update: an acquaintance I recommended proselytized to all my clients (with singing)

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer recommended someone for a job and the person proselytized to all their clients (with singing)? Here’s the update.

Thank you and the commenters for the excellent advice for what I now term “Jade’s Catastrophe, The Musical.” I guess as a reward, I have a somewhat equally weird update to offer (and good news).

I had to do A LOT of damage control (as much as I was legally allowed to do), which involved taking existing clients to lunch, sending out carefully worded notes that I was back and that in my absence someone had shared untrue information about my personal life and to please, please disregard it.

In one way Jade was helpful, her weird foray into telling people about what she believed about my sex life helped me weed out and ultimately end contracts with two male clients who decided the topic of sex was apparently okay and would not stop asking me more questions under the guise of “interest in another religion.” They were even creepier than Jade. One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity. This also helped me refocus my view on my field as a whole (more on that to come).

I reached out to Jade to ask if we could chat about what happened here in my country. Spot on to the commenters who guessed Germany. The rules here for my industry prohibited us from contacting certain clients after project conclusion so I wanted also to confirm she had not been keeping in contact with anyone after returning back to the States.

It was almost as if Jade was a Disney cartoon princess, (said persona would explain the singing and piano), she seemed so completely confused, shocked, and then insulted as I outlined the trouble she had left behind for both myself and the company. She said I was only upset because I was experiencing “the natural consequences” of choosing secular business practices and professional norms and conduct over her methods of “sharing the gospel.” “God cannot bless you when you don’t trust His ways in every area of your life” was her take.

I want to note here, Jade’s particular views are not held by my former religion as a whole. Interestingly, she did ask for tips on being able to get another job.

I spent some considerable time explaining that she couldn’t view every employer as if they were the church and that she would not be able to hold a job at any other company if she agreed to certain standards and then decided her ideas were better, and used religion as her backing. I told her that was blatant deception, which I think she took seriously.

When I pointed out that wearing a business skirt or slacks was more suitable for the conferences in the industry she was trying to join, which included many members of the same religion, she made it seem as if I was asking her to be “a whore of Sodom.” She indicated that her first priority was to find a husband and she didn’t believe one would want to see her wearing slacks. But one week later she was wearing jeans in a photo so I guess not being able to pay bills was making an impact.

Some commenters questioned whether my references to Jade’s looks indicated any kind of crush and reading back the letter it did come off quite odd without any context. It also made me reflect on the values of said industry where a lot of money is made from course and program sales to several other industries primarily run by older men. Therefore, much like in the old days of commercial flights, employees are definitely type-hired and the more you appealed to the customers, the more money you generated. I had consequently type-hired Jade.

“Jade’s Catastrophe” therefore turned out to be a blessing in disguise because of that reflection. I realized (not because of her values) that I had joined the field when I was very young as it was the only option for my degree in Germany. In the months since, I used Alison’s guides and not only switched companies, I was able to switch fields and am now a technical editor for a global medical publication where I am not sexualized and paid four times more.

I guess it’s about finding a balance between extremes bit I needed to see Jade’s extreme to recognize some bigoted industry standards I had normalized.

And for the extra weird: Jade wrote to me last week to ask if I could host her again while she returns to “find a husband.” She says her initial tenure here was “preparing the way for personal blessings.” Before she could hint that she needed a job, I was so happy to inform her I no longer live in the original area and am in a different industry.

The moral to this twisted, unprofessional fairytale is, as I become an ardent student of Alison’s teachings (many of which I was attempting to share with Jade), I came to realize that I had more value than my industry recognized. I also no longer feel obligated to help people who aren’t willing to help themselves.

{ 173 comments… read them below }

  1. Dr. Rebecca*

    It’s really a testament (wordplay entirely intended) to the bananapants nature of the original that this completely bananapants update feels…almost normaly in comparison.

    Thank you for the update, OP, we wish you a Jade-free New Year!

