking if I need to bring a note I’d really be saying you are being really intrusive and my boss would back RIGHT off. If you have a job where a note is usually required, it’s a good way to redirect the conversation back to business.

    Hope everything goes well for you!

    1. Office Lobster DJ*

      I like it! Whether a nosy boss picks up on the subtext or not, having a ready script that moves the conversation along and away from the appointment itself is good.

      Oh, I don’t want to get into that —
      Do you need a note?
      I’ll see you first thing in the morning.
      I’ll be back by 2, so Fergus won’t need to cover the llamas.
      Let me know if you don’t see the absence request in the system.

  34. Lacey*

    #1 Even in work places where profuse swearing is accepted – they need to know that you can go without swearing when required (client meetings or public events for me).

    An interview would be seen as one of those times, so swearing in it, makes you look like a potential problem.

  35. nope*

    I really want an update from LW 2! Please let us know what ends up happening with the job and the move.

  36. Friendly Office Bisexual*

    LW1 – My hiring team recently removed a candidate from consideration because she dropped the F bomb multiple times during her interview. The position would have involved working with middle and high school-aged children and parents, and we worried she wouldn’t be able to stay professional. Part of what I’m looking for in interviews is “can this person come across professionally in this public-facing role,” and swearing is at odds with that imo.

    The best way to stand out during an interview is to be personable, genuine, and demonstrate that you understand what the job is about & have the skills to do it.

    1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      Absolutely. If she can’t rein it in enough for a job interview, I would think she would struggle under the pressure of day-to-day work.

  37. Juicebox Hero*

    #1 is making me think of some competition show on Food Network maybe 10 years ago, where the contestants were making dinner for the crew on a submarine. When their course was served, the contestant would enter the mess hall through the bulkhead doorway and give a little presentation.

    One doofus thought it would be just hilarious to run at top speed, jump through the bulkhead, pretend to trip, and faceplant. He did just that, only it was more of a deliberate stumble so it looked as fake as it was. It completely killed the mood; everyone just kind of sat around trying not to look at him, and he wasn’t able to recover from it. I can’t remember what he made, or any of the other contestants. I just remember the doofus who deliberately wiped out in front of everyone.

    Anyone who’s going to be all “I just fucking love Acrobat Pro… oops, tee hee!” is going to be just as memorable for all the wrong reasons. My own swear jar is always full, but I know enough to tailor my language to my audience.

    1. AnonORama*

      Totalyl! I’m lucky that my brain seems to have basically created auto-pilot cursing levels depending on the situation: zero cursing; minor cursing (like “damn” and “hell”); and moderate cursing (everything but the F bomb, although I do use it occasionally outside work). So when I’m in a job interview, I default to not cursing without thinking much about it; when I’m in a casual environment with work teammates, I curse a bit.

  38. Art3mis*

    #3 as someone who doesn’t fit in booths, I think you handled it fine. If I’m meeting someone for the first time I usually tell them if they get there before me to get a table vs a booth.

  39. el l*

    Exhibit #257 in “Things That Sound Great on Social Media But Are In Real Life Insane.”

    Because job interviews are not about being memorable, and certainly not being memorable at all costs.

    It’s about showing competence and mutual fit. This cannot be solved with one simple trick.

    1. MsM*

      Yeah, I’d really love to know what this Twitch streamer’s professional qualifications are beyond “Twitch streamer.” I can’t help suspecting they’ve gravitated toward a line of work where they don’t really need to be answerable to anyone and outrageous behavior is somewhat encouraged because that hasn’t worked out so well for them in standard employment settings.

      1. urguncle*

        Those who can, do. Those who can’t make money as content creators giving absolutely the worst professional advice you’ve ever heard in your life.
        I got sucked into a Product Management TikTok account forever ago and was really interested in learning from this person until she revealed she’d worked something like 8 months as a PM, at which point her social media account took off and she started doing that full time.

      2. Meep*

        I know what Twitch streamer this is because my husband likes to listen to people talk when he plays video games. This particular one thinks he is the smartest person in the room and likes to contradict himself. (Which is a big chunk of them, but this one is particularly insufferable.)

        Mind you, he is quite well off, but it is definitely a “put lipstick on a pig” sort of wealth.

