convincing a friend to get a job, asking to have my salary info hidden, and more

It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Asking to have my salary information removed from our database system

I recently started working for a nonprofit that utilizes an extensive, online tracking and storage system (Salesforce). While I was exploring our database as part of my training, I discovered that all of my email exchanges with the organization from when I was a candidate are not only saved but published. This includes the email exchanges about my salary and benefits with an email attachment including my final offer letter. This information is currently accessible to everyone in the organization. In addition to not being comfortable having this information readily accessible (not every employee’s contract information is published, only the most recent hires), the fact that some of the new hires, including me, have a higher starting salary then some of the more veteran employees has been a source of unnecessary drama.

Would it be completely inappropriate for me to ask to have this information removed? Who would be most appropriate person to ask — the Salesforce admin, my manager, HR?

No, it’s perfectly appropriate, and I’d approach it from the assumption that it’s a mistake, since not everyone’s is in there and that whoever should be in charge of this doesn’t even realize that it’s there. I’d ask either your manager or HR, but not the Salesforce admin, who probably needs to be directed by someone with more authority to remove it.

2. My coworkers hear my joints cracking all the time due to a medical condition

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but here it is. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder that has a lot of serious and less serious effects. The least serious effect is that my joints make loud cracking noises while I work in a small, quiet office. I know that I have disturbed people, and there is very little that I can do to stop it. Any ideas for dealing with an uncontrollable but gross and disruptive thing like this?

Have you told people what’s going on? You’re under no obligation to, but if you’re comfortable doing so, that’s probably the best way to handle it. If people think you’re a chronic joint cracker, they might be annoyed, but if they know that it’s the effect of a condition you’re struggling with, most people will be sympathetic.

3. How can I convince my friend to get a job?

A friend of mine has not worked for 2+ years after finishing grad school. Her parents support her by letting her to live by herself in their extra property in the same city. She’s willing to work, but idealizes how hiring should be done. Her parents, who run a successful business, told her that she should accept only the jobs that she wants to do. She has told her friends that “the employers should see through her potential,” “people get jobs because of their ‘charm’ but not by merit,” and “employers should approach the candidates instead,” etc. She has tried to get a job, but told me that “one government job opening attracted thousands of applicants.” She has had odd jobs occasionally.

How can I tell this friend to get a job to at least to pay her bills? She’s constantly broke. Some businesses nearby have “help wanted” signs, but she’s unwilling to settle for a less ideal job. My friends and I have forwarded job postings to her, but those conversations have gone nowhere. I’m not connected anywhere insofar to get her a job.

You can’t, and it’s not your job to. It was her parents’ job, which they apparently failed spectacularly at, and now it’s her job. It’s not yours.

When she says ridiculous things about how job-searching works, you can certainly correct her, and if you’re close to her you can have one serious heart-to-heart about your worries … but beyond that, she’s going to have to learn this one on her own.

4. How to solve a conflict between two strong-willed employees

What do you do when you have two very strong-headed and opinionated employees working closely together, one a team leader and the other a newer employee, who have a personality conflict? The team leader has been with the company for five years and feels as if the newer employee talks to her in a condescending manner. The new employee has knowledge in the industry and has done the job for many years but is learning a new way and tends to ask lots of questions and wants specific details as to why our company does it such and such a way. This employee now feels that she asks too many questions so she stopped asking and then feels like she is looked at as a show off. I don’t think either of them is right; it’s just a power struggle.

Is the issue that the newer employee is doing too much of “we did it a better way at my old job?” If so, that’s genuinely annoying after a point, and it would be worth your talking to her and telling her that you encourage to ask as many questions as she needs to learn the job, but that at the same time she should be sensitive to making your existing staff feel that she’s criticizing the way they do things or questioning their own knowledge. Tell her also that you’d welcome her ideas about how your team could do things differently, but that she should bring them to you, not the team leader. (If it becomes necessary, you can also ask her to spend the next few months learning your set-up before you two talk about possible changes.)

Meanwhile, tell the team leader that you expect her to find a way to get along pleasantly and professionally with the new employee, period. If she has concerns, she can bring them to you — but she needs to make sure that her manner doesn’t discourage the new employee from asking the questions she needs in order to learn her job.

5. Should I take time off work when my boss is very sick?

I’ve been making a plan with my doctor to have a medically necessary but non-emergency surgery. For a number of reasons, but primarily financial, it is better for me to do the surgery this calendar year. My plan has been to schedule it for mid-late November/early December when we are not as busy but before everyone takes time off for Christmas. I’m expecting to be out about 2 weeks, the second week of which it’s reasonable to assume I could log on from home a little and keep up with emails, but not be at full capacity. We have a good telecommuting policy in place, though it’s not often used.

My boss was recently diagnosed with cancer. I found out today that the cancer has spread (it’s in her blood and bones now), there is very little the doctors can do for her, and she has a life expectancy of around 2-3 years. She’s understandably very upset, as are all the folks in our office. She is missing a lot of work, and I have taken on a lot of responsiblity. This is fine (as previously my primary complaint has been lack of work/responsibility). However, this leads me to wonder if I should put off the surgery, or go ahead. If I do go ahead, when and how do I tell the remaining manager that I’ll need to take 2 weeks off when he’s already down a significant support person? We are 3 people of a 6 person team, but there is some separation of duties, meaning that the remaining 3 people are not really prepared to step up in the way that I am. Am I overthinking this? Part of me thinks I should just cancel the surgery, put my head down, and wait this out. Given the new information, waiting it out may not be an option, as the longer I wait the sicker she is likely to get.

Go forward with your plans for the surgery. As you point out, it’s not likely that it’s going to be any easier to take time off later; in fact, this may be the easiest time for you to take off for a while, if your boss is going to be increasingly out. But even if that weren’t the case, I think it would make sense for move forward. You can never predict if it will really be a better time later (someone else could get sick or leave or who knows what else). Yes, it might a tricky two weeks for your office, but they’ll get through it — this stuff happens, people accommodate it, and it’s rarely as bad as the person who needs to be out fears it will. Work will go on, and two weeks is very little time in the scheme of things. So go ahead and tell your managers. When you do, just be straightforward, note the timing isn’t ideal, and offer to do whatever you can beforehand to make it as easy as possible on the offer.

I’m sorry about your boss.

6. Should I send a post-interview thank-you note even though I didn’t get the job?

I recently had a successful group interview with a company recruiter, followed by a not-as-successful face-to-face interview with two store managers at the location to which I applied. I didn’t send thank-you notes to any of my interviewers for a few reasons — the foremost of which being that a decision was very, very likely going to be reached before any thank-you notes would be received through the mail. Probably not the best strategy, but it made some sense to me.

Anyway, I got a phone call from the recruiter who explained to me that another candidate had been selected for the position, but that since my interview went so well, she would like to keep me on file for similar openings. Obviously, a thank you note for the recruiter is in order for keeping me in future consideration. Should I send something to the two managers as well, or is it weird at this point since the position has already been filled?

Send them a note! Tell them that even though you didn’t get the position, you appreciated meeting with them, that talking with them made you even more interested in working with them and for their company, and would love to stay in touch, and wish them the best of luck in their work and with the new hire. It will make you look gracious, and you never know what seeds it might plant for the future. (Also, it’s totally fine to send this and any other thank-you notes in the future by email; you don’t need to use postal mail.)

7. Can I ask an interviewer about a preferred skill that I don’t have?

On Friday, I applied for a position at my alma mater, from which I graduated last spring. I have three years of experience doing the kind of work involved from an on-campus job I had while I was in school, but I don’t have a few of the “preferred but not required” skills, which include speaking a second language (no language in particular was specified). Since I’m pretty familiar with the work, I’m surprised that I can’t think of how being bilingual would be particularly useful in this position.

I have no reason to expect to get selected to be interviewed, but if I do, would it be odd if I asked about this? I’m really curious about how it fits into performing the duties of the role, but I wonder if bringing it up if they don’t bring it up first will only serve to emphasize that I lack a skill that would like in a candidate for this position.

Sure, you can bring that up. It’s fine to say something like, “I noticed in the job posting that you mentioned it would be a bonus if candidates spoke a second language. I don’t, unfortunately, but I was curious about how that might end up being used in the role.”

You don’t really need to worry that you’re going to draw their attention to the fact that you don’t have this skill. If it’s an important one, they’ve already noted it (and are interviewing you anyway) or would have asked about it.

{ 224 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl*

    #3 As a friend, you may want to talk to her about it, but there is a huge risk involved. The risk is that your friend is clueless about how the world really works and her parents are protecting her from the consequences. So she’s likely to take offense or blow you off as not knowing anything. That said, here are some reasons she needs to get a job:

    1) As time goes on, she becomes less and less employable. Her skills are rotting, and on top of that, there is a stigma attached to people who are unemployed for long periods of time. So by waiting she’s making it harder and harder to actually get a job.

    2) She’s not accruing social security benefits. The longer she works, the more she gets. Now you may think it won’t be there when you are old – I thought that too, and well, here I am and it is still there.

    3) Something horrible could happen to her parents. Then she’s stuck with learning how to deal with the real world while she’s grieving. Kind of like drinking from a fire hose while you’ve been gutted. And at that point there’s no backup plan. She will HAVE to make it work.

    4) The longer you handle money from jobs the more experienced you’ll get. And the penalty for screw ups is a lot less when you are younger than when you are older. So she should get in the market and make her mistakes now.

    5) Retirement! The longer you save the more compounded interest will benefit you.

    I’m saying this as a sister to someone who never had to take responsibility for herself. She was in her late forties when our dad died, and with him the money. She’s now trying to live within a budget for the first time in her life, with no retirement savings (she’ll be working for the rest of her life, I suspect) and no track record of employment. She’s scared. Really scared. And I would be too in that position. No, I’m not helping her right now so she can learn how to be responsible. Fear is a good motivator. Maybe when she learns I can step in (hope so).

    1. Jessa*

      All of this especially the part about the fact that her skills are going to go absolutely stale and dry. She won’t learn any of the new updated skills in her field or make any new contacts.

      1. Anonymous*

        It took me six years to find a job after grad school. My skills are innate – they hardly went stale or rotted.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It depends on the field. In some, the passage of time means your skills will get stale. In others — like, say, writing — the problem isn’t that they’ll get stale, but rather that employers will find you less competitive than people who have been working.

        2. jesicka309*

          But it’s not just about how well you retain the skills, it’s how it looks to the employer:
          Candidate A: Extensive college experience in writing and analysis (graduated 2007)
          Candidate B: Extensive college experience in writing and analysis (graduated 2012)
          Candidate C: Extensive college experience in writing and analysis (graduated 2007), general admin work 2008-2013

          Candidate C is your most attractive employee on paper obviously, because they’re educated with recent experience. But Candidate B is your second because their education is pretty recent, and you’d expect that their skills are still fresh and relevant… Candidate A is going to make employers go “so what did they do for 6 years?!?” And if you have a whole stack of Candidate Bs and Cs… Candidate A might have trouble, no matter how well their skills weather over the years.

        3. EngineerGirl*

          You’re deceiving yourself. Even the most basic skills come just a little bit slower if you haven’t used them in a while. Efficiency is a big deal in a fast paced office.

          1. Anonymous*

            This is very true. I have a job I love right now and I barely do any writing for it. Or at least compared to my previous job where I did extensive writing, grants, ads, reports, websites, proposals…Just a huge range of stuff.

            Now I barely write and I can still do it when pushed but while my coding and commenting (on code) is great and quick it will take me a day to write something I could have done to the same level in an hour. But on the upside I’m ok with that!

          2. anon*

            This. I worked with a woman who dropped out of the workforce to raise her children and there were very basic things she didn’t know how to do. She didn’t know how to cut and paste text in a document, when creating a set of labels from a merge she didn’t know how to delete or correct any of the labels and re-format them, and she thought because we had three lines on an email (To, CC, and BC) that meant an email could only go to three people or groups.

            1. Manda*

              Oy! *facepalm* Someone like that probably doesn’t even have a clue that what she’s doing is wrong and inefficient and that there might be a better way. When you’re that computer illiterate, you likely don’t even know where to start asking questions.

            2. AgilePhalanges*

              I had a colleage that we discovered by accident didn’t realize that you could scroll down to see more attachments, so whenever we sent more than three attachments, he only grabbed the first three and thought he was done.

        4. Anonymous*

          And what is it you do where you can be six years out of date and out of practice (at least on your resume) and still be competitive?

        5. AnonyMouse28*

          “Grad school”

          “skills are innate”

          “six years to find a job”

          …yeah, some key information is missing here. On the face of it, your comment basically makes no amount of sense.

          1. Manda*

            Yes. Candidate A may well have been underemployed working retail or food service during that time, which looks better than having been unemployed for six years or omitting that information and appearing to have been unemployed. Candidate B may have also had that experience while in school.

