interviewing with blue or pink hair, building staff damaged my bookcase, and more

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

1. Interviewing with blue or pink hair

In the last few years, I have started coloring my hair bright colors (blue, pink, green, etc.). I have always felt self-conscious about my hair, and the colors now make me feel much better about it. Also, I just love bright colors and I enjoy presenting myself to the world this way. I get a lot of compliments on my hair, including from people at work. Given that I work in quite a formal environment in a corporate accounting firm, I have been surprised and pleased to find that the colorful hair has not been a problem and my bosses just go with it. I attend plenty of meetings with clients, and no one externally or internally has suggested I’m putting people off. That said, I hadn’t yet found my way to colorful hair when I first started, and so I’m not sure how they would have reacted if I showed up this way in my interview.

Which leads me to my question. When I eventually move firms, do I change my hair back for the interview process? I don’t really like this idea, because it feels fraudulent (given that I will be planning to bring back the colorful hair in due course). I also feel like I am more likely to find an office that is the right fit for me if I present myself honestly. Then again, while I don’t mind putting off a few interviewers, I do want to get at least some job offers, so if the hair will likely put everyone off, then it will have to go I suppose. So in this day and age, is it an absolute no-no to show up to an interview with wacky hair colors? Or will interviewers take this in stride as an inoffensive personal quirk, if I am otherwise dressed in neat corporate attire and act like a normal person?

No, green, pink, or blue hair is not an absolute no-go in an interview the way it used to be for many jobs. It’s become much more accepted and much more commonplace. You will still find some people who think it’s too out there (or who believe it will be too out there for their clients) and won’t want to hire you because of it, but plenty of people won’t care and will even like it. The math does change in more conservative fields, but that’s evolving too. (And frustratingly, there are places that are fine with colorful hair once they know and like you because you’ve worked there a while, but would still judge someone for showing up to an interview with it. Those places are also becoming less common though.)

As for what to do, it’s a question of both risk management and screening. On the screening side, if you want to be sure you end up somewhere that will be fine with colorful hair after you start, having it in the interview is a really good way to screen for that. On the other hand, on the risk management side, are you willing to risk getting fewer offers because of it? Some people’s answer to that would be a resounding “yes” and others would answer “no.” I tend to think that if you’re reasonably confident that you’re an appealing candidate with options, you should show up as who you are and see what happens.

2. Building staff damaged my bookcase

My organization recently leased an office for me in an office building of a group tangentially related to ours. I wasn’t given much of a budget for furniture, so I brought in a few of my own items. One of them was a barrister bookcase that was my great-grandfather’s, over 100 years old.

I asked the building’s maintenance staff to hang some artwork for me, which they did, but they used the top of the bookcase as a workspace and carelessly scratched it with nails and screws. The damage is minimal but certainly noticeable.

Part of me realizes that this is the risk of bringing old furniture into an office, but I’m very upset. This was an unforced error, and something that could’ve been avoided if the staff had spent a few seconds putting a cloth down or using a different surface. Am I out of line in asking for some recompense — a simple repair or the like?

Yeah, I wouldn’t. If you have a good relationship with the maintenance staff, you could mention what happened and ask if they have advice on repairing it and maybe they’ll offer to take care of it themselves … but I wouldn’t ask or expect them to do it themselves, since it really is the risk you take when bringing in your own furniture.

In general, I’d say not to store anything at work that’s really valuable to you unless you’re wiling to risk something happening to it.

3. New chair sends non-urgent texts in my off hours

I am a teacher and have a new department chair this year. She is young and very eager. She repeatedly texts me about non-urgent issues on weekends and on school breaks. The content of these messages are never urgent. For example: “I emailed you the completed performance objectives” or “I just finished creating our first unit test and emailed it to you.” These are small items that don’t need to be communicated urgently outside of work hours, but it almost feels as if she wants to remind me that she is working on a Sunday or during vacation since she is a good employee. This feels intrusive in a time that should be away from work. Am I being sensitive? How do I respond to this without sounding like a jerk?

You’re not being overly sensitive. She shouldn’t be texting you outside of work hours unless it’s truly urgent and time-sensitive. Texting you to tell you she emailed something that can easily wait until you’re back at work is ridiculous.

Say this to her: “I try to disconnect from work during our off-hours, so can I ask you to email rather than text unless something is truly urgent? Emailing it is great and I’ll see it when I’m back in work mode.” Consider encouraging your colleagues to say something similar.

4. Do you need to have a documented accommodation in order to sue?

Someone on my team was fired recently (let’s call her Cassandra), and apparently it took a long time to do because HR was worried she would sue. Cassandra had been on a PIP and didn’t meet expectations, but she has a chronic condition and was missing a lot of work because of it. My understanding is that she wasn’t using her PTO to call out, which would have been fine — she just wasn’t showing up or working full days. But HR thought that because Cassandra missing work was linked to this chronic condition, she could sue for discrimination if that was given as a reason they gave for firing her. I don’t know if Cassandra had documented this condition as a disability or if it was just common knowledge, or if she asked for any accommodations. But if she never asked for accommodations of any kind, would a lawsuit actually hold up?

Potentially, yes. If an employer knows an employee has a disability and knows or should know that the employee is experiencing workplace problems because of the disability, the employee is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It sounds like your employer knew Cassandra was missing work at least in part because of her medical condition, so yes, the ADA would have been in play. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t still hold her to reasonable standards like “you need to alert us if you’re not coming in or you’re leaving early.” But it does mean your company wasn’t wrong to want to navigate it carefully. They might have navigated it too carefully — which isn’t uncommon when there’s a disability in play — but that’s hard to say without knowing more.

5. An employer that ghosted me wants me to interview again

About a year and a half ago, I interviewed with a company that I was eager to work for at the time. After the first two interviews went well, they reached out asking to schedule a third interview. I responded immediately to schedule the next round, but the company completely ghosted me. I sent professional follow-up emails to both the recruiter and the director I had previously interviewed with but got no response from either. I moved on, frustrated, but luckily found a new role on a different team at the same company where I was already working.

Cut to yesterday when I received an email from the same company I interviewed with previously. It was even from the same recruiter! She is looking to fill some new roles. I did see they have a new director as of about eight months ago. I’m not actively looking for a new job, but would consider something if it was the right fit and compensation. Should I tell the recruiter that their previous ghosting experience makes me hesitant to interview with them again? Or should I let sleeping dogs lie and move on?

I would love to say yes because employers need to hear that there are consequences for how they treat people … but realistically, ghosting is so, so common in hiring that they’re likely to think you’re being overly sensitive or a prima donna. To be clear, you’re not; that behavior is rude. But it’s standard practice for so many employers that it’s tough to raise without risking them just finding you annoying.

It’s easier if you’re definitely not interested in interviewing with them ever again. In that case you could say, “We were in talks about 18 months ago and we were supposed to schedule a third interview but I never heard back and no one responded to my attempts to reach you. It didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth, so I’m going to pass this time.” I suppose if you are open to interviewing again, you could replace that last sentence with, “Can I ask what happened before we restart the process?” But honestly, even if they apologize and say it was an oversight, that still might not affect whether it happens again.

can I tell a recruiter how rude it was to ghost me after my interview?

{ 375 comments… read them below }

  1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    LW 1: I thought you were going to ask “what do I tell my coworkers when I dye my hair in natural colors again? I won’t want them to know I’m interviewing. I’m afraid it will cause speculation and my boss will ask me about it!”
    So, something to think about. I don’t want to be (as people say) New Fear Unlocked. I wast to come in on Alison’s side. You be you. The rest will fall into place.

    1. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

      #1 – I agree with the advice to be you, but — If you *want* to find a middle ground while interviewing, purples often feel more “neutral,” in my experience, than pink or blue. Especially if your natural hair colour is darker. I’ve had purple hair when I’m in a situation where I need something a little less vivid, but still want a fun colour that feels great.

      1. Caitlin*

        Another way to find a middle ground could be to pair the bright colour with a very professional/business style?

        1. Artemesia*

          Colored hair requires a bit more care to be impeccable than natural colors too. Sloppy colored hair stands our more than grooming fails with ordinary colors.

          1. Tupac Coachella*

            This came to mind for me, as well. There’s a big difference in professionalism between well kept and styled bright colors vs. faded, grown out colors or hair completely fried by dye. Since OP advises that they are a professional who usually wears brights I’m guessing they take this into account in their haircare routine, but it’s worth mentioning that before an interview might be the right time for a deep conditioning treatment and touch up.

        2. Angstrom*

          Agree. If you’re going with brightly colored hair the rest of your outfit should read as very businesslike. It’s a way of saying “I understand professional norms.”

        3. amoeba*

          Yup, and possibly also the hairstyle? Like for instance, a sleek bun, even if it’s blue or pink, is probably much less noticeable than wearing it open.

          1. FishOutofWater*

            I was thinking a nice sleek french braid would be good, but realized we don’t know if OP is male or female presenting or even has long hair. Also, I suspect (unfairly) this will come off as a lot more radical in a male presenting employee. That said, I know a male doctor who had various shades of bright pink/purple/blue/green hair through his residency and got hired without issue (and had multiple offers) by a major hospital system at the end of residence, so obviously even for men it’s not a deal breaker.

            1. Festively Dressed Earl*

              Actually, I think your braid suggestion is a good one for any gender. Neat boxer braids would also look great with a bright color.

      2. Shakti*

        On the other end I wear my hair on varying shades of platinum and I’ve gotten tons of compliments on the purple that’s a lavender from my purple shampoo when I’ve left it in for a long time on purpose! Also icy pale blues and pale pinks read as pretty, fun, and professional!

      3. AcademiaNut*

        Also make sure it’s a nice looking dye job, rather than with roots showing, or the colour fading (or that the effect looks deliberate, rather than like you’re in need of touch up).

        Of the colours I went through, the deep purple was probably the least startling. The stoplight red, on the other hand, had small children stopping and pointing in the street. This was 20 years ago, mind you, when brightly coloured hair was much more unusual.

        1. not nice, don't care*

          Over lockdown I went from new copper penny orange ‘pixie’ cut to a violet brown semi permanent longish bob that is really easy to do at home and fades in a way that doesn’t make my grey/blonde roots stand out. I do not miss the upkeep and heckling that went with the high maintenance hair.

      4. MK*

        The shade also matters. A pale pink that blends with blonde is much less startling than neon green.

          1. bamcheeks*

            This is what I do– my natural hair is dark reddish brown, and if I want the blue to be less noticeable I dye it right before the interview so it’s very dark blue. It absolutely still shows but it’s the second thing you notice rather than the first!

        1. Aerin*

          Yup, came here to say this. You would probably be safer with darker jewel tones rather than neons. Those tend to read as a bit more mature, and aren’t as obvious on video calls. (I tend to go for a mermaid/galaxy look with deep blues and purples, and while very notable IRL it’s almost impossible to see on a Teams call, especially when I wear my usual ponytail.)

          Another way to split the difference might be to color just the ends in the vivid, or to do hidden color like keeping the top layer natural and doing the vivid underneath, so it’s visible when pulled back. So you still get the fun of having color, but can stealth it if you need to.

        2. Lady_Blerd*

          Gold rose can be mistaken for blond depending on the light and it’s a beautiful shade.

      5. Seeking Second Childhood*

        That’s where I was going — a deep red or a blue-black would be one step closer to traditional and still give OP the same mood lift.

      6. Cat Tree*

        Pre-covid, for many years I due my hair shades of red (in the sense of “red hair”). Part of the reason was that it’s the rarest color that could still plausibly be considered a natural color. I definitely had a range from fairly orange to fairly purple. If LW is looking for a middle ground while interviewing and doesn’t want to take a much of a risk of getting fewer offers, that could be an option.

      7. Lady Danbury*

        I’ve done purple highlights on dark hair. More subtle but definitely still color.

      8. MCMonkeyBean*

        I actually find pink to be the most neutral personally! There have been a couple of occasions where I actually forgot pink is not a natural hair color lol.

      9. amoeba*

        Yeah, that’s how I’d go – still have one of the colours I like (this reads like the LW has multiple?), but maybe not the neon green. Pale pink for blonde comes to mind, or, as has been said, red, purple…

      10. FricketyFrack*

        I’ve noticed the same thing – my hair was a darker fuchsia (Pravana Wild Orchid) for a long time and it barely seemed to register with most people as an unnatural hair color. I quit dying it a blue-toned purple because that was a lot more noticeable and people kept touching it, which was the actual worst. I’d definitely stick with neutral or red-toned purples if I were interviewing but still wanted to feel out the vibes of a potential employer.

      11. Joielle*

        Yeah, I’ve done a dark blue before that’s fairly subtle – it’s definitely blue, but looks a lot brighter in natural light than it does in an office. Dark purple would probably work the same way.

        1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          I have done out-there hair colors for the last couple years for cosplay purposes (I own a small business where that’s part of what I do) and my “real” employer has never cared, but when I interviewed for my current job I too went to a deep purple that was more like an oil-slick in indoor lighting.

          Right now I’m a “natural” red (as in could be found in nature but is clearly NOT my real color).

      12. Parakeet*

        Interesting. I like blue because it goes with pretty much anything I wear haha. I mix dark blue and silver-gray for one side of my head, and mix vivid blue and vivid silver for a streak in the front. The other side of my head is my natural hair color.

        As far as fun but less vivid goes, I think darker colors can be really good for this. Eggplant, burgundy, navy-ish blue, forest green, and so on.

      13. Princess Sparklepony*

        Or do that dye thing where you dye the underlayer of your hair so it shows through when you move your head/hair but it’s not so much PINK HAIR!!! I’ve seen it done in multiple colors, like a rainbow or an ombre (sort of) and it looks really cool but is not so bold.

        1. Freya*

          This is what I did last time I did my hair for a dance comp. My white patches look like bald spots next to my very pale skin in photos under bright lights, so I put some purple in – when it fades, it blends in to the whites or it fades to reddish in my hair. And purple roots (brighter on the whites, darker on the browns) were much easier to do myself than highlights or streaks, and infinitely cheaper than the exorbitant cost in my city of getting a professional to do them! (A cheap cut and colour in my city is $300+ for my long hair – someone I know gets their hair done when they visit their parents 1.5hrs drive away because including the cost of fuel, it’s still cheaper than getting it done here)

    2. Kaitlyn Beavers*

      Yep. I worked with a guy who had long hair for over a decade and suddenly cut it off. Everyone joked that he was interviewing, he denied it, but then he announced that he was leaving. People won’t be fooled.

    3. Sharpie*

      When I was in the military, there was a civilian guy in one of the offices I dealt with who had bright green hair. It looked amazing but was definitely noticeable among all the brown, blond and black of everyone else’s natural hair colours.

      As other have mentioned, purple doesn’t read as wacky as bright teal, and pale pink and pale blue are equally good choices if you’re natural hair is blond rather than dark. Just make sure, whatever you choose, that you don’t have roots showing and that it’s not fading horribly when you go to interview anywhere.

    4. Snow Globe*

      I think the most likely concern that the interviewer might have is “how will clients react?” So the LW just needs to make sure to include comments during the interview to make it clear that they have strong relationships with clients.

    5. TechWriterBecky*

      My hair is currently neon orange, neon yellow, magenta, and purple, with an undercut striped in those colors (I look like a fantastic sunset). I work in the cybersecurity industry for a Fortune 500. My hair was bright purple with a turquoise undercut when I was interviewing, and, like you OP, I had a strong resume and set of skills. I was turned down by several companies and based on the faces of the interviewers I know my hair was a factor, but, as Alison said, I would not have wanted to work somewhere that had that reaction to me, especially as I’m in a non-customer-facing role. When I interviewed with my current company, all of my interviewers all said, “Oh, you should meet so-and-so from HR, she has bright pink hair!” Green flag for me. (And so-and-so turned out to be a lovely woman who is great at helping employees find ways to advance in their career tracks.)

