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This is where it gets tricky.

Is your negative attitude due to a medical condition or you just being an asshole who has an attitude problem?

And is that even material to the decision to hire you or not? No one really cares why you act like that, they simply care that you do.

I'm going to say it's entirely on you to present yourself in a positive light at work, and I honestly think your ex-manager was doing you a solid there. The typical way this plays out is your mental condition (or possibility of one) gets discussed by management behind closed doors and you never know why you didn't receive that offer or promotion. And yes, based on my limited experience with larger companies this is exceedingly common at the executive level. The one thing you don't want on your "record" is a history of mental health issues - there is no recovery to your (management) career once that is known.

In your case I think you simply had the curtain pulled back a little, out of consideration from your past manager.

Your other points stand though.




> Is your negative attitude due to a medical condition or you just being an asshole who has an attitude problem?

I'm always unsure. These days, I'm generally a pretty positive guy but I know I've struggled in the past.

On this particular team I was definitely not the biggest asshole. In fact, after this manager left, the biggest asshole was fired pretty much based on the fact that the new managers weren't willing to tolerate his attitude. The bro culture of the team was curtailed (which is why I was so much happier on it afterwards).

It's very hard to be a manager, a people leader. I don't think he was wrong to bring up the fact - he was doing it because he wanted to protect his company - but it certainly danced around a line of legality. After I withdrew my application he made sure to tell friends of mine that he had rejected me because of my depression. Really mature, that guy is.


> After I withdrew my application he made sure to tell friends of mine that he had rejected me because of my depression. Really mature, that guy is.

Sorry, I just wanted to post to say I completely misread that. I dropped the sentence before the mature statement. I felt a seperate post was warranted.

In that case where he talked about it to others? You should have sued the fuck out of him. That is unacceptable in any situation. This kind of changes the entire tone of my follow-on posts, so I do apologize.


> Really mature, that guy is.

This is really the only issue I have. Maybe your manager sucked, I don't know. But this specific story is absolutely the opposite. He put himself out on the line (as you say) and was honest with you. Typical folks would simply not talk to you whatsoever, but have the same reasoning.

Maybe I'm strange, but I'd far prefer the latter.

Story time. My best hire I've made was an employee with a speech impediment. This job was for a night shift as a sysadmin/support role, and that required answering the phones at 2am when customers called. Customers don't call at 2am to have a friendly chat - so those calls typically were high stress, and it really caused his speech to falter quite a bit.

I could have easily simply bounced him on the phone interview, since we were a tiny startup at the time and one wrong hire had the potential to sink us. I had other livelihoods to think of - not just the "legal" situation.

So what I did was I asked the guy back for a second informal interview and laid my cards out on the table. He could have gotten up right then, left, and immediately sued me. But he didn't - we had a productive talk about it, and due to that talk (and other self-starting qualities he had shown) he got the job.

I've now worked with him for over 10 years, through thick and thin and switching companies.

If I had followed your advice here - as the hiring manager I would have simply round-filed the resume due to the potential issues, and went on with my day. I took the risk, and it worked out. I don't believe what I did should have been punishable by death of my company - but it absolutely was if that potential hire had been ethically challenged. I also started the career of someone who was having challenges finding work elsewhere due to "unknown reasons" - aka people seeing his impairment and silently crossing him off the candidate list. Due to the insane legal framework around this stuff, very few companies will take risks like I did any longer.


Since we're playing the "here's an issue I have with what you just said" game...

You "laid your cards out on the table" -- which, as you note, is likely grounds for some sort of legal proceedings -- and it turned out.. I don't know even know. You got lucky that you weren't sued, as you willfully trampled through anti-discrimination laws. Why did it take some sort of put-it-on-the-line moment for you to consider the candidate beyond their physical disability?

You even go on to say that if the candidate was "ethically challenged", your company might suffer. You admit here that you were considering not hiring them because of a disability. How is it ethically challenged to possibly fight back over a dismissal based on being in a protected class? Do you view people with disabilities as simply a liability to companies?

Your closing sentences really smack of backdoor bragging. Good thing he found you, how lucky of him, someone that would tell him flat out to his face that they were worried he couldn't perform his job... and then decided to grace him with employment.