          1. College Career Counselor*

            OP #3’s friend sounds somewhat reminiscent of an old friend of mine in college. Very bright, potentially capable, but supported by his parents, which became enabling behavior over time. He didn’t HAVE to get a job, so he just….never did. I remember having conversations with him years ago, and he was never interested in doing something “beneath” his skills or education. (Yes, but sponging off your parents in your 30s is somehow “noble?”)

            As I said, he was bright and technically inclined (taught himself HTML in the early days of the web) and could have gone far in that world. I remember forwarding him a webmaster position for a national arts organization many years ago. His response? “It only pays $27,000 a year.” (This was 15-20 years ago)

            My response: “Hello, you make ZERO dollars per year now!”

            Bottom line, Alison is right. You can’t convince her if she’s not ready/willing. And entitlement will never be an attractive quality in a candidate.

    2. Ruffingit*

      All of this is absolutely true and logical. However, that doesn’t mean OP’s friend is in a position to hear it. Right now, the reality of OP’s friend is that all her needs are taken care of. She has a roof over her head and presumably other bills (utilities, etc.) paid for by BankofMom&Pop. She is not in the urgent, holy crap I’m about to be evicted mindset that serious job seekers tend to be in.

      Given that, she’s not seeing the urgency of getting a job right now and she’s not going to see the urgency of retirement planning because that’s just not where her head is at. Tack on the fact that she has some bizarre ideas about how hiring works and this is just a pot of entitlement boiling over.

      Therefore, there are two things to be done here:

      1. A non-judgmental heart to heart about how the job world really works. Perhaps someone in the friends circle is or knows a recruiter who can explain how hiring really happens.

      2. Refuse to listen to complaints about being broke. This can be accomplished with “I’ve heard you speak often about having no money. Money comes from working. Since you refuse to get steady employment, I really can’t listen to these complaints anymore.” Say this in a neutral tone. You need not get defensive or angry, this is just a factual statement.

      It’s hard when we see friends treading water who refuse to accept a life jacket or a buoy. But it is what it is and she’ll have to learn the hard way.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      There used to be a show on daytime TV called Starting Over–it was these women who were in a house together and had life coaches helping them with issues. There was one woman, Lisa, in the last season, who had this EXACT issue.

      She scared me. My employment (until now) hasn’t been very lucrative or solid; it’s now a high priority to keep my skills fresh and learn new ones all the time.

    4. Anonymous*

      This is a minor nitpick to a comment I generally agree with: compounded interest is dead. It’s not relevant to financial planning any more. If you make enough money to notice compounding interest, then you make enough money to invest into something with actual returns instead. If you are of modest means and can’t afford to bet on stocks, then you might as well keep it under your mattress – because the banks are likely to pry back any interest you make in crazy fees (especially debit card fees).

      I’m not saying banking is useless – it’s a nice mechanism to write electronic checks and to make sure a house theft doesn’t bankrupt you. But your compounded interest won’t outstrip fees and inflation under many conditions, and savings rates don’t look like they’re improving for a long time.

      1. Manda*

        For the record, there are exceptions to this. It probably depends on what options the bank makes available, as well as an individual’s financial situation. I’m far from rich, but I have enough money in savings to collect a bit of interest that doesn’t get cancelled by user fees or taxes. I would normally have to pay a monthly fee (a per-transaction debit fee would also be an option), but I keep some of my savings in my checking account. If I keep my balance above $X, that monthly fee is waived. The lady who set up my accounts pointed out that it would make more sense that way because if that $X were in a savings account, it would not collect enough interest in a month to offset the monthly fee. If this money were stashed under my mattress, I would be paying bank fees and not gaining interest.

  2. Brett*

    #1: If you are working for a 501(c)(3) non-profit, your salary may be a public record anyway. This still leaves the separate issue of having it published on Salesforce, but your coworkers may still have access to your salary information (as well as theirs too).

    For federal purposes, if you are an officer, director, trustee, or paid over $150k then your salary is public record. Also the salaries of the five highest paid employees paid between $100k and $150k and outside the above categories are public record.

    But individual states have more stringent disclosures, often requiring all financial records, including salaries, to be open to members of the non-profit or open to the general public. The latter is especially common if the organization receives any state or federal grants. I would not be surprised if there is a state where employees are considered members, and new employment contracts have to be disclosed to members.

    You can only find out if there is a legal requirement involved by asking, but there may be a legal requirement.

    Could be worse. The newspaper publishes my salary :)

    1. SCW*

      But it is one thing to have your salary public knowledge, and another to have your negotiations recorded for everyone to see. My salary is public knowledge, and honestly if I had negotiated over e-mail someone could request that through a freedom of information request–but the likelyhood of my co-workers casually stumbling across it is not likely. I think knowing the number is different from all this other information.

  3. Jessa*

    Number 5, I agree with Alison. First of all your boss is likely to get worse not better, regrettably. Which means they will be out more not less. So the earlier you take care of yourself, the more you will be available when things get tighter. Also you said clearly that it’s better for a number of reasons for you to do this in this calendar year. That has a lot of ramifications about it. That’s important. If it needs to be done this year then better it be done this year as well.

    1. Josh S*

      And the sooner you can get things on the schedule for your own surgery and let your boss(es) know, the better. Obviously the sick boss can’t plan how she’ll feel at any given point in the future, but they can plan for your absence and start looking at contingencies now, well in advance of the time off, and with plenty of time to do something about it.

      You clearly want to make this easy on your employer, and that’s commendable. The way to make it as easy as possible is to let them know as soon as possible.

  4. Terra*

    Re: #1 – I understand that salary or other info my be made public, per organizational/government policy – but her actual email correspondence (that which comprises interpersonal communication beyond those facts)? It wasn’t something she emailed from a company email (that the company owns) but her own private and proprietary access—*prior* to employment. Yes, she chose to send those emails to her contact, but surely not to 100+ people. I can’t understand how it is in any way ethical or otherwise acceptable that they publish her correspondence, without prior/informed consent. Surely the employer wouldn’t be ok with OP posting his/her own correspondence on twitter or Facebook. Sounds ghastly to me all around.

    1. Anne*

      This is pretty standard on CRM systems if they don’t have good Team management. If it’s set up well, she would be put into the system as a Candidate, say, and the only people who have access to Candidate info would be people in an HR/recruitment function. Similarly, only people in Sales would be able to see correspondence with leads, etc. But it’s good to realize when you’re dealing with companies that this stuff is being used – even the Twitter/facebook stuff. Tweet at a big company, and a system is probably pulling that in and analysing it for sentiment before it gets directed to the right team.

      I can say from experience that there are a LOT of people who just set up the basics and don’t bother with team management, though. It’s amazing the stuff you can find on these systems. It really bugs me – I always try to encourage our clients to set up team and visibility settings.

      1. Terra*

        I can understand sharing “sales correspondence with leads” but again, in this case, the OP was not at all affiliated with or employed by the company when she sent emails from her own person, private account to a specific individual.

  5. Laura*

    #3 – Unfortunately, Alison is right. Some lessons people just have to learn on their own, and sometimes they never learn it at all.

    Years ago I had a friend who always griped about how he couldn’t find a decent job. He had not gone to college, and so was limited in what he could realistically apply for. He did have a decent job with a large company that offered tuition assistance, and I encouraged him to take advantage of it and go back to school to get his degree. There were always reasons why he couldn’t, but the bottom line is he didn’t want to put the work into getting an education. His response was always, “Bill Gates doesn’t have a college degree!” as if that fact somehow entitled him to be magically awarded a high-paying job.

    At one point, he was resentful of me because my parents helped me pay for college, and he said something once about how I was a “rich girl” and had no idea how hard it was for people like him. I told him that there were plenty of ways for him to get a college education if he was bound and determined to get one, and if he really wanted to better himself to get off his backside and do something about it. He never did. Some people are more content complaining about how life has dealt them a bad hand rather than doing anything to help themselves.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      Ha, I dated one of those. He totally fancied himself to be Steve Jobs, but he was just a slacker.

      OP, you can’t change your friend, and if her parents aren’t willing to tell her she’s on her own, I have low hopes of her doing so on her own. She’s comfortable, and as long as she stays comfortable, why (in her mind) should she change?

      1. Erin*

        I get this attitude (very) occasionally from my high school students. I would love it if more attention were paid to the rich geniuses who DID go to college.

        1. Laura*

          I’m completely outing myself as a cranky old woman (mid-40’s), but this attitude seems to be more prevalent than it used to be.

          And I am convinced that it’s the constant bombardment of reality shows, where people with no discernible talent whatsoever somehow get picked to be contestants or participants on these ridiculous and repugnant shows, and then somehow parlay this into fame and fortune. Everyone wants to be the next Snookie or Kim Kardashian, and the notion of going to college to become educated and/or finding success through hard work is almost quaint.

          1. AnonyMouse28*

            Sorry but yes, you’re just being cranky (and I say this without snark intended, I promise!). There’s a proclivity in the boomer generation to assume that “kids these days” think differently (that they’re more entitled, more self-absorbed, more lazy), but in reality those qualities you’re seeing are more the result of being young and (usually, but not always) privileged than a product of generation. I would argue that the boomer generation (enjoying a post-war economic boom and some of the lowest unemployment numbers/strongest wages in decades) had a comparable mentality, just adjusted for the period in which they grew up.

              1. Anonymous*

                Maybe not, but AnonyMouse28’s comment is still valid (and I believe AM28 was talking in a wider sense about the boomer generation, not necessarily directed at Laura personally). There is a tendency for older generations to think the younger generations are more entitled, lazier and generally just worse than the generations before them. However, it has been thus for thousands of years – there is a quote about the “youth of today” – from ancient Greek times ( frequently attributed to Socrates) .

                Frankly, as a younger person myself I get somewhat fed up of being told I am too entitled, too lazy, only chasing immediate gratification and only look up to reality “stars”. It is simply not true.

                1. LisaLyn*

                  As did I when I was younger and I agree with the larger point, except that people in their mid-40s did not have the advantages that the boomers did.

                2. Laura*

                  Wow, my one little post has generated quite a discussion!

                  First let me say that I was well acquainted with entitlement/rich-kid kind of behavior when I was in high school. I went to boarding school; even though my family did well we were not “rich.” Boarding school for me was a necessity as my parents were living overseas and the American schools there only went up to the 8th grade. But there were plenty of kids there from wealthy families that behaved in the same way that kids of wealthy families behave today. So there’s nothing “generational” about entitlement behavior.

                  And I’ve worked with some young people that are fantastic. A few years ago I had a college intern work for me, and he was great. Super conscientious, always showed up on time, always asked when he wanted to flex his hours to study for finals or finish a paper, and was enthusiastic about every task I assigned to him. I tried to keep things interesting for him, so he would actually get something out of the experience, but I had some menial chores thrown in there too because they were things that needed to be done. I would have hired him as a FTE in a heartbeat, because not only was he smart, but also ambitious and willing to jump in and do anything.

                  I also hired a young person working as a temp in another area when I had an opening. She was (and still is) really smart, wants to learn, and is someone you can rely on to get things done. She recently moved into another role in her department (no longer mine) because she was bored with her current job and wanted to learn something new. She also bought her first house at 21, and has been supporting herself since she was 18 (she’s 30 now).

                  So I don’t write off all younger people as lazy and entitled. That being said, I do think there are differences between my generation (GenX) and the next (Millenials), which to me manifests itself as more need for reassurance and hand-holding – not for every person, of course, but it’s definitely there. And it makes sense because it was in the 80’s when people started talking about self-esteem and we saw the beginning of the “everyone’s a winner” mentality, along with helicopter parenting.

                  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing anyone’s parenting. I’m a parent myself and it’s the hardest job I’ll ever have. My instinct is to protect my daughter at all costs, and I have seen myself start turning into one of “those” moms. I have to mentally check myself, and remind myself that my daughter needs to succeed — and fail — on her own sometimes if she’s going to be an independent adult who can take care of herself.

              2. AnonyMouse28*

                The wiki for Baby Boomer lists the period from about 1946 to 1964. I don’t think I’m out of bounds in classifying somebody in their mid forties (somebody who is 46 would have been born in 1967) as a boomer (though I’m happy to correct it to “boomerish”).

                1. Chinook*

                  There is a difference between being a Boomer and a Gen Xer (though late boomers often have a lot in common with early Gen Exers) – the Boomers are the mouse working its way through the snake whereas the Gen Xers are the ones trailing that mouse and forever living in that demographic shadow.