    1. OP*

      Haha, thanks Dr Rebecca! I indeed wish Jade all the best in her adventures and am laughing at the “Jade-free New Year” sentiment!

    2. Whoo Whoo*

      I’m so very glad you are out of that religion.

      I grew up in a cult, and have had to do a lot of deprogramming, and PTSD therapy.

      This letter brought a lot of that era back.

  2. Aha*

    Wow. Congratulations on finding an industry and employer that you enjoy and gives you the respect you deserve. And it really does seem that Jade’s “religiosity” is a lot more about here than it is about the religion, as you’ve mentioned that her behavior is out of step even within that context. She sounds a little unhinged, from her initial approach to this work all the way through to being shocked that her behavior might be considered inappropriate, and then asking you to host her. I wish her all the happiness and satisfaction in life, whatever that looks like to her, preferably far away from your career.

    1. OP*

      100%, since going through a lot of intensive deconstruction-oriented therapy myself after leaving religion, I realised just how significantly Jade is steeped in religiosity. She’s gotten a little less transactional in her relationship with religion but hasn’t entirely translated that to all facets of her life as she’s still unemployed.

      1. Aha*

        It was also striking to me that she was “preparing the way for personal blessings” and then was making at trip to apparently cash in on those blessings. That type of religious behavior is one that I find deeply concerning, as I think it’s usually the fallible leaders that make those kinds of promises, not the theology itself. The get-rich-quick scheme of religion. And of course, non-religious people can behave the same way, and I find them exhausting too.

  3. ENFP in Texas*

    “Interestingly, she did ask for tips on being able to get another job.”

    I really hope the response was, “Have you tried praying?”

    1. OP*

      Oh my gravy I snorted at this. I’m with my family at the moment, who all know Jade and they are cackling at your response

  4. Valancy Stirling*

    I’ve been WAITING for this one! I’m so glad things improved for you, OP. Jane somehow got even weirder, which I didn’t think was even possible.

    1. OP*

      Haha thanks, my temporary suffering was absolutely worth it for the entertainment value it seems to have given strangers. :D

      1. Siege*

        I confess, I have on occasion stood in the wreckage of a situation that went badly not-as-wanted and said to myself “at least this will be hilarious when I tell others about it.”

        1. Ally McBeal*

          Sometimes that’s the only silver lining I can find for a terrible situation – “This will be GREAT for my memoir/at dinner parties.”

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            “Someday I will dine out on this story” can be the one thing that carries you through.

        2. not nice, don't care*

          Pausing to frame a future anecdote can be a great way to create some breathing room in a fraught (but survivable) situation.

        3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I have a few of those stories as well. I think the only people who don’t have a “so this one time….” That is funny in retrospect are the folks that don’t know how to laugh at themselves.

          1. Vio*

            Honestly the moment I learned to laugh at myself life suddenly became so much easier. Still stressful sometimes, but having amusing anecdotes rather than secret cringeworthy memories has improved my social life!

      2. An Honest Nudibranch*

        Heh. I’m really sorry you had to go through this. . . but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the most entertainingly bananapants letters I’ve ever seen. I’m glad it seems to have made you realize you might be happier in another field, though!

        (But also just. The level of audacity of asking you for advice on getting another job, I can’t even.)

  5. ferrina*

    Nice job on the damage control! Sounds like you were able to salvage things despite Jade leaving things in flames, and have moved on to better things! And Jade remains Jade, which is….unsurprising. Thanks for the entertainment!

  6. ZSD*

    “One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity.”
    How did you respond to that?!

    Also, as an “ardent student of Alison’s teachings,” will you be bringing keyboards to work to teach your co-workers about professional behavior and not putting menorahs on Christmas trees?

    1. OP*

      haha, when I dropped that client he offered me to be his personal assistant which as I hold a few advanced degrees was obviously not his intention. It was only then that I learned he had been dropped by other colleagues and then “given” to me because of my age and gender as “we wanted to make sure his instructor appealed to him”. barf.