    2. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      So true. I am so afraid that young people who are new to the workforce are being misled by Redditors on how to interact with customers, for example. We always prided ourselves on our top-notch customer service and ability to handle difficult patrons with various de-escalation techniques. We would literally fire on the spot employees who spoke to our patrons the way Reddit seems to think is acceptable.

      Happily, for all concerned we make this quite clear during the hiring, training and evaluation process.

  40. No creative name yet*

    LW 2, I had a similar experience with my first job after grad school! It totally sucks and I feel you. For me, since I had decided to move to the new city regardless, I moved stuff to a storage unit in the new city and sublet a relatively inexpensive room with a bunch of grad students, while continuing to job search while I was waiting, do some info interviews, learn about different neighborhoods, etc. I tried to get a temp job but it didn’t work out. It took a few more months for the job to come through, but when it eventually did it made the move a bit easier since i was already in the new city (though I did have to put myself on a strict budget once I started to pay off the credit card debt I had accrued!). It sounds like you have already explored options, but if you want to stay put and your landlord won’t negotiate a short-term extension (and isn’t required to by local law), and the cost of breaking a lease is prohibitive, then something like a sublet might be an option. Honestly I found that the freedom of knowing I could move was helpful during that period of uncertainty. Best of luck!!

  41. freshly cut couch*

    I went on an interview at least 20 years ago and hit it off well with the interviewer (a woman in her 40s while I was in my 20s) and she got so comfortable that she dropped an f-bomb and then immediately gasped in shock at herself. Sadly, they ended up having a hiring freeze so I didn’t get the job, but it sure was memorable!

  42. ThisIsNotADuplicteComment*

    LW1 – I’d advise against taking office job advice from a twitch streamer. They didn’t get big on twitch through interviews.

    1. I Watch Too Much Twitch*

      I agree with this. Streamers making a living on Twitch are more qualified to discuss self-employment rather than give job-seeking advice. Yes, some of them started in the corporate office world, and others just stream for a hobby while holding a regular job, but most of them cast a false front in the name of anonymity, so you can’t be sure who’s qualified to give this type of advice.

    2. kiki*

      Yes, unless you know this twitch streamer has a second career in a field similar to yours that they’re really successful at, I’d really abstain from giving much mind to their interviewing advice. Even with my friends who are successful in their professional careers, a lot of their advice isn’t good for me because our fields and industries are so different! I work in tech, which is very casual. A lot of my friends are lawyers, which tends to be a bit more formal. If I used their advice for writing a cover letter, a lot of folks hiring would be confused! Why so formal? Why the flowery writing?

      In general, though, I think a lot of job searching advice on social media tends to be more for entertainment than practical value. Because a video where somebody says, “clearly lay out your skills and how they align to the potential job” won’t get many views.

  43. Not Mindy*

    Thank you to LW3 for handling what could have been an awkward situation (on all sides) in an efficient and matter of fact way.
    As someone who is very large, sometimes I dread going to a restaurant. I dread booths because I might not be able to fit in it. I dread tables because if the chairs aren’t sturdy I might break one. I dread ordering food because I don’t want to be judged for what I’m eating. I also dread food because I’m almost guaranteed to spill something on myself!

  44. fort hiss*

    Yeah, as a fat person (no need for euphemisms, it is what it is) I have been in the humiliating situation where colleagues pick a booth and I just have to squeeze in and deal with the pain as the table digs into my stomach. Nobody said anything but I would have much preferred if someone offered that we move. As I’m sure others have mentioned, places with narrow arms on the chairs are also a real challenge. I just want to meet and work without my body being an issue. If you can account for that ahead of time, it is a real burden off.

  45. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

    I was once part of a selection committee that had to review written application essays. We were choosing finalists from the semi-finalist pool, so this was a big deal. One of the essays was basically, “You know what? F* you. F* this opportunity. F* the (mission/audience/all y’all).” We all looked at each other and someone said, “Five minutes until midnight” referring to the submission deadline (electronic submission). We all laughed with understanding and put the application in the No pile. Because we have to work with you, under pressure, and F* All This doesn’t look super functional.

  46. kiki*

    I think this applies to job hunting, dating, and a lot of facets of life: gimmicks may “work” in the short term but there’s a risk you won’t be winning something good for the longterm. Doing something hokey in an interview to be more memorable risks getting you a job working for somebody who makes major decisions based on superficial factors. Negging somebody on a date may trick them into wanting to see you again, but now you’re dating somebody who doesn’t necessarily like you for you and who has low self-esteem.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      100% agree.