            1. EngineerGirl*

              I’m going to disagree with you. Yes, young people have always been selfish and entitled. The difference is that that older generation wouldn’t let them get away with it like they do now. There’s also a difference in attitude – boomers and jonesers couldn’t wait to get out on their own and start earning money. Young people who lived with their parents were looked down on by other young people. And this was true even when we graduated in the middle of a recession (there was 34% unemployment when I graduated)

              1. AnotherAlison*

                What amazes me is how fast the shift in attitude, both by the younger gen and the older gen (parents) happened.

                When I was 27, I had been in a professional job for 6 yrs, owned a home, was married, and had two kids. My sister, at that same age right now, borrowed my parents’ SUV, let her boyfriend drive it, he wrecked it, and now my parents and his mom are splitting the cost to repair it. The parents are treating these two adults in their late twenties like I would treat my 16 year old son. Why? Because he works a $10/hr job and she is not working right now because she’s getting her 3rd college degree, after not being able to get a job with the other 2.

                I don’t want to be a generational b*tch, but similar to the OP’s friend, my sister’s job search was quite limited and my parents took care of her necessities for her to enable her selectiveness. The boyfriend wrecked the car while those two were on vacation. So, not enough money to fix a car, but enough for vacation? I understand the challenges many young people are facing, and I see many successful young people who are like I was at that age, but I see the spoiled attitude so much in my own family that it’s hard not to react when these topics come up on here.

                1. AnonyMouse28*

                  Everytime I see these anecdotal stories, it further proves my points.

                  The parents of privileged kids may well be indulgent–this is a CLASS issue, regardless of generation. And in your case, you can add in a healthy dose of “she’s-the-baby” syndrome in that she’s obviously the younger child. None of this has anything to do with generation. These are familial and socioeconomic variables at play here, not some sort of monolithic “generational” thing.

                2. AnonyMouse28*

                  re: your truck driver comment.

                  OK? I can’t really speak to class there because I don’t know your familial income (nor, of course, do I want to know–that’s personal). In response to that, I can only say: I dated a truck driver, and I can assure you he made considerably more in a month than I did in a year, so I still consider my point valid.

                3. AnotherAlison*

                  A truck driver doing well can make $100K/yr. If you were making less than $8333/yr. . .well, whatever.

                  There’s a huge range, as for many blue collar jobs. Some people might make $40/yr and others in the low $100s. I had an inside-boiler welder friend who make multiples of six-figures, but the guy at your local body shop isn’t making that.

                  When i’m thinking class, I’m thinking more “Class” and way of thinking than strictly income. A multi-generational family of lawyers may very well tell their kid not to snag a blue collar job to make ends meet, while a blue collar roots family is going to say get your butt out there and make some money, you’re not too good for anything. My sister has the she’s-the-baby problem, for sure, but my family’s issues stem from a lot of other problems, not class entitlement.

                4. Laura*

                  AnotherAlison, you’ve gotten alot of criticism here for what you said about your sister, and I’d like to say that first, I completely get where you’re coming from, because I had a brother do the same thing, and that second, being a “generational b*itch” has nothing to do with your issues with your sister and what she’s doing or not doing, because the brother I referred to is 15 years OLDER than I am.

                  For years, he would move in with my parents with the promise of finding a job, but as soon as he was ensconced in my parents’ lovely home, eating my mother’s cooking and being able to use one of their cars for free, the job searching efforts would dwindle to a trickle. Then the situation would escalate, and finally my father would throw him out. He would skulk off somewhere for a couple years, and then come back with his tail between his legs and a tale of woe, promising this time would be different.

                  The last time he did this I told my mother she was out of her mind to even consider it, but they let him move back in anyway. And then, I found out that he was betraying them (and the rest of the family, including me) in the most devious way imaginable, and guess who had to be the cold-hearted b*tch that had to tell my parents about this, and shove the evidence under their noses, and watch their hearts break for the umpteenth time? Me. That was about 10 years ago, and now I’m civil to him and nothing more, just for my mother’s sake.

                  So — I get where you’re coming from and why the situation with your sister is so exasperating for you. Some people will just take everything they can, and it has nothing to do with what generation they’re a member of.

                1. Anne 3*

                  Yes! I’m 25. I’ve got lots of friends, most of whom are employed, who are living with their parents. Trust me, they aren’t doing it for fun. Most of them have no other choice because they can’t find a job (or a combination of jobs) that’ll pay them a living wage. They’re grateful to their parents who let them stay so they can save up, work towards better jobs/compensation, etc. I wouldn’t call that “entitled”.

                2. AnotherAlison*

                  @Anne 3 – my question of the *slightly younger* generation is are they living with their parents to not sacrifice other things, or are they also bare bones everywhere else AND have to live with the parents to make ends meet?

                  My husband and I drove thru the town where we lived in 1998-2000, while I was in college & he was working 2 crap jobs to support us (and baby). We literally did not eat out more than a handful of times when we lived there. We didn’t go to bars. We didn’t get new clothes. We got haircuts for $5 at Great Clips, when they had coupons. I’m not saying we’re martyrs, or did anything generations before us and after us haven’t done, but my parents begged for us to live with them, and we would rather give up everything else than do that. It’s just our choice and not right for everyone, but when I hear so-and-so lives at home, and then I see their facebook posts and good times all around, I think maybe they could support themselves, but they don’t want to cut their lifestyle that much. (Of course, it is motivation if your parents are crazy & you can’t stand living with them!)

                3. Forrest*

                  @AnotherAlison, I don’t mean to come across harshly, but unless you want people to judge your personal choices, may be you shouldn’t judge others. It doesn’t matter how why people live with their parents. Most would prefer not to due to the stigma (like the one you demostrated ie they’re not pulling themselves up by their own bootstrapes enough or living barebones.)

                  If parents don’t have a problem with their kids living with them, regardless if that kid is making a figure job or $8 an hour at McDs, I don’t see why someone else should.

                  In a lot of cases, I wish people would treat life as a test and keep their eyes on their own paper.

                4. Anne 3*

                  I guess it depends. I’m sure some of them could afford to rent if they cut all non-necessities… this month. It’s tough when you keep moving from temp job to temp job (always getting cut right before the employer has to make you permanent – i.e. give you benefits) or when you have to scrape together a more-than-full time job out of several part-time gigs that pay minimum wage and no benefits (see also: the McDonald’s employee budget).
                  If you have no other choice – you try to make it work (but of course, sometimes you can’t and you get evicted). If your parents give you the option to stay with them and pay them a minimal sum in rent, so you can save and look for better jobs… I think the choice is easily made.

                  I totally get not wanting to live with your parents – mine are wonderful, and I still wouldn’t. I’m lucky enough to have a good job with a steady paycheck – but among my friends, that’s more the exception than the rule.

                5. Felicia*

                  there’s definitely still the same stigma living with your parents….and people do it because they have no other choice, not just for funsies. At least, I’m in my early 20s and no one I know really wants to be living with their parents. But with huge debts from university they have to pay back and all they can get is a minimum wage job if they’re lucky, and living in a city where making minimum wage means you can’t afford not to live with roommates there’s not much choice . @AnotherAlison, doing all the things you said people here still wouldn’t be able to make ends meet working a minimum wage job. You could maybe get a room in a bad part of town, but then you wouldn’t be near a grocery store which makes things complicated, and then you’d also have to be willing to live with strangers. I don’t call people entitled for not being willing to live with strangers or wanting to live near a grocery store because they can’t afford a car. I do have some friends who do have a room in a house with strangers in a bad part of town because they have to, but if you don’t have to I understand why people wouldn’t.

                6. Anne 3*

                  I really don’t mean to come off as defensive, by the way. It’s just that when the discission starts on ‘my’ generation and our work and living situations (often from click-baiting articles about all the things we’re doing wrong – not AAM, obviously, but the newspapers my coworkers read) I tend to get a little there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-i

                7. AnotherAlison*

                  @Anne 3

                  Then thing with the whole “my generation” thing that gets me is I’m only . . . 35.

                  You’re 25. A lot of people in your corner (not necessarily here, just in the media and in general) are 26-30. WTF happened in 5-10 years??? (I know what happened – tuition hikes, two recessions, a restructuring of the global economy. . .)

                  It’s kind of unbelievable how different things are for my cohort vs. people a few years later. On paper, we could be the same generation, depending where you draw the line (I feel more gen x, due to my husband being a couple years older & having kids at a young age), but in reality, very different experiences.

                8. Forrest*

                  I think its odd that you’re looking down/judging people younger than you while acknowledging at the same time that the world was a lot better when you were in their shoes.

                  Also, AAM, I had an earlier reply in this thread that hasn’t gone through. Did I do something wrong?

                9. Anne 3*

                  @ Anotheralison, I guess it’s crazy what can happen in a few short years! At 35 I’d consider you as in the same generation, but I do things are different now vs. the early 2000’s. (Hell, even two years can make a big difference – my sister is graduating now and she’s going to be competing for even less jobs than I did in 2011, with the people from her grad year in addition to the grads from the last 5-ish years who are still actively looking to move out of un- or underemployment). Then of course, I’m sure every past generation faced its own specific difficulties regarding work/life.

                10. AnotherAlison*

                  @ Forrest. . .

                  I think I am coming off much more judgemental “in type” than I really feel. I feel pretty damn judgemental to my sister, but that has to do with my family, not the entire generation.

                  I am genuinely curious why things are harder now, even though I do understand the increased costs. My main comparison is my own life, where my husband paid our way with no education & two jobs to support a family of 3, to a single “average” college graduate who does not have to support a spouse or a child right away. So while I was around in the good old days, they weren’t good for us, specifically! We had a lot higher bills to pay than the average 20 year old, so I have always thought it would be comparable to what a new grad has to face now under higher student loans, utilities, rent, etc. That’s all. So, yeah, while I acknowledge living was cheaper then, it wasn’t so cheap for me personally.

                11. AnotherAlison*


                  Perhaps in my 50 comments, I did say something about thinking it was entitled. Okay.

                  Honestly, I see it as entitled and I don’t see it as entitled. Every person and situation is unique. Some young adults (and adults on up to 50 yrs old) are sucking off the family well until it’s dry, and those parents have little nest egg left for retirement. Others are only there as a last resort and to get a little head start in life and regretting every minute of it. Others’ parents need them to move back in to help with their bills. You can’t deny entitlement doesn’t exist ANYWHERE, but I wouldn’t attribute it to everyone in Gen Y or say it is not present in any other generation. All I think I said was it wasn’t very common among my peers to move back home. Even so, many were absolutely entitled. Parents could make car payments, rent payments etc. for them, but it was unusual to live with them.

                12. Forrest*

                  AnotherAllison, I think your real question is why did I have to work so hard to live the life I choose and my sister doesn’t? And that’s really not a question anyone here is qualified to answer.

                13. AnotherAlison*


                  Also, I mentioned it somewhere else in this ridiculous thread, but my parents would have happily supported me, my husband, and our son for as long as we wanted to stay there. It didn’t have to be financially hard for us (but that would have destroyed our relationship). I guess a lot of my perspective is that we came out with a lot of positives from making it on our own before we were ready on paper, so I tend to see it as a good thing to struggle. There’s of course a difference between struggling and not making it, and we wouldn’t have made choices that meant we didn’t have food or heat.

                14. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  @EM, re: living with parents and what the big deal is …. I think my question is: What’s being lost by 20somethings who live with their parents for years after graduating? Are they losing something useful by not having the experience that many of the rest of us had of living on our own and struggling to be independent? I think there are really valuable things that come from that process — there certainly were for me — and I have to think they’re at a disadvantage in some ways for losing that.

                15. Forrest*

                  @AnotherAlison so basically you and your sister just made different choices in life? Because before you made it seem like this was unheard of for people your age…but now you’re saying it was a choice, you just choose not to take it.

                  You choose not to accept your parents help. Your sister choose to accept it. Many young adults in all generations have made the same choice. Neither choice is better or worse, right or wrong.

                16. TheBurg*

                  I’m not sure how true that is. I think there’s a huge stigma of living with your parents and not working, going to school, or trying to work, but living with parents and working/going to school is a different issue I think. And I think it’s much more accepted.

                17. AnotherAlison*

                  in response to Forrest:Because before you made it seem like this was unheard of for people your age…but now you’re saying it was a choice, you just choose not to take it.

                  I was was 19-20 when I moved out. It is not unheard of for people of college age to maintain permanent residence with their parents, which was the opportunity on the table for me. I chose to move out instead. My peers, in general, did not move back home /stay home after college (or at that age if they didn’t go to college).

                18. Forrest*

                  So you moved out in roughly 1998-2000 and you’re wondering why you and your husband was able to make vs your sister? The unemployment rate was on average less than 4.5% then. Its currently about double now.

                  I honestly just don’t think its fair to compare where your sister is at 27 vs where you were. You both had totally different lives and made different choices. Plus, you can’t compare a world in a recession to a world pre-recession. Our country was doing very well bust. Not so much now.


