I want to control how my work is used, nephews are goofing off on the family farm, and more

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

1. When can I announce my new position on social media?

I recently graduated from a master’s program in the humanities field, and after some false starts, (the degree might be considered one of them), I decided to follow my fiance 6,700 miles away from home, and hitch my horse to a new industry. Thanks to the advice on your site and a few informational interviews, I received a great job offer.

I accepted in November, nailed down the fine points in December, and will not start until January. My question is: when can I announce my new position on social media? I will meet my colleagues as soon as 3 weeks before my start date, and would like to connect with them on LinkedIn. I’m also itching from restless to announce my glee to the world. Should I sit on my hands until the end of my probationary period or reveal my excitement head-on?

I’d wait until you start to list it as your new title — because you aren’t currently inhabiting the role, and shouldn’t list it until you are. But you can certainly announce it meanwhile, and you can certainly connect to your soon-to-be coworkers, by including a note explaining who you are (although you could also just wait until you start for that — which probably makes a little more sense unless you have a particular reason to talk to them before then).

2. Managing two nephews on a family farm when one is goofing off

Could you please advise me on how to handle two nephews who have equally inherited my business and their deceased father’s portion? I am 63 and run the large farm, and the two boys are in their late 20s. One will eventually manage but is not ready, and the other is a total goof-off. If I fire him, the other will walk too and I can’t afford that to happen. There is absolutely no respect for what their father and I have built. They leave expensive lights on, use free diesel for their trucks, goof off and waste time. I am loss as to how to handle them. If the one boy was not around, things would run smoothly, but with him around there is such waste of time and money. Firing him, I feel, is not an option.

Can you talk to the responsible nephew and point out the impact of their behavior? Be specific — explain what the impact of each of their actions is on the running of the farm. And appeal to his sense of duty to his father and his family. Frankly, you could also try having this conversation with the other nephew, too. If that doesn’t work though, you might need to consider letting them both walk, at least until they grow up a bit more. Ultimately you might have to decide whether having them both around goofing off is better than not having them around — but try a heart-to-heart first.

What other advice do people have on this one?

3. Should I have handled this negotiation differently?

I recently received a great job offer in a new field, and truth be told, I was fine with the salary and very happy with the benefits. Despite that, I decided to follow the advice of family members, friends, and online resources, and negotiate the salary. Because I am a recent master’s graduate, new to the field, and would be assuming my first salaried position, I wasn’t sure where to begin. My only resource included the interval for the position in my city and the average in other major metropolises. So to prepare, I picked a figure closer to the median (about 15% above what I was offered), and memorized my script, which details my value through skills and new business potential.

When I told the HR manager that I wanted to discuss salary, she hesitated, but let me go on, and I sensed that she was holding her tongue throughout my spiel. When I was finished, she told me that there was no room to negotiate. In fact, I had received a position and a salary far above my worth, and that applicants of my skill set are usually brought in at a much lower level. It was only my future boss’ belief in my potential that brought me on to where I was, she said. I was floored. I wasn’t expecting that, and I was equally thrown by the shock and vitriol in her voice. I didn’t know what to say. Isn’t everyone supposed to negotiate? Unsure of how to hold on to my dignity, I politely told her that I understood what she was saying, and asked about appraisals and discretionary bonuses throughout the year.

Was there anything I could have done to press her on negotiation? Should new grads and those new to an industry even bother negotiating?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to negotiate, but I wouldn’t have pressed her further in that context. As a new grad, you don’t really have a lot of negotiating power (unless you’re unusually accomplished and sought after).

The thing here that I would have advised doing differently is your salary research. You probably would have been better off checking around with people working in your field (ideally in your region) and asking what they’d expect a position like this one to pay, for a new grad without much experience. Online salary surveys are usually too broad to be accurate and can result in figures that are wildly off-base for a specific position. It’s possible that you overshot because of that and that getting more targeted opinions from people working in your field would have set your expectations differently.

I also might not have asked about appraisals and bonuses throughout the year after this particular conversation, but I wouldn’t worry about any of this too much — it’s your new manager’s opinion of you that matters, not HR’s.

4. I used my own property in work for my employer and I want to control how it’s used

I am a graphic designer and I have purchased many expensive fonts on my own over the years. I have used some of these fonts in designs I have created for the company I currently work for. I have paid a lot of money for these fonts, and I believe if you buy something, it is yours.

Many of my designs have been given to production artists so they can roll out the designs for many different schools and resorts. I have been ordered by my art director that I have to give these fonts that I have purchased to the production artist so they can do the roll-outs. I have a moral problem with giving away things that I have purchased to artists who can now use them personally for free. They now own the font even though they did not pay for them like I did. My solution would be to just let me do the roll-outs so I don’t have to give things I own away.

I’d love to hear from designers on this, but my take is that once you brought the fonts into work you were doing for your company, you gave up the rights to restrict their use. After all, your company needs to be able to take the work you’ve produced for them and use it as they see fit, even after you’re gone. If you were no longer with the company tomorrow, “just let me do the roll-outs” wouldn’t be a viable solution.

It probably makes more sense in the future to have the company purchase any fonts that you use in your work for them, so that this isn’t an issue.

5. Is this Christmas Eve work policy fair?

My workplace is scheduled to close early on Christmas Eve (3 pm rather than 5 pm). Employees working Christmas Eve still receive 8 hours of pay. However, if you elect to use vacation on Christmas Eve, you have to use an entire day (8 hours). Is this correct? I think that if the company is scheduled to close early, you shouldn’t have to use a full day of vacation. (For example, I usually work 8-5, and think that I should only have to use 6 hours vacation in this instance). Do you have an insight?

Yeah, it’s not especially fair, but it’s (a) legal and (b) a pretty common way to do things. And it’s basically a thank-you to employees working Christmas Eve day. I wouldn’t quibble over two hours.

{ 150 comments… read them below }

  1. Neeta*

    #5 My previous company used to do similar things around upcoming bank holidays/ before company parties (eg: Good Friday, Christmas Eve, December 31st).

    Since there was nothing in the law requiring the company to let employees leave earlier (without having to make up for the time), I always considered this a “gift” from the company.

    Like Alison said, it’s a way for the company to appreciate people who came to work, when everyone else was on holiday.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Yeah, it’s done this way because it’s too much of a PITA to keep track of or govern otherwise.

      What about people with different start times? My folks who start early always end up working more hours on an early close day than the people who start late.

      The easy solution for the LW is to not take a vacation day on Christmas Eve or any other early close day and to start the day late if you can. This maximizes your benefits.

      1. Neeta*

        We were all salaried workers there, and everybody had flexible start time (eg: any time between 8:30 and 11:30), so people generally just didn’t come in early.
        I generally tried not to think of things in a “so unfair cause…” way, because that just made me needlessly resentful (and thus depressed).

        Of course, the leaving early generally came with the fine print of “if you’ve finished everything urgent”.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          There’s one “not quite fair” thing about the way this is done in my company…early closing isn’t announced ahead because we are a sales organization. We are business to business and the exact amount of customer calls you can expect the afternoon of Christmas Eve is zero, however, there’s not a hard close time in case customers need us. For some reason. Like they are lonely.

          The net effect is that unless warned ahead, new employees don’t know about the potential-but-really-its-certain close so I TRY to remember to tell people personally to not use the early start if they’ll be sad that their leaving time after 8 hours coincides with everybody else’s leave early time.

          1. Scrooge*

            As the HR enforcer of such policies in a previous workplace the argument has always been based on the uncertainty of when an employee can leave. Yes, they will almost certainly be allowed to go early but whether that will be 1pm, 2pm, 3pm or 4pm is decided by the senior director on site on the day based on work volumes and their personal whim. If an employee wants the certainty of leaving early then they need to book a half day which extends through to a full day being required if you don’t want to come in at all. It’s a goodwill gesture from the employer to those employees who come into work on Christmas Eve.

            The difference in OP’s case is that there seems to be a pre determined close time and therefore I have some sympathy for their point. Although as the employer I would fix this problem by making the early close time officially less certain even if in practice everyone knows they will be given the nod at 3pm.

