Hi everyone, before we get started, it’s Black History Month, so let’s all remind ourselves that only about 2% of philanthropic dollars go to Black-led organizations. Funders, release all the statements of support you want, but increase funding and donations to Black organizations, movements, and individual leaders. Have more grants like the Washington Women’s Foundation’s Rest and Repair Awards, which provides $100,000 grants each to individual Black women leaders. The rest of us, meanwhile, should be donating to Black-led orgs, supporting Black-owned businesses, and calling our representatives and writing op-eds to protest the banning of AP African American Studies, among other actions.
Handwritten thank-you notes (HWTYN) have been a contentious topic in our sector of late. Some people think they are an absolute necessity for proper etiquette and relationship-building, while others believe they are an outdated relic of ancient times, like denim jackets and fair elections. Even Dr. Glaucomflecken weighed in. I have written about the cultural and equity implications of thank-you notes, so I won’t rehash.
But given that society is changing rapidly, we need some new rules. So forget everything you’ve been taught about thank you-notes, and instead follow these guidelines, which are in no particular order because I am not that organized:
Hi everyone, I am heading out on a three-week speaking trip that spans the US, Canada, and Aotearoa, so apologies in advance if the next several blog posts may be short, poorly edited, posted at strange times, missing completely, or just a single picture of a majestic kiwi bird. (The use of the Oxford Comma, however, will be consistent).
One of the things I’ve been fighting for over the years is for employers to treat job candidates with dignity and respect. This includes the salary being listed in every job posting. Like the devastation of climate change, the importance of vaccinations, and the deliciousness of olives, the research is so decisive that there is no further arguing about this (Just kidding about olives; I know many of you hate them, and I feel deeply sad for you and your lives). Either you disclose salary ranges on your job postings, or you signal to the world how far behind your org is on equity practices.
The job market is shifting. People are leaving their jobs everywhere and in great numbers. Employers are scrambling to hire people. More unions are forming. And yet, so many organizations and companies still continue to engage in crappy, inequitable hiring practices as if it were still the 1960s and everyone could smoke and drink whiskey during a team meeting.
On Twitter, someone wrote “So apparently job candidates’ sending a thank you note isn’t a thing anymore? Candidates, pro tip: send a thank you note.” It got several thousand comments and quote tweets saying requiring the follow-up thank-you note is an archaic, ridiculous practice. A colleague (@chanthropology) called it “Victorian performances of white middle class professionalism.” And I agree. It is an unwritten rule steeped in power asymmetry, and it sucks. If employers don’t send job candidates thank-you notes, why should job candidates be expected to do so?
No more post-interview thank-you notes. Employers, stop expecting it, stop favoring job candidates who do it and punishing those who don’t. All job candidates everywhere, you are hereby excused from ever having to write another thank-you email or card ever again! Go! Be free! Reclaim your time! Write a sea shanty! Learn about scrimshaw! Binge all twelve episodes of animated series Vox Machina; it is excellent!
Quick note before we start: Join me for “Friends with Money: A Fireside Chat for 501c3s & Philanthropists” on Wed, June 9th, 5pm to 6pm EDT. Free via Zoom. We’ll be discussing philanthropy, equity, power dynamics, etc. Also, several groups across the country are putting on a PEEP (Party to Enhance Equity in Philanthropy) event around the summer solstice. I’ll list the ones I have information about at the end of this post. If you’re planning something, please fill out this form, and I’ll mention it next week.
Over the past few years, I keep hearing horror stories from people applying for jobs. Someone had to go through eight rounds of interviews. A friend had a four-hour interview that included an essay followed by a one-hour PowerPoint presentation. A colleague had to come up with a marketing plan for an organization, didn’t get the job, but found that the org had used their ideas without asking for permission. Another person mentioned having a personality test and six interviews that culminated with them writing and performing a one-act puppet show to demonstrate their creativity.