      If you know you have a great set of skills, interview well, and will have glowing references, there is no need to tone anything down. If you aren’t sure about interviewing well, as one other commenter suggested, an eggplant purple seems to be a more “accepted” version of fun color – no idea why!

      1. ArtsNerd*

        The business offices of some arts organizations are a lot stuffier than you might expect, so the last time I was looking for work in that field I intentionally made sure to have the streak of blue in my hair visible to screen out employers where that would be a dealbreaker.

        It turns out that at the job I landed, the executive director was in fact turned off by it, but the hiring manager threatened to quit if he blocked my hire for that. Which ended up being a pretty good summary of my tenure there — hiring manager was my favorite boss of all time; when she moved on and wasn’t there to shield me from the executive director’s nonsense, things went downhill quickly.

      2. Another freelancer*

        To add: Maybe update your LinkedIn profile to include a recent photo that shows off your hair color? If nothing else, it will probably prevent the awkward encounter TWB mentions above with interviewers seeing you for the first time.

      3. Connie-Lynne*

        I had dark blue or purple (sometimes with bright red highlights) from basically the 1990s for about 30 years (I also did it in the summertime in the 80s); when I started out, I would wear a brunette wig to interview and for the first month or so.

        Then, once they knew me and knew my competencies, I’d take it off. I was good enough at my job that by the 2000s I stopped wearing the wig. Also the world had changed and I was a computer sysadmin, which generally is reasonably forgiving of odd colors.

        So, I like what Alison said about it being a screening thing. I wouldn’t work for a place now that wanted me to wear a wig to get the job, but earlier in my career I did.

    6. Some People’s Children*

      I’ve done hiring before. My thoughts were similar. Go with something more conservative, such as if you are currently yellow and orange stripes pick one color. (Serious example!)

      1. RunShaker*

        I’m in conservative field, Trust Services (in banking) and I was able to have various colors in my blonde hair with my prior company. But we weren’t always face to face. When I was, I toned it down since my meetings were planned in advanced due to travel. But once I received my lay off notice and looking around, I realized I had to take out my fun colors. I would do pinks, purples, and blues with them being from bright to pastel shades. I did change my hair back to natural blonde color while interviewing. The bank I work for now only allows “natural” hair colors. I’m thinking my current company would have extended an offer along with the “you have to change your hair back to natural color” but I didn’t want to take the chance. I do miss colors though but the salary and benefits are top notch and other banks in the area have the same natural hair color rules. I think accounting is going to be similar but it will also depend on what area of the country you living in as well as other factors. I would suggest using your network to obtain a better feel on companies you may be interested in.

        1. Somewhere over the rainbow*

          OP works in a very conservative field: accounting/auditing. If she wants to maximize her chances of getting an offer, she would be well advised to interview in a natural hair colour.

    7. Florp*

      In August 2015 I was in a cafe in Spain drinking chocolat with a friend on a Wednesday, as one does, and four women came in and sat down next to me. They were all in their 70s and 80s and dressed to the nines. Heels, stockings, tasteful manicures, serious jewelry, and actual Chanel pastel tweed suits (or excellent knockoffs, down to the buttons). They all had dyed their grey hair in Easter egg colors. Magenta, turquoise, lavender.

      I remember it so clearly because it was god level life goals. They were so elegant and poised, and so cheerful and colorful, and so clearly dgaf about whether anyone was judging them. I don’t see myself ever wearing a Chanel suit, but the idea of just being your fabulous self on a Wednesday in a coffee shop always stuck with me.

      I say wear your bright hair.

      1. I Have RBF*

        I am 62, and in tech. When I interview, I dye my hair purple. It knocks 10 to 20 years off of my apparent age, especially on a zoom call.

        It is also a “uptight culture” filter. I figure any place that has an issue with my purple hair will also have an issue with my being non-binary, and will instead expect me to perform femininity and wear skirts, etc, which is a deal breaker for me.

  2. Bee Eye Ill*

    #5 – IT person here. It’s very possible that your replies got filtered as spam and they never saw them. Email is a pretty terrible way of communicating with applicants. I can tell you from experience that Microsoft’s spam filter in the 365 environment, especially, is way overzealous at times. You can be emailing back and forth with someone and it’ll randomly decide to filter the 3rd of 4th reply to the Junk folder in Outlook. I’ve literally seen that happen.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      That spam filter is a pain (it blocked one of Microsoft’s own emails to me the other day about a cloud service!) but I don’t think that happened in this case, because from the company’s perspective it would appear that OP had ghosted them. And then what is the likelihood of them reaching out for another position / interview. I think they really did ghost OP, and it wouldn’t be out of line to mention this to the recruiter.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        I can do you one better- the MS spam filter was turned on unexpectedly at work recently and we had emails going to it that were time sensitive. My bosses and I complained to our outside IT company that we couldn’t have emails that were time sensitive going an entire day without being able to reply to them. (Finally, we got notifications after I think 4 or 6 hours, which isn’t great, but isn’t 24+ hours.) But, in the course of him very pointedly explaining to me that the problem was that the sender’s email server wasn’t set up properly, I got the pure job of forwarding back my IT specialist’s email to him- it had been caught up in the spam filter and, had I not had my quarantine open constantly and checking for new emails, I wouldn’t have caught it.

      2. Florp*

        For real! The big email services have tightened some procedures to prevent spam, and part of that process is that some poor jerk in IT gets dozens of aggregated reports detailing which emails your company sent were at risk for getting flagged as spam. The reports that come from Microsoft all get flagged as spam!

        As in, I send email through Microsoft 365, which goes through fine, but I get a report *from Microsoft* telling me that my email was fine, and that report gets flagged as spam by my email service, which again, is Microsoft.

    2. Susan Calvin*

      I don’t doubt your experience with overzealous spam filters, but what on earth else are you going to use to communicate with applicants?

      1. Victim of Experience*

        Old-fashioned phone calls maybe? Everyone has one, not obsolete technology.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I get hundreds of applicants for every job I post. The cost of spending time communicating by phone would be astronomical.

          You in fact may notice that many job postings specifically go out of their way to say no phone calls.

          1. Bee Eye Ill*

            Yeah, this is a constant problem. The ideal thing would be to use some kind of system to manage applicants where they could check their status, etc. But that costs time and money and just further complicates the application process. It’s a no-win situation.

            1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

              Plus the job applicant has to create an account for EACH company that they apply to. That’s too much work for me, when I’m doing a job search where I’m casting a wide net.

              1. Mimmy*

                THIS!! It is super annoying to have to create an account for each employer even when two or more of them use the same ATS platform!

          2. Victim of Experience*

            Only call the people you are setting up interviews with. That’s not hundreds of people. I never said call everyone you get an application from.

        2. Spacewoman Spiff*

          But how many people even answer their phones anymore? When I’m in interview mode or have something going on where I know to expect calls from people I don’t have in my contacts, I adjust my phone settings to receive unknown callers; but usually I get so many spam calls that I don’t accept any calls from unknown numbers, and I don’t *always* remember to change my settings when I’m expecting to hear from plumbers or whoever. Especially if you’re currently employed and need to keep your phone on silent during the workday, calls are such a tough way to communicate during the interview process.

          1. Just Another Cog in the Machine*

            Or just can’t take a call about a possible job while you’re at your current job….

            1. amoeba*

              Yeah, that annoys me so much… why on earth do you think I’m free to chat about a potential position at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday? I’m very much not in a field that’s typically 100%/mostly remote, so I’d think you’d figure out that I’m probably in the office!

              Also… I use e-mail a lot and I’ve seriously never, ever encountered that kind of spam filter issue. And with two separate people? After previous communication worked just fine? Yeah, no, sorry, horses, not zebras. They ghosted LW.

              1. starsaphire*

                …assuming that you’re even in a building where your phone has connectivity. Some office buildings I’ve worked in have extremely poor signal once you get just a few feet away from the doors.

              2. JustaTech*

                Totally agree that they ghosted the OP.

                That said, my company’s spam filter decided that all emails from France (the country) were fake and should be bounced (so didn’t even end up in my spam folder), which was a serious issue when I was in the middle of a design review with a French firm. Somehow one of their US-based employees found my (work) phone number and called to say “why aren’t you answering your email?”.
                It took weeks to get fixed and in the interim I had to use my personal email.

            2. Victim of Experience*

              But I can check voice mail whenever. I said above to follow up with candidates selected for interviews if there is no response because the email went awry. It happens.

              1. Victim of Experience*

                Mt post was limited to contact for the purpose of scheduling an interview, not to chat or anything else.

          2. Victim of Experience*

            I answer my phone when job hunting! Like I stated above, I lost out on interview because of email only contact that was subject to a technical malfunction.

        3. Space Needlepoint*

          That’s a terrible idea, even if everyone has one, for a couple reasons:

          1) Many, if not most, people don’t add companies they are interviewing with to their contacts, and most people don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t know.

          2) When you’re working, especially in an office, personal phone calls are disruptive. So are texts, really, because both those communications want responses RIGHT NOW.

          Emails leave a trail to follow when needed and they aren’t exactly obsolete.

          1. A. Nonymous*

            Texts are an asynchronous way of communicating that absolutely do not require an immediate response.

            1. Coffee Protein Drink*

              This may be a personal perspective. I agree with Space Needlepoint, but I can see where others might not.

              In my last stretch of unemployment, there were recruiters that would text 2-3 times in 5 minutes, demanding an immediate response.

            2. amoeba*

              Yeah, I tend to agree – in my field, however, texts would absolutely never be an acceptable way of professional communication and if a company texted me, I’d probably assume it was spam!

          2. Victim of Experience*

            OK, like I said, it is NOT a terrible idea to follow up with a phone call when email to set up an interview has gone unanswered. Presumably you want a chance at the job if you applied for it. My email got waylaid and tech issues happen, a couple of others here had problems too. If I’m job hunting, I ignore my prohibition against unidentified calls although many calls are identified as coming from an organization. It’s really not that much of a hardship, but blessings to all of you that have never had an email glitch.

    3. Dog Child*

      I’ve also experienced this at our work; consistent back and forths and then suddenly every email from them (increasingly frantic) was being caught by top-level spam filters so we couldn’t even check our own spam folders.

    4. Victim of Experience*

      Email without a follow up call is not sufficient. I used my alumni email address which I had set up to forward to my gmail. Didn’t happen and several months later I find requests to set up interviews in the alumni server. Thought I just wasn’t selected for anything, what a bummer. If you are scheduling interviews with potential candidates, please call them also if no response to email. Technical glitches happen.

      1. Bee Eye Ill*

        Exactly, and especially if you’ve already interviewed and talked with them. Don’t just rely on email as a form of communication because it is not reliable any more. Follow up with calls or texts or something more.

        FYI – I am also a hiring manager and recently did a hiring process where this was an issue with applicant communication. Also our HR makes a point of notifying by phone any who were interviewed but didn’t get selected, just as a courtesy.

        I’m not saying they didn’t ghost you, just sounding a warning that email is a terrible form of communication these days.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Oh, God, please don’t call me if I was interviewed but not selected*, something like that would get my hopes up and then it would be extremely difficult to mask my disappointment (made worse by getting my hopes up).

          A personalized rejection email would be far preferable in that circumstance.

          *Unless it is a very specific circumstance, such as I am an internal candidate, for example.

      2. learnedthehardway*

        I’ll call someone if I haven’t gotten a response to an initial email, and I want to interview them. But it’s not my first choice of how to communicate. In fact, with one of my clients, I MUST email them through their HRIS – for records purposes.

    5. CoffeeCat*

      Tech quirks are no excuse when you simultaneously drop a finalist candidate from your awareness right when their emails sent at multiple times to multiple people are missed/ignored. Outlook’s filter quirks aside (the “zebra” answer), think horses: people really do suck this bad in their treatment of candidates.

    6. Filosofickle*

      There was a time when email was very reliable — it would be delivered (even if that meant to a junk folder) or bounced back. Now emails regularly disappear, both sending and receiving. (Funny, I’d say the same for snail mail!)

      I was interviewing with vmware a few years back, and their entire system just decided to black hole all my emails to them. The recruiter had to offer up her personal email so we could continue the process. Ugh.

  3. Justin D*

    If you found a job let all the weird interview stuff in your last search go. Who knows why they didn’t follow up.

    1. not nice, don't care*

      goldfish mentality. just gawp mindlessly and move on. never mind learning from experiences or exercising curiosity about a thing.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      If it were unusual behavior (like inviting you to a cattle-call interview and expecting you plan a dinner for 60) I would remember that. Unfortunately, ghosting is common enough that I don’t think it’s worth bringing up unless you are a super strong candidate. You can still decide it’s rude enough you don’t want to interview with them again, though!

  4. A. J. Payler*

    I was lucky enough to be well-employed at a time when a company that ghosted me similarly reached out about a different position. I can tell you it was extremely satisfying telling the representative that no, I would not in fact be interested in learning more about this opportunity and elucidating why, but her reaction was also illuminating: it was quite clear I was not the only candidate who had been put off by rude treatment in the past, and it was an ongoing obstacle to recruitment.

    Lesson to be learned for those who think they’re in a position to be high-handed and arrogant in their treatment of applicants: it will definitely come back to bite you in the ass. People talk, and we have long memories.

    1. bripops*

      I’m so curious as to what she said! I’m surprised a company would be so open about that but I’m glad it seems like they at least seem to recognize the problems it’s causing them.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Imagine ghosting so many good candidates that enough of them will tell you for you to realise that’s the pattern.

        eg ghost 100, recontact 25, 5 of whom tell you to take a hike and why.

    2. Pizza Rat*

      This is coming back on GlassDoor more and more which is both good and worrisome. Good because the only way to stop this behavior is to call it out. Worrisome because GlassDoor isn’t as anonymous as we’ve been led to think.

    1. pally*

      Or, interview, get to the offer stage, then ask them why you should accept an offer from a company that ghosts candidates. Given the ghosting experience, how does a candidate know a job will actually be there when they show up for the first day?

      1. TeaCoziesRUs*

        That’s a great way to burn a bridge, even though it would be satisfying revenge in a fiction world. You never know which potential employers will also talk with their friends at other companies.

        Definitely fantasize about ways to stick it to The Man! But… this is one where fantasy shouldn’t become reality.

  5. poprocks*

    Similar to LW1, I work in a corporate role and have a side shave that I refresh every few weeks, almost down to the skin. I’m starting to look for a new job and am a bit concerned about interviews. I can somewhat hide it with a different part, but it’s still pretty obvious, especially when it’s fresh. I’ve kind of resigned myself to possibly losing out on offers, but then again if a side shave is enough for them to reconsider, it’s probably not somewhere I’d want to work. My current job has many, many issues but formality is not one of them, so I feel it’s a pretty low bar to clear, especially if it’s a non customer facing role.

    1. Armchair analyst*

      I feel like you could use this in an interview. “So what is your company culture like? I’m looking for a place where I – and my haircut – can feel comfortable and do my work excellently and not stand out for other reasons”

    2. Lady Danbury*

      I plan on piercing my nose this year for a milestone birthday. I’m in a very conservative field but my company is the opposite (most of our employees are blue collar). I doubt it would be an issue at my current job (visible tattoos and piercings aren’t uncommon here) but might be an issue with networking in my field. I feel like I’ve reached a level of seniority where it shouldn’t matter, so I’m going for it anyway!

      1. wendelenn*

        And now I am picturing Bridgerton’s Lady Danbury with a pierced nose. She would rock it.