            1. allathian*

              Exactly that. Now I’m dry heaving in sympathetic response, as I always did when I watched my parents’ cats horking hairballs on the carpet…

              Yuck, that ex-client sounds truly awful, I’m so glad you’re in a completely different field now.

      1. RVA Cat*

        I am so relieved that you’ve moved on to a better industry because your former employer effing *pimped* you.

      2. Zarniwoop*

        Your former employer sounds like they’re using corporate training as a front for an escort agency.

    2. bamcheeks*

      I know LW said she isn’t part of the religion any more and we don’t know what the religion is, but boy, that’s crying out for a completely flat, “I’m Mormon, not stupid.”

      1. Olive*

        Jade reminds me a little of my mother who is an Evangelical in a small denomination where some degree of proselytizing is normal, but going as a trainer to a secular business and doing singing evangelism would definitely not be normal… except that she has poorer boundaries than average.

        I told her once that I was upset about a breakup, and she replied “God cannot bless you when you don’t trust His ways in every area of your life” almost verbatim. And that’s why she’s been on a low information diet for over a decade.

      2. SubjectAvocado*

        Current Mormon here (NOT Jade-level at all…woof, that’s something else), I’m putting that one in my back pocket.

    3. Festively Dressed Earl*

      If there were any justice, that guy would have been hit with a freak lightning bolt before OP had to respond.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Jade should watch where she casts her stones. The whore of Sodom was able to keep a job.

      1. OP*

        Considering sex workers receive medical and benefits in Germany as a regulated industry and Jade is still unemployed she has no right to sneer haha

        1. Tinkerbell*

          Think of how much evangelizing she could do once they got to the pillow talk portion of the evening :-P

    1. Le Sigh*

      Yeah I’ve had some lecherous things said to me over the years but … I think I’m done with the internet today.

    2. B Eating Banana Crackers*

      I want to take hands, cup them, and vomit into them.
      “Here is how disgusted I am with you”.

      How do you think that sentence let alone allow it to pass your lips?!

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      We’ve read a lot of bad things on this website over the years, but that one really takes the cake. I’m sorry you had to be subject to this, LW!

    4. Critical Rolls*

      Like, by Satan or equivalent? Beyond the utterly nauseating comment itself, what kind of abusive cult does he belong to, and are authorities aware???

    5. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Can we spin off yesterday’s “Figure out your own pants feels without involving me, thank you” somehow for this?

      1. OP*

        I really loved that pants feels things from yesterday and wish I had had it in that situation. because it could be potentially triggering I left out other things that client had said over the years previous that were quite obviously (now) grooming. He was in his mid 40s and I was in my early 20s and was trained in the church not to ever hurt a man’s feelings. But I guess after he heard the version of my beliefs from Jade he felt he had an opportunity to make his wishes more explicit.

  7. Lainey L. L-C*

    Jade was all kinds of wacky…but HOW did that man think it was EVER appropriate to say that about being baptized if he could take your v-card to anyone in a work context? Is it the 1950s where he’s at?

    1. OP*

      This man is a good-looking tycoon of sorts who gives distinctly Andrew Tate vibes. He’s got women all over but apparently was interested in the chance at an innocent. I do hope he rots in hell.

      1. silavra*

        My face, upon the realization I know people in real life who could be this gross and it makes me want to die

      2. Lily*

        “good-looking tycoon of sorts who gives distinctly Andrew Tate vibes”

        oh dear lord (retching quietly in my soul)

  8. learnedthehardway*

    I still think this was a massive failure on the part of your manager for not getting Jade out of the picture earlier. They should have gone to HR or legal about it, if they didn’t know how to handle it themselves.

    Also thoroughly disgusted on your behalf that you had clients sexually harassing you after all of this. Beyond the utter grossness of their behaviour, it’s really, really offensive that they essentially used something (erroneously disclosed to them) about your religious beliefs as a pretext for sexual harassment.