      The problem with using gimmicks to find a job is that you wind up working for someone who is influenced by gimmicks.

    2. Armchair Analyst*

      a million percent

      the advice “be yourself” and the appendix “but the best most professional version of you” is given so often, it sounds hokey and cornball.

      but the older I get the more I realize- I gotta be me. square pegs just don’t fit in every round hole and they sure aren’t happy and effective there – a lot of friction.

      just be professional you – you got this!

  47. Jiminy Cricket*

    Swearing in an interview looks like a power play (“So, what are you going to do about it, huh? Shocked you, didn’t I?! Can I get you to react?”) and I don’t need that in my life. So that would be a big no.

    And this is from someone who swears like a longshoreman in my personal life.

  48. Mimmy*

    #2 – My spouse and I have considered off-and-on about moving across the country and I have always wondered about the logistics surrounding this with regard to job searching, especially in terms of timing. Did the OP have a city in mind before applying for this job or did they land the interview and planned their move from there? If it was the latter, I can see Alison’s point about not making concrete plans until you have the formal offer. But how do you plan when you get an offer and want you to start right away. Planning a move can take a long time.

    This is really tricky and would love to see Alison do a post about job search & relocation (if there isn’t one already).

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I’m no expert but I’ve moved states 3 times for work (twice from coast to coast and once just to a neighboring state). In the first two cases (coast to coast) I was open to multiple locations and the decision was made mostly on the job itself, as long as the location was tolerable. The third time I was actively job searching and happened to find what seemed like a perfect job in an area I used to live, even though I hadn’t planned on moving.

      In all 3 cases they knew I was moving from a great distance. Professional curtesy in my field is a 4 week notice period so for the first move I was able to get a lot of the moving prep work done in that time, then I just needed an extra week for the move itself. The second time was more complicated as I was getting married in the time I’d also need to be moving, so I negotiated a farther start date (I think it ended up being 2 months). The third time I gave a 4 week notice period and then agreed to start remotely while getting everything sorted out to move, which took about 6 more weeks because I had to sell my house and buy another.

      My husband was on the other side of the equation – once we knew where we were moving he just launched an intensive job search in the new city, and made it clear on his application materials he’d be in the area on X date.

  49. NeedRain*

    LW#1- I read somewhere that to be memorable in a job interview you should wear one piece of bright or otherwise noticeble clothing and this has always seemed like good advice. Like not a whole yellow suit, but one yellow piece. Something that makes you stand out if everyone else is wearing their most conservative interview attire, but just enough to make you memorable, not enough to prevent you from getting hired like swearing might.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      While I don’t think it could hurt, I think the point of Alison’s response is that if the only reason they remember you has nothing to do with your potential as a good hire, you’re probably not getting the job anyway.

    2. Angstrom*

      Depending on the interviewer, that could be taken many different ways. Some might read it as “confident” or “personal style”, others might read it as “obvious gimmick” or “doesn’t understand professional dress”.
      I think a *little* personal flair is ok — you are who you are — but you don’t want your clothing to be the most memorable thing about you.

      1. NeedRain*

        the whole point is for it not to be an obvious gimmick. It does mean have a touch of personal flair, that’s a good phrasing. But if it comes off as a gimmick you’ve done it wrong. I just mean like, wearing a floral blouse instead of all black.

        1. Dinwar*

          “the whole point is for it not to be an obvious gimmick.”

          That’s exactly the problem. Once people realize it’s a gimmick, they’ll only see it as a gimmick–and thus you’ll need to find a NEW gimmick. It creates a Red Queen situation, where people trying gimmicks need to stay faster than the hiring managers learning what those gimmicks are.

          If you focus on the job skills instead, you don’t need to worry about that garbage.

          Also, unless you’re working in a fashion studio, what you wear shouldn’t be a factor. Dress professionally–it’s a sign of respect–but beyond “The interviewee wore business casual” I don’t think I’ve ever noticed what someone I’ve interviewed wore. Do you really want to work for someone who hires based on attire? (Again, in some fields it’s different–anyone in front of a camera, fashion designers, and other folks for whom the outfit is a part of the presentation.) I’ve worked with people more concerned about clothing than competence, and it’s never been a good experience.

