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question

But what is this question for?

This may be of some interest.

If you are asked a question in a job interview, on stage or even on a date, there’s probably a reason, and the reason might not be because the person asking wants to know your answer.

Teenagers are terrible at understanding this.

“How was your day at school,” is not a question asked to determine how a day at school was. It’s a (lousy) attempt at starting a conversation about feelings.

It requires empathy to answer a question that isn’t obviously about the answer.

The empathy to see that the person asking you has something else in mind.

Back when I was hiring dozens of people at Yoyodyne, I asked one of the hackneyed programmer interview questions (back then, it wasn’t nearly as well known.) “How many gas stations are there in the US?”

It should have been obvious that I didn’t actually want to know how many gas stations there were. That was easy to look up, and why would I ask someone I didn’t know a question like that?

Over time, I had to get more and more clear in my messaging. “Because I want to see how you figure out amorphous problems, help me understand how you would answer a question like…” Even then, it was a very powerful tell. Two people said, “I don’t have a car,” and left the interview. (That’s true, not hyperbole).

Other than name and phone number, when someone asks you a question, it’s worth considering why. Intentionally answering the real question is a great place to start.

 

[PS A question: Have you considered the altMBA?]

       

Thank you for reading.

The question you should never ask women – period

This may be of some interest.

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Are you ever around women who seem frustrated, upset or irritated? Have you ever asked one of them if she was on her period or perhaps been tempted to inquire?

Take it from me: Don’t. Presuming that female reproductive organs make women behave irrationally is rude and sexist. It also evokes the same unscientific beliefs that have always held women back.

I’m a sociologist who researches the perils women experience on a daily basis simply for existing. In studying the systemic nature of sexism, I’ve learned that men and women alike can contribute to gender inequality in seemingly innocuous ways, including through what might seem like small talk. Read more…

More about Menstruation, Menstruation Stigma, Period, Social Good, and Web Culture

Thank you for reading.