    I’m glad that you’re in a much better industry and situation now. Best wishes for a Jade-free holiday and new year.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah I went back and re-read the original letter and even with all of Jade’s mind-boggling choices my biggest takeaway was WHERE IS THE MANAGER? How do you have an employee so wildly out of step with your company’s norms, actively abandoning the job parameters and alienating CLIENTS and you’re like “but it would be mean to fire her, LW might be offended that we expect her replacement to actually do work”

      1. OP*

        This. My manager was the owner of the small company (we were a franchise with no accountability to the brand). It was bad all around and that manager did end up in court with another employee shortly after, mostly because she did zero background check on said employee who fabricated his entire resume and then claimed injury. I’m so glad to be out.

    2. Dust Bunny*


      Make no mistake, here, that Jade was a problem, but the real problem was that this wasn’t handled when it could have been.

    3. Princess Sparklepony*

      If because of contracts she was unfireable, at least put her in the back filing expense reports or organizing an no longer used card file. Jade needed to be neutralized.

  9. MK*

    I am glad you are doing well OP, but I confess I am fascinated by Jade’s Tale. By the way, do you know why she is so invested in finding a German husband? One would think she would be searching within her own specific persuasion? I may be wrong, but my impression of Germany is that its’s not the most religious country, and a lot of the people who are religious are Catholic, which doesn’t sound like Jade?

      1. ferrina*

        This made me laugh.

        But then again, hamsters are pretty reasonable animals. Just read the Princess Hamster books. Jade truly is not on the same level.

      2. Distracted Librarian*

        About 30 years ago, a convenience store employee in Tennessee once referred to someone as not having the brains God gave a sponge, and I immediately adopted that expression. It definitely applies to Jade.

          1. Elves Have Left the Building*

            I thought I was the only one who used that! It drives my Stepmother up the wall. Everytime I says it, she says with exasperation, “the phrase is dumb as a box of rocks!” Like, it personally offends her that I am deliberately not calling rocks dumb for some reason… Sigh.

    1. FricketyFrack*

      I don’t know what religion OP was/Jade is, but in my experience with and observation of some varieties of evangelical, they see a spouse from another country as kind of an “in” to proselytize in a country that might not be your typical mission trip country (whether that’s because people are already a variety of Christian or because the country just isn’t welcoming to that sort of thing, or both). Also, it’s a great way to take advantage of robust social systems for their personal benefit while still voting against them in the US.

      I know of a woman who married a Ukrainian, though they’ve unsurprisingly relocated to the states, a guy who moved to Hungary on a preach/find a wife mission, and one who went to Ireland. None of them are getting great reception by telling already religious people that they’re doing it wrong but, much like Jade, that just makes them more convinced that the devil is trying to stop them so they have to try harder. It’s deeply annoying.

      1. OP*

        this is a spot on assessment. Jade has apparently had several somewhat brutal failures in the “flirt to convert” area, and has deliberately tried to convert guys she’s dated with abject results.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Missionary dating seems like the worst plan ever. Who signs up for “This dude saying he believes in God so he can get with me is totally more important than having an actual, God-filled relationship with someone who actually shares my values” as a dating ethos?

      2. Nonanon*

        Ah, yes, Ireland: a country so non-religious there wasn’t a civil war with religious ties in late 1900s.

        1. FricketyFrack*

          Hungary and Ukraine are also pretty religious countries as far as I can tell. The evangelicals going there are of the variety that believes it’s not enough to be Christian, you have to be the right KIND of Christian (which is, of course, theirs). That’s why I said it’s not going well – they’re going to, for example, devout Catholics and saying, “You’re still going to hell unless you do things the way I say,” and often getting told exactly where they can stick their bible tracts.

          1. UKDancer*

            They are and they aren’t. I mean something like 85% of Ukrainians are Christian, the majority (about 3/4) are Orthodox with some Catholics and fewer Protestants but none of them are evangelical and they are pretty tolerant of most other religions in general. They do their thing but they don’t go on about it or try and convert people from what I’ve seen in the many occasions I went there before the war. None of the Ukrainians I met particularly wanted to talk about religion and none of them tried to convert me either.