As the OP said, really mature. :/


> Your closing sentences really smack of backdoor bragging. Good thing he found you, how lucky of him, someone that would tell him flat out to his face that they were worried he couldn't perform his job... and then decided to grace him with employment.

Fair enough, could be seen that way. I only mentioned it because he's made that specific point himself to me many times. No one was willing to give him a shot for over a year due to his disability, yet in pop culture (as you have so clearly pointed out) I'm the evil one. I suppose that was an ill-advised addition, and should have been kept personal.

> Why did it take some sort of put-it-on-the-line moment for you to consider the candidate beyond their physical disability?

I really don't get this point. Why would I have taken the actions I did if I did not consider the candidate beyond their physical ability? I loved everything about him, but his disability put into severe question if he could perform the job. I had three choices at that point.

1) Round-bin the candidate. The vast majority of all employers do this at this stage.

2) Hire him blindly and hope for the best. In a 5 person startup this likely isn't a great plan for success. Plus if you make a hire like this and have to fire due to the disability not allowing him to perform the job I'm in a much stickier legal situation. Most likely I now get to hire another person to also do his job, and as a 5 man startup that just ended the company.

3) Talk with the candidate about my concerns, and see if we can come up with some reasonable accommodation. This is hugely risky as an employer if we end up not being able to come up with anything that works for us both. I took this option as I consider #1 absolutely immoral, and #2 had financial realities attached to it all the wishful thinking in the world wouldn't make go away.

And I do think you missed my point. The vast majority of employers completely ignore candidates like this because of posts like yours (e.g. the social climate) and legal liability if they say the wrong thing. In your estimation, I'm required to hire someone with a disability that cannot do the job. That is not true.

It took that moment because there were serious and legitimate concerns about his ability to do the job. Since he was a reasonable person he discussed those concerns with me like an adult, and we found a solution that worked for both of us. Hired. Had we not been able to find a workable solution, I shouldn't have had to open myself up to a potential frivolous lawsuit due to that fact.

And yes, you can say I trampled through anti-discrimination laws I suppose. But doing so got him hired, when before it would have been an open question if he could legitimately perform the job duties required. In this case, following the letter of the law would have hurt him since I could not have even broached the subject.

> Do you view people with disabilities as simply a liability to companies?

Again, I think you are having severe problems separating what reality actually is, to what the law says. I never said this in any way - I specifically noted how there were legitimate concerns over the employee's disability to do the job required. There are no reasonable accommodations to be made if the job is talk on the phone and you are incapable of doing so, and I would have had zero way to know if this problem was able to be mitigated in any fashion until I asked. Which I legally cannot do.

My point was if I had followed the law, that guy's resume would have been trashed like it was for the 50+ companies he got into and interviewed with to that point. Magically zero companies were interested the second he had to speak in person or on the phone and his disability revealed itself. He was otherwise solid, and me taking the time and liability to actually engage him in discussion about my concerns allowed me to feel comfortable hiring him and got his career started. My secondary point is good managers will absolutely color outside the lines with you and work with you to be successful in your career. OPs manager took him aside and outlined his concerns - in my opinion (as someone who has suffered the same condition) that's extremely respectful. The typical manager would have simply never even talked to the guy again, as it wasn't worth the risk.

I guess I simply will refuse to feel bad about this, even though you'd like that outcome. I'm absolutely proud I stuck my neck out and did the right thing - very few companies will these days. There are entire classes of untouchables I could talk your ear off about that everyone has utterly forgotten where the laws supposedly "protect" them but do the exact opposite. I put my money where my mouth is, where most simply ignore the problem exists due to perceived liability while simultaneously patting themselves on the back over how progressive they are being. It's sickening to me.

Edit: cleaned up some prose, less confrontational.


> This is where it gets tricky.

> Is your negative attitude due to a medical condition or you just being an asshole who has an attitude problem?

See, if it's diagnosed depression then it's not tricky all. It's because of a medical condition. Why even say this? Why even imply this?

For people with depression, sometimes "being positive" is "getting out of bed and finding a way to make it through the day" or even simply not taking your own life. Writing a blurb about positive attitude suggests you're dismissive of the issue. I'm not sure if you meant to be, but you're dismissing this person's condition in the most insulting way possible.

