THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Hate mail: The questions I really don't want

People always ask me to answer questions. So I am sort of going to answer questions. Questions I hate

Question number one: The obnoxious reference check

[Name redacted] is applying for a position at our company and listed you as a reference. I was hoping that you could complete the brief questionnaire attached to this email to provide your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

This email is from Let me tell you something: That questionnaire was not brief. It was about 10 essay questions and then insanely inapplicable multiple choice questions.

This company is ridiculous for sending an onerous questionnaire to references. For one thing, it puts me in a bad spot because I loved working with the guy who gave my name as a reference, so I want to give him a good report, so I have no choice but to fill out the BS questions and try to have a good attitude.

The other reason the company should not send a form like this is they look incompetent. Not just for destroying the relationships potential new hires have with their references, but also for not being able to make hiring decisions without asking a third-party if the candidate is professional. Seriously. Open your eyes in the interview, guys.

Question number two: Salary gap whiners

This is for every single person in the whole world who bitches to me that there is a gender gap in the salary department. All of you.

I've spent the last five years interviewing the people who do the salary discrepancy research and dig into the details, and I report on it constantly, and the people who tell me there is a salary gap do not read this stuff.

First: Women who are in their 20s earn more than men in major cities. So this means that any data you show me about salary gap is focusing on older women. They had less opportunities, they are gonna retire, and the world has already revolved around the Baby Boomers. I'm done talking about salary gap like Baby Boomers are the only demographic that matters.

Second: Feminism in the workplace is over. So everyone should just shut up about dividing the workplace into men and women. Men are helping women all the time. Women love working with men. And look! Workplace spouses are the only intense flirting outlet that Cosmo readers voted was within relationship bounds.

Even if there were a salary gap, which there isn't, women do not help themselves by bitching about it. If you work for a company that pays women less than men, just leave. Who controls you? You do.

Third: The gap is a result of women making decisions that men don't make. I have written about this so many times because the research pops up constantly. Here's another piece. From Cornell University (via Self magazine): A woman whose spouse works 60 hours a week is 52 percent more likely to quit her job than a man whose wife does the same.

Women choose different paths than men. Which means that women who have the same education and same skills set earn less than men because most women want different things than most men do. And this is okay. Really.


Penelope Trunk has started several companies and worked for many more.