              2. AnonyMouse28*

                Boomers and Jonesers couldn’t wait to get out on their own because their wages were worth considerably more in today’s market (I could link to things, but I hate getting sent into moderation land because then it feels like the conversation runs away from me), and their employment prospects were considerably better. It’s sort of like saying “when I had a car, I had a car to drive myself around in!” if that makes any sense.

                What I’m trying to say is–this is not a generational issue. This is a class issue. The parents of privileged kids may well have been more indulgent of them (much like the OP’s friends parents), and that is true regardless of generation.

                I can’t speak to your 34% unemployment claim (I just looked at historical unemployment rates and I can’t see any percentage that high since the great depression), BUT all I can say is this:

                As to your “young people looked down on other young people” comment…

                The average rent in my city is $3,000.00. I can afford less than a fifth of that (if I want to be able to eat and pay utilities) on my current salary (with a bachelors degree, a Summa GPA, a very, very strong resume and ZERO debt). I still live with my (overall immigrant) family, and I contribute to the running of the household and handle the budget.

                If anybody sneers at me for living with my parent, shame on them for their lack of awareness and understanding, both socially and economically.

                1. fposte*

                  Yeah, I don’t see any looking down around here. People may look down when it’s somebody who’s not job hunting, let alone working, but living with parents is the new having a roommate.

                2. AnotherAlison*

                  If you’re in a city where the average rent is $3,000/mo, you’re waaayyy at one end of the spectrum. Where I’m from, average rent for a 1BR is $637. There’s a huge difference between someone in your area not being able to afford $3000/mo and someone in my area who has to live with their parents.

                3. Forrest*

                  Is there though? Because I’ve found that wages are usually related to cost of living. So while someone may live in an area where rent is $3,000, they’re probably making more money than someone who lives in an area where rent is $637.

                  I would also image that there are more jobs in more populated areas – but that’s generally where rent is higher. Supply and demand and all.

                4. AnonyMouse28*

                  @ AnotherAlison

                  But that just proves my point! Huge variables are at play here, is what I’m saying. I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as people in their twenties living it up with mom while they drop 500 bucks a week at a bar, don’t get me wrong–what I’m saying is, those kids existed in every generation, because none of this has anything to do with generation (that’s just a catch-all that frankly ignores a huge swath of low-income, low-resource young people who work their butts off only to get lumped into “entitled millennial” land). There’s a whole host of factors, and none of it is this inherent “all young people think x” monolith–there’s resources, class, familial variables, regional variables, economics, politics, hell even religion.

                  And really–none of this was just because we were born a certain year.

                  It’s just too complicated to boil down that simply, and you’re doing an entire population of people a disservice by judging them based on the media’s representation (or even your sister’s example).

                5. AnotherAlison*

                  I can only speak to my field, but in general, our corporate research shows that engineer salaries are fairly consistent nationwide (US).

                6. AnonyMouse28*

                  I can only reply to myself (this system is so strange…) @ Forrest:

                  You’re right, and you’re wrong–it really depends on region. If you were to just look at the median income in the NY tri-state area, you might get one picture. But if you were to dig deeper into, say, the income disparity in New York (which, by the way, per the US census is the highest in the nation) you’d get a very different story. When you have massive outliers (i.e. multi-millionaires who keep an apartment in midtown) it skews the formula considerably.

                7. AnotherAlison*


                  I actually said in my first comment at 10:21 “I understand the challenges many young people are facing, and I see many successful young people who are like I was at that age,” so I’m not sure what you’re arguing with me about. I DO see young people doing good stuff now, too. I’m not discounting that.

                  What I didn’t see as much of with my generation was living with parents. Really. And I knew people across the spectrum from my engineering class friends, friends working (barely) at the pizza place and dropping out of the community college every semester, education majors, artists, etc. True, my experience was in the midwest and not a high cost of living area like you’re talking about, but from my perspective, the rate of kids living with their parents HERE is much higher now than it was in the 90s-early 2000s.

                8. Felicia*

                  @ AnonyMouse28 I live somewhere similar to where you live in terms of high cost of living, though not quite as high. And minimum wage is the same in the whole province…so while someone can support themselves on minimum wage in a part of the province with a lower cost of living, it’s impossible here . And with certain degrees, minimum wage is all a lot of people can get other than unpaid internships . There are more jobs here, but there are also far more people and more competition.

                9. Stevie*

                  I read some where that it is monthly utility costs that keep the current generation “down.” When our grandparents were starting out in the 50’s or whenever they didn’t have cellphones, internet, cable, air conditioning, two cars, or whatever. This was also normal to them and no one thought any different of it. I really like these monthly bills, but it would be interesting to see a cost analysis of how little you could live on “comfortably” without these things.

                10. AnonyMouse28*


                  I’m not arguing–I’m having a discussion in the hopes of convincing you that believing the things a “generational b*tch” as you put it may believe ignores many, many complex socioeconomic variables in favor of judging one generation as ‘more hardworking’ than the proceeding. Obviously that’s not a discussion you’re keen on having.

                  I suppose, I’m not a big fan of the “us vs them” mentality–it strikes me as closed minded; a means of allowing groups of people to feel better, stronger, more hardworking, more industrious than others without any real thoughtfulness to the situation they’re discussing.

                11. Cat*

                  AnotherAlison, it’s fine if your particular moral system means you should do everything other than live with your parents. But why should other people have that moral system? In a lot of cultures, it’s the norm for children to live with their parents until – and even after – marriage; parents will then often then move in with their kids again later in life. If this arrangement works for everyone, who cares? Why is it so horrible to avail yourself of that family support? What if your parents feel they’re getting reciprocal support from you?

                  I just don’t really get why living with parents automatically equals entitled even if everyone involved is happy and doesn’t feel taken advantage of. Who cares if there’s certain threshold of dire poverty people aren’t quite willing to face when they don’t have to? Would society be better off if kids who could live with their parents were snapping up all the cheap housing in the region?

                12. AnotherAlison*


                  Well, no, I am not keen on having a discussion where you attack me for opinions that I don’t have.

                  My original statement was that I didn’t want to be a generational bitch. I don’t really see it as us vs. them. Not only am I not that much older, and having a sister in the younger gen, my son is coming up and will be in college in 3 years. I worked really hard to get where I am and I am well aware others do the same. I want to understand how young people getting ahead now do it, so I can teach that to my son and he doesn’t follow in my sister’s footsteps, but at the same time, we hear that it is normal to extend your youth (the govt lets you have parental health insurance much longer now, so it’s not just anectdotal evidence from me) in ways that were not normal ever before. I don’t want to shove my kid out unrealistically at 18 or 22, but I also don’t want to keep him from reaching his potential by making him live a little bit uncomfortably. Obviously there is a great variation regionally in how soon someone can be self-sufficient. Just trying to understand.

                13. AnotherAlison*


                  Okay, getting a little frustrated here and ready for lunch anyway . . .

                  You said: it’s fine if your particular moral system means you should do everything other than live with your parents. But why should other people have that moral system?

                  You said that in response to my 11:02 comment in which I said about my living arrangement:

                  “It’s just our choice and not right for everyone. ”

                  I actually have a lot of good reasons why I believe young adults shouldn’t live with their parents, and those reasons fit my lifestyle and belief system, but other people have equally good reasons why they should live with their parents. I’m not contesting that.

                14. Forrest*

                  I think the problem is that you’re coming off judging your sister for how she lives her live and how (it sounds like) you did it so much better, while acknowledging that your sister is living in a different world than you did.

                  Now, you know your sister better than anyone else here but the problems you listed are relatable by a lot of people in her generation (not finding a job), seem very harshly judgemental (you object to her going on a vacation?), and seem to ingore the world she has to deal with (a lot of people were told to study what they love, then go to grad school to weather this storm out and then to get a “useful” degree.)

                  Again, I nor does anyone else know your sister. Maybe she’s not applying to jobs and maybe she’s really taking advantage of your parents. Again, you know better than anyone. But it seems really…offseive to act like you did better than her when you two aren’t on the same playing field and then to ask how to get your kid to avoid it. You avoid it by encouraging him to find something he enjoys and can make money for and you avoid it by helping him out like your parents do your sister. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – thats between your sister and your parents, not you.)

                15. EM*

                  Can I also add to this discussion– maybe some parents of the likely-to-live-at-home Millenial generation actually encourage it?

                  My brother is 28- he has a good job, a girlfriend, an active social life, and lives with my parents still. They have a big house close to his work, and everyone is happy with the arrangement. Seriously. His feeling is that he wants to buy a house eventually, and living at home helps him save; my parents also want him to buy a house, and are happy to have him save money, help run errands and take care of the house, and spend time with them.

                  Among my peers growing up (I’m 26) many of our parents had us in their mid-late 30s, meaning that they are now approaching retirement. Many of them (my parents included) have health issues, and appreciate the support and company of their kids since they won’t be around forever. If both parents and kids are okay living together for longer, what’s the big deal?

                16. Anonymous*


                  Minimum wage take-home pay even for a full-timer is just a little over $1ooo (even a technical full time job at that level isn’t usually 40 hrs because they schedule you for 40 but then you take your lunches). Even if you pay a flat $500 to live with roommates and pay nothing toward student loans due to IBR, car/renter’s insurance, food, gas, and personal necessities (toiletries, etc) eat up the rest of that. That’s if you don’t have any actual emergencies or need dental work or anything like that.

                  It is not sustainable no matter your city. Period, the end.

                17. AnotherAlison*


                  I would say I’m in a better position to judge my sister’s situation than you are. To lay it out, my family had to deal with some particularly difficult and tragic situations around the time of her graduation, which caused my mom to be extra codependent and allow this whole thing to unfold. My sister never even looked for a job after her graduation. She went straight into an M.Ed. (her undergrad is in science), but when she finished that, she only applied with 3 school districts. After 2 years, she’s now started a BSN degree. She’s done a lot of part-time work, but she’s never paid her bills. To me, that’s entitled. It’s mutual, between her and my parents, but dang, it’s really hard to watch a single woman with no kids and two college degrees be supported by her parents (who have no college education), when I hadn’t been supported by them since I was a freshman in college. .

                18. Forrest*

                  “I would say I’m in a better position to judge my sister’s situation than you are.”

                  Yup, I said that several times. I was just addressing how you’re coming across to others.

                  I don’t know what to tell you or what you’re really asking. To me, you seem to be taking your sister’s experiencing and trying to apply it across the board. In one comment, you state the reasons that make the world different today than it did in yours. In another, you say you don’t understand why things are different. In one comment, you want to know why a single woman with no kids can’t make it on her own while you could. In another comment, you state exactly why.

                  I know you’re not trying to make it an us vs them thing but I’m not sure what you’re looking for.

                  10 years ago (2003) the unemployment rate never raised above 6.3% and it was at that number only one month – June, when most students graduate/have been out for school for a month.

                  In 2012, the unemployment rate was never below 7.8% and was mostly higher than 8%. This year so far, the unemployment range has been between 7.5-7.9%.

                  And I don’t know what state you live in but teaching positions are being cut nation wide, not added.


                19. Laura*

                  I have no problems with people living with their parents, if those people are not taking advantage of them. I had a brother do this, and it enraged me, and I had to watch him break my parents’ hearts over and over again as an added bonus. So I’m hypersensitive to people doing that. If there’s an arrangement where no one is being hurt, manipulated, or taken advantage of, more power to them.

                  Rent is expensive, and trying to buy a house now is a truly mind-numbing amount of paperwork and hoops to jump through, and that’s only if you get approved for a loan. We moved and bought a house last year, and decided to get our mortgage through our bank, who also happened to be the lender on our last house. We had a good history, never a late payment, steady-paying, long-term jobs, and even with all that it was still a royal fuster-cluck. So yeah, for someone early in their career, maybe living with their parents is a wiser choice. I did it myself in my early 20’s. I had gotten in way over my head with credit card debt, and I moved back in with my parents for a year so I could pay it all off as quickly as possible. And while I was grateful they let me do that, I was also determined to never do it again.

                  And to touch on what fposte said about living with parents being the new having a roommate, it is equally true that older parents moving in with their kids is also another version of having a roommate.

                  My mother-in-law lives with us, because my father-in-law died last year and she could not stay where she was by herself. It was a remote cabin out in the middle of nowhere. She was going to get an apartment, but we told her that was not necessary. Where we live, a decent 1BR apartment would be between $800 and $1000 per month, and then there’s food and utilities on top of that. She’s on a pretty limited, fixed income so that would have been a real hardship for her. So we told her not to waste her money on that and move in with us. We have a house with a walk-out basement with a bathroom and a kitchenette, and she lives there.