            Hungary has got a lot less religious over the years and the number of people identifying as Christian has declined.

            I think the thing is in a lot of these countries, religion is a personal thing and not so much a thing you talk about with people. Trying to convert people is seen as really gauche and rude.

          2. Princess Sparklepony*

            I’ve noticed over the years that some countries that are technically religious aren’t that religious. Only the old grammas go to church but everyone gets baptized and confirmed. But the young people aren’t hanging out in youth group, they are living very secular lives, they just get married in the church. So they come for the big ceremonies but aren’t very religious. But every place is a little different.

        2. iantrovert*

          My brother and his now-ex-wife joined a particularly evangelical Christian denomination, and my eldest niece sent cards to the family asking for donations for her upcoming mission trip.

          To Belfast.

          I facepalmed first, and threw away the card second.

    2. Sssssssssssssss*

      Lots of Lutherans, also, in Germany. (Many of the old timers and lifers in my Lutheran church are of German descent!).

    3. münchner kindl*

      Germany is technically split: mostly catholics in the south, mostly lutheran protestants (which are very different from US evangelicals!) in the north, mostly atheists/ agnostics in the East (because of communism).

      And yes, German society as a whole is very secular, religion is a very private thing, and people who are still in church are more “culturally” religious than true believers. That is, they grew up going to Church for Christmas and Easter, baptizing the kids etc. because “everybody did it”, and so they follow tradition, but mostly don’t care about it.

      And here, too, the younger generation has done a radical (for me) change, where 20-30 olds even in rural places have kids before marrying in church, (unthinkable in the 70s, or 80s in traditional rural places), and many kids not getting baptized at all.

      The huge molesting-kids-and-covering-up scandals of the past decades has only led to older people actually quitting church, too (instead of just staying in because it’s less trouble).

      While I sometimes see foreign missionaries, like Jehovas witness, here on the street, they don’t seem to have much success compared to other foreign countries.

      1. GrumpyPenguin*

        Also important to mention is that less than 50% of the population are still official members of the Catholic and Protestant Church, many of them are older folks and people who simply stay for cultural reasons. Maybe missionaries see Germany as a big “market” due to this situation.

      2. Princess Sparklepony*

        JW never have much success wherever they go. It’s such a restrictive type of religion. I’m wondering if they will end up like Shakers. But with Shakers we have the chairs left to remind us… Stacks of The Watchtower aren’t going to inspire anyone when they are gone.

    4. Mister_L*

      Something I’d like to add since I live in the neighbour country and sometimes follow the news.

      Apparently evangelicals have been trying to expand into Germany for some years now.
      However, whether or not a specific part of Germany is more or less religious, the practices I’d associate with evangelical churches (faith healing, religous rock, etc. ) are often considered to be bordering on cultish in Germany.
      That being said, they see to have some success with younger people.

  10. Bookworm*

    WHEW. Thanks for the update, OP. That was a *ride* and am glad the situation seemed to have worked out mostly (?) for the better.

    1. elle woods' pink sunglasses*

      “WHEW” was also my reaction! Especially the “am now a technical editor for a global medical publication where I am not sexualized and paid four times more.” What a wild story, but good for her.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        Are they getting paid four times more now or did the old place pay four times more? I was a little confused.

  11. Addison DeWitt*

    The LW is way more patient than I would have been. My response would have been much shorter and included the phrase “please delete my contact information.”

  12. Michelle Smith*

    Wow, this was exhausting/stressful just to read. I can imagine the experience of living it was exponentially more exhausting. I am so, so glad you got out of that situation and on to a much better one for your life and mental health! And good riddance to Jade, who I hope eventually finds her own way to exist in the world without actively antagonizing the people around her. Whew!!

  13. Cyndi*

    Holy heck I missed this post originally and I think my eyeballs actually fell out of my skull reading this. I would be MURDEROUSLY angry.

