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hiring, jobs, employment

Potential employers offering potential employees their professional references should be a regular thing.

Usually when people apply for a new job, they hyperfocus on making sure the potential employer knows they're an ideal candidate. They research the heck out of the company, tailor their resume for the position and practice answering tough interview questions they anticipate the hiring manager might ask.

But a hiring process is a two-way street, up to and including when an offer is made. That's perhaps never been more true than it is now, when unemployment is at a historic low and people can be choosier about the jobs they take. But even in a tough job market, a job interview means you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.

One woman shared a story that took that idea to the next level with a hiring practice that really should be standard everywhere.


Allison Peck shared in a LinkedIn post last year that she'd had a manager offer her three professional references—women who had worked for him in the past—so she could get some outside perspective on what he was like as an employer.

"Why don't hiring managers give 3 of THEIR references to job candidates?" Peck wrote. "This happened to me once and I'll never forget it. I was in the final round of interviews at a company years ago, and the hiring manager asked me for 3 references. Naturally, I provided him their contact info. And he said this:

'Thanks, here are 3 women who have reported directly to me previously and they've agreed to speak with you if you're curious what it's like working on my team.'

When I called those three women, they all had great things to say and that man was one of the best managers I've ever had.

Any hiring managers out there confident enough in their leadership abilities that they'd offer this in the future?"

The fact that the manager recognized that she might want feedback from other women shows an understanding of the dynamics that women can face in the workplace, which is a good sign in and of itself. And that he offered the references without even being asked was also a definite plus.

Ironically, the kind of employer who would offer such a thing the way he did is probably the kind of employer you'd want to work for, without even having to contact their references. But talking with people who have worked for your potential boss before could definitely offer some peace of mind and give you added information you may need to make a decision about a job. It also makes it more likely that you'll both be a good fit for one another, which again is the whole point of the hiring process.

Commenters agreed.

"I love this. When I hire into my team it's something I offer too. I'm still in touch with people who were reporting to me 8-10yrs ago, most of whom have gone on to do some wonderful things and I now consider friends." – Karen Hutchison

"I am with you on that. At my stage of my career, I will max out on salary and the benefits are usually decent. So what I care about is the team and leadership. So when I was unexpectedly let go 9 months ago and started looking all over again, I made it a point to ask about the team leader/manager and any other dynamics if I got to be interviewed by a peer panel. I ended up going with the job where the peers spoke highly of their manager both privately and in group interviews. I just wanted to work where boss actually cares about people more than they cared about managing her/his boss." – John Waldbaum

"Ok, I'm impressed. It would be great if this was normalized, and honestly, it would benefit both prospective hires as well as organizations. Many people get a job and start off excited just to find out that the manager they ended up working with is not exactly a good manager for them. This can translate into poor performance or even turnover. You can only find out so much during an interview that is timed and has set unwritten norms/ expected "etiquette". Normalize reverse references!!!" 😁 – Stanley Molton

"Wow I wish this were done everywhere! Speaking to other women candidates during the interview has never given me the sense they can speak openly (especially if it's recorded), because at the end of the day, they still report to that manager. Now, a manager that does this is demonstrating that there's recognition and sensitivity to what women are faced with in the workplace, and they have confidence in their reputation even behind closed doors." –Larissa Morrell

Resources like Glassdoor have helped provide an avenue for former employees to share their experiences, but there's an extra layer of impressiveness when a potential employer offers you their references themselves.

Reverse references. Let's make it a thing.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.