            1. Scrooge*

              And I typically found that I ended up going in early on such days so I could get my work done before the early close so it wasn’t really time off at all. Bah, humbug.

              1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

                Ha, Scrooge!

                It’s all your fault my new, early working employees are all a bit miffed at me on Christmas Eve when the close is announced!

          2. Harry*

            That happened to our team. Management wouldn’t announce to everyone that we can leave early until maybe noon Pacific and by then, East coast would’ve worked 3 hours more than the West coast. When I became manager, I ended up announcing early in the day that they can leave 3 hours early.

            1. Anna*

              Old Job would announce it the day before the early release. Old Manager got so tired of the back and forth about “well, I come in at 7:30. When can I leave?” she decided on early release days, EVERYONE came in at 8 and left at whatever time the early release was.

      2. Graciosa*

        I’ll toss another twist into this – time zone issues. I manage a team across multiple time zones, which means that when I send the “Thank you for your hard work this year, in honor of the holiday please feel free to leave early” message it is hitting some people’s email at 4 or 5 p.m. (not much of a benefit) and others at 1 p.m. with the majority about 2 p.m.

        I try to manage this by telephoning the ones further east so that they know that they can leave before I send the official message, but this doesn’t always work out to result in perfect (to the minute) equality and that’s not something that will be keeping me up at night. My team (thankfully) has so far not shown signs of the “Susie’s slice of pie is a millimeter bigger than mine” mentality and I’d like to keep it that way.

        1. AnonK*

          When I managed across timezones, I would send out an email around 10-11am eastern and say something like, “in recognition of your hard work and to allow you to spend some extra time with family and friends this holiday, please feel free to leave at 1pm local time”. This obviously had to be pre-planned though. I couldn’t decide at 1 that it was slow so hey, everyone gets to go.

          This particular job was at a bank, so we had a lot of 3 day weekends where I would do it. The downside was it became expected and come 11:30 or 12, if I hadn’t sent out the email, I’d get people pestering me. “Do we get to leave early?” I always wanted to say something like, “For President’s Day? No. Work a normal day”. But I never did. It’s such an easy thing I could do as a manager to build employee satisfaction and it didn’t cost me much other than 2-3 hours of productivity that would have been questionable anyway.

      3. Nancie*

        Our department now does a “leave two hours early” rule. If you would have otherwise left at 4p, you leave at 2p.

        That takes care of all of the if-then-elses of Sue starts at 7a, but Jim starts at 9a, and Lucy usually starts at 8a but today she decided to come in an hour later than usual.

    2. De Minimis*

      We have the same policy, and we’re a federal facility. Think it is pretty common.

      It’s also the same when we close for weather, which we did last week. I happened to be on leave and we closed for a day last week due to snow and ice, but I still use a day of leave even though we were not open.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Plus, weather delays and weather leave early events can affect people differently. 2-hour delay means we all come in 2 hours later than normal, but the don’t show up until 10am, means that the person who usually arrives at 6:30 am gets more free time than those of us who came in around 8 or 8:30. But it evened out when they sent us all home early at 3pm or so.

        Life isn’t fair, but many of the little unfairnesses more or less even out in the big picture.

        1. De Minimis*

          Our whole facility has a fixed start time, so that isn’t an issue.
          I do not mind the policy, it’s just something that happens when you work in an area that can get bad weather, especially if it’s a rural area.

          What I really like is that we have a system where we can be notified via text as soon as the decision is made, especially since I live pretty far away.

    3. Anonymous*

      Yes, agreed. My previous company used to do this too before most holidays but I often had taken those days off (day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, December 31st) and had to use the full 8 hours of vacation time. I considered it it a fair trade for me to use the full 8 hours to not have to go in at all vs. go in for 4-5 hours and get 3 hours of free vacation time in the afternoon.

    4. Cube Ninja*

      Alternately, you could view the extra 2 hours of vacation time as a premium price for actually getting the day off. December 24th tends to be an extremely “high value target” when it comes to requested vacation time to the point that most managers at some point in their career will have to say no to at least one, if not three or four vacation requests for the same day around this time of year.

      Somehow, I’ve managed to give 8 of my 16 staff (the other 8 didn’t request anything) time off during the week of Christmas without significantly shorting myself on coverage. Still not quite sure how that worked out, but I’m ok with it!

  2. Kara*


    I would agree that in the future you should let your company pay for whatever fonts you need in your design work for the company. The same typically goes for things like stock photos, which have licensing restrictions. If you purchase them personally, then give them to the company, it may be seen as you illegally distributing the rights to the materials. Requiring the company to purchase them gives the company the distribution rights and puts the burden on them to adhere to whatever restrictions come with the purchase. For example, in design work I’ve done for my company we use stock photos in which the license is restricted to 500k copies in print. If I were to have purchased them personally, used them for the company, and the company went over that amount, it would be my name on it and I would be liable. Its just smarter to have the company assume the responsibility, so then there is no question. You may point this out to your manager, and the company may want to purchase the fonts anyway, so there is no question.

    1. Lanya*

      As I have understood, it is customary to provide the font files when giving the work to a third party for production, whether you personally purchased them or not.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        No, it’s absolutely not.

        As in, really wrong to do that, legally and ethically.

        This is handled professionally by converting fonts to lines. Anyone who would ask you for font files in order to print your work is either completely new to the business, completely unprofessional, or very lazy.

        1. Lanya*

          What I mean is, it is customary to provide font files to a printer so that they can print your work – not so that they can use the font for their own benefit. I am pretty sure that is legal and it is customary to do so, because you can’t expect the printer to have every font.

          1. Anon*

            I don’t know about that. Usually we convert fonts to vectors so they can be printed on t-shirts – wouldn’t the same work for regular printing?

          2. Jack Giesen*

            Like Wakeen’s said, it’s customary to convert the font into a vector file using lines (In Illustrator or the like) or provide a PDF that a printer can use. There’s really no need to give font files to a printer unless they’re doing the design for you.

          3. Sydney*

            You would turn the text into a vector graphic on its own so the specific font isn’t required. In Illustrator, you’d turn it into an outline.

            Giving the font file(s) to another company is very likely to violate the license and could get you in serious trouble.

            1. Frieda*

              Actually, I have worked in print production for 8 years and it IS customary to package font files with the final InDesign files for a print design to send to the printer. It’s spelled out in the instructions we give to all designers, and in the instructions given to us by our printers. We ALSO require from our designers and supply to our printers print-ready PDFs, but if we need to make type or color corrections at the printer they need the fonts. It is understood that the fonts are to be used ONLY for that specific project and not re-used by use or the printer. That would be a huge legal and professional violation. But using the fonts with that specific project only is not only customary, but required.

              I work in book production so maybe other industries differ, but this is for both interiors and covers/jackets, so I expect that it’s fairly common.

  3. Anonymous*

    Yeah, depending on the font, you can’t actually legally give it away for free. It depends on a number of things (for instance, you have a right to provide the font to a printer to print your work), but freely giving away fonts (for use in other pieces or however they see fit) is limited.

    It’s not clear what is going on here. Is this just the production team that needs the font you used in order to print your designed materials? Or is this the company wanting the font to use however they want?

    If it’s the latter, then you would have ideally approached it differently: either only design with company owned fonts or show them a mock up with your font but indicating right away that if the company liked that design, they would need to buy the font. I can see how it would be weird for them to think you’ve designed these materials for them but then gave them no way to print them (this is assuming your doing in-house design for a random company and not working for a design studio–a design studio would know better).

    1. Laura*

      I agree. You can’t legally provide the fonts to the company, as others have said, but I think it’s really critical as a consultant to point out that a design they liked uses non-standard fonts at $XXX expense. I consulted to nonprofits for a long time, and it would be viewed as incredibly unfriendly (possibly as extortion) in that world to simply say, oh yeah, here’s the files, and by the way you’re going to have to pay an additional $1000 for this font family as well if you want to actually change anything about the files. That needs to be part of the design conversation (do you like this font enough more than you want to pay $1000?), as many clients don’t understand that fonts can cost a lot of money.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Yes, I was just about to say that she needs to point out that the fonts must be purchased. As posters said up above, for licensing uses, the company has to own the fonts. What’s a warning to me is that she did this as an employee. If she were a consultant, I can see using “personal” fonts and “personal” stock photos in a specific project; most places have licenses that cover that very scenario. But as an employee? She’s not working as herself; she’s working as an agent of the company. There is no “personal” in that. In a sense, it’s no different than taking fonts or stock imagery that the company purchased and trying to use it for her own product.