  14. Jennifer Strange*

    One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity.

    That’s one of the more revolting things I’ve ever read. I’m really glad you’re in a better spot now, and that there was a silver lining to Jade’s Catastrophe.

  15. Ex-prof*

    “One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity.” YIKES. I am sorry you were subjected to this.

    This is one of the many, many reasons to leave personal stuff (politics, religioun) out of the workplace. Because boundary-breaching boneheads are eager for any excuse to behave inappropriately.

  16. BecauseHigherEd*

    I hadn’t picked up on any comments on Jade’s appearance until I went back and read the original letter again. Now, reading it and the update, I do think it’s fascinating how much OP makes her sound like a Disney Princess–it makes me wonder if she gets away with so much nonsense *because* she’s so beautiful.

    1. CatWoman*

      I did notice that in the original letter, but must have missed any comments that may have interpreted this as a “crush”? What the heck?

      1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        Ditto. I read it as OP grasping at an explanation of why/how Jade got this far in life with such a terrible ability to read the room. Like, yeah, she’s a smoke show; a fair number of straight dudes would probably let her perform Die Walküre dressed as Left Shark if they thought she might hook up with them.

        Normal people just cannot pull off the full Jade with so few consequences.

        1. Freya*

          I mean, I’d let pretty much anyone perform Die Walküre dressed as Left Shark if it fitted with the rest of the opera and they could sing. But I’d let someone dress as None Pizza With Left Beef under the same circumstances, because that’s how my brain amuses itself. Sexytiems are not nearly as good as hilarity ensuing!

        2. Irish Teacher*

          That was how I read it too. She’s seems nice and sweet so people don’t want to tell her to stop being obnoxious, plus she’s really good-looking and that may be biasing people in her favour.

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          I remember a Tara French book where a character deliberately sets out to seduce and ruin a married man by not becoming his specific dream girl, but the internet’s version of a “hot” one. She correctly reasons that while he may resist hooking up with his personal version of an ideal, his buddies will peer pressure him into not refusing what mass culture has told them is what they should want, if said version came onto him in front of them.

          I have a feeling Jade ticks a LOT of boxes in the “mass culture version of What Is Decreed Hot” column, and thus can get away with this version of outrageous for a lot longer than seems possible.

  17. Rue*

    Jade reminds me very much of “Tasha,” who I went to college with for a brief time. Tasha arrived at a state university, signed up for a co-ed dorm, and was immediately distraught that not only were there guys everywhere, but they were mixing with the girls and in various states of dress and undress, including bathing suits and workout clothes. I think she genuinely believed that she was not only going to single-handedly convert a five-story building of 18-21 year olds, but that she could convince all of said young adults to dress the way she did, in heavy floor-length skirts and thick sweaters. She was talked to multiple times about how she couldn’t go around proselytizing, but even two years after she left (couldn’t take it for more than a semester) we were still finding religious pamphlets everywhere, including the freezers.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Ugh. I lived for half a semester with someone who was not only extremely religious (evangelical Christian) but was also, I think, going through some mental health stuff that was manifesting itself in even more extreme religiousity.

      I got myself a different dorm-mate, and eventually I think the college gave up and let her have her own dorm room because every other dorm-mate refused to stay with her because of her bananas behavior. And constantly preaching to / telling people they were going to hell.

      I did have another class with her in which she stood up and screamed at the professor that he “had no soul” because he wasn’t a Christian. Weirdly, her sister also went to the same college later and seemed to be a totally pleasant person. No idea what she’s doing now, but hopefully it’s not singing/witnessing at people at work.

    2. Lilith*

      Wowwww. I went to a Catholic university (it was a mistake but that’s what happens when you make 18 yr old make major life decisions) and even that place had co-ed dorms!

    3. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      We had one of these in my college, too. It’s a school known for having a high population of a certain religion, but is explicitly non-denominational. The story I got was this guy decided to go there on purpose specifically to proselytize and save everybody’s souls. He pissed off a lot of people—atheists and religious alike, including other flavors of Christians—and IIRC got Spoken To by the school administration. He ended up either dropping out or kicked out, I don’t recall which.