You're further warning them that if they do treat it their career is over and they should avoid that? You're being awful.


> It's because of a medical condition. Why even say this? Why even imply this?

I didn't imply it. I said it is irrelevant. No one cares if you being an asshole is due to your depression or you just being you. The impact on the business is the same either way.

> I'm not sure if you meant to be, but you're dismissing this person's condition in the most insulting way possible.

Right, obviously this is a very emotional topic for you. I think you will find that I probably have lived this situation more than you realize, and my advice is given as direct experience from my own life as the "victim" of my mental health being known professionally. I re-read my comment, and absolutely nothing about it was dismissive or implied to "think positively" as you imply.

If I could go back in time I'd never tell anyone I was severely depressed. It is not a good career move, no matter how much you wish that not to be the case. It's absolutely downright dangerous to think anyone actually cares about you in this aspect of your career.

> You're further warning them that if they do treat it their career is over and they should avoid that? You're being awful.

Didn't say that at all. I said make sure it's not known you received said treatment, as your career in many managerial/executive fields is now over. Again, you can hate that statement all you want - but I'm telling a truth from my personal experience. I made no illusions as to me wanting this to be the case? Where did you get that?

My point is thus: If you are known in executive circles in your industry to have had past mental health issues, your career is going to be severely impacted. Do you disagree with that statement? You don't have to want that to be the case, but you sure as hell need to know the game you are playing before you begin.


> I didn't imply it. I said it is irrelevant. No one cares if you being an asshole is due to your depression or you just being you. The impact on the business is the same either way.

I care.

> Right, obviously this is a very emotional topic for you. I think you will find that I probably have lived this situation more than you realize,

I am very sorry if you had terrible experiences, but they don't change that what you're saying is that a medical condition is an objective and valid thing to discriminate upon. There is a somewhat obscure word for this: "ableism."

> I said make sure it's not known you received said treatment, as your career in many managerial/executive fields is now over. Again, you can hate that statement all you want - but I'm telling a truth from my personal experience. I made no illusions as to me wanting this to be the case? Where did you get that?

Stop being a willing tool of people that want to make this so. What you're describing is not "the way things are." It's "the way you're helping to make them." We are this industry now. We can remake it as we see fit.


> I care.

Point taken :) I will rephrase as: The vast majority of your co-workers could care less why you're being an asshole to them, if it's a sustained problem.

> I am very sorry if you had terrible experiences, but they don't change that what you're saying is that a medical condition is an objective and valid thing to discriminate upon. There is a somewhat obscure word for this: "ableism."

So your position is that you can act any way you like to your co-workers at work, undermine entire projects with your negativity, cause morale issues for other staff, and if you happen to have a medical condition to explain all that your employer just has to deal? Having been that guy, fuck that. I deserved to be fired and re-evaluate my life, medical condition or no medical condition.

I don't think the world works that way, and I honestly don't think I'd like it to. Not everything needs to pander to someone with a problem - and I say that as someone with problems I don't want anyone pandering to. The workplace should be as much of a meritocracy as possible.

There is a reason the words "reasonable accommodation" are used in this context. We could argue all day on what reasonable is, but even the courts understand you need the base ability to do the job regardless of your disability.

> Stop being a willing tool of people that want to make this so. What you're describing is not "the way things are." It's "the way you're helping to make them." We are this industry now. We can remake it as we see fit.

This is a decent point. But unfortunately I am not in a position of power in the industry to affect change, and at this point my career would be harmed if I tried to take the moral high ground. I will absolutely say this would be a personal failing of mine - I'm not willing to be the one sacrificed for the greater good here, and that is certainly part of why this problem exists.

I shouldn't have opened my mouth on the topic, and I certainly already regret it. It's far too emotional and nuanced of an issue to really discuss in an open forum on the Internet, and there are certainly personal things I'm sure we'd enjoy discussing in detail. Cheers!


> So your position is that you can act any way you like to your co-workers at work, undermine entire projects with your negativity, cause morale issues for other staff, and if you happen to have a medical condition to explain all that your employer just has to deal? Having been that guy, fuck that. I deserved to be fired and re-evaluate my life, medical condition or no medical condition.