              3. fposte*

                I’m going to differ on the “getting away with it”–there’s certainly a higher rate of parental protectiveness for a norm now, but there’s a lot of backlash in a larger cultural sense. Shoplifting that would have gotten a kid a stern talking to thirty years ago is now an automatic filing of charges, and a minor in possession of alcohol loses a lot more these days. I’m not making a statement about whether that’s right or wrong, but it has gotten a lot harsher there.

            2. fposte*

              I think both things are true. The young people I work closely with are crazy good, energetic and motivated, and they’re far from atypical. But from an educational standpoint there’s also a great increase in the expectation of guidance, of parental intervention, of reward.

              As with any generational characteristic, the seeds got planted by the generations before, and as a borderline boomer/Xer I’m amused and scoffing at the notion that we didn’t grow up with such entitlement–as with kids today, many of us didn’t, but many of us did. But that’s a direction that’s gotten greater, not less, in a way that is pretty noticeable as a change even over the last decade or so. It’s really unfortunate that the increased trend of protection from failure coincided with an economy that made it so easy to fail, and I think it’s possible that the OP’s friend may be scared to death as well as complacent.

              1. FormerManager*

                Another thought…when my parents were growing up, the norm for their region was for the young men to get an apartment and live on their own after college but young women moved back home after college. Generalities about moving back home vs. living independently don’t really take into account cultural expectations for men and women’s post-college lives in different regions.

                (Apologies for sounding like my sociology teacher….)

              2. Rana*

                That’s really well put. From what I saw of the college-age people I taught – both those from privileged backgrounds and those from working class ones – there’s both that expectation that other people will help them when they’re struggling (rather than that they should struggle through on their own) and, unfortunately, an economic context in which they need that help, because doing it on your own isn’t simply hard (as it used to be) but frequently impossible. Thus dependency ends up being self-reinforcing.

                I would also add that there are those of us out here who look like they’re far more independent than they may actually be, because we have jobs and families and our own housing – but I can tell you, my husband and I are very grateful for the help we’ve gotten, both from previous generations’ inherited nest eggs, and from the generosity of our parents. If we had to do it entirely on our own, our standard of living would be much, much different.

                1. fposte*

                  Absolutely. I had a father who presaged millennial parents in his boundless desire to help out his kids–that’s why I can’t be too critical, since I was on the receiving end of something pretty similar, and it helped me in many ways. On the other hand, in reference to what Alison says upthread, I pushed back a lot on how much he wanted to do, and I think I ended up better off than my brother, who had a hard time departing from the shelter that was so freely offered.

            3. Laura*

              Actually AnonyMouse28, I wasn’t referring specifically to the “younger” generation. People of all ages are deluded into thinking that they can go on a reality show and become famous, or that they can force their children into it (I’m looking at you, Honey Boo Boo’s mother) into it and do it that way.

                1. Laura*

                  And Kris Jenner, the most repugnant and extreme example of what I’m talking about, is in her 50’s. So the fame whore bug can afflict people of any age.

            4. Jazzy Red*

              Mouse, I *am* a baby boomer, and I grew up knowing that if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t eat. I had steady employement for 25 years, then was tossed aside like a used kleenex. Several years of under-employment (and under-payment) followed, but I managed to survive by living without many luxuries and extras. I was entitled to do without them or starve.

              That being said, all younger people (of all generations past and present) have certain expectations, and being inexperienced in life, some of them are not realistic. Some of them are selfish, some of them are short sighted, and some are just plain laziness. Most people mature and come to realize they need to earn what want. The OP’s friend is in for a rude awakening, which will come sooner or later. There’s not much the OP can do right now, though.

          2. Del*

            That’s a pretty grim way of looking at it, Laura.

            Another thing to keep in mind is that, especially for young people, college degrees are no longer a guarantee of success, and they are increasingly expensive, with scholarships and grants getting thinner on the ground and more competitive. So for many young people, it is very tempting to think that they will be better off if they don’t start out their adult lives deep in debt with little to show for it.

            As well, there is increasing distrust in our entire educational system — some of it merited, some of it not. When someone doesn’t feel that the first 12 years of their education were worth it, why would they feel sanguine about another very expensive four years being worth it?

            And while those of us with more scope do know that things are even harder if you don’t have a degree, I can’t help sympathizing with the people who don’t see much reason to plunge themselves deeply in debt.

            1. LisaLyn*

              I agree with this. I also do tend to agree some with Laura, because I do think there is a rise in people gaining at least fame for no real “reason”. However, yes, it’s very true that with college becoming increasingly expensive and the availability of *good* jobs scarce, I do not know that college can be seen as a good investment, at least not in the way it used to be. I mean, I can see why someone would not consider it to be.

              1. Cat*

                Recent studies that have come out have suggested it still is; things are bad for recent college graduates but they’re worse for recent high school graduates who didn’t go on to college or who dropped out of college.

                That said, given the discourse about it, I don’t blame any high school kid for thinking college is a bad deal.

                1. fposte*

                  It’s tough–college often doesn’t get you what it really should be worth, given tuition costs, but not going to college will lose you considerably more.

              2. Laura*

                I think the next generation of kids going to college will be doing it in a completely different way than everyone else has. College is ridiculously expensive – and it’s not even the tuition that will put you in the poor house, it’s the room and board.

                What is so infuriating is that these schools – state schools, which are supposed to be the “affordable” choice, will just announce that tuition and fees will increase by exorbitant amounts, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The University of Colorado did that a couple years ago – announced a hike of 28%. 28%!! So what are people supposed to do? Abandon the work they’ve done so far and walk away from their degrees, or suck it up and go into even more debt so they can finish? Believe me, I do sympathize. I got my MBA a few years ago and the only reason I could afford to do it was because my company offered a tuition assistance benefit.

                My stepdaughter who will be in 10th grade this year is already thinking about college, and we have told her that there is money for her to go to college, and we will make it happen. But there is not an unlimited pool of resources, and we have to be smart and get the most for our money. And we will not be going into debt.

                So this means that maybe she’ll do a couple years at a community college, which is cheap (or at least cheaper), and then transfer her credits to a 4 year school when she zeroes in on a major. She will almost certainly live with us rather than living in a dorm. We have told her she is welcome to live with us as long as she’s in school of some sort. Maybe she’ll do some online classes. She’ll almost certainly try to get a part-time job so she can have spending money, gas money, and so on.

                1. Del*

                  If you do encourage her, be careful with the online classes; while they can be a great learning resource, there are also a lot of scams out there. Do your research and vet the programs carefully. Your stepdaughter may be the one taking the classes, but in my experience, teenagers don’t often have the life experience to recognize a bad deal when they see one or to properly balance cost-benefit ratios.

                2. Laura*

                  Yes, Del you’re right. My MBA program was all online, through an accredited institution, so I do have some experience with those and will be able to help her know what to look for.

                  She is also unusually wise for her age, which is great, but sad at the same time because she got that way by living with her extremely unbalanced and narcissistic mother until she moved in with us about a year ago.

            2. Lora*

              Trade school. If I had to do it again, I’d be a mechanic–diesel, heavy equipment, marine and aerospace. No, I wouldn’t make as much as I do now, but it’s still decent middle-class money and you go home at the end of your shift. You can also operate independently if you want without much hassle. I could totally live in a tiny cottage near the beach/docks and bike to work in the shipyard. And I say that as someone who did have enough scholarships that I graduated nearly debt-free. Times have changed, college tuitions are downright obnoxious compared to what’s offered and what you get job market-wise. I can’t even fathom not only paying $100k for a degree, but then having to work without pay (“intern,” which was a low-paid position in my day) for years just to be considered entry-level. It’s a load of horse pucky.

              1. jennie*

                Amen. If I could do it all again, I’d be a medical lab technician. When I was in high school I liked creative writing and my guidance counsellor discouraged me from science careers because I didn’t have strong grades in math. 20 years later I find basic math comes very easily to me and I long for a job with repetitive structure.

                At age 17 it’s hard to believe that what would make you most happy in the future is a secure, middle-class income, not a creative career, but it’s probably true for most people.

              2. AnotherAlison*

                I agree with you on this. The key for me: “You can also operate independently if you want without much hassle.” The field I went into, power engineering, requires a corporate machine and butts-in-office. There are niches where someone can set up an independent shop and do well, such as our noise consultant, but that type of thing requires a decade+ of experience and more importantly a good network to be successful, where my husband (an electrician) went on his own at a very young age and was able to succeed.

                1. the gold digger*

                  Me four. Roofer, electrician, plumber, hairdresser plus basic business management courses. These jobs will never be exported to China. The pay is good if you are good. Show up when you say you are going to show up. Clean up after yourself. Do a good job. Invoice quickly. Those guys are gold.

                2. Lora*

                  Yeah, I am trying to get into consulting at the moment. It takes about 15 years of experience–and it has to be GOOD experience at doing design/builds with client interaction. I happened to spend the past 13 years as a lab rat in Corporate-land, my only interactions being the occasional investor or Board of Directors visit. I have to prove that I am presentable to the general public. :P

              3. Chinook*

                I agree that going into a trade is probably the best bet right now. I almost ended up in a second career as an electrician when the bottom fell out of teaching. The only thing that stopped me was marrying DH and becoming a military wife – it is hard justifying to a prospective employer that they invest in you as an apprentice when you can’t guarantee you will be in the same place 3 years form now.

              4. Anne 3*

                I agree with you. But I think an 18 year old has no idea how much money $100k is, and how long it’ll take to pay off. Despite this, they are being offered these loans, and their schools are pushing them into applying for the most prestigious (and expensive!) colleges and universities so they can advertise “x % of grads go on to fancy schools”, rather than do a more sensible thing like go to community college first or go to a trade school.

                I’m sure there’s many, many people who look back and say “I wish I’d never done that.” But as a high school graduate, you don’t know how it all works yet, and the people guiding you don’t always have your best interests at heart.

                1. Lora*

                  I dunno. I think they probably do know at the very least that it’s A Lot. But there’s a lot of cultural forces pushing them away from that type of work. I know in my family, girls weren’t supposed to be mechanics or electricians or do Boy Jobs; and likewise, smart kids are told from Day 1 that they should go to college to be a doctor/lawyer/president, not that they should consider all the options available to them. The school tracks are very clearly ranked, with Vo-Tech at the bottom of the ranking.

                2. Chinook*

                  I think part of the reason kids aren’t pushed into the trades is that teachers are, by their nature academics, are college/university educated and usually never saw the trades as an alternative or possibly even desirable. As a result, they push students to what they as teachers think is ideal. If there were more trades taught in the schools (think shop class and home ec) that were taught by actual tradespeople, we would probably find more students going into it.

                3. Chinook*

                  Lora, I honestly think the gender thing is going the way of the dodo as the culture changes. I know that, as a female who grew up in the home of an electrician, it took a lot of effor ton the part of my brother and I to point out that my brother hated helping my dad with the DIY stuff and that I preferred it because it never even crossed my dad’s mind that his daughters were interested. Now he doesn’t even think twice about giving his granddaughter her first tool belt.

                  The smart kids getting pushed into the lawyer/doctor/politics things, though, will take more work because there is a definite prestige to it. We need to push to change that so that people can be in awe of what it takes to build the hospital and keep it running smoothly.

                4. Natalie*

                  @Lora, I think you’re right that an 18-year-old looking at $100K in loans knows that it’s A Lot, but I also wonder if they look at a typical starting salary ($20K? $25K?) and think of that as A Lot, too. I think when I was making minimum wage at 30ish hours a week, moving up to $11/hr with no benefits made me feel very rich. But I was still in school and living at home, so I didn’t have a ton of expenses. I paid into the household expenses, but it was far lower than anything I would have been able to get on the market, even with roommates.

                5. chikorita*

                  @Natalie agreed, when I was 17 and looking at my future plans, obviously I had some idea of budgeting and how money works, but having never lived on my own I just didn’t understand it fully. My contributions to the household were made in chores and helping out- I didn’t really get what the expenses of a young single adult living in a city were. I probably would have seen a 25k starting salary and thought, “Woohoo, cash! Lots of cash!”, whereas now I’m looking at these things in terms of, “Well, okay, my rent is x, I need y a month for utilities, etc, so could I cover everything with this salary, and what would I have leftover?” None of those things really occurred to me when I was a kid. Even when I did think about these things, it was very abstract for me

          3. Forrest*

            Its not, we just have more ways of communicating. Everyone thinks things have gotten worse but really, our media has expanded into more channels that can provide instance news on any topic possible. Gone are the days when newspapers, TV news, magazines and radio had to cull down topics. Additionally, people don’t have to pick watching ABC news over CBS news anymore.

            Additionally, reality tv spans across many generations. Both younger and older people watch and appear on reality TV. And Kim Kardashian are not new. There’s always been offspring of well-off people that didn’t have to work or contribute anything useful. It just seems like there’s more of them because 1) there are due to reproduction (Hilton was just one person but he had more than one kid and they had more than one kid) and 2) again, more media.