  6. Siege*

    I have to admit, the juxtaposition of letters 2 and 3 created a hilarious alternate universe in my head where a new chair, as in a new piece of furniture, was texting the LW at all hours.

    I have no advice for when that comes to pass other than that you probably shouldn’t have smart appliances.

    1. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

      I also thought of furniture when I first read that title and started wondering what kind of texts a chair would send.

      1. Sharpie*

        Please fluff my cushions when you stand up

        Remember you were getting stain remover for that coffee stain that’s still on my armrest three month later

        No, pink throw cushions won’t go with my orange covers. You could try navy?

      2. HailRobonia*

        I heard about someone who put a sensor in the “visitor” chair in his office and if someone was sitting there for 15 minutes or whatever it would trigger a phone call… so if someone (like a chatty coworker) was taking up too much of his time he could say “I’m sorry, I need to take this…”

        1. I Have RBF*

          Oooh, achievement unlocked!

          Now if only I had figured a way to get the chatty guy who used to stand by my desk to shut up that way…

      3. Emily Byrd Starr*

        This reminds me of a song by Neil Diamond that is even older than I am (and I’m Gen X):

        “I am, I said
        To no one there
        And no one heard at all
        Not even the chair!”

        1. Jessica*

          Dave Barry wrote a hilarious column about this song. “Mr. Diamond, your Barcalounger is on line one…”

    2. Armchair analyst*

      Glad I wasn’t the only person confused

      “Chairperson” might be a better word? Could still conjure images of Pee Wee Herman’s best friend, though

    3. DJ Abbott*

      I did the same thing, posted below. :D
      I imagined the chair having some kind of computer hook up and sending automatic work related texts.

      1. sagewhiz*

        Same here! “Oh my gosh, now chairs have internet-connectivity AND auto-AI activation?”

            1. AnonInCanada*

              I know AI is creeping into more and more of the things we use every day, but this one takes the cake! :-P

      2. riverofmolecules*

        When it doesn’t feel you sitting in it for more than 10 minutes, it automatically updates your time sheet for you with an unpaid break. “It’s convenient *for you* the worker!” says management.

    4. Jasmi*

      This didn’t occur to me when I first read it – i did get a laugh when I went back to see what you meant!

    5. Miette*

      I confess I was also momentarily confused as to whether there were now “smart chairs” that, idk, email ergonometric advice?

      1. Emily Byrd Starr*

        I actually wouldn’t be surprised if such a thing exists by the end of the decade. Maybe not a chair that sends emails, but perhaps a chair that has arms with remote control buttons in them, so you can turn on the TV, set the timer, even water your garden without getting up?

    6. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I had a similar thought, only I was thinking that someone got a new chair (to sit on) which caused others to text after hours and cause a fuss

  7. Rara Avis*

    LW #3: I’m a teacher, and almost no one at school has my cell phone number. I’m so protective of it that I only have one administrator in my phone for emergencies during weekend travel with students. All school communication is supposed to go through school email or our LMS. I guess that horse is out of the barn, but could you block your department chair on text? I really don’t see any work-related reason that she would need to reach you 24/7. We are not expected to respond to messages after the close of school or on weekends. School emergencies only happen at school.

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      Same. We’re even encouraged to send e-mails within school hours or set them to send within school hours where possible.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        My child’s school has a line in staff signatures to the effect of “If I have sent this outside standard working hours it’s because it fits with my work-life balance. Please do not feel you have to act upon it immediately, as your home/work balance is important to us too.”

        1. BethDH*

          Yeah, I have a hard time finding the chair unreasonable here when OP hasn’t said anything, but that’s probably partly as I read this as higher ed, where hours are often flexed to the extreme — sometimes with no work-life balance, but often with personal preference in mind. I know lots of people who do all their administrative tasks outside business hours because they leave a bit early to be with young children or to go for a run in daylight.
          OP can and should say something, but not going into the conversation that the chair is performing “always working” instead of just doing what works for her will make it more collegial.

          1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            But what she is texting is ridiculous. Hi, I sent you an email. Why yes, I can see that you did because it shows up in my emails.

            Its really not about texting outside of hours because of work life balance or anything like that. Its texting just to text. Because there is literally no point to the text. The Chair needs to stop sending irrelevant texts.

            1. purple monkey & bubblegum tree*

              Right, like, I don’t care *when* someone texts me to say “I sent you an email.” I’m going to be annoyed regardless because that’s a ridiculous thing to text someone. I’ll see it when I check my email!

              1. JustaTech*

                Yup, the only time it’s a useful text is when you’re troubleshooting an email issues (like everything is going to spam or something).

                It’s right up there with people who send you an email and then walk over to your desk to ask if you’ve done the thing in the email they haven’t even gotten yet.

              2. MigraineMonth*

                My mom used to send me long emails with unrelated subjects and time-sensitive information buried somewhere in paragraph five. I explained that for anything urgent, the best way to communicate with me was by text.

                So she sent me texts saying, “Check you email.”

                Thanks, Mom.

            2. fhqwhgads*

              Yeah, Chair is DoingItWrong on two levels:
              1) don’t text outside working hours for non urgent stuff
              2) don’t text ever to say you sent an email; people don’t need one asynchronous written message to alert them of the presence of a different asynchronous written message

            3. I Have RBF*

              Yeah, that is what hit me too. Texting to tell me “I sent you an email. Have you read it yet? What do you think?” is just pushy and boundary stomping.

              Sometimes I will text a busy person with “Hey, I sent you a longish email about the teapot painting schedule. Please put a priority on reviewing it and telling me your preferences, so I can post the schedule.” But I won’t do it outside work hours.

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            Unless it’s an emergency that requires an immediate response, I feel like sending someone a text to tell them that you sent them an email is inherently unreasonable.

          3. Daisy-dog*

            But unless intervention is done on the receiver’s side, a text message is an Interruption with a Capital I for a lot of people.

    2. SaraK*

      I could see a new, inexperienced manager doing what LW3 describes as part of trying to be a good, if over-enthusiastic, communicator and also maybe being a little disorganised/overwhelmed if she’s working on the weekend. I think Alison’s approach of letting her know that it’s not landing well would be a kindness if she’s operating from that mindset.

    3. Flower necklace*

      I’m also a teacher, and it’s pretty common to exchange cell phone numbers at my school. My department has a group text chat, but it’s mostly for urgent things that happen during work hours when people might not be checking their email (i.e. needing a few minutes of coverage for a bathroom break).

      Our department chair sometimes uses it to randomly say “good morning” but people rarely respond. At 6:30 AM, most people are getting ready for work or driving. So we just ignore him.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        We also have a group chat on Whatsapp, it is very rarely (never?) used for work things at the weekend, and it seems more appropriate to group message (knowing that people can mute) rather than single someone out. I wouldn’t dream of individually texting someone. Whereas the group chat is actually very useful and is used to give people heads up about things, or space to ask questions, rather than to keep them in a work headspace at off-hours. It’s also a lot easier to communicate during the day.

      2. Emily*

        Do you have a Union at your school? If so, mentioning it to the Union rep is an easy way to address the issue as a work issue without it blowing back on you if you don’t have tenure. We advise most of our new teachers to work through those channels. Each school culture is different, so just be aware of it and work within your culture.

    4. Emotional Spock*

      I’m a long time public school teacher too! 1. I urge all of my colleagues to refrain from reading any emails after hours, especially on their own devices. 2. We have had situations involving parents who sue and guess what? Your device will potentially get confiscated by the court (U.S.) to look for evidence. 3. We use Outlook email and I urge coworkers to delete the app from their phone. I was at a happy hour once where a crappy message from a crappy parent popped up on a colleague’s phone, ruining her weekend. 4. I am part of a text group of coworkers and one of us regularly will text things like, “Did you see the email about ….?” And it drives me crazy because it is a weekend or 8:00 at night. I have had to say, “Hey, don’t text about school after hours because unless it is life or death, I don’t want to know.” It has kind-of worked.

      1. Random Dice*

        You need to set up Do Not Disturb settings. They can be flexible, so you stop being notifications at certain days/times.

    5. Scientist*

      I’d disagree with this! Sometimes my cell is used for very urgent things outside of my contract hours (I’m a high school teacher.) For example, a mental health crisis with a student that needs more support or context, a teacher calling in sick when we need in-building sub coverage for a big event or field trip, a perishable item I’ve ordered for my science classroom arriving unscheduled at the start of a teacher long weekend, etc. I’m very glad it’s out there. Still, I also for sure get annoyed when people send a bunch of texts about non urgent things on the weekend!

      1. Devious Planner*

        Yea, I’m sort of fascinated by people who are so against using their cell phones. It’s totally possible that some schools have a really unhealthy school culture where it’s hard to disconnect (but if you’ve been able to not give our your phone number for 5 years, you probably aren’t at one of these schools?)

        I’m a high school teacher where a number of other teachers and admin have my phone number. Here are the texts I tend to get or send (and this happens about once a month, at most):
        – “I have to take a sick day tomorrow. I’ll submit a sub request w/ lesson plans asap” (sent to my department head)
        – “_____ is out tomorrow. can you cover 3rd period?” (received from my department head)
        – “need to use the bathroom! Can you cover my class for 5 minutes?” (received from a coworker)
        – “I’m at the building, can you let me in?” (sent from me to security when I needed to get in on a Saturday)

        It would just seem really fussy to refuse to give out my cell phone number. Most of these texts barely need a reply beyond “yes,” “no,” “thanks,” or “on my way”… Why make it such a thing?

        1. Starbuck*

          These are good examples, if you can trust people not to send you texts at 9pm with “I just sent you an email with a report to read” then it’s not a problem, it’s a big convenience.

          But also if I was doing that volume of texting regularly for work, I’d expect a work device or a phone bill stipend… I don’t love that the expectation of employees being constantly mobile contactable has been put on the employee to pay for.

        2. Rara Avis*

          We’re not supposed to be on our phones while with students, so most of those would be emails, and we have desk phones for the needed now — which is mostly calls from the office saying, send down this kid who’s leaving for a medical appointment. I try not to have work things on my personal phone. I have a kid who is a student at the school; before that kid was old enough for their own phone, I handed them my phone all the time, and it would be a huge breach of protocol for them to have access to my school email, texts related to students, etc. Also, the school wants a record of all school-related transactions. Hence we go through school channels. Especially for contact with students and parents. We use Remind for contact with students and parents on trips, again, via a school-managed account. It’s protection for us.

    6. amanda_cake*

      We have to have our phone numbers on the school phone tree that is utilized in the event of a major emergency. It has been used once during my time here, when a student passed away over the weekend and the phone tree was used to call everyone to inform them.

      1. Rara Avis*

        That can all be done with tech now — my school has the capability to push emergency messages to any phone number in their system. But the data is all protected, so not even the person sending the messages knows the numbers.

    7. Butterfly Counter*

      I also work in education and my chair has my number, but uses it responsibly. It’s been helpful when I’m stuck in traffic and might be late to a meeting, or when he’s sent something of an urgent email. This weekend, he used it to let me know that I passed my third step (of four) for my promotion!

      I agree with Allison: Just let your chair know that you prefer texts for urgent issues, emergencies, or really great news. If she’s doing what she can to find her place in a new department, she’ll probably appreciate the feedback.

    8. ?*

      We use text a lot at my school—admittedly I teach elementary so needs might be different. Someone is going to be late picking kids up from lunch, someone needs last minute coverage, hey the meeting was moved to room 305 instead, I need support for X who’s having a crisis. Again, elementary teachers maybe check email less frequently than those for older kids since we have to be always supervising, but blocking seems extreme. Especially since OP hasn’t asked her to stop yet.

    9. Freya*

      My workplace has a Rule about phone calls needing to go through the office numbers, because then there’s an audit trail that can be accessed even if I got hit by a bus. Also, it doesn’t happen often, but if a client is on fixed rate and complains when my boss raises their prices, my boss can point to the phone log and tell them exactly how much time that client took up with phone calls (which then extrapolates out to how much time they take up with actual work).

  8. Punk*

    I have to disagree with the response to #2. Accepting visible damage to property, no matter who paid for it, is not just a normal part of existing and working in society. The maintenance staff saw what they did and didn’t care, and honestly their management would probably want to know about it. Maintenance staff can’t be causing careless damage to things and not fixing it.

    1. Bethany*

      That’s true, but there’s got to be a limit somewhere. It’s reasonable to ask maintenance to pay for or do standard repairs, but if it needed special attention due to being an antique, that’s beyond their scope. OP shouldn’t have brought a sentimental antique into an office environment.

      For instance, if I kept a $1,000 frame on my desk and somebody accidentally broke it, that’s partially on me. The appropriate way to make me whole would be to buy me a regular frame, not pay me back $1,000.

      Offices are not a place to keep your nice fancy things, they are spaces that don’t belong to you. They are not your home and I don’t know why some people treat them like they are.

      1. Artemesia*

        breaking a fancy frame is an accident; scratching furniture because you don’t cover it and put things on it is incompetence. I have had this happen twice in home repairs. A really pretty step stool was ruined by painters who got paint and spackle all over it and an antique toy cabinet my grandfather made for my mother as a child had workers just put messy paint items on top of it. A minimum you can expect from workers is that they don’t stain and scratch the furniture.

        1. Myrin*

          My grandfather has been a carpenter all his life – although he retired the year I was born and is over 90 now, but wood is still his life – and my mum says that even when she was a child, he would rage about this at home – his colleagues not taking proper measures to protect clients’ property. Accidents happen, of course, and sometimes there’s just no perfect way to handle something, but putting a protective blanket or plastic wrap on top of surfaces you work around was his standard even in the 50s!

        2. GythaOgden*

          No, it’s not incompetence — they’ve got twenty jobs to do that day and hanging a personal picture frame for an employee is something that is probably something they’re doing because they have a spare five minutes between other more important jobs. They’re not OP’s servants; they are paid by the company to get stuff done and OP could probably just have used command strips herself.

          Getting company maintenance to do something personal would be pretty crappy where I’m from so I don’t get the outrage over this. Presumably the company rubric on bringing your own property into work would have something about ‘at your own risk’ about it, so getting shirty with maintenance isn’t going to help you get the damage repaired on the company’s bill or really endear you to them either in the long run. In general, maintenance and facilities don’t like prima donnas; we do the work for them because we’re paid to, but being a decent person to them means understanding the pressure they’re under to get things done, the extent of what they can do for you personally and what’s not really their job here, and lastly remembering that you should probably tag a ‘at your own risk’ disclaimer onto any property you bring into work of your own.

          Source — oversee and do clerical work for a busy team of maintenance engineers. Our job list is large and varied because we’re in hospital facilities (and we’d find it even more ridiculous that you’d taken us away from vital jobs to hang your painting) but this kind of approach to people who do hard physical labour will come off as really pretty crappy towards people who are literally holding the building together in other ways.

          1. Prof*

            Many workplaces require you to get maintenance to hang things, you’re not supposed to do it yourself (my workplace is like this, and yeah, it’s kinda absurd). It is in fact their job, and they shouldn’t be damaging things doing it.

            1. amoeba*

              Yes, absolutely – don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere I would have been allowed to do it myself! They’re also supposed to check you don’t accidentally hit any power lines, know whether the walls are actually OK to hang things on (and in which way/what weight), etc. That’s pretty standard and I’d definitely complain if they break things while doing their job…

            2. I'm just here for the cats!*

              I was going to say this too. Any kind of hangings, even personal items, must be done by maintenance at my work.