    3. Not Totally Subclinical*

      Over two decades later, I still remember the man who interviewed for a position at my workplace and wore a Scottish kilt to the interview.

      He didn’t get the job. (Kilt wasn’t an issue in our workplace; one of the other applicants simply fit our needs better.) But he definitely checked the “memorable” box.

      1. AnonORama*

        Ha, interesting what stands out. At my former job, we interviewed a woman for a client-facing position who had on an off-the-shoulder animal-print dress that was several sizes too small. (Not a judgment on her body, the dress just wasn’t the right size. It was so constricting she could barely get in and out of the chair.) She also had gumption-y “I’m a go-getter” responses to the substantive questions she couldn’t answer, which was most of them. Giving my impressions, I stuck with her qualification issues because I felt weird commenting on her clothes, but my (toxic, gimmick-loving) boss went ON and ON about how she loved how this woman was willing to “put it out there” with her unconventional style choice, which was clearly a sign that she had the right personality for the job. Guess who had to call the person with strong experience (and an absolutely non-memorable outfit) to tell her she didn’t get the job?

    4. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Early in my career I always interviewed in a Distinctive Hat. I wasn’t doing it as a gimmick, though. I just really liked hats and thought that my new grown-up interview outfit was a good opportunity to invest in a nice dress hat to complete the outfit, rather than the cheaper teen fashion hats I’d been buying.

      I did have someone remember me months later as “oh yeah, I remember you from the industry-specific job fair” when I came in for an interview due to the hat, but not in a good way. (I got the job anyway, but I doubt the hat helped.)

      In my defense, both of my parents are people who held the kind of technical jobs where you can wear jeans to work and rarely need to speak to non-technical outsiders, so I was not getting a lot of advice on how to dress for interviews in my more public-facing field. (No one cares what late-career senior mainframe people wear to job interviews unless it’s a t-rex costume, and I don’t think either of my parents even owned a business suit.)

      I really liked that hat. I want to live in a world where dress hats are a thing, but job interviews are no longer the part of my life where I try to manifest that reality.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        I love fashion hats and wish they’d make a comeback, too. When I look at pictures of my mother as a young woman circa 1960 I’m always jealous of her great hats.

        1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

          Me too! When Princess Diana came on the scene back in the 80’s, I so hoped they would become a trend. Sadly, they never really did. I remember a cute tricorn hat she wore once that was adorable.

    5. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

      I love good shoes, and I wore a pair of Fluevogs at the interview for my current job. (Not the most flamboyant Fluevogs, but they’re definitely not just plain pumps.)

      After I got the job, my now-supervisor told me that the last line in his interview notes was “Great shoes.”

      (I have never once worn my Vogs and not been complimented on them.)

  50. I hate forced potlucks*

    LW2- my current company had the slowest hiring process I have seen in my 15 years in the working world. This was the process

    1. Phone screen

    2 weeks later…..

    call to schedule interview

    2 weeks later


    2 weeks later

    Job offer

    4 weeks to get background check and drug screen completed

    3 weeks later I started lol

  51. The Yellow Dart*

    That first one is TERRIBLE advice. My mother used to be a manager in the healthcare field, and she told me about one memorable story where a candidate who she thought was well-qualified completely bombed the interview by swearing. She was looking to move the candidate forward to the next round, but in response to a question about working/treating folks of diverse backgrounds, the candidate said “I don’t give a shit if you’re black, I don’t give a shit if you’re gay…” etc. and it instantly tanked her interview. My mother even considered asking HR if they could tell the candidate specifically that cursing was why she got rejected…I forgot what came of that, though.

  52. HonorBox*

    OP2 – Could you negotiate with the new employer that they cover a month of a stay in an extended stay hotel? That might ease some of the time crunch you’re feeling. It might be worth asking now. That might light a fire under them, and/or might give you some peace of mind.

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      but they’re not a new employer yet. they’re a potential employer interviewing a candidate and they don’t owe anyone anything at this point

    1. Pumpkin215*

      Right? I could fart in an interview to “make it memorable”. But again, it would be for the wrong reasons.