            There’s also just general nostalgia and thinking that we always do better than anyone else. I’m sure in 3o years, the Millennials will be saying the same thing, just as the generation before yours said the same thing about you. Its all relative.

            1. Laura*

              Well I do agree with you there. I actually had a debate on Facebook with someone I went to high school with, who said that the crazed teenaged girl fans of the Beatles were not nearly as bad as the crazed teenaged girl fans today of Justin Bieber (or whoever). My argument was that human behavior has not changed in the course of a couple generations, but technology certainly has. Had Facebook, Twitter, TMZ, and all the rest of it existed back then, it would have been just as bad as it is today.

              What I do find different today is this addiction to exhibitionism. Again, maybe it’s just a function of advances in technology, or maybe it’s just that I can think of few things more horrifying than having a bunch of people following me around with cameras, and I will never understand how or why people agree to this.

              1. Forrest*

                I think its a function of the advance of technology. The world seems so much bigger now than it did before and human interaction has changed. So in order to stand out, we’ve turned to exhibition in a way.

                New modes of communication not only means we’re exposed to more people than before but we’re fighting with other people for individualism.

                I think also new modes of communication gets confused with exhibition. For example, to someone, posting videos on youtube is a way to express themselves, meet people, communicate. To another person, that youtuber is just showing off.

                1. Laura*

                  I get putting stuff on YouTube, and I’m as much as a Facebook addict as the next person. What I don’t get are the reality shows. People voluntarily signing up for Big Brother, The Bachelor, Rock of Love, etc just baffle me. They seem to be willing to humiliate themselves in front of the whole world just so they can be on TV.

                  The newest appalling show is Naked and Afraid. Really? What won’t people do to be on TV?

                  The reality shows where you have to have some kind of talent or skill to advance (beyond backstabbing or sleeping with your co-stars) don’t bug me. I like Project Runway. And the shows that are actual reality, instead of manufactured drama, like Deadliest Catch, don’t bother me either.

                  The so-called reality shows also make me mad because it’s a way for the production companies to get out of having to pay writers to to develop scripts, so we all have to suffer by being besieged with trashy people trying to out-trash each other. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

                2. Forrest*

                  I could see myself doing Big Brother or Real World before it because about hooking up. Stuff where you sit around and occasionally do a physical activity. Survivor or anything like that? No. I need a place to shower.

                  But supply and demand. People wouldn’t do it if other people weren’t watching and then appointing them like the next Bachelor and his selected choice were the Royal Couple or something.

                  A snake eating its tail, it is.

              2. Anonymous*

                Well … of course it wasn’t as bad. The Beatles had far more talent than “The Bieb” ;)

    2. Chinook*

      I love hearing the “but Bill Gates dropped out of school and look where he went” example of why education doesn’t matter. What they don’t acknowledge is that Bill Gates had self taught skills and experience and was lucky enough to be born in a time and a place that allowed him to turn those skills into something valuable. If he had born 20 years earlier or later or anywhere else in the world, he could have had very different results.

      If the people who use Bill Gates as an example actually had a college education, odds are good that they would understand that. (Though those without education often relaize it as well).

      1. Forrest*

        He also came from a family with a decent income and dropped out of Harvard to start his business. I can pretty much promise that if Gates didn’t have that idea at the right time, he would of stayed in college.

    3. Ruffingit*

      I love it when people use the example of Bill Gates as a reason why they don’t need a degree. If you don’t want to get a degree, don’t get one, but using Bill Gates as a reason is ridiculous. Bill Gates doesn’t have a degree, that is true. But what he did have was work ethic out the wazoo. He also attended Harvard for two years and dropped out to start a company.

      So he attended college for two years and made the considered decision to leave only after having something else to occupy his time. And that something else turned out to be a company that has become successful.

      So yeah…he doesn’t have a college degree, what he has is work ethic. You can make up for a lack of a degree with work ethic, but if you don’t have a degree OR work ethic, what you have is a major problem.

      1. Natalie*

        Gates also grew up in a very well off family, which afforded him a lot of opportunity to screw around with computers at a time when they would have been unavailable to the vast majority of people, no matter how smart.

        That’s not to say that Gates is who he is because he grew up rich, just that he may not have had the opportunity without the wealth and background of his parents and grandparents.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Completely agree that affluent background is very helpful in determining your choices.

  6. Pussyfooter*

    OP #6:
    Send The Note!!!
    My friend who didn’t know about thank you notes was runner up for a job she wanted. I asked if she’d sent one, and wound up explaining what/how, etc. The winning candidate immediately fell through and guess who was there that day to drop off her note? (this was in the olden days when humans went to places to talk to humans–should probably not go in person nowadays.)

    It’s polite to ALWAYS send a note to your interviewer/s. It’s not meant to be thanks for giving you the job. It’s meant to thank the interviewer for giving you their time, attention, any special thing you appreciated about what they said in the interview, etc. (yes, it’s
    hard if you get a weird interviewer who you never ever want to meet again, but you can still show that You have class.)

    1. Newly Hired*

      Yup. In a previous job where I worked, a co-worker of mine got hired the same way — she was the second-choice candidate, but the first-choice candidate fell off the face of the earth after the interviews, and the person who became my co-worker made sure to send a thank-you note and a follow-up. It ended up winning her the job.

  7. Anonymous*

    #3, your friend doesn’t have the best attitude about this, but it’s not like the only thing stopping her from getting a job is her unwillingness to go pick one off a tree. You say you and your friends have forwarded job openings to her, which I guess is nice of you, but I have a relative who does the same thing and I’ve never gotten an interview. Same with the “Now Hiring” signs for local businesses. In both cases, they may not get literally “thousands” of applicants, but they’ll certainly get hundreds. And I guarantee that among those hundreds are people with much more experience than your friend.

    I’ve been aggressively job searching for two years, with a little more experience than most recent grads, and I’m still stuck in the same part-time position. A position I only got in the first place because I was friends with the hiring manager and she was allowed to bypass posting the job. Your friend isn’t putting herself out there as much as she should, but the fact is she’d probably be in the same place anyway or working 20 hours a week at McDonald’s which isn’t going to pay her bills anyway. It’s very difficult to listen to people who were lucky enough to find a job in this economy preach about how anyone who wants a job can get one–all they have to do is go apply wherever there’s a sign.

    1. Stevie*

      Surely a part-time gig at McDonald’s is better than *nothing* though. At the very least it shows that she can listen to a manager, work well with coworkers, follow a schedule, and so on. It may seem silly to the OP’s friend to think she has to show that, but she has to remember than hiring managers don’t know her personally.

      1. Del*

        The part-time gig at McDonald’s is not actually always better than nothing. In this particular instance it might be, since the job-seeker (or non-seeker) in question is living off parental money rather than welfare or other government assistance, but I’ve seen cases where someone got a job, lost all or most of their assistance, and actually had less to get by on than they did when they were entirely unemployed — and with less time and energy to hunt for a full-time job, to boot!

        1. Chinook*

          Sometimes taking that low paying job can cause problems in the short term. During my last period on unemployment I was lucky enough to be on assitance. When I started getting nervous about not working, I looked into working at the lcoal fast food chain and discovered that I would make less than I did on assistance and have the hassle of arranging interviews around an unstable schedule. I then became quite thankful for the safety net, reminded myself that it takes time for applications to percolate in the system and for interviews to be set up and redoubled my efforts to get a job a few weeks later.

      2. Meganly*

        In my experience, most fast food places are not going to hire someone with a degree when they can get a more easily manipulated teenagers or undocumented workers.

        Not to mention, people my age have been fed non-stop the line that we should get a degree so that we don’t have to flip burgers— is it really so surprising that people my age are resisting doing so?

        BTW, when people bring this up, I always want to link the gif of Charlie from Always Sunny saying ““Oh, get a job? Just get a job? Why don’t I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land, where jobs grow on little jobbies?!””

        1. Anonymous*

          Not to mention, people my age have been fed non-stop the line that we should get a degree so that we don’t have to flip burgers— is it really so surprising that people my age are resisting doing so?

          This really annoys me. Very often it’s the same people who were telling us that we needed to a degree to avoid burger flipping, who are now admonishing us for not jumping at the chance to be a burger flipper. I realise that the economy has changed drastically in the meantime, but even so it’s still really frustrating.

          1. Library Jen*

            I’ve just finished my retail, minimum wage job and I’m about to start my salaried graduate job. I had the same retail job during under grad, the year between undergrad and postgrad and this year after I finished my MA. I have generally just been so grateful to have any job to pay my rent and put in my CV (whilst volunteering in my relevant area) but I am so relieved to be moving on to the next stage of my life. I have found that whilst working in fast food or wherever you are motivated to look for those great opportunities and are not as worried about how you’ll pay the rent. I’m also very grateful to my parents for supporting me through my MA but I would rather work in retail and pay my own way.

            So I just wanted to say that although its frustrating to work in retail when you’re told throughout education that you will get a ‘better’ job, you have to make the best of it. I work with lots of other very qualified people on the sense that they have several post graduate degrees but nobody complains the work is beneath them of anything, we’re under no illusions that we all need a job and money to live off.

        2. Stevie*

          It’s not that other people are more easily manipulated – it’s an attitude thing. I’m currently in school full time and I work in a fast food environment with lots of minimum wage people. I really didn’t care what I was doing, because some money was better than no money. (I’m 25 with office admin experience, btw, so I am technically “overqualified” for this position.)
          The problem we see with college grads is that they think they are better than the work. They might be, they might not be. But the real issue is that most of the workers who have minimum wage jobs can currently only work minimum wage jobs. They didn’t finish high school or have other issues. It’s a real moral boost to the other 80% of the work force to hear someone complain constantly that they are better than this or are above the work.

            1. fposte*

              I think she documents an understandable initial reaction, but it’s also a viewpoint that’s going to the issue being talked about–that expectations aren’t realistic and parents may be protecting their offspring from reality. If somebody really isn’t job hunting at lower-income positions because they feel they’re too good for them, that’s not a legitimate excuse, that’s a bad thing regardless of the reason.

              1. Forrest*

                It just seems to me that Steve was repeating what she said and not acknowledging that she addressed it at all. Then again, not my job to police.

                1. Stevie*

                  Stevie – I’m female…
                  I was just saying that fast food places aren’t not hiring people because others are more easily manipulated. It’s a reference to Meganly’s first paragraph. Most college grads aren’t looking at these jobs, but they’re not recognizing that these jobs don’t want them either. If you came in with a “here to work” and “I’m no better than anyone else” attitude, a fast food place would snatch up a college grad in a heartbeat…

        3. Anonymous*

          “Oh, get a job? Just get a job? Why don’t I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land, where jobs grow on little jobbies?!”

          I love this. Immensely.

      3. fposte*

        On the one hand, I agree that ruling out fast food or retail is foolish, whether you went to college or not. On the other, those are, in many areas, highly competitive markets, so it’s quite likely that she wouldn’t get a job there either. She’d learn a ton from such a job if she can get one; many of the people who worked them in high school and college had a real advantage in negotiating workplaces later on.

        1. Felicia*

          I’ve been trying to get a retail or fast food job for a while now, and I haven’t been able to get one:( My last retail experience was for 6 months 6 years ago, and never with food, so it seems to me like people with specific retail experience and current students are getting those jobs before me . That’s the reason I hate when people tell me “well why don’t you get a fast food job?” Because I’ve tried! If I could get one, I’d happily take it. I worked throughout all 4 years of university, but never in retail . I do agree that not applying for fast food jobs because you think you’re too good for them is stupid. But you shouldn’t assume that people don’t have a job like that because they never tried.

        2. Ruffingit*

          Exactly. The prevailing idea for many seems to be that fast food places are just open fields full of job daisies as it were. They are not. They tend to take people like teenagers and college students and/or people with food service experience. People think it’s so easy to just fill out a job app at McD’s and you’re good to go to flip those burgers. Not so. It may be that way when you’re a teenager, but it’s not that way when you’re an adult.

          And, as others have noted, if you’re on some sort of welfare, working at McD’s lowers benefits often and you end up in a worse place financially than when you were unemployed. That speaks to a screwed up system in a number of ways, but that’s a different post altogether.

          1. Felicia*

            I wish fast foods were open fields full of job daisies:) I actually just got rejected for a job at teh local McD’s :( If it was as easy as filling out a job application, i would have gotten it By i’m not a teenager or a student, and I don’t have food service experience (and i’m sure there are lots of people applying who are all those things) But its a big hit for the self esteem when people say “why can’t you just get a job at McDonald’s?” when I’ve tried that . Not that it’s like that for the OP’s friend (they sound actually a little entitled), but it makes me really sad when people call me entitled for living with my parents when i should just take a fast food job – I’ve applied for so many, and in this city you really cant live on minimum wage so I’d have to get two of them.