        If I had to guess, the company requires the font to create additional materials. Like, say she made a data sheet for product version 1.0; they’ll need the font to be able to update it to version 2.0. Or maybe she made a brochure and they want to be able to create a presentation that matches.

  4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    Not a legal expert on rights for fonts and photos however, I’m a dayjob boss in this situation and I would *never* use fonts or photos that an employee had purchased in our day job product.

    As in never, no matter how much it cost.

    We would repurchase with company funds.

    AFIK, this is not a legal transfer and it’s definitely not ethical. It’s the same as making a second copy of home software with one license to also use on your work owned machine.

    Depending on how #4 wants to press, I’d tell the dayjob that you’ve reviewed the legal agreement for these fonts and you don’t have the right to transfer ownership to them. It’s appropriate to apologize for the confusion (because it’s a PITA to have fonts in the float at work that other artists can’t work with on their machines) and say that you wont’ use your personal fonts again in your work but would they please up the font budget so you have more work resources.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


      I believe converting the fonts to lines in your existing work would be ethical enough to get you through what’s been done heretofore, but stop using your personal fonts for work product.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      p.p.s. Just getting morning coffee sorry.

      Wait, how did you make the work anyway? Did you install the fonts on your work machine to create it?

      Clutching my pearls here. That’s a two way ethical violation. You should never put non work owned things on work machines, in addition to the original issue with the font license.

      My IT and legal depts have pitchforks & torches set aside for occasions like this.

    3. Elysian*

      Yup, this is what I came here to say. OP most likely has a license to use the font (sometimes such licenses wouldn’t even include the ability to use it for a business purpose, so you have to read what your rights are). OP probably doesn’t have all ownership rights, including distribution. So, not only is he/she giving away “his” fonts, he’s probably doing it in violation of the actual owner’s rights.

      Alison’s advice to have the company purchase the fonts thus works on many levels. That’s the best route to go.

  5. Saturn9*

    #4 “I have paid a lot of money for these fonts, and I believe if you buy something, it is yours.”

    That’s the problem. You don’t buy fonts, you buy a license to use fonts under the terms of that license. Do you even have the rights to use the fonts the way you’re currently using them?

    It also sounds like the art director either a) doesn’t understand that the LW is using fonts they purchased rather than fonts they created; or b) doesn’t understand that some fonts are used under a license that must be paid for.

    1. Sissa*

      Yeah, that’s the problem with “buying” digital assets like fonts online. I try to stick to “free for commercial use” fonts (yes, those exist) because as much as I like being able to create nifty stuff, I’d rather not be sued for copyright (or terms of use, or whatever) violation.

      As a creative person the OP should try to put himself to the font creator’s position and imagine if his work was being used without being paid for properly (yes, 1 license was bought, but the fonts were copied to more people). Imagine losing hundred licenses’ worth of income because the first one who bought it thought it was okay to distribute because “it was paid for so it was their property now”. Not trying to guilt trip here, just sayin’. :)

    2. Esra*

      I think LW is approaching this from the wrong angle. During the design phase, if the company needs to buy the typeface, there should be a big ol’ FPO on there or an explanation that the typeface needs to be purchased.

      Going forward, LW should be sure to distinguish which type choices need to be purchased, otherwise people will assume they are freely available.

      1. Esra*

        Oh, also: Regardless, production artists and designers are always going to need your files. It’s part of the job for both of you.

        1. Frieda*

          Just came in to basically back up what everyone else has said. I am not a designer but I do work in production, sending files to printers and what not. Packaging the fonts used with application files (InDesign, Quark, etc.) when sending to someone else (a coworker who is also working on the design or working with printers, or printers themselves) is SOP; even if you are sending print-ready PDFs to a printer, if you make a color adjustment or type correction based on proofs/blues, they will have to open the application files to do that. Font licensing and management is a big deal in graphic design and the LW’s misunderstanding of this makes me think they are pretty new to working in the design world, and would benefit from learning professional norms.s

          As others have mentioned, using the same fonts for a different design is a big no-no. In addition to the font-license issue (don’t think of a typeface as a physical thing, think of it as software), there is the whole work-for-hire issue: You don’t “own” anything you make for your job. If you are employed directly by the company that you are designing for, anything you make for them belongs to them; it isn’t your intellectual property. They can do whatever they want with it, including having someone else work on it. I can almost guarantee that you signed something upon hire attesting to this fact. I don’t think it matters whether you worked on it at home or in the office. But even if you are a freelance designer, whatever contract you signed for that project also almost definitely spells out what aspects of the design you own and what aspects they own. And if you are a freelance designer working without a contract, then font licensing is the least of your worries.

          1. Editor*

            In addition to the licensing and work-for-hire legalities, the designer needs to grapple with the issue of limitations imposed by work budgets. Sometimes designs can’t be perfected because of photo or font or other rights issues. The designer is stuck producing “good enough” work, where good enough is defined by people who are not designers. Learning ways to improve upon “good enough” design is a survival skill in graphic arts, so the OP might learn some new tricks of the trade by figuring ways to work within the limitations.

            A designer needs to work with the fonts and photos that are available through the employer or freely available. If, as a designer, a worker feels the tools provided aren’t adequate, then the employer has to provide the tools because of the licensing issues. It can really cramp someone’s style and I know designers find it frustrating. If the selection is so awful the designer can’t stand it and the employer won’t budget for more fonts, then it is time to hunt for an employer with a design sensibility (or a budget) that is a better fit.

  6. AnonK*

    #3 – I agree with all the advice AAM gave. Another thing to remember next time you do this – research salary for similiar positions based on job duties rather than titles. What an “analyst” or other similar vague title does will vary greatly from company to company. It’s what we do that gets us paid, not what we are called.

    Also, asking for 15% more does seem extremely high, especially at entry level. I’ve never been able to get an offer raised by a double digit percentage in my experience, and I’d consider myself a good negotiator. As a manager, I once was negotiating with someone who I wished to bring in and he asked for a whopping 35% increase over a salary that we already believed was industry leading. The candidate justified it by differences in benefit structure and 401k plan, but it was still extreme. That 35% would have put him in a pay grade with my boss, who found the nerve of such a request quite offensive. I was ordered to rescind the offer – which frankly, I had no problem with because it showed poor judgement on the part of the candidate to ask for something so outrageous. So be very careful is the moral of the story.

    1. Cat*

      Whereas my reaction is that 15% was low enough that there’s no reason for anyone to ever be offended by that even if they reject it. Different industries, I guess.

      1. Emily K*

        It probably also depends on the salary. If the initial offer was $30,000 and the candidate came back with $35,000 (slightly over 15%), well, OK. It’s just $5,000.

        But if the initial offer was $65,000 and the candidate came back with $75,000 (same percentage), that’s a bit more presumptive. I could see a senior candidate with some particular skills in demand negotiating an extra $10,000 a year, but I can’t see a company scrounging up another $10,000 for an entry-level position.

        1. Jen in RO*

          Then again, what are the odds for someone in an entry-level position being offered such a salary in the first place?

          1. Laufey*

            In some industries (I think of a finance position in a large city, for one, or some positions in the oil or fracking industry for another), quite good, actually.

          2. CAA*

            Entry level in my area / field pays between $55K and $62K depending on if you have a BS or MS degree, so these numbers don’t seem outrageous. However, if I offer you $60K, you are not going to be able to negotiate me up 15% to $69K. That’s what you’ll be making with an MS and 3 years post-college experience.

            I recently had to choose between two candidates for a senior role who were pretty equal in qualifications. One wanted $110K, the other wanted $125K and an extra week of vacation. Considering the value of the extra week off, the second candidate was 14% higher, so we hired the first one.