  53. alexandra*

    #4: As a fellow person with medical trauma, I have been exactly where you are and I just wanted to say my heart goes out to you. Your letter resonated so much with me. Alison’s advice is good. I’ve used the strategy she describes in the past with success, even in an environment where it was normal for people to give plentiful details of why they were out (my worst nightmare). Letting my boss know over email helped a lot for me, as well as having some breezy, redirecting responses rehearsed for if people tried to bring it up in person. Mostly though I just wanted to say that I hope everything goes well for you and you have all the support you need, and that I’m rooting for you.<3

  54. Jessica*

    Ye gods and oceans, do NOT take job advice from Twitch streamers.

    I was there at the dawn of Twitch (I was there at the dawn of podcasting, too, before it was cool), and nothing makes me feel older and tireder than trying to explain to the tech-savvy, at-risk youth of today that being a popular Twitch streamer doesn’t mean you have expertise in anything but Twitch streaming. Being a popular podcaster doesn’t mean you have expertise in anything but podcasting. (See also: YouTubers, TikTokers, etc.)

    Celebrity != expertise in everything

    I worked in a creative industry where we all swore like sailors, and I have used profanity in job interviews for writing positions, but that was cordoned off into dialogue examples in story breaking exercises where I asked ahead of time what hypothetical rating we were going for and if the people in the room minded profanity.

    Other than that sort of edge case, I can’t think of a good reason to swear in an interview. There’s some evidence that people who use profanity are seen as more likeable and honest than people who don’t, but I think the risk of it being seen as impropriety outweighs that. Get the job first.

  55. arcya*

    LW 1: we had one candidate that cursed during his interview, and I thought it was a sign of phenomenally poor judgement and voted against him. He did end up being hired, got in trouble for harassing junior employees, and was eventually fired for a combination of behavior and poor work. I was not that gracious in pointing out to everyone that his choices during the interview should have been a warning sign.

    1. Observer*

      Excellent point!

      I think that Alison’s link to the guy who is late to interviews is on point.

      Why anyone thinks this kind of behavior is memorable in a positive way is beyond me.

  56. Hester Prynncess*

    Hi! Commenter who works in higher ed here — the scenario described by LW #2 isn’t completely the norm in academia, but it’s astonishingly common, due to the fact that a lot of our hiring is done by layers of committee/admin approval. Hires then frequently have to be approved by the Board of Regents (or whatever the equivalent body is, depending upon the institution). This can take months. At my institution, the HR process also sometimes adds 1-4 weeks on top of that, especially during busy seasons like summer.

    The last time I moved jobs, I had to make a decision to resign from my previous teaching post in May on a verbal offer. I didn’t have anything formal in writing until near the end of July — although my dept. chair repeatedly reassured me that I had been the pick, and gave me a ballpark salary band to expect.

    It’s a horrible way to do hiring, and it’s not something I would have ever tolerated when I worked in the private sector. For a lot of institutions, though, this is business as usual. And, if you’re trying to move to a desired city and there are only 1, 2, maybe 3 higher ed institutions including community colleges, you’re stuck making the gamble.

    1. Hester Prynncess*

      Oh, and the Board of Regents (or trustees or whatever each system calls them) only meets once a month to consider/approve these things in most places. So if your hiring paperwork doesn’t make its way up through layers of departmental and VP/Presidential approval in time for the June meeting, you have to wait until July…. (or August, or whenever the next scheduled meeting is) to be formally hired.

      It’s ulcer-inducing.

  57. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    LW #2, I’ve been in that exact position once. I ended up telling the hiring manager that I was considering an internal opportunity with a deadline of X (which was the deadline to sign my lease) and if I didn’t hear from them by that date I’d need to withdraw from consideration. It seemed to light a fire under them and I got my official offer 5 days before the deadline. In my case, though, I’d already decided that if I wasn’t getting this job I’d stay in my current location, which may or may not be the case for you.

    In your case since they already know your timing is related to the move, you might be better off securing a month to month rental (or seeing if you can transition your current lease into a month-to-month) to give yourself some extra breathing room. I’ve moved cross country 3 times for work and it’s such a headache, and even if you get the offer by August 31 it will take at least several weeks to line up a new place to live, make moving arrangements, etc.

    Good luck!

  58. too many dogs*

    LW #3: Booths are also impossible for someone in a wheelchair to use. Tables are always a better choice, and you handled the move excellently.