No. That is not my position.

Let's reframe this around a physical problem to remove our inbuilt stigma based around centuries of dualism. If you had carpal tunnel and needed to take a week off or maybe schedule regular physical therapy this would be normal and fine. Someone might say, "Can you work on this right now?" and you might say, "I'm sorry, I'm not capable right now, I have a disability and I need to deal with it or it will get worse."

It is ludicrous to say, "Why are you so negative? Your refusal to work impacts the team badly. You're fired." No one bats an eye at this because physical pain of this type is not stigmatized in the US.

Despite a very similar kind of long-term treatment and slow realization of these conditions, one is normal to support and the other has you begging to be fired for negativity and shaming yourself in pubic for having dealt with it.

Your position is that it's okay to abandon people if they have problems you're not comfortable talking about.

> I don't think the world works that way, and I honestly don't think I'd like it to. Not everything needs to pander to someone with a problem - and I say that as someone with problems I don't want anyone pandering to. The workplace should be as much of a meritocracy as possible.

Making basic affordances (like offering disability time) for people with mental health illnesses is no different from making time for folks to deal with a sudden infection, heart issues, etc. It's a health problem. It's one that can lead to someone leaving their job, but doesn't always.

Please, stop stigmatizing mental health illnesses.

> I shouldn't have opened my mouth on the topic, and I certainly already regret it…

I've got to tell you, if this is actually reflecting hiring practices you've helped engage in then you should not talk about it as this is a pretty significant violation of the ADA you're justifying. This behavior isn't just immoral and unfair, it's illegal.

I'm sorry if you feel pressured or uncomfortable about this. I truly am. But you're actively promoting unfair treatment of people based on health issues that they almost certainly did not try to acquire, but are very often treatable! The pressure you're applying to others here is part of why MHIs run rampant through out industry. It sounds like you yourself suffer at the hands of this stigma.

It's difficult, but we all need to start pushing back against it. It's not the moral high ground, it's everyone's legal obligation. Not following these rules leads to incredibly costly (and qf justified) discrimination lawsuits that can and should crush startups that dare violate them.


> I've got to tell you, if this is actually reflecting hiring practices you've helped engage in then you should not talk about it as this is a pretty significant violation of the ADA you're justifying.

What did I justify? The conversation the potential manager had? If so, sure I did justify and stand by that statement. That guy worked for him before, and had built up (presumably) solid rapport. I see nothing wrong with putting everything out on the table. If you meant anything else though, you're putting words in my mouth. A random interviewee? Yeah, I would agree with you that it's inappropriate and legally actionable.

We're going to have to disagree here. In your world, the guy never talks to his manager and never knows there is that issue floating out there others talk about behind his back (if your manager is asking you about it, I would bet good money they've discussed the topic with their peers for advice). In my world, at least the guy knows and can confront that how he wishes. Your world the guy wonders why he wasn't hired for no explainable reason. I agree that this is the legal framework we work in, but due to your attitude there are entire classes of untouchables that could otherwise find gainful employment.

The culture of silence and "oh I better not talk about it!" is absolutely immoral, and the typical response to these things is simply round-binning the resume to avoid any potential liability whatsoever. If you haven't seen this wink wink nudge nudge behaviour by HR and hiring managers in even huge corporations, you simply haven't been looking. I'm saying I find it actively damaging to society. Talk about it! Get shit out there and be human for the love of $deity! This culture of silence and simply writing people off through "legal" means is insane.

> Your position is that it's okay to abandon people if they have problems you're not comfortable talking about.

I.... what? I really must be doing a poor job conveying my actual point. My actual point is that if you cannot perform your job, and reasonable accommodations cannot be made (e.g. you bring down morale of your co-workers due to your shitty behaviour and refuse to correct it) over the course of time you can and should be fired regardless of any underlying medical condition - could be back pain that makes you impossible to work with - it's immaterial. A company is not a charity or health center. I'd highly prefer a culture where we could talk about this in the open (regardless of mental or physical issue, I don't care in the least) instead of secrecy.