          3. V*

            Your first job with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from a good college could easily get you $60K-$75K, more in NYC or Silicon Valley. That said, there was really no room for negotiation in the entry level offers I got; the companies tended to bring everyone with the same degree on at the same salary.

            1. Anonymous*

              Do you mean just a “good college” in general, or were there some particularly known for excellence in computer science specifically that you are referring to? (Apologies for my ignorance-computer science is not my field :)

              1. sunny-dee*

                It tends to be one known for technical programs. In my experience, at least MIT, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and Carnegie-Mellon are waaaaay more valuable than an Ivy League liberal arts school like, say, Harvard. But even that have limits; in high-end tech, you get people from top-tier schools, state schools, and no college working on the same team. Experience is a big leveler.

          4. Cat*

            But the question isn’t just whether they’ll get the 15% – it’s whether it’s offensive to ask for it. And I think normally it’s not (obviously, there are offensive ways to ask, and I’m sure much of it truly is industry specific).

            Also, there’s so much advice out there to job seekers to negotiate, that I’m not inclined to judge them for it unless their tone is very off or their request is extraordinarily off.

          5. Vicki*

            > what are the odds for someone in an entry-level position being offered such a salary in the first place?

            Which one? The $30 or the $60?

            My entry level salary in 1984 was $25,000 (they said yes so fast I’ve always figured I lowballed my request.) My next raise took that to @27,500.

            In 1986, I changed to another job, where my initial salary was $32,500 (with an apology for the fact that this was the lowest tier and they’d like to give me more but I didn’t yet have a history in that industry, but they ensured me I’d probably get a bump at my first review (I did).)

      2. AnonK*

        I think the big difference that others have mentioned at below is entry level vs experienced. I’m at the sr director level and I tend to hire people at a manager level or higher, so 15% would usually result in a significant increase. If the entry level position is paid low enough that we are only talking a couple grand, then that’s a different story.

        1. cecilhungry*

          It sounds to me like someone fought pretty hard to get the LW that salary in the first place, so I could see being annoyed that this person is now trying to get MORE money. Obviously, the LW doesn’t know all this, but if the HR lady has just argued her lungs out with Boss-man Bing over the fact that he wants LW to make this much, well, I can see why she would roll her eyes at LW asking for more.

    2. BCW*

      Rescinding the offer seems a bit much in my opinion. I mean he at least had logical reasons for the higher salary ask. Were his numbers correct? If so, then I don’t find it that outrageous. As someone else said, depending on the actual numbers, 35% may not have been that much money. Plus, in a negotiation, you ask for a lot more in the beginning you so can find a middle ground. Did you not even counter with something you could do? This boss who ordered it sounds a bit petty.

      1. AnonK*

        My boss at the time got his ego hurt so I admit that it was an extreme reaction. The boss was a real insecure jerk. But I didn’t have a problem with it because as I said, it showed poor judgement.

        He was being given a $20k raise over where he currently was. But what he countered with was he took the funds he had in his existing 401k and compared their performance over the previous 12 months with the funds offered in our 401k. He wanted to be compensated via a higher salary for the difference. There are so many flaws in that logic and it was preposterous for him to ask. In addition to that, he also was giving up a job where he had the benefit of working remote one day a week. Our policy was that he had to serve 6 months at our company before we allow a scheduled telecommute day (the occasional one off is allowed). He responded that this was such a hardship to him that he felt he was entitled to additional compensation and came up with some screwy formula that this some how entitled him to an extra 4 hours of pay per week and he adjusted the salary as such.

        What really made me OK with rescinding wasn’t that he asked, or even that his ask we outrageous, but the things he justified them with were point in time measurements. It called into question some of his analytical capabilities, which were vary much part of the job we were offering.

  7. Elkay*

    #5 I think that’s pretty standard Christmas Eve operating. In my experience not everyone leaves at the same time because people have different things that need finishing up before year end. It’s just a nice gesture from the company. The way I view it is if you need time off on Christmas Eve you can only get that guarantee by booking vacation. If you go in there’s the risk that something urgent will land on your desk and they end up having to keep the office open until 5.

    1. Judy*

      My experience on Christmas Eve (& Thanksgiving Wednesday, etc) was that the managers sometime around 2-3pm would make a big deal about packing up their things, and walking around saying “Have a good holiday, I’m heading out”. Fairly soon after that, everyone else would leave.

      Was never guaranteed, but pretty much always seemed to happen.

          1. Cath@VWXYNot?*

            My boss emails the department at 3pm on Fridays before long weekend *ordering* us to go home by 5 and saying that if she catches anyone still at their desks after that, they’d better have a damn good explanation*. I love my boss!

            *I had to stay once because I had a deadline at 6pm and hadn’t received the files I needed to proof and compile until 3pm. That was deemed a good reason to still be in the office.

    2. TychaBrahe*

      My experience is that I would come in at 6. The boss would tell us to leave around 1:10, usually fifteen minutes after I had to leave to catch the 1:20 train home. Since the next train was at 3:20, I’d stay until 2:55, the time I normally left the office anyway. Result: I worked an 8-hour day.

      The guys who came in at 7 and 9 would leave when the boss OK’d it, having worked 5 and 4 hours respectively. (Nine o’clock guy would not have had lunch.) The guy who came at 10 would leave when I did, having also worked 5 hours.

      Pissed me off Every. Single. Time.

      1. tesyaa*

        If you knew from experience that this was going to happen, why did you come in at 6:00? This is a serious question.

        1. some1*

          I can’t speak for TychaBrahe but it sounds like her start time may not have been negotiable, and she had no guarantee that she’d get dismissed early, even though it was very likely.

    3. Catherine*

      I think that a good way to look at what Elkay calls “a nice gesture from the company” is that the perk is not so much meant to be extra paid time off (which it may be for some) but rather a gesture toward making sure everyone has an adequate buffer in the afternoon/evening to get last-minute shopping done, make it home through holiday traffic, spend a little extra time with family or friends, etc. Those who already knew they were ahead of the game in this respect shouldn’t begrudge those who weren’t. (By the way, since we *are* talking about Christmas, I can’t help but point out that Jesus had a parable on this very subject!)

  8. Chocolate Teapot*

    1. When I changed jobs, I updated my LinkedIn profile on my first day at the new job, since technically I was still working at OldJob until then.

  9. Claire*

    Re. #3. I work in Ag and this type of conflict is not uncommon. If you haven’t already, seek the help of a succession planner. Someone qualified should help you make plans for your business and engage all stakeholders while setting proper expectations.

    1. Lillie Lane*

      +1 on the succession planner. These have been very helpful to other farm families that I know. Plus, a good succession planner can also act as a mediator, and they have experience with legal contracts & agreements/expectations that you may want to make with your nephews.

      I want to add that I think it’s cool that AAM’s readership is so diverse (ages, backgrounds, fields, countries).

      1. Lizabeth*

        +1 here too. My initial read of #3 was: Do the nephews want to inherit the farm, work it and keep it in the family? It doesn’t sound like it.

        1. Editor*

          I’ve dealt with several family farms where different family members were involved, and the ones that worked best pretty much treated all family members who wanted jobs as job applicants who had to prove skills to get the job or move up — family members got a chance to work and buy in if they showed they weren’t slackers. There was also a life-insurance plan to help transfer participation because younger generation family members often had to buy in rather than simply inherit.

          OP — you are documenting hours, costs, and so on that these nephews are incurring so you have something to show other than general observations, right?

  10. Claire*

    I had another thought for question 3. I know you say they aren’t ready for more responsibility, but can you involve them more in the business operation? Maybe when they see how expensive those barn lights are and how much diesel costs they won’t be so wasteful. Maybe work together on creating goals and objectives for the business. If they buy in to where the farm is headed they may be inclined to treat resources more responsibly.

  11. Chinook*

    OP #5 I actually think that it is fair that you use a whole vacation day even if there is a good chance employees that are there may get off a couple of hours early. You are guaranteed the day off while they are not guaranteed those “free” hours. I have always worked in offices where an early departure was unofficial and subject to workload and the discretion of the highest ranking person in the office (and even had one case where no one would officially close the office and free the receptionist despite every manager letting everyone else go). And, since some places require atleast someone in the office, consider those 2 hours the price for not having to be there that day.

