1. Good morning, friends,
    I have two questions today:
    1) I’ve been invited to a morning wedding in Arkansas. I am super excited, since I understand this means I can wear a hat! I have chosen a fascinator-type in ivory and black. While it is nothing close to Kentucky Derby style in terms of size, color and plumage, it is larger than a pill box. Do you have opinions on the appropriate sizes/shapes for ladies’ hats at weddings?

    2) My secretary applied for another job here at the university, and gave two weeks notice. This is happening right before school starts, which is inconvenient. I recently learned that the person who hired her chose her over another qualified candidate because she “looks more professional, and is likely to be around for a while.” I’m not sorry to see Secretary leave due to her unprofessional habits – talking on cell-phone while at her desk, giving out inaccurate info despite correction, and not knowing how to use Microsoft Word, etc.; however, I also know she’s had three jobs within two years. The other person who didn’t get the job isn’t a friend of mine, but is probably a better fit as she is more stable. No one called my office for a reference (surprise surprise), or I would have said something at that time.
    Should I say anything as one professional to another, or keep my mouth shut?

    • Jody

      Just Laura, your hat sounds lovely.

      As for your second question, I’d keep silent about your (soon-to-be-former) secretary unless asked. Bringing up unsolicited opinions in this case might raise more problems than it’s worth. You never know, your secretary might mend her ways in the new position. If you’re looking for a replacement, have you thought of contacting the unsuccessful candidate for that other position to see if she’s interested?

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Jody. There could be legal issues if you give a negative review unsolicited. I have heard of legal issues for negative reviews even solicited. Just be glad she’s gone and out of your hair. If the person who hired her didn’t take notice of the fact that she had three jobs in two years, and other red flags…well, hirer beware.

      I’m curious what “looks more professional” means. Was the other applicant overweight or non-white? That screams discrimination to me, whatever the case. The person who hired her doesn’t sounds like a great person, so I would chalk this one up to “gets what s/he deserves.”

      I know absolutely nothing about hats, but it sounds great!

      • Jody, thank you for the vote of confidence regarding the hat.
        I am friends with the significant other of the unsuccessful person, so I know her, but am not overly fond of her. I’d rather she not apply. Still, I recognize her positive traits in a professional setting, which outweigh those of current Secretary.

        Elizabeth, I’ll keep my mouth shut. No, all candidates are Caucasian and similar in weight, but I too was surprised that the unsuccessful candidate was given that feedback. My secretary is an older woman with no degree, and the unsuccessful person is younger with an undergraduate degree.

  2. Ness

    I have worked in clerical/secretarial roles for many years and seen people come and go and have been involved in employer’s discussions regarding applicants. Sometimes an more “mature” person is viewed as “more stable, less flighty” (this is SO not always the case – as indicated by your description of this woman….) and sometimes “looks more professional” is code for “better groomed”. Not better looking, just better groomed. I suggest keeping quiet and just be glad you have the opportunity to find a better “fit” for you. The hat sounds lovely – so wonderful to be given the opportunity to wear one!

    • Thank you very much for speaking from experience. I’m uncertain how each candidate dressed – perhaps you are correct.
      I too am excited for this millinery opportunity. People don’t wear hats much anymore, and I’m honestly uncertain why. I love them. :)

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