            3. Tio*

              It feels absurd until you see seven holes in a wall and a busted pipe because someone didn’t want to use a stud finder or just assumed you can drill a hole anywhere

        3. FanciestCat*

          But those were workers you hired to work in your home. Maintenace workers in an office are used to all or most furniture they encounter being owned by the company and not particularly sentimental or fancy. I’ve worked in IT, they constantly set tools and items on shelving or on top of things while working without a second thought because it’s just company furniture. It’s one thing if the OP told them in advance that the shelf was an antique and to be careful, if not this was definitely an accident where they treated it like any old piece of company furniture.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            Yes – it’s not necessarily that they were being careless, it’s that they were treating the furniture the way they’d treat standard issue office equipment, which is generally designed to be sturdy rather than delicate, and generally isn’t going to be damaged by setting equipment on top of it.

            1. I Have RBF*

              This is why office furniture is all scratched and dinged after only five years. It isn’t as rugged as people think it is.

        4. Language Lover*

          I don’t think home work where you’re paying people for extra care and expertise is the same thing as office work where the people hanging things up are more likely to be general maintenance workers used to working in offices with typically less bespoke furniture. Anyone coming into my office is going to find metal cabinets or cheapish wood pieces.

          I also don’t agree that the damage isn’t an accident.

          I’m sorry there was damage but if extra care needed to be taken, that should have been communicated to the workers. I wouldn’t expect them to bring a cloth cover for hanging up purposes.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Agreed. Yes, it was careless, but the maintenance workers are busy employees who don’t expect to encounter 100-year-old antiques in their day-to-day work.

        5. nodramalama*

          Ok, but that’s your house where you are paying for a service. OP hasn’t paid for anything and it doesn’t even sound like it was something the organisation asked for. OP just wanted someone else to hang a picture

        6. Jellybeans*

          The expectation for office furniture is that it’s going to be mass produced cheap stuff from IKEA. (Unless it’s ergonomic eg chairs or standing desks.) No one would assume an office bookcase is so very precious it needs to be handled with kid gloves to avoid a scratch, because scratches are just normal in an office environment.

          And it sounds like the just casually used it as a place to put things on, which resulted in the very top being scratched. Saying “don’t put items on the bookcase without putting a liner down first” is quite excessive. I mean, if I’m working in someone office and need to put an item on a shelf, I’m not going to put fabric down to protect the shelf. So the top (which people don’t even see) shouldn’t be different.

          If the bookcase had been substantially damaged then they should fix it, but minor scratches no.

            1. Tio*

              When we moved buildings at my last job, almost all the office furniture was left behind and abandoned because the new building came furnished

              So it’s definitely possible that the maintenance people assumed the bookcase was junk furniture like many offices have, not a special antique from OP’s home, and treated it as they would all other furniture in this office, and scratches like those would not be noticed or cared about in the slightest. If that is the case, given that bringing your stuff to the office almost always comes with a clause like “We don’t guarantee safety of your property” from the company and building, it’s most likely a lost cause.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yeah, I would be upset too in OP’s shoes but it sounds like they just set things down on a shelf–which is kind of what shelves are for?? So I don’t see any reason they should have expected that would be an issue.

            1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              Yeah, there’s kind of a huge difference between spilled paint and a small scratch from a screw being placed on a shelf or on top of a piece of furniture.

          2. amoeba*

            Huh – in my experience, it’s definitely been the opposite way – fancy-ish furniture in the office (definitely not IKEA, that’s for home use, not professional?), cheap IKEA at home! And I’d honestly still be pretty annoyed if somebody damaged my office furniture and I’d just have to live with the scratches forever now, even without any personal attachment…

            1. MigraineMonth*

              It really depends on the setup and how client-facing you are. IME cubicle farmers can get good computers and okay chairs (if we request them), but desks and shelving are all particle board. (It works out if you put the heaviest manuals on the bottom shelf.)

              1. amoeba*

                Switzerland somehow has a weird obsession with USM Haller – that’s really what I’ve seen in most offices and even labs, even at university, in my definitely not public-facing office, and in places like the vaccination centres! I actually don’t get it as those are, like, 2000 € for a sideboard, although I certainly hope they get a discount… And ours are white and beige as well (although luckily quite sturdy). So, yeah, I’d expect people to not damage those, either…

        7. Starbuck*

          The standards for workers in your home are different and rightfully higher than for maintenance in an office, though. Maybe this varies by how stuffy/fancy etc. the business is, but where I work the culture is to get the job done, and functionality and safety are always a higher priority over aesthetics. We take care with things like our expensive electronics, but furniture? Scratches on the top of a bookshelf (assumed to be office furniture), where you can’t really see them in a location that is not customer/visitor space? People would think you were being weirdly stuffy to complain about that here.

      2. JSPA*

        I would not want a non-specialist repair to an antique! If this isn’t something that the LW can fix themselves with a bit of steam and some paste wax, it’s also not something you want maintenance handling–especially after they’ve made it clear that they can’t tell “special old furniture” from “POS old furniture.”

        1. MigraineMonth*

          This! If it’s sentimental and you want it done right, go to someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

      3. Fikly*

        And you think it’s reasonable that the OP’s employer didn’t supply office furniture to begin with? What if the OP didn’t have other furniture to bring in? You shouldn’t have to supply your own work furniture if you are working in an office, rather than from home.

        If you have to bring something, then your employer should cover any damages to it. The employer should have paid for what was needed in the space to start.

        1. Nancy*

          OP states they were not “given much of a budget for furniture,” which implies they were given some kind of budget, and places like Target have inexpensive bookcases.

          Now OP knows for the future to either not bring sentimental items to work or to cover them when requesting maintenance.

        2. Rebecca*

          “And you think it’s reasonable that the OP’s employer didn’t supply office furniture to begin with?”

          Well, yes. Every office I’ve been in, you live with the furniture you have, or don’t have.

        3. Bethany*

          If your employer doesn’t supply something you need, you raise it as a business issue. You don’t just bring expensive stuff from home. You keep your books and papers in a messy stack on the floor until they provide you with the equipment you need – when it impacts your work, that’s your employer’s problem.

          When my computer has issues, I don’t bring in my own expensive laptop and just use that instead. I tell my employer that I can’t get any work done until THEY fix the computer.

      4. Lady Danbury*

        Completely agree. Maintenance’s job is to exercise the level of care that is appropriate for an office space. Standard office furniture does not include antiques with sentimental value and therefore they’re not going to exercise the level of care required for such antiques. Looking at the condition of furniture in most offices that I’ve been to, I don’t think most people are overly concerned about a few scratches on the top of your standard office bookcase, especially since you can’t even see the top. Other people have raised the question of whether hanging artwork is even maintenance’s job or if they were doing OP a favor. Either way, the responsibility was on OP to let them know that the needed to take extra care with that particular piece of furniture.

        1. Cookie monster*

          In my office, it is maintenance’s job to hang artwork because they want it done in a way that limits damage to the walls. HOWEVER…it is still a favor to the person asking for it to be hung and while they are reasonably careful, they aren’t responsible for personal items. If a frame would get scratched or glass broken, the company wouldn’t be liable for paying for it. Same goes for any other personal furniture or decor items brought in. Personally, I can’t imagine bringing an expensive antique item with sentimental value to my office but if I did I would expect to be fully responsible for any potential damage.

    2. Free Meerkats*

      I came here to say something similar. They damaged it, they should properly repair it!

      1. CityMouse*

        My mom refinishes antiques and LW really doesn’t want building maintenance doing a DIY repair on furniture. That almost certainly could result in something a lot harder to fix than some scratches. At best they’d likely just slap a coat of whatever varnish they had around on the top.

        So if I was LW, I absolutely wouldn’t ask them to “fix” it because the chance of it being just, so so much worse are very high.

      2. Starbuck*

        Really doesn’t seem reasonable for the maintenance staff to do antique furniture repair, that’s very specialized work.

    3. MK*

      It becomes more complicated depending on if a) OP had permission to bring in her own furniture and b) helping her hang art was a part of the staff’s duties. .

      And, yes, accepting slight accidental damage to your property is in fact a normal part of existing in society.

      1. GythaOgden*

        Yeah, I wouldn’t have brought it in myself and additionally, asking maintenance to hang a personal painting (as opposed to a noticeboard that the company paid for) is also a bit alien to me. We don’t generally go in for personal offices or personal furniture at work here IME (in general in the UK only the top brass have their own offices anyway; the rest of us work in open or shared offices) but it’s pretty much agreed that any personal property brought into work is brought in at your own risk.

        Take it as an object lesson, maybe use command strips to hang paintings, and move on.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          I think it depends, in my last office, you could hire the building maintenance people to do work significant work that was not directly part of their everyday duties, this was all above board done with the building managers involvement, think hire them to anchor bookshelves into the wall, or move a desk etc… I am not sure how the payment worked, we paid the building, I don’t know if the people got extra pay, or if they only got their regular pay and the building made/kept the money.

          Other times if we asked for a minor thing that was outside of their everyday duties they might do it as a favor if they had the time and felt so inclined to help us, in the last office hanging a picture/frame would not be part of their regular tasks and they would do it as a favor if they felt like it.

      2. CityMouse*

        I admit I’m windowing what state this piece was in if just placing screws on it resulted in scratches. But as I mentioned above, repairing antique furniture really isn’t within the knowledge base of most building repair staff so asking them to fix it could be a really, really bad idea.

      3. Allonge*

        Accidental damage, yes – so e.g. if a screw fell on it as it was dropped.

        From people not doing their job properly it’s a bit different (putting a cloth or sheet of paper / piece of cardboard under tools is not that much of a hardship). I would mention it to maintenance.

        1. nodramalama*

          Their job is to do maintenance for the office. They’re not personal picture hangers or repair people. If this was office furniture nobody would even notice it was scratched. They can’t be expected to know that this is some special bookcase.

          1. Myrin*

            I think this is a great example for an “it depends” situation – it’s absolutely maintenance’s (which includes the janitors who would end up dong this particular task) job to hang pictures at my place of work.
            From the number of comments here saying the opposite I’d assume my workplace is in the minority on this but it’s still not something that can be claimed with certainty without us knowing more.

            1. bamcheeks*

              Yeah, I know plenty of places where if pictures *are* going to be hung up, maintenance would absolutely want to make sure they did it than have any random person wanging nails into the wall at random. (I can personally testify that it’s possible for an inexperienced person to make a *very* big mess trying to put up a picture or a mirror.)

            2. Emmy Noether*

              Yeah, most places I’ve worked you really weren’t supposed to do anything to the building yourself (such as putting a nail or a screw in the wall), you *had to* call facilities. Doing something easily reversible (such as command strips) was sort of a grey zone. In most places this just meant you couldn’t put up personal art on the walls.

              (Most places also don’t want you to bring in your personal furniture or especially electrical appliances. It’s mostly about accident risk and insurance, but also about things getting damaged).

            3. doreen*

              I absolutely wasn’t supposed to be hanging things on my office wall if it involved nails or screws – but it wasn’t building maintenance’s job to hang personal items either. It wasn’t against the rules for them to hang a personal photo/painting/poster for me but I couldn’t complain if they refused as I could have if they had refused to hang something required by my employer. Complaining that they damaged an antique bookcase that they most likely even didn’t know was something other than standard office furniture would be a great way to ensure they never did anything for me again that wasn’t required.

            4. Cascadia*

              Yes, same at my org. In fact maintenance specifically asks that we don’t hang anything ourselves. Partially that’s because they don’t want someone getting injured at work, and partially because maintenance wants to control the work so they can make sure it’s done properly. You can get in trouble if you do something by yourself without asking maintenance.

            5. I Have RBF*

              Yeah, I’ve been in offices where the “No DIY” rule was in effect. You were literally not allowed to hang anything from the walls without maintenance doing the job. Not even with those temporary hook things (that wear out and fall off, BTW.)

          2. Allonge*

            If they are not supposed to be hanging pictures, why did they do it?

            I work in a fairly regulated office building, if I make a request that is not part of the job of maintenance, they will deny the request, to protect both of us from weird consequences.

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              “If they are not supposed to be hanging pictures, why did they do it?”

              I think generally there are two types, 1) they are prohibited from actually hanging that picture or 2) hanging pictures is not part of their job, they don’t have to do it, but they also are not prohibited and they could choose to do it for you as a favor if they liked you.

              Or in some places it is part of their jobs and they would be required to do it. In OPs situation we don’t know.

          3. K*

            This has not been my experience. No job I’ve ever had would allow me to drive nails into the wall to hang stuff. If something was to be hung maintenance would insist on doing it themselves so the walls don’t get damaged.

        2. CityMouse*

          The thing is, it’s not clear this really is part of maintenance’s job. No building I’ve worked in would cover hanging employee artwork. So there’s also a chance complaining here leads to a crackdown on odd jobs and employee belongings.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I agree.

            Also, that LW in particular would never get a favour out of maintenance ever again, and would find her legitimate work requests deprioritised as a matter of course.

          2. wordswords*

            As others have said, this really, really depends on the company; some places it’s absolutely not maintenance’s job, some places the employee would get in trouble for hanging a picture themself instead of having maintenance do it, and some places would be fine with either option. And I think a lot of commenters’ reactions are based on the assumption that it’s one or the other of those scenarios, but we just don’t have any data to go on for it.

            You’re absolutely right, though, that if this was a favor by maintenance, making a big deal of it is not likely to lead anywhere useful, for OP or possibly anyone. (If it was maintenance’s job rather than a favor, OP has much more of a leg to stand on, but I agree with another assessment upthread that odds of getting a good repair for this antique rather than something slapdash are pretty low.)

        3. MK*

          Complaining to maintenance who did you a favour that they didn’t do the favour well is a great way to get them to stick to the letter of their job description and never help you with anything they don’t strictly have to again.

          1. Agent Diane*

            Yes – it’d be a great way for any real work-related jobs, like fixing a door that is sticking – to go to the back of the list.

            At my last job, someone in my department would ask maintenance to do things and it would take weeks. I’d ask and it’d be done by the end of the week. I’ve no idea what my colleague had done, or was doing wrong, but their requests were clearly in the slow lane.

          2. Allonge*

            I don’t want maintenance to do me favours* that are outside of their job description! I want them to tell me, if this is the case, that they are not supposed to hang private art.

            *Not to brag or anything but I have a really good relationship with our facilities team. Part of it is that I listen to them when they tell me what is and is not feasible / practical / in line with the building rules.

            1. GythaOgden*

              Yeah — I think what’s being objected to is the personal use of maintenance to hang the picture and look after the OP’s personal furniture, not that they’re the best people for the actual job.

              Certainly, I think even if you have a good relationship with facilities, they’d probably say that personal items are on work property at the owner’s own risk, and that the picture they were hanging wasn’t a work-essential piece of kit (unlike, say, a whiteboard or a monitor or a noticeboard). Even if it was work-essential, they would probably still have the ‘at your own risk’ clause in there to protect them.

        4. Insert Clever Name Here*

          It may not be much of a hardship, but I also don’t think it’s a requirement. I spent several hours this weekend hanging curtains so I had a drill, hammer, screws, levels, framing squares, and anchors — they got placed on beds, desks, dressers, bookcases, and nightstands. We have several antiques (including a barrister bookcase that is 100+ years old) and it would never occur to me to put something over it before putting my hammer and nails down on it.

          1. Allonge*

            Whereas my parents taught me to have a newspaper/cloth to put things on, even under circumstances where the tools were not tha likely to cause damage.

            But the point is: you and I get to decide what risk we take with our own furniture. People working in maintenance should have this as part of their standard operations, as they by definition work with property not their own.

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              “People working in maintenance should have this as part of their standard operations, as they by definition work with property not their own.”