  12. Anonymous*

    #2- you might have to accept that neither boy is going to run the farm

    This is a problem with most family farms I think… Since we’ve seen how hard it is. “Farm til the money’s gone” and all that. If the kids get a multi-million dollar offer from a real estate developer you know what they’re going to do.

    1. fposte*

      I also wasn’t sure if they were co-owners of the large farm already, due to their father’s inheritance, or if that was a different parcel. If they’re co-owners on the large farm, they can’t really be fired, and even if it’s a different parcel, it really doesn’t bode well that the guy is a co-owner and still doesn’t care.

      1. Adam V*

        They can still be “fired” as workers, though, and just be treated as silent (or not-s0-silent) partners.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Yup and that’s a point I made below that the OP needs to speak to her brother’s estate lawyer and see what the situation is here legally. It changes a lot of things if she doesn’t actually have the power to tell these two to walk.

    2. Lora*

      Agree wholeheartedly. Running a business is tough enough by itself, running a farm is about 100X tougher. The margins are SO thin, there is a ton more risk than there is in any other business, there’s a lot of finance (and marketing, depending on what you’re farming) involved, plus tons of backbreaking work. Admittedly, you can set up a farm to run smoother than average, but it’s just that–smoothER, not like walking into your shop and opening the cash register and tidying the display racks.

      You may well have to fire them both. Or look into whether your state has a program to sell development rights–that will keep the family farm a farm, but only if you personally never want to sell the place.

      Did they not do farm chores growing up? Most of the people I know who inherit family farms and do well, grew up doing a big portion of the daily work themselves, and just sort of get used to it; then they decide as adults whether this is the life they really want or if they’ve shoveled enough cow poop for one lifetime. It’s the kids who didn’t do much of the chores at all who are then handed the keys as adults, who seem to have more problems wrapping their brains around the idea that yes, you need to do ALL THAT, every day, even when you are sick or tired or it’s cold and sleeting out.

      It does sound like they are not ready to be farmers full time. I know it’s hard to get help who knows how to work some of the less-common critters or not break a $60,000 tractor, but would it be possible to get help? Even if it’s just the local 4H club?

      1. fposte*

        It’s bitter, though, because it is kind of the farming bargain–you help out the generation before you and the generation after you is supposed to help you out. And I get they’re free agents and all who aren’t bound by that, but it’s understandably disappointing to make your contribution and then not get the subsequent reward.

      2. LPBB*

        I was wondering about the chores, too. Having the kids do chores on the farm really seems to be a natural weeding mechanism. I know kids who have run as far away as they can from farming as a result of doing farmwork growing up and I also know kids who just naturally continued on with the farming when they became adults, which they may not have done if they hadn’t been exposed to it so young.

        Regardless, it really sounds like the one brother definitely has no interest in farming and you should figure some way to buy him out if at all possible. Are you entirely certain that the other brother wants to farm? It’s not a way of life for everyone and requires a level of commitment over and beyond most small business/entrepreneur enterprises.

        1. Anonymous*

          This is the problem it gas been a family farm fir all the faults involved until there father passed away seven years ago. They had no interest in it until they inherited it, no background to farming until then. So I’m stuck with running it, farming, paying bills and managing them. They such they want it but gave no ides how to take it and build something out of it. I’m sixty tired and ready to Gand up over, yet my name is on everything and they will run up to the ground before I die if I hand it over. So I try and manage them and they do not respect that what so ever. So I am lost for what to do in thus.

          1. Lora*

            Is there anyone else in the family who would be interested? A similar thing recently happened in my family when my uncle passed away–his son and granddaughter, who both still lived on the property, weren’t interested or able to farm, so several cousins and more distant relatives pooled their money to basically buy out the property from the son & granddaughter. My cousins carved it up into smaller lots and made the huge main house into apartments (it was big enough for two entire extended families). The granddaughter said she wanted to keep the farm, but had no clue what was involved or how to do that.

            Other options depends on what you’re farming. I’ve seen local farmers who turned their operations into PYO fruit/hayrides sort of places when they get too old to do the more backbreaking stuff. You have to be able to stomach a lot of crop going to waste from people stepping on fruit, throwing fruit, kids taking a bite out of something and then throwing it on the ground, but it’s a lot less work on your part. I’ve also seen folks turn veggie operations into CSAs and part of the CSA is getting members to come out and do some farm work. But it depends on what you’re doing and your location.

    3. Lanya*

      This is just a personal comment. Since both of the “boys” are in their 20s and arguably old enough to be running the place, you can start helping them mature by not referring to them as boys. They are grown men.

      Same thing goes for people who call unmarried women “girls” even into their ’40s and ’50s.

      1. Anna*

        I don’t know about your family, but in my family the grandparents and parents still refer to us as “girls” and “boys” because we’re their children, nieces, nephews, etc. I don’t find that offensive because I’m related to these people. On the other hand, if I don’t know you, please don’t call me a girl.

        1. VintageLydia*

          I think when you’re talking about a professional relationship, using language for adults that would normally be reserved for children should stop. It’s tough in a family business to compartmentalize like that–I know from experience–but it’s necessary. He wants the nephews to act like adults , so he needs to treat them like they are. Even if they aren’t given a lot of responsibilities yet (or ever, depending on how much they want to actually work on the farm) using language that conveys he understands they are grown ups can go a long way in inspiring them to act that way.

          Or at the very minimum, it can’t hurt. When you treat adults and teens like children, they have a tendency to act like children. At family dinners, fine, it’s a term of endearment. But not at work or when discussing work topics.

          1. voluptuousfire*

            ^ Agreed. OP #2 is still viewing his (I guess?) nephews as children, not as adults. A male of 30 years of age is generally considered a man. He may still view his nephews as goof off kids and that’s coloring his perception of their behavior.

            As for goofing off and wasting time can be mistaken. The OP #2 could see his nephew sitting at the computer and he may think he’s wasting time futzing around online, shake his head and walk away. The nephew could easily be researching new cost efficient farm equipment and planning the financial logistics of getting the items needed. He could easily be doing some number crunching in Excel or a number of different things. We don’t necessarily have 100% context here. We can only assume the nephews are “goofing off.”

  13. Observer*

    #2 – your nephews are not “Boys”. They are MEN – young men, but men nonetheless. Start treating them as adults. Then you can start expecting adult behavior out of them. You may need to explain what that means but, you have a much better chance at it.

    And, once you get that in place, you will be in a much better place to have an ADULT discussion about how their behavior affects the farm and their inheritance.

    Do keep something in mind – they really are not obligated to care about the farm. It’s something you and your brother built, but even if they have respect for it (which they might not if they don’t understand what went into that, and have not been educated), it’s perfectly legitimate for them to have other interests and to want to pursue them. You are going to have to deal with if that turns out to be the case.

    1. Jen in RO*

      If they don’t act like adults, why should they be treated as adults?

      I do agree with your second point – OP, are you sure the nephews *care* about the farm? This would also explain the behavior. Maybe they don’t want to work on maintaining/developing the farm and are just doing it to humor you.

      1. De*

        “If they don’t act like adults, why should they be treated as adults?”

        Because they are adults. Infantilizing and potentially condescending immature people does not suddenly make them more mature.

      2. Lisa*

        They own half the farm, acting like an adult has no context here. Take the family part out of the equation. You can’t fire a partner / remove their interest in a company, because they are on Facebook all day. They don’t have to work there tho they have a right to access the farm whenever they want and use resources the way they want to. Why not create a new agreement, day-to-day stuff (and decisions) is handled by OP and they can just receive a check, which i honestly think they will be fine with it. Just be aware that they still get 1/2 of the profits, no matter what time the OP and his / her descendants put into the farm.

