Editor's note: Inc.com columnist Alison Green answers questions about workplace and management issues-everything from how to deal with a micromanaging boss to how to talk to someone on your team about body odor.
A reader writes:
My fiancé and I have been engaged for a little over a year, and his mom gave us her old engagement ring as a gift. It's beautiful, and few people even notice it unless it's pointed out to them.
However, I was wondering if it's appropriate for job interviews. I ask because I grew up in a conservative town where all the women would take off their wedding or engagement rings for interviews. While I know employers cannot discriminate, I also know that they don't have to tell you why they don't hire you. Granted, I'm not especially old school, live in a progressive city, and am just as career driven as most single people my age--my fiancé even jokes about being the "house husband" in the distant future when we have kids. At the same time, I've received advice from both sides. What call would you make?
I suppose there's an argument to be made that if you're at all concerned, you should take it off--because why have some risk when you can have no risk? Plus, if it's going to make you at all self-conscious or concerned, why give yourself that extra challenge in the already stressful situation of an interview?
But I'm not going to argue that. I'm going to argue that if someone wouldn't hire you or take you seriously because of your engagement ring, you don't want to work for them anyway. Those attitudes rarely stop at the interview, and you don't want to sign up to deal with them every day.
And let's say that you do interview without the ring, thereby successfully avoiding being discriminated against by an old-school sexist who sees your ring as an indicator that you won't be around long or are just playing at working or whatever it is that they think. So then what happens when you then show up for work with the ring on? They're going to draw the same conclusions about you, only now instead of not taking you seriously in the interview, they're not going to take you seriously on the job. And in promotions. And when giving out good assignments. And raises.
You don't need that.
Wear the ring.
The goal isn't just to get a job offer; it's to get the right job, with the right people, in the right culture.
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