              I disagree with this in a standard office setting.
              In a standard office setting I think the idea is furniture is basic everyday use stuff that is not particularly fragile and or valuable. Furniture suffers damage over time basic wear and tear, that is something that happens, if you want to maintain something in pristine/mint condition using it in an office is not a good idea.

              So you don’t stab a screwdriver into the bookshelves to hold it, but laying tools, hammer, screw driver, nails/screws etc… on top of a book shelf without a cover is not a egregious breach of care. Setting a cover before putting basic tools is a high end/white glove standard that I think is unreasonable for an office.

              “But the point is: you and I get to decide what risk we take with our own furniture.”

              I think OP assumed a higher level of risk/damage (even if unknowingly) when they brought it into the office.

            2. Insert Clever Name Here*

              Yes, and the risk that OP took with their own (sentimental, antique) furniture was to take it into an office where they were no longer solely responsible for its environment.

      4. OP2*

        OP2 here. Many thanks to Alison for publishing and to all for their thoughts. To clarify two things: 1) The artwork was business-related (think impact photos of a nonprofit’s work) and 2) The building staff actually requested that they hang artwork rather than having people do it themselves, ironically to avoid damage to walls.

        That said, now that it’s been a few days I agree a bit more with the general consensus here; accept it as a cost of doing business.

        Thanks again, all!

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I’m sorry your bookshelf was damaged, OP2, but I think you’re right. I hope you can get the damage fixed by experts who know how to treat your antique right!

    4. Heck No*

      Yeah no. This is on OP. Bringing in valuable furniture and also asking maintenance to hang the art both rub me the wrong way. It is not even maintenance’s job to do that most places and they’re certainly not going to know it’s a family heirloom cabinet.

      1. CityMouse*

        And if this is a family heirloom cabinet you 100% don’t want building maintenance trying “a simple repair” on it.

      2. MK*

        I wonder if this is in fact valuable furniture. I think people are hearing 100 years old and assume antique, but sometimes it’s just old furniture.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Yeah, it obviously has significant sentimental value for OP, but most of my furniture is 80-120 years old and it’s not Fancy Antique, it’s just secondhand stuff which is the same price as Ikea but better made and more sustainable. I don’t know if there’s necessarily a reason for Maintenance to have thought, ah, this is fine old furniture that needs protecting. Not something you’re likely to think of if you’re used to melamine and laminate surfaces that don’t need it.

          I do think you’re out of luck on this one, LW, but hopefully you can find a way of fixing or covering it.

          1. CityMouse*

            Stuff that’s old has often been in a house that someone’s smoked in and unless someone’s taken the time to refinish it properly the tar often leaves the finish kind of gummy, for lack of a better word. would definitely be more likely to be scratched that way.

        2. How We Laughed*

          I am a barrister bookcase enthusiast- $500 would be on the low end- for a particularly nice set you can easily see $2,000 and up.

          1. bamcheeks*

            Oh haha, I didn’t know a barrister bookcase was a specific thing! I assumed it meant “this bookcase belonged to my grandfather, who was a barrister”.

            1. Sharpie*

              I went looking. According to Wikipedia, they were made by a company called Globe-Wernicke and quote:

              “The company patented the “elastic bookcases” also known as a modular bookcase or barrister’s bookcase. These were high-quality stacking book shelves, with a standard width of 34 inches, in oak, walnut and mahogany, capable of being adapted to fit together to form a bookcase which could either be all of the same measurements or which could be rearranged by the insertion of units of different depths and heights. These glass-fronted shelves are today collectible antiques highly desired by collectors. With regularity, these bookcases appear in auctions and internet sites and, what originally cost $75 or so will now be sold for $900 or more.[1]”

              1. CityMouse*

                I just googled it, and I have to say that the amount of glass in that makes me super wary, especially if it’s a decorative glass type that’s hard to replace.

          2. MK*

            Ok, but that doesn’t mean the maintenance stuff should have know to be carefull about it, it only means that OP shouldn’t have brought it into the office.

            1. How We Laughed*

              I agree that it shouldn’t have been brought in. But I can see the thinking- barrister bookcases were made in sections to make them easy to move!

              I hope the damage isn’t too deep and is an easy fix, but I would file this under learning experience and not try to get the workplace to fix it.

          3. I Have RBF*

            Oooh, I just googled “barrister bookcase”, and I see lovely bookcases with glass doors over the shelves! So “barrister bookcase” == “cat-resistant bookcase”

        3. Jellybeans*

          Officially anything older than 100 years is an antique. That’s the literal definition of the word “antique”: something that is more than 100 years old.

          1. Reba*

            No, there is no fixed cutoff age for “antique”. This supposed rule is used by some dealers/in the industry to define what they term antique, vintage, whatever, but it’s a sales term in that case, not really the common or literal usage.

            Antique just means old, and/or highly valued because of its age, as MK used it. I’m sorry to nitpick! The perceived vale of old things is highly variable and that’s part of the OP’s issue here.

    5. Agent Diane*

      They didn’t damage company property though so the company won’t care. I’m with Alison – don’t bring in irreplaceable items to work unless you’re willing to risk them being damaged.

      Also, as other commentators have flagged, this is a specialist repair job which should not be done by generalists. The cost of that specialist repair is on OP because she took the risk of bringing the antique in.

      When I saw the subject line I assumed the item was going to broken. So something like the glass front of a bookcase being broken, not some scratches on the top.

    6. cabbagepants*

      “Accepting visible damage to property, no matter who paid for it, is not just a normal part of existing and working in society.”

      Wow, I absolutely have the opposite perspective. There is even an expression for the way objects start to look not-new as a result of normal use: wear and tear!

      A bookshelf that cannot endure nails and screws being placed upon it is a bookshelf that belongs behind glass in a museum, not in a workplace. And I find it unbelievable that these are the first mars on a 100-year-old piece. Perhaps they look more visible because they are new, but I promise that there are other places where the woodwork is no longer pristine.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        This was my reaction as well. Anything that exists in a shared space is susceptible to the elements that exist in that space, be it handymen or clumsy clients or direct sunlight or whatever else may cause casual damage.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, I know that it’s possible to keep things looking “like new” for longer if you’re really careful, but at this point my car has scratches, my carpets have stains that won’t come out, my curtains are faded, my clothing is covered with cat hair and my joints are wearing out. Time passes, you know?

  9. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (damaged furniture) – I’d be concerned that they (your company / the owner of the leased space) aren’t really expecting people to bring in their own furniture, and especially things like hanging artwork (nails and screws were used, so this has now damaged the wall behind – rather than using command strips or similar). Was it ever “approved” that you’d bring in your own stuff – you might find by raising this for repair that you open more of a can of worms.

    1. GythaOgden*

      It may be more common in the US where people generally do have their own offices a bit more frequently than we do over here in the UK. But yeah, it feels like there should be an assumption that anything is brought in at your own risk. To take a really, really trivial example, I wouldn’t bring my best pair of embroidery scissors (which cost me £20 and were worth every penny because of the moulded grip playing nice with my weird autistic hands) on an overnight trip. A few weeks ago I was in a cafe and accidentally let the cardigan I had tied around my waist untie itself and get left on the chair when we left. I didn’t realise it had dropped before we got to the station with a few minutes left to catch my train. It’s only a cardigan to a lot of people but it was the one my colleague at work gave me because she was a shopaholic and always trying to offload her sale purchases onto us and we gladly accepted free clothes! It’s not even sentimental value to me but as the spring shows no sign of ever warming up it is sorely missed!

      I think the moral of the story is, don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose or get damaged into work or away on holiday or whatever. I take the stance that things are ephemeral anyway, but I can see why in this case OP is upset. Nevertheless, I think it’s also a bit alien to me to ask maintenance to hang your own art, so I think that you need to take this on the chin.

      1. Lizard the Second*

        I’d be inclined to take home the bookshelf again. If it has sentimental value, you don’t want to risk it losing it if something happens to your job or to the building. How will people know it’s your personal property and not company property they might accidentally dispose of?

        1. Fern*

          Agreed, take it home. I LOVE a barrister bookcase, but they are delicate. Don’t take anything in to the office that you’re not willing to lose, I think.

          The damage does sound fixable with some Old English or wax repair crayons. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Tibet Almond Stick. Good luck!

    2. Allonge*

      If hanging artwork is not allowed (perfectly reasonable) then maintenace staff doing it at all would be pretty bad, no?

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        I could easily see a situation where people assume someone else approved it, so from the perspective of the maintenance crew it’s just another work order.

        1. Allonge*

          To be honest I don’t get this.

          It’s much more the job of the maintenance crew’s to know what they are and are not supposed to be working on than OP’s.

          If I request something from our maintenance guys that is not part of their job, they will not come and do it assuming someone else approved it – they will point me to whoever needs to approve it, or just tell me it cannot happen (depending on what is the case).

          1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            I would guess that things like hanging pictures for individual people is in a gray area. It’s quite likely that OP is not allowed to nail things into the walls themself, and all picture-hanging of that sort needs to be done by Maintenance — BUT Maintenance likely isn’t *required* to hang any old picture that Tom, Dick, or Harry asks them to. But at the same time, picture-hanging is part of their job. So it’s a case of how busy they are (and if they’re pissed at OP over a bookcase fracas a couple of months back).

            I definitely agree with the folks saying that escalating this will likely result in 1) and unsatisfactory repair and 2) much less responsive Maintenance folks in future.

      2. GythaOgden*

        Yeah, on that one you’re right. But in general, getting upset about something that would probably be in the workplace ‘at your own risk’ is a way to look like a massive prima donna to people who are generally busy on actual maintenance. I think the disconnect comes from cultural differences — here in the UK offices are generally open plan or shared by half a dozen people and anyone asking maintenance to hang a personal item in the room would be completely out of touch.

        But I’m with Alison regardless of what the norms are. Personal items are generally brought in to workplaces ‘at your own risk’. There’s a lot that could happen to things like this in a workplace environment that really make it more of OP’s responsibility here to be judicious of what she brings in. There are going to be other occupational hazards of having that unit in the office going forward that make it a pretty bad decision all round to have it in work in the first place.

      3. nodramalama*

        If the organisation is leasing the building, the maintenance staff may not belong to the organisation and have no idea what is approved and what isn’t

        1. Allonge*

          So: if there is an issue of communication within the building between maintenance, the tenants and whoever is managing maintenance, everyone is better off learning about it sooner rather than later.

          I don’t think ‘get in trouble’ is the idea here for anyone – first, that is a middle school outcome, second: OP would be much better off knowing now if they cannot have personal furniture and so on in the office than e.g. when the building gets audited for fire safety or insurance purposes.

          Just for the record: the idea is also not to get the maintenance team ‘into trouble’. If all this is on the up and up, they need training on how to handle tools without damaging furniture. If they were not supposed to be hanging private art, they need information on what to do if they get such requests. Everyone will move on after.

          1. doreen*

            I think there’s a difference between “it’s not part of their job to hang private art” and “they aren’t supposed to hang private art”. To use a slightly different example, I know of a building that has very heavy doors. There is an automatic door controlled by the security guard who is supposed to press the button to open that door for employees who have an ADA accommodation. The security guards often open that door for people who are carrying a lot and have their hands full – they won’t get in any trouble for doing so, but a person can’t really complain if they don’t , because they are not required to.

      4. Fierce Jindo*

        I work at a university where we’re not allowed to hang anything ourselves but it’s routine and expected for maintenance to do it. You arrange that through the department admin; it’s a normal part of work.

        1. GythaOgden*

          And they presumably have the right to say no or put the item low on the priority list and they can still say that any issues with damage to personal belongings in the course of the work are at the owner’s own risk.

          Don’t get me wrong, my late husband was very protective of his coffee table, as it was, like the eponymous plant in George Orwell’s less famous work Keep the Aspidistra Flying, a symbol of his status as a householder himself, and we had a couple of dozen drinks coasters spread out on it to keep the basic mass-produced furniture wood safe from stains. I honoured him afterwards by setting out his fig plant — which had one leaf left when he died — on the table and nursing it back to health.

          But yeah, they may do it but what a lot of us are saying is that the company or organisation or building management are at liberties to say no if that’s not what they want their maintenance workers occupied with. And if OP kicks up too much of a fuss, they could easily decide it’s not worth the aggro/liability to hang personal stuff and just rule against it; nothing business-essential is lost and their workers are insulated from the whims and tangents of ornery colleagues.

          1. Allonge*

            Sure. At the same time, I don’t think OP or anyone is going to be crying buckets of tears when they cannot have their own pictures on the walls – there are plenty of offices where it’s not possible to have any.

            ‘They will not hang your pictures’ is not that much of a threat.

    3. melissa*

      Can of worms yes— This type of situation is why large offices have so many seemingly-silly rules about what employees can and can’t do. If you go to your management to complain about the damage and ask for some sort of restitution, they might get your furniture repaired. They will also immediately add “No personal items of furniture allowed in the office” to the employee handbook.

      1. OP2*

        OP #2 here:

        Thanks to Alison for publishing and to all for their comments! Now that it’s been a few days, I agree with the general consensus–this is the cost of bringing in one’s own furniture to an office.

        A couple of clarifications: 1) The artwork was of a business nature since the office is also used to entertain clients and 2) The building maintenance staff actually asks that they be the ones to hang artwork, ironically to prevent damage to the walls.

        Again, thanks all–and I’m glad my desk chair isn’t talking to me.

    4. Jessica*

      So many people are suggesting command strips! Based on my experiences with them, that just seems like a way for the bookcase to take more damage when the painting falls on it.

      Another potential issue with personal furniture is that it doesn’t fall into the category of “only what you can grab when security comes to walk you out.”

  10. MassChick*

    LW3, couldn’t you just mute her texts for the weekend? Then reply to the emails on Monday or next work day with nary a mention of the weekend texts. Sometimes, a complete no-response is better than feeding her need for acknowledgement.

    We need a descriptive term for this phenomenon of email followed by an I-emailed-you text…

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      There has to be a “not necessarily the news”-style sniglet out there. Let’s go, people! We can to it!

      1. Garblesnark*

        I once knew a woman who, anytime anyone said something that didn’t interest her in her presence would reply, completely deadpan, “shall I alert the media?”

        Didn’t like her at all – I was a young child doing my best – but it DOES seem a fair remark for this instance.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          she would be fun at parties. I’d want to respond to her stories with the new line Bluey’s dad dropped, “and why should I care?” because, as we know, I am that Petty.

    2. Glazed Donut*

      Yes, this was my immediate thought, too. I don’t think Alison’s advice is bad, though, given the age of this new dept chair.
      When I was a teacher, the grade-level text thread was irritating. There were maybe 6 of us, and others would send memes and funny links/news stories until 11pm on weeknights, pictures of “here’s what I’m doing this weekend,” etc. I was the sole early-morning workout person (4:30am alarm) so often I’d wait and respond at 5 or 6am. However, that didn’t stop the random texts!
      I put the whole thread on do not disturb, which I was hesitant to do in case there WAS a real urgent need during the school day. In my mind, they’d abused the privilege to text and I was becoming increasingly irritated with the whole thing, which negatively impacted how I interacted with them.

  11. Journey of man*

    Re hair: just make sure it’s tidy. Especially post COVID lockdowns all ages and types had fun with their hair. Good luck!

  12. Tinkerbell*

    Confession: reading the “new chair” header right after the old antique bookcase question, I assumed the OP would be asking what to do if the design of your office chair caused you to butt-dial someone embarrassing :-P

  13. Allonge*

    LW3 – ugh, the message content would bother me as much as the notification. Why on earth send me a text about somethign you sent an email for? (Unless it’s very, very time-sensitive?). Talk to the chair!