        1. snuck*

          This is pretty much what I was coming in to say. Why are they ‘working’ on the farm – why not cut them a share of the profits (after all expenses), if they want to take diesel then just charge them for the amount that it’s cost, if they want to leave lights on then put the lights on a timer or movement sensor or whatever and it’s not going to be a problem any more (because telling a 20yr old to turn the lights off is like telling a 2yr old not to – if they aren’t in that mentality yet they aren’t going to get there in a hurry now).

          If they don’t want to be committed to the farm and aren’t very interested in running it then cut them loose, give them their cheque each month or whatever and let them run about doing whatever it is that 20yr old men do.

          When I say cut their cheque I mean take into account a reasonable living wage, all other expenses etc and then anything left over they get 1/2 of, split between the two of them – so a 1/4 each (assuming you and your brother were equal partners in the original farm). If they don’t like it, or it’s not enough… they can get a job somewhere else, or shape up and work properly for you.

          They might be family but they don’t get a free ride.

          The worst that might happen is they force you to buy them out (not sure of the laws in your area on this, in Australia it’s possible) and you’ll have to work out the finances of that, but if you do nothing the frustration is likely to wind up driving you all to that same point anyway.

    2. John*

      Like the idea about having a discussion about how their behavior affects the farm.

      But I would step back and talk to them — separately, perhaps — about what their plans are.

      To the lazy one: “I’m getting the sense that your heart is not in this and I want to plan for the eventual transition out of my management, whether to you and your brother or I may take a whole different route.” (Yes, take some of the power away from them (unless your brother’s estate robs you of that ability.)

      To the better worker: Ask him where he sees his life going professionally. If his heart is, indeed, in running the farm, talk to him about how you’re going to need his help in getting his brother to step up…how otherwise they’re going to run the farm into the ground…how if he wants this to be an enterprise that supports him into his old age, he needs to dedicate the next few years to learning from you and making good decisions that set the farm up for success.

      Really, you need a come-to-Jesus discussion with each.

      1. Anonymous*

        Why is he lazy because he doesn’t want the farm? We don’t know anything about these two. They’re late 20s, so probably have gone to college and gotten started in a career they actually chose – why drop everything for a farm they don’t want.

        1. fposte*

          Hopefully they have another career–it could get tricky if they want the farm income without doing the farm work.

        2. Ruffingit*

          He’s not lazy because he doesn’t want the farm, he’s lazy because he’s apparently chosen to “work” on the farm and yet chooses to goof off, take diesel for their trucks and leave expensive lights on. Apparently, turning a light off is just too hard.

          I’m all for people doing whatever they want to as a career, but in this case these men have chosen to work on this farm so they either need to actually work or they need to say “This is not our dream” and walk away. You absolutely get to call someone lazy who takes a job and then goofs off a good portion of the time.

          1. De Minimis*

            It sounds like they have already inherited the farm.
            They could have chosen to not take their share of the farm if they didn’t want it…people can refuse an inheritance, but of course most don’t.

            It sounds like they probably still own their share even if they both quit working on the farm, but that makes it tougher on the OP and puts the farm in a bad position long term.

            1. Ruffingit*

              They can choose to keep the farm as an inheritance and not work on it as well. That is my point. It’s totally OK to do that too depending on how the inheritance was set up. And that is why the aunt needs to get clear about what the parameters are legally and then sit down and have a discussion with these two men about what they actually want to do. No hurt feelings, no anger, but everyone needs to get clear with each other on what they are interested in/don’t want to do. Could be they want to do other things on the farm, they don’t want to do anything on the farm, they want to get the profits from the farm, but not work on it, etc. Could be a lot of things. But they all need to have some serious open communication and figure it out.

            2. Anonymous*

              Why would they chose to not inherit the farm? That would be insane. All that land is worth a lot to developers, unless its in the middle of nowhere.

                1. De Minimis*

                  People often refuse to inherit property that is “upside down” or otherwise has conditions that make them more trouble than they are worth.

                  Of course, that does not sound like the case here.

              1. Ruffingit*

                Because the inheritance can come with a ton of problems. I know people who say they want to leave their kids the homes the parents have bought. Nice thought, but the homes have tremendous mortgages (sometimes two) and the estate of the parents does not have enough money to pay those mortgages when the parents die. Therefore, what they are leaving their kids is a home the kids will have to pay for if they want to keep it or end up selling and hope to God it’s a good real estate market and they can break even.

                So yeah. There are many reasons you might not want the inheritance. If it comes free and clear of debt, that’s awesome. If not though, it can just be one huge headache.

    3. Anonymous*

      I would be more than happy if they chose to move on, it would make it much easier for all of us. I have given them that choice and they gave chosen not to do anything but the farm. I gave treated them as men sat them done with all the paperwork and bills and gave tried to guide them into wise decisions. They have chosen to do things incorrectly, sloppy, and have made poor choices for all involved.

      1. snuck*

        Is it youth/inexperience? A different way of thinking? A different goal to yours?

        I’m speaking as a younger generation farming family (in Australia) vs the older generation where my father in law does things his way come hell or high water, even if we have all manner of good reason, numbers, sense, future direction etc to back it up. It’s incredibly frustrating when he makes decisions based on what he wants and we know that we’ll be facing a twenty year mortgage long after he’s gone etc. Even decisions about a new header or tractor or whether to get rid of the sheep and just do broadacre farming have huge implications on my personal family’s financial future but he doesn’t care, he just does what he wants. He’s forgotten what it’s like to have small kids and a future to plan for.

        Not saying this is the case for you, but it’s something that is a common complaint. Maybe they have different ideas?

        Maybe they aren’t understanding the quieter nuances of the farm work and bills and how everything works – maybe a chat to a bookkeeper or accountant in agri business, or finding another local farmer closer to them in age that can help/mentor them through would help?

        Also they are your nephews, you saw them as babies, you’ll always remember how much younger they are – they need to grow up in your mind – they are now men and need to be treated not as kids – treat them like you would a neighbour and see if that behaviour helps – friendly, courteous, polite. It sounds almost like that might not be happening?

        Finally – if you have kids of your own? Time to sort out your inheritence yourself, get your succession plan solidly in place, get the will written up properly. If you don’t then think it through, and act. Again speaking as a next generation farm owner, and the frustration of dealing with the prospect of all this being one big unholy family bun fight when the time comes.

  14. Forrest*

    #2 – do the kids even want to inherit the farm?

    My dad owns a business and put so much pressure on me to join it, take it over, etc. I finally had to put my foot down and say “nope, not interested.”

    I would ask if your nephews even want the farm.

  15. Random*

    #3 I agree with Alison! Definitely talk to the more responsible one and explain to him exactly what you said here. It’s hard for you to watch them goof around and be silly when their father worked so hard to maintain the farm and such.

    Sometimes people lose sight of their responsibilities .. especially when they;re young and working with others close in age.

  16. Darcy*

    #3 Besides making sure you have good sources for salary information as Alison said, the other thing I would quibble with here is that you said you picked a salary close to the median. Pay ranges exist for different levels of experience/performance. People who are new to a role generally start closer to the lower end of the pay range. In most organizations the median exists for people who have been successfully performing in the role for 3 – 5 years. So you probably were coming in too high.
    #5 Every business I’ve ever worked for makes people take the full day in PTO or vacation even if the office closes early. I’ve always seen it as a benefit to the people who had to get out of bed and come into work for the day. If you were planning on taking the whole day off anyway I don’t see it as “unfair” to charge your time off bucket for the full day.

  17. Joey*

    #3. Think of it this way- median salary is for the average performer with average experience at the average company, the top salaries are for those who have proven themselves as the best of the best at the best paying companies, and a low salary is for those who haven’t proven themselves yet and/or are at the lowest paying companies.

  18. Joey*

    #5 isn’t meant to be a penalty for those who are off. Think of it as a reward for those who have to work Xmas eve. I know its not equal, but I think its a fair trade off since businesses usually have a hard time getting people to work on Xmas eve.

  19. Anoners*

    #5 Yeah our workplace does that too, but this year my boss let me sneak it through as a half day! yay

  20. Chris*

    I have to agree with the comments about keeping in mind they may just not be interested. My SO’s family ran a business, and it was expected that he would be the one taking over from his dad- except that after working there after school, weekends and all summer vacation, when he finally graduated high school he had had enough. He wanted to go away for college, not swing a hammer. Not everyone has the same interests, and sometimes you just have to respect that their choices will be different.