        3. FreeThinkerTX*

          @fposte – The experience I got working in retail throughout high school and part of college did NOT translate into the white collar office world. I remember my first office boss looking at me strangely when I asked her for permission to go to the bathroom. Also, the standards of professionalism for 99% of my office jobs were orders of magnitude different from the childish way I was treated in retail. [Even when I returned to retail shortly in my 40’s after working 20+ years as an independent, fully-functioning, fully-responsible career professional. Wowsa. That was an eye-opener. I couldn’t believe my teen- and 20-something year old self had put up with so much workplace toxicity!]

          1. fposte*

            Of course it doesn’t all translate. But you’re looking at ways in which it *didn’t* prepare you; I’m saying you were still miles ahead of somebody who’d never sustained a job at all and still had the “they get to tell me what to do all the time” learning curve to climb.

            1. Jessa*

              Or the “you have to actually be there on time, or take breaks on time, and come back on time, and if you have to run to the loo, you need to make sure your place is covered (if for instance you run a register, etc.)”

    2. Colette*

      It is a tough market, and I don’t think that it’s easy to get a job – but you probably won’t get a job if you don’t look. It sounds like the OP’s friend expects companies to change how they hire, and that she’s not willing to take a job unless it’s her “dream job”. That’s not likely to help her become employed.

      1. Jazzy Red*


        If you don’t get out there and try to find a job, you absolutely will not find a job. Guaranteed.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think anyone is saying that it’s easy. They’re saying that it’s problematic that she’s not even trying and that she’s spouting nonsense about how the process works.

      1. Anonymous*

        The OP really does sound like she thinks her friend could have had any of the jobs she emailed her about if she’d only applied. The thing is, the friend might actually be applying for lots of jobs and complains about the process as a coping mechanism. I’m thinking she says things like “They shouldn’t post internal positions and make people think the job is really available” or “I don’t see where you’re supposed to get experience if this $8-an-hour job requires two years to begin with” and so on. Even “How can they list a job with all these duties and only offer $20K?” I’ve said all those things myself. Maybe the relative who sends me all the postings and then talks behind my back about how I’m still at Current Job thinks that because I say those things, it means I never even tried to get the job. I did. My complaints are just frustration at how impossible it is to get ahead and probably a bit of a defense mechanism; I don’t want people to think I’m not trying, but the real answer as to why I’m not getting a better job is simply “I just don’t know.”

        It may very well be that the OP’s friend is just that entitled, but if the OP is wrong she’s going to damage this friendship by coming across as incredibly naive and condescending.

        1. dejavu2*

          I agree. I had a two year period of unemployment, during which I sent out about a million resumes. One of my friends started giving me guff about how maybe I’d have a job if I’d actually apply for something…. Things were demoralizing enough without giving everyone in my life a daily rundown of all the jobs I had applied for.

          1. Anonymous*

            Particularly when they start telling you that you need to call every day, go there in person, etc, which is exactly what we’re not supposed to do, right? It’s sometimes an older mentality, from people who started their working life when it was relatively easy to get a job and also when tactics like that worked better. But I’ve seen the “you must be doing something wrong” mentality from younger people as well.

            People want a solution for everything. They don’t like to admit that sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to force someone to hire you. I think because deep down they know they could lose their job tomorrow and be in the same position. How could they sleep if they thought they couldn’t force their way into a new job right away? So they tell you you’re doing the whole thing wrong because they don’t want to admit you can do everything right and still lose.

            1. fposte*

              Anon, I think you’ve got it on the impulse. It’s why humans blame the victim when it comes to crime or disease, too.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          It’s tough out there; the people criticizing may not have had to look for a job for a while. Things are different.

  8. Anne*

    #1 – I work at a company that makes a product rival to Salesforce. The email exchange was almost certainly archived to the system automatically. Once you were put in as someone they were interviewing, the system would probably be matching up the email address whenever someone sends out an email to you, and recording it for future reference.

    It’s useful. But maybe not for this. It might also be worth suggesting to them that they set up a separate Team for HR/recruitment, and make this type of thing visible only to that Team. (Not sure how that would work in Salesforce, but I assume it’s pretty much equivalent.)

    1. Nicole*

      Salesforce can be set up so that certain documentation is only visible to particular teams/individuals so they just need to change the settings so the information isn’t visible to all users.

    2. Anonymous*

      Update to #1:

      I talked to my manager and the system was supposed to be set up so that this information was only accessible to those deemed “need to know”. My manager was horrified that it was not. Unfortunately, because this has been published for several months, the damage it already done but my manager immediately reacted to change the permissions.

      Brett, luckily (or unluckily???) I don’t make nearly that much money so my salary information is not public record.

      Thanks to everyone for your advice and reactions. Greatly appreciated!

      1. Brett*

        I actually posted about that aspect, because it seemed interesting that people not only knew your salary from the published document, but also knew the salaries of older employees whose contracts were not published.
        (Otherwise, how would they know that you earn more than them.)

  9. straws*

    #2 – I know exactly what you mean. I also have EDS, and my joints are always cracking. I wear various support braces depending on a number of factors, so it almost always comes up. I don’t like having long winded discussions about my medical issues (and explaining EDS always seems to be a long discussions!), so most people in my office don’t know the full details. In any case, when I do get questions or even just weird looks, I try to keep it to an “informative minimum”. The first time, I’ll just mention that I have a joint/tendon problems and sometimes they act up. After that, it’s just an “Oh! They’re acting up again”, a smile, and move on. I do get questions (especially the “You’re so young for joint problems!”), but being polite & vague has always helped to keep people satisfied and the conversation brief. I wish I had a special catch-all trick to share, but this has always worked for me!

    1. HighDensityTV*

      I also have EDS and have the ever-cracking joint problem. My office is populated by some of the nosiest people on the planet, so I try to limit information as much as possible. Given how complicated anything EDS-related can be, I usually go with a vague explanation that I have “bad joints that make noise a lot.” I can tell my coworkers are dying to know more and they do sometimes ask questions about whether I have various conditions, but “just bad joints, but it’s under control. Thanks for worrying, though” with a shrug, seems to work well enough to let them know it isn’t something I’m doing on purpose and I’m not eager to talk about it, even if they are eager to talk about it.

      1. Chinook*

        I have an ankle that cracks when I walk and I always wondered if it annoyed people. That being said, it is not like this is something I can stop or even lessen. It would be one thing if you coworker saw you cracking your knuckles, but if it is involuntary then there is nothing anyone can do. If I was a manager getting this complaint, I would rank it right up there with someone complaining that another person is breathing too loud.

      2. AB*

        “Just bad joints.”

        “Just bad joints, but it’s under control. Thanks for worrying, though”

        I think this is perfect. People who might get annoyed with the noise, thinking you were doing that on purpose, will be satisfied with #1. Nosy people who just want to get details that are none of their business can just get #2 over and over until they get tired of asking :-).

    2. Anon*

      OP #2 here. Thanks for the responses.

      I want to give an “informative minimum,” but I am also a new employee. I don’t want to seem difficult or attention-seeking by disclosing something about EDS.

      I think that I’ll mention some “joint problems” the next time this happens and give people some really basic information about EDS if they ask.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        Most people will be sympathetic when they find out that it’s a condition you have to live with.

        Good advice above.

    3. Veg*

      *waves* Hi, fellow EDSer :)
      I have similar issues explaining it to people… I go with “genetic joint problems” or “bad connective tissue” most of the time.

  10. Tina Career Counselor*

    I’m assuming #3 has already referred her jobless friend to this blog? :)

    Alison’s right about how your friend’s parents have done her a disservice by not giving her insight into how the job search actually works. I always encourage people to have their ideals, and try to develop strategies on how to get there, but you also have to be realistic. You’re not always going to get your “dream” job (and I believe there’s a previous post about how the idea of a “dream” job is malarkey anyway), and it’s not practical to have an all-or-nothing mentality.

    Imagine if an employer “saw through her potential” and called her for an interview. She’s going to have a hard time explaining her rationale for being deliberately out of work without sounding entitled and lazy. Her lack of skills won’t be the only problem, so will her attitude.

  11. Marie*

    #3, I think that what your friend is suffering from may be aspirations gap. It’s a well-studied phenomenon (see e.g., which involves a person having aspirations so far above what is immediately attainable, that they think it better to stand still than to move (slowly) forward.

    It’s a very difficult thing to talk someone out of, although showing them people who have struggled for many years in order to succeed can help. I have a friend who did everything from slaughtering chickens to washing floors to save money for university, and is now permanently employed by a top law firm. I mentor township kids, and use her story to make it real to them how ANY job is better than none, and even a small step forward is better than standing still.

    1. Anonymous*

      See, I pretty much agree that working at all is better than not, or at least that’s my instinct. But we’ve seen from this blog that what’s on your resume can sometimes hurt you, if it makes you look like a dilettante or a job-hopper (or, conversely, too set in your ways if you’ve been in one place too long) or even screws up your salary history because you took a minimum wage job to survive. It’s hard to balance being willing to work anywhere with wanting to present a polished and “progressive” work history.

      And I know firsthand that having a retail job can screw up your chances to volunteer due to the roller-coaster hours, plus making you too exhausted to network or even do applications at the end of the night. It’s a vicious cycle. *sigh*

      1. Forrest*

        Yea, the schedule of retail jobs make it difficult to job hunt. Not impossible, but difficult since you don’t have a set schedule, need to give very advance time if you need to take off or they leave it up to you to find your own replacement – which means begging your coworkers.

        As soon as I graduated, I took a job at a restaurant that opened at 4. And still was a pain to navigate between my internships. Which were a pain to navigate between job interviews. I was very lucky to get a part-time job with my dad – who basically set it up so he was paying to support me via a trade system basically. And because my parents were able to support me, I was able to take internships and low-paying jobs that helped build my resume. Not everyone is so lucky and a lot of people from the outside did look down on me for “mooching” off my parents.

        But me living with my parents and taking low-and-non-paying jobs helped me a lot more in the long run than working full-time at the restaurant – even though the money would of gotten me out the house sooner.

        Sometimes, not grabbing independence at the first sight of it is better for you.

      2. fposte*

        I think you’re misreading some of that resume stuff, though. We’re talking about a lower-paid job in preference to nothing, not in preference to a higher-paid job. You’re not going to get a better salary offer for being unemployed two years instead of working at Burger King. And yes, job-hopping is bad, but there’s always some slack cut to younger people and people who’ve been making do while looking for something in your field (in fact, you’ll get more slack cut for being a short-timer at Panera than for stopping a volunteer association); what you don’t want to do is job-hop *within* the low-paid world so it looks like you’re the problem and not the economy.

        1. Chinook*

          I would also think that there is a difference between job-hopping in your field and job-hopping in lower paying jobs that are helping you pay your rent. I have done the latter and always highlighted in my cover letter that these are proof that I am willing to do what needs to be done because I took what was available when I needed to while still looking for what I wanted. If someone wants to look down on me for pouring coffee to pay the bills while waiting for a teaching job, that says more about them then it does about me.

        2. TheSnarkyB*

          Actually, this is wrong. In some fields and some corporate cultures, you CAN get paid more if you’re negotiating from unemployment than from a minimum wage job. Either because they offer you different amts from the beginning or because they scoff at you when you, the “burger flipper” negotiate.
          Don’t underestimate how much people look down on different types of labor.

          1. fposte*

            Could it happen somewhere? Sure. Is it the norm for the person with no job out of college for several years to get more money than somebody with a low-paid job for several years at the same hire? It’s really not.

            I think you may be thinking more of people at a higher level who lost jobs in the crash and are finding it difficult to get back on the ladder; even there I don’t think it’s as common as you do, but that’s going more to the market value thing discussed below and the ability of somebody with nothing in between being able to spin it as being picky. That’s a very different situation from somebody who’s never sustained a job.

    2. dejavu2*

      I have to say, the wisdom of this advice really depends on what field you are in. When I graduated from law school, a lot of my friends took “whatever they could,” and now, a few years out, are trapped in menial, low-paying (when you consider they have $200k of debt) dead end legal jobs where they haven’t built any skills that will help them progress to better positions. On the other hand, even though I was living close to the poverty line and worried about things like homelessness, I was relatively picky and held out for better positions. I did have to take some lousy jobs, but I made sure they were the best lousy jobs out there so that I could build a skill set and access good networking opportunities. Now, I have a good job. My friends who took whatever they could get are trapped in their miserable positions, can’t get interviews for better jobs, and are making substantially less money than I am now. Even worse, most of those jobs were connected to a regionally significant law suit that is about to end, so they’re all about to be unemployed.

      In some fields, you really have to think strategically and avoid trapping yourself in a career cul de sac.