    1. Garblesnark*

      Yeah – the ONLY time this works is if it’s like “Hey – I emailed you the document that I need you to print and sign in the next 30 minutes to prevent the [building from burning/audit from failing/coup]” type of thing.

    2. I'm just here for the cats!*

      HA I took “talk to the chair” like the old “Talk to the hand” thing from the 2000’s

    3. Blame it on the Weatherman*

      It’s always so weird when people text or mention that they sent you an email… That’s what the email is for! You’ll see it when you look at your email! Lol

  14. nodramalama*

    LW2 i agree with Alison this is a “at your own risk” situation. Especially considering it wasn’t work that was required by the organisation. Nobody told you to bring in artwork or have it hung, and it wasn’t office furniture.

  15. All Outrage, All The Time*

    OP4 – I have had several long term job searches in my career. Sometimes it’s taken me over a year and over 20 interviews to get a job. Recruiters deal with hundreds of applicants. I think it’s a bit precious to be put out that a recruiter didn’t get back to you. All you can do is contact them by phone to ask for an update if they don’t respond to emails. If you hear nothing back, that’s your answer. Let it go. Be positive and happy to speak with her again about this new opportunity. There is nothing to be achieved by providing “feedback”, seriously. Recruiters and employers want people who are upbeat and roll with the punches. I consider being mildly cheerful rather than a Debbie Downer when things go wrong part of my job description as well as good for my mental health. It demonstrates resilience and it’s part of being considered a team player and a good employee.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I wouldn’t be at all put out by a recruiter not getting back to me if all I’ve done is send in an application, but at the point where you’ve interviewed someone twice and asked them to schedule a third interview, simply dropping out of contact is pretty bad!

      It’s possible that there IS a good explanation, like the recruiter you were talking to went on sick leave suddenly and your candidacy got lost in the scramble to cover her work. But asking people to schedule an interview and then not closing the loop even if you decide to go forward with another candidate should never be normal SOP.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I think it may be that you don’t want to reply to the candidate for as long as you don’t know what to say, because you’re waiting for your manager to take a decision, or waiting for your first-choice candidate to either accept or refuse. Then once the first-choice is actually hired you’re fully focussed on onboarding them, and everyone else gets forgotten.
        Honestly, if I were to see that someone I’d applied to was getting back to me, I’d be so excited. To then read that actually they’re moving ahead with someone else would be a terrible let-down.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I’d feel like that if I had just sent in an application! But not after multiple interviews. I’d definitely want to raise it and find out whether this was their normal way of doing business or something unusual had happened last time. Way to stressful to wonder whether every email was going to be the one where they just stop responding.

        2. Samwise*

          Eh, there are plenty of ways to respond when you need to delay the interview. For example:

          I apologize for this, but we are not able to get your interview scheduled yet. I will be back in touch to update you.


          I apologize for this, but we have some delays in the search process and we are not able to get your interview scheduled yet. I will be back in touch to update you.

          And then follow up in a week or two.

          Especially since this is a THIRD interview.

          Srsly. Make a template. Personalize with applicants name. If you have to send a lot of these, use a mail merge.

          When the economy sucks and people are desperate, you can afford to be rude (tho you shouldn’t be!). If you need applicants more than they need you, you’d best be polite.

      2. GhostingHappens*

        This has been pretty normal – not universal, but not at all unusual – for at least two decades. Many, many companies only respond if/when you move to the next step, no matter how far along you are in the process.

        I once got ghosted by a company after 6 interviews, the last of which was a final “last two candidates left, we’re making a decision now” interview. I tried following up a few times then stopped. I did wind up finding out later that they had a hiring freeze put on and then later moved someone internal into the position so they weren’t laid off.

        Ghosting is a standard part of the hiring process and has been for most of my 30 years of working life. It shouldn’t be that way but it absolutely is.

    2. allathian*

      Nah, it really depends on how much you want the job or if you want it at all. It’s very liberating to be able to say to a recruiter: “Thanks but no thanks, I have no interest in working with you because you ghosted me the last time.” Granted, that can come and bite you later if your circumstances change and you need a new job again, as the recruiter can decide to blacklist you for pushing back.

      Employers and recruiters who ghost do so because most people think like you do, or are desperate enough for a new job that they’re willing to be treated like crap just for a chance to get one. In this case, the LW had already done two interviews. When I’ve been hired for any job, I’ve never had more than two interviews, and usually it’s been just one, although most of them have been with a panel of interviewers, including potential future teammates. I’m a senior IC and last interviewed as a junior IC, if it matters, but at my employer, even frontline managers are usually hired after one or two interviews.

    3. Also-ADHD*

      In general, I agree, but not if they’ve requested an interview they never actually schedule or cancel. That’s bizarre and rude, though it could be a technical issue or maybe an issue where the contact left etc. There could be an explanation that softens it, but that’s reasonable to be upset about. Someone just not calling you for a job is one thing, but this is another.

    4. Lilie*

      I don’t think it’s precious to, after two interviews and communication about scheduling a third interview, be put out that they were never heard from again. that’s a significant time investment. it’s just a poor business practice to treat candidates this way – you never know who your next customer might be.

    5. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yes exactly! I’ve had hundreds of applications for a position and not had the time to ever contact everyone.
      At all stages of an application, you need to just put it out of your mind once the ball is in their court. Then if they do get back to you, it’s a pleasant surprise.

      1. Claire*

        But they did get back to her, and requested a third interview, and ten never followed through on scheduling it. That is extremely strange behavior! We should not normalize this.

    6. Turquoisecow*

      The thing that strikes me is that the last contact was 18 months ago, so it’s entirely likely a completely different recruiter (or hiring manager) is working now and has no knowledge of the previous ghosting. It’s common to think of The Company as an individual acting the same way and with the same logical goals every time but it’s not, it’s a collective of individuals who do different things, and a year and a half is long enough that there may be completely different individuals in those roles now.

      I think the OP should take their previous experience into consideration this time when expecting responses, but I don’t think it’s necessary to completely decline to interview.

      1. amoeba*

        LW even mentions that it’s a new director, which would probably make me give them a chance – they had nothing to do with what went down if they weren’t even at the company! The recruiter probably sucks, but you wouldn’t be working with them, right?

    7. Elbe*

      Recruiters and employers want people who are upbeat and roll with the punches.

      A lot of employers would love workers who put up with all kinds of bad treatment. As others have been saying, ghosting after multiple interviews is pretty bad. It could be one-time issue, but it’s more likely just a lack of respect and courtesy for the people who are interviewing.

      I really think that the pressure should be on people to behave respectfully, not on people to accept disrespect.

    8. Andrew*

      I strongly disagree with this take. Candidates expecting professional communication — including not ghosting people when you at the third-interview (!) round — should be the norm. Asking candidates to be Pollyanna-ish and “positive and happy” to speak with a company that ignores basic professional communication courtesy is frankly ridiculous to me.

      It’s one thing for a company to not respond individually (or even by form email) to applicants in the initial stage — I agree it’s not feasible there, especially given the volume of applications these days.

      However, at the stage when **the company** is asking to schedule a third-round (!!) interview and then ghosting, this is unacceptable. We shouldn’t be normalizing this or pretending that this is all professional or courteous.

      Of course, whether the applicant chooses to ignore that is a different question, and I wouldn’t blame them either way depending on what they want to do. But I just fundamentally disagree that expecting the basic modicum of communication (no one is expecting a handwritten letter, even a form email would be fine) is being “precious.”

    9. Florence Reese*

      If you want to go along to get along, more power to you. I am curious why you don’t take that stance about scolding and insulting strangers when they pretty explicitly don’t share that desire, though. Other folks here have shared your feelings without calling OP “precious” or implying they’re a “Debbie Downer” or bragging about how they, too, have suffered. OP didn’t ask if they should still apply for this job and get over it — they framed their two choices as “tell the company I was put off by them previously to see if they fix it” OR “move on” because they’re already in a position they’re happy with.

      Recruiters and employers want people who are upbeat and roll with the punches, and *so do employees*. If you can’t roll with the “punch” of being called out for bad behavior, are you really worth working with? Does that calculation really change that much, in your view, based on whether you’re the employer or employee? The idea that employees must be deferential and tolerate mistreatment is preeeeeetty outdated.

    10. Hrodvitnir*

      How on earth is it so common for people to read “I had had two interviews and they reached out for a third before ghosting” but start responding as though the LW had just sent an application or maybe had a phone screening.

      At the third interview stage it would be odd to have more than a handful of candidates, and of course it’s rude to not follow up.

      I’m sorry you don’t feel entitled to any self-respect lest your work persona be judged harshly.

  16. The Other Sage*

    LW1: colourfull haur. I know a few people with colourfull hair who could find a new job (one of them trice). On my previous company, one of the CEOs has very obvious pink hair and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  17. bamcheeks*

    I have interviewed a few times with red or blue hair, and it’s never been an issue. I do make sure it’s in decent condition— not faded, not obviously grown out (fortunately that’s not a problem with the way I have mine dyed), more styles than usually— and I’ll not take any other liberties with presenting professionally. If you’re in a more corporate sector, I would take the rest of your grooming up a few notches in the direction of bland corporate— straighten hair, natural manicure, good basic make-up, jacket and blouse rather than cardigan or whatever, plain well-polished shoes— and then just don’t think about it.

    1. bamcheeks*

      * more styled than usual, not more styles— wearing multiple hairstyles at once was very much the thing in northern gay bars c. 2003 but is probably not the most corporate way to go in 2024.

    2. Edi-Pita*

      The general principle is fine but the specifics seem to be from the 1950s.

      A suggestion that straight hair is more professional than curly is a racial bias. A person should not have to comply with White beauty standards to be employable.

      A requirement that women (but not men) decorate their faces as a professional necessity is sexism. Also highly variable by culture/location whether it gives a good impression or not. (Although for that matter I didn’t see where the OP mentioned their gender?)

      Just for the trifecta, it is not necessary for a professional female-presenting appearance to wear a top with buttons up the front and a collar if that is not compatible with disability, or any other bodily characteristic. There are plenty of stretch styles that look smart and elegant.

      1. bamcheeks*

        That’s completely fair— I was talking about the things that I would do as a cis white woman if I wanted to present in a more corporate style than I usually do. It was intended to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, but I can see it didn’t read that way.

  18. Irish Teacher.*

    LW1, it sounds like you will be likely to be in a position where you will be able to screen for good fits, in which case I would say it makes sense to have your hair as it normally is and screen out employers who would have a problem with that.

    If you are just considering moving on, then most likely you will be looking for a job that is a better fit than your current one, so you can afford to take some (slight) risks.

    If you were unemployed and needed a job urgently, then that might change the risk/reward balance or if you were in a really toxic environment and to get out quickly, but if it is just a case of “time for a new challenge” or “I’d like a shorter commute” or “promotion opportunities are limited in my firm so I’d like to go somewhere with more opportunity for advancement,” then I think you have a certain amount of freedom to screen out poor fits.

  19. Nebula*

    LW1, I think the fact that you are already in a more formal corporate environment will probably help here. If you were coming from, let’s say, the non-profit sector and trying to break into a more conservative industry, I think the hair would be more likely to count against you in that interviewers might think you don’t understand industry norms. However, since you’re already in that kind of workplace, interviewers might be more likely to accept it.

    Regarding feeling fraudulent if you do choose to dye it a natural colour before interviewing – I wouldn’t see it that way. I think it’s more along the lines of not revealing information that might cause interviewers to discriminate against you until you get an offer, if at all possible, which is just common sense. For example, with my current job, I didn’t disclose my pronouns (they/them) in the application or interview process, only in my email accepting the conditional offer. I don’t consider that fraudulent, and though it’s less serious, I wouldn’t consider the hair thing fradulent either. You could think of it as helping interviewers see you as you are rather than being clouded by assumptions they might make based on what they think of people with brightly-coloured hair.

    Either way, it’s not as simple as this being a no-go or not – I hope when you do decide to move on, it all works out for you!

  20. WS*

    I recently had an employee come to me, very anxious, to tell me something about her younger sister who was applying to an entry-level job with us. I was concerned, but it turned out that…her sister had dyed her hair blue on the weekend. I said that was completely fine, had she seen the boss’s hair recently? (currently neon green streaks), and she was very relieved!

  21. askalice*

    LW3 – I had a boss who did this, after 9pm weeknights, first thing Sunday. I would only ever reply the next business day after 9am, cause I cannot deal with it.
    Eventually I used a Do Not Disturb setting from 5pm to 8am weekdays and off on weekends, so that I only received notifications in the morning.

    The only exception to this is if I am managing an event that means that things are moving so fast that timely after hours responses are required.

  22. Also-ADHD*

    I think people tend to overuse “ghosted” or get too fussy about places not calling them/contacting them when they only apply, but if you’ve done two interviews and they actively request a third and then never schedule it or get back to you, I would think you could mention it at least.

    I’d probably say something like, “I’m interested in the position, but curious what happened back in [date period] when I was interviewing before, because I was requested to set up a third interview that never happened because no one would get back to me after several communications. Were there any internal changes since then, or something going on then that has been resolved? I’d like to work together and move forward, but I want to make sure things have changed.”

    Of course that might offend some people. They might even ghost again! But I’d want to ask about it. It’s weird to reach out again like this.

    1. Coffee Protein Drink*

      I’m confused by what you wrote. Do you think it’s unreasonable for a company to not reply to an applicant saying they aren’t being considered?

      I don’t think expecting that is being “too fussy,” but maybe I misunderstood you.

      1. Also-ADHD*

        Some people will say they’re “ghosted” by places that don’t respond to their application with a formal rejection at all, or that don’t follow up after an initial screening call where they’re told people moving on to the next phase will be called. I think in those cases, no one was ghosted if they don’t hear more—they just weren’t selected.

        1. Coffee Protein Drink*

          A job ad or someone clearly stating, “only applicants/candidates we are pursuing will be contacted,” is one thing. That’s not ghosting. Not bothering to send a rejection for an application though, that’s something else entirely. What else would you call the action if not ghosting?

      2. fhqwhgads*

        They’re saying, people, in general, often overuse “ghosted” for anytime someone didn’t get back to them, but that OP’s scenario is an actual example of ghosting given the employer requested the third interview and then disappeared.

  23. Roeslein*

    To OP#3 – do you mean actual texts, as in on Whatsapp to your private phone, or just teams messages (or similar) to your work account? The first is clearly inappropriate, but the second is fine in my book. It’s your responsibility to turn off notifications after hours and/or put away your work phone while you are not working. At the weekend my work phone is put away and I rarely check it. I occasionally have to work on Sundays (not that I want to, but we are understaffed) and sometimes that may include sending teams messages. I obviously don’t expect anyone to reply at the weekend, I just need to clear my plate before the new week starts and there is no way to delay delivery of messages on teams.

  24. Loose Socks*

    LW1, you could go for a happy medium and do a relatively natural hair color with a pop of bright colors as highlights or a peek-a-boo layer. Calm enough to look professional, yet colorful enough to see what the response would be, as they would definitely bring up dress code requirements early on if it would be an issue. If you went in with a full head of brightly colored hair, they may automatically write you off due to unconscious bias, and even though that definitely isn’t fair or desirable, doesn’t necessarily indicate that the company overall would care. You said yourself that you aren’t sure that you’re current job would have gotten you as you look now, and you seem very content at your job.

  25. Spicy Tuna*

    I work in a conservative industry. People sometimes would interview, get hired, and then show up to work with a lip piercing or non standard hair color. They were always told by HR to make themselves look like they did when they interviewed

    1. Lady Danbury*

      This doesn’t sound like a great approach, as I’m sure that other people change their hair (color style, etc) in “standard” ways and don’t get told to make themselves look like they did when they interviewed (bc change is normal). A much better approach would be to have a dress code that specifically says what is/isn’t allowed in terms of hair color, piercings, tattoos, etc, that applies to everyone.