  59. short-legged one*

    Please please please also consider the evils that are high top tables with stools! As a large short person, trying to get onto the stool is like a scene from The Lost City (with Sandra Bullock trying to get on a stool because of a tight jumpsuit). And then the pain of having my feet dangle the entire time is torture, no matter how much I weight.

    1. Not Mindy*

      More than once I have chosen to stand behind a stool rather than sit at it. The edge of the seat always seems to press on some nerve in my leg and it quickly becomes painful. And that’s just the icing on the cake of my usual “graceful as a box of rocks” presence.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Work advice? Probably not. But there are other pieces of advice that they might actually be incredibly knowledgeable about (for example, the game they are playing).

  60. umami*

    Cursing is usually going to make you memorable in the wrong ways. Believe me, I was in the military and have no problem with curse words, but time and place matter. We had a big welcome back event last week at work where a team of us present, and one of my colleagues used a mild profanity, and it was jarring. I know she felt like she was being relatable, but it’s one thing to do with a small group and quite another to do in front of the entire company. I wouldn’t advise it.

  61. Champagne Cocktail*

    As a hiring manager and someone who has conducted a lot of interviews, swearing is so not the way to be remembered. Be remembered for being well-spoken, for giving concrete examples of your experience, for being poised, and asking intelligent questions.

    I thought Twitch was mostly for gamers? I know it’s become a thing to gameify much of life’s activities, but I don’t think interviewing should be one of them.

  62. Ladycrim*

    #1 reminds me of an anecdote I read about a comedy writer who was looking for a job in radio. He decided he would wear only red socks, so he would stick in interviewers’ minds as “the writer with the red socks”. But after meeting with one interviewer several times, he learned the interviewer had said, “I’m not hiring that guy – he never changes his socks!”

  63. Giselle*

    OP2, I’m in the same situation. A cheap month-to-month sublet is your friend. You will need to have some upfront cash for the move, and a cheap sublet (even something like an Airbnb depending on your budget and what’s available) will help you save as much as possible.

  64. Brisvegan*

    There might be other accessibility issues to think about for restaurant meetings. I’m hard of hearing, so many noisy restaurant spaces make it difficult for me to hear clearly. Ones with lots of hard surfaces that echo sound are particularly difficult.

    I also find it easier to understand people when they are not backlit, so I can lip read better. This means I try to sit with my back to windows or other light sources, with the other person not backlit and the light falling on their face.

    I’m also a vegan, so some restaurants can be awkward for me. I’m a fat woman, so I would worry that whatever I order maybe judged, which is extra awkward if there’s only one vegan choice.

    Food can also be difficult if people have eating disorders or non standard dietary needs (eg coeliacs may have real concerns about safety).

    Also a lot of restaurants aren’t generally accessible for people with mobility issues or may not have accessible or gender neutral bathrooms if needed.

    Meetings at restaurants can be great! However, if you don’t know the other person well, they can be less accommodating than other types of meeting spaces.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I don’t have any issues for which I would request accommodations, but I kind of hate lunch meetings (and especially lunch interviews). The more nervous I am, the more likely I am to drop food on my shirt. The last time I had a lunch interview I ordered something I didn’t even like because it wasn’t messy to eat.

      Does anyone actually like these things?

  65. Changing my Moniker to Protect the Innocent (Me)*

    For #1, I absolutely don’t recommend swearing in an interview because that says you don’t have the self-control to behave professionally even for only a 1-hour time span. I would consider that very negatively if I was doing the interviewing.

    However, I would like to share an anecdote that happened to me when I was being interviewed a couple decades ago. I (female) was interviewing for a professional technical job. I finished the interview which I thought went well. A few minutes after I left, my recruiter called me and asked, “Did you REALLY say the word c*ck in your interview???!!” [referring to a male anatomy]. I was horrified and exclaimed that I’ve NEVER used that word in my life, not even to my friends in casual conversation and there was absolutely no way I’d EVER use that work in a professional interview. After about an hour, I called my recruiter back and told her that I realized what happened. They asked me why I was leaving my old job and I said that I had been involuntarily promoted into a management role that I wasn’t comfortable with, and that I was a larger ‘cog in the organization’ than I was ready to be at that point in my career so I was looking for a non-management position with this new company.