      1. fposte*

        Well outlined. I definitely think “settling” does have a very different effect if it’s within your chosen field, because it’s more of a specific market’s comment on your value, but that always has to be balanced against the need to, you know, eat. You’ve described a really good way to think about it.

        1. Marie*

          Certainly. I think it’s important to have a plan for how to reach your goal, and that some jobs will take you closer to that goal than others. When I applied to law firms, I didn’t apply to the low-end ones at all – but had my marks been worse, I absolutely would have, and worked my way up. I just don’t think that employers are impressed by someone who would rather be unemployed than do a menial job.

  12. B*

    #2 – As someone who cringes every time I hear/witness cracking of the joints, I would want to know. Yes, I may still cringe but I would have sympathy towards you. Instead of being annoyed that someone could be so unprofessional to think cracking in the office is acceptable, I would realize it could not be helped.

    #3 – If your friend does not want to get a job and is idealizing it then let her. It does not affect you. Now, if she says she has no money and/or is depressed about it, that is a different story. But just because you have a job does not mean she wants to get one. The onus is on her…not you.

  13. Anonicorn*

    The new employee has knowledge in the industry and has done the job for many years but is learning a new way and tends to ask lots of questions and wants specific details as to why our company does it such and such a way.

    I can understand how this might be aggravating, especially depending on how the new employee is asking these questions. It’s not easy to have to stop and defend every aspect of the job when you’re trying to show someone how to do something, which isn’t always easy in the first place (at least for me).

    The team lead could say something like, “It’s easier for me and I think the process will be clearer to you, if I can finish showing you each step of this. Then if you still have questions I can address them later.”

    1. Hooptie*

      I am in a similar situation. We have been training a relatively new hire, and while she has tons of ideas I finally had to sit her down and explain that for now, she needs to learn and do it ‘our’ way. Once she understands the work and the business, we can start looking at how to change things.

      I’ve told her to take notes on her suggestions and we can review them further along. The funny thing is, for the tasks which she DOES understand, she now realizes that many of her suggestions were not workable when you looked at the big picture.

      It was very frustrating for her trainers, because she questioned every process and had suggestions on changing everything. What she didn’t realize is that those processes took years of developing from the ground up, and the reason we have processes is so that the work is done consistently every time no matter who is doing it.

      Also, the new employee did not realize how insulting it was to those who had worked so hard to set things up to have someone come in and tell them they were wrong – especially when the new hire had no clue of how things worked organizationally before and after we got the tasks to us.

      This situation has created a lot of hard feelings, and our new hire has some ground to make up in her relationships with her teammates.

  14. Zowayix*

    What happened to the “It’s mini answer Monday/etc.” phrase at the beginning of these short answer posts?

    1. Another Anon*

      I’m guessing that since posts are usually queued and that has sometimes led to the wrong day being referenced in the post (e.g. “It’s short answer Saturday!” on a Thursday), it was probably simpler to just omit the specific day label entirely.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      A reader suggested it, pointing out that it was more words to get through before the meat of the post, and it’s a little easier for me to skip it when I’m writing these quickly. The big motivator, though, is that when the post shows up in search results or in a RSS reader that only shows the first two lines, more of those words will be ones with “real” content.

  15. JMegan*

    #5, remember that it’s easier to cancel surgeries than schedule them. Schedule it now, and if it does turn out to be an exceptionally awful time for your work as the date gets closer, you can always cancel it then.

    There’s always going to be a reason that a two-week absence will be inconvenient for somebody – if you keep putting it off on that basis alone, you might never get to it at all! (At least that’s true for me – I would need to very firmly remind myself that my health is more important than other people’s convenience.)

    Good luck, and best wishes to your boss.

    1. JMegan*

      Oh, I should add a huge YMMV to that first paragraph. I’m in Canada, where elective surgeries are impossible to schedule, and very easy to cancel, and of course there is no direct financial cost to me. I don’t know if scheduling is easier in the US (or even if that’s where you are!), or if you would have to pay some sort of financial penalty for cancelling something like that?

      So please take that first paragraph with as many grains of salt as necessary for your situation. But the advice in the second paragraph stands. There’s never going to be a “good” time for a surgery like this, so don’t worry too much about that part, and just focus on your own health and medical needs.

      1. Lynne*

        OP here for #5. You make a good point – it is easier to pause the process than start it up! I think you and Alison are right, there is never going to be a good time. I think my concern stems from looking inconsiderate to what she’s going through. Then again, things will always come up and it may be better to get it done now and be healthier when the sh*t really hits the fan. Currently she isn’t showing many symptoms (other than emotional responses to the diagnosis), but that day will come and it’s better if I’m able to be there then.

        1. Judy*

          I’d also mention, depending on what else is going on with your health, now is better than later. The doctors told my mom to have surgery as an “elective” for a condition that would most likely become worse. They said that having it then, in her late 60s would be easier than having it in her late 70s with other conditions cropping up.

        2. Jazzy Red*

          I’m sorry to hear about your boss. I know that you will try to make things as easy as possible for her during this difficult time.

          And you know, it’s only 2 weeks that you’ll be gone, not 2 months. Your office should be able to bumble along for 10 days without bankrupting the company.

  16. Chinook*

    OP #3 – my heart goes out to you because my aunt keeps asking me to talk to my cousin who is a year older than me about finding a job. We always joked that he was a career student and we saw him waiting for the perfect opportunity. My aunt, on the other hand, saw me taking any job I could and even changing careers away from passion in order to put food on my table. She wants her son to be more like me.

    Because we have known each other from childhood, I told my cousin that his mother wanted me to talk to him about getting a job and that, if he ever wanted to talk to someone about it, I was there for him. And then I dropped it. I knew that I could never convince him to not hold out for the perfect position and I also knew that he was smart enough to see what he was sacrificing in this pursuit. After all, he is closing in on 40 and has no permanent home (currently living out of his parents’ basement) and no savings. He is a smart man and is living with the choices he made.

    That being said, he has also filled a role in my family that couldn’t have been done if he had a f/t job. When my grandmother was dying from a chronic illness, he was there everyday for her. He visited her in the hospital and the hospice. He ran errands for her. He helped my aunt juggle everything that needed to be done. The rest of the family did our best and were there on weekends, but we all had jobs and/or children to deal with and often lived 200+ kms away. My cousin was able to be there for her in a way that none of us could because he chose to look for the perfect job. Who are we to say he didn’t find it with her?

  17. PPK*

    OP #5

    You’ll have to go on vacation too, sometime, right? Eventually they’ll need a way to balance out the work. What if you got sick or had to attend an out of town funeral. This planned absence gives them the chance to plan (no guarantee anyone will make good plans…but you will have given them the chance, at least).

    At my job, we have scheduled release dates for our products. I learned very quickly that trying to plan a vacation after the scheduled release date was a folly. The dates change. It’s always busy. You plan your vacation and take it.

  18. ABD*

    Depending on your friend’s discipline, she may not know how or whether she can leave academia, because careers outside of academia are often never discussed with students.

    I would buy your friend a copy of Susan Basalla’s book, ‘“So What Are You Going to Do with That?” Finding Careers Outside Academia’

      1. Rana*

        The website Versatile Ph.D. can also be useful (though it often assumes greater levels of starting skills than may be in hand).

        1. OP of #3*

          @Rana – I always enjoy your comments on grad school. Keep it up. Perhaps you should start a blog maybe entitled “Grad school slaves/refugees”. :)

          1. Rana*

            Heh. Been there, done that, wrote the blog.

            (I’ll link to it this once. Look for the entries under “Post Academic Stress Syndrome” in particular.)

            However, at this point, it’s better for my mental health to not think too much about the subject.

  19. anon*

    If the LW’s friend honestly doesn’t want to get a job, IME, it won’t help to send her job postings. If she doesn’t care, who is to say if she applies for one and gets an interview she won’t blow it off? Or if she gets hired she won’t just quit soon after? I used to have a friend who would do this. TMK she hasn’t worked in 10 years, but before she met her husband she would only search for a job when her parents threatened to throw her out, and then she wound taking jobs that friends or family recommended her for and would only stay for a couple months.

  20. Elizabeth West*

    #4–new vs old employee

    Eep, I had this, but I think we’ve worked it out. There was change needed (and discussed), but the veteran just needed time to see my work and know that I wasn’t going to swoop in and mess up all her meticulously-organized data.

    Also, we had some difficult communication, but I think I’ve figured that out too. It’s mostly on my end, because I’m new to the industry. I just have to let her know what is confusing me and how I need information presented.

    #5–sick boss, time off

    Take it now; if you need the surgery and put it off, the condition may be harder to deal with later.

    A *hug* to your boss.

  21. Another Reader*

    Thank you notes — Last year I told my manager how great a student employee was and how happy my team was with her performance–“Really?” she said skeptically, “She didn’t even send a thank you note after the interview”. I’m serious — write those thank you notes!

  22. Meganly*

    Ha, I went through that recently with my partner—I’m currently underemployed and for some reason he had the impression that I wasn’t looking for other work at all. Because why else would I not have a new job yet? I showed him my spreadsheet of applications and he shut right up. :)

  23. FreeThinkerTX*

    I recently reconnected with a friend from junior high (I’m in my mid-40’s now). Although she was living on her own, she was wholly supported by her mother – who has many chronic health conditions. She had only ever had part time jobs in the past, and those were for friends of her mother or step-father. She spent all of her time playing with her dog, surfing the internet, and watching TV. I convinced her to at least start the process to get Disability (for mental illness) before I broke off contact with her. Hopefully she followed through, because when her mom dies she is going to be living on the street.

  24. E*

    I’m one of two main database people at a non-profit and we record a lot of stuff in our database — e-mails, letters, random pictures, notes about interactions, etc — but HR stays far away from it. Job candidates’ info does not go in there and I’d be horrified if it did. Any records for us staff members in the database were created by the staff member most of the time, because they needed one for some reason or another, but I’d be kind of horrified at the idea of offer letters on there.

  25. FreeThinkerTX*

    I work in tech sales and was once laid off from a company right before they went under. After 4 months of an unsuccessful job search, I took a full-time job at a home improvement store. After all, ANY job is better than NO job, right?? Not so much, according the hiring managers I spoke to & interviewed with over the next three years. They all wondered why I took a job so obviously off my career track; even while I was actively looking to get back ON track. It was a huge negative for them. I even had recruiters tell me it was a deal-killer; there was no way they could forward my resume to their hiring managers because of it.

    So, yeah, I would have been better off letting my boyfriend and mom (who live with me) help me with bills while remaining unemployed, actively searching for the next career-appropriate job, and keeping my tech skills fresh by doing online, self-taught learning. Because of the retail job, my entrance back into tech sales was in a god-awful call center for the world’s largest software manufacturer, when before that I was in outside sales.

  26. Not So NewReader*

    OP 3, if you are still reading, congrats for sticking with all of this.
    I don’t see your friend’s problem as being entitlement- I think it is more a warped view of how the world works. And I agree with Alison, you can’t fix this. This is a total rebuild job because of way too many misconceptions.
    If it were me, I would go the opposite direction from what you have been doing. Stop sending the job posts, stop talking about finding a job, etc. If she complains about not having enough money- just nod and say “lots of people are having a real tough time now” then change the subject. Just focus on the parts of the friendship you enjoy- maybe you play cards together or rent movies together. Focus on that.
    If the friendship drifts apart- so be it. Someone else out there might be able to reach her. But she has already decided not to allow her current friends to reach her- she has set up too many obstacles.
    Who knows- if you change your strategy you might actually hear something you never expected to hear. “I will never be the success my parents have been. I am afraid, so therefore I do not try.” Never know what will happen next. The rule of thumb is we cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves. Change what you are doing in some manner and wait. See if that provokes a different response.

  27. OP of #3*

    Thanks everyone for providing comments for #3. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of interest from Alison and, more importantly, from the readers!

    To be clear, my friend and I are about the same age, so I’m just criticizing people in my generation. Not all of the friends in the same circle, including myself, are wealthy. I’m lucky enough to hold a decent job in the field that I studied at university. Another friend from the same group has been working in retail for 5+ with a little hope of breaking into the field that she studied.

    My circle of friends silently agreed long before that we can’t fix this, and should not brought up “job” and “career” in any conversation. It’s just too hard not to mention these two terms because some of us are passionate in what we do. Also we’ve figured out that her (grand)parents provide her so much necessities so that she doesn’t have to worry about money initially. Also there’s no way to fix her defensiveness to her idea of hiring. I agree that she’s defensive because she’s frustrated. She’s probably too defensive to read anything in this blog. For instance, she has been upset to hear that some candidates are not hired because of personality instead of technical merit. Ironically, one of our friends works for workopolis….

    Recently, her parents, who are well-connected, try to get her some odd jobs. Her parents may see her problem now. As the readers and Alison mentioned, let’s leave the issue up to my friend and her parents.

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