      There’s probably one on every campus.

    4. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      My sister had a roommate in college who converted to a more evangelical branch of Christianity about halfway through the semester. Roommate was doing a lot more praying about passing her classes than, you know, actually studying or doing the assignments and ended up failing the semester.

      The one light note was the night my sister woke up and turned over in the middle of the night and heard her roommate whispering “Thank you, Jesus!” over and over again. God had apparently answered the roommate’s prayer for my sister to stop snoring.

    5. GrumpyPenguin*

      I once had a really persistent neighbour like Jade who also was into a MLM-scheme, so she was double painful to deal with. Every evening she would knock on people’s doors to make “smalltalk”. Lucky enough, she moved out after some month to travel to a foreign country to proselytize strangers for her religion/ scheme.

  18. ZSD*

    On further consideration, perhaps OP could connect Jade (who wants a husband) with the guy who wants to take someone’s virginity. If he’s willing to get baptized, maybe he’s also open to marriage.

  19. That Anonymous Boy*

    Removed — I want to respect LWs’ anonymity here and not guess at details they didn’t choose to share. – Alison

  20. BigLawEx*

    Ugh, you made me remember women from my (all-women’s college) being recruited for pharmaceutical sales based on looks. I’d forgotten (or buried) these industry norms.

    1. Distracted Librarian*

      I used to work in a medical library that pharma sales reps would visit when they had time to kill between customer meetings. They remain some of the best-looking people I’ve ever seen–and I used to live in Southern California. So hiring for looks was (probably still is) an industry norm.

  21. BellyButton*

    Jade and the MLM Weight Loss person have to be the two most banana pants letters posted this year. OP, I am glad you were able to grow from the experience and that you have landed in a new (healthier?) industry.

    Also “One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity” GROSS!!! GROSS!! GROSS!!!

  22. Stopped Using My Name*

    I didn’t think the comments about Jane’s appearance were creepy.

    Ideas being presented by a physically attractive person are more likely to be well received didn’t go over well with the commentariat. Noting OP’s follow up, it may not have been eloquently stated but there was a grain of truth…. employees being definitely type-hired and the more you appealed to the customers the more successful you are. I still do not think I can articulate the idea clearly, but again, it was there.

    Glad OP is out of there…

    1. Awkwardness*

      I went back to the original discussion and OP stated there:
      “the entire team was hired based in a big part on looks as well, because we provided coaching to a lot of executives who wanted to see a pretty face”

      Sigh. Objectification obviously never stops.
      This gives some context on the power differences and why some client thought it might be appropriate to discuss LWs viriginity.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      And it does provide context as to why she “got away with it.” Young good-looking white women are often portrayed as sort of fragile and to be treated gently. Given that she was also a foreigner to the country she was in and had rather “traditional” views, which again get associated with innocence, I can see people thinking it would be mean to tell her to shut up and do her job or she’ll lose it, when they might be more comfortable doing that to a 40 year old average-looking guy.

  23. egyptmarge*

    10/10 would buy opening night seats to Broadway’s “Jade’s Catastrophe, The Musical.” What a ride.

  24. Less Sexy, More Librarian*

    I remember the original letter well. As someone who is what I would call “‘normal’ religious,” Jade is particularly uncomfortable for me to read about. It feels less like looking at a sideshow exhibit of “other” and more like a ghastly fun house mirror of what could be. It’s church girl gone extremist.
    I’m so glad OP ended up with unexpected benefits from this situation, and I really hope Jade will at some point actually take to heart the great advice she was given. Or just .. get married and stay out of the secular work force.

      1. allathian*

        I’m not religious, but definitely. Thankfully the ones who go completely overboard like Jade are a minority.

        People are entitled to their personal beliefs and I have no beef with that, but if we collectively decided not to employ any proselytizers anymore, maybe some of them would learn to keep their opinions to themselves.