    And have you talked to them directly about the farm and the future? Maybe your vision of the farm is totally different from theirs, and they are waiting to implement their ideas. If you are demanding that it stay a cow farm for example (because it’s always been one), and they really want to be alpaca farmers or totally hydroponic, it makes sense that they have no visible attachment to the business. It’s not the business they envision, the business THEY get excited about. Not to belittle your life work, but you may have to be the one to bend here to keep it in the family. Or you’ll find out they honest to goodness have zero interest, but you’ll never know until you ask direct. Just expecting them to “grow up/wake up” one day will create hard feelings on both sides.

  21. PPK*

    For OP #2 — have the nephews ever sat down with the books? Reviewed the electric/water/gas/etc bill? Seen any debts the farm is carrying? The actual numbers on paper — not the abstract “You’re burning money!”

    Have you noticed anything that the goof off nephew is better at/more interested? Is he an accountant in disguise? A mechanic? A sales guy? Just wondering if there’s some aspect of the farm he could go hooked on and have as his responsibility.

    1. AVP*

      I know one farming family with four sons – three of them were very interesting in farming, and the fourth was not into it at all. He left to become a marketing exec and did that for 10 years. He returned in his mid-40’s…to run the marketing for the farm.

      Some people need to leave and develop their own interests. Maybe they’ll come back, maybe they won’t. But it’s possible that the Good Farming Brother could stay and run the place with someone else to help him. But you do need to sit them down and talk this all out.

    2. VintageLydia*

      Yeah I was wondering this. They can’t be expected to intuitively know this stuff unless they are taught, and it doesn’t sound like their father taught them much about the business of it all.

  22. John*

    #3 — I have the bias of having started out in an industry where it is very difficult just to get in the door, but my strong opinion is that you need to step back and consider the supply/demand dynamics of your industry.

    In many fields today, a person coming out of college should be happy to find a job with attractive salary and benefits. In these situations — and you can call me a sucker — I would not try to negoiate at all if the offer is decent. Yeah, I can gain experience and afford to live! You are raw, unproven talent on whom they are taking a risk and negotiating would look very presumptuous.

    If you’re, say, an engineer or have some other in-demand skill, well, the rules are completely different.

    That said, to me negotiation is something you can do only as you build a track record. 15% was very aggressive for entry level in most fields.

    Listen, if you are able to get good intelligence that is truly applicable, maybe feel them out, but if you aren’t in active talks with other employers it’s all hypothetical. You have to be careful. Another employer who is paying 15% above the company who has offered you may have completely different financial realities.

  23. Pandora Amora*

    #5: You’re probably treating “1 day of PTO” as directly exchangeable for “8 hours of paid work in a day”. But some workdays are shorter than others; your work’s Christmas Eve, for example.

    What if you think of “a workday” and “a day of PTO” as two foreign currencies, which usually have a 1:1 exchange rate between them, but occasionally have a different exchange rate?

    When you spend a day of PTO, you’re buying a future where you don’t have to go in to work for a given day. There’s risk in buying futures:

    – the business might have a snow day: you spent a day of PTO, got paid; your coworkers had their work canceled. You prepared for your day off and are able to relax; your coworkers didn’t so work from home, or have to play catch-up. Maybe they get charged a day of PTO, maybe they don’t: but why does that matter to you?
    – a major project you’re working on may go into overdrive: but you’ve got the day off, so don’t have to pull a twelvie.
    – the business might let everyone in the office out early: “Today we believe a full day is only 6 hours.” You wanted to work zero hours, not six nor eight, so have paid a slight premium on the PTO:workday exchange rate.

    If you treat PTO as being exchangeable for work days, and accept that workdays may have zero hours (snow day), six hours (early holiday), eight hours (regular workday), or twelve-plus hours (disaster response day), then you’ll get less caught up in any one of these scenarios as being unfair. You’ve made a futures contract purchase by exercising PTO; you have to accept the risk of the market changing under you.

  24. Juni*

    OP #2 – Had it occurred to you than your nephews don’t want to run a farm, but they’re too immature to just tell you? When I was young and immature, I was tasked with doing the dishes. I broke a bunch, and that job was taken away. I was asked to do the laundry, so I accidentally-on-purpose shrunk mom’s sweaters, or put reds and whites in together. Suddenly, laundry was no longer my job. Your nephews may be doing the same thing. Just because you did a lot of work to make farming happen doesn’t mean you are going to get two nephews who care. They may be resentful of being thrust into this with the assumption that they want to or are obligated to.

    1. Ruffingit*

      +1 million. Yes. Especially if they were guilted into it as in “Your father worked so hard to build this up so you could someday take over…” What if they don’t want to be farmers? Seriously, this is an excellent point and one the OP needs to take into consideration.

  25. MissDisplaced*

    I’ve purchased a number of graphic design items over the years with my own funds and have gone through this as well. What often happens is that you these items for comps, never knowing if a certain design will be picked or not. If you are freelance, you would simply roll this cost into the billing for the project, but if you are a regular employee this becomes trickier to navigate.

    No, you are not obligated to turn YOUR purchased fonts over to them! (It is copyright infringement to share fonts for any other purpose other than output/printing–and then only the fonts used in that particular piece–not the entire set of fonts.) The company needs to purchase their OWN font set if they intend to continue using these fonts in their designs.

    However, it WAS your responsibility to inform them (ahead of time!) that you created these comps with fonts/photos etc., that they would need to purchase separately/at additional cost, should they choose to move forward with this design. If you failed to do so, it is a bit of bad on your part.

    A good company should see no problem doing that.

  26. JCDC*

    #3 – this likely does not apply in the OP’s case, but for those starting in the nonprofit world: organizations’ finances are public and you can pull their 990 online. This probably shouldn’t be your only source of info for negotiating, but it’s a good way to see whether what they offered is in line with their budget, resources, etc. I did this before accepting my current job. On the flip side, I had some HR responsibilities at a previous job (mainly contracts), and it’s so much easier to be open to negotiations when the person clearly has done the research to come up with a reasonable request — rather than one that is just wildly out of line with what you can do.

  27. Ruffingit*

    #2: You should also talk to the attorney who handled their father’s estate and get some advice about what you are legally allowed to do here. These boys have inherited their father’s portion of the farm and that may give them some legal rights that include you not being able to fire them outright. You need to get your legal ducks in a row on this one and see what their inheritance actually entitles them to before you make any choices.

    If you can legally fire them, I say do it immediately. You actually can afford to run the farm without them even if you don’t think so. First of all, you’ll be saving on the fuel costs and electricity bills since they won’t be around to siphon off the fuel and leave the lights on. You can also hire people who are responsible. Stop hitching your horse to the broken cart that is currently these two boys. Sure, one is more responsible than the other, but if you dump his brother, he will also walk, which means he doesn’t understand that family loyalty doesn’t trump responsible behavior.

    To sum up – talk to the lawyer, fire both of these guys, and hire people who can and want to do the work. Also, please come back and update us on what you decided.

    1. Anonymous*

      You’re making a lot of assumptions here. Why should hiring responsible people trump family loyalty for the OP? I get the sense that they’d like to keep the family farm in the family.

      1. Ruffingit*

        They can still keep the family farm in the family, but hire others to manage it who are currently responsible enough to do it. Why should hiring responsible people trump family loyalty? Because irresponsible, goof-offs running a family business does not generally translate to a profitable enterprise. If the idea is to keep the family farm AT ALL, then they will need someone to run it who wants to do so and has the business sense for it. This is why people often hire outside workers for their family businesses in roles such as CEO or business manager. If you don’t have people within the family who can or want to handle those roles, you need someone to do it to keep the farm as a family asset in the first place.

        1. Anonymous*

          Ah I see what you mean. For some reason I associated ‘fire’ with ‘exclude them from the business entirely, and take their ownership stake’

          1. Ruffingit*

            Oh no, I wasn’t thinking that at all! Just the general firing them from working there. Taking their ownership stake and excluding them entirely is probably not possible legally anyway since they inherited the farm. And, it would also just be a crappy and expensive (legal processes and all that) thing to do unless you had a super good reason like the person was a felon who steals from the family coffers or something.