    My recruiter then informed me that the HR person in the interview stated that they absolutely wanted to hire me because if I was comfortable saying that word (the inappropriate one) in an interview, I’d be comfortable handling myself in an all-male work environment. This was just one of many inappropriate issues I had with that HR person over the years while I worked there. Yes, I took the job anyway.

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      this is a great story from beginning to end

      I use subtitles on our internal video conference system and my manager was talking about people who “got laid off” and the artificial intelligence subtitle creator used astrixes for that phrase to censor it. there was another one recently like that – a clear mishearing, but no way to fix it

      your story is great! sometimes we see the red flags and must venture into the territory, anyway, and come out stronger. Or just get the heck out, any way we can

  66. SB*

    LW3 – I am quite short, so fixed booth seating never works for me either as I am too far away from the table to eat without risking spillages unless I perch on the edge of the seat, which is uncomfortable & makes me feel like a 6 year old. Like Alison said, your experience with your larger than average client will most likely make you look at things differently if you are ever in a similar situation & you will have accessibility in mind when choosing seating.

    It’s worth mentioning that not all venues are accessible for everyone, not just those of us who are weird shapes & sizes, so if you don’t know your client, asking the venue if they are accessible for people with disabilities will ensure that your clients aren’t put in a situation where they feel embarrassed. :)

  67. SG*

    For #3, there are other potential accommodations someone might need that are not size-related. I have family members who are hard of hearing and would much prefer a booth since they are a bit more separated from other tables (and typically next to a wall at least on one side), which makes it more likely they can hear what people are saying. Or someone might be a wheelchair user and need accommodation for that.
    Others may have said this, but the only way to be prepared is to ask ahead of time if someone will need any accommodations (or has any dietary restrictions). This way you are can accommodate for individual needs.

  68. Ellen Ripley*

    For LW2: I graduated from grad school last year and had several interviews at a small company, complete with meeting with the CEO, getting a soft offer, and overtures of “You’re going to be a great fit with our team!”, and they still ended up ghosting me.

    Just wanted to share that even if it seems like an offer is coming (even if they say directly an offer is coming), don’t count on it until the offer is in your hand. Make your decisions at this point like you don’t know whether you’ll get this job, because that’s the situation you’re in. It sucked but it was a good life lesson, and I landed an even better job shortly after! Congrats on your degree and hope you find a great job right out of the gates!

  69. Wendy Darling*

    Being memorable in an interview isn’t necessarily a good thing. I haven’t interviewed anyone in 5+ years and I only remember two interviews. Both of them I remember because they were memorably bad, and those people did not get hired! Guy who repeatedly joked about committing workplace violence during his interview was definitely memorable.

    Honestly for anyone worried about being remembered, they have your resume and/or application to jog their memory of your interview.

  70. Anonomatopoeia*

    LW#4, I just want to tell you that if you worked for me and it was easier for you, I would be completely cool with you saying something once like, so I have this phobia/trauma issue that I hate and it makes it super hard for me to talk about a topic, so I’m going to put “hippopotamus racing” on your calendar any time I have the thing you use sick leave for and also there is a person with medical training present, OK? I’d be like, okay, I will only follow up if there is an actual need for clarification, and I’ll let you pick the communication medium in that case. You could then be like, “Hey boss, unannounced hippo race at 4 today, ok if I leave at 3:30?” or “Hey boss, it’s turning out to be a whole hippo tournament, there are like ten races in the next three weeks. Can I just send you a list for the month?”

    I mean, a lot of women effectively have code words for girl-body-reproductive-obnoxiousness that we all use all over the place, and that by and large isn’t seen as weird at work, so I don’t see why any communication choice that conveys what it needs to and that the people who need to know can understand is a problem.

  71. Database Developer Dude*

    I’m sorry…. whoever said cursing in an interview to be memorable was a thing is an idiot. There’s no other way to put it. I’ve never been overly offended by profanity…and can swear like a sailor in four of the five languages I speak…but TIME AND PLACE people… and a job interview is neither! That is something that should be as common sense as looking both ways before you cross the street!!!!! *smdh*

  72. Constance*

    Re: cursing in interviews- The Twitch streamer was not seriously suggesting anyone actually do this, as I suspect LW1 *damn* well knows, ha!

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