      1. K8T*

        The problem isn’t going from one “normal” standard (ex: brunette) to another standard (blonde), but actively hiding how you present yourself and immediately dialing it back up for Day 1. It would make much more sense to work in your style a bit at a time and gauge the reactions as it goes.

        I can guarantee you they also have a handbook which details dress code if they say that to people. If having a more “quirky” style is very important, then it makes more sense to interview as-is.

      2. Spicy Tuna*

        Yes, there was an employee handbook that detailed things like no facial piercings, etc, etc. So if the person had shown up to the interview dressed or appearing in a way that violated the dress code, I’m not sure they wouldn’t get hired, but office dress code would definitely have been brought up at that time instead of after they started.

    2. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

      I was hired by a company after one interview, where I happened to wear a black and white outfit. I wore that outfit on my first day of work. It was just as well, because that’s when I found out that we were supposed to wear black or white or navy blue or gray. No other colors, because “we were there to work, not play golf.” If I had shown up on my first day wearing another color, I would have been told to make myself look like I did when I interviewed. I don’t know if I would have been hired if I had shown up to the interview wearing another color. I do know that a co-worker once came to work wearing a beige skirt. When she saw me looking at her, she said that the owner wouldn’t be in that day. I didn’t know that. But then the owner showed up and said to the co-worker, “I told you not to wear that skirt!” Because it was beige. No, there was no written dress code.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        This sounds like something out of a dystopian novel. They literally banned color? Because beige, of all things, is too fun? Did they also ban jokes and tasty food?

        1. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

          I did wear color a few times, but only when I was absolutely certain that the owner wouldn’t be in that day (such as when she was in Europe, and I had called her the previous day and therefore was positive that she was in Europe). But I never had the guts to wear something red.

          No, she did not ban jokes. The company consisted of five people, including the owner and me. Only one co-worker was a guy. When we found out that a new tenant in the building was a cosmetics company, the guy was the only one of us who had heard of that company. The owner said that therefore he was “the only girl” at our company.

          As for food, tasty or otherwise, we never had food there. Not even coffee. If people wanted coffee, they had to bring it in.

  26. Grumpy Lawyer*

    LW 2 – I’m sorry that happened to your bookshelf and agree with Alison’s approach of asking maintenance for repair suggestions rather than recompense. If you haven’t already, you might want to try a product like Old English scratch cover / wood oil. I’ve used it to successfully refresh lightly scratched vintage pieces.

  27. DJ Abbott*

    After reading number two, the headline for number three made me think the chair LW sits in is sending texts at night. :D That’s a new tech development…
    Ahh, Monday mornings.

  28. Janie*

    Re: Hair color. It’s going to depend not only of the company/industry/culture, but also the hiring manager. I would have no issue with it, at all (nor with tattoos, piercings, etc) but I know other managers in my org that would.
    A few things that might help:
    1. Do you have a visible industry profile/reputation? For example, I know several people in conservative industries who definitely buck the culture (hair color, tattoos, etc) but who are kind of rock stars in terms of their expertise/reputation and their look has become almost their brand. In my own case, my expertise in my industry is well known enough that I can get away with personal appearance choices that would not have worked in my earlier days.
    2. Can you take a look at photos on Linked In, from events, etc. and see if you a find examples of other employees with cool/creative personal styles? That would suggest an openness to the idea.
    3. Of you go with interviewing with colorful hair, esp in a conservative industry, your clothes will also signal your professionalism (personally, I love to see a great bright hair paired with a sharp professional look!)

  29. Rosacolleti*

    #1 I think it depends on how well your hair has been dyed. Badly done hair styles look unprofessional so with unconventional colours – even worse. But if it’s well done, most interviews should be fine with it – and they’re unlikely to forget you!

    #2 surely it was up to you to ascertain who’s insurance was covering your belongings. Unless they agreed to the liability I’m not sure how they could be liable for any damage

    1. morethantired*

      I have brightly colored hair and I agree that having it look well-done, neat and polished is key to pulling it off in professional settings. I work remotely but I also make sure that when meeting with clients, even just over Zoom, that I am dressed smartly in business-casual. Those two things just help make sure everyone is going to take me seriously even if they, personally, don’t care for funky hair colors.

  30. Kerry*

    LW5, I was ghosted in a similar fashion, by an organization I LOVED. I moved on, but months later, they fired the person they went with and gave me an offer. I eagerly accepted, and began the worst 4 years of my professional career. Looking back, the ghosting was Red Flag #3, because there had already been 2 during my all-day interview (extremely cold day, and when I called because the door was locked, they said they would come right out, but they came out 10 minutes later – 5 minutes after our scheduled start time. Then, I had brought a camping stool and I explained I just had surgery and needed to keep my leg elevated, but this did not keep them from an hour long walking tour, even after I asked for a rest break midway). Long way of saying, are there other red flags you’re ignoring? I so wish I could have those 4 years back!

  31. HonorBox*

    OP1 – If someone showed up for an interview with brightly colored hair, I wouldn’t think twice about it. It is part of who you are, and I’d be far more interested in getting to know you from the outset than if you went back to your natural color and then showed up six weeks into your employment with the bright hair.

  32. Falling Diphthong*

    Re 3, is sending a text to alert people that you sent them an email a thing now in some fields?

    On the one hand, the boss isn’t asking for an immediate answer on things. On the other hand, you would realize there is an email because there would be an email, the next time you were checking your work email for work things. If I was eagerly awaiting the new lesson outline because I hoped to work on it Sunday, I would be checking my work email Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

    I wonder if it’s just a communication style–coming from somewhere that at least one essential-to-the-outcome person always checked their texts but not their emails–that’s getting mapped over to the wrong context?

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      I’ve seen that its a thing with middle schoolers who are learning to use the tools they have for school. They’ll either email their teacher and follow up with the “platform messenger app” installed on everyone’s school laptop, or vice versa.

  33. Falling Diphthong*

    Hair color: This is something that really has changed in the last few years. As more people do it, it becomes within the range of normal. Same for facial piercings and visible tattoos.

    Facial piercings, specifically, are a thing that triggered my needle phobia when rarely encountered but became bland background when they were no longer rare.

  34. anxiousGrad*

    Did anyone else see “New chair sends non-urgent texts in my off hours” immediately after reading the letter about furniture and think, “How is a chair sending texts?!”

  35. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    “New chair sends non-urgent texts in my off hours” coming straight after the one about the bookcase had me thinking “Wow in the US they have smart furniture that does your work for you now, how cool is that!”

  36. Margo*

    LW2 — there is no such thing as an easy repair on an antique finish. Passing your furniture off to people who aren’t experts to “repair” is likely to result in something that would truly ruin it. My advice as an amateur woodworker is to just get some furniture oil — mineral oil, or a mineral oil/beeswax blend — and rub that in. it should soften the look of the scratches and will be good for the wood.

  37. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    I think it may be that you don’t want to reply to the candidate for as long as you don’t know what to say, because you’re waiting for your manager to take a decision, or waiting for your first-choice candidate to either accept or refuse. Then once the first-choice is actually hired you’re fully focussed on onboarding them, and everyone else gets forgotten.
    Honestly, if I were to see that someone I’d applied to was getting back to me, I’d be so excited. To then read that actually they’re moving ahead with someone else would be a terrible let-down.

    1. Claire*

      She wasn’t waiting to hear back about an offer; she was waiting to hear back about scheduling an interview the company requested.

      1. Colette*

        It can be a similar thing. Candidate says they’re available Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The interviewer says “let me check my schedule”. Meanwhile, your day job gets busy and you forget to follow up until Friday morning. You follow up with the interviewer and ask for times next week, she is out of the office. You’re off Monday, and when you get back you find out there’s a hiring freeze. You make a case for why you need to hire anyway, and there are meetings about it. And suddenly it’s a month or two since the candidate gave you their availability, and you know you won’t be able to hire them.

        Yes, you should probably still follow up, but that kind of thing happens.

        1. Database Developer Dude*

          So if that happens, you TELL the candidate, you don’t leave them hanging. Please let’s not normalize bad behavior on the employers’ part because of workloads… bad behavior on job seekers or employees’ parts wouldn’t be excused….

          1. Colette*

            Ideally, yes. But things get dropped all the time. You can be outraged by it, but all it will accomplish is that you’ll be outraged. Your priority is not always the priority of those around you.

            1. Database Developer Dude*

              But the point of all this is whether to tell them or not in declining or accepting their 18 month later reach-out. OP should tell them “Hey, you ghosted me 18 months ago after I put in a lot of effort for you, so I’m not interested in moving forward”.

              And just because priorities aren’t matching isn’t a reason to excuse bad behavior on the part of employers. If someone wants to carjack me, and I don’t want to be robbed, my priority is obviously not their priority either.

  38. Sassy SAAS*

    LW1- I’ve had blue/green/purple hair for over 10yrs now. I started in theater/events where colorful hair doesn’t matter, but transitioned to a semi-adjacent corporate role. I interviewed with lime green/silver hair, and even then, there was still a discussion about how “wild” my hair colors would be. There is definitely something to be said for interviewing with colorful hair so that you can be sure that a company won’t change their tune on you, but there will also be lost opportunities. Hair color is less important now, but there are still offices/industries/managers who don’t accept it. Better to find the places that understand that hair dye doesn’t impact job performance. Good luck on the job hunt!

  39. Michelle Smith*

    LW5: I’d move on. I don’t think there’s any harm in saying thanks, but no thanks and why, but I seriously doubt it will change anything. It certainly won’t change anything for you – you don’t need to put yourself through that again.

    One of the worst places I ever interviewed with ghosted me. The interviewer did not show up for the Zoom call and I reached out multiple times to get a response and a rescheduled date on the books. What happened on the rescheduled date? She didn’t show up. Again. When she eventually reached out as if nothing had happened, I just ignored the message. I knew I didn’t want to work somewhere that disorganized. If it bothered me that bad at the interview stage, there was no shot I’d want to work for her (the person who reached out was the hiring manager, no recruiters were involved in the process).

    1. Definitely Not Hannah*

      I am actively being ghosted right now by a company who I had five interviews with and all but a written offer from so this letter feels personal. LW5, it sucks and I completely sympathize. I’m with Michelle – I just wouldn’t reply and let them deal with the consequences of their actions. Turnabout is fair play.

  40. Michelle Smith*

    LW1: Do you have a public facing profile? Like a personal website, LinkedIn page, or some other promotional materials like that where it would be normal to include a photo of yourself? I find that representing myself as I am online gives folks a way to prescreen me out if I don’t match the aesthetics they consider professional. Yes, it opens me up to more discrimination, but it also saves me time and energy dealing with folks who wouldn’t hire me once they know what I look like anyway.

  41. Somewhere in Texas*

    LW #5- Something similar happened to my husband. He was actually rejected for a job that they came back to him a few months later and restarted the whole process. Behind the scenes there were leadership changes, so they had to do all the first-round interviews again. When I see ghosting stories, and especially since you noted a new director, that could be a factor.

    I’m guessing there is a no “We have a lot of drama going on internally so we can’t hire right now” options for emails in the hiring system. :D

  42. Nancy*

    LW2: no, I would not ask maintenance staff how to repair antique furniture of sentimental value. Go to someone with expertise, and leave important items at home, where you can have more control of what is being done to them.

  43. Localflighteast*

    LW1 I have had brightly dyed hair for over 8 years now, the colours change depending on the whim of my stylist
    I made a conscious decision when interviewing for my current position to interview with my hair exactly as I normally wear it
    At the time it was blue ? the moment it’s pink purple and orange

    I decided that I had options and didn’t want to work at a company that had an issue with it.

    As Alison always says …interviews are a 2 way process. If dyed hair is the normal you…then the company needs to be comfortable with the normal you.
    I guarantee if you alter yourself to suit the company …you won’t be happy

  44. RagingADHD*

    LW – Another situation that may arise is that an interviewer may be perfectly happy to move you forward in the process, but inform you that their dress code precludes non-human hair colors, and ask whether that would be a problem for you. So you should probably think about whether keeping the color is an absolute dealbreaker, or if there are benefits, pay, or other job circumstances that would be worth it to change. For some folks, that’s an unequivocal no. For others, it’s a maybe.

  45. Bookworm*

    #5: It’s up to you, but I’m not sure I’d consider a place again if they ghosted me at all, as I consider it a sign of what kind of organization they are. Of course you may feel differently, but I’d personally bring it up just to see how they handle it. Good luck in however you decide!

  46. I'm just here for the cats!*

    Wow #4 is interesting and I wish I knew more about ADA laws about 6 years ago. Basically my mom was out for a month on medical orders, company required her to call in every day to say she was not coming in, even though they had the documents and agreed to the 1 month off. She was later written up and expected to make up those hours, essentially working 7am t0 11 pm for weeks straight with no break (which I’m pretty sure is illegal in our state.)
    #5 If you really like this company and wouldn’t mind working there I would certainly take Alison’s advice and do what she suggests. I had a similar experience, where I had spoken to someone at the company and was scheduled for my phone interview. I waited as long as I could until I had to go to work. They just ghosted me that day. I emailed and never got anything back. About a year or so later I applied for a different position and had no problems with any communication, and got hired. What I’d take from it is it may have been a fluke maybe the recruiter was out and the boss was busy with other stuff. Being that there is a new director there may have been some things going on with that old director.

  47. Caramel & Cheddar*

    Re: Ghosting: I actually do think this warrants saying something because I’m not sure this is actually ghosting. Ghosting usually means never getting back to the person when *they* follow up, i.e. if they had offered you another interview and *you* chose to ignore them. But they’re the ones who reached out to you and then straight up ignored you! That’s a whole other level, and one I’d mention in some way that allows for plausible deniability (e.g. gives them room to say something like “We discovered four months later our spam filters went haywire!”) if you’re still interested in working there.

    Re: department chair texting at all hours: while this is super annoying, I think the bigger issue is that this person doesn’t know how to communicate. If you emailed me something, don’t text me to tell me you emailed me something. (Or don’t message me on Teams or Slack and don’t call me.) Email is asynchronous and not time sensitive. If what you’re sending me is urgent, fine, but it doesn’t sound like any of this is. Getting these texts even during appropriate work hours would be super annoying.

  48. director of advertising*

    LW1: As someone who’s had bright blue/purple/green hair for every interview I’ve done in the last ten years, I think Alison’s usual advice to dress a step up from the expected day-to-day workwear can apply here too! I work in client-facing advertising roles, so I’m pretty visually focused, and I try to choose my hair color based on my interview outfit; if I can, I’ll add a simple, professional accessory (e.g. a pocket square) to complement my hair specifically.
    Basically, I’m trying to communicate that I’m aware of my visual presentation and that my whole look is a deliberate choice that I can adjust based on context. But as I said, my roles tend to involve a lot of client interaction, so that’s probably more important for me than it might be for back-of-house roles.

  49. Pizza Rat*

    Feeling some gratitude here. The last time my boss texted me was to tell me that my train was skipping my usual stop so I should make other arrangements.

  50. Coffee Protein Drink*

    At this point, I’m used to recruiters ghosting. There are many out there that are fake and just trying to grab your data to sell later. If they ghost me, they go in my spam filter and I forget about them.

    A company that was interviewing a candidate though? I think Allison’s question as to what happened is the least LW should do. Ghosting is unacceptable. Plus, since they have communicated by email first, it’s highly unlikely that spam filters can be blamed here. Someone should take responsibility for the poor communication.

