Ask Jack: Entrance Music, Zero Tolerance, and Job of the Week

TWISTED SISTER - US rock group with Dee Snider in 1984. Photo Stephen Woodd
AlamyEmployers ask: "What's your personal entrance music?" Pro tip: Don't say "Twisted Sister."

Loyal "Ask Jack" reader Ann says...

I am in my 50's, looking for a job. On an application the company asks "what song would play as you walk into the room." My song dates back to the 70s, which will automatically give away my age in this age-conscious economy. Do I have to listen to Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift in order to finish this application or can I be truthful and name a song that they most likely never heard of?

Come on, Ann, everyone knows that Taylor Swift is soooo 2014. Well, this is yet another entry for our stupid-application-questions file. What could your "entrance music" possibly have to do with your ability to do a job? Sure, music tastes can tell you a lot about a person, but you're applying for work, not filling out an OKCupid profile.

Well, if they're playing a game, so can you. Forget your own tastes, and don't fall into an age-discrimination trap. Think of it as being hired to DJ their corporate party. What would they want to hear? Is it a young, edgy company? A family-friendly environment? Do they have a mechanical bull in the lobby? Pick a big hit from the last few years; Wikipedia can help you find them. Title keywords such as winning, being a star, not giving up, blah blah blah, might help too. Just be sure not to mention the Johnny Paycheck classic "Take This Job and Shove It."

We go from Ann to Andy, who tells us:

Yesterday was an interesting day at work. We had a surprise piss test. Well we lost 3 people. I just don't know why if you are hired to do a job and they tell you you fail you're fired. I guess I am glad I gave that [stuff] up a long time ago. I hope the guys who lost employment get smarter in life.

That's known as a "zero tolerance" policy, and as long as your employer is complying with both state and federal laws and carries out the policy consistently, it is OK. (Even the Americans With Disabilities Act doesn't sanction workplace marijuana use for medically-registered individuals.) Employers have different reasons for conducting drug tests, but safety is a huge one. I personally don't want some zonked-out dude operating heavy machinery. So it really depends on the type of work whether a warning or counseling should suffice as the first option. (Cough cough, professional athletes, cough cough.) I join you in wishing smarter choices for your former colleagues -- know the rules at your job, guys! Unfortunately, no one seems to have a zero-tolerance policy for dummies at work.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Are you in or around Limestone, Maine, and have a desire to be on the other side of the zero-tolerance debate? Then apply for this Security Officer job! You will participate in the "disciplinary process as established at the [youth] center, including zero tolerance for violence and drugs." Not the law-and-order type? Then do your own search on AOL Jobs. Come on, just try it, everyone's doing it...

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