            1. Editor*

              I think pushing them out could cause a lot of resentment and pain in the family. Allowing them to opt out seems best if the finances can be worked out (either by buying them out or by having the cost of replacing their labor come out of their share of the profits).

              1. Ruffingit*

                If you can make such an agreement that would indeed be better for the family as a whole. However, if these two refuse to get their act together and continue to waste the money and property (diesel fuel) of the farm, then pushing them out via firing may be the only recourse so the farm doesn’t suffer financially. I think some good communication all-around could be helpful here. However, if you’ve got two obstinate people who refuse to understand the consequences of what they are doing, then fire them (if you legally can) and move on because they are harming more than helping the family business.

                1. snuck*


                  One other thought I’ve got about this is that the amount of diesel these boys burn can’t be anything near the amount of diesel the farm uses – a tractor goes through hundreds of litres a day – leaving lights on can be expensive, but how expensive really in the grand scheme of the farm?

                  I think the OP is either in really deep financial straits or not liking the younger generation’s approach. If my Father in Law was complaining about me taking a car tank of diesel each week and leaving the shed lights on and they were his biggest complaints? I’d be thinking he was being a picky idiot – the total cost of those things is minimal compared to the real cost of running a farm.

                  We fill our fuel truck a dozen times a year, we spend about $25-30k on diesel each year to put a crop in to a small/medium sized farm – a few thousand acres. (All broadacre/wheat) My very large tanked car takes $100 worth of fuel to fill and last 1000km. Is he being picky? Are they being loafing louts and it’s just the examples he’s given us – probably a bit of both.

              2. Anonymous*

                I have offered to buy them both out. They said absolutely not. They want to work the farm but not work like they need too. I have sat them down and gone through the finances they say they get it but they don’t work like they get it.

                1. snuck*

                  So write out the jobs to be done regularly and irregularly including approximate number of hours/days to do each.

                  Next to each put an “outside labour” cost (include a small premium on this to cover additional costs like holidays or inevitable stuff ups)

                  Showing them the finances this way might help. They might choose to pay someone else to do X or Y, and might realise the value of doing P,Q,R themselves.

                  I’m assuming because you are linking finances and their own labour contribution that you are talking about this. If this isn’t what you are talking about maybe part of the problem is that several issues are being tied up together and confusing each other – if that’s the case maybe you need to get a business manager or someone to help for a short while to clarify and manage the communication so it’s crystal clear and simple to understand – someone from outside your normal circle.

  28. Lindrine*

    I think most of the other designers or those readers in design related fields have weighed in, but here is one more thing to consider. While the title of the question let me to believe the OP would be asking about control of their creative work, the question was actually about fonts, which are part of the tool set a designer uses. Unless you created the font yourself, it is not really yours. If you create a font for your employer, it is also not yours. Depending on your employment or other contract, work you create for them is part of their IP. In the future, they will have to purchase fonts. Use a tool like WhatTheFont to find something similar that may work if budgets are tight. You also need to be tracking what fonts and other tools and materials are used for each project for legal as well as sanity reasons.

  29. Scarf*

    #4 – I wonder if you are violating the terms and conditions of the purchase, or license by using the fonts at your employer’s company. Oftentimes, the purchase entitles you (not others such as another person, or your employer) to use these fonts. Also, there may be conditions by the font owner on using their fonts for business or commercial use – as you are doing here – like fees. You may not be allowed to share these with another commercial entity, and / or may be restricted to using the fonts for personal use only (and giving the fonts to your employer’s clients is likely not personal use.)

    1. mlhd*

      These things are true but if the OP paid “a lot” for the fonts, most likely they paid for a commercial licence.

  30. LV*

    #5 – While at Former Job (actually a paid internship) I took NYE off, so I had to fill out a Leave Without Pay form. I asked my boss if I should put down that I’d be missing 3 hours of work or 8 since everybody leaves at noon on NYE. She said to put down 3, so I did.

    In January when I got back to the office, HR sent me a copy of the LWOP form for my records… and I saw that my boss had crossed out the 3 hours I’d put down and written “8” over it. I know it was her because I recognized her writing and it was in the same ink as her signature on the form – added after *I* had signed it.

    Whatever you think of the policy, it’s a dick move to change the wording of a document after someone has signed it, without informing that person. And I know it’s generally good practice not to ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but this is the same boss who told me “I was going to get you a Christmas present, but then I decided not to,” who gave me the lowest possible score for attendance on my performance eval because I had taken *one* sick day, and who was just generally a major jerk in 1000 different ways. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d done it on purpose just to mess with me.

    /holiday bitterness

    1. Anonymous*

      This holiday season, I’ll be extra grateful to the former bosses that let me take sick days even when I could’ve been docked pay.

      1. Anonymous*

        I should add it’s not something that I make a habit of doing! As an example, the only time I got pinkeye in my whole life was the week after I started a new job.

        1. Wren*

          The only time I have ever had food poisoning was at lunch during my first day at CurrentJob. I was outu for 2 days. Apparently they took bets as to if I was coming back!

  31. mlhd*

    I’m a graphic designer. You could tell your company that your lisense for the fonts only includes one seat and you aren’t legally allowed to distribute it this way (which is likely true) and provide the info for purchasing the font. But in general if you know they do this and they will not reimburse you for fonts, just use free fonts or ones that are already on the systems at your company.

  32. KM*

    #4 — I completely agree that if the OP is an employee of the company, the company should be buying a license for any materials used in the designs. While we’re on the topic, though, I’d be interested to hear from designers about what would need to happen if the OP were a freelancer. Would s/he be covered by the license s/he purchased, or have to buy a different license for each client, or what?

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I can’t speak for every font license of course, but what’s generally not okay is giving anybody the actual font file.

      Producing contract work in a font you own is fine. What you do next is convert the work you’ve produced into print ready files so nobody needs the actual font file to print what you’ve done.

      If you used a font to make a logo for the customer and the customer says “hey, that’s great, send me the font file so we can produce more things with a font that matches our new logo” you say no can do but here’s the link so you can purchase your own copy/license to use however you like.

    2. Frieda*

      My experience has been that if the designer is freelance, the designer should be aware of what their specific licenses allow them to do (i.e., if the designer buys a commercial license, they should be able to use it with different clients, but the clients can’t then take the typeface and use it with a different project), and there should be a contract signed BEFORE work starts that lays out both deliverables (i.e., what types of files, including fonts, are you expected to delivery to the client) and also who is responsible for what costs. Can you bill the client for the typeface as a line item, or is that a cost to you that you should build into your quoted rate? I’ve seen both ways: on the one hand typefaces are expensive and if the client simply must have a specific thing, it is reasonable for them to expect to pay for it; on the other hand, once the designer purchases the typeface they can use it again but the client can’t, so it is really more a business expense for the freelancer, not the client.

      And as others have mentioned, if you are sending a comp with a font (or art!) that you do not currently have the appropriate license for and the client is expected to pay for those costs, you need to make them aware of that before they sign off on the comp. (In fact, if this is the case, you should probably have a conversation about the budget available for fonts/art BEFORE you even put the design together, so you don’t end up with a design that someone MUST HAVE but won’t pay for). If you are expected to cover the costs, then don’t create comps with fonts or art that are more than you can afford.

  33. Cassie*

    Our school will sometimes let us go at 3pm on the day before a three-day weekend (or a holiday), and will usually let us know a day or two in advance. On select major-major holidays, our dept shuts down at noon. We (the staff) are usually informed at 11am, but at least we are notified – students and faculty usually don’t even know until they show up in the afternoon and the place is a ghost town.

    If I was in charge, I’d plan for these early closures ahead of time and tell everyone at least a day or two in advance. We are not a production facility – there’s no real good reason why it has to be announced VERY LAST MINUTE. Aside from maybe TPTB likes the power of letting us go early? As someone who carpools to work (as many of my coworkers do), I appreciate knowing these things in advance.

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