  51. Marta*

    Ghosting sucks, but at this point it seems so normalized I don’t know that it’s worth holding a grudge over unless you’ve got plenty of options.

    Also, are we so sure our own companies aren’t ghosting people? I have no idea how the communication was with people who didn’t get hired when they hired me – yet I work there and haven’t given it a second thought.

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      Yes, but are you involved in hiring and firing at your workplace? If not, then I don’t see how that’s relevant.

      1. Marta*

        I’m not, but I was trying to say that ghosting during an interview doesn’t necessarily equate to a bad workplace.

        So if I was interested in working at this company otherwise I might still pursue it – esp since it’s been a year and a half later

        1. Database Developer Dude*

          This is ghosting after the OP has been asked to schedule a 3rd interview. This isn’t a 1st interview, someone saying “we’ll be in touch” and then never calling back. It’s a lot more serious, and OP’s invested a lot more time and effort into this.

          So yes, it’s clearly a red flag. Pursue at your own risk.

  52. Immortal for a limited time*

    #1 – let’s say you were called for an interview at a very conservative office on the merits of your application materials (as it should be). You show up, at which point they can see your hair color. Given that interviews are supposed to be ways for each party to ask questions about the other, why not ask in a nonthreatening way? If it were me and they seemed put off at the sight of my hair (or even if they didn’t), I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it up. “I’m sure you have noticed my hair is not my natural color. What is the general expectation in your office? If I were the successful candidate, would I be expected to change it back? I only ask because I always want to make sure I follow office norms.” Then if they told me it would be a problem if I were offered the position — or if they did offer me the position (thinking I’d change my hair) — then I’d know to turn down the job if I wasn’t comfortable with the expectation.

  53. learnedthehardway*

    OP#5 – recruiter here. Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face. Yes, it’s irritating and rude that the company didn’t get back to you. But it was probably the recruiter’s responsibility to do so, not the hiring manager’s.

    Also, things happen. I turned off 20 candidates the other day, but missed one person. Naturally, that was the person who emailed me to find out where things were at. Sometimes, emails go into spam or get filtered out – I’m not going to f/up to make sure someone knows they weren’t selected if I don’t get an acknowledgement that they received my email turning them off (that would be odd and kind of rubbing salt in the wound). If I’m doing a volume hire (or have a large number of candidates), I’m not going to phone – I simply don’t have the time, and my priority is to get the next role filled. The only time I call candidates is if they were a finalist for the position.

    If you’re interested in the company and the role, I would participate in the process.

    1. Florence Reese*

      “Naturally, that was the person who emailed me to find out where things were at.”

      Right, and naturally (since you’re sharing that as an outlier) you responded, correct? OP #5 followed up with their recruiter *and* the hiring manager and heard nothing back. I think that’s really the objectionable part here. We all understand that recruiters are busy and things slip through the cracks, but if you’re ignoring emails from someone who was, presumably, a finalist or close to it…that’s a very different situation than is being described by some of these comments.

  54. AthenaC*

    #1 – You mention you’re in accounting, which means there is a HUGE labor shortage and you will be at an extreme advantage if you interview / switch jobs here in the next handful of years / decade. We have hired so. many. people that we ordinarily wouldn’t have in a better market (some haven’t worked out but some have surprised us), so if you have a pulse and can speak halfway intelligently you should have no problems. (You do have a pulse, yes? I’m assuming so.)

    #3 – Not the point of the letter but reading the title I pictured a smart chair (like a literal office chair, a piece of furniture) with settings to send texts about various things.

  55. Rach*

    LW3: I had the same problem with a colleague. Texting at all hours for little things and reminders. I eventually told her that you have to email me or I will forget about it, since once I read the text it’s out of sight out or mind. That really helped!

  56. Marta*

    For #1 if you want to sort of test it out, if you use LinkedIn and you have a photo with your colorful hair, you could always apply to a few jobs on LI and see if you get replies

  57. Just Thinkin' Here*

    OP #2 – Anything brought into the office should essentially be considered donated to the company. Furniture, coats, jackets, office supplies, plants, photos, etc.

    We just went through COVID, where employees were locked out of their offices for up to 2 years. Employees get fired, layoffs, buildings burn down, etc. If it’s in the office, you have no guarantee of ever getting that item back. You can ask for it – but they could say “we didn’t know it was yours and we’re not moving it”.

    Get your bookcase back home ASAP. And YouTube furniture repair.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      Being a bookworm, I can’t imagine having a bookcase that I could bring into the office. All mine are overflowing, except the floor. (grin)

  58. Joelle*

    For OP #1 – I’m also someone who has “fashion color” hair and have basically forever (on-and-off for 25 years, but mostly on. I’m now in my early 40’s). There was a few years in my early 20’s where I dyed it back more natural colors, because I thought I had to for jobs, and I maybe did back then, but that only lasted a few years. I got hired by a temp agency once while having dark purple hair, and after I started on an assignment they sent me the employee handbook to sign that said I wouldn’t have such hair. I did not stay at that temp agency after the assignment for that plus other reasons (lack of clear communication).

    As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been a barrier to getting jobs, either when I was doing office admin work, or now as an accountant. My biggest suggestion for you is to trend darker in your shades when interviewing, as it’s more “polished” looking than the neons. But I interviewed with my current employer for an internship with blue hair and the sides shaved (I don’t remember exactly what shade, but bright enough that it was easily visible over zoom), and then got hired on permanently a few months after the internship ended. One of our admins has ever-changing hair colors, and it was purple during my internship, and now an orange-red with a “Rouge Streak” (white up front, like the X-Men character). Several of the execs love to use me as an example of “see, look at Jo, not all accountants are boring!” Are there firms that would not hire me over it? Probably. But I’m in a place where I can afford to be picky about where I work, so I lean into using it as a screening tool, especially as my hair is not the most “non-traditional” thing about me.

  59. Trout 'Waver*

    In regards to #5, I’d bring up the ghosting. But that’s because it is a great litmus test. Anyone decent to work for ought to at least know to act ashamed of being rude.

    Yeah it’s super common these days. But that doesn’t make it right. If someone blacklists you for pointing out there previous rudeness, they’re showing you exactly who they are. And they’re doing it at time when they’re supposed to be on their best behavior.

  60. sofar*

    LW 5 (ghosting): Companies often have so much turnover that the person who reached out this time was not the same person who ghosted you (and they might not even be aware of it). If I reached out to a candidate, for all I know, another disorganized team member/predecessor could have ghosted them in the past.

    In LW’s shoes, I’d say, “Yes, thank you so much for reaching out — I’d love to learn more about this position. Full disclosure: I made it to the final stage of interviews for [role] last year, but never heard back from [name] re: timing of that third interview, so I figured [company] had moved on with another candidate. I’m still very interested in working at [company] and would love to talk more, just wanted to disclose that in case you see me in your systems as a past applicant.”

    1. sofar*

      ETA: Just re-read the email, and saw it’s the same recruiter. Even so, the director who ghosted you is no longer at the company, the recruiter might not remember, and there could be a new director who’d be really happy to have you. I think starting off on a “hey just FYI!” note is better than starting off on a “I’m displeased” note.

  61. CoffeeCat*

    I tend to think that if you’re reasonably confident that you’re an appealing candidate with options, you should show up as who you are and see what happens.
    ^sadly not many in the 2024 applicant pool have “options” if you have any awareness of how hiring trends are hitting. That alone brings me down on the side of tone it down at the interview stage :/

    #2 ?!?! … they damaged something while performing work within their purview. The personal vs office ownership is irrelevant really. Sure its easy to sound off about keeping valuables safe after the fact, but a bookcase in an office is hardly fitting to place blame on the individual. Since the staff was accommodating to hang the artwork, I’d suggest (nicely!!) approaching a maintenance lead/manager, mentioning the damage, and see what they say. I disagree that incidental damage is the risk taken here and that absolves the staff’s disrespect for the workspace.

    #3 hide alerts on the number. Good backup independent of success at training her to change her behavior.

    #5 love the scripts here. I’d personally opt for something on the direct side of x y and z happened 18 months ago, then leave silence, and proceed based on whether you like what they have to say for themselves. And if nothing else, its a karmic win to remind people of their manners so collectively its no longer acceptable to ghost in recruiting like this.

  62. baseballfan*

    #1 – I recommend doing some research maybe on Glassdoor or some such as to the acceptability of those types of hair color in the particular workplace. I say this because I work for a Big 4 accounting firm and “unnatural” hair colors are not permitted for client-facing team members. One person on my team has purple hair but she is a software developer and does not see or have contact with clients.

    Generally speaking, a lot of the old norms around dress code have been relaxed; for example I know people with visible tattoos. However, I imagine they are usually covered up for client meetings.

  63. A Nonny Mouse*

    I work in government and my minister has bright purple hair. The person who announced the winner of the election for the new First Minister, on TV, was an older woman with a prominent shock of electric blue-purple at the front of her white hair. Another senior party leader has pink hair.

    Generally speaking, these things have moved on. Hair colour is the least of anyone’s concerns.

  64. Addison DeWitt*

    Re: the workmen damaging your stuff

    My wife’s building had to paint some walls. Apparently they spray-painted some of them, or sloshed it around and splattered. Anyway, she comes in the next day to find a nice pair of navy blue shoes speckled with white paint. You’re damn right they paid to have them fixed at a fancy downtown shoe place.

    1. Insert Clever Name Here*

      The difference in that case likely being that the shoes were damaged by negligence on the part of the painting crew.

  65. tina turner*

    When running estate sales I used Olde English on a very beat up piece & it sold. It evens out the color.
    Or use a walnut or some other dark nut, cut of course. The nut has oils that help.

  66. Workerbee*

    #1 I just wanted to say, if you do choose to change your hair back for the interview process, please don’t feel like a fraud! Sometimes we have to work with the odds we’re given, and postpone/hide what we wish we didn’t have to, until we’re inside those odds. Infiltrating from within, as it were, is much easier than trying to break in.

    My own experience with hair is with the not-shaving kind on other visible areas of my body. Would I interview in a dress that showed my hairy legs? No, because in my personal circumstances, if I’m out there interviewing, that means I’m in dire need of a job.

    And I can’t focus my energies on that highly intensive, stressful process while at the same time knowing I’ll be combating people’s dislike of realizing that women are mammals while not remembering my brain is Up In Here while my legs are Down There and only one of these things is doing the work I’m interviewing for.

    And, sure, you want to be in a place that accepts all of you, but sometimes those places are scarce while the bills aren’t.

    All this to say, do what you need to do to get where you need to go, and there is no shame in that.

  67. Accounting Gal*

    I’m an accountant and have number of large-ish visible tattoos and a septum piercing that I would occasionally wear down in past jobs. Alison is spot on that LW1 needs to make this decision based on how attractive they are as a candidate otherwise, but I would argue also based on their financial situation (can they afford for their job search to take 1-2 years?) AND based on how choosy they are going to be about other aspects. The finance and accounting job market is substantially different than it was just a couple years ago and searches can take longer than expected, even for “high quality candidates,” i.e. with their CPA, MBA, excellent track record, etc. I mention that to say that one of my main criteria was at minimum a hybrid (if not remote) work schedule. I would much rather have a job where I WFH 2-4 days a week and have to appear aesthetically more conservative than one that doesn’t care about my piercings and tattoos but is fully in office and pays $15k less a year. Just something else to consider!

  68. I'm so old I'm historic*

    I have brightly colored hair that changes often. Years ago I lost my hair in chemo treatments and when it was done I decided that life is too short for me to worry about fitting into norms. I’m going to do what makes me feel attractive and confident. If an employer is not okay with that, I don’t want to work for them.

  69. FishOutofWater*

    For LW1 I think it’s going to depend a lot on whether you’re male or female presenting. It’s not fair, but this is an area where women have a lot more freedom than men. Women also have more options for sleek, professional hair styles (buns, french braids, french twist) that both deemphasize the color while also providing an extra dose of “I know professional norms.” Mens’ hair styles don’t offer this as much, because hair long enough for these styles is itself a step away from conservative, so it’s a double whammy. That doesn’t mean you need to do something different, but it a dynamic to be aware of.

    If you’re female, I’d keep the color and just make sure it’s long enough for some sort of professional bun, braid, or other updo. If you’re male I’d probably think harder about keeping the color, and if you do I would make sure you have a very conservative, professional haircut.

  70. Fez Knots*

    I interviewed for several years with lilac or “grey” hair (back when that was very popular!) Not as exotic as bright pink or blue, but certainly not a natural color. I am a cis-woman and at the time my hair was shoulder length. I would slick it back and put it in a low bun so the focus was on my face and I never had any issues.

    I was in more informal work environments but still had to attend community-wide events and meetings and was able to do so with my hair down, once I was hired.

    I found that putting my hair back in interviews made the color less noticeable and proved that in more formal settings, I could manage my personal appearance to meet an employer’s needs. I will say, no matter how much I am for free expression (I’ve had wacky hair and I have tattoos!) as a woman, having the immediate focus be on my appearance, where people meet me and maybe compliment my hair or tattoos, etc. isn’t to my liking. I’ve learned to be more subtle not because I want to “tone myself down” but because comments on folk’s appearance seems to be a go-to in lots of environments, even when it’s meant well, and not something I want to lead with.

  71. Raida*

    1. Interviewing with blue or pink hair

    This was my mate’s approach a few years ago when she was interviewing for roles, she’d usually have brightly coloured hair: She got a small portion of her hair coloured brown again, on top. Styled it so that it was very obviously mostly orange (like all underneath and half the head) but also had this brunette section of the hairstyle that certainly didn’t drape over the entire style. It was like… the long swoop of her fringe was brunette and so was a couple inches wide on the side it was styled to.

    A balance between coloured and not coloured, and did give her hairstyle a bit more to play with, having the contrasting colours so she kept it until she changed colours again :]

  72. judyjudyjudy*

    LW2, I think you are right to let it go. Complaining about this scenario isn’t going to create a positive working relationship with the maintenance team, and probably won’t be worth it in the end.

  73. Xie*

    To the person concerned about interviewing with colorful hair.
    I’m in my late 30s, with bright pink hair. It’s been some shade of pink since 2006. In retail jobs, I’ve experienced a flat out refusal, bargaining(I could keep it until someone complained), and total acceptance. Obviously I didn’t get the first job, I stayed at the second job for nearly 5 years (and even though I did get a few complaints near the end of my time there, my manager(the one who had initially made the bargain with me) defended me and refused to make me dye my hair. I had proven to be an invaluable asset to the team, and he no longer cared that my hair was neon pink.
    When I moved to the professional world, I had similar experiences. An accounting firm flat out refused to hire me with pink hair. A hospital suggested a natural color on top and the pink underneath as an alternative to all-over pink(administrative non-client-facing position). I obviously didn’t get the first position, I politely declined the second on the basis of not being willing to change myself for the job, and ended up where I am now. I’m a public relations manager for a mental health agency. I’m one of the consistent faces of our agency at any public events. With facial piercings, visible tattoos and neon pink hair. I was hired about 15 minutes after I competed my interview.
    I say all this to illustrate my point – you will find yeses and you will find nos. Do not change yourself for a paycheck. (There is a lot of nuance to this, I know some people have to take any job offered to them, and I wholly understand that, but it does not seem like that is OPs case.) If you can be choosy, BE CHOOSY. Find a place where your skills are what you are merited on, not what is on your head. When you find those people, you will have a better chance of remaining happy with your job long term.

  74. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

    OP 5 – Honestly, it’s so incredibly common to hear nothing at all after an unsuccessful interview or application that I think it would make you come across as huffy and out of touch. I get it, it sucks and it’s rude, but I can only think of a handful of potential employers in the last 20 years that ever followed up after an unsuccessful interview.

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