  25. Emily Byrd Starr*

    “I want to note here, Jade’s particular views are not held by my former religion as a whole.”

    I would hope that they wouldn’t be held by most religions, even though I know that’s (probably) not the case.

    1. ferrina*

      I think every religion has had a Jade. It’s one of the occupational hazards of religion. The only question is whether the religion encourages this behavior.

      1. Emily Byrd Starr*

        Your last sentence is specifically what I am referring to; that is, I hope that most religions will not encourage this behavior.

      2. DyneinWalking*

        That hazard is shared by activist groups as well. In fact I’d argue that this is true for any group that is defined by a shared philosophy. It’s more common in religious groups because having a shared philosophy is basically what defines a religion, but really this is simply a problem that stems from defining a set of ideals as “right”. Some people take that to mean that only those ideals are right and that you have buy in to the complete set and that, because those ideals are “right”, by definition everything outside of those ideals is fundamentally wrong and flawed.

  26. Ashley*

    Jane definitely seems like the kind of person where any and all advice provided will have to somehow tie back to her religious beliefs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the only reason she listened seriously to your advice re: not sticking with agreed upon standards being “deception” is entirely because deception = lying and her religious views aren’t compatible with lying.

    There’s clearly zero separation and probably won’t be unless she significantly changes how she views her own beliefs. If you ever intend to give her advice again (hopefully not, it seems about as productive for either of you as bashing your head into a wall), it’ll have to be thickly coated in religious reasoning.

  27. Ms. Elaneous*

    We have Bad boss of the year …
    can we also have Whack Job of the year?

    I nominate Jade.

    Ms. Elaneous

  28. goddessoftransitory*

    One said he would be baptized if he got to take my virginity.


  29. Anima*

    For anyone who wonders why you can’t contact a former client in Germany: that might have to do with the DSGVO, if you wanna Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo it. Basically, you can’t use the data (here it’s the contact data) of the client outside the work-relationship. (Which I find good and right, but I feel it’s debated constantly in Germany.)

  30. GrumpyPenguin*

    The next time Jade asks for a favour, tell her you’re sending her “thoughts and prayers”, which is worth so much more than anything else you could do for her.

    And besides, I wouldn’t call Jade’s actions proselytizing, I’d call that religious harassment. This has happened to me too (also in the political version) and in the moment I didn’t know how to react because I was so baffled why anyone would do that in a work environment.

  31. Alina*

    Look, I’m not sure whether this has been said elsewhere in the comments already, but as a German HR Professional – somebody really messed up the legal assessment in this case.

    The idea that you couldn’t have cleared this up (as in “this person misrepresented my views, please disregard”) or your boss couldn’t have stopped her (as in “please do your job”), because of German law is such an interesting misunderstanding that I’d actually love to know where it came from. While there are protections against religious discrimination in the workplace, that certainly doesn’t mean you’re allowed to preach there.

    1. GrumpyPenguin*

      I wonder if this kind of aggressive preaching could be considered discrimination against the clients?

    2. Anonymous For Now*

      This came up recently in another letter that I’m sure was a situation occurring in the US.

      The LW was told that their company couldn’t do anything about a co-worker who talked incessantly about their religion because of laws having to do with religious discrimination.

      Total misunderstanding of the laws against religious discrimination in the US.

  32. Alina*

    In Germany? Maybe… If a collegue was subjected to this, they could definitely make a case like that.

    I wasn’t really able to let this go and found a court case within a few minutes of googling, in which the court ruled in favor of a company that fired an employee for significantly less obnoxious religious statements, meaning the termination of the contract was legal.
    So yeah, seriously botched situation by the boss/company…

  33. Princess Sparklepony*

    I was just going to read the top few comments… but I got sucked in and read them all. The commentariat here is just so good especially when it’s these banana-pants situation. Thank you all for the laughs and for the vomit reactions as well – those were well deserved.

    Happy holidays everyone!

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