RE: Samples Query

Subject: RE: Samples Query
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 10:49:35 -0400

I'm afraid this behavior DOES makes some kind of sense to me -- although
I certainly don't approve of the sense that it makes. Actually, there
are two explanations that come to mind.

First, they may have been setting you up. Employers have been known to
try and lure candidates into saying/doing things they consider
inappropriate to test them. I once had the experience of answering a
question in a manner that offended some of the folks who were in on the
interview, and I think the question was designed to elicit that answer.
That same interview was an all-day affair, which began with them taking
me out to breakfast and beginning to ask me work-related questions
before I'd had any coffee. On another all-day interview, they served
lunch in-house, and the menu featured meatball sandwiches. You can't
eat a meatball sandwich by hand without making a big mess, and the
plastic utensils they provided were so flimsy they broke right away.

The second possibility -- which I think is the more likely one -- is
that they may have thought your calendar was okay with them when you
were only discussing it, and then had a change of heart when they saw
the actually item. The fact that you apparently said you would show
them the LAYOUT, as opposed to the actual pictures also makes me this
this may have been the case/ I have also encountered this type of
irrationality. People will tell you something is perfectly okay when
you're discussing it in the abstract, but when it comes down to actually
seeing or doing it, they say, "Hold on ... " Back in college, I took a
course in video production, and came up with an idea for a commercial,
which could have been considered offensive and sexist, but I meant it as
a joke -- as a deliberate exercise in what I KNEW was bad taste. I
showed an outline of it to the T.A., who seemed to be genuinely amused.
However, when one of the women in the class, who I asked to operate a
camera, got genuinely offended and called that T.A. at home, he then
turned around and gave me a big lecture on sexism and sensitivity.
(This actually suggests a third possibility, which I'll come back to.)

There was also an example of "Yeah we said this was okay, but now that
we SEE it .. " in the news awhile back. Author Brett Easton Ellis had a
signed contract with Simon and Schuster to publish AMERICAN PSYCHO, but
when he delivered the final manuscript, they refused to publish it
because of the extreme and excessive violence. But, as several articles
on the subject pointed out, landing a book contract involves much back
and forth with the publisher about the content, including plot
summaries, outlines, etc. So they should have KNOWN what was coming.
(Actually, after reading the book, I suspect they may have felt he
didn't deliver what was agreed on, but I digress.)

The third possibility -- which may have been what was going on with that
T.A. -- is that someone can tell you something is okay with them, and
then change their mind because someone else objects -- someone they want
to keep on good terms with. I think My T.A. liked that woman and wanted
to be on her good side. Likewise, maybe the people who told you the
calendar was okay had a subsequent encounter with a superior who
objected, and decided, "Well, if he/she says this was inappropriate,
then that's how we feel."

All of this may be unfair and irrational, but there are some types in
unfairness and irrationality you can pretty much expect in certain


-----Original Message-----
From: Michele Davis [mailto:michele -at- krautgrrl -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 3:57 PM
Subject: Re: Samples Query

OK, let's talk PC for a minute. Is it appropriate for one of my
interviewers (not HR) to announce to me that he's gay and ask me whom I
know in the gay community, since it turned out I knew his partner?

During the interview, the other two men (not from HR) asked to see more
graphic design. I stated, "I have a calendar where women are wearing
bikini's, I could show you the layout of that, if you'd like?" They
said, "Yes."

Then after the interview, as I was being walked out, I was asked to
email more design related samples to them in the morning. I did so.

Then the recruiter calls me late the next day and tells me they said I
lacked good judgment because I showed them the PDF of the calendar.

Prudish, conservative, corporate, I don't care. It makes NO SENSE, if I
apply logic.

I told this story to my girlfriend, a graphic designer, last night. She
said to Photoshop a couple of digital pictures of our beautiful Fall
colours and maybe one of the lakes in my neighborhood and then put those

in place of two women in the calendar and use THAT as the sample.

That's the best advice I've gotten so far!

and the uber empyre

David Castro wrote:

>>The response of at Firm A was sexism and the response at Firm B was
>I'm surprised that I'm the first to offer a dissenting opinion from
>those who have been posting on this subject. It makes me wonder if the
>posts to date really do reflect the opinion of the vast majority of the

>list, or if those who are of a different opinion simply didn't want to
>be labeled a prude by responding.
>Well, maybe I'll be taking on the title of prude, but I think the kind
>of photographs that must have been in that calendar really don't belong

>in a portfolio of someone who wants to work for mainstream businesses.

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