Taking a week off once or twice a year and a day here and there for a condition is perfectly acceptable. Acting as a long-term cancer on your team is not, and cannot be accommodated. Much different than someone saying hey I'm having issues and need to take a couple weeks off. Absolutely no one would argue with you on this point, so I'm not sure why you made it. It's the long-term non-performing employee who has a disability that cannot be accommodated for where it absolutely leaves room for discussion. Guess one way untreated clinical depression typically manifests itself in angry folks in IT? Stereotypes aside, I have to say I must live in a bubble if that's not generally true. Accommodating that is not reasonable, clinical diagnosis or not. A sabbatical I would argue is far more appropriate, if any accommodation at all could be made.

If you meant the case where someone battling depression needs a few days here and there, or a week off to recharge? I have zero problem with that, have taken advantage of that policy at my company, and have unquestionably been supportive of any employees that have needed it in turn. That's a textbook example of a reasonable accommodation.

Really there were two main points I was trying to make.

1) Having a potential hiring manager ask these questions doesn't offend me in the least, and I honestly feel the laws saying otherwise are immoral due to the huge chilling effect this has put on hiring people with disabilities. Perhaps my cure is worse than the disease, but this is a massive unspoken problem in nearly every major corporation in the US. Look at any of the studies based on blind applicants vs. racial indicators - the disability applicants are much worse off. The inability to feel out a candidate with an obvious disability to see if they can legitimately perform the job is not an option, and I posit this is actively harmful. That coupled with the fact good managers actually give a shit about you, and will be happy to tell them their personal worries and concerns in return.

2) Due to the current climate, you're not being very smart if you advertise you had a mental condition in the past. I make no moral claims that this is OK, my only "evil" action here is I advise people to play the current game vs. shaking it up. It's fine to have the opposite position, but it comes at severe personal penalty you have so far completely ignored. I'm not talking about how I want the world to be, I'm talking about how it is and how it affects people today - and becoming a martyr for the cause at the expense of your career is a pretty arrogant thing to ask anyone but yourself to do. I made this suggestion as an employee who has experienced the fallout - it's simply not worth it at this date in history. Unless you are independently wealthy and just don't care. Not sure how you twisted this advice into my hiring practices, and I feel that was a pretty disingenuous leap of logic to make based on my post. This is why it's dangerous to talk about this stuff, people hear what they want to fit their narrative (including myself).

I think we largely agree, perhaps not on everything - but my goal is to get more employable people employed and in happy lives (both the disabled, and those with criminal records). The laws actively work against this in many cases, where you can't even have a discussion on the topic without some potential legal liability. So the default action is to try as hard as possible to not ever get into that situation and thus makes entire classes of people effectively untouchables.

I posit that more openness and less perceived (and lets be honest here - the vast majority of this is perceived legal risk with no grounding in actual reality) legal risk is a good thing, and will result in more candidates getting call backs if the hiring manager isn't afraid of either getting hit with a discrimination lawsuit, or a candidate who legitimate cannot perform the job (since he's not legally allowed to ask). As a hiring manager you don't get many mulligans, so it's your career on the line as well. What option do you think the vast majority of folks take? It's simple game theory. We are incentivizing the wrong behaviour, with predictable results.

You have absolutely reminded me why I will not wade into these as devils advocate any longer. I thought I made a rather tame post coming at the issue from a different angle, and gave a little hard-fought advice from personal experience. You interpreted that to state I think it's OK to fire anyone for an inconvenient disability, which is no where near the point I made.

Edit: As I posted up thread, holy crap.

> After I withdrew my application he made sure to tell friends of mine that he had rejected me because of my depression. Really mature, that guy is.

I went back to re-read the thread, as I was utterly confused at your rather combative responses - it felt like I was on Reddit there for a minute.

I had completely misread that, and not seen the leading sentence. This changes my entire stance on the guy, and I agree he should have the everliving hell sued out of him. That is not acceptable at all, ever, in any situation. The tone of my followup post would have been decidedly different, but my main points generally stand had that not been the case.


I got pulled into this discussion because of seeing the quote of you saying "I care." And I am not at my best today, but wanted to thank both of you for this part of this discussion.




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